Basketbullets: Matchup Chess, The New Rotation, Wagner/Wilson Quote Bonanza Comment Count

Ace February 28th, 2017 at 3:46 PM

Stopping all of this has proven quite difficult. [All photos: Bryan Fuller]

Generally, opposing coach press conferences after losses are brief and uninformative. After the Moe Wagner-Derrick Walton pick-and-pop obliterated Purdue's defense to the point they had to entirely change strategies, however, Matt Painter went into great detail on the problems posed by Michigan's offense, specifically those that result from facing two big men that can shoot.

To set this up: Purdue started the game with Caleb Swanigan defending Wagner. Michigan exploited the matchup by forcing Swanigan out to the perimeter, usually with high screens. Wagner feasted.

Wagner went 9-for-12 in the first half, hitting 5-of-6 twos and 4-of-6 threes. Michigan fielding a lineup with five viable outside shooting threats wreaked havoc on Purdue's defense and their rotation. 7'2" center Isaac Haas usually plays 20 minutes per game, often pairing with Swanigan to form an imposing frontcourt duo. Here's what happened when Purdue put both big men out there:

If Michigan's big men can't shoot, Swanigan wouldn't be in no-man's land, and Haas would be in position to block Simpson's shot into the tenth row if he manages to get into the paint anyway. The threat of Wilson and Wagner instead opened a cavernous lane for the quick point guard to bolt through.

As a result, Haas played only seven minutes in the first half, and just two with Swanigan also on the court. The adjustment Painter had to make in the second half forced his second-best player off the floor almost entirely:

We just went and switched everything, knocked them out of their [pick-and-pop] action. The downside of that is now you have your bigs guarding their guards and they can break you off the dribble. Then you have to help, now you’ve got to get to their shooters. When you have a good point guard and you have bigs that are skilled that can shoot and spread you out, you have to pick your poison. We can flip it on them, but when you don’t score the ball at the rim—and I thought we had a lot of opportunities for Haas in there, missed dunk, layups, a hook, that he normally makes—if we could’ve made those plays, we could’ve lived with all of it, because we wouldn’t have been out of the game, and now we put them in a bind because they’re eventually going to foul us and get out of the game. But if we can’t keep you in the game because [of defense], that gets hard for us. We just decided at half that we had to switch, and then when Donnal came in the game we could play Isaac [Haas]. But obviously we didn’t play well enough to be able to get back in.

Haas played four second-half minutes, entering the game after Michigan inserted Donnal and exiting at the first stoppage after Beilein lifted Donnal and put DJ Wilson at center. The combination of Wagner and Wilson in Beilein's offense rendered the second-best player on the Big Ten's best team effectively unplayable.

[Hit THE JUMP to see how Michigan took advantage of Purdue's new defensive tack.]

Adjusting To The Switch

Sure, that also works. [Fuller]

Between early second-half fouls for Wagner and Michigan missing some open looks, it looked like Purdue's halftime defensive adjustment was a success, at least initially. The Wolverines started the half 1-for-6 from the field before Wagner hit the bench with his third foul. If future opponents with a similar big man situation try the same strategy, however, they're liable to get burned. Michigan created good looks with those six shots:

  1. DJ Wilson misses a pick-and-pop three-pointer with 5'10" Purdue guard PJ Thompson trying to get in a late shot contest.
  2. Wagner misses a three-pointer over 6'8" forward Vince Edwards.
  3. Walton misses a jumper after getting switched onto Swanigan. Wagner gets an offensive rebound because Thompson (who, again, is 5'10") got switched onto him.
  4. Wilson misses a decent look off a drive against Swanigan.
  5. Wilson gets a layup off a baseline cut.
  6. Walton misses an open pull-up three when Swanigan sinks too far into the paint.

Here's that Wilson layup, which I had to upload to YouTube because Gfycat is having issues today.

