The game did not.
2/16/2011 – Michigan 52, Illinois 54 – 16-11, 6-8 Big Ten
Bear with me: if Michigan's basketball season was a hockey game, last night's basketball game was a really good scoring chance blown when you're down one with five minutes left. At that point you write the game off, because that was it. Objectively, your chance of winning hasn't changed much, if at all, but it feels like a door just closed.
Michigan's NCAA tournament hopes aren't much worse than they were 24 hours ago. Since Kenpom loves Illinois and Michigan outperformed expectations, its season prediction hardly moved. The evaporation of Michigan's 16% chance of winning in Champaign was made up for by significant positive moves in Michigan's four remaining games. But if Michigan's watching the NCAA selection show with a jaundiced eye, thinking about what could of been, they'll be thinking about ball after ball clanging off rims in Assembly Hall.
God, did anyone else scream horrible profanity at the world in general at that point in the second half when Zack Novak set up for yet another wide open three pointer that bashed the front of the rim? It's one thing if Michigan's firing awkward, contested threes deep in the shot clock and another when open look after open look isn't even close to going down. What's Stu Douglass—before yesterday a 40% three point shooter—supposed to do when he's standing still with the ball in his hand and no Illinois player within three feet? Shoot. He shoots, and this goes horribly, and Michigan still almost pulls off a statement win* and we're left to wonder what would have happened if they had just been miserable from three instead of abominable.
And then there's this: 4-28. That's what Michigan shot against Kansas in a game that went to overtime. Sometimes basketball makes you want to punch a wall even when you're in the bonus on the road with 14 minutes left in the half.
In the long view Michigan exceeded expectations again, if slightly, and has managed to stay in games even when threes aren't available or falling. Hope for next year increments slightly again. Right now, argh.
*[Statement is "hey, seriously guys we're on the bubble, seriously." That qualifies for the 335th-most experienced team in D-I]
Bruce Weber: not so much. That was a terribly coached basketball team that let Michigan hang around despite their inability to throw the ball in Tim Doyle's bad nickname repository by making inane turnovers and taking terrible shots. I'd be pretty upset if I was an Illinois fan. They are huge, veteran, talented, and headed for a second-round matchup with a one-seed.
Tim Doyle: not entirely horrible. I still cringe at "The Butterfly" and believe we should start calling Doyle "The Argyle Sock" in retaliation, but after listening to Stephen Bardo fire out two hours of inane cliches I appreciate Doyle a bit more. Anyone wondering what the hell Michigan could do to stop Tisdale from catching the ball two inches from the basket got some great analysis when Doyle pointed out that Zack Novak was way too far from the guy throwing the entry pass—far enough away that the guy could chuck a chest pass.
Doyle needs to realize his bid to nickname Michigan's point guard has failed and start using an outrageous Russian accent when he makes his Rounders references, but I'm slowly warming to him.
The rack: terrifying. Illinois's length started bothering Michigan immensely towards the end of the first half. After getting a couple shots blocked and seeing a couple others altered beyond recognition, Michigan players were extremely hesitant to take driving lanes and started settling for meh midrange stuff. Morgan was the lone exception, which was good—he was productive in the second half—and bad—a couple of the shots he put up were poor decisions early in the shot clock. Still mostly good.
This tendency had its worst expression on the back-to-back possessions late where Douglass and Morris both took step-back jumpers from the women's three point line. Those were bad shots for a lot of reasons, and it's hard to imagine either of them getting launched against, say, Penn State.
Final shot. Saw some e-complaints about Smotrycz not driving to the hole on Michigan's final possession but don't understand them. Smotrycz may not have been lighting it up from three but he also got blocked when he tried to go to the hole that one time and is not shooting a great percentage from inside the arc. Help defense would have arrived, and time's running down. You get an open three to win and you're a 38% shooter I think you should take it.
Bit before the final shot. The look on Beilein's face as he called timeout after Michigan had run 17 seconds off the clock when a two-for-one opportunity was staring them in the face was not exasperated enough, but for it to be exasperated enough he would have had to break the laws of physics. File under "young team" unless it happens again.
Seriously, make a shot. I have nothing useful to add. Just argh.
