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Michigan beats Stanford but Mitch McGary sits out

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Michigan got 19 points from Nik Stauskas and 17 from Glenn Robinson III as the Wolverines knocked off Stanford 68-65 at the Barclays Center on Saturday night.

It was a win that Michigan needed, as they whiffed on four chances to lock down a marquee victory already this season. That’s not to say that Stanford is a marquee victory for Michigan, but right now it is their second best win and looks a lot better as a close victory than it would as a loss.

There’s more to the story, however, as Robinson played one of his better games of the year. Michigan needs Robinson to be more than just an athlete with a jump shot if they are going to contend for a Big Ten title. Since being a non-factor in a loss to Duke, Robinson is averaging 18.0 points in the last three games.

But that’s not the real story from Saturday.

Mitch McGary is.

He didn’t play against the Cardinal. He was on the bench in a shirt and tie. Before the game, Michigan termed McGary’s issues as a “variety of stuff”. After the game, John Beilein told reporters that McGary is sore head-to-toe and that he will be getting an MRI soon after getting injured running into a basket support.

Michigan needs McGary. When he’s healthy and in shape, he’s such a weapon for the Wolverines. There aren’t many kids his size that play as hard and aggressive as he does. But until he’s healthy and in shape, he’s a liability. Simply put: McGary is not a skill player. He’s as good as he is because of the effort that he can give, and at this point, he can only give that effort for a limited amount of time.

It will be interesting to see just how long he has to miss. Getting him healthy is the first step towards getting him into shape.

Stanford loses key veteran guard to stress fracture

Marcus Allen
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Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.

“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”

The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.

What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.

The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
AP Photo
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.