Submitted by Brian on February 13th, 2013 at 11:22 AM

2/12/2013 – Michigan 52, Michigan State 75 – 21-4, 8-4 Big Ten



A few weeks ago, this space batted around the shocking revelation that Michigan was something like 338th in average experience, and asserted that this certainly didn't seem like the case. It does now. Michigan has built first-half deficits of 21, 15, 9, and like a billion in their losses, all of which came on the road. They managed to avoid that fate against Northwestern, Minnesota, and Illinois, which does count for something. Not enough of a something to file this team as elite, or a national championship favorite, or even particularly likely to beat MSU and Indiana at home.

And I guess that's fine. Most Michigan fans entered the season leery of the top-five ranking bestowed on the Wolverines because Trey Burke, and if you'd handed them this…


…before the season they'd have snatched it from your hands gleefully, especially if you'd mentioned that the Big Ten was obviously the toughest league in the country and that three-games stretch in November was against a couple of teams on track for Sweet 16 seeds and a third not too far off.

This perspective is brought to you by gritted teeth and turning off a game like Brian freakin' Ellerbe was on the sidelines. It is hard-won. Stupid everything.

So… yeah. This is not a miracle team like last year's all-the-freshman Kentucky outfit, and now we know that. Michigan played ten guys before walk-on time kicked in (with eight minutes left): six were freshman of some variety, and zero were seniors. This is no longer a cleverly obscured fact. It's a thing that becomes obvious when the pressure turns up on hostile courts, and separates Michigan from being a truly elite team. They probably aren't getting a one seed; they probably aren't winning the league. Here is a picture of pad thai.



It could be a lot worse. Getting teased like this is still teeth-clenching.


Well, at least one guy came to play. I can't say I liked a lot of Burke's shots early, but once it became clear that he was the only guy on the floor who could do, like, things. He put in 18 points on 11 shots and had four of Michigan's six assists.

Things went from bad to worse in two periods when he was on the bench. The first was a generic get-this-guy-rest period in the first half that featured two bigs, Albrecht, Levert, and Hardaway. That did not go well. The second was a brief period after Burke picked up his third foul early in the first half on an over-aggressive three closeout that looks exactly like every other overaggressive three closeout that knocks the shooter over. By the time Burke returned a pretty-much-over game was over.

And poof like that he's gone. Glenn Robinson III's cliff-dive is now undeniable. He'd put up at least eight points in every game this season other than a couple of low-major blowouts; in the three recent losses he's acquired 2, 4, and 2 points. Michigan stashed him on the bench for half of this one, choosing to go with a clumsy two-big lineup for large chunks of the game. Robinson has to score if he's going to be out there against Adriean Payne, and as soon as he put up that ugly brick on one of those pass-up-a-set-open-three-for-a-pullup-two shots that are just the worst, you could see that Michigan wasn't getting anything from him.

Part of that is the permissivity of Michigan's defense in these games. It's hard to get into transition, where Robinson has made a lot of hay, when you're picking the ball out of the basket every time down the court.

Stauskas defense: actually impactful. In the wrong way, obviously. He was checking Gary Harris; Gary Harris hit 5 of 9 threes because each was a comfortable look. That was the first time his guy had really gone off.

A question. So, let's say Tom Izzo is three feet onto the court as his team is trying to play defense and Mitch McGary barrels into him at top speed, sending him flying into the bench. Is that a technical on Izzo? On McGary? On both? What would happen if someone went out of their way to make the presence of a basketball coach on the damn court a problem? I assume that in the rules leaving the approved coaching box is a technical foul, but basketball doesn't really have rules, it has easily-ignored suggestions.

All hell would break loose, at least.

