"The amount of professionalism that he has ... there's probably not another guy in the country that would have handled it the same way," Durkin said. "He's not only one of the best coaches in the country, he's one of the best people. He absolutely has the respect of everyone -- coaches and players, alike."
"I don’t care if Jim Harbaugh is medically insane (he is), if you run the coach out of town who took your team from absolute embarrassing garbage-pail irrelevance to conference-dominating powerhouse in ZERO YEARS, you are not only stupid, you don’t care about winning."
Set aside the fact that the coach complaining about a last-second layup left his starters in with his team up 50 points against Michigan once. Look past the game two years ago in which Durrell Summers threw down a dunk with 11 seconds left and the shot clock turned off in a 17-point game. Try to forget that the last second layup put Michigan up seven, not 19, and came on a possession that started with 16 seconds on the clock in a two possession game, and that Darius Morris had passed up a similarly open layup with near-disastrous results earlier in the year. Squint hard and pretend that Michigan State doesn't currently features a high master of on-court whine and trash-talk in Draymond Green, that Kalin Lucas didn't chuck the ball at Morris after his layup, that Lucas wasn't the first guy to open his mouth in the handshake line and probably wasn't offering salutations to Morris's mother.
Ignore the many reasons why the epic post-gamemeltdownabout "class" currently underway on the Michigan State internets is ridiculous. If you can't—understandable—at least run off somewhere else to get your fill and then come back when you're ready.
That dispensed with: Michigan State basketball fans, even the elaborately reasonable ones, are whining about class on the internet. Since a Vick isn't involved, this can only mean one thing: they lost, and it wasn't that close, and they can't say anything else. Basketball! The game with the ball that you bounce and attempt to throw through a hoop and if you're Michigan you never do it quite as much as Michigan State, certainly not twice in one season. It is in this sport that a Michigan team with no seniors and approximately 45% freshman usage has reduced the Michigan State fanbase to a blubbering collection of brahs with zeroes on their chest looking up the Queensberry Rules and fainting at rough language. In other news, Michigan fans did the same after a football game in fall and earth's magnetic poles have flipped.
Michigan didn't even play that well. They shot poorly and Stu Douglass took two NBA threes for no reason and every shot that wasn't a delicately executed easy bucket was a flung prayer. But State played worse, especially right at the beginning, and most of the game was played in a six to eight point range that would have been comfortable if we weren't talking about a team that Michigan hadn't swept since Charles Woodson was walking around with a rose in his teeth and another that had seen simply massive leads against tourney no-hopers Northwestern and Indiana dwindle alarmingly down the stretch.
But after the usual dwindling and a brief moment of alarm Michigan just felt… better. While they had to use Evan Smotrycz as a center again and Blake McLimans made a cameo appearance they didn't have walk-ons on the court for most of the game and didn't spend offensive possessions running the three man weave in a desperate attempt to generate something other than a long two off a curl screen. Michigan's best players seemed better than Michigan State's, and so did the role players.
To get to the previous sentence from hoping for double digit wins in the preseason and staring at a 1-6 Big Ten record before the first MSU matchup is almost incomprehensible. I spent most of the second half of the game at Breslin terrified that this would be the moment the vastly superior Spartans blew the doors off and showed us our hopes were foolish. If wasn't exactly serene on Saturday*, second half thoughts were at least things like "don't blow this" and "OMG Hardaway." When the Spartans cut it to two, Michigan treated them like Indiana or Northwestern by throwing down a dunk and immediately pushing the margin back out. Michigan didn't make a whole lot of shots—Jordan Morgan is the only guy coming out of the State game with a high FG%—but it didn't matter. Somewhere, there is a commentator talking about how good teams win even when they don't play well who does not know he's actually talking about Michigan.
Yes: good. No qualifiers. Right now they are good. Since the last Michigan State game Michigan has won eight of eleven. Two of the losses were by two and one to tournament teams; the other was by nine to a one-seed on the road. Only the Iowa game qualifies as an escape—Michigan's kind of unlucky to have won only eight of eleven. They got up from an all-time gut punch to beat Minnesota and MSU and have probably punched their ticket no matter what happens in the Big Ten Tournament.
