The Aneurysm Of Leadership Comment Count

Brian January 28th, 2011 at 12:40 PM

1/27/2011 – Michigan 61, Michigan State 57 – 12-9, 2-6 Big Ten

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left two Melanie Maxwell, AnnArbor.com

A couple years ago Michigan fans were wondering if they really had something or if an unexpected win against UCLA was just a one-off when they took on Duke in Crisler arena. Michigan won that game, and the moment I remember most was Zack Novak holding his follow-through an ostentatiously long time. He'd just hit a three pointer to push Michigan well in front that sent Crisler into honest-to-God hysterics. It was an ungritty thing to do, but if anyone can justify a little flash now and then it's Zack Novak.

Yesterday Novak had what can only be described as a leadership aneurysm. It was the grittiest twitchy, alarming fit anyone's ever had. MSU fans rushed to put it on the internet the better to mock him by:

This worked out about as well as painting "1,181" across your hairless, AXE-laden chests.

You know this, but: 6 of 8 from three, 19 points, six rebounds, two assists, a steal, and various dogged things that don't show up in the box score but contribute to the bottom line. In the aftermath of the game David Merritt tweeted something about how if you question Zack Novak's importance to the team you "don't understand team sports*". That and math.

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Because Michigan followed up a series of promising performances against elite teams with road duds against Indiana and Northwestern, beating Michigan State won't mean anything outside of the thing itself. Michigan's not likely to get even an NIT bid because of the win. Before my fiancée fell asleep for the second half she remarked that even though Michigan was in front "they make everything seem so hard," and they do.

Michigan is aimless. The announcers kept talking about Michigan taking a lot of time off the shot clock like that was a special strategy for this game when they're almost as slow (327th) as they are young (337th) and played at the exact same pace against South Carolina Upstate. When it's going well they're "deliberate," but to my eyes it's a team that doesn't really know what it's doing. They're forced to improvise when time gets low after chucking it around the perimeter for 20 seconds. It's almost exactly what Amaker teams did down to pulling the big out of the lane to provide a low-threat passing option as the ball cycles around the three point line.

The most eye-opening section of the season was the first half against Northwestern, when the Wildcats team ran a series of intricate cuts that opened up Michigan's defense for a rain of open threes and drives into the lane against mis-positioned defenders:

Michigan gets a lot of that from Darius Morris but Northwestern gets it from all over. Morris has an astronomic assist rate but if you compare the teams there are seven(!) Wildcats between him and Stu Douglass, Michigan's #2 guy. Despite the hype about Beilein, right now Michigan's offense boils down to "do something, Darius."

Fortunately for Michigan, Darius Morris has proven pretty good at not only that but twisting down the lane and getting awkward shots to fall. He was somehow 5 of 8 from inside the arc despite his teammates assisting on zero of his buckets; most of those were Dion Harris-style "well, someone has to put it up" buckets while swarmed in the lane. Combine that with near 50% three-point shooting and a you've got the recipe for an upset.

You don't have something sustainable to go back to the rest of the season.

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Michigan's going to get better the rest of the way, but it might be hard to tell because of noise. They'll probably even get better more quickly than more experienced teams. IE, all teams. They still won't be very good. That's okay. Beating Michigan State at Breslin hasn't happened since I was a freshman in college—JESUS—and while it's very Sparty to say they can pack it in the rest of the year and there will still be some satisfaction from the season, it's also true. As a self-contained thing it is the best of all basketball things.

In the larger picture it's just one of those games when Colton Christian hits an 18-footer as the shot clock expires. They happen. Where this game gives hope is for the offseason, when Zack Novak will call for a captain's practice and the his teammates will remember he was the man who sprayed gore all over the Breslin Center and showed Michigan State it was theirs.

*[He also mentioned that he used to throw "Office" quotes back and forth with Douglass.]

