Get Off My Court

Submitted by Brian on March 7th, 2011 at 12:13 PM

3/5/2011 – Michigan 70, Michigan State 63 – 19-12, 9-9 Big Ten

[KIDS! Due to the exact content of the quote this column is built around there are a couple of swears included herein. You should read something else right now.]

queensberry-rulesimage

right: Marissa McClain/Daily

Set aside the fact that the coach complaining about a last-second layup left his starters in with his team up 50 points against Michigan once. Look past the game two years ago in which Durrell Summers threw down a dunk with 11 seconds left and the shot clock turned off in a 17-point game. Try to forget that the last second layup put Michigan up seven, not 19, and came on a possession that started with 16 seconds on the clock in a two possession game, and that Darius Morris had passed up a similarly open layup with near-disastrous results earlier in the year. Squint hard and pretend that Michigan State doesn't currently features a high master of on-court whine and trash-talk in Draymond Green, that Kalin Lucas didn't chuck the ball at Morris after his layup, that Lucas wasn't the first guy to open his mouth in the handshake line and probably wasn't offering salutations to Morris's mother.

Ignore the many reasons why the epic post-game meltdown about "class" currently underway on the Michigan State internets is ridiculous. If you can't—understandable—at least run off somewhere else to get your fill and then come back when you're ready.

That dispensed with: Michigan State basketball fans, even the elaborately reasonable ones, are whining about class on the internet. Since a Vick isn't involved, this can only mean one thing: they lost, and it wasn't that close, and they can't say anything else. Basketball! The game with the ball that you bounce and attempt to throw through a hoop and if you're Michigan you never do it quite as much as Michigan State, certainly not twice in one season. It is in this sport that a Michigan team with no seniors and approximately 45% freshman usage has reduced the Michigan State fanbase to a blubbering collection of brahs with zeroes on their chest looking up the Queensberry Rules and fainting at rough language. In other news, Michigan fans did the same after a football game in fall and earth's magnetic poles have flipped.

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Michigan didn't even play that well. They shot poorly and Stu Douglass took two NBA threes for no reason and every shot that wasn't a delicately executed easy bucket was a flung prayer. But State played worse, especially right at the beginning, and most of the game was played in a six to eight point range that would have been comfortable if we weren't talking about a team that Michigan hadn't swept since Charles Woodson was walking around with a rose in his teeth and another that had seen simply massive leads against tourney no-hopers Northwestern and Indiana dwindle alarmingly down the stretch.

But after the usual dwindling and a brief moment of alarm Michigan just felt… better. While they had to use Evan Smotrycz as a center again and Blake McLimans made a cameo appearance they didn't have walk-ons on the court for most of the game and didn't spend offensive possessions running the three man weave in a desperate attempt to generate something other than a long two off a curl screen. Michigan's best players seemed better than Michigan State's, and so did the role players.

To get to the previous sentence from hoping for double digit wins in the preseason and staring at a 1-6 Big Ten record before the first MSU matchup is almost incomprehensible. I spent most of the second half of the game at Breslin terrified that this would be the moment the vastly superior Spartans blew the doors off and showed us our hopes were foolish. If wasn't exactly serene on Saturday*, second half thoughts were at least things like "don't blow this" and "OMG Hardaway." When the Spartans cut it to two, Michigan treated them like Indiana or Northwestern by throwing down a dunk and immediately pushing the margin back out. Michigan didn't make a whole lot of shots—Jordan Morgan is the only guy coming out of the State game with a high FG%—but it didn't matter. Somewhere, there is a commentator talking about how good teams win even when they don't play well who does not know he's actually talking about Michigan.

Yes: good. No qualifiers. Right now they are good. Since the last Michigan State game Michigan has won eight of eleven. Two of the losses were by two and one to tournament teams; the other was by nine to a one-seed on the road. Only the Iowa game qualifies as an escape—Michigan's kind of unlucky to have won only eight of eleven. They got up from an all-time gut punch to beat Minnesota and MSU and have probably punched their ticket no matter what happens in the Big Ten Tournament.

