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B1G Foreign Tour Tracker: Wolverines take on Italy

Recap of Michigan's trip to Italy

Michigan was the last of three B1G schools that took foreign trips this summer with Ohio State and Indiana being the other two. The Wolverines decided to take a trip to Italy and visit cities such as Rome, Verona, Vicenza and Venice. They played four games over six days: two all-star teams, one third tier Italian team, and one second tier Italian team.

With the departure of five players (three to the NBA, one to transfer, and one graduating) and the addition of six players, Michigan was looking to use this trip to get a head start on meshing the team together.

To no surprise, the Wolverines won all four games with ease. Although the last game was close midway through, they pulled away late. I was able to get my hands of game film from two of the games (one of which you can watch on YouTube. This is the first game of the trip which was against the "Perugia Select Team" or as they called themselves, the "Basket Academy All Stars". Check it out here). There was really not too much to take away from this game as it became a blowout very quickly.

The second game I was able to watch was the final of the trip. Michigan took on the Mantova Stings, which plays in the Second Tier of the LNP league. Unlike the other games, this one was actually close at halftime thanks to a late first half surge by the Stings. During this game I realized that Michigan didn't seem to have much size, and not having a player over 6'9" really showed. Johndre Jefferson, the starting center for Mantova (who played for South Carolina in college), looked quite good against Michigan. I can't find a box score that gives Mantova's stats, but Jefferson had at least a few dunks and was able to get where he wanted to in the paint.

Michigan's defense was not exactly the greatest either, but the offense was. Defense always seems to lag in development behind the offense and that seemed to be the case for Michigan on this trip. I'm sure that will come in time and besides, they played four games in six days. Even though their opponents would give up cheap fouls to stop play, the Wolverines were already clicking on the fast break. In the game against the Stings, I counted at least five highlight worthy dunks (and plenty of wide open threes). Caris Levert, Zak Irvin, and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman all already looked to be in mid-season form. Overall it is safe to say John Beilein was happy with the trip. No one appeared to get hurt, they won every game, and they got to have the experience of a life time. They hope this trip will bring together a young squad faster than the competition.