Angry Michigan basketball hating God
It is time that we recognized and understood who really is behind all this and has led far too many of you astray into blaming various deities and God. IT'S SATAN!!!!!
I say that this has all been the sneaky and underhanded work of the Prince of Darkness, old Satan himself. Since Bo passed from earth to heaven just prior to the 2006 OSU game, Satan is no longer afraid of any current Michigan Men on Earth and thus has been messing with us mightily! This has allowed the Devil to sneak in and strike us down with all sorts of dastardly plans and injuries and referee screw-ups and what not. Obviosuly, Lucifer has cut a sweetheart deal and posesses the souls of Jim Tressel, Charlie Weiss, Tom Izzo, MSU, OSU, Miami's hockey coach (no doubt signed just after last year's NCAA finals collapse!), and a very large portion of the people who inhabit the dastardly state of Ohio!
First of all, I attended both schools and so I always make an effort to try and see their matchups each year. I grew up rooting for IU basketball (mother's alma mater) and Michigan football (father's) and have learned to cheer for the other when they're not playing each other. A few thoughts from section K today:
1. The game was sloppy altogether. There was bad coaching and worse officiating on both sides. For most of the game it was fun to watch only because it was my two universities playing each other.
2. Indiana's youth is developing nicely for a set of first-year players. People moaning over how horrible a loss this was for Michigan need to have a reality check. Assembly is never an easy road win. It's a bad loss, certainly, but IU has the ability to win half their Big 10 home games this year. This is not last year's CCRB pickup game team.
3. I was disappointed with the defensive game plan Coach Beilein implemented today. IU is a smart basketball team. What they aren't, is terribly athletic and strong with the ball. When Michigan was playing the aggressive 1-3-1 trap IU was having a lot of trouble. I guess they wanted to switch into the 2-3 to confuse a young team? To me, on the surface it doesn't make sense. IU was playing 4 guards: Jones and Dumes who played a full Big 10 schedule last year, and Hulls (Indiana Mr. Basketball that is terribly overmatched athletically but absolutely knows the game) and Rivers... coaches kid. You're not going to confuse them with a pansy 2-3. Was Beilein that scared of Pritchard beating them in the post? It made no sense.
4. Coach Crean was equally poor in his late game game coaching. I've never been a fan of his Marquette teams at the end of games and it's starting to leak into his Indiana teams. Too many times the shot clock ran down with no coherent set being run. Say what you want about Knight, but the guy would have had a game plan to deal with those defenses at the end of the game. Also, keeping Rivers, who is a complete head case at the line and Pritchard, who is brick city from the line on the floor late in a close game is suicide. Rivers already lost one game to freaking Loyola for this team because he couldn't hit his freebies. He almost did it again.
5. Michigan actually got lucky to play their IU game when the students weren't there. Announced attendance was 15,032 but I'd be shocked if it was more than 13,500. Still, IU's crowd will get behind a team that is playing hard, and for the last 10 minutes today it was a pretty loud atmosphere. Other teams will face a more difficult task.
6. It was fun for me as a born Hoosier to watch Novak and Douglas come home to Indiana and succeed. Crean has been open in saying that he wishes he had been coach at IU early enough to recruit Novak as the kid apparently wanted to come to Bloomington initially but Sampson happened.
7. In the end it seemed IU just wanted each other to succeed more than Michigan did. Players were diving after loose balls and encouraging each other. It's a lot of fun as a fan to root for a team like that. There was one play with about 8 minutes left where a jump ball occurred under Michigan's basket with two IU players and Sims (I think) were on the ground. Immediately the other Indiana players rushed to help their teammates up. Michigan's other 4 guys just stood around until, and I'm not kidding, the referee helped Sims up! I wasn't happy to be a Michigan fan at that moment.
Finally, midway thru the second half they showed a video clip from 1993 of probably the greatest Big 10 game I ever watched when #1 IU and #4 Michigan went down to the wire at Assembly. It made me realize that that was the last year both programs were truly relevant. I think they're both headed back. We as fans just need to be patient. Good game today. Go Blue and Go Hoosiers.
The first Michigan basketball game I ever watched was the 1998 NCAA second round game against UCLA. Suffice to say, my Michigan basketball fandom has not seen as much success as my football fandom. To me, hearing older basketball fans proclaim, "Damn it, we should be competing for national championships!" is like hearing a 90 year old Minnesota football fan proclaiming the same thing.
I did not cry when Michigan lost the epic 1 vs 2 battle against OSU in 2006. Yet, for some reason I cried on selection Sunday in 2006 when I found out the Michigan basketball team, led by Senior Daniel Horton, did not make the tournament. I think it's because at that moment I felt like the Greek mythology character Sisyphus, rolling the Michigan basketball boulder up a hill, only to see it roll back down, and finally realizing that it is my fate to repeat this task for eternity.
For me, Michigan basketball has always been a prime example of Murphy's Law. It's as if the Greek gods still existed, choosing me as the pitiful human to torture for fun. Whether it's Jamal Crawford leaving early, an NCAA ban, Daniel Horton choking his girlfriend, a chokejob against Minnesota, a whiffed dunk against Ohio State, or an Ekpe Udoh transfer, it's always been "something" that prevents Michigan from making the tourney. Whatever can go wrong has. I have screamed out in agony, "Why does this keep happening!" I just want Michigan basketball to be "back", whatever that's supposed to mean.
Going to Crisler this season has reminded me of one of those underdog sports movies like Hoosiers. An empty gym vs Michigan Tech, followed by more and more people and culminating with a court rushing vs Duke, the best sporting event I have ever attended. Then the inevitable crash back to earth happened. Missed 3 pointers, 6 foot 3 Freshman playing PF, a whole bunch of losses, and the dread of knowing the Angry Michigan hating basketball God is at it once again. I will not believe Michigan is in the NCAA tourney until it is a redshirt sophomore living on Geddes.
Then with on swift elbow to the nose early in the 2nd half yesterday, I realized that this season really is going to be one of those sports movie type seasons. It's now us vs the world. So over the next 2 months I will scream at every missed 3, go exstatic at every made 3, laugh my ass off at all Zach Gibson dunks, and most importantly, I will believe. Cause I guess what I am trying to say is that if I can still be on the Michigan basketball bandwagon and believe after these last 10 years then certainly you cranks old fucks who had the privelege to witness the Fab Five and the 1989 team play can still believe too. The stone will make it to the top of the hill.