Niko Porikos grew up in an NTDP billet home. Cool story.
Hosted by Varsity Blue. We'll get started shortly before the game.
Getting started shortly before the game, which begins at 7.
The hosts of this liveblog normally write at The Hoover Street Rag.
7:00 PM. Hello, Gary Thorne. Hello, Barry Larkin. Larkin kind of has Marcelo Balboa disease where he just repeats himself over and over and over again, but he's an alum so we forgive him. Also he doesn't rock an ear stud and Slayer hair.
Let's not see if this Stutes kid can do what Reyes did. Because that would be the suck.
7:04 PM. JEBUS! For the record, if you're the kind of person who turns Google's Safe Search off because you don't quite trust it to not throw away useful results in the name of Saving the Children and you type "beaver" into Google Image search, you get:
- Hits 1 & 2: Pictures of actual beavers.
- Hit 3: @ right.
- Hits 4 & 5: pictures of, um... not actual beavers.
Also later there are the infamous pictures of Britney Spears letting it all hang out. And I mean "hang."
Anyway. Baseball. Soon.
Top 1. I realize it's relevant to the game, but if they could stop talking about yesterday that would be sweet.
Christian fires the first pitch of the game to the warning track. It's nice that we got a ball out of the infield. I don't understand why the guys hitting like .360 or .370 aren't at the top of the order. I know it doesn't matter, statistically, but it's kind of odd.
Stutes walks the second batter; encouraging notes from last 3 starts: 7.07 ERA, 11 BB, 12 K. Nearly picks the runner off twice, but I like this guy a lot better than Reyes already... dammit. Reck flies out on a hit and run and we get doubled up to end the inning. Strategy grumble grumble.
Bottom 1.Canadian Mike Wilson on the mound. First batter strikes out. That is what I am talking about. That.
Larkin makes a good point that the pitchers aren't pounding the zone quite as much as they were yesterday -- Oregon State isn't, certainly, though Putnam put a few guys on base with walks -- as Wilson runs his guy to 3-2 and then strikes him out with some wicked offspeed stuff.
Falls behind the third batter 2-1, then strikes him out... but the ball gets away and the batter takes first. Pickens didn't do much of a job getting in front of the ball.
Side note: is that not one of the weirdest rules in sport? Dammit: another wild pitch sends the runner to second. Pickens again faulty. Those are charged as wild pitches, but both should have been dealt with.
Cleanup guy walks. Yuck. Behind 2-0 to the next guy. Yuck. Ball well outside the zone swung at wildly; fortunate. Misses inside. 3-1. Fastball right down the middle taken for a strike... payoff pitch; swing and a miss. One inning, 4Ks for Wilson. Not a good start for his pitch count.
Top 2. Putnam goes down swinging kind of weakly. I am enjoying Gary Thorne doing this game, by the way. Some people don't like him; these people are communists.
There are entire families of people perched in scaffolding just outside the ballpark. Larkin compares them to people displaced by Katrina. Um. Long fly out from Abraham; two down. Dude, Pickens went in the 50th round of the MLB draft. He could have been Mr. Irrelevant. After all, he was drafted by the Indians. (ba-dum ching!) Pickens chases high; inning over.
I would like the team to hit the ball.
Bottom 2. I would also like Canadian Mike Wilson to throw strikes. He falls behind 3-0, then throws two strikes right down the middle. Grounder up the middle for the first out. Nice play from Christian.
Larkin starts talking about this weird fieldturf stuff Oregon State plays on. It is slow, as is apparent to anyone who watched the first game and its groundball orgy, and I don't like it much. You're outside, man, play on grass. Hell: you're outside in Oregon. If you can't grow grass in Oregon there is something wrong with you.
Meanwhile: Wilson hits a batter and runs another count to 3-2. Beaver runners terrified of Wilson's pickoff move. Wilson already at 44 pitches; walks the next batter. I should probably throw this out while I still have time:
Aaaand a double steal from Oregon State. No throw? WTF? Wilson has the batter at 3-1. This is going poorly. Walks him. Bases loaded, nobody out, it's talky time. Maybe I should never liveblog again.
Wilson starts the next hitter off with a ball in the dirt. OMG. Ball two. I... strikes? No. Ball three. Ball four. Walked him on four pitches. Has walked a run in. There have been no hits in this inning. 1-0 OSU. Next pitch is way outside, and Wilson is gone. Ugly.
Pitching change: Mike Powers is in. I really hope this doesn't go like that Louisville game yesterday; they kept a play-by-play on the right side of the screen and it seemed like every time I looked at it, it said "pitching change." Powers walks in another run on three straight pitches. What, is this the one year I played little league?
