Submitted by Brian on February 27th, 2009 at 12:07 PM

 2/26/2009 – Michigan 87, Purdue 78 – 17-10, 8-8 Big Ten

pur-espnvia MVictors 

Beat UCLA, nearly lose to Savannah State. Beat Duke, nearly lose to Indiana. Beat Illinois, nearly lose to Northwestern. Actually gack it up against Iowa with Manny Harris on the bench for pissing off the coach, finally killing all hope of making the tourney and…

DeShawn Sims, F 34 13-16 1-2 2-3 2 5 2 1 2 0 1 29
Zack Novak, G 34 1-2 0-1 2-4 1 4 3 0 0 3 3 4
Stu Douglass, G 31 2-4 2-3 1-3 0 1 4 3 0 0 2 7
C.J. Lee, G 14 2-2 1-1 1-4 0 2 0 1 0 0 3 6
Manny Harris, G 35 8-15 3-5 8-11 1 8 4 1 0 4 2 27

Holy hopscotching hell. Even if the numbers say Michigan is middle of the pack when it comes to inconsistency, it certainly feels like they drank a mysterious serum of their own concoction in November and have since been oscillating wildly between the states of "fresh" and "chuck."

This game was a microcosm. It went from tight but promising at the half—that's what she said—to a ten point lead, at which point the teams traded seven point runs. Purdue went first and the lead careened sickeningly down to three points before Michigan pushed it back out and eventually turned into a laugher. Several minutes of OH GOD MAKE YOUR FREE THROWS later I felt as ill as you can possibly feel with a six point lead and under a minute remaining, but the bleeding stopped: we're back, baby! For now!

The way they did it didn't help my feelings of disorientation. Harris and Sims put on an absolute clinic—with an assist from Stu Douglass, who you'll note above had four assists, no turnovers, and seven points on four shots—against the #5 defensive team in the country. And they did it by hoisting just 16 threes against 30 twos. And when Manny was fouled on drives there were whistles. And Crisler was nominally sold out.

If I'm a little bit inconsistent with my opinion of the team, so is the team.


Here we are again. The freshmen from Indiana are less floppy-haired but the kids from Detroit are still inexplicably faithful and sometimes brilliant. Michigan has an opportunity here, has two cracks at ending its decade wandering in the desert. At some point last night when Michigan led big I remembered that Raftery and company were doing the game and thoughts wandered to what it would be like to hear CBS' fey but iconic "this is college basketball" music and see Michigan and its double-digit seed show up and hear Raftery and Gus Johnson say something along the lines of "this is Michigan's first tourney appearance in ten years."

I have concluded this would feel good no matter what follows, and wish for Michigan to win one of their next two. Come on, kids.


  • I don't actually believe that MGoLiveblogs of Michigan basketball games are causing crushing losses, no matter how much evidence piles up, and since these last two games are pretty important we'll brave fate and deploy CILs for both. God help me if they lose both.
  • Wooooo assistant technical foul! Did it help? I sort of seemed like it. I don't go in for theories that badgering the referees like you're thinking about killing them helps you with the calls, but Michigan got a lot of calls they don't normally get after Mahoney got T-ed up.
  • Do you think the spate of early calls against Michigan—all on obvious fouls—actually helped in the long run? It certainly seemed like that game was called way tighter than most of these Big Ten slugfests are, which undoubtedly had something to do with Michigan's increased presence inside the three point line, and Manny's continued, successful attempts at driving. There was none of that getting lazy or fearful and jacking up poor jumpers. (Ok, there was some of that but the proportion was appropriate.)
  • Crisler did not like the Manny Harris charge + assistant coach technical combo. I haven't seen the arena that totally pissed about a call in a long time. And with good reason. I actually thought the Zach Novak blocking foul late where Hummel plowed him after getting his own rebound was way worse, but I didn't have the benefit of replay.
  • OTOH, Chris Kramer got absolutely jacked up a few times and could not get a call. LLP (I think) gave him a flying hack as he attempted to dunk that looked like an intentional foul to stop an easy two, but there was no call. There was at least one other instance where he was obviously hacked and didn't get the call, and a couple borderline incidents.

    However, I did enjoy Manny Harris driving, dishing, and then clobbering Kramer—who had set up literally under the basket—without getting a whistle. Not because I bear any ill will towards Kramer specifically, just because I hate that crap.

  • Did anyone else have a twinge of regret about Grady choosing basketball when he flew back down court and helped slow up a Purdue fastbreak late?




