Go to the home games, people. This team needs us.
Sometimes When You're Off...
Boston College 62, Michigan 58
Michigan 3-3 (0-0 Big Ten)
Buckle down, Michigan hoops fans; it's going to be a long season in Ann Arbor. Not literally, of course, because this doesn't look like a team that will extend its year into the postseason. But long like painful, you see.
At one point in the second half, I tweeted "Holy crap, this looks like an Amaker team." The unfortunate thing is that I wasn't saying it to be mean-spirited, it was just true. Uninspired defensive play and poor decisions offensively made for a highly unentertaining (and ineffective) brand of basketball. Sure the officiating was pretty bad, but I think if the game had been reffed well, Michigan might have just ended up losing by a much wider margin.
As things stand, the 3-point shooting still isn't there. Stu Douglass seems to have lost all confidence, passing up two open looks with less than a couple minutes left in the game, and Michigan still within striking distance. That lack of confidence is the story of the team right now, and they have to break out of this slump (which included a 64% mark from the free throw line) if they want a chance to play for the tournament.
After the disappointment in Orlando, Boston College appeared to be Michigan's lone chance for a signature out-of-conference win. Now the Wolverines face the daunting task of winning in Salt Lake City against Utah or in Lawrence against Kansas for their resume booster. With the way they've performed over the last week, neither looks likely, and coming down with a single win in those two games is looking less and less possible.
Something has to be said, however, for the Wolverines' refusal to give up. It shouldn't take a 15-point deficit in the second half to light a fire under their asses, but at least when they finally started playing the damn game, it was a flash of brilliance. Now, that just needs to be harnessed, and put on display for more than 5 minutes per game.
- Coming out of Orlando, DeShawn Sims was somebody who needed to step up his game. He finished with as many fouls as points (4).
- A hearty cheer for Zack Gibson is in order. He's really developed into someone who can contribute on both ends of the floor, and he kept this team in the game toward the end.
- Manny went 1-6 from 3-point range, and the only make was banked in. He isn't shooting well early in the year, and the way to solve that problem does not involve jacking up contested shots on every other possession.
- As mentioned above, free throw shooting continues to be a problem. At this point in the year "early in the season" can no longer be an excuse. This team has to be better from the stripe. 70% is not good enough, especially for a team that shot over 75% last year.
- Ben Cronin is not ready to contribute against good teams. He made a hustle play, but still doesn't have the athleticism back after his hip surgery.
- Darius Morris had a nightmare game. He turned the ball over more times than he shot it (1 to 0).
- I, too, am shocked that the headline of this post was not used up during the football season.
- The official attendance was over 10,000, but I'll be damned if that's anywhere near accurate. The gold level on both baselines was completely empty.
- Yay for the Big Ten finally winning the ACC Challenge. It's a hollow victory without a Michigan win.
- "This [Boston College] is obviously a pretty good team. Or we're a really bad team." John Beilein, on the team's performance.
- "We're frustrated, but the thing about college basketball is you've got to bounce back." DeShawn Sims, on the three-game losing streak.
- "I think we're losing focus a little bit, and you can't do it. Teams are too good." Zack Novak, on the defensive struggles.
- "Even my first year, I don't think it was this bad shooting-wise." Manny Harris.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff heads to Crisler Arena at 2PM on Saturday. Beat the Golden Lions or whatever.
Was this game publicized in any way? I know that it's on the calendar, etc., but I don't recall seeing or hearing a single thing noting that the game was part of the Big 10-ACC challenge or that BC isn't another sacrificial offering from the Ohio Valley Conference.
Seems even more odd given that I'm being email-bombed by MGoBlue trying to get me to buy ticket packages that include Coppin St (woot!) and all sorts of t-shirt and junk with block M's.
Considering Michigan turns the ball over less than all but 2 teams in the NCAA, I think it's safe to say that this team does not resemble an Amaker team.
The defense is about as mediocre as it was last year. The main difference from last year is the poor shooting this year, which is somewhat inexplicable since the same guys are shooting the ball this year.
