I thought we were supposed to be really deep, but Beilein seems reluctant to use it in tight games. I fear Nik and Glen wearing down (like Trey last year).
at least it's not just us?
1/13/2013 – Michigan 53, OSU 56 – 16-1, 3-1 Big Ten
Michigan lost its mind to start this game, finding themselves down a grim amount—24 points at the maximum—as their offense abandoned them and an excess of switching on the defensive end confused them more than their opponent. It was a brutal flashback to the time when 20 turnovers was not an uncommon thing to go over, and faith-shaking.
I thought back to the Amaker/Ellerbe days when I was allowed to go watch something else once Michigan was down 20, and other than that 34-2 start at Cameron I couldn't think of anything else that had gotten so out of hand so quickly. I considered turning it off at one especially grim bit.
Then a thing happened: Michigan stepped up on defense and started chipping away, chipping away, chipping away. By halftime it was twelve. They cut it to eight, saw the lead push out again, and cut it back to eight again, this time following up. Six. Four. One; back to three. Finally, tied. Michigan had clawed all the way back from a 21-point deficit against a ranked team on the road.
Championship stuff. Gritty grit Eckstein stuff. Sportswriter hearts swelled, encomiums at the ready. It is in these fires that the heart of a champion is forged. The will to win surpasses. They just wanted it more. The trend was clear, and the final six minutes would be distance Michigan continued to put between themselves and OSU after their disoriented start.
Michigan then lost its mind again. The next six shots were all misses, and only two were even close to good looks, both missed threes from Robinson and Hardaway. The other four shots were nuts: an incredibly tough long two from Burke and jack-it-up contested threes from Burke, Hardaway, and Stauskas. If that's what you've got at the end of the shot clock, okay I guess. Those four shots were launched with 16, 17, 25, and 26 seconds on the clock*, and the box score credits Evan Ravenel with a block on the Burke three. That shot: not a good idea.
THESE ARE THE WAGES OF NUTS
They did not attempt to run their offense, and after all that. After imploding and then crawling their way back into it. After figuring out how to do things, they did not do them.
By the time this was over they were down six points with under two minutes left; while they got a shot to steal the game late thanks to a couple of steals that led to fast-break baskets—one of which even counted—the loss is right there.
I don't get it. I get being flustered in your first road game against elite competition, and falling behind extensively. I get scraping and clawing your way back into the game gradually when you're a good team. I don't get doing that and immediately going back to flustered. Turnovers or an inability to find a shot and just jacking it up, okay. That… that is confusing, like if that Benjamin Button movie was about a guy who yo-yoed between 22 and 6.
They are young, it turns out. If you think about it hard you can realize this yourself despite what it looks like on the court. Squint and maybe rub your temples and you'll be like "ohhhhh right, they have five freshmen who play." For the first time, it looked like it.
At the beginning, and at the end, anyway. In the middle, they had a near-elite team choosing to initiate their offense with 15 seconds left because they didn't want any part of a long game with the Wolverines. Work on the bit where you're six, I think.
*[I bet that is actually a couple seconds shorter than the actual shot clock; I'm just taking the difference between the previous recorded event and the shot, and there's often a second or three that runs off the clock before the shot clock resets as the team takes it out of bounds or goes for the rebound.]
How young? The most shocking stat on a page that proclaims Michigan the second-best team in the country at defensive rebounding: Michigan is 338th of 347 teams in average experience. (FWIW: Kentucky is a lot below them, and Texas is dead last.)
It's not a mystery. In re: why it's so hard to win on the road in this league. In this game, Michigan got the short end of three not very close block/charge calls worth a total of eight points, saw an obvious goaltend on a ball that went off the backboard not get called, and saw Trey Burke grabbed from behind on a breakaway for a foul on the floor instead of the only two possibly legit calls: and-one or an intentional foul. Oh and there was that unbelievable Hardaway-no-call on a possession Michigan ended up hitting a three. Also Evan Ravenel hit an 18-footer, which cannot be legal.
Yeah, Michigan didn't get called for many fouls themselves, because they never do. They're currently #1 in defensive free throw rate.