This demonstrated the primary problem with trying to switch everything, as Painter explained in detail after the game:

When you get into that, when you switch, your dribble containment is your issue. When you have bigger people guarding smaller people, and then you’ve got your smaller people trying to knock out the post, maybe trying to help weak side… you guys really want to hear all this? [Me, internally: Hell yes.] So when you do that, that serves as your problem, because now you’ve got to be able to contain the dribble. So you’ve switched and you’ve knocked out this action that’s hurt us, but now you open a new can of worms. So now when they start driving, if you don’t give help and you stay with the shooters, now the ball’s just right at the rim off the drive. So now when they post it, we did a good job of knocking them off the post, they never threw the ball inside to the big guy outside of one time. But you’ve got to hold your low man so they don’t throw it over the top, so you hold your low man and they throw a skip [pass], well now you’re in a closeout. If you have the matchup you like, you’re fine, but you’ve been switching a bunch, so sometimes you get unlike sizes. That’s the downside. Switching stops your action, but it doesn’t give you the best [matchups].

Michigan instantly created a couple mismatches by having Wagner set a pick for Walton, forcing a switch. Vince Edwards ends up guarding Walton, and while Edwards is a good defender, he still needs help in the paint against a much quicker player. Michigan clears out for Walton to drive, creating that dribble containment issue. Swanigan, who's switched onto Wilson, is rooted in the paint as the help defender (the low man holding, as Painter would put it). When Walton drives and kicks it to Wilson in the short corner, Swanigan isn't quick enough to close out and prevent an open jumper without ceding the baseline drive, which Wilson happily takes.

Switching also tends to lead to mistakes on defense. Wilson got another dunk when Swanigan left him to help on a MAAR drive, Purdue got stuck with two defenders on three Michigan players, and when those three players essentially scattered, nobody picked up Wilson on the baseline.

This fully operational offense is very exciting both for Michigan's postseason prospects and their outlook for next year. Simpson has come on strong; the spacing provided by the sharpshooting bigs will leave him plenty of space to drive and create (see: the first section of this post). Charles Matthews adds another off-the-dribble threat in Irvin's stead, and he's had a full redshirt year to hone his outside shot and learn Beilein's system. Barring unexpected attrition, next year's offense should be pretty darn good, and I'll note here that while Wagner and Wilson are on NBA radars, it's more for a year from now, especially since this year's draft will be loaded with quality big men. (And no, going back to Germany is not Wagner's best path to the NBA.)

Pick-and-Roll, Kaiju-Style

Speaking of reasons to be excited for next year:

I rarely ask questions in the postgame presser, but I had to ask Beilein about the prospect of Wilson-Wagner pick-and-rolls; I don't remember seeing them run that action before. As it turns it, Beilein drew that one up in the huddle:

That was a late shot clock deal in the first half where we had seven seconds on the shot clock. We just drew that up. We had seven seconds, we were looking for a corner three for Derrick, and if it wasn’t there inbound to DJ. I had nothing else to draw up, so I said, Moe, set a screen and slip it, and maybe DJ will see you over the top. Getting DJ to play left to right would be really good for us, because he does play well that way.

I'd love to see more of this, if not this year—Walton as the primary ballhander is working quite well, after all—then next year. Wilson has the capability to be a nightmare in that play; he can shoot, he can drive, and it's really hard to close off a passing lane when the passer is 6'10 with an even bigger wingspan. Michigan could run it the other way around, too. After the Boogie Cousins trade, they even have an NBA team they can look to for inspiration

The Final Rotation?

Mark Donnal played only six minutes on Senior Day. The key to Michigan's second-half surge that pushed the lead to 22 points was lifting Donnal, who'd just allowed two Haas buckets and an offensive rebound, and moving Wilson to center. Wilson held his own on defense, forcing a miss on Haas' only attempt before Painter replaced him with Swanigan, and his presence at center opened up the offense the same way Wagner did in the first half. Beilein:

We went with DJ to play the center, just because they were switching screens and just to a give us a little like what we had with Moe when he was in foul trouble. That was big. Xavier hitting that three in the corner. That young man is in the Davidson Player Development Center every day. Every day, he’s just shooting and shooting and shooting. For him to see that ball go in like that was big for us. I think that we got enough rest during that time for Derrick, for Muhammad, for Zak, that really helped us. That play off the bench of Xavier and Duncan in particular was really good.

Simpson's emergence, Robinson playing passable defense(!), and Wilson looking viable at center doesn't bode well for Donnal down the stretch. Rotations tend to tighten up come tourney time; Donnal is the player who looks most likely to drop out, so long as Wagner can keep himself out of serious foul trouble. When Beilein was asked about Donnal's limited role in his final home game, this was his response:

He’s had some great moments here at Michigan. He’s got four years, he’s got the Big Ten championship ring, hopefully he’s got three out of four NCAA tournaments. He’s played in every game, I believe, almost every game since he was a sophomore. He’s been a great representative for us. He’s quiet. He’s not as assertive, maybe, as he will be maybe later on in life. But he is really a model student. He’s done a great job representing this university. He’s not going to be in the Hall of Fame someday, but he’s going to be in the Hall of Fame in terms of just having a guy who’s a good teammate and working hard every day in practice.

