Skip to content

Why was VCU unable to unleash Havoc on Michigan?

Mar 23, 2013, 2:20 PM EDT

VCU v Michigan Getty Images

Michigan sent Virginia Commonwealth home in decisive fashion on Saturday afternoon, slapping a 78-53 beatdown on a team that quite frankly terrifies most power-conference programs. Michigan dismantled Shaka Smart’s vaunted Havoc defense, and made it look downright easy.

VCU had to be salivating at the thought of advancing past Michigan to face either Kansas or North Carolina in the Sweet 16. Havoc was built for teams with shaky point guards, and those blue blood programs definitely fall into that camp this season – they would have been ripe for the picking.

By now, you can see the flaw in that scenario. It’s the “get past Michigan” part.

Michigan is exactly the sort of team that can dismantle Havoc, and they proved it easily in our first Saturday game.

Let’s look at what VCU was not able to do, and why they weren’t able to do it against the Wolverines specifically.

First of all, the Rams force 19.3 turnovers per game, according to Basketball State. That is far and away above the national average of 13.0 per game. That’s more than just steals, which VCU got at their usual high rate. Turnovers include traveling, charging calls and errant passes that sail out of bounds. Those are the signs of effective Havoc that don’t show up in the box score, and that’s what Michigan was able to avoid.

Despite seven turnovers of his own, Trey Burke played under control and didn’t commit the other cardinal sins a point guard can slip into when under pressure. He was able to break the press early and often. His fellow guards, including backup Spike Albrecht, avoided trouble as well. Perhaps even more impressive, the Michigan big men stayed away from egregious errors in a forest of grasping hands. John Beilein had his entire team playing under control, and that made all the difference.

Second, the Rams did not hit their shots. They were under 40 percent shooting from the floor, and a very uncharacteristic 18.8 percent from deep. Shaka Smart will tell you straight up: if his team doesn’t make shots, they can’t set up the press. The simple act of requiring the opposing team to inbound the ball and fight to cross the time line is a huge part of Havoc, and the Rams couldn’t make it happen in this one.

Why? It’s always the little things. An extra step of quickness and a little more length on the part of Burke and Hardaway can cut off a multitude of angles for an opponent. So, too, can an extra few inches of height on the part of Michigan’s big men. Both bothered VCU, and that’s why they’re going home early today.

So Michigan gets that shot at the Kansas-UNC winner, and you can bet they’re salivating about those point guard matchups as well, after the performance they turned in today.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

Latest Posts
  1. The AP released their All-American teams on Monday

    Mar 30, 2015, 12:42 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    There isn’t anything all that wrong with the AP’s list. The first team is perfect.

  2. 2015 NCAA Tournament: Final Four betting lines, Vegas odds

    Mar 30, 2015, 12:19 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    If you need to place a bet, here are the lines you’ll be working with.

  3. Reports: Jeff Neubauer hired as next Fordham head coach

    Mar 30, 2015, 10:46 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Neubauer was with Eastern Kentucky for 10 years and John Beilein for nine seasons before that.

  4. Tournament darling R.J. Hunter is heading to the NBA

    Mar 30, 2015, 10:05 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    R.J. Hunter and his father/coach became a sensation during the tournament.

  5. Texas freshman Myles Turner declares for the NBA Draft

    Mar 30, 2015, 9:43 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    This is not a surprise, as Turner was expected to be a one-and-done player.

  6. Report: Russell Turner turns down George Mason job, remains UC Irvine coach

    Mar 29, 2015, 10:33 PM EDT

    AP AP

    George Mason had parted ways with Paul Hewitt earlier this month.

  7. Jordan Gathers, nephew of Hank Gathers, transfers to Butler

    Mar 29, 2015, 9:48 PM EDT

    La Salle Explorers v St. Bonaventure Bonnies Getty Images

    The former St. Bonaventure guard had previously completed his Bachelor’s degree.

  8. Michigan State fans celebrated by burning couches, throwing bagels

    Mar 29, 2015, 8:36 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Michigan State knocked of Louisville in the Elite Eight on Sunday.

  9. The Final Four is set, and it’s going to be insane

    Mar 29, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    40-0, Izzo, Coach K, Bo Ryan, Wisconsin-UK, Duke-UK? Let’s get it.

  10. Updated tournament records: Big Ten teams make up half of Final Four

    Mar 29, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT

    Michigan State earned its Final Four spot Sunday (AP Photo) Michigan State earned its Final Four spot Sunday (AP Photo)

    Three one-seeds have made it to the Final Four, with No. 7 Michigan State being the exception.

  11. Duke defeats Gonzaga, heads to first Final Four since 2010

    Mar 29, 2015, 7:10 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Duke is the third No. 1 seed to reach Indianapolis.

  12. Final Four tip times and channel guide

    Mar 29, 2015, 6:25 PM EDT

    Branden Dawson, Travis Trice Branden Dawson, Travis Trice

    We now know who plays when during the Final Four.

  13. Danny Hurley, Rhode Island agree to an extension

    Mar 29, 2015, 6:04 PM EDT

    Dan Hurley AP

    Hurley just completed his third season with the Rams.

  14. No. 7 Michigan State reaches the Final Four for the seventh time under Izzo

    Mar 29, 2015, 5:02 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    This is the first Final Four Michigan State has been to since 2009.

  15. Dave Leitao returns as head coach at DePaul

    Mar 29, 2015, 2:24 PM EDT

    ACC Tournament: Virginia Cavaliers v Boston College Eagles Getty Images

    Dave Leitao is the leading candidate to become the head coach at DePaul for a second time.

  16. Five-star 2015 big man Ivan Rabb hits game-winning free throw to win California state title (VIDEO)

    Mar 29, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpti1yzy1ymy3ytizody1zwrhyzfhmme2odcxyjawntbi AP

    Five-star big man Ivan Rabb makes a clutch free throw to win a California state title.

  17. Wisconsin vs. Kentucky: The Final Four rematch we deserved to see

    Mar 29, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Wisconsin and Kentucky get to play again after last season’s thrilling National Semifinal.

  18. No. 2 Arizona, Sean Miller’s quest to reach Final Four once again falls short

    Mar 29, 2015, 8:37 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    The label of “best coach yet to reach a Final Four” will remain Miller’s for another offseason, whether that’s fair or not.