I'm just like… okay. That sucks, and is predictable. At least it's relevant!
Corollary. Kenpom keeps bringing this up: the narrow winner of a home game is very likely to lose the return match due to things like the above.
When the home team was the winner of the first game, they were a collective 309-326 in the rematch. That’s right, a home winner is more likely to lose a rematch than win it. It gets better, though. A home team winning the first game by single-digits went a collective 96-195, winning 33.0% of the time. Considering that overall, road teams win conference games about 38% of the time, close home winners are really not proving their superiority at all.
Wait, there’s more. Home teams that won by one or two points were 16-52 in the rematches, winning just 23.5% of the time.
This game was a point off his prediction, FWIW, which means I should not ever poke Kenpom.
STOP THE ELBOW REVIEWS. Stop it. The elbow reviews. Stop it. If there is a truly flagrant elbow delivered to a player, have the league suspend the guy after the game. Since that almost literally never happens there will not be a major impact, so we can cease halting games for five minutes of staring at a man staring at a monitor for no reason whatsoever. It's like instant replay in football that never changes anything.
Also just take the good threes okay. A thing that drives me nuts: guys passing up good looks at three so they can take a dribble and shoot a long two, which Burke and Levert both did during Michigan's extended time in the wilderness early. Just take the open shot you have an equal chance of hitting that is worth 50% more, please.
Well… Craft. In the preview I said this had to be at least a draw, and it wasn't. Burke was 2/8 from 2, 2/5 from three before and hit five free throws. 15 points on 13 shots is not particularly efficient, and then 4 assists to 4 turnovers is a fail. You may want to mentally deduct the last three as well since it was a meaningless, banked heave with a second left. Craft wasn't that efficient himself—9 points, 9 shots—but his role is to turn Burke into not the best player on the floor, and he did that. There is a reason he's one of the few non-Michigan players to have a tag on this blog.
That's the thing that Michigan lacks, by the way, an elite defender. Ohio State seems to have too many of them and nobody who can actually hit a shot, which is why they had to squeeze this win out despite Michigan putting up 38% from the floor—but it would be nice if Michigan had a guy they could go to to harass the opponent into a bad day.
The main non-Craft problem: terrible screens? In this game the screens didn't seem to actually slow anyone down. That's not always the screener's problem since he doesn't control how close to him the ballhandler goes. It didn't seem like the answer here was very close at all, and frequently what resulted was an instant trap on the ballhandler.
Stauskas: shut off. Three shots, all threes, all misses. Two of those were very bad shots clearly arising from a frustration at not being involved, the second one of the Fatal Four discussed above. I wonder if would have been more effective if he had gotten the obvious-obvious-obvious block call on that first drive. After that he didn't really try to do anything once he got his hands on the ball. In situations like this where the guy is in Stauskas's shorts, where are the back cuts? Vogrich was usually good for one of those a game despite being not six-six. I'm puzzled why Stauskas isn't getting at least a couple backdoor opportunities a game.
Rebounding: sufficient on defense, meh on offense. At this point I think you should put aside any remaining skepticism about Michigan's defensive rebounding. They're due for some regression, but OSU could only grab six offensive rebounds—21%. If it wasn't pretty good they would have had one of those nights by now, either against Pitt or KState or this outfit. Michigan just improved its season average against Ohio State. It is legit.
Meanwhile, once you add in a few "team" offensive rebounds, Michigan actually outperformed OSU in this one, but barely. 23% is nothing to write home about. But, hey, I'll take winning rebounding matchups against OSU.
McGary check-in. I really wanted him on the floor more than Morgan in this one. In 18 minutes he put up 3/3 shooting, got two offensive rebounds, and blocked two shots, both rather impressively.
Depth. Er. Hardaway: 40 minutes. Robinson: 38. Burke: 37. Stauskas got some sucked away because of the abovementioned items, so Albrecht and Levert both got around 10 minutes… hopefully one or the other develops into someone who can take some of the heat off those guys. Albrecht in particular was impressive.
I thought we were supposed to be really deep, but Beilein seems reluctant to use it in tight games. I fear Nik and Glen wearing down (like Trey last year).
