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Art Of War
2/6/2013 – Michigan 76, Ohio State 74 (OT) – 21-2, 8-2 Big Ten
I guarantee Tim Hardaway Jr has never heard of obscure indie band Rilo Kiley or heard "A Better Son/Daughter" or even seen The Wizard, in which then-preteen future obscure indie band singer Jenny Lewis debuted along with Super Mario 3. (It was a heady time.) But I also guarantee that for most of the second half he heard that song he had never heard, the bit about sometimes when you're on.
Mitch McGary sings "La Cucaracha" to himself most of the time, but especially during basketball games.
INNER LIFE OF MITCH MCGARY
/INNER LIFE OF MITCH MCGARY
Nik Stauskas… obvious.
One day Nik Stauskas will find out that not everybody in the whole world has BALL SO HARD going through their head 24 hours a day, and a lot of previously inexplicable things will magically explain themselves. That one time he cut off an old lady at the supermarket and spiked her baguette to the floor. The aftermaths of various domino-spiking incidents. That thing about racing a horse. &c.
mean muggin' (Dustin Johnston/UMHoops)
Glenn Robinson III hears nothing but jet engine takeoff, and knows nothing about the world of music. He knows the roar of escape velocity only. He can talk to birds. Birds are in fact sick of talking to Glenn Robinson III. Excuse birds, they have to go regurgitate some food now.
Trey Burke… Trey Burke is a tough one.
Narrative whatnots ranging from your own to trash-talking Ohio State fans on twitter to Mike Tirico and Dick Vitale tell you that Craft versus Burke was once again a victory for Craft and his infuriating brand of that's-80%-of-a-foul-argh defense. Then you go look at a box score that tells you Burke put up 16 points on 12 shots and had eight assists against two turnovers, and your brain has an ellipses as it tries to fit that into the thing you thought might have happened.
Then you remember that Michigan's grand strategy at the end of the game and OT was "Burke, go do something" and the resulting tough stepback threes were more on Beilein walking Burke into a trap with no time on the clock than any fault of his, and you revise that shot count down to ten and… well. First of all, it's impressive that Burke only took ten shots from the structure of the offense. He is an alpha dog. His natural inclination when things get heated is to take everything on his shoulders, and this game wasn't heated so much as it was generating enough energy to thaw most of the state should a Crisler door blow open at an opportune time. Burke still kept himself even-keeled.
Previous Ohio State games have featured plenty of frustrating moments when the pick and roll has been more of an invitation to get trapped towards the sidelines than a way to generate offense, and while there was a bit of that here, it was less prominent. Multiple times Burke turned a tough drive into a kickout three instead of a low-percentage two, and I felt surprise. This is a guy who wants to put it on his shoulders, sometimes to Michigan's detriment. Here he dialed it back a bit—22% usage versus 32% in Columbus—and found plenty of payoff in the form of Hardaway and Stauskas raining in threes.
Those stepbacks at the end of the game were an alternate scenario largely avoided. Burke had to absorb some Buddhism in this one, and win the game without winning it.
Except, of course, for the part where he won it. The part where he almost seemed to let Craft by him on purpose because he knew a pullup in the lane was coming, and thwacked the ball to Glenn Robinson to preserve the slimmest of all leads—to preserve their claim to being elite. It's the bit of the box score you hardly look at because Trey Burke is generously listed at six feet tall.
Aaron Craft is Ohio State's primary assist generator. He had one in this game, a game in which his team put up 55% from two. None of that was generated by Craft, who turned the ball over as much as Burke and found out that putting the game on your shoulders is a grand burden indeed. On the last three possessions Burke stripped him, blocked him, and rode him into the doom of Tim Hardaway. The last play was pure Craft: riding your man down the court on the edge of a foul, forcing his attention onto you on his shoulder until it is too late.
That's not in the box score. The tree of victory sometimes grows from silent soil. Or something like that. I'm not much better at being Buddhist than Trey Burke.
I'm not sure what Trey Burke's life soundtrack is. Could be Vivaldi or Bombs Over Baghdad. It's probably all things smashed together; Burke puts one headphone to an ear and mashes things together until the thing that comes out doesn't seem like it could have been constructed from the parts that went in.
From Eric Upchurch:
Also UMHoops shots.
Rucker park. I couldn't have been the only one who thought about that Kevin Durant video when THJ was going NBA Jam:
There was a nonzero chance of that fourth one resulting in the same court rush.