While Donnal has been a solid contributor to this program, he might not have much of a role on the court in his final days at Michigan. If Wilson is comfortable at center and Simpson continues to show he's capable of playing double-digit minutes, there's very little need for Donnal unless foul trouble strikes.

Another Wagner/Wilson Section So I Can Post A Bunch Of Quotes

There were too many great quotes on Wagner (and Wilson, too) from Saturday's postgame to not include a section of them.

Poor Damn Matt Painter:

Yeah, I wish I’d have went with Vince Edwards [on Wagner] and just had them switch right there [earlier in the game]. See, I have the same respect for DJ Wilson, too. If you go watch tape, DJ Wilson’s a better three-point shooter than Wagner. He’s made more. They’re very similar, I shouldn’t say he’s better. They have a very, very similar skill set, where they can do both things. So it wasn’t like they weren’t going to flip it and bring him up into there. But [Wagner] was the guy with the hot hand, so…

Painter's answer ended there, with him trailing off.

Beilein on Wagner:

He’s committed to doing whatever it takes to help us win. He’s with the top, the Novak type of guys that want to win and do whatever it does to help us win. He’s made big steps there, and that’s tough. Haas is a big boy, Caleb is so skilled. He did a great job.

More Beilein:

[Wagner] is learning that fine line between shooting a three and driving it. I can’t wait to work with him more on selling his shot fake before he does, sometimes he just rips and goes. He’s almost like a forward or a guard in how he plays. But he had a really good post move inside. He and DJ have to bottle this thing up, that they can shoot from the outside, but to help teams win, they’re going to play professionally if they have a post-up game. They’re not going to just be these 6’10” shooters. They’re going to need to grow in that physical part of it. He’s got a good mix of that. If we can put that third part in, that he can shoot, he can drive, and he can effectively post up and hold position, he could become very special.

Walton on his pick-and-pop chemistry with Wagner:

That's just my guy, man. I've got an absurd amount of respect for him. We go through [the pick-and-pop] so much in pregame, that's just our little thing. He knows where I'm at. I know where he's at. With a defense like that, I feel it was my priority to make sure he got the ball in space. Whenever I had two guys on me I made sure I found him. He does what he does. He makes plays for us.

More Walton on Wagner:

Moe’s a problem. That’s all I can say. He’s a problem. He’s a gnat on defense and he’s a problem on offense. He gives people fits. I’m just happy he’s on our side. He worked so hard this summer and last year when he was pretty much not playing. To see him have an output like this, I feel like I’m a part of it, because he worked so hard, just seeing him do what he did this past summer. He’s got so many skills, I don’t think you can put him in a box [in terms of] what he’s capable of doing.

He’s got a little chippiness to him. He’s not afraid to let you hear about it. That’s a guy that, me personally, that’s how I grew up playing. Seeing another guy with that fire makes you follow suit. He adds a different dynamic. If you’ve got so many guys who can go off, Zak, myself, Duncan of course, but when he gets it going, it’s so electric because he gets everybody involved when he talks. He’s always talking, regardless of how he’s playing, so one thing I can say about it is he’s consistent with it. When he gets it going, it gets electric.

Walton on Wagner's skill set:

European? It’s so awkward but it’s very effective. When you all get a chance, please ask him why he thinks he’s Kevin Durant. He said he thinks he’s Kevin Durant. He’s so dynamic. He can put it on the floor, he can shoot it, he can play with his back to the basket, he’s got great touch—to me, he’s one of the best players I’ve played with. He’s got a lot to him. I think I’m pretty skilled, but he’s on a different level. He’s good. He’s really good. Honestly, that’s all I can say. You’ve got European flavor with some American type of grit. It’s hard to contain him. (Reporter: "NBA good?") You’re not getting me with that (laughs). But I think he’s got a future. Of course he has a future in the NBA. He’s gonna be really good.

Deployed: "moritz wagner is german durant" tag.