They're good. Full stop. They'll be better next year. Anyone who can remember a time in which the future was brighter for Michigan basketball that hasn't been vacated in retrospect is probably thinking of the first time they saw Glen Rice shoot.
Kalin Lucas said something to Darius Morris. Whether Morris actually did or not, the rivalry's legends will now include the fact-type substance that he responded "get the fuck off my court."
Depending on what side of the rivalry you're on that's either a shocking violation of the Queen's English or something you've been waiting ten years for a Michigan player to say. But if interpreting that comment is a matter of perspective, what happened after is not: Kalin Lucas got the fuck off Darius Morris's court. Again.
*[In part because I was watching the game at 1 AM because I had been travelling literally the whole day; by the time I got home I could have seen my grandmother and thought she was a loud, stupid, slow person I wished did not exist. Air travel from obscure locations inflates your natural level of misanthropy 1000%.]
Official restatement of trash-talk policy. Entirely in favor. Makes game spicier for fans without doing anything negative other than spawning I'm-looking-over-my-hornrims comments about "ugly scenes" from newspaper folk. I dislike opposing players who are annoying, but like that I dislike them, if that makes any sense. I miss David Boston and think Ohio State fans secretly love Mike Hart.
Michigan's sweep and Morris's layup/swearin' raises the stakes for next year, and there's nothing bad in that.
The great disaster. Here it is as captured by WXYZ:
Newspapers see an "ugly scene," I see games worth investing in. Seriously: Rollerball. Too bad Lucas won't be around.
Lucas took exception to whatever Morris yelled at the visiting team, following his game-ending coast-to-coast layup with the Spartans appearing to lay off. Lucas responded by throwing the ball at him, causing a small tussle that Michigan's Jordan Dumars broke up as the teams shook hands.
“I'm not for that, so I'll straighten that out," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said after the game. "But at the same time, going for a layup with three seconds left — (Morris) talked a lot of stuff all game, including at our place, so maybe he deserved it.”
"Going for a layup with three seconds left"—what a hypocritical asshat. Again: Durrell Summers dunk to go up 19 two years ago. Criticizing another player for talking trash when you have the team you do—hypocritical asshat.
Paint by mouthguard. The other side of the now-infamous picture of Hardaway after the Wisconsin game:
Oh snap. I don't think MSU AD Mark Hollis's tweet in the aftermath of the game about a "great program" being preferable to a "great season" had anything to do with Michigan. (People who do have lowered their expectations well beyond reason.) So whatever… except for one of the great zingers in the history of MGoBlog:
If you haven't gotten your fill of Lloyd Brady versus Michigan State, BlueBarron's thread has you covered.
Emergence. Everyone's focused on Hardaway exploding over the second half of the Big Ten season—and with good reason—but another player is quietly emerging as we move along here: Matt Vogrich. Vogrich is never going to be a star but you've probably noticed a few defensive MANBOUNDS in the last couple games that came from a surprising source. After one against State the amiably incompetent color guy called Vogrich "Novak," which was wrong but at least understandably so. Vogrich hasn't seemed like a huge liability on defense and is currently shooting 40% from 3—48% in the Big Ten. As Michigan adds slashers like Brundidge and Burke and hopefully gets more driving action from Hardaway and Smotrycz there will be more open threes to be had, and Vogrich is probably the best guy on the roster to take them.
Smotrycz. Obviously had himself a day despite not getting any rebounds. One of his fast break layups was a gift but he made the other one by poking the ball out; his fake and drop step on Roe was Morgan-like. Also hit a three. He obviously does not have a long term future at the five so the biggest thing Michigan needs from him is a leap forward on defense.
Nosesplosion. The Lucas "intentional foul" that gave Michigan the ball and two free throws was a major turning point in the game. Some bits on it. One: Lucas nailed LLP in a previous game. Two: after the Manny Harris debacle against Purdue the Big Ten has been pretty consistent about their reaction to similar plays. No ejections but the opponent gets two shots and the ball. Lucas's elbow got above his neck and nailed a 6'5" guy in the face—it was clear as day that they were going to call the harsher version of the foul. Three: they really should change the lingo from "intentional," which confuses everyone, to something like "severe."
