Michigan State 69, Michigan 55

Submitted by Ace on March 16th, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Dustin Johnston/UMHoops

Michigan opened the Big Ten title game with consecutive three-pointers.

That was the good. From there, the game became a slog. Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford each picked up two fouls early in the first half, leading John Beilein to play Max Bielfedt for 12 critical first-half minutes. Morgan's absence proved especially integral; without him on the court, the interior defense suffered, MSU dominated on the boards, and Michigan couldn't find a rhythm offensively.

The officiating didn't help matters; while both teams were victimized with early foul trouble, the Spartans weathered it much better than the Wolverines. Mostly, the constant whistles just made the game unbearable. Both teams were in the bonus around the midway point of the first half; in the second half, neither team got there until the waning minutes. The inconsistency was maddening, albeit not determinative.

The real problem for Michigan was the offense; the Wolverines shot 36% from two and made just six of their 23 three-point attempts. Given the numbers, it's frankly surprising that the final margin wasn't larger. Nik Stauskas went just 4-for-14 from the field with three turnovers, needing six free throws to reach 17 points, a team high. Caris LeVert shot 2-for-10 with three turnovers of his own. Glenn Robinson III went 2-for-8, and didn't hit a field goal until the second half. Aside from Derrick Walton's 11 points on eight shot equivalents, Michigan got almost nothing in the way of secondary scoring, either.

Michigan got outplayed, plain and simple. Those hammering the panic button, however, should keep last year's Big Ten Tournament—and subsequent run to the NCAA title game—in mind. Now the Wolverines wait to see if today's loss cost them a one-seed.



March 16th, 2014 at 6:04 PM ^

So lame to place any blame on the officiating.  I'm not saying it was good, but jesus just focus on what really cost us - inability to defend the paid, inability to rebound on defense, bad turnovers, poor shot selection on offense.



March 16th, 2014 at 6:29 PM ^


The officiating didn't help matters

Sorry, I didn't know the officiating was supposed to help any team in particular.

To the above poster - you're right, Morford in foul trouble hurt us.  I really wish Morgan didn't foul a jump-shooting Payne for his third (or second?) foul.

A real point of discussion could have been how Beilein went way too long with Beilfeldt.  Should have played Horford with 2 fouls.  Or even Morgan.  The game was lost in the first 20 (22 maybe) minutes. 

The 2-foul rule is a guideline, not a rule, and Michigan rolled the dice with Bielfeldt which was the wrong call, despite how much I love Beilein.


March 16th, 2014 at 6:13 PM ^

were directly related to our inability to rebound and defend the post for the next 25 to 30 minutes of game time.  The first minute of this game was horseshit officiating, absolute horseshit.


Izzo would be inconsoleable if Dawson and Payne drew 3 fouls like those on his guys one minute into the game.






March 16th, 2014 at 7:24 PM ^

I agree about the traveling calls.  The no-call where Payne split his feet before he put the ball down was egregious, as was the call on Caris for the slightest of pivot shuffles that I'm not sure was a shuffle even with slo-mo replay.

But the foul calls?  They were there.  Can't complain about those.

Point is, Ace can do better.

  • The officiating didn't help us
  • Issue #1 about officiating
  • Issue #2 about officiating
  • But it wasn't a factor

Sounds like it's straight from the Izzo book of self-pity.

Why not have a legit discussion about issues that actually matter: Beilein putting in a severely overmatched Bielfeldt.  Caris LeVert's lack of basketball IQ and inability to do anything on defene.  The lame attempt at a press-trap when there was still plenty of time let and the defense was actually playing well.

Lot's of meat to discuss, but instead this column gave 30% of its focus to officiating.


March 16th, 2014 at 6:36 PM ^

that plays good man to man defense will cause Michigan major problems! Unless the team can improve their passing in the paint, teams will be guarding them beyond the arc. Plus our defense was always a problem spot! A good driving guard will score a lot of points. I don't think we will make it to the sweet 16!

But overall a much better year than I expected considering Mitch's back injury!


March 17th, 2014 at 12:56 AM ^

I thought the announcers made a good point later in the game about this being the 3rd time these teams have played - they know each other.  Once the tourney starts, UM isn't going to be playing a team they've played until possibly Duke the second weekend.  UM, and for that matter Duke, are different teams then they were in early December. 


March 16th, 2014 at 7:03 PM ^

Bieilfeldts presence wasn't costly on defense, it was quite good actually.  His presence on the offensive side of the court was where we were hurt; he has no screen and roll abilities, and it showed as we stalled quite a bit.  Again, in my opinion his defense was a pleasant surprise (though maybe the rebounding was affected but I'm not sure having our other two would have mattered in this one...the ball seemed to find Sparty a lot easier as well, somewhat of a flukey aspect of rebounding sometimes).


