"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
With Michigan State's loss @ Wisconsin today, Michigan and Michigan State remain tied in the Big Ten at 9-2. Michigan and Michigan State play again on February 23rd (Two weeks from today.) Seven games remain the the Big Ten, here are Michigan and Michigan States final seven games:
Michigan: @OSU, Wisconsin, MSU, @Purdue, Minnesota, @Illinois, IU
MSU: NW, Nebraska, @Purdue, @U-M, Illinois, Iowa, @OSU
The Michigan women's basketball team has an important home game today vs. #25 Purdue, tipping off at noon and televised on the BTN. The Wolverines beat the Boilermakers in convincing fashion earlier this year in West Lafayette, 65-49. A win today would translate into Michigan's first season sweep of Purdue since the 1997-98 season. Purdue is now playing without their leading scorer, KK Houser, who suffered a torn ACL a week ago. Despite the loss of Houser, the Boilermakers beat OSU on Thursday, 74-58.
Michigan is currently tied for fourth in the Big Ten, and I think any run at the conference title is unlikely given the team's youth and inexperience and a very tough schedule down the stretch. That schedule, though, provides the team with four golden opportunities to pick up signature wins to enhance their NCAA tourney resume. In addition to today's game, the remaining schedule also include matchups against three other top Big Ten teams (and teams with top 50 RPIs)—Nebraska, Iowa, and Penn State.
If the Wolverines can win two of those four games and win the other two upcoming games (road tilts against Indiana and Illinois), that might be enough to get them in. That would put them at 19-10 overall, give them a couple more signature wins, and boost their RPI. They really need to improve their RPI to have a chance at a berth, as it currently stands at around 80. Winning four of the last six would give them a 10-6 Big Ten record and probably put them in fifth or sixth place. That would mean a first-round BTT game against one of the lesser teams, giving them a good shot at 20 wins.
Massey has today's game as a close one, with Purdue predicted to win 72-69. The win probability for Michigan is 43%.
I figure people are pretty tired of the basic "this is unacceptable, ______ is playing terrible" stuff. Not that I'm innocent of it, but I feel like it's worth talking about what's actually going on.
So: this topic is for substantive discussion.
Similarly to last year, the Big Ten has come up with a solid way to beat us. Basically, it looks like this: make Stauskas work on every catch, which throws him out of rythm. When he tries to use a pick, blitz him with both guys - you either get a turnover or a reset back to the point. Nik is the only guy who can get Morford involved, but he's struggling to find them when he gets blitzed. And even if he could, catching mid-post isn't ideal for either of them.
This is where we miss Mitch so, so much. He can catch in the mid-post and distribute in a way Morford will never be able to do. Moreover, he's actually a tiny bit of a pick-n-pop threat, which is the best way to beat teams that double on the ballhandler. When you roll every time, like we do, these teams can double with impunity.
When you eliminate this part of our game, it becomes a slog. Walton is so talented, but still uncomfortable with taking the reins. Caris can go solo, but that's not a viable long-term offense, even within a single game. Glenn needs to be fed in good positions, pure and simple, and that doesn't happen without ball movement.
I can't emphasize the number of ways we miss Mitch McGary. You can't switch 1-5 with him on the court like Indiana did with Morford, because throwing it in to him against a point guard is actually a viable strategy. And his high post passing is fantastic: that doesn't even touch on what he does for our rebounding and energy.
What to do moving forward - all I can think of right now is start running pick-n-pop action with two wings. For example, have Stauskas handle with Caris or even Walton/Spike setting the pick, and have them pop out instead of rolling. If you try to double Nik with that action, you're gonna be playing 4 on 3. That can't be an every time thing, obviously, but the threat needs to be there or Nik is never going to get a clean look the rest of the Big Ten season from the halfcourt.
Good news is that the Big Ten has really good coaches and really good defense, and they know us inside and out. We're almost always surprisingly look in March against teams who aren't as ready.
Chime in, folks, I'm curious what people think
Definitely a disappointing game, but games like this sometimes happen. They can't miss a 3 and we cant buy one. Beilein is a great coach, and our players have been stepping up all year. Nobody thought we'd be tied for first in the Big Ten after Mitch went down. Sometimes, you just have to try to get better and make the best out of a game like this.
Instead, we have embarassing posters all over the game thread calling specific players awful, embarassing, sucking shit -- one guy said Michigan should just get off the court about 3 minutes into it. When did this board turn into RCMB? I sort've understand the angst in football since we haven't been consistently good in years (one good year, not consistently good) but our basketball team won a Big Ten title in 2012 and went to the Championship Game last year. We have a bad first half during a regular season game and suddenly our kids are all shit and an embarassment to the University? How fucking spoiled is this board? Michigan Basketball has performed well above expectations for 3 straight years, stop acting like you are entitled to win every game played and if we don't that means the kids can go to hell.
Hey guys - I made some predictions at the beginning of the year for the Big Ten season and I've been tracking the results versus the expected outcomes... Here's the link:
And here's the current standings along with the deviations so far from expected:
Go Blue! And don't forget to watch right now on ESPN!
There was some debate a few days ago over whether McGary's Twitter message meant that he was rehabbing. We need debate no more. He recently started doing what Coach Beilein guesses must be "very, very" light work with the team's doctors.