February 27th, 2009 at 12:40 PM ^

How much evidence do you need to never do a liveblog for a basketball game again? At least use these next 2 games to test the theory. I, for one, am begging you not to tempt fate. There is just too much at stake.


February 27th, 2009 at 12:49 PM ^

Good Lord, we haven't been to the tourney in over 10 years and you're willing to tempt fate just to have a liveblog?!?! The next 2 games are only important because of the game last night. How about you only liveblog the last game? If we lose against Wisconsin then there are other reasons for defeat, if we win against Wisconsin we already got the 9th Big 10 win that we're desperately in need of.

Honestly, I say don't do either of them, PLEASE!!!! (And sure as sh!t don't liveblog the BTT!!)


February 27th, 2009 at 1:06 PM ^

then the only conclusion we can logically make is that Brian is singlehandedly responsible for M not making the tournament. Maybe there should be no live blogs during football, either. Or hockey. Just do it during the Pistons games— a lottery pick would be nice.


February 27th, 2009 at 1:09 PM ^

The biggest reason why getting in the tourney is so big: it would get the awful monkey of the tourney drought off our backs, so our players won't have to hear about it again. We were very close in 2004, 2006 and '07, and here we are again. Really, it defies logic that we could keep on being this close without getting in. Maybe hearing all the time "Is this the year you guys finally make it?" has been making the players feel a little too much pressure in past years.


February 27th, 2009 at 2:35 PM ^

Would you be talking about the regular season finale against Indiana.....that was a debacle, for Michigan.

As an IU alum, I was quietly fist pumping from seats at Crisler....winner gets a bid, and I still have no clue how UM found a way to choke that game away. They had multiple double digit leads. I guess you could say Amaker, but IU had Davis.

2007 was not much better with the missed Sims dunk vs OSU.

marco dane

February 27th, 2009 at 3:11 PM ^

That was the capper for me. After seemly finding ourselves in a position to control our own destiny...the wheels simply came off. I kinda felt sorry for DHorton and GBrown. His play down the stretch was admirable...amongst the weak play of his teammates,VERY questionable coaching decisions.


February 27th, 2009 at 4:18 PM ^

Tell me about it . . . I watched that brutal game in person. Senior Day against a so-so opponent, with the tourney on the line, and we laid an egg. That game made it clear to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that Tommy wasn't the answer.


February 27th, 2009 at 3:13 PM ^

FSU has been close every year for about five or six, but never seems to make it. This year, they probably will.

I think the problem is all of the slots that go to champions of the Podunk Association of Schools for the Blind conferences who almost always go one and out, but produce huge "David vs Goliath" stories if they win even one game.

Let the Davids go to the NIT, but let the best sixty-four teams go to the NCAA.

chitownblue (not verified)

February 27th, 2009 at 3:23 PM ^

This is precisely the problem that most have against the BCS - how can some teams literally have no chance to win the championship every year (like Utah)? At least in hoops, you can dominate your conference, win your tournament, and get a shot to win the championship. I have absolutely no problem with how the tournament is run.


February 27th, 2009 at 4:23 PM ^

Your argument is that the 13 seed autobid teams that normally wouldn't get a bid, like George Mason, Davidson or Western Kentucky, shouldn't go to the dance. You'd rather see Baylor get smoked in the first round than Weber St.?


February 27th, 2009 at 5:01 PM ^

I don't have a problem with the autobids because, outside of those random seasons where the 5-ths seed in the conference gets hot and wins the bid, usually one of the the top two teams wins the big, and probably are at least as good as a mediocre Big-12 or SEC team that would occupy that spot otherwise. There is no reason to preclude teams from even playing in the tournament simply because they don't come from a power conference.

Rush N Attack

February 27th, 2009 at 1:59 PM ^

Kelvin Grady returning kickoffs for the football team this year.

I disagree with wishitwas97. I thought he was a pretty good football player in high school, and could probably been a decent slot receiver under Rodriguez.

J. Lichty

February 27th, 2009 at 3:14 PM ^

he did a decent job last night, but recall one trip up the floor where he should have pulled it back and milked some clock instead of pushing it and making a bad pass.

He played very young last night, but his physical skills are very strong. Hopefully he will make some strides in that department with Lee and Merritt running out of eligibility. We cannot afford to have a junior pg playing like a freshman next year.


February 27th, 2009 at 7:11 PM ^


Don't tempt fate man. It's been too long a road not getting into the tourney.

And I still cannot believe how Manny Harris gets no love from the refs. It seems like the same story game after game.