How you lose by 23. Michigan got doubled up on the boards (18% to 37%), in turnovers (16 to 8), tripled in FTAs and assists, and gave up 55% shooting from two. I have lost all motivation to discuss this game right now. Just now, it happened. I was going to keep putting words in there about how this performance was ass, just comprehensive and disillusioning ass, and now I feel that this is so beyond pointless that I don't even think I'm going to finish this sent



February 13th, 2013 at 12:21 PM ^

Was run out of Crisler by Illinois in the big ten finale. If you would have told me that day they would beat the same team in the tournament on the way to a national title I would have never believed it.


February 13th, 2013 at 12:30 PM ^

Yesterday, my daughter's Michigan State alum gym teacher told her he would bring Kleenex today for her to cry in after they beat us. She's 9, and a peace-loving chick, so she rejected all my well-meaning comebacks. I hope today doesn't suck too much for her.


February 13th, 2013 at 12:50 PM ^

Belein should tell Burke to focus on feeding him the ball against Penn State. He should get double digit shots. He needs something to get his confidence back. 

It's entirely explicable. Freshman, only gets points in transition or as defenses adjust to Burke and we haven't been getting much of the former and Burke has struggled to penetrate the past 4, bad game in first game in home state, 4 very intense games in 9 days and only plays well in one, and other reasons, I'm sure. Regardless of why he's slumping, though, Belein really needs to get him going for two reasons.

1. He has no backup. Those two big lineups just don't work given the way Michigan wants its offense to run. They just clog things up because they're not perimeter threats and they don't have post games that threaten the other teams.

2. His struggles are a part of larger offensive struggles. The reason that GRIII's not having an effect on the game is partially on him shrinking from the moment, but it's also because the ball has stopped moving in the same way it was earlier in the season. We have become too stagnant on offense as we've faced better defenses and GRIII's slump is, in part, a symptom of that.


February 13th, 2013 at 1:01 PM ^

6 assists last night.  Burke is averaging over 7 a game (but it may dip below seven if things keep trending downward) but we get 6 as a TEAM.

The ball has stopped moving in the same way?  Absolutely. 

Oh, and no one other than burke or hardaway can beat their man.  and when they do, there are plenty of bigs waiting for them at the rim, because they don't have to guard GRIII.


February 13th, 2013 at 1:09 PM ^

Wow. Six assists is crazy, but that seems about right. Apart from a few McGary finishes at the rim and one Stauskas corner 3, almost every bucket I can remember was a Burke jumper.

My other big critique is that Stauskas has to become safer as a passer. He only had two TOs but it seemed like a lot more than that (and some may be credited to McGary and Morgan when tough passes went off their hands), and he appeared to be going for the spectacular rather than the effective. I love his confidence but the problem is that it extends into areas where he's not as good (passing) as he is at his pure shooting.


February 13th, 2013 at 12:33 PM ^

I feel sorry for stray puppies and kittens in this guy's neighborhood.  I have a feeling they disappear with regularity.

I took a LOA from UM Basketball for  a number of years, disillusioned, disheartened, and downtrodden.  I've been impressed with our YOUNG Basketball team and have brought me back.


I smell Bo Ryan.Bo Ryan


February 13th, 2013 at 1:14 PM ^

Your post is in jest, but this is one of the few public displays of leadership I've seen Timmy engage in.  We desperately need that from him in his junior season.  What we need more: anger and disgust and defensive/offensive rage in the first of a game like last night.  Someone on here has said they need some "GTFO my court" attitude, and I think that's true.  Freshman don't typically exhibit that, and probably shouldn't, and Trey can't do it all the time.  Hardaway needs to get pissed off and play that way


February 13th, 2013 at 1:51 PM ^

Well I did say public, and I think there's a difference between on-court and practice leadership and stepping out more forcefully as a face of the program.  Regardless of the fact that an apology isn't necessary, I like that he's speaking for the team and making a definitive statement.


February 13th, 2013 at 12:50 PM ^

I wait all night and into the day to read what I WANTED TO SHOUT AT MY CHILDREN AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS!!!