I still have faith that they'll turn around and potentially be an upper-tier big 10 team, but this last week has been very frustrating.
The shooting will come. The rebounding will not come (they're just too small). The defense? That, at the risk of stating the painfully obvious, will be the key for the rest of the season...The good news is that the defense can improve.
I also don't think that the Big Ten's win in the Challenge is hollow. Wins over OSU, Wisc., etc. would be all the more valued if they happen.
Dear students who have recently decided now is the time to be Michigan basketball fans,
Don't boo our team. Ever. EVER. Even in the worst of the worst Amaker years, during which I was in the student section, even when we were absolutely embarrassingly terrible, there were never boos. Last night, there were. Not a lot, but enough in unison to be audible.
You know what? This team isn't very good. At least that's what they showed us last night. But if you don't realize that this is a million times better than what it has been, it's abundantly clear this is your first experience in Crisler.
The Maize Rage leadership needs to take note. That's not how we do things at Michigan.
Totally agree. Also, while on the subject of things that need to stop, when the piped in music consists of that song that Penn State uses (you know, the one where they yell "WE ARE PENN STATE"), can we quit it with the "we own Penn State" version of this? It was funny when we had beaten them 8 or 9 times in a row. It's not funny and just sounds stupid when they've blown us out two years in a row in football and we split with them last year in basketball.
I'll ignore the condescending tone and douchey nature of this comment and just go to facts:
I was at the game. The crowd never booed the team. They gave the refs hell and booed them, but never the team. I'm not sure if you're confused or just making stuff up, but stop it.
Yes, they did. When we were done big halfway through the 2nd, there was booing. And there was booing again when we were passing up shots under 2 minutes to go. And it wasn't the refs.
So, yes, our crowd booed the team. Sorry.
Where you were sitting Paul but I could definitely hear some boos from the crowd directed at the team. It wasn't a mass "everyone boo the team" from the entire crowd, but it was enough to be audible.
Looking for blame is a terrible thing, imo. These administrators, coaches, and kids are trying their asses off. They make mistakes, just like the rest of us. You should be frustrated, but that doesn't mean you have to condemn others.
Fans always want to blame someone when things don't go well. I have news for you: sometimes things don't go well. We have good coaches. We have good players and are bringing in better ones each year. Every school has to go through tough times. How are we, as Michigan, going to deal with it? Are we going to whine and go looking for heads? Or are we going to show patience and faith and, therefore, class?
I prefer the latter.
I think our 3 point shooting confidence is lacking for some (Stu), but overabundant for others (Novak). We took, and missed, some good 3s last night. But we also took some horrible ones.
I would love to see a stat that compares the FG% for 3s shot following a pass from inside the arc vs. 3s shot off the dribbe or a pass around the perimeter. We take a lot of the latter kind. Based on anecdotal viewing evidence the first kind (inside out pass from a big man or guard penetration & kick-out) seems to be a high percentage shot. We need more penetration and passes to the interior; even if we're still going to shoot 20+ 3s.
I still think they have the potential to be a great team. Right now they are just dying, and not living, by the 3...
Stu double-clutched on a bunch of wide-open shots last night. Definitely looked like a confidence thing to me.
If there's one thing I learned last night, it's that we're so fantastic in transition and fast-break situations, but it almost doesn't matter because our rebounding is so bad. You can't take advantage of one of your strengths if you can't set it up.
Besides some of (ok, all of) Manny's attempts, I never felt like the three pointers were "bad" shots. Some shots look contested, but really aren't. A good attempt is when you catch the ball in rhythm with a clear look at the basket and the ability to bring the ball straight up into your shooting motion. If a guy gets a hand up as you are releasing, or shortly after, it really wasn't a contested shot. It's sort of a myth that a "good" shot has to come off penatration or an inside-out game. That's the easiest way to create good looks, but not the only. We got a lot of good looks, mostly for Novak, where the ball was at the wing and he'd come off a screen at the top of the key and be able to catch, turn and shoot. Those are good shots, and at the point in the shot clock where they came, we should be happy with getting those looks.