Non-bullets and whatnot

Not a vintage MSU team. At some point in early in the game a goofy white guy did something bad and I was about to kick something when I realized he was playing for Michigan State. Late in the first half I was wondering why the goofy white guy never came off the floor when the announcers mentioned his name, which was a different name, and I looked at their numbers and they were different too and it dawned on me that there were two goofy white guys who only did bad things splitting 40 minutes of playing time. One of them was an elf who bakes cookies.

It was at this point hope dawned.

Novak and Stu as reasons for Beilein hope. They're obviously better than Smotrycz on a possession-to-possession "oh God, what was that?" level, and I'd throw in Hardaway and his addiction to chucking up not-very-good shots in there too. Novak and Douglass were just as shaky as freshmen. Douglass had the same disease Hardaway does. Now they have the best eFG% on the team excepting easy-bucket machine Jordan Morgan. Douglass was a conscience free gunner his first couple years; now his usage rate is in the "limited roles" category and his three point percentage is a point short of 40%.

If Hardaway and Smotrycz can advance at the same pace they can be those guys plus three inches each. I'm relatively serene about Beilein's bulletproof status because his recruiting's improved tremendously, the team would be a lot different if Robin Benzing and Ben Cronin hadn't flamed out, and it's at least worth checking out what will happen next year when experience goes from almost dead last nationally (337 of 345) to approximately middle-of-the pack. If you add a year of experience to everyone they'd be in a huge multi-way tie for 126th, but that's generous because Michigan will play Burke and Brundidge.

Beilein's already earned next year, and when they take the inevitable step forward in '11-'12 he'll get year six, and that's got at least a decent chance of working out.

Tim Hardaway, Jr., please report to the lost and found. We have found your conscience. Please re-insert it and stop leading the team in three-pointers attempted despite only hitting 30% of them. He's got a higher percentage of shots while he's on the floor than Morris does, which is kind of amazing. Michigan would be better if he got that usage down to around 20%. I'm sure, like Stu, that he'll learn.

The strange thing about Smotrycz. Does anyone else think his best defense is played in the post? This isn't really a compliment—he's probably the worst defensive player on the team, constantly getting lost. But when Michigan goes tiny they have him defend the five and I can't remember thinking "this has to stop" during any of those long stretches.

Seriously. Someone at The Only Colors complained about my characterization of the streak guys as "meatheads." Seriously?

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You can seriously look at those guys and envision them doing anything other than slather each other in AXE as they recite "Sex Panther" quotes back and forth to each other before heading out to a kegger where they are totally going to get laid, or at least slapped?

This has something to do with the juggalos post in the aftermath of the football game this fall, but here I was just making an observation about five guys with spotlessly hair-free chests whooping like monkeys. Michigan has meatheads enrolled. I met plenty. It was not a shot at anyone except the jinx-bringers.

Also, seriously: juggalos in Ann Arbor last fall. Seriously. Never been that bad, even when OSU fans were 30k strong for the 2009 Game. This is because the OSU fans who showed up were the kind that went to the game instead of just hanging out for an opportunity to take out their insecurities. Dozens of Michigan fans have told me this, a good chunk before the post even went up.

Elsewhere

Schadenfreude: you has it. Jump in it. Daily story plus slideshow. UMHoops recap, plus interviews with Morris and Novak. AnnArbor.com with postgame stuff. Wojo's column.

Comments

HailToA2

January 28th, 2011 at 12:51 PM ^

I love this kid. Sure, it kinda sucks that we have such an undersized PF.. but that's the way it is right now and he makes the most of it. He tries harder than anybody else I've seen play Michigan basketball since the early 90s. This kid tries his hardest whether its against MSU or some out of conference nobody. He has no future in the NBA.. so I'll just try to enjoy the rest of his junior season and hope he and the Wolverines have some real success his senior season.

might and main

January 28th, 2011 at 1:00 PM ^

I think this offense is light years better of what Amaker gave us.  That's not to say we've got a great offense, but I see a lot of structure to it.  Love all the high pick and rolls.  Lots of motion without the ball, and not just random motion.  I read a quip recently from someone on the team talking about how they spend a lot of time lulling the other team to sleep with consistent setups that could lead to back door cuts but most of it is just a setup, then at the right time they execute the cut.  There is of course plenty of room for improvement, but I do think this offense is getting there.

