Saturday’s win might just have been Michigan Wolverines most impressive win yet. They beat Bradley 74-66 on the road in Peoria, in a game where Michigan kept running out to big leads, just to be made back in to a close game.
One of the biggest stories from this game was Nik Stauskas’ first career start. Stauskas poured in 22 points, leading all scorers, including 4-5 from three. He had been playing exceptionally well all season. As a true freshman, he plays like an upperclassman. He does not push things or rush things, and the moment never seems too big. Stauskas is one of the best three point shooters I have seen in college basketball in a long time. He is 18-29 from three point territory, a ridiculous 62%. It is not like Stauskas is a picky shooter either. If he thinks he can make it he will shoot it, regardless of whether he is tightly guarded or a few feet behind the line.
However, the fact that he is much more than just a sharpshooter is why he is now starting. Stauskas has good ball handling skills for a 6-6 guard. That is because he was a point guard before he shot up, now playing on the wing. But, he is still capable of being a second point guard on the court. Also, he has shown an ability to score at the rim, making him a more dynamic offensive player. Defenders can’t just follow him around the three point line, because he can drive right past him. Stauskas is even a pretty decent defender, for a true freshman. I did not think I would be saying this, but right now Stauskas is the most impressive of the three big freshmen (Stauskas, Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III).
Another important takeaway from this game was the fact it was Michigan’s first road game. This is big because they have five freshmen playing minutes, and two starting. They gave not experienced a hostile away crowd at the collegiate level. They responded well, for the most part, using their size and talent to beat an inspired Bradley team.
Michigan now returns home to play Western Michigan, before taking on Arkansas on CBS” national telecast next Saturday.
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