They're good. Full stop. They'll be better next year. Anyone who can remember a time in which the future was brighter for Michigan basketball that hasn't been vacated in retrospect is probably thinking of the first time they saw Glen Rice shoot.

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Kalin Lucas said something to Darius Morris. Whether Morris actually did or not, the rivalry's legends will now include the fact-type substance that he responded "get the fuck off my court."

Depending on what side of the rivalry you're on that's either a shocking violation of the Queen's English or something you've been waiting ten years for a Michigan player to say. But if interpreting that comment is a matter of perspective, what happened after is not: Kalin Lucas got the fuck off Darius Morris's court. Again.

*[In part because I was watching the game at 1 AM because I had been travelling literally the whole day; by the time I got home I could have seen my grandmother and thought she was a loud, stupid, slow person I wished did not exist. Air travel from obscure locations inflates your natural level of misanthropy 1000%.]

Non-bullets

Official restatement of trash-talk policy. Entirely in favor. Makes game spicier for fans without doing anything negative other than spawning I'm-looking-over-my-hornrims comments about "ugly scenes" from newspaper folk. I dislike opposing players who are annoying, but like that I dislike them, if that makes any sense. I miss David Boston and think Ohio State fans secretly love Mike Hart.

Michigan's sweep and Morris's layup/swearin' raises the stakes for next year, and there's nothing bad in that.

The great disaster. Here it is as captured by WXYZ:

Newspapers see an "ugly scene," I see games worth investing in. Seriously: Rollerball. Too bad Lucas won't be around.

On the other hand. Izzo has got to be the worst loser on the planet. After the game:

Lucas took exception to whatever Morris yelled at the visiting team, following his game-ending coast-to-coast layup with the Spartans appearing to lay off. Lucas responded by throwing the ball at him, causing a small tussle that Michigan's Jordan Dumars broke up as the teams shook hands.

“I'm not for that, so I'll straighten that out," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said after the game. "But at the same time, going for a layup with three seconds left — (Morris) talked a lot of stuff all game, including at our place, so maybe he deserved it.”

"Going for a layup with three seconds left"—what a hypocritical asshat. Again: Durrell Summers dunk to go up 19 two years ago. Criticizing another player for talking trash when you have the team you do—hypocritical asshat.

Paint by mouthguard. The other side of the now-infamous picture of Hardaway after the Wisconsin game:

image

Via MGoBlue. Also if so inclined you can buy it.

Oh snap. I don't think MSU AD Mark Hollis's tweet in the aftermath of the game about a "great program" being preferable to a "great season" had anything to do with Michigan. (People who do have lowered their expectations well beyond reason.) So whatever… except for one of the great zingers in the history of MGoBlog:

That's pretty rude to his football team

In the aftermath, I consulted the flowchart.

The greatest gif. …is still probably the UConn Final Fantasy one, but chunkums is MichiganFreek so anything is at least awesome:

LloydIzzoGif

If you haven't gotten your fill of Lloyd Brady versus Michigan State, BlueBarron's thread has you covered.

Emergence. Everyone's focused on Hardaway exploding over the second half of the Big Ten season—and with good reason—but another player is quietly emerging as we move along here: Matt Vogrich. Vogrich is never going to be a star but you've probably noticed a few defensive MANBOUNDS in the last couple games that came from a surprising source. After one against State the amiably incompetent color guy called Vogrich "Novak," which was wrong but at least understandably so. Vogrich hasn't seemed like a huge liability on defense and is currently shooting 40% from 3—48% in the Big Ten. As Michigan adds slashers like Brundidge and Burke and hopefully gets more driving action from Hardaway and Smotrycz there will be more open threes to  be had, and Vogrich is probably the best guy on the roster to take them.

Smotrycz. Obviously had himself a day despite not getting any rebounds. One of his fast break layups was a gift but he made the other one by poking the ball out; his fake and drop step on Roe was Morgan-like. Also hit a three. He obviously does not have a long term future at the five so the biggest thing Michigan needs from him is a leap forward on defense.

