First To 66 Wins Comment Count

Brian January 25th, 2012 at 1:08 PM

1/24/2012 – Michigan 66, Purdue 64 – 16-5, 6-2 Big Ten


Yo, dawg. I heard you like stress testing your heart. So we put the basketball team in an arena so it can either win or lose by two points unless it's getting crushed by Iowa(?!). Hope you enjoy stress testing your heart.

Seriously, though, the last five games:

  • Northwestern: W 66-64 (OT)
  • Iowa: L 75-59
  • MSU: W 60-59
  • Arkansas: L 66-64
  • Purdue: W 66-64

If this continues massive swaths of Crisler will start keeling over, clutching their chests, whenever the clock ticks under five minutes. It's a hard life when you're a fan of a middling to good Big Ten team this year.

Michigan got the coveted road win, and now doesn't have to hear about their lack of such against good competition. At least not as much. I'm sure they'll bring it up. They stand atop the pile of skulls that is the Big Ten at 6-2. While that's not likely to last what with the murders row Michigan is in the midst of, if Hardaway can be the most recent version of himself they've got a shot at anyone even if Kenpom predicts a 17 point loss to OSU on Sunday.

Kenpom also predicts two more one point games. Keep the paddles handy.

Bullets that have been sweated repeatedly

Stu! I like color guy Dan Dakich a lot and thought he would point out that Michigan switched him onto Lewis Jackson late after he thoroughly trashed Trey Burke for most of the game:

Michigan’s defense was far from perfect due to its inability to contain Lewis Jackson on the pick-and-roll. Jackson sliced his way into the lane for 17 points on eight shots along with eight assists and was the catalyst for a Boilermaker offense that scored 1.09 points per possession.

Jackson was slowed by Douglass and Purdue settled into the four-minute funk that allowed Michigan to edge it. Dakich didn't mention it.

On top of that, Douglass had twelve points on eight shots, two steals, three assists, one turnover, and a couple of "Did Stu Douglass just do that?" moments. The first one, a hesitation move that got him an uncontested layup, reminded me of Chauncey Billups. He's earned his starting role.

Novak. Novak had four attempts and one three-pointer. He needs more usage. If Purdue can get its sniper eight attempts in this game Michigan should be able to get Novak at least a few.

Dakich did point out that Purdue was sticking to the corner shooters to the severe detriment of its interior defense and the numbers bear that out. Michigan shot just 14 threes (28% versus their average of 44%) and hit 58% from within the arc. Morgan was 5 of 7 and his two misses were point blank shots that should have gone down.

Hardaway! I was really frustrated with Hardaway in the first half—the accumulation of a lot of missed threes and poor decisions from earlier games and a few turnovers—and felt that resurface a couple of times in the second half whenever he'd miss or get into trouble on the interior. So I'm not the most balanced Hardaway commentator at the moment.

That said, if four turnovers are required for Hardaway to go 6 of 9 from within the arc, fine. I'd rather have his shots split 70-30 between twos and threes and for Hardaway's TO rate to shoot into the high teens (it's 12.4 right now) than the current situation. Hardaway didn't commit the requested charge. That's the next negative-indicating-a-positive step to take.

Now if the threes can just start falling… I mean, it's hard to believe the same player who shot something like 42% in the Big Ten last year is languishing at 27% this year.

Addition to the Hardaway face pantheon. Via UMHoops:


Dustin Johnston

Depth! We have none. You already know this. Exactly one bench player had more than five minutes—Smotrycz—and there were some crazy plus-minus numbers associated with his entry into the game. Morgan was +18 in his time on the court, Smotrycz –16. There was about four minutes of overlap, FWIW.

Smotrycz entry saw the massive Purdue run on which the Boilers couldn't miss. It didn't seem like it was entirely his fault but it also seemed crazy to keep Morgan, who had a Stu-like game that was even better than a scoreline that looks pretty good already, on the bench for as long as Beilein did. If Michigan's going to wear down, they're going to wear down. They're getting just 22% of their minutes from their bench, which is 327th nationally. For comparison, they're about as starter-heavy this year as they were young last year.