Barney hits a single; 2 RBI in. Now 4-0 OSU. No hitter gone. Drat. Oregon State steals second. Powers throws three straight balls. Greenlighted on 3-0, Lissman fouls it back. And he takes a chop at a fastball way inside, blooping it to Christian for an... out? I think they're called "outs." Unless the language has shifted since the last time we got one. Do we have rocket cars yet?
Powers strikes out the final batter. I can say without reservation that this has been the most frustrating inning of baseball I've ever watched.
Arrrgh! I hate you Comcast lady!
Top 3. Oregon State has four runs and one hit. I can't help but notice that I didn't even watch that Vandy game, which worked out just fine.
Hey, a hit. Van Buskirk slaps a single past the shortstop. A desultory cheer from the beleaguered crowd. See... why are the guys batting .385 and .371 7th and 8th in the lineup? Maybe they never walk or something. Cislo strikes out. Rose nearly gets a bunt single, but it rolls foul. Eventually flies out.
Long digression on aluminum vs. wood bats as Christian is attempting to not strike out. He does not succeed at this. EOI.
Bottom 3. Chopper is just over Powers' head and slips into the outfield. Leadoff single. Do I have to institute a basketball-esque mercy rule? Powers strikes the next guy out with a slider. I wonder what would happen if they stopped swinging? Most of the stuff they have taken rips at has been well out of the strike zone. Next batter is a virtual repeat: strikes out on the slider. Two down.
Note from yesterday: OSU's road uniforms are sinfully ugly. Like Terrail Lambert attempting to cover Mario Manningham ugly. The pinstripes, the orange numbers, the white "OSU" across the chest that looks like it was assembled out of construction paper by autistic second graders. What is it with the state and their campaign against your eyeballs?
Lederton (?) fends a pitch off into the outfield for a single; runners on the corners. Powers strikes out the third batter. End of inning.
I can't believe it's the end of the t
hird inning. Yesterday it was the sixth or something.
Top 4. Oh, also: someone left a snarky comment along the lines of "you can't CATCH the ball, you have to BLOCK it." This was two innings and six Barry Larkin mentions of this little piece of wisdom ago. You see what I mean about Marcelo Balboa disease.
Groundout opens the inning. Recknagel pops out. Putnam strikes out. What happened to this .330 batting average?
Bottom 4. That Wong kid who hit the one hit of yesterday is apparently the first base coach's kid. He flies out to Recknagel and his dad looks like he's totally going to give that kid a... piece of his mind later. Single to center.
Coverage of Arena Football! Joy. Barry Larkin seems disappointed there are no rattlesnakes in Oregon.
Abraham muffs a potential DP ball, probably because of the stupid turf, but gets the putout at first. Man on second, two down. Barry Larkin loves fishing. He attempts to relate this to the rattlesnakes comment. I don't think it's working. Larkin does rip on the turf, though, after relating a story -- Powers issues a walk --about the "grass seed capital of the world". I'm with him and wouldn't mind him repeating this eighty times the next two innings.
Ack. Wild pitch, runners now at second and third. Pickens tried to CATCH it, not BLOCK it. Actually relevant this time, though. Powers falls behind 3-0 to the next batter. Woo! Manages to get it full and get a groundout to end the inning.
Top 5. Abraham pulls a potential double just a little foul, then grounds out. Pictures of Barry Larkin from back in the day. Second batter flies out. Cislo strikes out.
THINGS I HAVE ENJOYED MORE THAN THIS GAME SO FAR
- The Offspring
- packing peanuts
- "History Of Africa After 1850", AACS 450, as a freshman.
- getting circumcised.
Bottom 5. Leadoff batter walks on four pitches. Powers is done; Fetter, the scheduled starter for a hypothetical game three, has entered the game. Sac bunt; man on second, one out. AAAAAARGH. Fetter down 3-0 in the count; walks the first guy who's not all bunting at him.
I'm mildly surprised that three of eight top seeds making it to Omaha is regarded an unusually low number. Fetter falls behind 3-1, then just barely gets the corner to take the count full. Fetter walks the guy. Eight walks.
Squeeze play suceeds; 5-0 OSU, second and third and two out.
"Wong is rising to the occasion." Stupid O.
And, hey, we've got to get these runs in somehow, preferably weird... Fetter balks in another run and we've got a double that picks up the other baserunner. Michigan is down 7-0. Mercy rule? Mercy rule.
Screw you guys, I'm going home.
12:02: I know I condemn Michigan to a painful loss by doing this, but this was going to be a painful loss anyway. Lavin's just gotten off a zinger, publicly wondering if UCLA's loss to Cal means they have to look for a new coach.