This team will start making shots. Douglass will regain his confidence and novak will stop fading so much on his looks (though to be fair, that seems to be his preferred motion). If we just shoot a reasonable percentage last night (not even good) we probably have 9 or 12 more points. This team will be fine.
Novak took numerous threes where he looked to me to still be running, leaning, falling etc. He did not catch the ball squared to the basket and then release--he is a fine shooter when he does that. Sims took a horrible deep, rushed three late in the game that was also a poor shot. Vogrich took one too early in a possession from far beyond the line. Etc. Etc.
I don't think inside-out is the only way to get "good" shots, but a pass from the direction of the hoop does make it easier to be faced up to the basket while receiving the pass, and often leaves a player more open if his defender has gone down to help. I would like us to continue taking any good three point shot we can get but I do not share your view that virtually all of last night's threes were good.
I partially think that Novak just likes to slightly fall away when he shoots. I would agree that it gets him in trouble and explains some of his poor shooting nights. Still, I did feel like most of, if not all of his attempts came in situations when you'd expect your sharp shooting small forward/shooting gaurd to take the shot. I guess what I'm saying is that I think his form makes the shot look worse than it is.
I didn't see the Vogrich attempt and I'm not sure the Sims three was horrible. Late in the game, down big, I'm not sure it was really any worse than the two that Gibson hit. Maybe I exagerated a little bit in saying that all non-manny attempts were good looks, but despinte what Len Elmore was saying, I found myself thinking that most jump shots we were gettting were pretty good looks.
My overall point is that Sims isn't a great back to the basket post presence, Manny is our best, or lone, penetration threat (and he is first and foremost, looking to score), and the rest of our team likes to move the ball around the wing, come off screens and shoot. It doesn't make for a great inside-out attack.
The offense looks bad when we're not hitting shots, but besides Manny forcing deep threes, we pretty much took shots the offense is designed to get. I think the offense can get better and will get more inside-out looks, but there's going to be a big game this year where we win because we hit exactly the kind of shots we missed last night.
the picture you have to along with this post sums it up for me. they are playing out of control. morris looked like grady last year, in to much of a hurry to get the fast break going instead of controling the ball first. there isn't any floor leadership out there. last year with david and cj they had that. if stu has lost his confidence already then he has already turned into dugan fife, let me guess stu knocked down about 80% of the 3's he took in warm ups, just like dugan used to do, and then passes up open shots during the game....
as for deshawn, if he has personal shit going on then it is up to JB to sit him down and talk to him and find out what the hell is going on.
JB might have to burn a red shirt on mclimis or morgan (as soon as he is healthy). because if croin isn't going to be 100% all year this is going to be a very long season, if our only bigs are deshawn and gibson. they need to be able to go big every now and then and without backups its not going to be able to happen.
We had several inside shots blocked because no one except Manny seems to want to just slam it down. Gibson put up a soft layup from about 3 feet and it was blocked! Yikes.
We're six games in and there's roughly another 25 to go. Please don't bring the football mentality where every loss is significant. Right now we are the equivalent of a 1-1 football team. Things looked pretty bleak last year in the middle of the Big Ten season, especially defensively. Yet that team, despite being a less talented team than this one, turned it around. It's good that we're struggling early as opposed to middle or late.
Tim, I believe as a contributor you should be the voice of reason rather than the voice of panic. "Buckle down, Michigan hoops fans; it's going to be a long season in Ann Arbor. Not literally, of course, because this doesn't look like a team that will extend its year into the postseason. But long like painful, you see." Dude, relax.
Everyone's complaining about the interior defense. Well, when you only have two bigs and they are either undersized (Sims) or soft (Gibson) you're going to give up some points down there. Hell, we couldn't hit the broad side of a barn last night and with all the easy hoops BC got, they still ONLY SCORED 62 POINTS. This is enough to win when we shoot it well, and we will. We are not going to shoot 33% all year and 25% from three all year. We're just in a slump.
Guys, we gave up easy hoops, couldn't hit a shot, and still lost to a decent team by only four points! Listen to me, I beg of you: WE WILL BE FINE.