Begone, heroball. Brief digression on why the fadeaway three from Burke in the previous Ohio State game was okay and this one drove me nuts:
- DOWN TWO ON ROAD: If you get a two you have an approximately 50% chance to win. If you get a three you win. If the two is twice as likely to go down (or get you free throws that you make) as the three, it's even. Since you're on the road your chance of winning is slightly lower, so… even if you think that Burke three was only 30% to go in, the drive would have to be around 65-70% to be a clearly better option. (A potential OSU response is irrelevant since any bucket they get means you lose.)
- TIED AT HOME: Go get a damn point. If the drive is at all likelier to get you a damn point it is a better idea. It is likelier to get you a damn point. So go get it.
Michigan is an exceedingly low-turnover outfit with multiple excellent scoring options. Putting Burke in a one-on-one situation against the best perimeter defender in college basketball is not your best option, and the potential downside is not just a turnover but a turnover that comes early enough for the opponent to get a meaningful possession. Yeah, it's not impossible, but the reward outweighs the risk.
The 1-4 set late is the equivalent of run-run-pass-punt when you're up late in football. Easy to justify, statistically poor.
Impact. Mitch McGary has it.
He kept Michigan in contact in the first half with dives to the bucket and putbacks, going 5/8. He'd finish 7 of 13, the only Wolverine to hit more than half his twos—the only one to make more than two. The rebounding numbers aren't astounding—3 offensive, 3 defensive—but four steals against one foul is. He is coming over entry passes and busting them up at a rate I haven't seen before from a Michigan player.
In addition to the box score stuff, he was all over the court doing his usual McGary things. Whenever I look at the Kenpom boxes it seems like Michigan has more "team" rebounds on both offense and defense than the opponent. This feels like a McGary halo effect from the guy battering all manner of balls about. For example, late in the game he harassed Lenzelle Smith into the sideline as he attempted to rebound a Michigan miss. Michigan got the ball and a "team" offensive rebound. In the highlights above he hedges Craft into the sideline; Craft attempts to save the possession by hurling the ball off of McGary; the ball deflects to Robinson, who gets credit for a steal* and Michigan fast-breaks the other way. He's a massive possession generator statistically and there's an excellent case to be made that he is being shortchanged by those stats.
McGary's not a slug on offense, either. He can put the ball on the deck for a couple dribbles against other fives; in this one Amir Williams had an excellent block on one of those drives, but the other ended in a layup. His skill level is relatively high for a big. And he does all that other business.
At this point he's swung back from overrated to underrated. I mean, is there much difference between what he's giving M and what Nerlens Noel is giving Kentucky? Noel blocks a butt-ton of shots; McGary is an incredible rebounder on both ends of the floor. They're about even in offensive efficiency. So… who would you rather have? It's at least up for debate if McGary continues pulling down the minutes he has the last couple games.
*[I'm pretty sure that's the letter of the law, right?]
Alright. Defense is something of an issue. Michigan overplayed Deshaun Thomas to decent effect—or Ohio State just forgot to go to him late—and held him to 17 points on 15 shots. Given OSU's struggles to find secondary scoring you would take that as an easy Michigan win when paired with shooting nearly 60% from three.
That was not the case thanks in large part to LaQuinton Ross, who went nuts. He hit seven of ten shots and probably didn't have more than one empty possession since he rebounded a lot of his misses.
Add in Sam Thompson, Amir Williams, and Lenzelle Smith hitting eight of ten twos—Smith had a poor day from three—and that's how Ohio State kept pace with Hardaway's beast mode second half. Everyone other than Craft and Deshaun Thomas was throwing down easy stuff. Michigan said "someone other than Thomas will beat us" and Ohio State was like "okay."
Q: where was the zone? Ohio State struggled against the 2-3 zone in the previous game. Michigan pulled it out briefly and it seemed to be going fairly well. For whatever reason, the coaches didn't like the way it looked and went back to what turned out to be a highly porous man to man.
Revisiting the Morgan thing. I don't know if that's really the issue. I mean, how bad does McGary have to be positionally to wipe out four steals and assorted other turnover generation? Overhelping accusations go back to that discussion about whether that's on the big or the guy who gave up the drive the big felt he had to respond to. There's nothing in the way of stats that suggests Morgan is integral to the defense, so we're left with fuzzy business about rotations. I don't know. My eyes say that 1) McGary is playing really well and 2) Michigan is playing badly on defense. I can't reconcile those.
