to play football, not to play trumpet
MUST. BEAT. STAEE.
(Posted on behalf of MGoUser Blue Ribbon, who lacked the points but not the effort.)
These are some thoughts I had after the PSU game, prompted partly by MBB’s recent stretch of blah and partly by MGoUser Erik_in_Dayton’s excellent diary about the pitfalls of being a Kansas-style fan. First off, I have to admit I didn’t actually watch the game. I recorded it and then went to the gym, and stupidly left my TV on BTN when I left. When I got home I realized my mistake, but figured it was late enough that the game would have ended. I was right about that; I turned on the tube and saw the aftermath of a court-rushing in Happy Valley. So, I checked the score online, saw the ugly truth, and decided not only to spare myself the pain, but to delete the recording, because teams beating Michigan are not welcome on my DVR.
It occurred to me that some people might say that my decision to forgo the pain of watching PSU earn their first conference win makes me less of a Michigan fan. My initial reaction to that hypothetical suggestion was vociferous disagreement, but after further consideration, I thought about the word from which ‘fan’ is abbreviated, and I realized that maybe being less fanatical about something so far beyond my control as MBB is not necessarily a bad thing. So, if you’re one of those people who consider me less of a fan, or a fair-weather fan, or however you’d articulate it, then okay. I guess that’s easy for me, a lifelong Walmart Wolverine, to say, and for everyone who actually has a personal connection to UM, I hope the pain isn’t too unbearable and fades quickly.
The main point I got from Erik_in_Dayton’s diary was that expecting an easy win against anyone, no matter how lowly and downtrodden they may be, leads to satisfaction at best and anguish at worst, which seems to me a pretty badly skewed spectrum. On paper, PSU didn’t have a chance. But the game is played on hardwood, and the student-athletes of Penn State, despite a clear and significant talent disadvantage, played fearlessly and with complete confidence in their ability to win, even when it looked like the game was slipping away (at least I assume they did; I can’t imagine how else they overcame the talent gap). From the perspective of UM students, alumni, and fans, the game was a disaster of epic proportions, but the other side has a different outlook (Captain Obvious is obvious). For PSU players and supporters, Wednesday’s game was a triumph over adversity, a monumental breakthrough in a season of frustration, and a moment of well-deserved unadulterated joy*. I don’t want to be the kind of fan who can’t appreciate that side of reality. Leave that shit to Sparty, my couch remains at room temperature.
Furthermore, if Michigan played the way they’ve been playing in the recent games I have actually watched (please correct me if I’m wrong here), they played as if having more talented players and building a 15-point 2nd-half lead entitled them to win. I base the previous statement on the impression I’ve gotten from watching the last couple weeks’ worth of games, which is of players exuding the attitude, “We’re here, we’re obviously super-talented, what more could anyone expect from us?” Sometimes the first half has served as a wake-up call, sometimes not. And sdunfortunately for the team and their supporters Wednesday night, they found out the hard way that the only thing that entitles a victory is outscoring your opponent through 40 minutes of basketball.
Despite Erik_in_Dayton’s wise warning, I also learned about the pitfalls associated with a sense of entitlement the hard way, because apparently it affects fans just as much as players, if not more so. After checking the score and deciding not to watch PSU’s breakthrough victory (does that phrasing offend? Should it offend anyone with a sense of perspective?), I checked the box score, and the first thing that jumped out at me was how many FTs Penn State attempted. 27 FTAs?!? Refs must be related to Paterno!!! Then I decided to stop being absurd. Because seriously, is Michigan entitled to give their opponents no more than 15 FTA per game because That’s How They Play Defense, and if they give up more it must be referee bias? Again, absurd. I occasionally (okay, often) forget this as an unabashed maize’n’blue fanboy, but the refs’ job is to call the game as it happens, not to ensure Michigan’s opp. FTA remains within the bounds of statistical normalcy. Especially since, in this case, every postgame account I’ve seen indicates PSU legitimately earned all those trips to the line. So instead of blaming an easy scapegoat when things don’t go well, I’d rather thank the officials for calling the game as fairly as they humanly could (unless anyone has evidence that they did otherwise), and give credit to the opponent for a game well played.
Despite the recent struggles, In Beilein I Trust. And I hope his postgame message included something along the following lines: Talent means nothing without effort. Effort means nothing without execution. Execution means nothing without teamwork. All of these things together still do not guarantee victory, and even victory means nothing without respect: for yourselves, for your teammates, for your opponents, and for the game.