Most of those easy buckets came with M in the 1-3-1. Corey Raji was 11 of 16 (69%) because he was getting wide open shots in the paint.
Have teams figured out the 1-3-1? Or are we not playing it very well?
I think it's both. Teams obviously are coached on how to attack the zone best, but what has been killing us the most is the weak side wing defender not rotating down to the paint quickly enough to cut off the pass.
When people think of the Beilein system, they think of a complicated offense. Remember that his defenses are complex and unusual, too, especially the 1-3-1. True freshmen are going to struggle on the defensive end at first (Vogrich, Morris).
And let's also not forget that a Michigan team down 15 points halfway through the 2nd would have lost by 20 or 25 a few years ago. Give them credit for coming back.
This is Michigan basketball. Don't panic until we blow it against Northwestern or Penn State. Or Harvard.
Your third paragraph is EXACTLY what I thought after the game. The defense played better in the second half, hell, better after the first ten minutes when we gave Raji all those easy layups. He only scored 5 after the half, I think.
was missing their best player, had total control of the whole game, and we were at home.
this team has lost 3 straight to mediocre to good teams and hasn't looked good in a decent portion of those games.
we might need to recalibrate expectations a little. a top 3 finish in the big 10 with a sweet 16 run might be too much to ask for a team with 8 freshmen.
Anybody who was calling for a Sweet 16 run and a top-3 finish in a stacked Big 10 probably didn't know what they were talking about to begin with.
a consensus preseason top 20 team and ranked somewhere between 3-4 of the big ten.
Tim, I generally like you contributions, but the Chicken Little act with the basketball team is getting tired. I was pissed last night watching the game and am upset they aren't playing up to their potential right now, but this in no way resembles an Amaker team. 5 turnovers, encouraged outside shooting, intelligent game plans that get wide open shots(execution is lacking obvs), resilience, etc etc.
Please remember that last year we were losing to Little Sisters of the Poor at home by 20 at half and needed a miracle comeback at Indiana to beat the worst team in the conference. That team figured it out after a huge losing streak mid-big ten. This team is ahead of that team by default with the amount of experience and talent.
There were several flashes/stretches in the game where the intensity and focus that the team possessed at the end of last season were there.
Novak started missing shots because he was banging with a 6'9" Trepani all night and I'm sure it wore him out. Maybe Stu is getting tired as well...who knows.
The looks of exhaustion on Stu's and Novak's faces in the second half need to be posted up in everyone else locker. Those kids were giving 100% every possession on both ends. Gibson most possessions. Manny did in spurts. Sims rarely which is extremely frustrating.
If LLP can learn to use proper defensive technique over the next few games (like Stu did last year and was able to crank it up) we will be a much better team.
The offense is clunky right now and seems to flow the best with both Zacks Stu Manny and Vogrich surprisingly.
The upshot: Morris and Vogrich (who I think had his best game so far) will continue to improve throughout the season. Stu will get out of his slump. They will figure out how to rest Novak more-or he will get in better shape, Manny will shake off the rust and get back into better offensive flow and decision making, Sims will get his head on straight and the offense will get more consistent with more practice time. Leadership will emerge (My bet is on Novak and Stu). Patience people.
Tim, what do you think the chances are that Gibson (at least temporarily) takes over the starting role from Sims?
I would both hate and love to see this happen.
Just saying another chance for a quality OOC win!
my biggest disappointment is that if watch our offense once they shoot there is no one there to rebound. I stopped counting how many possessions they came down, took a shot, and the only people around the basket were from bc. that is unacceptable. every team needs those offensive rebounds- even more when you suck at shooting.
of the Beilein era at Michigan so far. According to the Big Ten website stats:
In 07-08, in all games, we were dead last in the conference in overall FG% and in 3-pt%. We had nobody in the top 15 among conference players in FG%, 3-pt%, or total 3-pt shots made.
In 08-09, in all games, we were dead last in the conference in overall FG%, and 10th in 3-pt%. Only Sims placed within the top 15 among conference players in FG%, and we had nobody in the top 15 for either 3-pt% or 3-pt shots made.