Nickel

January 28th, 2011 at 1:02 PM ^

You mean all 20 year old guys don't have naturally hairless chests?

Maybe they just haven't reached puberty yet.  That would explain the lack of reasoning skills and how they ended up at State.

psychomatt

January 28th, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

Maybe the whole football HC change disaster thing is still coloring everything, but you took a much needed victory over one of our hated rivals (at their house) and found a way to make it sound depressing. Thanks.

bronxblue

January 28th, 2011 at 3:19 PM ^

I didn't read it as negative as much as tempering expectations a bit.  This was a great win, but a loss to Iowa next would pretty much erase any good will from this win.  Also, it would be very Sparty to say "well, UM beat MSU - don't care what happens in the future."  I disagree with Brian that this team won't make the NIT - a very doable 5-5 closing stretch would get them to 17 wins, and they could very well go 4-1 over the next 5.  

MGlobules

January 28th, 2011 at 1:10 PM ^

the strategy was to milk clock, and they did it very well. Sometimes I'm pretty sure hoop should be left to UM hoops. You got hockey, soccer, oblatesphereball. Just don't think this contributes much.

Don't think your fiance gets it, either, all due etceteras.

MGlobules

January 28th, 2011 at 2:17 PM ^

working on those reading skills. I give Brian props for his writing on three subjects and love his sometimes-prolix style (well, dunno how well it wears, but). THAT's why I come here, as well as for the community. I don't think he knows much about hoop. And frankly--further--though this could be getting over your head--I think that he might want to graciously defer to the far better job being done with basketball over there. His negativity here is unwarranted (that means uncalled for, just in case. . .) 

P.S. No--with some exceptions, I don't think they "looked lost" most of the time. As I said, the strategy was to limit MSU's attempts by milking clock. I know that fans tend to be people sitting on couches who cannot do what athletes do but jawbone and talk poop anyway. But. . . study up. (You can start at UM Hoops, where Dylan has a much more succinct, accurate reading of the game.) 

bronxblue

January 28th, 2011 at 3:16 PM ^

Oh, the old "fans can't possibly understand the intricacies of the game because they didn't play" argument that announcers and retired players pull out whenever anyone dare disagree with them.  I'm sure you have some good points here - I caught a couple - but you don't need to come across so negatively toward anyone who disagrees with you. I think Dylan at UMHoops made some good points, but this whole season the team has struggled at times on offense when the outside shot isn't falling.  Watch those Minny and NW games and you'll see a team that relies way too much on "manufacturing" open shots with ball movement but, outside of Morris, has trouble generating legitimate open shots through penetration.  The win last night was great and everyone should be happy, but I agree with Brian that when UM wins it looks like they are "methodical" but when they lose you get 38-13 rebounding advantage for Minny and 43% FG with 9 FTs.  

Iowa is a nice follow-up to this game before another rough stretch, so let's hope they can take advantage.  

Fresh Meat

January 28th, 2011 at 1:40 PM ^

If you have watched UM basketball at all since JB has been here, their offense very much revolves around passing it around the perimeter.  Almost all of the passes, cuts, hand offs, etc., occur outside the three point line.  The occasional back door cut is the only way the ball gets in the lane by design.  The rest of the time it is simple one on one where someone (read darius) beats his man and gets in the lane.  You can say you love JB all you want, and that's fine, but my point is that his offense is almost entirely outside the three point line.  This just naturally lends itself to having 5 seconds left and oh crap we gotta do something on the possessions where nobody got an open three. 

In an offense where there is more attacking or more post play, more shots present themselves earlier in the shot clock and also more fouls happen.  It is just a by product of the way the team plays, and I for one, don't really care for it.  That doesn't mean I don't love the win last night, which completely got me jacked.