March 18th, 2014 at 12:10 AM ^

Well, yea, this is a fairly valid point.  I would say it's becasue he is capable of stepping out and hitting the three-ball.  I know, I know, why the fug did he jack those two shots up; I think they were fine personally, but I get why it unnerved some people.  Overall, though, for a Big he is very capable of hitting those shots; I mean, both were damn close in yesterday's game (close doesn't mean squat though, I do understand that).

UM Indy

March 16th, 2014 at 7:37 PM ^

I saw it in person.  It was much worse than 14 points.  Cold shooting from 3 equals loss for this team.  It's pretty simple.  Throw in some uncharacteristic turnovers and getting absolutely beaten up on the boards and there ya go.  This team can bomb someone by 30 if they're hot or get eliminated fairly early in the NCAAs.  It's going to be interesting. 


March 16th, 2014 at 7:46 PM ^

Besides it being a terribly officiated called game, thats not the reason we lost. Couldn't rebound, dumb turnovers and Biefeldt shooting 3's. Well not just him but honestly kind of seemed like they really didn't care to win or not. I hate saying that but to me kiindof seemed like that.


March 16th, 2014 at 8:16 PM ^

You guys played the better game and deserved to win. Nice job on your B1G Tournament Championship.
Michigan: 30 percent from the field won't beat even Charlotte; I thought you guys remembered that fiasco in Puerto Rico.
Officials: would you mind figuring out what kind of game you want to call a little sooner, please? Three touch fouls on our two big men in the first couple of minutes; then everything short of num-chucks is OK until 10 minutes are left in the game, and then back to touch fouls. Also, please review the rules on traveling and try for a little more consistency there. Just an embarrassment; no wonder B1G teams have such trouble in the tournament. Competent officiating is such a change.


March 16th, 2014 at 8:49 PM ^

You played a neutral court game against MSU full strength and got treated like the scumbags you are. F your piece of trash athletic dept that covers up rape, as a b10 alum, I want you out of the big 10. Don't worry, when you play Sparty in football this fall, they'll continue to treat you like the rag doll you are...cheating pieces of dog $hit

Feat of Clay

March 17th, 2014 at 1:07 PM ^

Now there is a concept! I think you'd miss us.

But if we're going, let's take NW with us and start an academic conference. Get Stanford, pull Vandy out of the SEC, maybe pull in a few publics. No way are we inviting Duke as long as I'm commissioner though. Notre Dame also a hard sell but I'd consider it with enough bribes.


March 16th, 2014 at 10:22 PM ^

I'm kinda wondering if tonight's gameplan might have been to not go all out, risk injury & overdrawn reserves, and start shifting focus to next week?

In any case -- this will help us do that.


March 16th, 2014 at 11:42 PM ^

There is no way Michigan wasn't going all out to win this game. While it was meaningless to a lot of fans like me the coaches and player undoubtedly did not see it that way. They just for beat. Plain and simple.


March 17th, 2014 at 8:16 AM ^

According to Morgan and Nick, State wanted it more. They admitted they didn't play hungry for a win. They admitted in the grand scheme of things, this game didn't really matter.

It's disheartening to hear them say that. I don't like it when Michigan bows down and becomes State's bitch.


March 17th, 2014 at 11:43 AM ^

in hockey, the refs let them play.  That style of play isn't Michigan's forte.  The BgTn is noted for that physical style however with the new NCAA rules discouraging that type of defensive mucking style it remains to be seen whether playing like that, as Sparty does, will be a hindrance in this years NCAA tourney.  Yesterdays game really had no meaning other than braggin rights and so Izzo can try to pump his team up and say that hey we are healthy now and we beat the crap outta Mich so therefore we are the best team in the BgTn.  So yes momentum carrying into the tourney could be helpful, but who remembers who won their conference tourney?   Michigan understandibly didn't play with much passion or intensity and it showed.  However, if your team cannot get excited about playing in March and get up to beat a 15 seed from the Southern Conference with 20 point losses to Georgia, Minny and VCU then really you don't deserve a shot at the title.


March 17th, 2014 at 3:34 PM ^

MSU finally looks like the #1 team they were suppose to be all year.  Meanwhile our offense has been really sloppy and lazy for every game in recent memory besides illinois.  Spike and Stauskas keep turning it over in horrible ways and we can't inbound from the baseline to save our lives.  We also used to get to the rim consistently on drives and pick and rolls but that hasn't happened at all and its just chuck it from three every time down the court.  I look forward to seeing us play someone who isn't in the B1G who we'll match up better with but, regardless of our record to close the season, i feel like we have looked pretty terrible.