Preview: Michigan State Comment Count

Tim March 7th, 2010 at 3:15 PM

Apologies for the lateness - transportation issues left me unable to publish the preview -t

The Essentialsmsulogo.jpg

WHAT Michigan v. Michigan State
WHERE East Lansing, MI
March 7th, 2010
THE LINE Michigan +10.5*
TELEVISION CBS (Kevin Harlan, Dan Bonner)

*Line provided by online sports betting site

When Last We Met

The Wolverines dropped a heartbreaker in front of a Maize-Out crowd as DeShawn Sims' alley-oop layup just missed the mark at the buzzer. Kalin Lucas's icy jumper with just a couple seconds left on the clock proved to be the game-winning basket, as the Wolverines fell to their rivals by a score of 57-56.

As has been the case much of the year, Michigan's defensive and offensive execution was very good, but the open shots just weren't finding the bottom of the basket. The Wolverines managed just 38.8 eFG%, while allowing the Spartans to make a hair over 51 eFG%.

Since Last We Met

It could be said (and perhaps this is the actual case) that the Wolverines just continued being a mediocre and inconsistent team following the loss at the hands of Sparty. On the other hand, I think it's at least a little bit true that they were demoralized coming off this game, and entered a mini-tailspin, disrupting the solid improvement they had been making in conference play.

Either way, Michigan has gone 4-5 since the State loss, with all four wins coming over Iowa and Minnesota, and losses coming in winnable games against Northwestern, Penn State, and Illinois, as well as in predictable blowouts against Wisconsin and Ohio State. If DeShawn Sims's shot had been just a half inch one way, this team probably has not just one more victory at this point, but probably more like three or four. As it stands, they're playing for their NIT lives.

Sparty, on the other end of the court, has gone through a rough patch of their own (compared to their standard, of course) since knocking off the Wolverines. A 5-4 stretch in conference play has eliminated their chance of winning the regular season conference title, after an 8-0 start. They still have a chance to share the conference crown with the Buckeyes if they can beat Michigan, though Ohio State holds the tie-breaker.

Tempo-Free Breakdown

If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy.

Michigan v. Michigan State: National Ranks
Category Michigan Rank State Rank Advantage
Mich eFG% v. MSU Def eFG% 227 78 SS
Mich Def eFG% v. MSU eFG% 228 56 SS
Mich TO% v. MSU Def TO% 7 252 MMM
Mich Def TO% v. MSU TO% 45 199 MM
Mich OReb% v. MSU DReb% 286 17 SSS
Mich DReb% v. MSU OReb% 254 9 SSS
Mich FTR v. MSU Opp FTR 337 26 SSSS
Mich Opp FTR v. MSU FTR 10 229 MMM
Mich AdjO v. MSU AdjD 82 35 S
Mich AdjD v. MSU AdjO 50 29 S

Difference of more than 10 places in the national rankings get a 1-letter advantage, more than 100 gets a 2-letter advantage, more than 200 gets a 3-letter advantage, etc.

Michigan is up against the numbers yet again, as they only have meaningful advantages in holding onto the ball and preventing the Spartans from doing so. Michigan State, on the other hand, has big advantages in shooting and rebounding.

If the Wolverines are to come away with the win, they'll have to use a similar gameplan to the one that knocked off Minnesota twice this season: win the turnover battle in a big way, and get hot from the field. Playing with discipline offensively will be a huge key, because mistakes are sure to snowball against a Tom Izzo team, especially one with such a talent gap over this Michigan squad.

Ken Pomeroy likes the Spartans by 8 points at home, giving them an 81% chance of getting the victory - and the tie for the Big Ten Title. Vegas thinks the Spartans should be about 10.5-point winners. Michigan has teased at times this year, but they've been just that - a tease. Michigan State probably emerges victorious by about 10 points.


UMHoops and The Only Colors post their previews.


the Bray

March 7th, 2010 at 3:47 PM ^

Does the Northern victory count in the NIT's eyes? I know it doesn't if Michigan was talking NCAA's. At 14-15, the NIT might not be possible with a loss today. They'd have to make it to the Big Ten Tourney Finals in order to finish .500, and that's counting Northern as a countable win.


March 7th, 2010 at 4:10 PM ^

It's a lose-lose situation. If we win Ohio State wins the title outright. If we lose they share with Sparty. Oh well, go blue anyway. A win would give Beilein at least one victory over all Michigan's main rivals in his first three years.


March 8th, 2010 at 1:41 PM ^

It's a simple oversight in a comment, it doesn't reflect on the overall wisdom of the commenter, the blog, or the Michigan community.