There’s still plenty of time for learning and growth before March Madness is upon us. Even if we only get to the Sweet 16, or (blasphemy alert) lose in an early round, let’s not lose sight of the fact that this has been the best regular season of MBB that anyone born after 1985 can legitimately claim to remember. They really are just kids; praise them when they do well, and encourage them when they fall short of our greedy expectations.
*I think this is especially true given what PSU and their fan base has been through recently. Yeah, in large part they brought that on themselves, but on the other hand, I don’t think ‘they’ includes the kids who I have to believe were thrilled to receive basketball scholarships from PSU, and have worked just as hard as any other basketball scholarship recipients in the B1G.
It's getting close to that time of the year again, the NCAA Tournament! ESPN has opened up the Tournament Challenge 2013. Obviously we can't make our picks yet, but you can get registered early. I have created a group for the MGoBlog community to join. Please use your names that are in use here on the blog so we know who the competition is. Only one entry per person. And once the first game of the tournament has started, the group will be locked.
I know that this past week has been tough for all of us, but I'm still optimistic about our chances this year for a deep tourny run. Also playing teams outside the B1G will be a breath of fresh air.
Group Name - MGoBlog Community
Password - WeOn!
Link?..........Link -----> http://games.espn.go.com/tournament-challenge-bracket/en/group?groupID=2997&selGrp=2997&entryID=38148
edit: Some people have been getting a message about the group being full or something like that. That message is referring to only allowing one entry per person. There are unlimited spots in this group.
Overview (updated 11/26/2013)
With four players making their commitments official on the first day of the early signing period—and then Terra Stapleton joining them a few days later—here's the updated roster and scholarship situation for the 2014–15 season:
The ASGR national rankings for Michigan’s 2014 signees—Maria Backman (#117), Jillian Dunston (#98), Katelynn Flaherty (#19), Emoni Jackson (#85), and Terra Stapleton (#332)—are particularly impressive. ASGR ranks the class #22 in the country and fourth-best in the Big Ten. Blue Star ranks the class #25 nationally, while Prospects Nation has the class at #20.
- 6-2 wing/forward, Cardinal Spellman H.S. (Bronx, NY); AAU: New Heights
- Committed to Michigan on June 16, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): ASGR: #117; Blue Star: #229; espnW: 3 star; PN: #135
- Schools: NYG Hoops Report post on her commitment says he had more than 50 scholarship offers. She had trimmed her list to the following 15 schools in May 2013: Michigan, Georgetown, Yale, Virginia Tech, St. John's, NC State, Boston College, Auburn, Rutgers, Fordham, UCF, ECU, Providence, Hofstra, and Delaware.
- Notes: Attended Michigan's Elite Camp in June 2013.
- Scouting report from Full Court (July 2012):
Backman, with a medium-solid build, is probably best suited to play the small forward slot but can fit at the four in some systems. She handles and passes well for her size, can drive to the hole and has a nice step-back jumper. New Heights coach Curtiz Simpson on Backman: “She is a really athletic girl. She has a good handle and excellent midrange game. She needs to get a bit more physical.”
- 6-0 guard/wing, Academy of the Holy Cross (Kensington, MD); AAU: Maryland Lady Terps
- Committed to Michigan on May 12, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): ASGR: #98; Blue Star: #184; espnW: 3 star; PN: 3 star
- Schools: Washington Post article on her commitment says that the other schools she considered included North Carolina State, Northwestern, Villanova, and Indiana.
- Notes: Made unofficial visits to Michigan in October 2012 and May 2013 and also attended Michigan's Elite Camp in June 2013.
- Scouting report from Next Sports Phenom (April 2013):
Jillian played some of the best basketball I've seen her play since I've known her, I have seen her shoot the 3, seen her get rebounds, seen her drive, seen her post smaller defenders up, but never all at the same time. Jillian put it all together this weekend then add to that she played the passing lanes well getting multiple steals leading to fast break layups. She appears to have gotten quicker and added a few offensive tricks that I like.
