The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
Highlights courtesy of UMHoops
Michigan once again cruised to an easy victory in their third game in Italy, defeating Petrarca Padova 116-52 while limiting their opponents to just 16 second-half points. For the third time in three games, Zak Irvin led the team in scoring, netting 22 points while hitting 7/10 shots from inside the arc (he finally cooled a bit from outside, going 2/6 from three). Mark Donnal bounced back from a lackluster performance in the second game with a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double, while Caris LeVert posted an impressive 17-8-4 stat line.
Full box score (click to embiggen):
Postgame quotes courtesy of the athletic department:
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
On how the team may be exceeding expectations thus far ... "Our defense exceeded what I thought we could do today. We started slow, but as the game went on they were very good at their dribble-drive attack. We made it difficult for them to get the ball in the paint and then they had to rely on three-point shooting and we guarded that as well. The defense then became our offense."
On Mark Donnal's development since coming overseas ... "We continue to show Mark and Ricky (Doyle) film so that they can get better. I really don't care what each one does; I care what they do collectively. Tonight was 29 points and almost 20 rebounds between the two of them. It would be too much to think about getting 20 and 20 from them, but if we needed to get double-figures, that's a heck of a big man."
On the value of experienced guards like Spike Albrecht and Derrick Walton Jr. ... "I'm glad Spike was out there (with them), but to be honest I don't pay attention to what year the players are. I just try to get everyone equal minutes and have everybody learn a little bit of rhythm. In games like this, we just want to get video on it so we can teach players why things work and why things don't work. That's what's real for us. We practice against ourselves and while we get better doing that, when you practice against others and you don't know their schemes and you have to guard their themes, that's very helpful to our progress."
On the team's experience at the U.S. Military base today ... "These young men have seen some special things on this trip, and they all really enjoyed today. To be with the troops, feed them and sit with them and then go see some of their weapons and trucks, tanks and humvees; the team loved that. We were on our feet a lot today. It has been about six straight days spent on our feet and they responded, so I'm happy about their whole attitude. They're enjoying it and embracing the culture that we're exposing them to. At the same time, they're coming to play."
U-M Sophomore Zak Irvin
On his mindset for today's game ... "My teammates told me, if my shot wasn't falling, to get to the basket and that's one thing I didn't do a lot last year. It's one of the big things I wanted to work on for this year."
On the effectiveness of the zone offense ... "We thought we were going to see some zone (defense) when we came over here to Italy. We didn't see it in the first two games but we did see it tonight so it took us a little bit of time to get adjusted, but we made our adjustments and we were able to counter what they were doing and make it productive."
On general feelings about the first three games from a team perspective ... "We've had three great games. Each game we're getting better. You can see it when we watch film, defensively we're getting better. Our goal was to hold teams under 60 points and we were able to do that again tonight; then scoring 100 points is something special."
On the team's experience with the U.S. Military today ... "To be honest, it was breathtaking seeing all those men and women fighting for us even though they're overseas. You have to give them all the credit in the world and be grateful for everything we have."
U-M Redshirt Freshman Mark Donnal
On his double-double performance today ... "It was definitely a good game for me coming off of yesterday's game. Yesterday I was in foul trouble, so this got my confidence up a little bit and I was pretty happy with my performance. My teammates found me open and I got some easy buckets."
On the biggest difference in his game from yesterday to today ... "Just getting past the defense in offensive transition. Spike and Doc (Andrew Dakich) were able to find me."
On his impressions of the team's adjustments so far ... "Especially with a growing team like us, it's important for us to see both zone and get some different looks on defense and I thought we executed pretty well today."
U-M Freshman Aubrey Dawkins
On his success in today's contest ... "I think I have been getting a little more comfortable every game, and a little more of my natural game came out today. I played within the offense, so things came to me and I capitalized."
On the importance of rebounding in today's offense ... "People have told me in the past that crashing the boards and getting involved in the game helps you stay in the game and not be passive on the court and zone out. It keeps you focused on doing something to help the team. That's what really got me going."
On making so many adjustments, such as the shot clock difference and learning the new offense ... "I think it's coming along nicely; that showed up in the game today. It's becoming more fluid and natural."
On staying in the game mentally despite a lopsided score ... "You never want to get lazy on the court, because that's practicing bad habits. You want to keep playing the way you should play, no matter what the score is. Whether it's high or low, keep playing the same game so when there are close games there's no difference and you're always ready to go."
Apparently this was a prank, but a odd one (Calipari and Francesa were in on it in advance)
On Wednesday, Francesa had a rare bout of college hoops talk, which led to some discussion on John Calipari's coaching ability after Cal made an appearance on the show. That prompted "John from Kentucky" to call in soon thereafter, once Francesa made it clear that he didn't admire the Kentucky coach's ability to scheme the game. The ensuing two-minute squabble was vintage chest-puffing from both men, each plenty envied and hated in their own profession.
OK, first off, Calipari's radio-caller voice is something to behold. But after that initial weirdness, the two of them get into it. Which makes for a good listen; these guys go way back, after all. "How sensitive are you? You call me up?" Francesa asks Calipari at the outset. "You know what you're like? You're like a caller who doesn't listen, OK?" Francesa reiterates what he told a caller: that he likes Calipari as a coach in essentially every facet except X-and-O acumen. CALIPARI: "That's basically saying I can't coach. You know what they call me? The Magician. Cal, the Magician."
FRANCESA: "Waitaseckint. Are there better X's and O's guys than you?" CALIPARI: "You think I believe that?" FRANCESA: "Yes." CALIPARI: "I will pass a lie detector test and say, 'No.'" FRANCESA: "No you won't. No you won't." And less than 10 seconds after that, the Sports Pope goes vintage Pope and just cuts off Calipari's call and ends it before the Kentucky icon can even get in another word or say goodbye. Treating him just like he called it: as if Calipari was a typical caller from the Bronx or thereabouts. Harsh. Unnecessary. Hilarious.
Get LochDawg on the case. What we have here is a failure to brand properly:
Stings vs Michigan, show assicurato per il primo test dei mantovani
It's been nine years since I used Fast and Easy Italian to prep for my trip to Rome, Sorrento, and Capri, so my Italian is a little arrugginito, but I like to think it means that spectators are assured that they will first be tested on whether they think Mantovani was a god. Also, there may be childcare, but certainly no mancare available at the arena. The Stings website, where we can learn that their roster includes a guy whose position is Play Maker. Paging Mike Valenti.