On the other hand. Hi I just watched the MGoBlue highlights embedded above and they happen to have a good deal of OSU's secondary scoring included. Sam Thompson's 3/3 night consisted of a transition tip dunk and two tough shots, one a baseline runner (not included), the other a baseline 18-footer with a decent contest from Stauskas. Lenzelle Smith's game-tier is a scramble off an offensive rebound that still sees Stauskas chase him off the three-point line with a closeout and forces him to re-set and fire from just inside the arc. That's a pretty good outcome off that OREB.
Maybe OSU just had a good game? There's a lot of randomness in here.
Rebounding check. This looked basically even in the ESPN box score but as per usual, once the whirlwind effect of McGary bouncing balls off all of the faces is taken into account, Michigan comes out looking better. With five team rebounds to OSU's two that pushes them up to 38% to 32%, which is a moderate edge.
More than halfway through the conference season their rebounding is holding up much better than it was last year: they're third on D, fourth on O. Last year they finished 9th and 10th in those categories, respectively. The rest of the schedule is four easy games and four hard ones, so that doesn't seem to be a schedule effect.
Uniformz. I was trying to ignore them as best I could. Unfortunately twitter was nonstop trash-talk about them until the game became so good Michigan could have come out in garbage bags elaborately festooned with penises bearing Dave Brandon's face and no one would have noticed. Twitter, I am trying to grit the ol' teeth here, and you are not helping.
I don't care anymore. This is the scene in Planet of the Apes after Charlton Heston screams "YOU MANIACS YOU BLEW IT UP" in which Charlton turns to his companion and says "I'm hungry, do you guys still have Jimmy John's?" It is what it is. It'll slowly erode my will to live, but whatever. I've said my bit.
The one thing I'd like to mention: Michigan handed out honest-to-god Maize shirts for the Maizeout. I didn't know they actually made those anymore, and can we pick a yellow? No, we cannot pick a yellow.
"But the kids like them." The first album I ever bought was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack. I memorized it. Kids are stupid.
Oblig. ref bit. Spent entire second half grinding my teeth about the Craft post-buzzer (except there was no buzzer) three. Why was there no buzzer? I'm pretty sure the refs can't look at the player and the shot clock at the same time, so they have to rely on the noise. No noise, no shot clock violation. That may be on Crisler instead of the refs. Nik Stauskas put up a prayer after the buzzer went off later, but there was no buzzer so it didn't go off and there was no call.
The phantom foul on Burke was probably the right result since Hardaway did get Thomas's arm on the shot. The ref missed it and had to make up some bullcrap on Burke once it was clear Thomas had airballed it implausibly, but it was a foul. Just not on the dude who got it.
The offensive goaltending non-call… oy.
The sequence at the end was classic late-game ref ostriching: it was a flagrant on Craft and probably a foul on Hardaway. Sometimes they let you get away with some extra contact when you get your hand literally on top of the ball, as Hardaway did. I can see not calling that because by the time the arm contact starts in earnest Hardaway has already destroyed any chance of a shot. Still seemed foul-y to me.
Don't get me started on the "let them decide it on the floor" meme. They are deciding it on the floor as long as you call the game the way you should.
re: Uniforms. I don't have a problem with special uniforms. Throughout the years the uniforms have changed long before Brandon ever got to Michigan. So special uniforms aren't really changing the brand for me. I don't recall all maize uniforms before the Fab Five, and I darn sure don't remember baggy pants before them. The only request I have is that you be able to read the damn numbers.
re: McGary. I think the structure of the defense allows the baseline drive. I think McGary rotates over late so he can't prevent the shot or draw the charge. Now he is out of position to prevent the offensive rebound. Now I don't know if there is another late rotation from someone else that is supposed to pick up McGary's man.
re: Final Shot. I want the ball in the hands of our best player when the game is on the line. Trey Burke is our best player. I do have a problem with him settling for the long step back jumper. He is quicker than just about anyone in the country I would prefer to see him drive and kick if help comes or drive for the layup if the defense stays home.