The much-cracked on Nike hammerpants-muscle shirt combo is a letdown and only looks kind of ridiculous.
Michigan starts with a TO, defends well enough to get a miss, and then Jerrett Smith gets downcourt for a transition layup. A couple of possessions later, Ohio State gets the same thing. And hey, Abram did something, penetrating from the high post against the zone and getting a FG.
Lavin: "both teams sharper than yesterday." Astute to point out that while Michigan shot 29%, Ohio State shot 0% yesterday. He then praises Michigan's ball movement with Dion Harris 29 feet from the basket with 6 seconds on the shot clock. And then he hammers this "no one can shoot at the United Center" theory in... color me a skeptic.
Um, Smith just penetrated and challenged Oden for a tying layup, then he throws the ball away in the backcourt. OSU timeout; they lead 6-8.
12:10 PM. Zone out of the timeout leads to a wide open OSU three; down. Another Smith turnover; Harris charge. I would normally go "arrrrgh" here, but... uh... whatever. 6-11 at the first official break. These BW3's commercias are awful.
Lavin claims that Michigan -- on pace for 40 turnovers -- has come out well offensively. Sims picks up his second foul already, which is bad because no one else has the raw size to contend with Oden. Watching Udoh trying to check him is comical.
Petway gets a slam to cut the lead to five... Ron Coleman attempts to check in still in his warmups, and the PBP guy says "you expect that from a freshman, not a junior." Tom Izzo's guys all know how to dress by the time they're sophomores. (Unless... perhaps Coleman's trying to one-up the hammerpants?)
Anyway... the Michigan offense consists mostly of the usual: passing it around the perimeter until someone has to try futile penetration and put up a tough shot.
I feel robbed that that Terwilliger guy from OSU doesn't have Anderson Varejao's hair. I mean, seriously.
12:22 PM. Michigan is frickin' airballing and bricking all manner of good looks from three. The solution? Reed Baker, Rain Maker! Or maybe he'll just check in and not do anything... except nail a three! You can't stop him. Now 11-13... Lavin calls Ivan Harris a "hired gun," ummm Boban... Lavin is going nonstop about Michgian's "pluck" or whatever... Lavin talks about the UC's great hotdogs... would someone please frickin' hire this guy?
It's 12-16 with 9:05 left in the half; they're showing Matta's kids eating pizza and talking about his gum thing; Michigan throws the ball from the frontcourt all the way to the backcourt. I hate this team sometimes. Oden gets a putback on the weak side. Michigan's playing pretty well on D, actually. Another turnover leads to a fast break OSU basket and they're up 8. Sims gets another offensive rebound (Deshawn, that is) and gets an and-one after an Oden foul. 14-20 at the under-8 break.
12:32 PM. Our RPI went nowhere with the Minnesota win. Lavin again with the UCLA stuff: "it doesn't take much to get on the hotseat at UCLA." Michigan has eight offensive rebounds on just 10 missed shots. I can't believe we have only ten missed shots. I can't believe we've rebounded eight of those. I can believe we have enough turnovers to require scientific notation. (Ron Lewis with another professional jumper from just inside the three-point line against our zone; Abram responds with an Abram three.) Lavin: "there are some advantages to the zone." Butler jacks up a three a million miles for the line; Petway tough alley-oop catch and conversion! PBP guy compares Petway to Michael Jordan. Um, okay.
Oden is playing against a guy who's tiny compared to his leviathan torso and continually goes to those hooks. Not exactly bulling Michgian over. Teams exchange threes; C. Sims throws up an ugly shot that leads to an OSU fastbreak; Lavin breaks out "sharing the sugar" again. Athletic directors of the country: Steve Lavin is the greatest coach in the universe and you would be a fool not to hire him. Under four T0, OSU up 6.
12:41 PM. D. Sims knocks down a jumper from just inside the line with the shot clock dying. Ees nice. Harris missed 3; OREB; Harris gets an Oden foul and shoots two. Ohio State fans must be livid about their defensive rebounding in this game. Lavin compares Amaker to Bill Walsh and Tom Landry... is Wooden not enough? Loose ball foul on OSU leads to more free throws. Lavin STILL comparing stuff to football. D. Sims misses the first end of a one-and-one. :( Conley puts in a circus shot to finish the half. Bleah. Down 29-34 when it could have been one.
1:05 PM. Oden finally spins to the basket instead of relying on that hook. Woo... Smith dives for a loose ball and finds Sims underneath all alone. Oden hook is missed. Oden has committed like three fouls in the first two minutes of the half... he's not in the NBA yet, jackasses.