They may hit the freshman wall, but they don't play nearly as many minutes as Burke did last year (nor do they have to bring the ball up the court). For now I wouldn't worry too much. LeVert and Albrecht are gradually earning Beilein's confidence and Horford will get more run when he's fully recovered and in game shape.
OSU is not an elite team when they don't play with their hair on fire. They're pretty close to elite, though, when they do that and also hit some shots. Craft, Scott, and Williams allow them to play what must be some of the best half-court defense in the country...It was inevitable that the Buckeyes would be fired up yesterday, and they also hit some shots. This made them the same team that nearly beat Duke this year at Cameron (they easily could have taken that game).
If it makes anyone feel any better, I watched the game with an OSU fan (who knows his basketball) who said after the game that he thinks Michigan is the better team.
Everyone knows Michigan is a better team, the disappointing thing is that we are not so much better that we could sweep them. I fully expect a 8-12 victory at Crisler.
The score will be a lot higher than 8-12.
/sorry - couldn't resist
I've watched OSU probably 4-5 times this year and they are an excellent defensive squad (which makes the meltdown at Champaign even more puzzling). Probably the best in the B1G and other than Louisville and Kansas, can't think of any other teams nationally that can bring that on-ball defense when they have their A game.
While I hate losing to the acorns, and would have loved to see Burke hit that 3, this is a great "I told you guys" game from a coaching standpoint. If they didn't understand that floor spacing, sprinting through your cuts, and setting good picks, and using the picks properly wasn't important before, they do now, especially with Minnie in three days.
This is the least upset I could possibly be about a ranked team of ours losing to Ohio State. (The obvious qualifier here: that's like nitpicking the least painful way you can papercut your dong and dip it into lemon juice)
But yeah - there were enough positives to take away from this game that against all common sense I feel somewhat better about the team going forward. There are a lot of things to improve on and we're going to endure a few more conference losses but if you were gonna lose and lose to the worst possible opponent to lose to... you should at least take something Not Terrible away from it. Clawing your way back from 21 pts down against a good defensive team at their place qualifies.
I put this in another thread where no one will see it, but am I crazy to think that the "video" played on the Ohio scorer's table went disco-strobe when Michigan was running its set and sedate when Ohio had the ball? Maybe it was just toward the end of the game; maybe I saw an anomaly, but it seemed at least as odd as the flagrant foul non-call on THJ (or many non-calls on Craft mugging everyone).
Yeah, we should have won. We had chances to win. We lost. Sour grapes? Yes. Got screwed? Also, yes.
I'm skeptical that this is a stretegic move by them, but I also noticed the strobe effect on at least one of our late possessions.
They stunk the place up; still they had their chance and didn't finish.
As one of the very few (only?) people who predicted we'd lose yesterday this game went pretty much as I expected. On the road in the B1G the home team ALWAYS get the 50-50 calls which is why it's so hard to win anywhere, much less against a very good team in Columbus.
I will be very interested in seeing how we respond against Minnesota. Completely different style of team and tempo than OSU and while another loss would not shock me I expect the team to play much better than they did on Sunday.
The good news for March is we're now seeing the variety of play we'll get in the tourny if we go on a deep run as expected. And if we're to make it all the way to the Final Four we're going to have to beat talented teams that want to slow the pace down and pound the ball inside (OSU) AND talented teams that want to go up tempo and try to out athletic you on both ends of the court (Minnesota).
That all those charge/blocks get called against us. (Though it never seems Crisler gets that kind of home court advantage). But Brian's right, when something like the continuous call isn't called, and the OSU grad is calling it crazy, the model is getting a little broken. The only way there's no continuation there is if it's then an intentional foul. Textbook And 1. I expect slanting. I shouldn't have to accept stupid.
Still, it was good to see Beilein getting on the refs a little late. I don't expect or want a raving lunatic on the sidelines, but eventually you hit a point where you have to stand up for your players. I think he found the right situation/time.
I'm assuming you're talking about Kellogg. What was said, exactly?
