Get In

Submitted by Brian on March 9th, 2009 at 12:40 PM

3/7/2009 – Michigan 67, Minnesota 64 – 19-12, 9-9 Big Ten

 manny-harris-minnesota-drive bracket-1998

One of the bizarre things I love is soccer, and one of the bizarre things about soccer I love is the weird British permutations of American sports lingo that get deployed during the course of same and the bizarre permutation I love most is the phrase "get in!"

"Get in!" appears to be the stuffy British equivalent of "GOLAZO," deployed for goals of such spectacular mind-bending quality that a mere "goal" or "gol" is totally insufficient, the existence of such things being another major reason I love soccer. The thing that's bizarre about "get in" is this: it's invariably shouted after the ball has, in fact, gotten in. The ball will get in, and then the suddenly very electric and not at all somnambulant announcer will exclaim "GET IN!"

I think this is because some things you dare not hope for, especially in a game in which goals come so rarely and have this potential to rearrange the universe. Sometimes the situation develops in such a way that the arc of the ball is so improbable and so important and the whole thing is so unlikely that you dare not express hope lest it be wrenched cruelly from you. You can see the curve of the future; you cannot let it enter your heart until the net ripples and the impossible is before you, horned mermaid nuclear spaceship captains and all.

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There's three minutes left and Michigan leads Minnesota by two. Manny Harris, a meh at best three-point shooter, takes a pass in the corner and unwisely decides to rise and fire—again. The ball arcs. Someone in the bar has just shouted "C'mon FRESH." If time ever stopped, surely it would do so now.

It's a terrible shot. I mean, just terrible. There are more than twenty seconds on the shot clock and Harris has the ball. He gives a jab step, I guess, but there's a guy in his face and Harris is a 31% three-point shooter and in this game he's two of seven on his way to two of eight and in all ways this is a slow motion 'nooooooooo' situation. Someone hit the abort button. This ship will self destruct in ten seconds.

I am a Michigan fan, so I know how this story goes: long rebound, fast break the other way, transition and-one layup that puts Minnesota ahead for good. Maybe there's a missed wide open dunk for Michigan, or Manny Harris is attacked with a machete and given a technical for spraying blood on the great and powerful Hightower, but those are just details. I know what happens next.

It's just that arc, you know. It looks pretty good. It looks true.

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The thing with "get in" is that what has gone down is so good you have to retroactively hope for it, to rearrange yourself into a person so wildly stupid that they would actually believe such a thing is possible.

Last year Michigan was 10-22, more dire than any product put out by Tommy Amaker. Amaker, in fact, kicked the crap out of them in his new job at Harvard. It was one of their eight wins. This year Michigan has two walk-ons splitting most of the point guard minutes, no seniors outside of them seeing any time at all, and a 6'5" freshman guard playing power forward. I mean:

zach-novak-posterized

This is a team on the cusp of the NCAA tournament, and they were down twelve halfway through the second half of a road game against a probable NCAA tourney participant.

Beat Iowa and it's over. Get in.

BULLETS

  • Every once in a while there's a moment that immeasurably improved by your presence in a sports bar when it happens, and that Minnesota prayer from near halfcourt that went right in moments after Tubby had called timeout was one. The entire bar went "ohhhhhhhh!" in this perfect way. Then there was a brief "Tubb-y, Tubb-y" chant.
  • Wow: 100% wrong about Sims in the preview, eh? I've been trying to figure out which totally average NBA bench player Sims reminds me of and it's a tight race between Joe Smith and post-knee-ravaging Antonio McDyess. He's got an NBA shot but I don't know if he's big enough or active enough to be worth having on the roster.
  • 100% right about those turnovers, though. It's not often you get a win when the opponent shoots 55% and rebounds half their misses. You kind of have to get 17 turnovers in a 56-possession game.
  • Much more detail on this later, but I spent a large chunk of the weekend pondering the bubble and 1) we're obviously in good shape now but 2) we really, really don't want to lose to Iowa, who we just lost to without two of their best players. We might still get in but it's going to be tooth and nail.