February 28th, 2017 at 7:56 PM ^

Ace, that was some of the best analysis I've seen all year.  When Beilein's offense in running on full flow, like it was vs Purdue, it is beautiful to watch.  Your review certainly showed this.  The Painter review was killer good.  Thanks.  


February 28th, 2017 at 4:37 PM ^

There have been many of those moments already. Some have gone well, and unfortunately, more have not. Every game has those moments, and I think his minutes reflect his relative place on the team. Wish him the best, and wish him to fill it up the next time he's needed, but Ace's analysis is quite fair -- as were Painter's comments. Beilein's summation speaks volumes for the good and the less so.

Rusty Knuckles

February 28th, 2017 at 6:09 PM ^

Eric Riley was Honorable Mention All-Big 10  as a Sophomore before being displaced by the Fab Five.  Kind of quiet for 2 years but then had the game of his life in the Sweet 16 his senior year. Could happen.

If Vegas put Donnel scoring 10 or more points the rest of the year at better than 75-1 odds, put me down for 10 bucks.



February 28th, 2017 at 4:13 PM ^

I will admit that until Walton went beast mode 2 months ago, I was never enthusiastic about him. He has finally reached his potential and I'm very happy for him. It's been a pleasure to see him put it all together and lead this team like I always expected him to.


February 28th, 2017 at 4:23 PM ^

I missed most of the games this season and have only been able to catch games over the last month or so.  It sounds like I've picked a good time to get on this bandwagon. Beilein offenses are one of the most fun offenses to watch in the NCAA.  This offense is almost as much fun as the 2013 offense. I'm hoping Irvin gets hot in the Tourney. That'd be a great way for Walton and Irvin to leave. 

S.G. Rice

February 28th, 2017 at 5:12 PM ^

Sorry Ace, Wagner is not German Kevin Durant.  He's too short.  Definitely too short.  Needs another year to get taller.  Then he'll be NBA-ready and can be the professional GKD.


February 28th, 2017 at 5:25 PM ^

I like watching the coaches post game pressers for some reason and this was one of the few I can remember where the coach didn't go standard boilerplate.

As someone who never played organized basketball past 6th grade, I love seeing posts like this and breakdowns by coaches who don't act like they are giving away the missile launch codes if they discuss more intricate concepts that happened in the game, especially so in this day and age when pretty much every major conference game is on TV and those teams have an army of analysts/grad assistants breaking down game film.


February 28th, 2017 at 6:03 PM ^

It's funny to watch (the reactions of both) Duncan and Walton on the final gif of Mo shooting that three - Walton just stands there casually and puts his hand up before it's in, Duncan stands in the corner and then just starts toward the other end of the court before it's in.  Neither makes any pre-emptive attempt at rebounding a potential miss.


p.s. Also, yes, thanks Ace, I love this kind of breakdown as well!

Frank Chuck

February 28th, 2017 at 6:45 PM ^

The Wilson + Wagner combo makes us a match-up nightmare.

Go to the Kaiju-Style PnR gif. Notice that 4 of the 5 players on that play will be in Ann Arbor in 2018: Wilson, Wagner, Robinson, MAAR. And those 4 will all be upperclassmen. Experience matters. Even in the one-and-done era, the overwhelming majority of Final Four teams are junior- and senior-laden teams.

Re: More on Wilson + Wagner combo

Neither was highly rated but both will be a pro. This is why I'm not concerned about recruiting as much as others. Beilein gets underrated players who are pros. Yes, it takes these players longer to climb the learning curve (which makes for some growing pains) but it's a sustainable model for Michigan.

And we'll have good depth at every position next year.

PG: Xavier Simpson, Eli Brooks

SG: MAAR, Charles Matthews, Jordan Poole

SF: Duncan Robinson Isaiah Livers,

PF/C: Mo Wagner, DJ Wilson, Jon Teske, Austin Davis.


February 28th, 2017 at 7:16 PM ^

a 4 which will be better because of his athleticism. Anyway, I agree with you on Beilein's recruiting strategy. What difference does it make if a guy develops over 2 years or is 1 and done? JB got caught when he lost so much to early entry (which was never predicted except for Mitch) and then dealt with 2 years of injuries. His recruiting isn't anything like what the detractors claim.