Just that he was pretty stringent that it should have been a counted basket. He was even 50-50 on some of the charge/no charge calls. But he didn't see a lot of interpretation on that call.
mental breakdown for Michigan most of the game. They came out flat with about 8, mostly unforced, TO's in the first 10 minutes. Even in the middle when they were clawing back, they were mentally weak. Only 3 contested 3's for arguably the best shooter in the country is ridiculous and largely a failure to get him open or recognize him when open. They had several airballs. Hardaway's backward pass/TO on the fastbreak was particularly goofy. And the end was just plain ridiculous - I think their last 7 (!!!) shots in their half court offense were jacked up 3's early in the shot clock. Down 2 with OSU in the penalty at the end, Burke just jacked up a 3 instead of driving and dishing. Just ridiculous.
It was bound to happen - a mental letdown on the road against a quality team. But Michigan should have won this game if they played reasonably smart. And Burke's mental lapses, seemingly out of character this year, are puzzling.
There are some positives. Michigan played an absolutely terrible game - and still were only one possession from winning on the road against a ranked team. So they showed they are clearly the better team and a legitimate Final Four contender. They showed great poise in coming back from a huge deficit on the road. They showed that they can play great D most of the game. They now have a loss to learn from and a great coach to make sure they learn from it.
I bet a very different team will show up against Minny and pull out a win. And I bet Ohio gets a beatdown in Ann Arbor.
Here are some things that I thought about while watching the game:
Very good point about Burke's reaction to Craft/frustration/Columbus/etc. I feel like Trey was making decisions almost every time down the floor that he would never make at Crisler or against a random tough opponent.
Maybe I don't normally watch for this, or maybe it looks different from 200 ft up in the 3rd level of Value City Arena, but he looked like he was trying out for the AND1 Mix-Tape Tour with some of the moves he was pulling out as he tried to take on Craft and cross him up. There was at least one early 3-pointer that Burke took from 4 or 5 ft past the arc that seemed like it was really forced and made you wonder how he ever gets any assists. Worst of all was the fast break where Burke had a blue jersey on either side of him and only Craft and one other (out-of-position) defender to deal with, but he ignored his two pass options and went straight at Craft, just to come away with nothing.
It was one of the most unbelievable and upsetting things about yesterday's game, but hopefully it is also one of the biggest benefits of having a game like that in January. I can't imagine Beilein will let Trey turn into his own worst enemy like that again.
I think Nik is getting frustrated by an obvious lack of attention the past few games, especially in the opening half. Michigan needs to get him more looks earlier.
I'm not sure about this. He did have only three shot attempts yesterday (in 23 minutes), but he had nine attempts in each of the previous two games.
Theres shot attmepts and theres good shot attmepts. Nothing, other than a Trey Burke create and kick, is in that offense to get Stauskas an open look.
That's not remotely true. There are a lot of side to side baseline cuts that Stauskas makes, and P&Rs that force Stauskas's man to choose whether to help that are designed to put Stauskas into scoring position. OSU chose to not allow Stauskas to shoot 3s yesterday, they had the perimeter defenders to do so, and he didn't, or wasn't able to, take advantage of the fact that OSU's defenders were contesting him hard at the 3 point line. The early charge was unfortunate, b/c he actually did a great job of beating his man and Thomas, but just didn't get the call. That said, he could do with a little less flash when he penetrates, particularly when he passes. Too often he tries to get a little slick when simple would do.
But Stauskas's problems do illustrate the offensive issues. The biggest problem the offense had was that no one could beat their defender off the dribble and the ball didn't move side to side enough. The first 10 minutes looked like what they were, a team playing against a step up in competition. What's encouraging is that they started to figure it out (with the help of Thad Motta's terrible strategy of running clock early in the game, which led to his offensively challenged team taking lots of low % jumpers). And fading when they went back to hero ball at the end might be more helpful in the long run, showing them that they need to trust the offense and move the ball against good competition.
I noticed the same thing Brian did at the time, and probably that all of us saw: Michigan tied the game and then completely melted down. Trey Burke's long, contested two after almost no time taken in possession was the first and worst of the offenses, and may have precipitated the rest of the poor offense that saw Michigan drop back down to a six-point deficit.