Last year as a team, we shot just 42.5% overall, and 34.4% from behind the arc.
If you want to dismiss the 07-08 stats because it was the first year and we only have Sims and Harris as significant starters left from that team, fine, but everybody of significance came back from last year. Are all these guys all of a sudden going to become much better shooters?
There's obviously plenty of time for the team to get hot from a shooting standpoint, but if past history is any indication at all, expecting significant improvements in shooting for the remainder of the season is being very optimistic. It's hard to beat anybody when you shoot as poorly as we do, especially when we don't play great defense and don't rebound well.
Three things you fail to mention in your post. First off, when you put up 50 shots a game your accuracy will go down. To shoot that much you need to take some "not open" shots and your legs will wear down throughout the game. The point of this offense is we can shoot at 40% and still win because we take more shots and more 3's.
Secondly, until last year this team did not have much talent behind Manny and Sims. The fact that Vogrich (who will raise the 3 point % on his own) and Douglass are coming off the bench tells you all you need to know. Of course teams that have less talent 3-8 will have low percentages. This year is the year to judge.
Vogrich alone will take care of the 3 point percentage. This kid should end up top 5 in the Big 10 in 3 pointers made despite being the 9th player off the bench.
Finally, shots in the paint generally have a higher percentage of being made. We have 1 big man on this team. Everyone besides Gibson should play the 1, 2 or 3. An ideal lineup would have Harris at the 2 and Sims at the 3. We have no inside game and will continue to have a lower percentage until we can get a presence in the paint. Losing Udoh (who is also really a 4 but would have played the 4 or 5 at Michigan) really hurt us down low. A line-up of Morris, Novack, Harris, Sims and Udoh would dominate inside and out. I'm hoping that next year one of McLimans, Puls, Cronin or Morgan step up to help Gibson down low.
I'm surprised he didn't break his hand when he had that one-handed dunk that got the crowd back into it. I mean, wow, that was a nice drive and finish. We need someone to step up and help Manny. I've been disappointed with LLP's play as of late. Heading into the year, I thought he would try to drive the ball more and be more aggressive. It was sad in the final 2 minutes of the game, when Manny had the ball the other players would stop what they were doing and just stand still, waiting for Manny to do something. I noticed this a lot during the game. We had players standing around at times, not setting screens, etc. I think we will improve, though. I'm glad to see espn made it a point to show the statistic of 8 freshman, 4 sophomores, 2 juniors, and 2 seniors on the team. We are young, simple as that. Sure we may be a little disappointing early on, but we are young, and the freshman should get better, especially Morris... with those juggling skills!
I certainly don’t see anything wrong with Tim (or anyone else for that matter) being critical of the start of the 2009 hoop season or of the football program in general provided they do it respectfully, which everyone seems to be doing.
Trying your best may buy you some time but I have found that results are all that matters in the real world at the end of the day.
Besides, everyone reaches the threshold of what they can take without venting at different times. I would be willing to bet a pretty penny that even those who say folks looking for someone to blame are not helpful will be looking for someone to blame if we have two or three more football seasons like the last.
In no way does this look like a Amaker team. I understand it's frustrating to start the season this way but it's only six games in.
Tim, I can understand why you are panicking after the football season and with the slow start in basketball, but some of your conclusions are a bit ridiculous. We're only six games in and starting a freshman point guard. While there are issues to deal with, I should point out that Amaker's teams usually started out ok before fading away slowly and painfully over the course of a season.
Boston College has also always been a solid team under Skinner (who I like as a coach) and there offense was almost designed to abuse teams with questionable interior defense.
Let's remember that outside of Harris and Sims this team is still extremely young. I'd rather play a tough schedule and be prepared for the Big 10 then play one of Amaker's pussy schedule and get creamed by all the competent teams as we regress. I think Belein has already proven he can develop talent better.
My ticket to the Arkansas-Pine Bluff game was accompanied by a coupon for a free hotdog and small drink!
So I've got that to look forward to.