Fresh Meat

January 28th, 2011 at 2:49 PM ^

Actually I understand it a great deal, I wasn't in love with the hire from day one not because I think he is a bad guy, but because I don't like his offensive style.  His style, and look at his stats, leads his teams to be poor in rebounding numbers and poor in number of free throw attempts.  I think getting to the line and rebounding are important.  That's my opinion, nothing personal to you or JB so I'm not going to insult your intelligence or basketball knowledge like you did mine.

Token_sparty

January 31st, 2011 at 12:03 PM ^

Maybe UM can borrow the catchphrase, as RichRod's tenure at UM (15-22) wishes it were as good as even John L. Smith's (22-26 career at MSU).  No balm in Gilead for that sting...

I assume you're talking about '53, '65, and '66.  We played and beat OSU in the latter two years.  In MSU's 7 Big Ten title years, we played and beat OSU 4 times.  Now, that's a long time ago, I'll grant you.  MSU could plausibly claim 7 national championships overall- and all have come between UM's 10 national championships from 1901-1948, and Lloyd Carr's championship '97 football team.  So yeah, keep pretending to UM dominance.  I think you're seeing regression to the mean- which is good for MSU, not so much for UM.

 

jtblue

January 28th, 2011 at 1:11 PM ^

If you did UFR for Basketball you would come out with a different conclusion about this team's offensive execution. Add experience to Hardaway, Smotrycz, and Morgan and this will improve dramatically next year. Comparison to the Amaker offense is like saying Debord and Rodriguez were both good offensive minds

Michigan4Life

January 28th, 2011 at 1:16 PM ^

but it's much harder to do Basketball UFR because we really don't know how JB's offense work.  There's tons of reads by the players in the offensive series by multiple players at the same times.  For example, a player probably camp out at 3 point line but didn't see his defender overplaying the passing lane aggressively (plus trying to guard him tight) which would give that player an opportunities for a backdoor cut.  That player continue to camp outside and that would be a missed read by that player.

 

It's too much elements going on around in basketball court to do UFR.  It's up to the coaches who does film work and grade players based on their play on the court.

jtblue

January 28th, 2011 at 1:23 PM ^

Don't evaluate players by potential reads, but by actual possession by possession performance... +/- players based on execution, individual battles, and give Coach B credit in the RPS department for good play calls offensively and defensively

Having said that, I'm not literally asking Brian (or anyone for that matter) to do UFR for Basketball. I just think the comparison to the Amaker offensive philosophy is laughable at best

Michigan4Life

January 28th, 2011 at 1:26 PM ^

but that doesn't tell the whole story because that's the result of the play not the process.

 

Football is much easier because you can see the process and the end result.  Basketball, not so much because of the constant flow with tons of reads and executions.

jtblue

January 28th, 2011 at 1:54 PM ^

But there are good reads and bad reads on every play in football as well. Ultimately Brian is evaluating results more than process. But process is considered as well...

At any rate, if you were doing the final full possession for UofM, you would have to give Darius a good read (+1) and Stu's shot would probably qualify as something like a +eleventy billion.

mgoblog has taught me more about football than any other source, but I know what Coach Beilein is trying to accomplish on any given offensive possession: spacing, openings due to defensive underplay/overplay, dribble penetration and execute. I was just disappointed with the evaluation of the offense in this post. UMhoops does an excellent job and Brian has said as much before so I'm done whining now

Marvin

January 28th, 2011 at 1:23 PM ^

The young men in that picture who shaved and then painted their toros look less like meatheads to me than the sort of fellows you might see walking arm in arm in Provincetown or the Castro district. Do you suppose they shaved together?