But I don't have to shout at my children (they thank you as well, our would if they understood anything about this irrational passion for UM that i hold so dear) because I know catharsis will come with a new day and Brian successfully encapsulating in prose the crushing of my soul as BRAH ran roughshod over my dreams and my team.


February 13th, 2013 at 1:27 PM ^

Obviously all of the "vets" to this site can tell by my point total that I don't log in to comment a whole lot...  But the earlier rant kind of got to me a bit.  This is a very good, young basketball team that will improve.  I love this college and its athletics with everything I have, but I have learned to temper that quite a bit as I improved as an adult.  I remember sobbing and banging my fists on the floor of my living room for over an hour at 14 YEARS OLD when we lost to Colorado by a miracle throw.  Fast forward to now when i merely laughed sarcasticly and kicked a beer can across the room when Wisc hit a miracle half court shot.  These things happen.  I find peace now knowing that this university's athletics have provided so much success that its missteps while devastating, only come due to past and (hopefully) future glory.  Its just a game folks.  And we win a hell of alot more than we lose.  Others should be so lucky.  GO BLUE!


February 13th, 2013 at 1:44 PM ^

This is now year 6 of the Beilien era.  I'm sick of this guy getting undue credit for just being better than a bum.  And I'm sick of people referencing his miracle turnaround of the program as if Tommy Amaker was only fired last month.  Yeah, he's better than the guys before him.  Big deal.  That's not exactly hard.  He is a terrible 6-18 vs OSU and MSU, with all of those wins being tight shaves and lots of the losses being embarrassing shitkickings.  Like last year's fiasco in the Big Ten Tournament against OSU, and last night's disaster of epic proportions.  That game was a throwback to the Brian Ellerbe days.

Beilien now has two NCAA victories, and not one single appearance in the Big Ten tournament final.  How much longer do we have to wait for some results?  And now we're "young"?  That was last year's excuse, remember?  It was also the excuse in 2011.  We're "tired"?  How come nobody ever looks"tired" against us?  How do you not find at least a little bit of adrenaline for the biggest game of the year? 

What are we going to say next year when we've got a freshman point guard getting most of the minutes again?  Will youth be used as an excuse for the fourth year in a row? 

Sixth season, two NCAA tournament victories, 6-18 against MSU and OSU, and two seasons where the team was so horrible that they failed to even make the NIT.  That's Beilien's record so far. 


February 13th, 2013 at 1:50 PM ^

Wow. I don't even know where to begin on addressing these. JB is going to make his 4th NCAA appearance in 6 years as Michigan coach. Michigan hadn't gone for a decade prior.  He won a Big Ten Title. Let me say that one more time he WON A BIG TEN TITLE. Something that hadn't been done since 1986, something the Fab Five didnt even accomplish.  If you're saying that improvements can be made, then you're absolutely right. If you're trying to say we need to go in a different direction than Beilein, then I'm sorry to be harsh, but you're being a moron.


February 13th, 2013 at 2:06 PM ^

He's going to be one of a whopping 68 teams to make a post season tournament for the fourth time?  And he has won a grand total of two games in that tournament.  Wow.  What an accomplishment.

The Ellerbe era and Amaker eras gave Michigan fans incredibly, wildly distorted perspectives on what constitutes success on college basket ball.  The fact that we were absent from that tournament for a decade doesn't meant that its' hard to make.  It means that our coaches before Beilien were worthless bums.   Beilien is better than a worthless bum.  It doesn't mean that he is great, or even good.  I said towards the end of the Amaker era, when Amaker was being praised for simply not cheating, that Michigan's fans' standards are way, way too low. 

Five years, two NCAA victories, 6-18 against MSU and OSU, and no appearances in the Big Ten tournament final.  Those are the three metrics that matter, and those three metrics suck.

And Beilien didn't win the Big Ten last year.  He was in a three-way tie for the regular season best record.   The winner of the Big Ten is the winner of the tournament.  Nobody gives a damn about the regular season.  The only thing that the '85-'86 team was ever remembered for until recently was choking in the tournament that year.


