"Though I received no official response to these sophisticated and elegant tweets to the Illini Athletic Department, I would like to think that Beckman spent the evening prank calling everyone in Illinois named George McLellan and then ordering an absurd amount of hats off an internet haberdashery to hoard in his home's hat annex."
"Tonight we were reminded that Michigan is five years further down the road. Which means we have a long road ahead. The State Farm Center renovations start in a few hours and will run for three years. Let’s hope that when they’re complete, we’re Michigan."
1/26/2010 – Michigan 56, Michigan State 57 – 10-10, 3-5 Big Ten
Compelled to chip in on that occurrence. Thunder not meant to spoil. Zack Novak versus Kalin Lucas mandatory representation of last night's game.
I spent like 20 minutes looking for this because South Park Studios doesn't let you start clips at arbitrary points. But it was worth it. I present last night:
It's not like a win would have done much except make it more likely Michigan gets to .500 and therefore snags an NIT bid, but the basketball program fell into the state where Beat Rival is your season long ago. It would have been some vague redemption for this cursed year. It wasn't, obviously, because that's just the way 09-10 works. When it's all over I'll burn something in commemoration. Possibly the world.
Warn't a foul. Or rather it probably was but it was never going to to get called. (See Tim's post for the image getting passed around.) Sims pushed off to get open and fouled the State player about as much as he got fouled anyway. Still almost went down.
1-3-1… bzzt. When Beilein went into the 1-3-1 on the last possession I thought that was a mistake. The 1-3-1 is an extremely high pressure defense that offers up a lot of easy two-point looks. You're up one and playing a team that doesn't have a lot of shooters or take a lot of threes. If you're going to go into a zone it should be a post-packing one that tends to allow open looks from three, like the 2-3 Michigan has played infrequently. Also, the last time Michigan went to the 1-3-1 MSU sliced it open for a layup and a foul.
MSU didn't get a great shot but it was an open one from reasonable distance.
Start carrying razors. It's too bad that Laval Lucas-Perry doesn't have enough grit to bleed like a hemophiliac after getting elbowed in the nose, because other than the pool of blood that foul he took was a carbon copy of the one that got Manny Harris ejected last year. It would have been equally outrageous if Kalin Lucas had gotten the boot, of course, but shouldn't it have at least been a flagrant? You can give someone a flagrant without ejecting them and that elbow was face level. LLP did not have his face in the Kramer position where he just begs you to turn his cartilage into soup.
Paging the ghost of Gavin Groninger. It is ugly when you bring in a guy who can do exactly one thing and that guy can't do the thing. This is Stu Douglass, who's got an eFG% of 43.9 with a 15.6 usage rate. He's making 34% of his twos and 31% of his threes. I still think he's the best passer on the team and would be useful if he could hit the broad side of a barn with a nuclear bomb. It doesn't look like he can. Maybe he's just not getting many good looks? Last year he was only 33% from three, though. There's a lot of evidence that he's just not the shooter he needs to be.
Novak's kind of in the same boat—his 3PT% is an ugly 29%—but brings more Eckstein with him. Thanks to his relatively frequent rebounds his 2PT% is a healthy 54%.
Roster management. It's not Beilein's fault that Robin Benzing got stuck in Germany one year before the NCAA passed legislation to make kids like him—amateurs who have played on pro teams—eligible or that Ben Cronin's hip imploded, but not getting a big with any ability to play this year is a major failing. If Jordan Morgan could play at all yet he would be out there, missed practice time from his injury or not. Same with Blake McLimans. Beilein has a lot of guys who develop over the course of their careers; the team really needed someone to contribute right away.
Also, I know Kelvin Grady was not very good defensively, but he did make 36% of his threes last year—second on the team to CJ Lee—and would be useful. Were extreme amounts of pine that influenced him to take up football necessary? Would Grady have stayed if Beilein suggested he stick with it?
Manny. It's annoying but it's accurate to append the "…being Manny," isn't it? He's indisputably the best player on the team. Without him the Purdue game was a writeoff. He scored sixteen points, led the team in assists, and had five steals.
