Awoi! I Maim Miami, Iowa

Submitted by Brian on January 12th, 2009 at 3:09 PM

1/9/2009    – Michigan 5, Miami 1 – 14-7, 9-5 CCHA
1/10/2009  – Michigan 64, Iowa 49 – 13-3, 3-1 Big Ten 
1/10/2009  – Michigan 4, Miami 0, 15-7, 10-5 CCHA


So one of the parents in the Miami student section forlornly held the above banner aloft throughout Michigan's 5-1 asskicking on Saturday. About halfway through someone told her she was making an idiot of herself and she pointed it the right way, but it was too late: Fun With Palindromes was born.

Hello, weekend. You start late but finish smoooooth. Three Michigan sporting events lead to three blowouts, two of them absolutely critical, and it's all endorphins. I find it really hard to write columns I think are worthy of the "column-type thing" tag week in and week out during the longer and less intense hockey and basketball seasons, so this one's an assemblage of bullets.


Hell, yes. Michigan got a little lucky this weekend when Miami lost Carter Camper and Justin Mercier, their #1 and #3 scorers, for the Sunday matinee, but 9-1 over the course of the weekend brooks no serious "buts." Michigan owned the Redhawks, flat out, and that's a huge step forward from their series earlier in the year when it was the Wolverines scraping one goal across 120 minutes.

Michigan is still way, way behind Notre Dame in the race for the CCHA title, but they cleared one huge hurdle with that sweep. Sweep ND in a home-and-home in three weeks and Michigan is six back—assuming equal points in the next four—but with two in hand. That's a hill to climb; it's doable, though.

More realistically, the sweep puts Michigan in a strong position to finish top-four in conference and get a first round bye; it also will be very helpful at the end of the year when the pairwise somewhat arbitrarily hews the weak from the strong and assembles a tournament field. The PWR is still extremely unstable—even at the end of the year it's moderately unstable—but at the moment Michigan is a shocking sixth despite their rough start. If only Miami hadn't gacked away its holiday tourney despite outshooting their opponents by about 3-1 each night.

Hogan. This weekend was the first during which I felt Hogan seemed a superior alternative to Sauer. Lost amongst the Mingo-witnessed flurry of goals on Saturday was Hogan's solid play on a number of quality Miami chances that kept the door shut; that game could easily have been 3-3 after five minutes instead of 3-0. On Sunday Hogan didn't have a lot of rubber but when Michigan led 1-0 he made an outstanding stop moving side to side by closing the five-hole.

Yost Built mentioned this:

He's not remotely flashy, but he goes out and wins. Also, he hasn't given up a soft goal since the game at Munn over a month ago. Then again, he's only given up two goals since that game at Munn, which is kind of awesome.

Yes. Hogan was giving up a soft-ish goal per game early in the year, and now he's not, at all. I think that's at least somewhat luck; it's not all luck.

Skaters. I was feeling very good about calling Brandon Burlon the breakout player of the second half when he had a goal and an assist five minutes into the weekend, but did anyone else think the rest of his Saturday was kind of rough? Miami's heavy forechecking forced a lot of turnovers out of him, and the rest of the team. On Sunday it appeared that Michigan had figured it out (or Miami was tired or losing Camper and Mercier was a death blow) and was breaking the zone with ease; on Saturday there were a lot of ugly turnovers.

The other guy who leapt out did so on the penalty kill: Tim Miller, who got multiple standing ovations whilst sucking away Miami PP time in the corners. He would have had a great shorthanded goal if Langseth hadn't taken it away, which Miller was still bitching at him about as the team left the ice on Sunday. Miller was making a hockey stop as the pass came across the ice and deflected the puck into the net, a situation that is explicitly allowed by the change in the rule:

To make this rule as clear as possible, the group proposed adjustments to its rules that will allow all goals scored as a result of deflections. This will include deflections off an attacking player who is in the act of stopping, provided neither skate is used to direct the puck into the net. Pucks that are directed or kicked with the skate moving toward the goal will not be allowed.

Yost Built saw the thing many times on replay and sayeth:

Now, I can't remember how the rule reads, since I'm pretty sure they changed it after the title game last season. If the puck can't hit off a skate and go into the net at all anymore, then it was the right call, and just a stupid rule. If it's allowed to hit your skate and you just can't kick it, then it was a terrible call.

The rulebook sayeth: terrible call. Note: this is the second straight year Langseth cost Michigan a goal against Miami.

I bet this seemed like a good idea at the time. The program for the Miami game was very fussy about what you can call Miami of Oh—


Who's up for never calling Miami anything but Miami of Ohio (Not That Miami Of Ohio)?  This guy.