I think we can agree this is not a good thing. It will get a bit better next year unless there is unexpected attrition—Hardaway is not going to be coming off a year he thinks represents his skill level, right?—what with three players replacing two. Then you've got Horford back, Beilfeldt off a redshirt, and hopefully some progress from Brundidge. They should have a pretty deep rotation everywhere save point guard.


Dustin Johnson

I must not understand block/charge. There were two blocking fouls and a no-call that seemed totally ludicrous to me. The worst was when a stationary Hardaway took a violent shoulder to the chest; no call and the Purdue guy made an uncontested layup because his defender was looking for a license plate. A couple other Michigan attempts to take charges got called as blocks despite the defensive player's total immobility. You could hear Dakich's skepticism on one three-point play as the replay showed a totally stationary defender getting plowed and he said something along the lines of "uh… good job by that guy of not jumping directly into the player" as the replay showed a guy jumping almost but not quite entirely into a player.

There was also a Purdue bucket on which Smotrycz forced the driver to put almost the entirety of a size 14 shoe out of bounds that the refs missed. Michigan got one call that egregious on a Hardaway turnover magically transmogrified into a shooting foul by a ref who couldn't see what was going on since the players had their backs to him. Add it up and in a hypothetical world where the refs get everything right, Michigan wins by seven or so. I hate college basketball referees.

Dakich: thumbs up. Probably my favorite non-Raftery color guy at the moment, and I like Raftery for the atmosphere he brings a game, not necessarily the analysis. He's continually saying interesting things that make the dude watching at home understand a little more about basketball and he strikes a nice balance when he makes his criticisms. He's not a Knight-like crab but he'll point out that Jackson, for example, is getting into the lane way too easily.


Recap and gallery from UMHoops. Holdin' the Rope recaps. Boiled Sports declares the game a gut punch. Hammer and Rails says it's getting old.


Blue Bennie

January 25th, 2012 at 1:22 PM ^

Dakich has had a radio show here in Indianapolis for a few years now.

I haven't liked Dakich since he would make fun of Michigan, Rodriguez, and MSC during the football NCAA violation investigation, and then basically suck Rich Rod's dick when he was on his radio show.

He is an ass.

Mr. Yost

January 25th, 2012 at 2:14 PM ^

He's WAY too negative.

Brian, you even pointed it out. He mentioned over and over about Burke getting blown by, but didn't mention the job Stu did on Jackson.

He talks about Hardaway taking bad shots, but doesn't say much of anything when he makes the right play.

We had 3-4 blocks on us that were charges...he didn't mention any of them. But when Purdue doesn't get back, he's all over the kid for like 10 minutes.

And can he PLEASE stop comparing Burke to Jordan Taylor?!


January 25th, 2012 at 4:53 PM ^

I have no idea what he does (or doesn't do) on his radio show in Indy, so I can't comment on that.

I will say I agree with Brian on him as a color commentator.  He didn't get EVERYTHING (none do), but he knows his stuff.  For example, his breakdown of how Michigan was using the High Pick & Roll and how Purdue should (and wasn't) defending it was pretty spot on.  I mean, during one sequence he pointed out that for Purdue to stop the layups they were going to have to live with leaving Stu open for corner 3's and boom, next possession Purdue stopped the rolling big man to the basket, leaving Stu open for a three.

As far as critcizing the refs, it is very rare for a color commentator (unless they're a long-time network star, like Bilas) to make comments about refereeing unless it is multiple and egregious.  Remember, ESPN and the B1G are "partners" and if you criticize the refs heavily, you're de facto criticizing your corporate partner.  It stinks, b/c that means commentators are less than forthcoming, but it's a fact of life in college sports.


January 25th, 2012 at 1:22 PM ^

On the play where the Purdue guy seemed to step on the baseline before making a layup, I don't think we got a good enough angle to say that it was a poor call. We only saw the view from above, and it seems reasonable that only his toes (which were inbounds) were actually on the floor. His heel could have been hovering above the baseline.

I do agree that Michigan often doesn't get credit for taking charges. It seems like that's a large part of their defensive game, and its an advantage that the refs can easily take away if they're leaning towards calling the blocking foul that night.


