1/18/2018 – Michigan 52, Nebraska 72 – 16-5, 5-3 Big Ten
A proper kick in the nads, that was. The only good thing about it was I can deploy "nads" and reminisce about those middle school days that... were completely horrible, as all middle school days are. Nevermind. But "nads" is a zesty word all the same. Nads. Nads. Aching nads. And so forth and so on.
Nebraska switched everything and it went better for them than it did for Purdue last week. Wagner was unable to get a shot up despite being checked by Punky Brewster for large sections of the game, and the pull-up in-your-face threes that Michigan used to close their second half gap against the Boilers never materialized. Instead, many many turnovers as Michigan tried to drive. The Daily:
“They switched everything. On every screen,” said Michigan coach John Beilein. “Roby allows them to do that. I don’t know if it would be successful with the big guys, but that’s a thing we’re going to see again from many teams. And we saw it actually all at the end of last year, and we’ve got to continue to develop what we do in that situation.”
Last season, the play had a more obvious solution. The Wolverines had Derrick Walton Jr., who could simply blow by a bigger defender, often making them look silly along the way. This year’s team has yet to find somebody who can make those plays consistently.
That latter point was driven home when Michigan, desperate for anything resembling offense, went with a MAAR-Poole backcourt for much of the second half. Zavier Simpson's offensive renaissance came to a screeching halt—one three pointer after an offensive rebound scramble and nothing else. Last year, the power mushroom version of Derrick Walton would have eviscerated that. This year, not so much.
The weaknesses Michigan had seemingly developed their way out of clawed their way back to the surface, except even the weaker version of this team from earlier in the year didn't gift wrap ten first-half points with open court turnovers. Nobody's transition defense is good in a two-on-one situation. Add it all up and it's a tender morning in Nadslandia. The land of nads.
Hopefully Michigan can trundle through Rutgers at home to finish up this stupid-ass part of the schedule—thanks, Delany—and then get a proper rest, during which they can spend all their time prepping for what happens when all screens get switched. Because that is what they will see until they can beat it.