Strategy. Here's a tip I've picked up from the local scribes: if a team completely destroys a respectable opponent mere days after you question how good they are, claim it was your criticism that focused them, forging them into the towers of steel they became. Y'all can thank yrs truly for that performance.


More seriously: yes, that was more like it. Michigan made a concerted effort to go inside to Sims, and though the reward was a lot of shots that went down and then infuriatingly rimmed out, the overall quality of looks they got was greatly increased.

One downer, and I again hate to bring this up given the box score, but I didn't like Manny's game in this one much more than I did in the other Big Ten games. He took four three-pointers, each of them with a hand in his face when he just decided to chuck instead of drive, and a lot of his offense came off of turnovers. Take those away and his shooting percentage dips precipitously. OTOH: Harris was super-active in the passing lanes and was the cause of at least four Iowa turnovers that turned into fast-break buckets, mostly by Harris.

I just worry what happens to his offensive efficiency when the opponent isn't as generous, is all. He has not been effective in the halfcourt in conference play.

Stu and Zack. The relative stars of the two Indiana freshmen have crossed since it looked like Douglass was going to be a gritty, tough-nosed gym rat with a high basketball IQ and Novak couldn't buy a bucket. Now it's Novak destined for vaguely uncomfortable praise and Douglass who looks like he'll be in a battle for playing time when Vogrich and Morris arrive (and, hopefully, no one leaves unexpectedly).

This is a really easy observation to make after Douglass took a couple threes from 27 feet and seemed largely responsible for Iowa's garbage-time comeback, but sometimes you have to pick the low-hanging fruit. Douglass' basketball IQ doesn't seem particularly high.

Or, rather, it seems wildly variable. He made two excellent passes in this game, and seems to thread a needle or throw an accurate bounce pass on the break just about every time he gets an opportunity; he also made a great cut to the basket when Novak was trapped and got a layup for his troubles. His future is up in the air. If Good Stu wins I think he can be a significant role player the next couple years and a solid starter as a senior. If Evil, 27-Footer-Chucking Stu wins he's likely to get the Shepherd treatment.

Novak, on the other hand, is the unathletic white guy who actually deserves the "he's white!" praise that will no doubt be heaped on him the next three and a half years. He harasses people into bad decisions, rebounds very well, and does—ugh—the little things that don't show up on the box score.

Great, now I have to take a shower to wash off the sportswriter cliche.

Wha? That was a charge on Manny—you know what I'm talking about—and a blocking foul on Gibson—you also know what I'm talking about. Not like it mattered, but, man… Big Ten referees, folks. Also, what was with the foul on the follow-through of a Novak three that wasn't a shooting foul? Have you ever seen that before? Will you ever see it again?

The near future. With Michigan's two must-wins against the lower echelon of the Big Ten out of the way, they've got a tough road game against Illinois that seems like a freebie. Win and that's great. Lose and, okay, you're still on track.

After that, though, is four game stretch with two against a struggling, depleted Ohio State team that seems NIT caliber at best and one each against Northwestern and Penn State. 3-1 is good, but 2-2 against those four teams with a fairly daunting homestretch (Purdue x2, MSU, UConn, Minn x2, @ Wisconsin with PSU, NW, and Iowa sprinkled in) and it'll be touch and go. I expect/hope they'll be 6-3 in conference at the midway mark.


January 12th, 2009 at 3:45 PM ^

Miami of Ohio's fussiness about their moniker reminded me of this:

IT’S NOT SOUTHERN CAL—Note to the media: In
editorial references to athletic teams of the
University of Southern California, the following are
preferred: USC, Southern California, So. California,
Troy, Trojans and (for women’s teams) Women of
Troy. PLEASE do not use Southern Cal.


I, of course, make every effort to refer to that team as "Southern Cal" and I think you should too.


January 12th, 2009 at 4:02 PM ^

Glad to see the hockey team come out with two much needed victories, now if only ND would help us out by dropping a game or two.

In regards to the basketball game. Great win again, but, did anyone else notice that our first 3 turnovers were pretty weak, and all were committed by Manny? Given his frame I don't expect him to be the toughest guy with the ball. However, the first two turnovers seemed like plays I would expect out of a high school game (one, a soft pass and two, a little poke that sent the ball to another defender). Still, just proves that Manny is not yet ready for the NBA and would probably do himself a lot of good to stick around for at least one more season. All in all, great weekend, GO BLUE.