Mets Maize. Best bit:
Morris and Hardaway Jr. leadership dynamic. At this point, it's pretty clear they're the leaders of the team but it was interesting to watch them communicate between whistles. At one point, Morris yelled at Hardaway Jr. to "chill out". Unfortunately, they just never got on the same page: Morris with at least a half dozen forced penetrations without a single pass in the half court set, Hardaway Jr. hesitant to pull the trigger, pump fakes and generically drives and kicks. Early in the 2nd half, there was an awkward, back-and-forth turnover-fest by both teams that resulted in Tim Hardaway Jr. trying to push the ball, getting it stolen and an Illini cherry-pickin' jam on the other end.
As UMHoops pointed out on the twitters, Illinois has the best eFG% defense in the league for a reason—and Michigan let it get to them.
Dylan also points out that this was Michigan's best defensive game in a while:
Lost in the offensive struggles is the fact that this was Michigan’s best defensive game in Big Ten play. Michigan held Illinois to .90 points per possession and more impressively just .73 per trip in the second half. Michigan was abused by the high-low in the first half but made the right adjustments to negate Illinois’ size advantage in the second half. Illinois posted an eFG% of 48% – 56% on twos & 22% on threes – and only attempted 9 free throws on the game. Most importantly, Michigan did a great job on the defensive glass, grabbing 76% of Illinois’ missed shots.
A chunk of that was due to Illinois's troubles from three, but those rebounding numbers are impressive against a huge team. Michigan's moved up to 41st in defensive rebounding. (The one major misstep from Doyle and the PBP guy last night was repeatedly claiming Michigan was not a good rebounding team. They're well above average defensively; they get zero offensive rebounds but the overall gap is small. They're about average.)
Certainly Michigan is a game to worry about on paper. But the reality is that they're sloppy on offense, they take too many quick shots, they don't value the ball and they play multiple defenses, none particularly well.
Michigan is 19th nationally in turnover margin, 321st in pace, still 19th nationally in turnover margin, and plays 95% man with the occasional 1-3-1 possession. That's amazing.
The game did not.
Then you have 4 games, 1 at home, 1 on the road against Minnesota another against IU or Iowa and most likely Illinois or Minnesota again to get 2 more and get to 20.
sorry Brian, but "could of been"?
And I literally just got done bitching about that in the bitching thread.
One time when I was in 6th grade my father (played D-1 basketball for Tennessee Tech) told me on a last second play ALWAYS drive to the basket. Evan had a wide open lane and even as slow as he is had an opportunity to at least get fouled (which I think is a higher percentage chance of getting two then chucking a long 3) . Also if you want to stop that entry pass into Tisdale John Beilien should look into recruiting someone taller than 6'8". Just a suggestion. Lastly, what does JB tell these kids in the huddle with 30 seconds left "get into the offense?" The man has no ability to draw up any type of play to get an open look when the game is on the line. That is a problem.
Recruit someone taller than 6' 8"?
You mean like Benzing, Cronin, or Mcclimans?
Horford and Smotrycz.
You joined up just to post that?
1. Saying ALWAYS drive to the basket is stupid. No offense to your dad, but that's dumb. If I have my choice between a Smotrycz open three, a Smotrycz runner, and a Smotrycz power layup through Davis and Tisdale, I'm taking the three everytime. Especially if it is a potential winner on the road and the other two options only give you OT if successful.
2. Not only has Beilein recruited guys over 6'8", he's recruited five guys over 6'9". Maybe some of them weren't the best choices (Cronin, McLimans) but at least be right when you make an accusation. Also, it's time to just accept that Novak is this team's best four. Get over the height thing and look at production. He's the best option.
3. UM has run set plays pretty effectively this year, especially coming out of half and timeouts. Jordan Morgan has had several uncontested layups in these situations. I think Morris kind of froze up in this situation, but saying Beilein has no ability to draw up a play is incorrect and makes you look like you don't really watch the games.
1. I respect your opinion but you must be insane if you think John Beilien runs affective plays at the end of games or even coming out of timeouts. An Evan Smotrycz step back three to try and win the game is proof of this.
2. I literally laughed out loud when you mentioned Cronin and Mclimans. I guess you are right though I should have said "JB should recruit guys over 6'8 that can play in the big ten" My apologies. I don't deny that Novak is our best option at the four but that is the exact problem. This also goes back to recruiting guys over 6'8 that can play in the big ten.