- 5-7 point guard, Point Pleasant Beach H.S. (NJ); AAU: New Jersey Demons
- Committed to Michigan on August 29, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): ASGR: #19; Blue Star: #25; espnW: #67; Full Court: #33; PN: #23
- Schools: December 2012 Full Court article says that the following schools are recruiting her: Maryland, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Virginia, Michigan, Georgia, Miami, and Vanderbilt. In March 2013 Flaherty named this longer list of schools she’s considering: Maryland, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Virginia, Michigan, Georgia, Miami, Vanderbilt, Florida, Indiana, and Colorado. July 2013: Flaherty sets plans to make unofficial visits to the following schools in August: Michigan, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt. August 2013: Unofficially visited Georgia, Virginia Tech, Michigan, Louisville, and Kentucky.
- Scouting report from MSGVarsity (August 2013):
Few are as effective attacking the rim than the Garnet Gulls’ elusive 5-7 point guard. The ease in which she shifts gears on the fly and renders defenders helpless to her sudden bursts is the kind of attribute that drives her fearlessly through the lane for either a layup, a trip to the foul line (where she shot 93 percent as a junior) or slick dish to the opposite block. However, when opponents choose to congest the paint to impede that path, Flaherty displays an adaptability that hints at her inquisitive basketball IQ.
The smooth release on her jumper overshadows the nimble footwork which creates the necessary space to let it fly. With her excellent combination of adhesive handle and jab steps, Flaherty builds room for herself to stick a long-range 3-pointer, showing she can bury a trey as effortlessly off the dribble as she does catching and shooting on the kickout.
- 6-1 wing/forward, Long Beach Polytechnic H.S. (CA); AAU: Cal Sparks
- Committed to Michigan on September 13, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): ASGR: #85; Blue Star: #146; espnW: 3 star; PN: 3 star
- Schools: June 2012: Report that Michigan has offered her a scholarship. UCLA, USC, and Penn State reportedly among the others to have expressed interest.
- Notes: H.S. teammate of Briana Johnson (class of 2016); played AAU for Cal Sparks, same program as Johnson and Michigan freshman Siera Thompson.
- 6-4 center, Fairland H.S. (Proctorville, OH); AAU: West Virginia Thunder
- Committed to Michigan on November 18, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): ASGR: #332; Blue Star: #233; espnW: 3 star; PN: 3 star
- Schools: Originally committed to Minnesota in October 2012 before reopening her recruitment shortly before the early signing period. Ironton Tribune article on her Michigan commitment says that she also considered Ohio, Akron, East Carolina, Ohio State, Maine, and Wright State.
- Scouting report from Blue Star (January 2013):
The 6-4 post came in averaging a double-double and stepped up with another in the form of 13 points and 11 rebounds in Fairland’s 13 point win over Clinton Massie. Stapleton is deceivingly mobile for her size and frame plus shows a willingness to work for the ball aggressively block to block. Her size and strength are something she could exploit more around the rim and will no doubt be an asset for her at the next level. There’s already plenty of production but lots more potential for her to tap into.
Lauren "Boogie" Brozoski
- 5-5 point guard, Long Island Lutheran H.S. (NY); AAU: Long Island Lightning
- Committed to Michigan on October 17, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): ASGR: #84; Blue Star: #85; espnW: 3 star; PN: 4 star
- Schools: June 2013: Michigan remains the front-runner. Main schools recruiting her are Michigan, St. John's, Seton Hall, Boston College, and Hofstra, and she has offers from each. Earlier reports had Louisville, Maryland, and Virginia Tech expressing interest in her. August 2013: Local news feature (no longer accessible) quotes her as saying “I love the University of Michigan” and says she plans to make her decision before the start of her junior season. October 2013: Newsday article on her commitment says she also drew interest from George Washington, Rutgers, Wisconsin, Villanova, Seton Hall, Hofstra, Harvard, and Boston College.
- Notes: Unofficial visit to Michigan, October 2012.
- Scouting Report(s): See Full Court (December 2012); NYG Hoops Report (April 2013); Blue Star (June 2013; below)
Entering her junior year this fall, Lauren Brozoski has been an established, national level point guard for some time. Better known simply as “Boogie” the 5-5 Cambria Heights, New York native is a dynamic presence on the floor when the ball is in her hands. She’s going to push the ball at opportunity ably providing both scoring and passing in both numbers situations or moving into halfcourt scenarios. The ability to change directions is something NFL running backs would be envious of and she adds the caveat of varying her speed as well to keep defenders guessing. Occasionally her limited size makes finishing deep in the paint a challenge but the pull up is hard to read and comes with a quick release. Further out on the perimeter Brozoski is calling on a step back that is equally hard to anticipate and providing plenty of room to get her good looks at the rim. On the ball defensively she’s quick and active with her hands. On the weakside she can be a bit ball oriented and take some chances but every once in a while they will pay off for her.