It's a common story--team makes a run to get back in the game, but falls off right at the end before they can win the game. Either they're tired or they are mentally strained, but they are unsuccessful either way. If Burke doesn't pull the trigger there, maybe the team settles into the "brand new basketball game" and plays the way its supposed to.
The good news? This is supposed to happen at this time of year. And there are some very real lessons that can be learned for March and April, when it really matters. All Beilein has to do is show film of those awful shots, and applications will be obvious. And maybe in two months at the regional final, Michigan will claw away a deficit, tie a game, and Trey Burke will run the offense the way it is designed to be run, and Michigan will win the game.
I completely agree on the McGary bit. I thought he held his own defensively and was even athletic enough to make a few reverse layups. I'm really excited about him, he's going to get better too.
Along with Spike, McGary was the only guy who I never noticed obviously losing his composure at some stage of the game. (And this was the most frustrating thing for me about yesterday -- I expect the freshmen to freak out in their first tough Big Ten road game. But the mental errors and tentative play from guys who should've known what to expect, like Hardaway and Burke, was disheartening.)
It's probably a year too early to expect this, but I think looking for more post scoring from Mitch would do wonders for us in a game like this. When everyone's panicking and forcing stuff on O, what better way to calm things down than to just dump the ball into the post and say, "OK, big guy, get us a bucket or create an open look for our shooters"?
Stauskas had a couple backdoor cuts but the passer was unable to get him the ball. I believe one was Morgan from the high post (somewhat understandable) and another was Trey dribbling with his head down (less so). Still a good point, Stauskas needs to cut harder and more effectively reversing an out-cut.
that a very young Michigan team lost on the road against a reasonably talented squad that gets the predictable home-cooking from the officials in front of a frenzied crowd.
This ought to put an end to the breathlessly stupid speculation that "this is maybe the bestest Michigan team ever!" as well as "Nik Stauskas is a better shooter than Glen Rice" — the guy who's held the NCAA tournament record for most points for the past 24 years.
That's all fairly reasonable and whatnot, but I think when the calls are so bad that the OSU alum calling the game makes a point about bad calls...well, the calls were worse than I think could reasonably be expected. I thought Beilein was complaining that the non-call on THJ wasn't a flagrant; I couldn't believe they didn't call anything. Check the 11W conversation (pre-game) about what to expect and even they highlighted officiating as a big issue (especially with respect to Craft). Call 25% of his fouls and he's on the bench.
(as to "best ever" and "better than Rice"...agreed, no qualifier).
It's surprising how ardently you are defending Glen Rice. Is that you, Sarah Palin?
People pay for comedy of inferior quality!
as a replacement for Stauskus who looked totally ratteld on offense and a liabilty on Defense. Other than that minor complaint though, I am not too worried about this loss. They weren't going undefeated and they almost won despite all of their starters having a bad day.
My hope is they learn from this and use that lesson to win a couple tough road games (i.e. at Minny, MSU, IU and Illinois). Do that and we will be fine as no one is winning this conference with less than 4 losses.
Not hard to see why M's best start ever is 16-0. Tough league, teams are really come after you when you're undefeated, and they know you well. Great accomplishment by M to get this far into the season undefeated, and hats of to Ohio State for playing with such rabid intensity.
I thought going in that we would lose at least one of the two games @Ohio and @Minny. After seeing the comeback, followed by the meltdown... and still having a legitimate chance to win the game with 20 seconds left, I'm even more excited than I already was about this team. This kind of game is exactly what we needed, and I think we'll come out with a markedly better approach at Minnesota, where I now think we're likely to prevail. And when Ohio makes their return trip to Ann Arbor? Take Michigan and the over, and don't look back. We'll win by at least 15.
I am not concerened with Stauskas not getting 2 backdoor opportunites a game. I would be more concerened with why there isn't a play JB can go to to get the best 3 point shooter in the country an open look.
My main gripe with JB since day 1 has been his inability to draw up a play to get an easy look at the basket in crunch time. Izzo is a master at this. It seems to me that coming out of a timeout JB just says "alright lets get into the offense." There never seems to be a special set. I.e. Get GRIII on the block or get Stauskas an open look at 3.
