At least that’s the philosophy of Michigan Deputy Head Coach Phil Martelli. And for most of the season, Michigan’s men’s basketball team had no choice but to rely almost exclusively on their starting lineups. His entire starting lineup averaged at least 27 minutes per game in the Big Ten game, and no player on the bench scored more than five points per game.
The Wolverines came out in all the opening matches, and if the pair had a weekend, they probably left the court with a loss.
“They deserved this place,” Martelli said Feb. 23. “So if we can get through them, we’ll try to get through them.”
Despite what Martelli believes, it was clear that to participate in the Michigan NCAA tournament would require some resemblance to a consistent game on the bench. Otherwise one failed walk from several beginners will lead to peace of mind.
In the first weekend of the NCAA tournament and even from the last week of the regular season, Raamahi received far more output from their players on the bench than they could have expected. Two main sources: second-year forward Terence Williams II and freshman guard Frankie Collins.
“I think it adds even more to our arsenal,” said sophomore forward Jace Howard. “I think more options on the team will make us more dangerous this month.”
Without Williams and Collins the season in Michigan would most likely be over. The first was the 17-point result of Williams in the regular season of “Raamahi”. final in Ohio, with central sophomore Hunter Dickinson.
Collins then attempted against Colorado in the 1/8 finals, replacing the wounded diploma guard Devante Jones. Collins ’highest career-high 14 points and full control of the offense pushed Wolverines, pushing them to return in the second half.
And on Saturday against Tennessee Collins and Williams shone. After Jones was forced to leave the game, Collins played the entire second half. And although his condition was not as striking as against Reims, he still effectively managed the crime. Meanwhile, Williams sold two consecutive waste segments, both of which tied the game.
“(Collins) is an aggressive guard who is able to go down and finish,” Dickinson said after the victory over Colorado. “He was doing it there. We totally trust him that he will do what he does. We’ve seen him train for a year, and that’s why we all fully trust Frankie. ”
Dickinson added after the win over the Volunteers: “(Williams) is a player in prime time. But I don’t care how many minutes he plays, or what, my man will do winning games when he’s there and he did it today. We will not win without Terence Williams II today. “
Almost as important as their results are the other ways they have been able to do. Back in January, when the fight against the Michigan bench was the worst, assistant coach Howard Aisley stressed that the credit is not necessarily the main factor that earns reserve playing time:
“We’re just looking, we want the guys to really impact the game positively,” Aisley said. “So you don’t always have to kill. It may be to make the right plays. It can be bringing defensive thinking into the game, rebounding, creating turning situations for the other team and the ability to strike. ”
For most of the season, Williams and Collins struggled to stay on the floor for reasons other than lack of points. Sometimes Williams struggled in defense, often refusing to hit, which led to light buckets. For Collins, his overly aggressive play sometimes led to many twists and turns.
But last weekend the duo’s improvements in these areas were obvious. Williams finished Saturday with a hold on defense as the Raamahi scored key stops during the leg, while Collins made just three turns in 61 minutes in two games.
It’s still a small sample size, and Collins and Williams have sometimes taken steps back this season after seemingly making significant strides in their development. But now they are performing on the biggest stage and starting to do it more consistently. Michigan will still rely heavily on its starters – as Martelli said, they are no wonder the starters.
But as Wolverines seek to continue their incredible run, their newly found depth will be vital.