January 12th, 2009 at 4:04 PM ^

pass, cut, pass, cut, pump fake, pass, cut, pick, cut pass - SCHREEECH - (wha happenned?) - offensive flow stops like someone dragged the needle across the record. Manny holds the ball and stares at the man guarding him while everyone else stands around and looks at both of them.....

what is this? Very annoying. Are these impromptu clear-outs, planned clear outs? Manny audibles he's encouraged to do?

Very frustrating when he kills the flow and then turns the ball over or forces a drive and a bad shot or hella-chucks from 25 feet with someone in his face.

Overall we couldn't be doing what we are doing without him, but he seems to be in an offensive funk he needs to snap out of.

Rush N Attack

January 12th, 2009 at 4:05 PM ^

freaking fantastic. Almost Bobby Hayes-esque even.

And on the Novak three point attempt: 1) No I've never seen that, and 2) Yes, we very well may see it again. We ARE talking about B10 officials, Brian.

Speaking of the officials...anyone else see the Miami player talk Shegos into a Michigan penalty (During the Saturday game)? What the hell was that?

We started out with a power play for "Too many men on the ice". The Miami player talks to the official for 4 minutes or so. The next thing you know, we have offsetting "Too many men on the ice" penalties. WTF?


January 13th, 2009 at 12:54 AM ^

maybe. i didnt see the actual calls but i know it was late on sunday and i think rust started to get into it with another player after knapp made a save in the 3rd. then shegos came over and said something to the effect of 'alright both of you' and sent them to the box. my friend sitting next to me said it was matching high-sticking penalties but he couldve been wrong


January 13th, 2009 at 1:19 PM ^

nevermind. You are correct. I was referring to the matching bench penalties during Saturday's game. There was perhaps a three minute stoppage of play after Miami gets called for the bench penalty, Miami player and Rico bitches to Langseth and a matching bench penalty on Michigan gets called. That stretch of incompetence ticked me off for the rest of the night


January 12th, 2009 at 4:11 PM ^

As a Miami alumn and a die hard Michigan fan my entire life I can tell you the Miami of Ohio thing is annoying only because no one ever says Miami of Florida. Seeing as Florida wasn't a state when Miami was founded it tends to ruffle feathers.


January 12th, 2009 at 5:00 PM ^

When someone hears "Miami" 99% of people think: The big city in FLORIDA. That is why when people refer to the MAC school by the name of "Miami" the logical thing to do for 99% of the population is add "of Ohio" so that it's clear you are NOT referring to the place almost everyone automatically thinks you are referring to when you say the word "Miami." Sorry if that ruffles feathers, but Miami is associated primarily with Florida.


January 12th, 2009 at 6:21 PM ^

It's the same reason people refer to Washington University as Washington in St. Louis and no one refers to University of Washington as Washington in Seattle. University of Miami is in Miami and Miami University is in Oxford, OH which no one has ever heard of. It's a silly thing to get upset over. If people called your school "the second best Miami" then you would have a right to be upset.

Michigan Arrogance

January 12th, 2009 at 4:12 PM ^

1) brian, you don't have a voice that carries re: yelling at refs. it's a rare breed that does, for sure. take the 5min major called on Miami on sunday and call it a win from a ref perspective.

2) what's up w/ Michael Scott Jr? you know who i'm talking about in the student section. good kid, but tries waaaaay too hard. someone needs to talk him down from the ledge, so to speak.

3) not sure who's a bigger tool, Michael Scott Jr or the fratboy meatheads who give him shit all the time. the kid obviously doesn't care and seems to be a good shit. don't be dicks.

Yinka Double Dare

January 12th, 2009 at 6:37 PM ^

Maybe they should put him in the front row right next to the opponent's bench.

A friend of mine had that seat one year and took full advantage of it. One opposing player made some effort to climb over to get at him, he got squirted with water several times, and I believe he even got into some verbal jabbing with the infamous Dirty Hobbit of Ohio State.


January 12th, 2009 at 9:31 PM ^

The best thing is to just ignore the guy. My seat is right in front of his friend, who is a great guy. Michael Scott has aspergers. His friend said the best thing to do is just ignore him. Yelling at him to shut up just provokes him. If you just ignore him he will get the message.

big gay heart

January 12th, 2009 at 4:29 PM ^

As a Miami alum, the WE ARE NOT MIAMI OF OHIO thing makes some sense. What if Michigan was successfully Terrelle Prior-ized and people just started arbitrarily calling it The Michigan University? Bet a lot of folks would be unhappy. A name does mean something, in the big scheme of things. I mean, ESPN called us Miami of Ohio in their sports ticker for years upon years. A couple years ago, the school took a pretty strong initiative to gain some national respect (which is fair, the school has a lot of good things going for it) and my guess is that the name issue is peripherally important to those ends.