- 5-11 wing, Mount Notre Dame H.S. (Cincinnati, OH); AAU: Cincinnati Angels
- Committed to Michigan on October 19, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): Blue Star: #25
- Schools: Cincinnati Enquirer article on her commitment says that her finalists also included Cincinnati, Xavier, and Dayton.
- Notes: Attended Michigan's Elite Camp in June 2013.
- Scouting Report: From Blue Star (October 2012):
This 5-10 wing from Mt. Notre Dame plays with great passion. She is a gifted athlete that can get to the rim on almost any defender. The tools are there to handle the ball and shoot the pull up off the dribble if needed. Davenport can guard her position and just make plays. MND is in good hands with this evolving prospect.
- 5-8 combo guard, Central Bucks West H.S. (Doylestown, PA); AAU: Philly Belles
- Committed to Michigan on October 16, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): Blue Star: #67; PN: 4 star
- Schools: GametimePA.com article on her commitment says she also drew interest from Drexel, Saint Joseph's, Boston College, and LSU. PhillyBurbs.com also covered her commitment.
- Notes: Unofficial visit to Michigan, October 2013.
- Scouting Report(s): From Full Court (July 2012):
Munger would have been another member of the all-motor team in North Augusta. From start to finish, game after game, there did not appear to be any drop in her energy level as she consistently played hard at both ends of the court. With a medium-thin build, she is not afraid to drive the key, often going left even though right-handed. She can spot up for threes but that does not appear to be her greatest strength. At the next level, she is probably more of a point guard but at this event played more off the ball due to Taylor Murray's presence.
- 6-0 guard/wing, Toledo Rogers H.S. (OH); AAU: Toledo Vipers
- Committed to Michigan on June 19, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): ASGR: #34; Blue Star: #52
- Notes: HS and AAU teammate of 2017 Michigan commit Brelynn Hampton-Bey
- Scouting report from Blue Star (October 2012):
This 5-11 wing player from Toledo Rogers was the most impressive 2016 player at the OGBR Top 64 this year. She is a physical force that can play any position on the perimeter. Johnson is a great ball handler and passer that is willing to share the ball with teammates. She can score on anyone at anytime with a variety of moves. The potential is there to get to the rim, pull up for a short jumper or she can bury the three. Keep an eye on this one.
Brelynn "Bre" Hampton-Bey
- 5-8 guard, Toledo Rogers H.S. (OH); AAU: Toledo Vipers
- Committed to Michigan on June 26, 2013 (Hello post)
- Ranking(s): Blue Star: #19
- Notes: HS and AAU teammate of 2016 Michigan commit Akienreh Johnson.
It's possible that a lineup/rotation change or two could help this team get back on track. Perhaps the most logical thing to do would be to get Matt Vogrich more minutes. He's an upperclassman, is a fairly good shooter, and plays significantly better defense than Stauskas. After the latters' exposure vs. Penn State combined with his poor shooting of late, it might not be a bad idea to see what Vogrich can add to the team.
Any other suggestions? What say you?
On Senior night, the Michigan Women (20-8 overall, 9-6 B1G, T-4th) beat northwestern 55-50 in a thriller. Nicole Elmblad had a huge basket with under a minute left to ultimately give Michigan the win.
Sheffer had 17 points moving to a tie for 16th on Michigan's all-time scoring list while Jenny Ryan became 2nd on the all-time assists list. Oddly enough, all 24 of Michigan's points at halftime were scored by the seniors honored tonight.
This senior class leaves Michigan as the winningest in program history, a 13-4 home record and the first ever 20 win season for a first-year head coach in program history. They also ended the dreaded streak against state beating them 70-69 at Crisler in the women's Rededication game.
A great senior class, that without a doubt, left the program 100% better than when they came in.
One more game left in the regular season. ohio in columbus on Sunday. Game tips at Noon on BTN (it will end 2 hours before the big MBB game). Be sure to watch because Michigan should dismantle the buckeyes. ohio is having one of their worst years in recent memory (15-12 overall, 5-9 in B1G, T-8th)