But holy crap: he's a 28% three-point shooter this year. Last year he was a 32% shooter. So why is he taking three contested three-pointers on which he does nothing except hold the ball and jack it up? He did the same thing at the end of the Alabama game this year, too. He just jacks up shots he has no business taking. It's one thing if he gets an open look—he was one of two on those—but to just hold the ball and then launch a bad shot without even attempting to run the offense is supremely lazy. Michigan probably converts at least one of those possessions otherwise, which is slightly important in a one-point game. I find him really frustrating.
Kenpom oddity. Michigan is now 58th in the Kenpom rankings, hardly off their pace from last year when they were 50th.
How this? Well, Kenpom also has a "luck" measure, which is basically the difference between your record and what Kenpom would expect your record to be given your performance. This year Michigan is 337th of 347 in this metric. Last year they were 131st, which is slightly above average. Related UMHoopstweet:
If my calculations are correct. Michigan is 2-6 in games that are within 4 pts in the final 2 minutes.
One more way in which this year is like having tiny gremlins stretch your scrotum across two counties.
The 1/3/1 trap did turn the game around and let Michigan get control of this game in the first half.
I know they got a alley oop dunk off a broken play during at least one possession in the second half when they broke it out, but otherwise I thought it was that D that almost allowed us to win.
I dont know. I could see an aggressive 2-3 zone working in that spot. But, i think JB probably figured it had been effectively forcing bad shots and turnovers throughout the game, why not go to well one more time?
I do agree on the Bigs and Morgan. He would be getting minutes, just out of sheer necessity, had he not been injured.
That said, a roster with McLimas, Morgan, Metrics and Horford is a lot bigger, more versatile and gives the rotation a lot more up front options that what Michigan has now or has had at any time really in recent years. We could establish some mismatches with that group of forwards down the line.
His numbers are somewhat depressed by the fact that he, for whatever reason, often ends up being the guy who has to shoot the ball when the shot clock is running out...Speaking of that, and Manny's frustrating shot choices, a major problem for the whole team is finding a way to get good looks. Manny is a good but not exceptional playmaker in the half court. No one else can penetrate to get himself or someone else a shot. Other than getting the ball to Sims, Michigan has little ability to create shots in the half court. Novak, Douglass, and Vogrich are good stand-still shooters, but someone has to set them up. That just hasn't happened this year...I fear that next year will be pretty rough for the same reason...Don't get me wrong, I love Beilein and I think that in the long run he'll have great success - to some extent he already has just by making the tournament last year.
"All of the doughnuts have names that sound like prostitutes."
I thought the announcers said Sparty still had one foul to give. So, if called, it would not have been a shooting foul. M would have gotten another inbounds attempt.
Life should not be a journey to the grave to arrive safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What A Ride!" HST
They had a foul to give and they gave it on the inbound to Sims with 3.5 remaining. That put them to 6, the next would have been 1 and 1. Given Sims free throw shooting, still no guarantee UM pulls it out. Maybe they call it on the shot, but that would have been tough.
Given our lack of bigs, I'm suprised Martell Webb never came up as a possible body. When he committed to play football, he was supposedly was going to try to play basketball too and was decently regarded at hoops. I realize he's only 6'5", but so is Novak and I could maybe see him as a Cormely from PSU type guy.
You can give someone a flagrant without ejecting them
Not in college. A flagrant is an automatic ejection. (FWIW, Harris's ejection last year was crazy. If you're swinging the elbows to get space and connect, it shouldn't be a flagrant unless it's obvious that you were trying to whack him. Elbow someone in the groin as you're running up court, Devan Dumes-style, and it's definitely a flagrant.)
I don't necessarily agree that Manny is obviously the best player on the team. Can you imagine Purdue without Sims, or any game without Sims? Maybe Manny's draft stock is higher, but as far as conference play goes I'd say Sims has been about as dominant as anyone not named Evan Turner.
"as painful as tiny gremlins stretch your scrotum across 2 counties." Awesome. I LOL-ed.
Look, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass are role players at best in the Big Ten. Until they become role players at Michigan, we'll struggle. Love the hustle, love the grit, etc. but those kids can't play with the more athletic big ten 2,3 and 4s. It ain't happening and Michigan is probably a couple years away from making the tournament again. Michigan needs to get more athletic (please Trey Ziegler k thnks) and Michigan needs more size.