Morgan. Have we not been giving him enough credit for his FG%? He gets a lot of help, sure, but he's got that baby hook and a variety of other shots that turn Morris passes into baskets. He's not just a dunk machine. He's been hesitant from time to time this year and has spun into trouble some; I think the improvement we get from him is not in efficiency but time on the court—must stop taking nothing fouls—and usage.
Considering where the Wolverines started -- getting blown out by teams in Belgium in the summer and being picked to finish close to the Big Ten cellar -- and considering this win came over a hated in-state rival that's dominated Michigan for a decade-plus ... well, let's just say it was a good day for the Maize and Blue. Enjoy it, folks.
From the NCAA rule book, under Points of Emphasis, Excessive Swinging of the Elbows:
When the arm and elbow, with the shoulder as a base (pivot) are swung with a speed that exceeds the rest of the body as it rotates on the hips or on the pivot foot, that action is considered to be excessive. Contact, after such an action, shall not be ignored but shall be called a flagrant foul.
Part of the problem is that the NCAA recognizes both intentional and flagrant fouls (and perhaps may not have done so in the past), so yeah, when the announcer simply tells us something without getting it straight from the official, they're likely to mess it up (especially on BTN).
michigan had a lineup at one point that was 4 grits out of 5.
also, the sooner MSU is out this year, the sooner the Izzo to Pistons rumor can begin. seriously, this has legs. new owner is a sparty grad, izzo had worst season with lots of seniors in a long time, drafting lucas in round 2 to be new face of franchise.
Here we go again, Brian whinging about a minor skirmish.
(don't even start. I put 'whinging' in there instead of 'whining' because the British do it, and that's good enough for me.)
I love that Brian links to message boards to prove his point about class. Thing is, I read the first page of each of them and was surprised by the number of 'so what- it's a rivalry, no big deal' responses there. A theme if not a majority.
I don't find anything bad in what Morris did- it's a rivalry game, or did someone forget the definition of that? If we were up by a similar score, I'd expect a layup. Every chance to kick a rival while they're down is an opportunity not to be missed. As for the 'get the f off my court' quote, good on him- they swept MSU, they have a right to feel good about it- and to talk some all-important smack.
I also don't have a problem with Lucas firing the ball at him- I remember the Bad Boys Piston era. They could have taken a lot lower route than throwing a ball.
I mean, can't we all just get along? 'Class' has no consideration in a rivalry game- trash talk and hard feelings do. Let's stop whinging about this non-story and enjoy that this game matters again. I'm happy about it, and wouldn't have it any other way. Now, on to football!
As you say, man, this is just the way of rivalries. We reduce you guys to blathering about class and complaining about things 19-year-old kids say to one another and then we complain about that.
Frankly, I don't think most of us would've taken any notice if Izzo himself hadn't been the one to bring it up. When we read it on a message board it's just some frat douche stopping by the computer cause he's pissed off about having to drag that couch all the way up from the frathouse basement by itself to prepare it for the immolation, for all we assume or care. Not very newsworthy. We've come to expect better from Izzo, though.
Lucas probably should have thrown the ball at one of his
own teammates, not at Morris. Sparty has been mailing it in all season, including (maybe especially) Izzo. Of the many MSU games that I have watched, only Lucas and Appling have shown any heart. This must be really upsetting to Magic, Cleeves, et al.
In relevant part, from you..."By the way, I'll still predict an MSU win, but not as much as if Dancing Bear were 100%. 69-60. Could be a 20-point blowout if Green can play most of the game.
I will be back here to eat my crow if MSU loses, but I'm highly amused by some of the, er, enthusiasm you Wolverine-lets show. It's so cute! "
I understand that this comment of mine may not have a ton of class, but when you come onto a Michigan board and predict a 20 point trouncing on our home court if Green could play most of the game (which he did)...have some crow
That all being said, i agree with your point about the trash-talking and how it's a non story, so, that's one thing in your favor at least...