Spartyon21

January 28th, 2011 at 3:10 PM ^

This is the thing that makes me BARF. the fact that U of M thinks they r the best, 85% of your fans are not even directly connected to U of M, even through family or close friends... not real fans. We've been spartans for life. ...3 years ppl. Its been like 6 sense you've beaten OSU. The big ten Hates u. btw of us  applied to U of M and turned it down just so we could say we wanted nothing to do with Michigan.  The other half didnt bother wasting the money and didn't want to look at the ugly M on our acceptance letter. Meat heads or what ever u wanna call us. Were not frat boys, we dont drink, dont play women, were christians. As far as not being smart, Were all on the deans list...every semester. S is # 1 in his program. 8 is pre- accepted to medschool. I dont think wolverines can comprehend how much their kind is hated by society. PRICKS. I will give you this. U of M is prestigious...and you guys are better losers than us. which is good bc youve had to adapt to that as of late. 

I Bleed Maize N Blue

January 28th, 2011 at 3:50 PM ^

"...85% of your fans are not even directly connected to U of M..."

  • Yes, we have millions of fans, thank you.

"We've been spartans for life. ...3 years ppl."

  • I was going to comment on the spelling, grammar, and composition of your post, but if you're only 3 years old, I'll just say well done.

"As far as not being smart, Were all on the deans list...every semester."

  • Either this is an everybody-gets-a-trophy-for-participating thing, or I lament the appallingly low standards there.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

January 28th, 2011 at 5:28 PM ^

Jeez, man, exactly which Guido are you in that picture?  Because if your writing is any kind of reflection on your intelligence I'm betting you're lying through your teeth about actually getting in to Michigan.  You can't possibly be a liberal arts major with writing like that and you can't possibly be a math or science major with your predilection to make shit up out of thin air, so I'm guessing criminal justice.

I will give you this: you're right about us being better losers than Sparties.  Which is funny, "sense" you guys are the ones with forty years of practice.

strike_the_red…

January 28th, 2011 at 9:04 PM ^

Barf, first of all, were you drunk while you wrote this? It is nice to see your Spartan education at work. Also, it is people like you who make me beyond happy that I chose to come to U of M, despite our football team's recent troubles. I agree with you that we are better losers than you guys. I can tell you that I definitely didn't gripe the way you are on this post even after we lost fair and square to you guys THREE times in a row in football. Why don't you follow the example of your beloved coach Izzo and admit defeat?

And dude, despite that Spartans like yourself hate us Wolverines, it certainly does not mean that we are hated by society. In fact, I have actually seen an immense appreciation for my school and what it represents all over the world.

Barf, you lost a basketball game. Please don't rag on my school.

On a bright note, the degree of how pathetic your attempts to justify attending Michigan Second Highschool University over Michigan was amusing. Please come back again to give us more of your (humorous) insight.

NYWolverine

January 28th, 2011 at 1:46 PM ^

And I'm putting it here for no other reason than it seems like a good spot to put an unsubstantiated rumor. 

Larry Brown may have interest in being Michigan's next head basketball coach. We got money to spend. He's coached in Michigan before and has good memories. Joe Dumars, Jr. is on the team. He would coach the sons of NBA players who he can relate to. Why couldn't there be an inkling of interest there? Larry's bored; Brandon can make a splash. Spread the rumor!

Anyway, good win for the team. Big ups to Novak.

NYWolverine

January 28th, 2011 at 1:48 PM ^

And I'm putting it here for no other reason than it seems like a good spot to put an unsubstantiated rumor. 

Larry Brown may have interest in being Michigan's next head basketball coach. We got money to spend. He's coached in Michigan before and has good memories. Joe Dumars, Jr. is on the team. He would coach the sons of NBA players who he can relate to. Why couldn't there be an inkling of interest there? Larry's bored; Brandon can make a splash. Spread the rumor!

Anyway, good win for the team. Big ups to Novak.

Braylon 5 Hour…

January 28th, 2011 at 1:52 PM ^

This was a good win.  We scored 61 points on offense despite shooting about 50% from the field.  That shows what we already knew about this team this year, that every game against every team is going to be a grind.  It's strange that we can play so much better defense vs Syracuse/Kansas/Michigan State than we did against Northwestern and Indiana, maybe that's a function of a young team on the road just not getting as up for the games?