Dammit, I hate replay. Those were clean. Grumble how about an upfake, Courtney? 11th turnover of the game. Oden hits one of those hooks; lazy Harris pass is almost a TO... Harris airballs a wide open three... HOW IS THAT NOT A CHARGE? Petway misses a putback dunk. We're down ten now at the under-four break.
1:11 PM. After the TO we throw another sloppy pass that's nearly a turnover. Conley gets Moosed by Petway; Conley's dad has a good laugh about it. Cook 3; OSU shooting 55% to our 33% and has only turned the ball over twice. Abram gets an open three and knocks it down. Smith does the same on the next possession and it's back to six. We fail to box out -- Abram! you're like 100 years old -- and Cook goes to the line for two. Sims apparently got hit on the throat trying to get a rebound on an Udoh make. Lavin wonders if he has "a sensitive Adam's apple." Tim Hardaway hates Steve Lavin!
1:23 PM. We're down five again, by the way. This game has a "Playstation 2" game track, which is really weird. Playstation 3? Udoh picks up a cheap foul; OSU OREB; putback, missed Michigan FG; fastbreak layup; we're down nine; TO.
1:27 PM. Horrible shooting, horrible Smith turnover... charge on Cook. Only OSU's fourth turnover. Smith hits a 3. OSU has given up way, way too many open looks at three when they've got Oden inside and no real Michigan post threat. Looked like Oden got totally hacked; no call; Matta T. In the Big Ten, everyone gets sodomized sooner or later. Harris knocks down both FTs and Michigan is within 4 with the ball. Cheap perimeter foul on Butler sends Abram to the line for a one-and-one... which he misses. Fourth time in two games against OSU that we've missed the front end of a one-and-one. Sims picks up a bullcrap foul trying to check Oden. Big Ten refs are garbage. Hey, how about another nothing foul on a Michigan post? Okay!
Abram wide open three in transtion -- OSU is just not getting out on Michigan shooters -- and Michigan is now within three. This is why I question Matta somewhat: his teams often display evidence they're not very well coached. Witness the lackluster performances against PSU, the offensive rebounding today, the defensive shortcomings, the weird addiction to that press in the first game. It doesn't matter if you can recruit Oden and Conley, though -- and given OSU's classes down the road, Matta's recruting is no freak occurrence.
Oden and one again. Hurray. TO under 8, Michigan down five with an Oden FT coming.
1:40 PM. Is a 16-9 run really a run? Smith gets himself buried under the basket; TO. Oden inside for another bucket. Taking over. Lewis fouled, going to the line, after an ugly Michigan possession. OSU about
to put this one away. Lewis hits both and the lead is 10.
The NIKE uniforms do look pretty stupid. Wide open Conley three; lead 11 after some Harris FTs. It looks like OSU has duct tape on their shoulders. There's a weird little silver patch.
If you met Greg Oden on the street, how old would you think he is? Like... 800, right? You can't be that enormous and craggy without having hit your eighth century. OSU alley-oop.
Yeah, this game's over. We're down 11 with under five and have just turned it over again. So let's talk coaching.
Amaker should be fired. I wouldn't be opposed to him becoming the women's coach if keeping his wife around is really important, though.
What are the chances he is fired? I don't know. Detroit newspaper columnists keep writing things about how he definitely won't be but there are rumblings from within the program that he's in trouble. There are probably two warring camps, which we'll call "Camp Fire Amaker" and "Camp Crispy Pops."
The Crispy Pops people speak the language of dumb and are thus natural allies of Terry Foster and Drew Sharp. Of course they'll report Amaker's not going anywhere. It may even be true, but I don't think it's a given. Martin has backed off his previous statements and is engaging in careful AD-speak. Usually it's "we'll evaluate him after the season" -- Michigan turnover -- which is a far cry from the "we're joined at the hip" of a year ago -- helpful ESPN graphic shows he's made one NCAA tourney in 10 years as a coach.
So I'm saying there's a chance. Unless Bill Martin wants the worst attendance in a long, long time -- this year was already the worst since 1982 -- he has to make a change. And it's not like Michigan, which loses Harris, Abram, Sims, and Petway, is poised to improve next year. The backcourt is going to be freshmen and Smith. Our posts will be sophomores and freshmen. We have no one to play the wing, really. Unless Amaker proves he's a different coach than ten friggin' years indicates, that team's headed for the NIT, too.
The most realistic candidates are going to be mid-major guys. I suppose we can take a run at Mike Montgomery or a fired Tubby Smith, but this program is no longer at the level where it can get a Gillespie from A&M. So you're looking at a guy from Winthrop or Southern Illinois or somewhere in the MVC, most likely. Or Mike Debord.
72-62 final. NIT games coming up at Crisler; I suggest you show up as an empty seat.