Arkansas showed it had something No. 19 Michigan has lacked for most the season in its 66-64 upset.
The Wolverines (15-5, 5-2 Big Ten) only had four points off the bench all coming from sophomore forward Evan Smotrycz. Junior guard Matt Vogrich and sophomore forward Blake McLimans came off the bench but contributed an assist, a rebound and two fouls (all by Vogrich).
The Razorbacks (14-5, 2-2 SEC) had 35 points off the bench including their leading scorer freshman guard B. J. Young who had 15 points and freshman guard Hunter Mickelson who had 11 points.
U of M has been outscored on the bench by 30 points (87-57) in the five games it has lost.
With little bench productivity the Wolverines have to rely on their starters to do everything and when that happens players get tired, they get in foul trouble, they turn the ball over, they get lazy on defense and shot selection goes down.
That could explain why the Wolverines gave up 46 first half points, why they shot 41 percent on the day, why senior guard Stu Douglass, sophomore guard Tim Hardaway Jr. and freshman guard Trey Burke (who played the entire game) shot 17 percent (3-for-18) from behind the arch.
Now there is hope for the bench.
Detroit Free Press writer Mark Snyder reported earlier this week sophomore forward Jon Horford could return from a foot injury as soon as this game with Arkansas.
Obviously that didn’t happen, but it does show that he is close.
Horford has appeared in nine games this season for U of M with his biggest game coming against UCLA where he scored 12 points and brought down seven rebounds.
Now Horford only averages just above two points a game in his career, but hey the Wolverines sure could’ve used those two points against the Razorbacks.