This could just as easily have been titled “Way Too Early Arkansas Preview Part 2” history buffs can wax nostalgic with part 1 here…http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/way-too-early-arkansas-preview
Here it is 2012 and America’s premiere basketball conference
has an opportunity to flex its muscles against the lowly scum-sucking SEC.
Yes, I am aware that Michigan lost last year in Fayetteville. Yes, I am aware that Ace called it “the most painful possible basketball game to watch” http://mgoblog.com/category/tags/2012-arkansas-hoops
as Arkansas hit their first 11 shots, Michigan turned the ball over repeatedly, and Arkansas shot out to a 20 point lead. Michigan would crawl back, and Trey Burke missed the 3 pointer that would have won the game.
That’s not going to happen this year.
But let’s not put the cart before the horse. Let’s talk Arkansas. Mike Anderson is starting his second year at the helm for the Razorbacks after finishing 18-14, 6-10 in the SEC. At 4-3, Arkansas has lost to Syracuse, Wisconsin, and Arizona State, and beaten Oklahoma. They do exactly one thing well. Anderson’s teams feed on chaos. They force you to turn over the ball. They press with reckless abandon. They run the court as if there were an 8 second shot clock. They call it 40 Minutes of Hell.
Against good teams, they tend to get out-rebounded by 5 or 6, but they force 4 or 5 more turnovers than they commit. That was enough to beat Oklahoma. Syracuse pulled out the win by shooting 10% better. Wisconsin won their game from the charity stripe. I expect that Michigan will take care of the ball a bit better, and failing all else shoot their way out like Syracuse.
Somehow between turnovers their regular rotation individually manages to shoot around 45% from the field(the exception being Rashad Madden, who shoots 68% but leads the team in turnovers). Their leading scorer 6-3 sophomre guard B.J. Young has no conscience whatsoever.
The guy is shooting 16% from downtown, but he still leads his team in attempts at 4/g. The guy runs and chucks like no player you have ever seen, to the tune of 20pts/game.
Last year 6-2 junior guard Madracus Wade averaged 48% from downtown, averaging 5 attempts/game. He was a game changer.
This year he is averaging two attempts and shooting 29% from downtown averaging 7pts/game. Go figure. Versatile 6-5 sophomore guard Rashad Madden and dangerous charge-prone 6-3 slashing junior wing Ricky Scott are picking up the slack, averaging 12 points and 4 assists between them.
Last year Arkansas lost promising 6-7 junior forward Marshawn Powell to a knee injury.
This year he is healthy and effective, averaging 13 points and 6 rebounds for the razorbacks. He is joined in the frontcourt by newcomer 6-7 junior combo forward juco transfer Coty Clarke, who boasts 8 points and 7 boards/game himself. 6-10 sophomore forward Hunter Mickelson and 6-8 freshman forward Jacorey Williams pitch in as well, combining for 11 points and 6 rebounds per game.
So why am I so convinced that Michigan will pull this one out? In a game as crazy as basketball, shouldn’t we favor the team that favors chaos? Didn’t a wise man once say…“The increase of disorder or entropy is what distinguishes the past from the future, giving a direction to time.”? Well, time is also marked by transfers and graduation. Specifically, the graduation of guard Julysses Nobles, and the loss of his passing(3 assists), defense(2 steals) and scoring(9 points). They also lost versatile PF Marvell Waithe and Michael Sanchez’s big body to graduation. Then big man Devonta Abron took his 20 minutes of post depth to TCU.
Mostly though, I am comforted that Trey Burke has already done his time in hell, and emerged all the stronger. He’s had 18 assists and no turnovers in his last two home games. And this year, he has help.
My son’s middle(and nickname) may have been inspired by Stu Douglass, but if all else fails against the press I’d rather have Spike helping to get the ball up the court. Players like Hardaway and Stauskas have dealt with a pesky steal-crazy defense down in Peoria, and taken the lessons as they’ve come. This is as complete a team as I have seen adorning the maize and blue.
WMU’s coach summed it up the best. Michigan will win this Saturday because, "They just have better players. They’re a better basketball team – it’s as simple as that.”
69-54 Michigan wins.
So, I don't know about the rest of you, but in watching the first few games of the season, I often found myself just a LITTLE disappointed to keep seeing McGary getting the ball under the hoop with room and delivering the layup instead of playing the Mighty Zeuz and throwing down the thunder.
Unfortunately, up till last night, we saw him go up maybe once per game, at most, and sometimes pretty weakly. I found myself wondering if this was the same guy who shattered backboards in high school. I mean, he definitely was skilled. No question about that. He belonged on the floor. But where was the force? The dominance?
Last night, Mitch McGary went up strong, really strong, several times. It was at least a good portion of that display of power I've been waiting for, and I'm sure may of you have as well. But that wasn't all he did. He wasn't the big guy waiting under the basket to throw down dunks. He was more. Trying to distribute (and turning it over, but at least trying) fighting for rebounds and loose balls, and making a more substantial contribution than just taking it to the rack.
I'm no basketball player (because I suck), but I've got to imagine that for those that can dunk, it's an energy intensive process. A layup is easier, simpler, and allows you in better position to rebound or get back down court in case something goes wrong. It occurs to me that McGary doesn't play soft sometimes out of necessity, but out of skill and maturity. The guy playing above the rim isn't gonna have as much time or energy to also play down low on the hardwood. I've got to imagine that most freshmen with his power and drive are hard to corral and coach to play the smart game. To me, it looks like McGary is already there. All the same, it's nice to know that, as last night showed, when the need or opportunity arises to simply be a 6-10 ball of badass power, he's still got that in the tank.
What do you think? Do you like to see a monster who is skilled enough and happy enough to dial it back and play the smart game whenever that makes sense? Or do you just find yourself dying for McGary to pull a Blake Griffin every time you see him step on the court?
I had some incredible years playing at Michigan. And that was because of my teammates, the staff, the fans, the tradition. I'm so thankful for my Michigan experience and wanted to share a new venture I'm working on with the Michigan faithful. It's called Merit.
At the moment, they have 8,468$ and there goal is 10,000$. THe deadline is today. For those of you not familiar with UMHoops.com, Dylan runs a great blog dedicated to the Mens Basketball team. THe content is highly informative, covering both the day-to-day aspects of our team and recruiting. If we are going to have a top 5 BBall team, we should have a great blog dedicated to their coverage. Please give to their cause if you can and support another great UM fan community.
Update: at 9:50, UMHoops.com has raised 8,898.00$. Lets get this done
Update #1: at 11:32, UMHoops.com has raised 9208.00$.
Update #3: at 4:28, UMHoops.com has raised 9810.00$. Almost there
10,000$!!!!!! Thanks Guys
Ok, so I saw a request for these on the board, so I figured I'd just throw them out there. I'll work on some additional wallpapers to add some variety, but this is a busy season for work and I'll most likely not have too much free time to kill. That being said, here's the first installment of basketball wallpapers, both Desktop (16:9) and Mobile formats. Hope this helps sate the current wallpaper hunger pains until we get some more on the board.
Mobile (iPhone, etc.)