And it's easy enough to explain; thanks to the tiebreaker rules, Evan Turner clinched the #1 seed in the tournament with his 14th conference win, so if you'd just seen that you might not realize that Purdue was 13-4 going into the weekend.

On the other hand, if you were seeking negbombs, proceed.


March 7th, 2010 at 8:12 PM ^

Little Brother aces U of M in football basketball & winkin tiddles. 14 whole points in a half?

So why believe either WVA reject has an answer?

Soon the Wolves will be an MAC .500 program.

Revoke the WVA passports and allow Michigan to be Michigan.

Without being a half way house for dopes that could not play D 1 sports by dint of their lack of academics and/or criminal records, West Virginia would now be a Division 2 powerhouse.

Why think these Mountain climbing hill jacks can return Michigan to its prowess?

They just do not understand.


March 8th, 2010 at 12:26 PM ^

In football, coaching has far more consequence relative to talent than in basketball (Boise State anyone?) College basketball success begins and ends with recruiting. Give me a good recruiter who is a mediocre coach (Izzo) any day over a good coach who is a mediocre recruiter (Beilin). Watching Stu Douglas and Zack Novack boarding, or rather, being destroyed on the boards, by MSU’s bigs was a glaring example of the vast difference between these two programs – recruiting.
I love Blue more than most, but the reality is barring a miracle next year, Beilin will have proven himself only a very slight improvement in his first four years over Amacker, other than that he’s a swell old guy everyone likes. The truth is, the man has not proven himself able to recruit with the big boys, which is ludicrous given UM’s basketball tradition, and the variety of offerings (education/fan base) UM brings to the table relative to MSU.

If/when Beilin gets fired in a few years, it will be 100% because the man just cannot recruit, and my hope is that Brandon’s next coaching decision will recognize the importance of hiring a recruiter first, coach second. That is unless everyone here is satisfied with mediocrity.


March 8th, 2010 at 2:04 PM ^

I agree with the part about Beilein's recruiting being less that what we would desire, but with respect to basketball tradition ... well, there's a couple of years with Cazzie Russell, a good bit of the Orr/Frieder years, and then basically a 20-year wasteland. (Yes, the '90s were very good on the surface, but it doesn't count if you can't keep it.

Hell, Michigan hasn't won a conference title (that counted) since 1986. Basketball is not the sport at this school that has a long tradition of success.

Having said all that, I also agree that Brandon's got to put some pressure on Beilein to get results. Iowa will be crap as long as Lickliter is there and maybe after, DeChellis is a master at keeping his job but I can't see Penn State turning into a powerhouse either, and Carmody's in the same boat at Northwestern (a lot of work with few results to show for it). That almost makes Michigan no lower than 8th by default in an average season (given that one of those three may move up while another team drops down).

Inability to do better than that is a bad sign; of course, breaking into the top of the conference is difficult as well, as it is in football, but like football, it shouldn't be too hard for the right coach at a good school to move right into the thick of the pack.

Maybe there's something else missing ... maybe Beilein really does need complete turnover to make his system work here. I sure hope so. Replacing a coach at this level usually doesn't result in an immediate turnaround unless you're removing a guy who was a great recruiter but a terrible tactician.


March 8th, 2010 at 3:09 PM ^

10-12 years maybe, but 20 year wasteland? Fab 5 anyone? The closest thing MSU ever had to a national love affair with UM’s Fab 5 throughout the 90’s was Magic Johnson/Larry Bird over 30 years ago. In fact, name me any program over the last 20 years who had players sweep the nation and create the buzz that our Fab 5 created. I’ll argue with anyone until my teeth fall out who tells me MSU has the richer hoops tradition. For decades, not just years, but decades, UM was near that UCLA, Kansas, UNC “recruiting destination” tier. The NCAA penalties set us back, but now we’re out the other side, and it seems our school has chosen to go the way of the Harvards and focus on integrity and fundamentals, and less on winning.

I’m spoiled man. I was an undergrad in ’89 when we won the Rose Bowl and the NC. I was there watching the idiot dangling from the red stop light on South U in the pouring rain while the entire school celebrated that win.

We’ve changed from the great school that also happened to kick your ass in sports, to just the great school that doesn’t seem to care much about wins or losses as long as we keep our noses clean. Am I a jerk for setting the bar higher? I never thought I’d see the day where Wisconsin was the benchmark program I’d love to see our program reach…

Brandon, next hire, please make him a recruiter.