12/4/2018 – Michigan 62, Northwestern 60 – 8-0, 2-0 Big Ten
A: You should look at it as a compliment.
Q: I'm supposed to use the greatest invention in the history of humanity to go back seven hundred years in time to… I don't even know?
A: You guys have already repaired all of the really bad stuff. Nobody outside of this organization knows anything about World War II, Larry Culpepper, or Michigan Football from 2007-2037. This… this is what's left.
Q: And we have to spend our allocation or…?
A: Exactly. We get less next year.
Q: And this is what you want.
A: I mean… they made GIFs and everything. Look at it:
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) December 5, 2018
Q: This does not reflect well on the species.
A: It does not.
Q: I'm still unclear on the mission. Kill Hitler. Make Pitbull the permanent intergalactic president. Brain-swap Rich Rodriguez and Nick Saban. These are all defined goals. How am I supposed to prevent… that?
A: You could have a stern talk with him about the essential dignity of humanity and the importance of its preservation?
A: I see you've been on a college basketball head coach mission before.
Q: Yes, President Pitbull. The Izzident is the darkest day in our organization's history.
A: "First, do no harm."
Q: Violated. The first and only time.
A: Look, just change the refereeing structure of college basketball to be fundamentally less sycophantic to little Hitlers. Any coach venturing onto the court during play gets a tech.
Q: Now that's the kind of timeline revision I can get behind.
A: Make it so. Dale.
[After THE JUMP: the post gets marginally less silly]
Phew. Raise your hand if you were dead certain that prayer three attempt was banking in.
If Northwestern was going to win this game they were going to have to do it the way they did: by throwing up a bunch of garbage and watching it drop through the net. Vic Law hit 4 of 8 threes despite having maybe one good look, and there were maybe three buckets from anyone who spells his name right that weren't contested jumpers. All but one of Northwestern's three-pointers were off the bounce, and most were from NBA range. Scraping up to just under a point per possession was an anomalous event.
Meanwhile Michigan's offensive issues can be tracked back to one main thing: 0/8 from three from the guys who are questionable shooters (Simpson, Teske, Matthews), with five of those coming from Zavier Simpson. Simpson was dared to shoot on three consecutive second-half possessions and took up the challenge, clanking three straight threes. Michigan lifted him for Eli Brooks until the final minute.
Michigan blew out their most recent opponents by 17 and 19 by shooting 50% from three. Here they shot 25%. If they hit the five additional threes they win by… 17. That's obviously not likely to happen when you've got a quarter of those shots coming from Simpson, but there's the difference. Michigan shot 54% from two and had single-digit turnovers.
Not even that weird. People say that any road win in the Big Ten is good. While sometimes that's a way of downplaying a poor performance against a bad team, in this Big Ten they're probably right. Northwestern was 46th in Kenpom, and it was on the road, so the system only projected a 6-point win. Home/road is a boggling swing.
Iggy. Now up to #8 on the Kenpom Player of the Year standings. 26% usage, shooting 58/55 and 79% from the line with a top 250 FT rate. And he has a MAAR-esque TO rate. Came to Michigan's rescue time after time, blunting Northwestern runs with tough takes to the basket and shooting 50% from three. ORTGs of 138, 146, 165, and 123 in Michigan's four games against top-50-quality opponents.
Best player in the Big Ten? The only argument against him is that he's not occupying the absurd amounts of usage that Carsen Edwards and Ethan Happ are.
Pardon the banked-in three. "Dererk" Pardon had A Game, but it was very much a game of two halves. He had 16 points on 7-8 shooting in the first half; in the second half he had two shots. He made both, but he was largely shut off.
In the first half Northwestern ran a bunch of pick and roll on which the primary goal wasn't to get anything on that action but get Pardon established with deep post position, which he did well with. Attempts to post him up against Teske straight up in the second half didn't go well, as Teske was able to body him out of the paint. Pardon just kicked those entry passes back out. When he did get the ball in a somewhat threatening position Michigan was using Brazdeikis to double since his guy was not a shooter.
Can't blame the first half approach since I think pretty much everyone expected a one-on-one matchup between Pardon, who was bleah against Michigan last year, and Teske to go Michigan's way. Also Pardon hit that three and had a couple of lucky rolls when he hit the front of the rim.
Autobench complaints are off. Teske picked up some fouls and necessitated some Austin Davis time, during which Davis looked pretty bad and Northwestern caught up fast. Teske still got 32 minutes, as as a 7-footer in some foul trouble. There's a reasonable case that a Teske with zero fouls gets the same number of minutes.
Benching Matthews for stretches didn't have much impact on the game. Matthews was horrendously inefficient, with three points on 8 shot attempts. The first two were on an open court dunk. The third only came because a lane violation gave him a mulligan on a free throw. Isaiah Livers wasn't doing anything either but he wasn't using possessions to not score, at least.
About that backup C. Davis looked grim. He had zero shots, three fouls, and a turnover in seven minutes and he was indirectly responsible for Brazdeikis's sole TO of the game. Brazdeikis drove and threw up an alley-oop that Teske would have thrown down. Davis had it glance off the top of his hands.
I think Davis is getting more blame for the Northwestern spurt that came when he entered than he deserves. He didn't cause Simpson to turn a transition situation into an open court turnover and a fast break the other way, and one of his fouls was an absurd nothing call when Pardon jumped away from him to catch the ball. Here are Northwestern's makes on their run:
His only contribution to that run was the aforementioned ridiculous call he suffered. And the turnover, but I thought he was fouled on that as well. It was a fake dribble handoff where the guy on the guard ran right into him.
Buuuuut, yeah, the next four games are an opportunity to test-drive Johns and Castleton in case one of them can emerge into a 10 MPG player.
Hook and hold. I mean, I guess. Teske should have gone up with both hands, or at least tried to, to avoid that call. It is insane to me that we're stopping basketball games for minutes at a time to maybe call a foul for grabbing someone's arm. That's the second worst reviewable thing in sports*.
*[#1 is when hockey reviews goals in case they were offsides. Offsides shouldn't even exist in hockey. FACT.]