I'd like to see Burke try to penetrate as well. If he can get some penetration it opens up a number of options: 1) possible foul on the dribble or shot, 2) if he penetrates and shoots the rebound is probably going to be close to the rim and with the defense rotating to stop the penetration opens up a possible easy put back, or 3) penetrate and dish to an open shooter.
The thing that was weird about the flagrant non-call at the end was that they spent so much time reviewing it. Craft hit Robinson very hard straight across the face, as was evident by the replay. You could see clearly from the live action that Craft also wanted to swing at the ball, so the replay revealed that the play was as flagrant as it could have been (given what would've already been obvious from the live action).
Given that, what was the point of reviewing, or at least for that much time? If they weren't going to call a flagrant, fine, I don't object--I can see not wanting to make it a two possession game as the result of a play like that. But they could've either not reviewed it at all, or spent a couple seconds and decided, "Yeah, we're obviously not going to call a flagrant in this situation," and moved on with the game.
I think they all had to take time to talk themselves into ignoring the video.
This is not at all on topic, but I have a pet story about refs and video monitors. Last year when UVA was playing UNC at home, the refs were giving UNC the standard lovey-dovey treatment and John Henson was flopping all over the damn place to give them a little help. Obviously this was making for a disgruntled crowd and UVA was in deep foul trouble with like, maybe 12 minutes left in the game when they called a foul on Mike Scott for apparently boxing out too hard. Henson snapped his head back in a way that would've made an Italian soccer player or a Dookie proud (while pulling Scott backward by the jersey, no less), and the refs went to monitor to check for a flagrant while the crowd rained furious boos down on them. Was getting ugly. The monitor showed the refs the flop and from that 12 minute point on the refs called only two fouls on UVA the rest of the way and one was a stop-the-clock foul at the end. I'll never be convinced of anything other than that the refs realized how bad the call was and decided to try and even things up the rest of the game.
I do think if GRIII had stayed down, had the trainer come out, and slowly walked to the sideline holding his face, that there's no doubt that the refs would have called the flagrant.
McGary, love him and his energy. However, he doesn't block out for $hit. I would say 10 of ohios points in the late second half were instances where he and/or GR3 had clear position, but didn't block anyone out and so someone behind them grabbed the offensive rebound, often a fellow big. That is probably why he keeps getting pulled, he is relying too much on athleticism and not enough on fundamentals. Good god I would scream in his ear every five minutes. If someone has those Orebs by ohio isolated, you will see it repeatedly.
When reading Brian's part about rebounding, I was scratching my head cause it seemed to me OSU was able to keep the game tight late because of their offensive rebounding.
Here's the problem, Michigan's wings were getting beat off the dribble consistently throughout the game. That penetration forces McGary to slide over and contest the drive and hopefully force a tough shot or a kick back out. If the shot does go up, it's the opposite wing defender's responsibility to slide down and get a body on somebody. You live with a cross court pass out to the 3 point line as opposed to a wide open post player under the basket or an easy offensive rebound/putback opportunity.
If Beilein teaches something different (which may be the case), then the blame squarely falls on the shoulders of Stauskas, Little Dog, and Timmay for not playing off their men on the wings and allowing easy drives to the bucket.
is some type of interior post game on offense. When you've got a team like OSU agrresively defending the perimeter, it really opens the middle of the floor for a post player.
I think that is were Morgan missing shows up. He has a much wider array of post moves and better hands on offense than McGary has shown at this point. Which is odd because I remember watching one of McGary's highlight videos and he seemed to have a pretty good post game.
The reffing was bad (as it almost always is).
The foul on GRIII was a flagrant and should have been called.
The final play Craft got hacked big time and should have been on the line to tie and go into OT2.
I was always taught that a foul in the first second of the game is a foul in the last second of the game. Basketball has gone so far away from this it is comical. Situational calls are the norm and it makes the games less entertaining. Call a damn foul when you see it no matter when it happens and what the score is. A foul is a foul.
uniforms - not too bad, actually. i can stand more variations in basketball than football as there are nearly 3 times as many games a year, so a bad uni is only 3% of your games, not 7.5. also, there is something in the DNA of the basketball programs that favors persistant tweaking, whereas in football we are referring to each team as #134 or something.
vitale - not as bad as he was about 10 years ago. his throat is catching up with him. love tirico though.
burke - i wonder if starting more sets without the ball in his hands would help him get more opportunities and get more other guys involved. since he usually has the best defender on him, it might be a good idea to get that guy lost in the shuffle of screens and cuts rather than to just be sitting there waiting at timeline to push the offense too far out.
wisc and msu - it would not surprise me to see both mcgary and morgan on the court at the same time.