3. "Jordan Morgan has had several uncontested layups in these situations." Wow great point. Stu Douglas has also hit several three pointers before. I don't watch the games? Why do you think Morris "froze" up in this situation. There is nothing going on in the offense. Perfect example is in their 2nd to last possession. They ran the shot clock down to 17 seconds I believe (30 seconds on the game clock) just running through their offense. They end up calling a timeout. They come back out and get right back into their offense which led to Darius Morris trying to create because nothing else is there and missing a layup.
1.) The last play last night was a designed isolation for Hardaway, but Illinois overcompensated for it and Hardaway kicked it over to a wide-open Smotrycz. Not a bad play, not a bad improvisation, just a bad result.
2.) We have three freshman bigs. Be patient.
Do you recall the previous 2 times Smotrycz took the ball to the rack?
I'll refresh your memory:
The more recent one resulted in Jereme Richmond spiking the shot so hard off the glass that it caused a fast-break going the other way for Illinois.
The time before he was stuffed by the bottom of the rim.
I have no issue with a 38% three-point shooter taking a wide-fucking-open shot for the win.
If it were up to me Smotrycz would have been nowhere near the ball at the end of the game. With that being said it ended up in his hands with a wide open lane. We will never know what the result would have been if he took it to the basket but I have always been taught if you have a chance to get to the basket on a last second play you take it. The percentages are better. You may not have a problem with Smotrycz taking a "wide-fucking-open shot for the win" but I pray you have a problem with how badly he missed that "wide open shot."
Negged. Look, it's an unpopular opinion, and not really right in my estimation either, but this is why there's a bitchfest thread. Because of people like you. Can we please not negbomb a noob for coherently expressing an unpopular opinion?
but I pray you have a problem with how badly he missed that "wide open shot."
Because Smotrycz should have had prior knowledge of hindsight.
Worst part about that game was clearly the outside shooting. A close second was Tim Doyle. I had to mute my television with about 4 minutes left in the first half. I'm gald someone else noticed.
Man, you lasted longer than I did. Tim Doyle is quickly approaching Chris Martin-level annoying.
Doyle annoys the living hell out of me and clearly worships at the altar of Bill Rafftery. I just cannot deal with all that over-emphasis of random words and forced phrasing. It's hard for me to say that I dislike him more than Bardo because Bardo is just completely inane and adds nothing at all to the game. But at least Bardo doesn't detract from it. I wound up turning the sound way down because I couldn't take it anymore. Probably after the idiot "chest pass" comment.
I'm kind of with Brian on Doyle. If he would focus more on being an analyst (which he's decent at) and less on being a personality (which is... not so good) he would have some potential.
People on the open thread here were definitely too negative on his analysis, which actually isn't bad, but I can't blame them as it's hard to get past the fact that he's EAR-BLEEDINGLY ANNOYING. It's not just the nicknames (which make Chris Berman sound clever), but his tone, and his propensity to say dumb shit at the expense the nuance I think he might otherwise be capable of providing.
Also, if anyone wants a good laugh, search "Tim Doyle" on Twitter during any game he calls. The Twitters are united in their hatred.
Is it me, or does it seem like he's trying kindof hard to build some sort of cartoon character type image? He had a goofy mustache about a week ago, and last night looked like a wannabe Don Cherry? His suit last night was outrageous.
Still, I didn't think his color was too bad.
I don't have a problem with his analysis of the game. I have an issue with all the stupid comments he makes throughout the game. It is like he is trying to impress someone or make a name for himself. Just give me what you see from an Xs and Os standpoint and be done with it.
PS the "Butterfly" is a dumb nickname. If anyone knows where Doyle came up with it feel free to inform me.
What are the Rounders references Doyle's been making? I haven't noticed any yet and I'm interested.
He said something about how Michigan was "Hanging around," in a terrible Teddy KGB accent.
Oh haha that's what I would've assumed, with like the Russian phlegm-filled accent? Well I never noticed it but thanks for clarifying
The cameraman really had an off night too. Was anybody else annoyed with that?
I don't know, i kind of like not being able to see the point guard. It adds suspense. /s
It's almost as good as not being able to see the corner. On several possessions I could only see 3 offensive players...
It hurts to lose that game by two, especially considering that if we made even one of our million missed wide open threes it would have been Illinois fouling us down the stretch to get the ball back. Still, this was the toughest of the final five games for us to win. It was a bad matchup due to Illinois' size and it was a road game. Few if anyone even gave us a chance to win this game.
The bad news is we now probably need to win every remaining game on our schedule. The good news is we can. All four games should be close, two are in A2 and the two road games are against IA and a MN team that is missing its starting point guard.