A +1 to anyone referencing 'The Shining' in any way, shape, form, or fashion.
On to accountability: congrats to UM, they played well and beat my Spartans, much to my chagrin. I talked some smack pre-game about how MSU would beat UM handily; it's only fair that I post to eat my crow. Tastes like chicken...
UM came out and made the first run- all this time, I thought MSU would understand the importance of that and try to go up early. That's what I get for thinking, and I'll take my medicine like a man."
I recommend crow, especially as part of a Pancheros burrito.
I think this whole incident is getting way too much attention, but...
I agree with Jamie above, this team needs some swagger. Ellerbe was obviously out of his league, but my biggest uh oh moment with UM bball in the last 15 years was after UM played Duke the first time under Amaker. I don't remember exactly what he said, but it was essentially being happy with a moral victory and that frightened me.
Almost exactly 11 years ago, MSU beat Michigan 114-63 in EL. I hope Izzo apologized profusely for each and every basket that made the game greater than a five-point deficit so his bitching about D-Mo running up the score wouldn't look like total hypocrisy.
Seriously, I'm actually not against discussing whether D-Mo talked shit after the final horn sounded. I favor restrained trash talking during the game but none after it's over. So if D-Mo said what he allegedly said (unless provoked by Lucas, which I could easily believe), he should be give a talking-to by JB.
But this nonsense about Morris running up the score by making a contested layup to make the score greater than two possessions? If that's really what Izzo believes, than he has lost a lot more mentally than his team's record would suggest.
Being older, in addition to Rice's career, what I remember is 1976: the loss in the final to Indiana (the year after we moved to Bloomington, sigh), and with Phil Hubbard and Rickey Green returning, plus most of IU's '76 team graduating, it should be another great season, right?
And it was, but just not quite long enough. (Oddly, Michigan's first-round NCAA game was in Assembly Hall, and no, I did not get to go. I think my parents were heathens.)
UM beat Holy Cross in the first round, Detroit in the next round and then lost to Cornbread Maxwell and UNC-Charlotte in the regional finals at Rupp Arena. Cornbread knocked out a very good CMU team in OT in the first round at Bloomington.
Have we not been giving him enough credit for his FG%?
Oh, I think we - you - have been noticing. The description of Smotrycz's discovery of a "Morgan-like" post move - as opposed to a post player on another team which is usually our only frame of reference - confirms it.
Having a post game that works and scores a lot of points and gets rebounds is like whoa, man. It's fucking cool. We haven't seen that too much of late, by which I mean in the last decade-plus.
Question about Rosenberg's pronouncment of an "ugly scene."
He of course led his Page-one column with that description. But what I wondered, was: Was Rosenberg even there? Was Rosenberg even at Crisler Arena on Saturday? Or was he watching the game on tv? I didn't see him there. But of course I didn't have my face-recognition scanning equipment and mainframe computer with me, either. Still, I saw Mark Snyder. Mark was in his customary beat-writer position. Frank Beckmann was there, yukking it up with Matt Shepard and the radio broadcast crew and some of the football staff. I looked up and down the press rows, mostly looking for Sharp, who also was nowhere to be seen. (Sharp is fond of hanging out in the tunnel.) Sharp sometimes sits behind the press rows. I didn't see him there, either.
I saw no sign of Rosenberg, or Drew Sharp, at the game. Did anyone see them there? Did they watch the game on tv?
Rosenberg is the ONLY one I've seen pointing out Izzo's comments were wrong, if doing so mildly (which is more than any of the rest of the MSM). Called the statement "nutty", and pointed out Lucas admitted to trash-talking too.
It's funny to see Izzo cry like this....especially after being up double digits this season against Penn State with 10 or so seconds left and Green throws a bomb down the court to Roe for an end game dunk so Green could get a triple double in cheap fashion. At the same time as the throw down court the announcers were talking about the class of MSU and how Izzo would tell them to dribble out the clock hahah and surprise surprise they threw they so called cheap shots themselves....such a hypocrite what else is new out of MSU though.