Nosesplosion. The Lucas "intentional foul" that gave Michigan the ball and two free throws was a major turning point in the game. Some bits on it. One: Lucas nailed LLP in a previous game. Two: after the Manny Harris debacle against Purdue the Big Ten has been pretty consistent about their reaction to similar plays. No ejections but the opponent gets two shots and the ball. Lucas's elbow got above his neck and nailed a 6'5" guy in the face—it was clear as day that they were going to call the harsher version of the foul. Three: they really should change the lingo from "intentional," which confuses everyone, to something like "severe."

Morgan. Have we not been giving him enough credit for his FG%? He gets a lot of help, sure, but he's got that baby hook and a variety of other shots that turn Morris passes into baskets. He's not just a dunk machine. He's been hesitant from time to time this year and has spun into trouble some; I think the improvement we get from him is not in efficiency but time on the court—must stop taking nothing fouls—and usage.

Elsewhere

Eamonn Brennan awards Michigan his "best bubble win":

Considering where the Wolverines started -- getting blown out by teams in Belgium in the summer and being picked to finish close to the Big Ten cellar -- and considering this win came over a hated in-state rival that's dominated Michigan for a decade-plus ... well, let's just say it was a good day for the Maize and Blue. Enjoy it, folks.

Izzoface? Izzoface. Also the comments after the State News story are amaaaazing. Daily game story. News game story. Wojo column. Five Key Plays from UMHoops. Player interviews. Torrent. Tourney bracket features Michigan's first bye in seven years(!). Um… Kesha? Alex Legion is in the wilderness again. Blame crazy mother? Um… maybe.

Michigan's offered IL PF Max Biefeldt. It's a Michigan-Illinois fight; he compares himself to Luke Harangody.

Comments

Everyone Murders

March 7th, 2011 at 12:34 PM ^

On reading the news reports, I thought that Morris may have traipsed across the proverbial line with his GTFO to Lucas (not during the heat of battle, etc.).  On seeing the video, the outcry over the exchange is a contender for the 2011 "Much Ado About Bushwa" award, and it's going to take something really dumb to top this.

Also, the comments at the State News are Scott Tenorman-licious.  While Izzo may be a bit of an asshat, the spectacle of MSU students calling for Izzo's job is wonderful.

 

TIMMMAAY

March 7th, 2011 at 12:39 PM ^

Their idiocy is really breathtaking. I read the first page of each of those RCMB links, just wow. Just think, we share air with these people, man. Unreal.

ish

March 7th, 2011 at 12:43 PM ^

if we lose to illinois, we're probably in the "first four."  beat illinois, we could be a 10 seed, which is what we were when we beat clemson.

iawolve

March 7th, 2011 at 12:49 PM ^

Or maybe a Real Men of Genius. Yes, their hubris was well rewarded. My only hope is that they get random dong punches from their happy cohort of students when they cross the campus.

zlionsfan

March 7th, 2011 at 2:18 PM ^

Asshattery aside (although from an MSU perspective, a coach who's an asshat toward Michigan is probably an asset), srsly ... six Big Ten regular-season titles, six Final Four appearances, including three straight (both of which are Big Ten records, meaning Izzo's outdone even that guy in the sweater) ... exactly who would they get to replace Izzo?

Actually, never mind that. They're all right! Izzo's worthless! Kick him out!

jmblue

March 7th, 2011 at 3:14 PM ^

While I don't think it'd be smart to let him go, I'm not a big fan of this line of reasoning.  Izzo is not necessarily the same coach in 2011 that he was in 2000 (just as the guy in the sweater wasn't nearly as good his last few years at IU as he was earlier).  Coaches' careers tend to rise, peak and decline just like everyone else's.  Right now, Izzo deserves a break because of what he did in 2009 and 2010.  What he did a decade before that is irrelevant by now.  Mateen Cleaves & Co. are in their 30's.

jmblue

March 7th, 2011 at 3:15 PM ^

And at the end of his career, Carr did need to retire.  These guys aren't robots.  Carr didn't have the same fire he once did.  Carr earned the right to stop down, rather than be fired, but he was wise to call it a career when he did.

bluebyyou

March 7th, 2011 at 5:24 PM ^

That offense should have been amazing with the talent that was there.  I thnk the New Year's day game against Florida showed what that team was capable of when they were healthy and playing up to their potential. 