February 13th, 2013 at 2:14 PM ^

So are you saying Beilein should be fired? I don't get the point of this ramble. And you're clearly living in a delusional world where Beilein walked into this amazing job that had all of these built in advantages over every other Big Ten school and has underacheived relative to that. The team is 21-4. It's a top 15 squad. They've been ranked in the top 25 for like a bazillion straight weeks (approximately). By all accounts of where Michigan basketball ought to be, it's meeting those metrics. Again I'm starting to lean towards my moron assessment from my first comment.


February 13th, 2013 at 2:58 PM ^

I'm not saying that he should be fired, but I am sick of people worshipping this guy for having accomplished absolutely nothing of note at Michigan.  .250 winning percentage against rivals, with nothing remotely resembling a deep tournament run in five years, soon to be six.  Under Ellerbe and Amaker, we watched a decade of Michigan basketball disappear into misery.  Beilien finally has some talent in this program, but in the meantime, we have watched another half decade go down the toilet.  It's not year 1.  It's year 6.  My patience for assreamings like last night is wearing really thin.  When is this shit finally going to stop?  When can we finally get some in-kind payback? 

And next year we'll almost certainly be replacing THJ and Burke, so I doubt the team will be better.  People have been talking this team up as the best that we will probably ever have while he is our coach, and I agree.  Almost nobody expects McGary or Robinson III to be back for their junior years, maybe not even their sophomore years.  Youth or not, this is a "win now" situation. 

And whose fault is it that there are no competent upperclassmen on this team to replace the young guys when they struggle?  Beilien's recruiting, up until 2012, sucked for the most part.


February 13th, 2013 at 3:13 PM ^

I think it's only fair to excise Belein's first two seasons from any evaluation, given that he inherited a fairly disfunctional team. Even then, he got one of those teams to the tournament.

Until this year, Belein was recruiting to arguably the worst facility in the Big 10 and a decade of basketball irrelevance. That's turned around now. 

Nobody expects McGary back for his junior year? Really? I actually can't imagine a situation where he's not back. He clearly needs to reshape his body and develop a much more diverse offensive game if he's going to make the NBA.

Last year's upset in the tournament was disappointing, but that was also a team that hit the wall at the worst time (mid-March). Other than that, his teams have played to their seed. 

The most valid criticism of Belein might be that his preferred style (floor spacing with 4 perimeter players and 1 screening big) has issues in a Big 10 that emphasizes inside play and where refs are told to encourage physical play.

Michigan Arrogance

February 13th, 2013 at 4:12 PM ^

fucking ridiculous.


My patience for assreamings like last night is wearing really thin.

You know, Duke got reamed this year too. UNC is in year 8 (?) under RW and they are where right now? These games happen, on the road, against top 10 teams.


we have watched another half decade go down the toilet.


if you think the last 4-5 years of M hoops has gone down the toilet, then GTFO. honestly. IDK what else to say there.


 When can we finally get some in-kind payback?

sweeping MSU and winning a B10 title doesn't fucking count apparently.


I suggest you give up M basketball for lent. and I HOPE M basketball gives up YOU for lent.



February 13th, 2013 at 1:57 PM ^

We were not going to win last night's game.  MSU is a strong team that had been waiting all year to put (more hyped) UM in its place.  They had a soft three games in February before us to gear up (only decent challenge was a road game at crumbling Minnesota).  We had a late night prize fight in Bloomington, a roller coaster overtime game against OSU, and a gut-wrenching overtime loss at Wisconsin.  We were on fumes.  They were lying in wait.  We got crushed.

I was so certain of the result this was the one game all year I taped but did not watch the same night.  Glad I did not, I might be in meltdown mode like everyone else.

Cool reason does not suggest time for panic.  We lost three games on the home courts of three teams in the KenPom top 13.  That is disappointing, but not unexpected in college basketball.  We are still #5 in KenPom after last night's game.  We have a favorable slate going forward.