January 25th, 2012 at 1:54 PM ^

closely, refs only call the charge if they can see it coming and don't just figure out that a foul has taken place exactly when it happens.  If they are playing "catch up" to a play and are really only able to see the play just as the fans do in real time it is most often called a block.  The block is the more common play and has less "requirements" than a charge, it is more of just a foul instead of a particular kind of foul.  If they know that a foul has taken place but not who the hell committed it, it is always going to be called a block.  You really have to be in position  to consistenly get the benefit of that whistle.


January 25th, 2012 at 1:23 PM ^

Could Smotrycz body language right now be any worse?  Seldom do i remember seeing a player so obviously pissed off, disgusted, unhappy, you-name-it than he looks immediately after something bad happens.  You hit the nail right on the head - Timmy got PISSED and played like a guy who was pissed.  Evan seemed to shrug his shoulders and you could almost hear a "awww F me...sigh......." coming from him.


January 25th, 2012 at 2:41 PM ^

is just his demeanor.  Unfortunate, I know, but Smotrycz looks miserable no matter how he is playing or how well the team is doing.  He was brilliant against Duke last year and looked like a mess.  I don't think he is pouting nor do I think he is pissed.  I just think he appears disheveled, that is his look.  I worry more about his play than his demeanor.  If he starts making threes he can come out looking like Jim from The Office all he wants.  Just start making shots!


January 25th, 2012 at 1:49 PM ^

Reportedly, he is practicing with the team but they are playing it safe with him playing in games because he is still eligible for his medical redshirt - no decision has been made whether they will play him or redshirt him. I think, however, we may see him back for OSU given the extra 4 days rest/rehab he had because he didn't travel to purdue with the team. He would be great for our team by adding another capable body to the rotation and at a position of need. While he may be rusty, his fresh legs will surely be welcome on our team.


January 25th, 2012 at 1:52 PM ^

From what Beilein said in this article, it sounds to me as if Horford's determined to make it back on the floor this season:

"He practiced and we were planning (on him) making the trip," Beilein said. "He elected to stay back and work out, he didn't feel good in practice and he didn't feel like he could go 100 percent.

"He said, 'Coach, I don't need to sit around in a hotel room, I need to work out.' So he did therapy and stayed. It was a wise decision by him."

Also, this Baumgartner article on Douglass and Novak is worth checking out. Painter's comments were interesting:

Two Michigan seniors that were never really recruited by either Indiana or Purdue, Novak and Douglass have more than proven they belong in the Big Ten.

"Both of those guys have made a lot of people eat crow," Purdue coach Matt Painter said after the game. "They've ended being some pretty good players in the Big Ten."

. . . 

"I'm a big fan of both of them," Painter said.


January 25th, 2012 at 1:42 PM ^

It was when a Purdue player jumped into a Michigan defender, grazed his side ever-so-slightly, and then put in a lay-up, with a blocking foul called on the Michigan defender...I'm not sure that Brian's hatred should be directed at all college refs.  It seems to me that Big Ten refs are particularly bad. 

Morgan was great last night.  He played a really smart game.   He also did a good job of not getting overly worked up when some crap calls went against him.  He was more than just a nice piece of the puzzle last night - he was one of Michigan's best players. 


January 25th, 2012 at 2:09 PM ^

My only complaint with Daniel Dakich is his insistence on referring to Stuart Douglass even after Tirico called him Stu repeatedly.  Why so formal Daniel?


January 25th, 2012 at 2:23 PM ^

I like color guy Dan Dakich a lot

It is so hard for me to read those words and not punch my laptop screen. That guy is a disingenuous, condescending jackass.  He harps on the negative and hardly gives praise when it's deserved.  Furthermore, he seems to latch onto a theme (in this game it was obviously Robbie Hummel) and just runs it into the ground.

Naked Bootlegger

January 25th, 2012 at 3:48 PM ^

I agree with both of you.  Dakich sometimes makes me vomit.   Other times I'm pleased by his technical analysis that exceeds the fluff spewed out by many "analysts".   I'm just not sure what to do when he's calling the game.  I keep my vomit bag handy just in case.


January 25th, 2012 at 2:25 PM ^

He's the equivalent of Brian Billick doing Lions games.  We just can't shake the guy. This feels like his 6th Michigan game this year.

