Niko Porikos grew up in an NTDP billet home. Cool story.
Wisconsin game thoughts
So, several thousand fans including myself managed to squeak into Crisler today to watch the baskteball team hang tough for a half and then fall apart in the second. I did not have a very good time. The team is hard to watch. Losing basketball teams are always frustrating but somehow this team manages to really get my jibs awry. Also, my seats were directly in front of two of the dumbest people in the history of the world. They complained about absolutely everything that went wrong in the especially overbearing and annoying fashion of guys who go to a game sort of hoping that their team loses so they can get their crabbing in. Also, and I kid you not on this, instead of swearing they used phrases like "Jiminy Christmas!" and "Gosh darn it!" and "Oh for the love of Pete!" It was straight out of Fargo, man.
Anyway, the game:
- I'll start with my usual referee diatribe. Awful again as usual, missing some unbelievable calls. They swung from letting them play to whistling everything to letting them play again, no consistency. I think the main reason that I'm not particularly into college basketball is that I get incredibly angry every game at the refereeing. Even wins.
- I hate Michigan's offense. Far too often it consists of passing it around the perimeter from wing to post to guard until the shot clock winds down or someone takes a bad three. There is very rarely any controlled penetration early in the shot clock. Good screens are rare. Half the time our posts are out on the perimeter instead of establishing good position inside. It is, in a word, purposeless. No shots are generated by it, instead our players must create for themselves constantly, and Michigan doesn't have the Ben Gordon or Dee Brown type guy who can drive an offense by himself.
- Wilkinson can play, man. That guy is a classic example of a college player who is perfect for his team and NCAA ball but has little chance of making it in the NBA. I would have appreciated not leaving him open all day, though. I mean, seriously, the guy has 18 points by halftime and you're still sagging off him to pretend-double some guy in the post? You're asking for him to rain a three on you.
- Daniel Horton may have injured his other knee with two minutes left in the game, so I don't want to rag too hard on him, but... Michigan would be a prime candidate for a Ewing theory revival if they weren't as deep as the Hilton sisters. He turns the ball over too much, takes too many bad shots, and doesn't effectively run an offense to get people easy looks. I don't think he's the player we thought he would be as a freshman because Michigan is, or at least should be, a better team now. As a freshman he was the whole team, so any shot he took was a good one because there was no one else. But he can't effectively use his teammates, which is why we really haven't improved.
- What was the deal with extending everyone's pain down a billion points with two minutes to go? The last thing I needed sitting in front of the Gundersons was a parade to the free throw line. Someone needs to tell Michigan that there's no twenty-five point basket. This ain't Rock N Jock.
- I seriously am starting to question Amaker's ability to coach. His hyperaggressive defense early in the second half while the refs were in "call everything mode" got Horton in foul trouble and basically ended the game. As discussed, the offense is basically useless. Players have not developed under him. Is there anyone on the team who's significantly better now than when they arrived at Michigan? Maybe Graham Brown, but he still can't make three-footers. He's got two more years before anyone will think of making a move (and he should get those years), but my level of hope that he'll turn the ship around isn't great. I don't see any signs of improvement.
And that's it. College basketball has been an excercise in frustration for as long as I can remember and it looks like that won't change any time soon.