January 12th, 2009 at 5:51 PM ^

I understand that to a degree, but there's one difference: there's no ambiguity with Michigan, but (in non-hockey sports, at least) there is with Miami. There wouldn't be any reason to mess around with Michigan's name because there's no possibility of confusion; on the other hand, there's a reason Brian referred to them as "Miami (Not That Miami)" during football season.


January 12th, 2009 at 4:51 PM ^

I agree with the assessment of Stu's game. He doesn't seem to be comfortable with his own offense, but he has a few nice assists every game (3rd on the team in AST/game).

He looks like a freshman still trying to get comfortable with his role in this offense. He rarely gets his feet set into a good shooting position, making the quick release on his jump shot a bit of an issue. The big 3 he hit against Indiana was one of the few times he truly squared-up ready to shoot. I think you'll see Stu's shooting come around once the game slows down for him a bit.

Promote RichRod

January 12th, 2009 at 4:54 PM ^

to name itself. Before you say "but this is comparable to the tOSU horseshit!" it's not. This significantly alters the name of the place (not deleting a random article) and subordinates it to Florida's Miami. Really doesn't make sense given that it is a preexisting University. A minor point to be sure, but I think they have earned the right.


January 12th, 2009 at 5:42 PM ^

Yes I've seen that before. I can't recall any specific times in a college game but I do remember a few of those calls in my class D high school matches.

One way of explaining it might be this. It is similar to when a player takes a 3pt shot and there is a foul called underneath the basket on a defender, for pushing, blocking out, whatever and the offense gets the ball out of bounds even if the three is made(I think this happened in our favor a couple of games back, Illionis maybe?). Except in this instance the shooter and the player being fouled are the same person. In other words, there was a foul committed, just not on the shot. Sorta like when there's an offensive foul but the basket still counts.

I had actually thought to myself when seeing the replay, thinking that it was a shooting foul, that it wasn't a shooting foul and Novak was fouled after the shot. IMO, it was the right call since Novak's feet had already hit the ground when he was hit.


January 12th, 2009 at 5:50 PM ^

- What was the chant during the third period of Sunday's game? came from the middle of the student section, possibly some long alteration of the sieve chant. couldn't make it out in section 14 tho.

- +1 for Tim Miller. would like to see again.

- Exceptional crowds imo both games.

- The band still continues to disappoint. Y-O-S-T is fail. Although as much as the prolonged "dance" gets hated on during the second intermission, it does get a rousing applause from the sort of people that sit in the end zones so its not all bad.

- Kudos to the kid in section 13 that was doing the worm, well played sir.


January 12th, 2009 at 9:24 PM ^

ok...I sit in the student section next to the guy that did the long variation of the hey so and so your mom call and she said you suck. Well during sunday's game he directed the cheer towards the miami backup sieve. Every part of the cheer was referring to some Miami alum. He even included the Ghost of Bo Schembechler and the creator of Gumbi in the cheer. He also did the same cheer during the waterloo exhibition where he referred to the Prime Minister of Canada, the mounties, a moose, Terrance and Philip, and the Queen of England all called and said you suck. I hope he shows up to the upcoming home/Joe series with sparty.

I will continue to disagree with those that think the YOST song (aka YMCA) is fail. I like the song. It is a nice variation.

The best song played by the hockey band this season was the hidden Rick Roll in Living on Prayer.

Rush N Attack

January 12th, 2009 at 10:10 PM ^

and thoroughly enjoyed the prolonged "dance". My son and I gave it a standing ovation when it was over. I'm not sure why people don't like it, but then again, I hadn't been to a hockey game since he was born.

I was in section 5. Six rows up (behind the penalty boxes), great seats. There was one kid off to my far left (dressed in a white Michigan hockey jersey) who danced through the whole thing in the aisle by himself.

Michigan Arrogance

January 12th, 2009 at 5:56 PM ^

Hey, goalie (IIRC?): Miami alum and 297th richest person in america just called, he said you suck

Hey, goalie (IIRC?): Miami alum and creator of GUMBI, [whoever] called, he said you suck.

and etc w/ the random Miami(NTM) related people.


January 12th, 2009 at 6:15 PM ^

I sat in the next section next to her over the entrance (section 4, row 4). When the student section chanted "backwards flag" the Miami guy who stole the seat next to me told her the flag was backwards. Her response was a stupid/cocky "I don't hear anything". I sit there all the time and the flag lady was easily one of the most annoying people ever. She waved it after ever Michigan goal, she waved it when Miami got a penalty, she waved it when I sneezed!