and... i like them? I think I like them.
|WHAT||Michigan v. Iowa|
|WHERE||Iowa City, IA|
|WHEN||9:00PM EST (8 Local)
February 16th, 2010
|THE LINE||Michigan -4*|
|TELEVISION||Big Ten Network|
*Line provided by online sports betting site Sportsbetting.com.
In one of the least thrilling games I've seen in Crisler Arena, Michigan kept its foot on the neck of the Hawkeyes for just long enough to show that they could win by blowout if they tried. After that point, they decided to stop trying, putting in a half-hearted effort. They still emerged with a comfortable win. Iowa is a bad team.
Deshawn Sims asserted his dominance early, scoring 11 first-half points on just 7 shots. He would go on to finish with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Manny also finished with 20 points, but he also committed six turnovers. At least a couple of those were due to the malaise that set in, with Michigan players either playing sloppy or trying to make plays a little too spectacular. Though Darius Morris didn't start, he ultimately played more minutes than Laval Lucas-Perry. Anthony Wright managed to log 20 minutes.
For the Hawkeyes, Aaron Fuller was the only double-digit scorer (16 points and 8 rebounds), though Cully Payne and Eric May each put up eight points. John Lickliter, who is awesome, nailed a truly righteous 3-pointer.
Michigan's lineup has been shaken up, with Darius Morris inserted into the starting lineup instead of LLP. Morris has started to come into his own, giving Wolverine fans some hope that next year's squad can improve. The Wolverines' rebounding has gotten slightly better (though that is partially attributable to a strong showing against Iowa last time), but other than that, the team's statistics haven't changed radically.
The Hawkeyes have lost to Illinois, Ohio State, and Purdue, while knocking of Northwestern at home. During that run, Iowa has gotten much worse offensively but their defense has improved. Either way, this remains a bad team with very little depth, especially with the permanent departure of Anthony Tucker.
If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy.
|Michigan v. Iowa: National Ranks|
|Category||Michigan Rank||Iowa Rank||Advantage|
|Mich eFG% v. Iowa Def eFG%||211||248||M|
|Mich Def eFG% v. Iowa eFG%||209||147||I|
|Mich TO% v. Iowa Def TO%
|Mich Def TO% v. Iowa TO%||49||269||MMM|
|Mich OReb% v. Iowa DReb%
|Mich DReb% v. Iowa OReb%||223||250||M|
|Mich FTR v. Iowa Opp FTR
|Mich Opp FTR v. Iowa FTR
|Mich AdjO v. Iowa AdjD||95||143||M|
|Mich AdjD v. Iowa AdjO||49||153||MM|
Difference of more than 10 places in the national rankings get a 1-letter advantage, more than 100 gets a 2-letter advantage, more than 200 gets a 3-letter advantage, etc.
Michigan is a far superior team. This shouldn't be a surprise, as Iowa has been hemorrhaging players from its roster for two years straight now: They're basically like the Michigan football team in Year One of the RichRod era except their coach is in his third season.
The only area in which Iowa has an advantage is rebounding on Michigan's end of the floor, but last times these two teams met the Wolverines had one of their best offensive rebounding outings of the year. Other areas of Iowa advantage like Michigan's ability to get to the free throw line and defend Iowa shooting are probably irrelevant and insignificant, respectively. Iowa has had success when they've forced the opposition into lots of turnovers, but that doesn't seem likely in this contest.
Despite Michigan's previous result against the Hawkeyes, Iowa isn't necessarily a pushover. They've had surprisingly close contests at Illinois, home against Michigan State, and in both of their games against Ohio State. That said, they haven't been able to actually, you know, win any of those games. KenPom likes Michigan by 3, and Vegas likes them by 4. I'm a little more confident than either. Michigan gets its second-straight road win 62-53.
Novak 3-5 (had 2 nice looks coming left off a screen)
Sims 1-2 (the clutch one to force overtime)
Douglass 3-6 (such a smooth looking stroke)
Harris 4-7 (he was killing it with his 2-pt jumper as well!)
Morris 0-2 (neither one of his shots was even close)
Lucas-Perry 3-5 (nailed 3 in a row at one point)
Awesome numbers. It's one thing for one or two of the guys to be hitting, but for everyone (exluding Morris) to be on was a beautiful thing to watch. Had Sims been able to put down any of his interior shots (he was only 10-25) this could have turned into an easy win for the Wolverines.