It's all about the tournament and we have the talent to play with anybody.  The key is having our confidence at a crescendo when the tournament starts.  In that, the recent schedule may actually be a blessing.

His Dudeness

February 13th, 2013 at 2:05 PM ^

Played horrible, looked scared, got our asses handed to us. It's a game played by kids... You can be disappointed, but uhhh... there are more important things in life, move on.


February 13th, 2013 at 2:25 PM ^

Somebody asked in the open thread why every team that plays Michigan seems to have their best shooting night of the season. It's because our defense is absolutely terrible. If you're going to play HORSE with every team you have to be able to at least hit the shots early and often. This team gets flustered on a hostile court. Hopefully the neutral sites for the tourney Prove to be an easier place to play.

Sons of Louis Elbel

February 13th, 2013 at 2:27 PM ^

Look, we can chalk some of last night up to exhaustion, lack of effort, etc. but surely some of it is simply that we don't have a legit 4 in our lineup, unless GRIII suddenly grows 2 inches and adds 20 pounds of muscle. As a result, we're going to struggle against bigger teams - I think IU and Ohio each had approximately eleventy billion putbacks against us (my count may be off a bit) and our guys looked like pinballs bouncing off Nix. This kills our transition game and forces into half court sets, where we're obviously a lot less effective. I'm not sure this is really a fixable problem, but in the meantime, we should at least make sure that THSr and GRII are at the rest of our games, since their sons seem to play better in front of their Dads.


February 13th, 2013 at 2:49 PM ^

This team quite frankly would have been 2-2 with this tough stretch if the Wisconsin guy doesn't hit the miracle half-court shot with 2 seconds left, or if Michigan hits a few easy layups,  or maybe if the refs actually don't egregiously miss some obvious calls.  And 2-2 was what most here were hoping for.  Sometimes shit happens though. 1-3 is disappointing, but not the end of the world.

Last night sucked because Michigan didn't just lose, they lost big, they weren't even competetive. But, it was one game. One night.  At the end of a very tough stretch of games. It's no excuse for poor play, but you can't ignore it either.

The team might still be destined for more, especially if they use this opportunity to learn and grow from this tough stretch. The games start mattering a lot more coming up...every team has  a tough stretch of season to endure when things just don't go your way (at least we didn't lose to TCU, guys). Michigan went through the question is how do they respond going forward? Do they keep crumbling in the big moments? Do they grow as a team and take it as valuable experience? Who knows. That's why sports are fun and we keep coming back to watch, despite being so effing terrible sometimes.


February 13th, 2013 at 2:54 PM ^

Michigan just got worked from start to finish.  By state.  Not many years ago an ass kicking at Breslin was the norm.  After a few wins against them the past couple years expectations went up and last night was sobering.  They have at least one chance to redeem themselves this year.  Fuck you lil bro.


February 13th, 2013 at 4:15 PM ^

Who are the elite teams this year? Kansas has lost 3 in a row. Miami beat Duke by 27. Louisville and Syracuse have both stumbled. Indiana has also been beaten at home and away. Florida lost to Arkansas somehow. Shit crazy in college basketball this year.

I just don't see us being out of everything completely with this many games to go because of one game. Two games against PSU should help everyone's feelings around here but I'm still feeling pretty good. Everything still ahead for this team, keep moving forward.


February 13th, 2013 at 9:10 PM ^

Dear Brian,

Thank you for this.  In combination with the diary about being a Kansas basketball fan I feel a lot better.  Not any less sad about what happened, but successfully set expectations at a more realistic level.  The humor was much needed.  Just wanted to pass along a thanks for your efforts.


February 14th, 2013 at 9:23 AM ^

How will this loss affect elite high school basketball players who are trying to decide between MSU and UofM?  Will they see a difference between the two programs?  If UofM does well in the BIG tournament and in March, will it be forgotten? What if they sputter in both?