Our biggest needs...

1) Morris needs some help handling the ball and creating offense; at the end of the shot clock, almost literally no one else can create a good shot for himself (douglass and hardaway occasional exceptions).  With our guys gaining experience and more help coming on the way, this is something that should improve/change dramatically.  Morris will also get a lot better the next couple years.

2) Low post scoring.  Even a Beilein offense would look a lot better and lead to a lot more open looks for people and opportunities inside the 3 point line if we had a low post threat.  Not just someone who can score, but someone who can catch the ball down low and make good passes to open shooters.  I don't know that we have that guy on this roster, but if Beilein can somehow resolve this, we should be in good shape in the coming years.

Bronco648

January 28th, 2011 at 1:52 PM ^

In case you didn't read thru the linked thread @ RCMB, here are some highlights (bad spelling & grammar left alone to protect the guilty):

 

FightingWhite: This is so dumb. Could State make sure somebody is ALWAYS on Novak? Morans!

Steven Wright: WE PASS LIKE OLD PEOPLE FUCK

PortlandSpartan: On the bright side, it will be great to finally stick a fork in this season.

Dr Leo Spaceman: Why do we continue to sag like a pair of sweaty balls

Borias: I think i'm going to kill my whole family, anyone have any idea where the closest gun store in Farmington is?

FireComley: I'm about to destroy everything in my house. Bobby Williams teams were more fun to watch.

d.mcc: I would rather watch a home made snuff film of my parents and a Hitler impersonator than continue to watch this team play with a complete disregard for the name on the front of their jersey.

MSUx2: I would almost rather watch teen mom on MTV than MSU basketball...

Grim Reaper: We won't won again

LOL Sparty!!

Token_sparty

January 31st, 2011 at 11:33 AM ^

For the record, that's one error ('We won't WON again') against name-checking an internet meme (Morans) and an allowable use of Bobby Williams as a noun modifier.  Excellent work indeed; those letters aren't going to capitalize themselves, you know.

Enjoy the laugh now, but keep in mind that no Spartan fan will take you seriously.  When you stop treating your basketball team as a leper colony UNLESS they pull an upset, then we might.  Hockey I'll grant you- MSU stinks, victory this weekend (and aberrant 2-2 record against UM) notwithstanding.  That was essentially the mirror image of what happened in basketball.  

I watched the game, and it amazed me.  Before the game, I thought 'just close out on the 3-point shooters and you're good, UM's inside absence is not worth worrying about' and then watched MSU play like Dwight Howard had a Michigan jersey on.  Instead, MSU's perimeter defenders kept sagging off the ball and leaving guys open for three.  Not surprisingly, UM's outside shooters shrugged, said 'Umm, okay, I'll shoot then', and rained threes from all over. Pacing aside, they shot very well- and MSU never adjusted.  Go figure.

Besides, Brian's so cute when he gets riled up about the Juggalos.  He's venturing into the 'Their very presence on this earth offends my spirit' territory.  It's rather fun to watch.

el segundo

January 28th, 2011 at 2:17 PM ^

It's just plain wrong to say that the offense is aimless or that it resembles the Michigan offense under Amaker.

When Michigan passes the ball around the perimeter for 20 seconds before improvising a shot, it's not because the players don't know what to do or are "aimless."  It's because they aren't executing the offense properly.

Most of Beilein's sets rely on rhythm and timing to create open shots out of ball and player movement.  The players are running the sets, but their timing is often poor, they don't always cut precisely, and, very often, Darius Morris is too busy dribblling to see open teammates.  It's a complicated offense that requires experience, which the team does not have right now.  But it's getting there.

Under Amaker, sets were designed with only a couple of options each, and the players clearly did not know what to do when the options were exhausted.  The team was poorly coached and persistently unsound fundamentally.  Amaker had not prepared them very well in terms of what to do when sets failed or plays broke down.  This is not the problem that Michigan is having now.