February 28th, 2017 at 10:24 PM ^

Over on UMHoops they did a mailbag today and there was a discussion about the fictional universe next season where Michigan signs Mo Bamba and how he would fit with Wilson/Wagner.  Dylan (who I highly respect) thinks that Bamba would add a whole new dimension to the defense and has to play, perhaps forcing them to play a trio-towers lineup with Wilson at the 3.  

I argued against that for a few reasons, but Ace's summary makes the best case.  Right now the versatility of the bigs allows Michigan to wreck havoc with defenses.  Unless Bamba (or an improved Teske) is able to contribute something on offense, I think he is a situational player as a freshman.

(My thought is that you'd have Bamba be the back-up "big" and when Wilson or Wagner need a rest you bring in Bamba.)

Year of Revenge II

March 1st, 2017 at 8:27 AM ^

All basketball is heavily dependant on who has the best guard play.  It's my first consideration picking a team to win.

Big men can be dominant, sometimes forwards too, but guards are often the key to winning basketball.  Jordan, Magic, and even Bird to a lesser extent were essentially point guards in forward-type bodies who went lower once half-court sets followed transition.  Shooting guard can be just as critical or dominant as a point guard if he is good without the ball. 

Their defense can be just as important as their offense.  Jordan, Magic, and Bird were all heady, and very good to great defensively.  

IMO, Isaiah Thomas was the best point guard ever, and why the Pistons were so good.

Right now, I like Kansas and Villanova in the tourney primarily because of their guards.

Michigan never would have improved like it did without the stepped-up play of Derek Walton.


March 1st, 2017 at 2:39 AM ^

Wilson in either of those clips that you said he was - he was guarding him all along.  Purdue came out in the second half with Swanigan on DJ and Edwards on Wagner so Edwards could guard the pick and roll that just killed Swanigan in the first half.

It was a fairly smart move as Painter basically just dared Michigan to post up Wagner against Purdue guards if they switched the pick and roll, knowing it's not really a part of Michigan's offense and that we rarely give up our action to exploit specific matchups - and on the play you clipped, he was right that we didn't post up Wagner and Edwards held his own against Walton.

It's just that Swanigan is really, really bad at defending anything outside of ten feet. I don't know if this was a particularly bad game for him but he was completely incapable of coming out to defend threes or dribble drives.  That was a very poor attempt to recover short on DJ, not surprising from a guy his size that usually doesn't have to guard guys like DJ and Wagner who can both shot and who can also put the ball on the floor (requiring a quick change of direction on the close out).  Since DJ was in a spot to shoot a long two, Swanigan shouldn't have closed out hard, but rather cut off the baseline drive and let him shot it.  His singularly bad defense  gave Michigan about 25 easy shots.

We figured going in that their bigs couldn't guard ours and we couldn't guard theirs, but our bigs hit 5-12 threes while Haas missed some twos and Swanigan turned it over such that we easily won that battle.


March 1st, 2017 at 3:10 PM ^

that we didn't have much time with him on floor with the new assignments.  We had those six or so offensive possessions that Ace listed and got open shots (for whomever Swanigan was guarding).  We just didn't make the open threes like we did in the first half and then Wagner went out which is a pretty good way to cool a guy off.

Then for us to move Wilson to center actually helped because that spot gets pick and rolls called for it (instead of his usual spot as basically a reversal guy).  So that put Wilson in the better position within the offense to exploit Swanigan's nonexistent perimeter D, including an inability to guard the pick and pop - he sagged to the paint to stop the drive/prevent backdoor cuts (holding low) even though he was getting threes rained on his head.  And we further extended the lead to 22 with DJ hitting a three.

I'm pretty sure most of the whittling down to six happened with Wagner on the court with offensive possessions that we essentially were happy to kill 30 seconds and then we fell asleep a bit on defense.  There was a possession in which Wagner was guarding PJ Thomson for some reason and Swanigan cut right down the lane to get the pass for an And1.  We kind of lost focus for that stretch. 