Comments

travelingblue

March 9th, 2009 at 12:52 PM ^

If Sims was willing to grow two inches taller he could be Udonis Haslem. Who btw was a perfect fit on the Heat when Shaq was there, was overwhelmed (even in the East) when he was being relied on to play the 5, and has a sweet fifteen-footer.

Get In indeed.

RDubs

March 9th, 2009 at 12:54 PM ^

NBA comparison wise, Deshawn could end up being pretty close to Ryan Gomes. Gomes was more of a scorer in college, but he also didn't have to waste a year under Amaker.

He could be one of those undersized PF/slow SF types who can contribute on a winner or put up good numbers on a crappy team, but probably not both. He's got a spot in the league though....after one more year.

Sgt. Wolverine

March 9th, 2009 at 1:02 PM ^

I concur -- great post.

Have Iowa's big wins come at home? It seems like they become the destroyer of worlds at home but are mere annoyers of worlds elsewhere. Will it help that they're not at home?

Duncan

March 9th, 2009 at 1:10 PM ^

I was actually thinking about Sims and who he reminds me of at the NBA level the last few games I've watched. There's a lot of David West to his game. Both are not the best athletes. Both have back to basket moves that are somewhat refined. They can face up and shoot a 15 to 20+ ft. jumper. Neither plays good defense. Problem is, West is a couple inches taller. Which will probably translate Sims into a second round pick where West was a mid-1st.

Ziff72

March 9th, 2009 at 1:16 PM ^

I thought we had muppets!?!? You said we were in...yes in. Looks like reality has sent us back from euphoria. Is that premature muppulation??? Brian you have watched Mich long enough to know better than Muppets with games still looming and no bid secured. Did you walk out on Colorado knowing it was in the bag? Did you assume Pelinka was gonna nail a dagger on NC to win the title?? Oh well looks like I am going to have to bet another $100 on Iowa to make sure we get in. I think my personal donation is up to $320 in making sure that Mich got to the tournament.

SpartanDan

March 9th, 2009 at 1:20 PM ^

There are not many people who can both provide sound analysis and capture the emotion of being a fan. There are plenty of examples of the former; this article is a perfect example of the latter.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

March 9th, 2009 at 1:28 PM ^

I don't know whether this should be taken as a complement or a slam, but if you remove the phrase "horned mermaid nuclear spaceship captains" and insert "Get in" about twelve times all as stand-alone paragraphs, the post could pass for a Mitch Albom column.

Yostal

March 9th, 2009 at 1:29 PM ^

Well-written and well executed, and unlike three other hacked together pieces that have come through my feed today, actually acknowledges that Michigan plays Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament. (I loved the one that said Michigan won't get into the NCAA tournament because Northwestern will upset them in the first round.)

Sometimes, it's important to remember that being discerning in one's reading is not a sign of snobbery, but a sign that you know where you're going to get quality product. Thanks, Brian, for bringing what you have in its fullest, to everything you do.

jmblue

March 9th, 2009 at 1:54 PM ^

Manny's shot wasn't bad. He's a much better outside shooter when he gets his feet set and his body squared to the basket. If he'd only shoot in those cases, he might be pushing 40%. It's the fallaway threes off the dribble that he never makes.

Duncan

March 9th, 2009 at 2:55 PM ^

Manny's shot was bad because it wasn't an open look and could have put them in a disadvantage off the rebound and he could have probably gotten a similar shot later in the shot clock. Of course, it may have been a fade away 3 (like you said). I'd like to see Manny develop more of a post up game. If he wants to use that fade away, it would be a lot more useful in a position close to the basket.

DLup06

March 9th, 2009 at 4:43 PM ^

Didn't those two go #s 1 and 2 in the '95 Draft, with Jerry Stackhouse #3 and Rasheed Wallace #4? Odd, because all four of these players have played for the Pistons, and Sims was just compared to the #s 1 and 2 picks...