There are definitely worse guys out there.
I did love the Teddy KGB reference though!
The butterfly thing is annoying, but he is one of the better color guys analyzing games. And the fact that we even know his name means the annoying stuff at least gives him a personality. People need to be careful what they wish for -- BTN easily could come up with someone worse.
I actually enjoy his commentary when he's not doing one of our games.
I've been saying how bad Stu Douglas is from the moment he stepped on the court. I am not a big fan of a player who can only play three point line to three point line. As of late he can't even do that.
If you're gonna be Mr. High and Mighty on the kid, at least spell his goddamn name correctly.
It always amuses me when people show up to post after losses and never after wins.
It's not venting.
Showing up to say that Stu Douglass shouldn't be on the roster after his worst shooting night of the year is just gutless, and easy. Lets see him make the argument after Stu's few games before this.
I thought Stu shot the ball differently last night. His shot was too wristy or something. I would be willing to bet, if they look at film from Stu's good shooting games, the shot leaves his hands a little differently.
Maybe I'm nuts, but I 100% disagree on Douglass. He is limited when a guy tries to take him to the hole, but he is very solid off the ball and almost always in great position. This team doesn't have anyone who can defend a quick guard off the dribble. Singling out Douglass as getting torn up on the defensive end just doesn't match what I see.
I don't have the exact numbers, but UM was down about 10 when Morris came out mid second half and Douglass started running the point. That unit moved the ball very well, got some back door cuts and got back to within 1 before a McCamey three put Illinois up four right before Darius came back in. Douglass moves the ball around to the team and runs more of a conventional offense then Morris does. Morris is clearly a better overall player to be at the 1, but Douglass is not bad.
I can't figure out why he doesn't shoot a higher percentage though. HIs form looks perfect.
I agree with you, but I don't see a purpose in rationally debating with this guy. He thinks that a kid who is shooting a hair under 40% from three has no place on the floor, ever, for a D-I basketball team, despite the fact that even NBA plays guys like that on a regular basis (would Kyle Korver have a career?).
He talks about Stu's terrible defense, but glosses over the fact that the two guys he spent most of the night guarding went 3/12 from the floor for 7 points.
There was a post awhile back about playing time next year. I like Stu but I think his minutes will get reduced next year when Brundridge and Burke arrive. I think his senior leadership will be critical to success but he will have to adjust to fewer minutes.
Disagreements happen. I would encourage you to really watch him on defense on Saturday. I think he's nowhere near the liability he appears to be to you.
His assist:TO ration is actually not as good this year, but I think that's mainly from Morris eating up the assists. He has averaged 1.3, 1.1, and 1.2 TO per game for three years, so that's pretty consistent. Assists have gone from 2.1 to 2.5 to 1.6. It's no surprise his highest assist number was last year when there was essentially no functional PG on the court for most of the season. As for 3pt%, he would have been roughly 11th in the conference before last night's struggles, so that isn't terrible. The sample size for his free throw shooting is too small to really think about, though the airball against Indiana was bad.
Now I have to sit back and think about why I feel constantly compelled to defend him.
Whatever happens the rest of the season, if the team continues to give it all they have it will be a successful season. At this point they are a lock for NIT. Virtually nobody thought they would get there this season. There is still a chance for NCAA although as somebody pointed out there have been six games this year that, had the ball bounced the other way, NCAA chances would be really good.
This team has been so fun to follow and I will continue to do so wherever the postseason takes them. Also, next year is going to be interesting in both basketball and football.
I think Michigan does take too many quick shots, FWIW.
Doyle is the goofy guy in your physics section, who's in a frat you havent heard of and always has a 20oz with him.
and wants to know which party YOU are going to this weekend
When Doyle isn't campaigning for Goofball of the Year, I think he's actually a pretty good analyst. He makes some really good observations and even if some of his comments are off the wall, they never seem forced.
Stephen Bardo, OTOH, has a terrible speaking voice and is constantly talking himself into a corner. It's painful.
To figure out that Smote was correct in shooting the 3 there. If he drives and makes a contested layup, the game goes to OT. We are not a guarantee to win in OT. A made 3 wins the game 95% of the time.
Using those numbers,
.375*.95 = .356 to win outright if he makes 3.
The combination of making the layup + winning in OT would have to be greater than that. Even if you think we're even with Illinois (we're not), Smote has to be hitting that shot >70% of the time.