Take a minute to imagine what goes through the heads of the average basketball coach and the average basketball player over the course of an average game.
Coaches tend to focus on the intangibles, such as defense, hustle and rebounds. Players tend to focus on one thing: offense.
Whether it’s dunking, shooting 3-pointers or breaking a defender’s ankles, most basketball players are consumed with the glory that comes with a dynamic force on the offensive side of the ball.
These opposing points of view are why coaches are coaches and players are players.
Why was Michigan coach Tommy Amaker so concerned about offense after the Wolverines’ 74-67 loss to North Carolina State last Monday?
After a disappointing defeat, there are plenty of possible explanations heading into tomorrow’s game against Wofford (4-4) at Crisler Arena.
Maybe Amaker was upset with the mere 28 points Michigan scored in the first half. Or maybe he was upset with the lack of interior offense after seniors Courtney Sims and Brent Petway combined for just 13 points.
But Amaker left no mystery as to why he was worried about his offense.
“We continued the trend of not being able to make open shots,” Amaker said. “And I think it’s frustrating for our team.”
The Wolverines must show that they can knock down a perimeter jump shot because opponents have begun to play compact zone defenses against them.
Collectively, the Wolverines (7-1) are shooting a dismal 28.5 percent from 3-point range (41-for-144). No Michigan player is shooting better than 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. And with zone defenses, the Wolverines must sink shots in order to draw defenders out of the paint.
“Offense is going to come for our team,” senior Lester Abram said. “It’s just a matter of when everybody is going to click together . at the same time. It hasn’t happened yet, but hopefully it will soon.”
The Terriers will come into tonight’s matchup reeling from three straight losses, including a home loss to Western Carolina on Wednesday night. But if the Wolverines take Wofford lightly, they could be victim of a devastating upset. The Terriers have already beaten Cincinnati this season, and lost to North Carolina State by just four points on Nov. 10.
And with key nonconference battles against UCLA (Dec. 23) and Georgetown (Dec. 30) in the near future, Michigan needs to get its offense back on track, and fast.
“I think anybody that is going to have any kind of success in the game of basketball knows that you are going to have to make perimeter shots,” Amaker said. “And unfortunately for us right now, we haven’t been as good at it. We have to figure out ways to make an open jump shot.”