Count me as a fan.   I think to many people take color guys criticism too internally.  He is honest and not afraid to blow a kid up when warranted.  When Hardaway gave a half ass effort on d he  showed on replay why it was terrible defense.  He also made it funny by saying the coaches would light him up in film session.

The non charge on Hardaway in the lan was ridiculous.

The venom at Smo is a little misguided.  He hit a big 3 and converted a lot of his baskets in the lane.  Once he gets his shot back this team will move up another notch.  To gut out these wins without Hardaway and Smo knocking down their 3's with regularity is big.



January 25th, 2012 at 2:37 PM ^

No kidding. I'd much rather see the detailed breakdowns he gives of where things like help rotations broke down or why ball screens are or aren't working than the yelling that has become the default version of most college bball analysis in the wake of Vitale. Sure he harped on Hummel last night, but that was a pretty compelling part of the lead-up to the game, ie how would Hummel respond to his career worst game?


January 25th, 2012 at 2:34 PM ^

I usually prefer listening to the radio call while watching the games, but I did listen to Tirico and Dakich during part of last night's game, and I thought Dakich was fine. I suppose this shouldn't influence one's opinion of him as a color analyst, but he is Mark Donnal's AAU coach and has said some very complimentary things about Beilein and Michigan:

Dakich, the coach of Donnal's AAU team, Indiana Elite South 16u, knew that Donnal was walking into a perfect situation with the Wolverines.

"It's great. I think that (Michigan coach) John Beilein is one of the best teachers in college basketball," Dakich said. "Michigan is a spectacular university, with a degree that carries a ton of weight, and that's really important. The Donnals are Midwest people, Big Ten people, so it's close to home for his family.

"There isn't a single negative with this situation. I'm so happy for Mark. Everything in my opinion could not have worked out better for Mark or Michigan."

Blue boy johnson

January 25th, 2012 at 2:34 PM ^

 Disagree about the no call on Hardaway. Timmy flopped, I am glad the ref didn't call that, even thought they will 99 times out of 100.

FWIW, I think Belien implied in his post game comment that Painter forced his hand in regards to playing Smot at the 5.

I don't what is dumber, The knuckleheads calling for Denard to be benched, or the ignoramuses calling for Hardaway to be benched. And people claim M fans are more astute. Too funny.


January 25th, 2012 at 4:06 PM ^

Interesting to read the comments of those of you who watched on TV.  Crowd was really loud and it was pretty obvious they were a big part of what got Purdue back in the game.  From where I sat, Purdue people were talking about how well Michigan played defense all night and how they had not seen a Michigan team play defense like this in a very long time.  Then they talked about Purdue not getting the talent they once did, with Indiana and Michigan getting much better talent and wondering whether Painter was losing his recruiting touch.


January 25th, 2012 at 4:18 PM ^

I must need to watch the game more closely. I'm always wondering why Stu Douglass is on the floor. I guess he's the best we have.

And, seriously, why did Beilein have Morgan on the bench soooo long when it was obvious that he was making all the difference between us winning or getting our butts handed to us?


January 25th, 2012 at 4:52 PM ^

You can't say Stu Douglass reminds you of Chauncy Billups because Stu is white and Billups is black. Player comparisons cannot cross racial lines. It's the law.

You're pretty much required to scour the history books for a white Michigan player to compare Stu with.

When in doubt, go with Dugan Fife.


January 25th, 2012 at 7:23 PM ^

I don't mind Dakich.  He seemed at least to know what he was talking about, and he was dead on about the team needing Morgan in for the late run.  It's not about what Smotrycz did, it's what he didn't do.  Burke was getting picked, and Morgan was significantly better at hedging and keeping Lewis Jackson in front of him or at least making things more difficult.  I don't care what KenPom predicts against Ohio, I think this team is good enough to stay with anyone.


January 25th, 2012 at 7:29 PM ^

Brian, couldn't agree with you more on Dakich, dude knows his hoops.

Is it me or is Hardaway trying to force way to much. I think the biggest difference this year is that he isn't letting the game come to him. Burke is starting to force a little also, but I can cut him some slack because he does get it done more often.

Talking about depth issues, maybe the experts were a little off on Brundidge and his 4 stars, cat can't get on the floor just to spell Trey for a few minutes!