We are still watching one of our best teams ever, I believe. But mostly we are watching one of the best coaches in the business... Sans Beilen, I would have watched this game with disgust assuming that the mental errors were a sign of immaturity and me-first NBA mentality garbage that would send us spiraling into a 3 game losing streak we've all seen so many times after a UM team with a promising start loses their first major test of the season.
HOWEVA' in this case, as stated by others, Beilein will take these kids to task for their bad shots, bad decisions, and lack of patience in film session. Watching Coach B speak firmly to Burke on the sideline was reallly illustrative to me. It was like a great teaching HS coach and his star player. Burke was attentive and nodding, and Coach was intense but calm. You just kind of KNOW that there was true learning happening. I don't think I've seen that on a college or pro basketball court in, like, forever. He still made some bad decisions late - the long step back three after a timeout in the second (or third?) to last possession was just mystifying to me - but I think he gets it.
Also HOWEVA' - Someone needs to slap Hardaway. He's the only guy on this team that, at times, just disregards the entire scheme, game situation, or his position on the court, and decides to jack up a three 10 seconds into the shot clock. Repeatedly. Dude is a seriously selfish player. He's better this year than last, but he should know better by now.
It's interesting to me that this level of sober analysis by both Brian and the MGoBoarders is not typically seen when it comes to football. I get that there are fewer football games so each one is more precious and that M has had a literally unparalleled 100+ year run of sucess in football compared to sporadic bursts of success interrupted by long walks in the cold wilderness in basketball, but still.
Anyway, there's a reason they call them growing pains. They are painful, but you are growing. I was surprised at the degree to which M lost its collective shit for long stretches on Sunday, but I bet that won't happen again, at least en masse, any time soon.
Also, Matta may be a purple-faced pustule of a human but dude can recruit for and coach up defense. M hurt itself, but that was a suffocating display for a while there. I don't think OSU will be able to score enough to go very far this year with this team, but their losses will probably always be close.
It's not surprising to me at all. College basketball and college football are two completely different sports. In basketball, this loss at OSU is disappointing, but none of the major goals of the team have been jeopardized. B1G championship, national championship... the chances aren't hurt at all. We hoped to remain undefeated, to beat OSU (the big dog for the past few years) in Columbus, and to be ranked #1 in the meaningless polls, but nobody thinks those things are that important in the larger scheme of things.
In football every loss is a crushing blow and a dramatic change in the outlook of a season. Because everything hangs on the results of each game, the stakes are much higher, and the reaction is much stronger.
You can't really afford to have a "learning experience" in conference play in football. Michigan learned in Lincoln that it should have had Devin Gardner ready to play quarterback. Lesson lerarned. So what? It still cost us a chance to play in the Rose Bowl. There is no silver lining there.
But in the grand scheme of things a loss to Notre Dame doesn't really mean anything in football (unless you really think we're on a national championship run in football....which I don't think anyone serious is) yet people are probably still more angry about that today than they are about the game yesterday. Which may still actually prevent us from winning the Big Ten title. (LOTS of basketball left to be played, so that's hardly something to worry about now. But it technically removes control of our own destiny.)
But whether or not you think Michigan is capable of a national-title run, it's still frustrating to lose in September and have it be confirmed that there will be no such run, right at the beginning of the season. In basketball, no regular-season loss can do anything comparable, unless it's one that keeps you out of the tournament.
NCAA tournament games are a whole different animal. Then the stakes are as high as they are for football - and there was a pretty major meltdown around here when we lost to the Bobcats last year. Losing in the first weekend of the tourney is similar to losing in the football nonconference schedule - if it happens, you probably weren't a national-title team to begin with, but it's still a major letdown.
We still control our own destiny to win the conference. If we win out that would make us 17-1, OSU would be at best 16-2, and everyone else would be at best16-2(Wisconsin could be 17-1).
Being one down means we do need someone to lose, but not anyone we couldn't beat ourselves. So I erroneously overstated it there.