Bertello NC

March 1st, 2017 at 8:58 AM ^

Yes you're right about swanigans inability to guard much of anything outside of 10 feet. His feet just aren't quick enough, and while he's gotten himself into much better shape he still isn't a quick twitch athlete. What you said about us not exploiting mismatches and just running our stuff- with the emergence of Wagner and his better play of late and Wilsons growth, and the possibility of increased 3 point percentage from both of them it usually works heavily in our favor. Add to that Wagner and wilsons ability to now take slower defenders off the dribble. Especially at home where we naturally shoot better overall. But i found it interesting in John's post game press conference where he mentioned that Wagner and Wilson both are not at a point yet where they're totally comfortable with their backs to the basket. Wagner I think is a little more adept at it than Wilson. But he did say that that is the next chapter for them both. Is to have more comfortability in doing that. With some added strength and practice at it would make them more successful in exploiting a matchup such as Wilson vs. Edwards. He mentioned that they can't just be big guys floating around shooting threes. As the development continues with both of these guys and adding things to their repertoire, even in the eyes of the NBA I think it's something that they should feel comfortable with. Now maybe Beilein was just blowing smoke but regardless I feel like it's an added skill that can be beneficial especially in games on the road when the 3 point % usually takes a dip. Backdrop is different, rims are different, increased perimeter defense to me all play a part of making outside shooting more difficult. I think he was right. Working on back to the basket skills isn't going to hurt you. It'll only make us more dimensional and a well rounded team.


March 1st, 2017 at 3:17 PM ^

that when teams switch like that, it would be better if DJ and Wagner can dominate smaller guys in the post.  They are not naturally back to the basket guys and will never have to do it often, but it would make them both almost unstoppable.

In the second half DJ had a little guy on him and he was able to shoot a 12 footer right over him, but that's not a real high efficiency shot even if you hit it 50 percent of the time.  You'd like them to be able to back the guy down, and get close to the rim for a higher percentage shot/foul/double team kick out.


March 1st, 2017 at 4:59 AM ^

Damn if I don't get annoyed by basketball coach jargon.

So now when they start driving, if you don’t give help and you stay with the shooters, now the ball’s just right at the rim off the drive. So now when they post it, we did a good job of knocking them off the post, they never threw the ball inside to the big guy outside of one time. But you’ve got to hold your low man so they don’t throw it over the top, so you hold your low man and they throw a skip [pass], well now you’re in a closeout.

Basketball positioning's not a difficult concept; use simple English FFS.  This doesn't make you sound smarter; it makes you sound like a teenager talking about a secret handshake.


March 1st, 2017 at 9:30 AM ^

I don't see too much jargon in there.  What is confusing?  Skip pass?  Closeout?

He's just saying that because you have to account for the threat in the post (and Purdue apparently did well enough that we didn't look there too much), your big men get trapped in no man's land when the ball is quickly swung around the perimeter, making it hard for them to prevent the shooters from getting off a shot.



March 1st, 2017 at 11:44 AM ^

I got the jist of it, and I'm sure MGoBlog did pretty well overall.  But to a casual fan reading the transcript, these terms (among others):

"knocking [them] off the post"

"hold your low man"

"throw it over the top"

"in a closeout"

None of this is condensed language, and makes no sense when taken literally.  Obviously it's not to be taken literally, but that's my point.  There's no excuse to make this deliberately convoluted to laymen when you're not saving any time and the concept you're conveying is simple.


March 1st, 2017 at 4:37 PM ^

knocking them off the post - getting defensive position such that the offensive player can't post you up in good position

hold your low man - keep the low man or defensive "rim protector" nearer to the basket instead of having him be closer to his man on the perimeter (where a non-low man might be)

throw it over the top - this is the one that has a couple similar applications 1) refers to when a post defender is fronting his man (in position between the ball and his man) and the passer throws over the top of the defender to drop it right in for an easy layup/dunk.  2) could also refer to a perimeter player throwing it over the top of his defender to a guy rolling or backdoor cutting.  Painter pretty much means both here, because the point is that they held their low man to prevent any type of "throw over the top".  They wanted to prevent backdoor cuts and post entries over smaller guys that might be fronting the post and were willing to give up outside shots to our bigs to keep their low man closer to the basket to prevent these throws over the top.

in a closeout - situation where a guy that was in help position near the paint has to recover to his man on the perimeter if the ball is passed to him.

It's all a way of saying his big, slow post defenders were rendered useless against guys that can shoot and put the ball on the floor and he hoped they'd make up for on the offensive end but they couldn't.


March 1st, 2017 at 9:03 AM ^

Wagner's late season surge reminds me of McGary, another big guy who had his ups and downs until late in the season, then turned it on big time and helped us reach the championship game. I've been down on this team all year, but they look like they're putting it together at the right time and could make some noise in the tournament if they can maintain their level of play.