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LeVert contributing for Michigan even when not scoring

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

In Michigan's opener against Hillsdale, Caris LeVert was a major contributor, with 20 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. Against Bucknell on Monday, he wasn't quite as effective in scoring, but still found ways to contribute.

Although he struggled from the field, going 2-of-11, he finished with six points, six rebounds and six assists. That brought his two-game total to 15 assists and no turnovers, which is as important to coach John Beilein as the scoring.

"The two games with 15 assists and zero turnovers, I don't know if we'd had a guy start a season like that," Beilein said Wednesday morning on WTKA's "Michigan Insider" radio show. "He was one of the guys who could get into the paint as a freshman. Once he got into the paint, anything could happen — good or bad.

"Now, he gets into the paint and he's got a different pace — we call it pace in space — and he takes his time."

LeVert has been able to help facilitate the offense in transition and in the half-court, taking some of the pressure off freshmen Kameron Chatman and Mark Donnal in the starting lineup and freeing up Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton Jr. to take on more of the scoring responsibilities.

When LeVert is able to create off the dribble and set up others in the paint, he becomes a weapon for which there are few peers in the Big Ten.

"The huge advantage is that at 6-foot-6½, he can look over people and see the floor much more," Beilein said. "It's why back in medieval times you built castles on hills and you could see everything and see where the enemy is attacking. He's got that vision over the top that he can see so many different things.

"Love the way he's playing. He didn't shoot it well the other day but, still, six assists and no turnovers."

Bielfeldt ready now

Another surprising development is Max Bielfeldt's career night, with 18 points. He showed in practice that he was ready for prime time and as the only senior, is using his experience and savvy to school some of the freshman post players.

"He has a better understanding of the college game and while we continue to work at that, he's got an important role on this team, whether it's teaching the younger guys in practice or opportunities like he did the other day," Beilein said. "In his three years, he's won a Big Ten championship, been to the final game and another Big Ten title.

"Even though he wasn't a major player in that, he's a player behind the scenes and he's seen so much."

Bielfeldt's previous high was four points, which he did three times, but his development could be a boon to a young frontcourt that includes redshirt freshman Donnal and true freshmen Ricky Doyle and D.J. Wilson.

Detroit test

Against Detroit, the Wolverines will get to face a former teammate in Carlton Brundidge, who transferred. They'll also face veterans Juwan Howard Jr. and Brandan Kearney, formerly of Michigan State.

"This team (Detroit) has a lot of talent and a lot of experience now and we're going to have to play well," Beilein said. "This is what you run into when you have NBA attrition — your young guys are going to be matched up against older guys as you go through the transition.

"You know how they're going to feel coming into this building, so we have to match that."

Detroit at Michigan

Tip-off: 6 p.m. Thursday, Crisler Center, Ann Arbor

TV/radio: BTN/WWJ

Records: Michigan 2-0, Detroit 1-1

Outlook: In the second game of the Legends Classic, Michigan gets an experienced Detroit squad that's coming off a loss at Oregon. It's the first meeting between the schools since 2009, which Michigan won, 75-64. Detroit last won in 1981.