Crappy part was Iowa couldn't miss either, going 10-22 from 3-pt, with Fuller going 11-13 for 30 points inside the arc.
when Iowa went up by 3 and Sims missed and fouled the Iowa guy with under a minute. Color me bad, but I was thinking the karma dong punch was coming and I just couldn't watch it again. Now I wake up and found out we won. Damn.
too with less than 30 seconds and down by 4. Fortunately I stayed and saw Sims continue his huge night by getting a three-point play to get us w/in one, and then hitting the three to get us into overtime. Although he did miss early open looks inside the lane, Sims had an otherwise phenomenal game. What a leader Sims has become. I'm so thankful he stayed for his senior year.
Manny also took care of his responsibilities and played well on both sides of the ball for second consecutive game. His two-man game with Sims is getting really good. He had some silly turnovers, but his leadership seems to be growing from earlier this season. His mid-range shot is still inconsistent, but it looked better against Iowa when it mattered most during the game.
Morris played a game consistent with his game at MN, however the stats don't show it as much. He took a couple/few open looks (which is good shot selection), except he missed them pretty badly. He's got to keep practicing his shots, but otherwise, he's giving us good minutes at the point guard position. Defensively he was good which is the most important thing for him to do other than bring the ball up w/o few/no turnovers.
Douglas came out aggressive which is an added bonus when he's shooting a competent to good percentage. For the second game in a row, he shot well. What I've noticed though is Douglass's mental part of the game growing up; he's making good decisions at a better rate.
Novak doesn't seem to get as much love b/c we expect him to do all the hustle and energy things he always does. That said (thanks, Novak), his shot was strong, but Fuller really took advantage of his height advantage inside with Novak and the rest of the guard-oriented line-up on defense.
Gibson had a great block that led to a transition basket. Great energy and production off the bench. He's giving us good senior minutes. I wonder if the Coach will put him with Sims when the critical games arrive down the stretch and in the B10 tourney. No matter what, I trust in Beilein's coaching and planning.
LLP, what can I say!?! I wasn't sure if he was good enough to be an offensive option. He has moments/games where he shows some really talent and progress, and last night was one of them. Great shooting for LLP. I've liked his improved defense all season, but I had been wondering why his offense hadn't improved at all; perhaps it is, perhaps it is.
Coach, win or lose so far, has done a great job keeping these kids working hard and trying to improve every day. That's the most important thing, b/c whether we get to post-season play or not, these guys have to keep in focus the idea of improving the PROGRAM while still focusing on the season at hand.
Good luck, fellas! I'm with you guys no matter how this season turns out. Go Blue! Those who stay will be Champions (this is true in sports and in life).
It was definitely interesting to see Sims and Gibson in there together on at least 2 occasions yesterday. I have to believe that Beilein wants to use Gibson more but sitting Sims to make that happen just isn't an option.
However, from an uneducated observer's viewpoint, last night the offense looked way less fluid when both Sims and Gibson were out there.
"I wonder if the Coach will put him with Sims when the critical games arrive down the stretch and in the B10 tourney."
This has been my question all year. I get it that he needs to have Gibson available to rest Sims, but why not overlap their minutes or at least play them together at the end of the halves? Especially when you have a lead and could use Gibson's added shot blocking and rebounding. As for a smooth running offense, I think that might improve if they got more practice and playing time together.
Beilein deserves great credit for keeping this team motivated and disciplined. It was great to see the players, including Manny, excited after Sims game-tying three - even though they're almost certainly only fighting for an NIT bid now.
But Michigan was still destroyed inside. According to BTN, Iowa was outscoring Michigan in the paint, 32-16 late in the game. Iowa shot 47.3% inside the arc while Michigan shot 37.1%. Michigan, as usual, lost the rebounding battle although only by one this time.
Michigan's unusually stellar 3 point shooting bailed them out this time. But they need more frontcourt talent to take the next step and be an upper tier Big Ten team - although Michigan's goal should be to be an elite team again. They lose their entire frontcourt (what little there is) - Sims and Gibson - this year. Even if they land Horford, they'll still be thin in the frontcourt with 4 untested and completely inexperienced frontcourt players. That needs to change.