Losing to ND doesn't mean much. But in your specific example, the winner of this year's ND-UM game DID, in fact, go to the national title game. Not to say that the winner of that game deserved to go or was the most qualified to go, but in the example you provided, the winner of that game went. And played the team UM played the week before. Did you think the winner of that game in South Bend would qualify for the NCG? Neither did I, but it happened. So, it can actually matter when we lost to ND.
Thinking the 2012 Michigan Football team was going to go undefeated was probably the equivalent of thinking the basketball team was going to go undefeated. Harder in basketball, but that team is closer to it than football is right now. So if anything people should be equally disappointed that we're not going undefeated in basketball. Not because it's any more rational, but it COULD have happened, so well, darn.
I made the same point, and got killed for it. But coming from you it probably sounds better, and is stated better.
I think what it really comes down to is people just don't care about Michigan Basketball any where close to as much. 14-0 wouldn't be enough for Michigan football unless we're winning by 40 every game too. There's a whole generation who just being good is good enough for basketball, because they've never experienced anything else. It's not just that sport though. Hockey is at a low we haven't seen in ages, and on this blog hockey could probably be considered the #2 sport, and crickets.
When you really care about something you get more emotionally involved and have a harder time stepping away.
1) it never occurred to me until now that no matter how catastrophic the game, you, Brian, can't stop watching. That sucks.
2) my 9 yr old daughter's team lost 18 - 2 on Saturday and that score doesn't even begin to demonstrate how bad we are. At one point, the refs had to change the rules so that the other team had to pass it around to five players before shooting. My daughter is the tallest girl out there and can take it down the court and put it in, but there were three girls on the other team channeling LeBron.
My point is, I had to watch my daughter's game but I did end up turning off our game. How much disappointment can one person take in one weekend?
I muted the game for most of the first half, and half of the second half, but, like Brian, and like most of you, I watched every minute; I was rewarded with a dogfight at the end that almost went our way.
If you're turning off this year's basketball team -- ever -- I'm afraid I have to question your fanhood. This team is too much fun to watch... and I think they've now proved they're never actually out of a game, regardless of the score.
Turning off the TV doesn't mean I'm not a fan. It just means I take it too seriously, it's too painful to watch, like watching my own kids struggle through a game, which I've done on occasion. It literally hurts my heart.
Re: your daughter, I played on some terrible football teams, and I think I learned a lot from it. Sports are a good place to learn that you sometimes have to keep trying even when you're doomed.
We're no stranger to losing. Her flag football team lost every game, too. She goes to a school that is non-competitive by design, which seemed like a great idea in kindergarten, but then you realize that life is competitive, and you better prepare your kids for it. It's interesting to watch kids who have been taught to be deferential and accommodating at all times. When there's a loose ball, and the other team goes for it, our team backs off. When the other team is shooting, our team passively lets them. There's very little drive to succeed, and the parents keep saying that we have to reiterate that it's not about scoring. My husband and I are fine with not being competitive at this age, but it's sort of hard to get around the scoring thing since that's the goal of any sport. We've lived through one child, a boy, on losing baseball, basketball and flag football teams. Losing isn't the problem. It's teaching kids that they should be afraid of losing by taking it out of the equation completely.
I attended my 9 year old daughter's first basketball game this last weekend. She's been on the team for the entirety of its two practices and is probably one of the least developed players on the team. She was hopping all over the place in excitement and looked like she wanted to be a cheerleader more than a point guard (for most of the game). Her team was totally outmatched and didn't have any shooting or dribbling drills but instead spent all of its warm-up time stretching and chanting their team name. The other team was doing lay-up drills and came out shooting like crazy. Somehow, though, my daughter's team managed to win 15-12. Were they the better team? No way. But when 10 9-year olds are running all over the place struggling to put anything near the rim, its a complete crap-shoot.
So, buck up! Chances are more than in your favor that they'll win the next one. Which, I guess, is the connection to this rambling post and the Wolverines? Just wanted to connect with someone else with a 9 year old daughter taking up basketball, I guess.
A lot of us can't turn it off, and we're not even making a buck by suffering through it. (Though I wouldn't call yesterday suffering. Painful for awhile, but not suffering).