Anyway, great feeling these days with hoops, hockey, ladies softball etc.  It's really good to feel good again about Michigan sports.  

Michigan Arrogance

March 7th, 2011 at 12:53 PM ^

I'm getting a little old, so my memory is a bit foggy, but remember when Mich had a better basketball team than MSU? After Mich swept them to end the season, i changed by FB pic to  a broom.

good times.

wile_e8

March 7th, 2011 at 12:58 PM ^

While I generally agree with the sentiment of this post, I'll be shocked if The Only Colors doesn't bring up the Juggalos post in response.  And I don't necessarily think they'll be wrong.

the_white_tiger

March 7th, 2011 at 1:06 PM ^

After the whole Dan Tan story came out, Morris became my favorite player. After this, he's become one of my favorite Michigan players ever. Not only did he tell Lucas to get the **** off of his floor, Lucas did because he got his ass kicked by Michigan twice.

JeepinBen

March 7th, 2011 at 1:18 PM ^

And yes, my couch is safe. However there has been more displeasure with Izzo this year than previous. Keep in mind he went to the last 2 final 4s... but between his too-long flirtation with the Cavs this summer and their struggles this year fans are antsy. 

I think he's a hypocrite and a jackass for doing what he did with the Cavs this year, but that's my opinion

duffman is thr…

March 7th, 2011 at 1:25 PM ^

I have lived in the area my whole life (Okemos '02), and because of this know many state fans/grads. Izzo was their Bo basically, but now he seems to be in a perception free fall with them. I was actually quite shocked when they would agree with me about him being a douchey hypocrite.

saveferris

March 7th, 2011 at 1:55 PM ^

I don't think it's unreasonable to look at your head coach as setting the standard of sportsmanship and integrity for your program / school.  Based on comments from Izzo and previous ones from Dantonio, is it really all that surprising to see the rising tide of doucheyness from East Lansing (more than usual, I mean).

jmblue

March 7th, 2011 at 3:09 PM ^

I've never understood why any Michigan fans would like the guy.  Izzo may be a good coach, but he's always been a jackass.  He's never shied away from rubbing it in our face, and he's always been a complete crybaby when he's lost.  I guess it goes to show how much the media can infliuence people's opinions, as the local media lives in complete fear of him for some reason.

M-Wolverine

March 7th, 2011 at 5:56 PM ^

Then tell you to come to his office. And, oh, yeah, (considering no one even asked him about any of these other instances, including him starting the trash talk by a guaranteed victory...that NO ONE asked him about) media members are pussies. (I can say that, right? All the kid's are reading Russian authors now, right?)

Braylon 5 Hour…

March 7th, 2011 at 1:16 PM ^

One of the MSU fans on one of these links about the "ugly scene" says that Beilein should suspend Morris for "at least" 1 game in the Big Ten Tournament.... hahhahah.  Oh the horror, Morris made a layup and didn't kiss the almighty Kalin Lucas' feet after the game was over.  

harmon98

March 7th, 2011 at 1:35 PM ^

"But at the same time, going for a layup with three seconds left — (Morris) talked a lot of stuff all game, including at our place, so maybe he deserved it.”

 

Dear Coach Izzo: 

Adversity doesn't build character, it reveals it.

 

jamiemac

March 7th, 2011 at 1:37 PM ^

D-MO

I'm ONE HUNDRED PERCENT (whoops, fixed from one percent)  behind what he allegedly did. It's what you EARN when you are the Undisputed State Basketball Champions.

About time some swagger came back to this program. Would Jalen have done that?  Hell, yes!!. It's exactly what this program needs.  And that  Jalen Rose spirit and confidence that drove those squads is beginning to manifest itself with what D-Mo and THJ are  bringing to the table.

Has anyone been betting Michigan? I think at 19-8 ATS, they've been one of the biggest moneymakers on the season. Had you been, your expenses to the Big 10 and NCAA Tournies would be covered.

Here's to the new state basketball rankings