The first half was the Rodney Hood show. The second half was freshman Jabari Parker's. While Michigan battled throughout, Duke proved to be too much. Duke's backcourt completely outplayed Michigan's and Mitch McGary was only able to put up limited numbers (he put up 15 and 14, but he scored 8 of those points during garbage time.) While there are some negatives to look at from this game, there are also a lot of positives to take away as well.
Caris LeVert had his breakout game. LeVert played with a chip on his shoulder the entire game, finishing with 24 points on 8-18 shooting and 7-7 from the foul line. LeVert looked confident, angry and finally played a game that Michigan fans have been waiting to see against better competition. LeVert will build on this game and will hopefully put up similar numbers against Houston Baptist and Arizona in the coming weeks. Mitch McGary did not have an amazing performance, but he did play pretty well. He and LeVert combined for 39 of the 69 points, and he hustled and battled on the boards like he has done all season. For Michigan to be successful all season, McGary will have to average a double-double and continue to shoulder the scoring load like he did tonight.
Michigan scored 22 first half points. Duke hit 8 3-pointers to Michigan's 3, and the Wolverines never looked comfortable in a hostile environment. They need to start off better, and getting down 12-5 in Cameron is a tall task for even the best teams in the country. Duke did a phenomenal of using Quinn Cook and Matt Jones to face guard Nik Stauskas, and Stauskas was only able to attempt 2 field goals, 1 of which was a desperation 3 as the shot clock expired. Michigan needs to find better offensive sets if and when Stauskas is guarded they way he was tonight. This also includes overall shot selection and making shots in general. Duke only made 3 more field goals than Michigan, but Michigan turned the ball over 5 more times and made 5 less 3's. While Glenn Robinson III put together a stalwart performance on defense against Parker, holding him to his season low, he still has not found his offense. Robinson III might be the 4th best scoring option currently, but he needs to score in double figures every game for this team to fully reach its potential.
What it Means
Michigan gave Duke its 107th home, consecutive, non conference win. Few expected Michigan to win, and they made Duke's high-powered offense look very flustered at times. Traveling to Duke and Iowa State before the Big Ten season will only help this team in February and March, and there were flashes of brilliance tonight. I think Beilein will continue to use Spike Albrecht increasingly as the season goes on, and could even use a two point-guard set if Zak Irvin is having a bad game. The panic button does not need to be pressed in Ann Arbor, and while Michigan will have a much needed boost against Houston Baptist, they will have a full week of practice to prepare for Arizona, their biggest non conference home game in a long time. These Wolverines will turn it around, and as long as it is soon enough, it could be a very successful year for Michigan.