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The Scouting Report: Michigan Wolverines

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Michigan is one of the best offensive teams in the nation through the first three games of the season. Can Caris LeVert and company keep up with the Huskies?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 2-1
Head Coach: John Beilein

KenPom Ranking: 37

The Michigan Wolverines are coming off their first loss of the season, an 86-70 defeat at home to the Xavier Musketeers. Although Caris LeVert poured in a game-high 29 points on 8 of 16 shooting, he was the only Michigan player to score in double figures. The Wolverines were also outrebounded 47-29 in the loss.

The loss comes after two easy wins for Michigan, a 70-44 victory over Northern Michigan in the season opener and an 88-68 win over Elon University. Against Northern Michigan, LeVert led the team again with 18 points while sophomore Aubrey Dawkins added 15 points. In the matchup against Elon, three players scored in double figures, including LeVert. But it was junior Derrick Walton Jr. who led the team with 24 points on 6 of 7 shooting from behind the arc. Transfer Duncan Robinson also added 19 points on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting from the field including 5-of-5 from three.

Statistically, the Wolverines have thrived on the offensive end of the court while struggling defensively and on the glass.

In Ken Pomeroy's adjusted offensive efficiency, Michigan ranks 10th, and its 76 points per game rank in the top half of Division I while the Wolverines' 48.2 percent shooting as a team ranks in the top 20%. Additionally, Michigan has three-point threats all over the court, as the Wolverines are shooting 43.9 percent from behind the arc, which ranks eighth in the nation.

Defensively, they allow 77 points per game, which ranks in the bottom-third of teams, and their 31 rebounds per game is bad enough to rank 324th among the 351 Division I teams.

Key Players:

#23 Caris LeVert, Senior, Guard (6-7, 205): The team's most talented player, LeVert has been named to the 2015-16 Preseason All-Big 10 Team, the initial 50-man John R. Wooden Award Watch List, and was ranked 16th in ESPN's preseason top players. The senior is averaging 19.3 points, five rebounds, five assists and 2.7 steals per game through Michigan's first three games, while shooting 50 percent from the field and 7 of 14 from three. While he excels in catch-and-shoot situations, Michigan fans are hoping the 6-foot-7-inch guard can start to create more for himself off the dribble and improve on getting to the rim.

#10 Derrick Walton Jr., Junior, Guard (6-1, 190): An excellent rebounding guard who can really get to the rim on offense, Walton is averaging 10.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 52.6 percent from the field and 6 of 12 from behind the arc. The junior guard had a superb start to the season last year, averaging 14.8 points per game and shooting 54.5 percent from three in his first four games before injuring his toe. The injury really hampered him for the next couple of months and he was eventually shut down for the season by mid-January. Walton is expecting to return to form and showed it in the win over Elon, as he scored 24 points, dished out seven assists and grabbed six rebounds while shooting 8 of 10 from the field and 6 of 7 from three.

#21 Zak Irvin, Junior, Guard (6-6, 215): Arguably the team's most valuable player from last year, Irvin led the team in minutes while averaging 14.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. He is the team's top three-point threat from last season, as he went 77-for-217 from long distance (35.5 percent). In the Wolverine's final 12 games, Irvin averaged 15.3 points and 6.3 rebounds. Unfortunately, he underwent surgery on his back in the offseason and is still trying to get back into game shape. In the loss to Xavier, he made his first start of the season, scoring seven points in 22 minutes.

#24 Aubrey Dawkins, Sophomore, Guard (6-6, 205): The son of current Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins, Aubrey is averaging nine points and five rebounds while shooting 55.6 percent from the field. The sophomore is an elite shooter who has some serious jumping ability that has helped him immensely on the glass. Dawkins averaged only seven points per game as a freshman while shooting 43.8 percent from three and really only served as a three-point shooter for Michigan. However, Beilein said Dawkins showed the most improvement over the offseason, especially on defense and on the boards.

#2 Spike Albrecht, Senior, Guard (5-11, 175): After undergoing double hip surgery in the offseason, Albrecht is not off to a great start, but it is hard to not mention a player who was once on the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team. Albrecht is only averaging four points and 1.7 assists per game through the first three games and is still easing his way back into game shape. The senior averaged 7.5 points per game last season and led the team with 3.9 assists per game, but once Walton was sidelined for the season, Albrecht's points per game jumped to 12.5. He also shot 42.6 percent from three. He may not get as much run as last season, but he is still an important piece of this team.

#22 Duncan Robinson, Redshirt Sophomore, Forward (6-8, 210): One of the niftier and possibly unknown stories of college basketball, Robinson starred as a freshman at Division III Williams College before making the leap to Division I. This article is a pretty lengthy read but the story is fascinating! Robinson is averaging 9.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game while shooting an impressive 66.7 percent from the field and 7 of 10 from behind the arc. The redshirt sophomore is a special player, according to Beilein, one with a great shot and excellent passing ability. He is averaging 14 points per game in his last two games while shooting 7 of 9 from three.

Michigan is coached by John Beilein who in his ninth season with the school. He has compiled a 168-111 record. Beilein has coached at every level of college basketball – junior college, Division III, Division II and Division I. He began at Erie Community College, spent one year at Division III Nazareth College and spent nine years at Division II Le Moyne College (lol Syracuse) before accepting his first Division I head coaching position at Canisius University. Beilein spent five years at Canisius, five years at Richmond University, and five years at West Virginia before eventually moving to Michigan. While at Michigan, he has made five NCAA Tournament appearances, including a National Championship Game appearance in 2013. Overall, Beilein has a career record of 719-429 as an NCAA head coach.