Brian's comments in this connection are superficial and rather uniformed.  It's fine to cite eFG% and other "advanced metrics," but there's more to analysis than comparing the metrics in the abstract or in just saying "they pass the ball around the perimeter just like Amaker's teams did."

bronxblue

January 28th, 2011 at 3:05 PM ^

Like virtually all coaches, both of their systems work best with experienced/good players at key positions.  We never got to see RR's offense at UM with experienced players at important positions; I suspect we'll see it with Beilien.  

el segundo

January 29th, 2011 at 10:15 AM ^

They are both offenses that demand precise execution, rather than brute force.

But I think Rodriguez's coaching showed a remarkable lack of attention to detail, which is odd and ultimately self-destructive, given the high level of execution that his schemes demanded.

Beilein has shown that he does attend to detail and his teams improve their execution over time.

bronxblue

January 28th, 2011 at 3:04 PM ^

While I don't wholly disagree with your sentiment, those Amaker teams were all about "rhythm" and Duke-style ball movement, and like Beilien they tended to work best when guys like Horton were running the show.  So while Brian might be over-simplifying the offense a bit, it is not incorrect to say that the offense as actually run by these players is similar to Amaker's team.  

I think the big difference between Beilien's team and Amaker's is the development of the players themselves.  Under Amaker, guys like Horton and Sims never improved - they were about as good as seniors as they were freshmen save for the natural growth and improvement every player goes through as he ages.  With Beilien, I see players getting better as the season progresses and, especially in the cases of Douglass and Morris, from season to season.  That's the key difference between the two eras.  

el segundo

January 29th, 2011 at 10:20 AM ^

But Amaker had a lot of faults as a coach that detracted from his ability to make a rhythm offense work.  His players had poor individual fundamentals.  They demonstrated a poor awareness of game situations and how to adapt to changes in the other team's strategy, especially the other team's defensive strategy.  And, above all, Amaker was not a good game coach and rarely adapted well to changing circumstances within a game.  He wasn't an incompetent game coach, just not a very good one.

I think this is why Amaker's teams tended to be sluggish and passive and why they seldom responded well to adversity.  At some level, they knew that their coach was not really preparing them all that well and was not going to help give them an edge within the game. 

neoavatara

January 28th, 2011 at 2:22 PM ^

...is off base on this one.

Read this carefully:  WE HAVE NO INSIDE PRESENCE.  None.

When Morgan is your only inside guy, you are going to be a team that basically throws up ridiculous number of threes, or tries to drive and gets shut down.  

With Amaker teams, he had some spectacular in the paint players...and still couldn't find a balance or a steady plan.

Beilein is struggling with the pieces given to him.  An post player, a big man with a decent mid range game, and this team is solid.  

jmblue

January 28th, 2011 at 3:18 PM ^

I think this is just a hair pessimistic.  I expect us to make the NIT.  We haven't yet played Iowa, the Big Ten's worst team, and they're on the schedule twice.  We also have rematches against Indiana, Northwestern and PSU, which are winnable.  And I wouldn't completely rule out an upset of anyone else (maybe MSU again, in Crisler?).  Aside from that really bad three-game stretch before this one (IU, NW, Minn), we had been playing reasonably well this season.  We'll eek out 16-17 wins.  

While we shot well yesterday from the floor, it still wasn't anywhere near a flawless performance.  We were dreadful from the foul line (5-12), and committed 13 turnovers, which is a lot for a game as slow-paced as it was.  And while our 3-point percentage was obviously well above our season average, if you've noticed, our season average has been creeping upward over the past month; it was around 31% for most of December and now is 33.7%.  Is that a sign that the team is getting more comfortable in Beilein's offense?  Could be.  

kevin holt

January 28th, 2011 at 3:35 PM ^

Comment from the schadenfreudefest:

"Well, at least we've become a football school again."

lolsparty, that's pretty cute. They actually think they're a football school. Certainly not looking like bball or hockey this year, so maybe they're partially right, but I think having a real schedule will cut that notion down pretty quick this coming year