I agree about Tirico. Tell me it didn't get you pumped when Stauskas shot that fast break three for the lead and Tirico as the ball was on it's way down shouted and the lead! That was great.
At least the "maize," if you want to call it that, was uniformly one color. Unlike the football (bowl?) game where we had like three different shades on at the same time...
I would love to hear if people agree or disagree with the following premise: Michigan really, really screwed up the clock management at the end of OT. The obvious rejoinder is that they won, so they didn't.
However, I look at it like this: 57 seconds to go means if you get a shot off before the shot clock runs down to 13, you are guaranteed one more possession. The ideal range would be to shoot between about 23 and 13 on the shot clock. You're up 1, 75-74, so if you miss, you have to defend but if you fail to defend, you still get last shot to win. If you make, you can let a little clock go down and then foul, or, worst-case scenario, OSU ties with a 3 and you still get last shot to win or go to OT.
The way Michigan did it, they set OSU up for the last shot. Still in good shape if you make, but if you don't score, as Michigan failed to do, you have to defend or lose and Ohio has the last-shot-to-win. Fortunately they did, and Ohio kind of rushed the shot to boot. But I liked it better the way Hardaway did at the end of a half not long ago: took a quick three that was a solid look and gave his team the extra possession, which also was a bucket.
Yes, I absolutely thought that Michigan should have gone two-for-one at the end of the game. However, they were having such trouble generating scoring opportunities that it's possible that this was their plan and they simply failed at it.
I just watched the replay, and I retract the second part of my statement -- they were clearly not trying to go two for one. Burke dribbled up near halfcourt until Beilein called a timeout with 37 seconds left.
I also agree. I was flabbergasted that they didn't go 2 for 1 there. If Trey can dribble the ball down to 8 seconds on the shot clock and then make a move, he can just as well dribble the ball down to 25 seconds on the shot clock and then make his move. I was fuming when they gave up that opportunity (to go 2 for 1).
I am generally a fan of the two-for-one. Statistically it just makes sense. I love Beilein, but I wasn't a huge fan of the management at the end of regulation and overtime, but all is well because we won.
I liked both calls. Craft didn't throw an elbow and I didn't see any intent to injure -- I saw a panicked attempt to regain possession and/or stop the game-icing fast break.
Timmy got 90% ball or more; if there was a foul, it would have been on Burke on the floor (and a non-shooting foul to boot, although we were in the 1-and-1). However, it looked to me like Burke was in good position and, if anything, it should have been an offensive foul on Craft as he used a swim move to get around him. Ohio had a timeout -- they could have set up an inbounds play -- and Craft's role is to run the offense, not score the points. If he kicks it back out, maybe they hit a jumper to tie / win.
Needless to say, I'm glad he decided not to rely on his teammates. :)
I think the defense is giving up the baseline by design. It hasn't worked that well because when McGary helps he is out of position for the rebound. But I see potential and certainly trust Beilein.
That was always Dean Smith's strategy at UNC. Invite the driver baseline and try to force the driver underneath the basket. On one of Zeller's follow slams, I think THJ actually succeeded at this. Oladipo got to the far side of the rim and put up a reverse but it was a difficult shot and didn't really require McG to help.
Title of The Art of War, and no mention of the classic military strategist and tactician...
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle”
The uniforms were horrible. They were what we thought they were. And Brandon keeps getting let off the hook.
Re: the Ravenel goaltend... when a shot goes up, what do the refs look at? I think the priority is to watch what's going on under the basket rather than actually watching the ball and the hoop.
That being said, there are 3 of them in college, is one of them (maybe the one in the backcourt?) supposed to watch the hoop while the other two focus on contact between players?
Don't get me started on the "let them decide it on the floor" meme. They are deciding it on the floor as long as you call the game the way you should.
Agreed. How do we kill this meme? It always makes me roll my eyes when announcers say that. It ALWAYS comes off as, "F#$% the rules, let them decide it on the floor." C'mon, basketball has rules for a reason. Also, "decide it on the floor" means, "let the guys on offense shoot, no matter how badly they murder the defense." (See, Michael Jordan pushing the Utah Jazz player off in the Finals to get open for the GW shot.)