Thankful

Submitted by Tim on November 26th, 2009 at 3:18 PM

mannycreighton.jpg

Michigan 83, Creighton 76. Michigan 3-0

Bullets only, since it's a holiday. Hell, I'll even make them holiday-themed.

I'm Thankful For:

  • The win. It seemed like it wasn't going to happen for a while there, as I was tearing my hair out in frustration. It would not have been a happy holiday if Michigan hadn't pulled this one out.
  • Manny Harris. Just one rebound away from another triple-double. At the end of the game, I wanted Michigan to chuck up a bad shot, just so he could get the offensive rebound and acheev dream. It looks like he and Evan Turner are going to battle all year to see who can finish with more triple-doubles. At least Harris isn't likely to get the quadruple-double by turning it over all the time.
  • Zack Novak. Dude. Novak rules. End of discussion.
  • A talented rotation. Michigan only played 6 guys extensively, bringing Stu Douglass off the bench. However, Morris is a talent upgrade over last year's walkons, and it probably helped Michigan win this game.

I'm Not Thankful For:

  • The officials. I'm not going to idiotically accuse them of actively conspiring against Michigan, but they missed a ton of calls, and it seemed like most of the big ones went against the Wolverines. If the NCAA wants to hire me as their referee czar, I'm available. Couldn't possibly be any worse than the guy doing it now.
  • Creighton's hot shooting. The Blue Jays, despite all their turnovers, managed to stay in the game ecause they shot the ball very well, particularly in the second half. They're a damn good team, and don't be surprised to see them in the NCAA tourney.
  • Lack of substitution. After the 6-man rotation, there was very little playing time for backups. That won't fly later in the year, and Michigan needs to get some of these guys game-ready.
  • Zack Gibson. He made his requisite gumpy plays, but didn't play enough to have the opportunity for his requisite awesomely athletic play to make you forgive him.
  • Free throw shooting. What the hell? Michigan was awesome at the line last year. Hopefully most of the struggles can be attributed to not getting a lot of games in early in the year. If not, expect free throws to cost the Wolverines at least one game this year.
  • Away-game atmosphere. AnnArbor.com's Michael Rothstein told me that there were approximately equal numbers of Michigan and Creighton fans in The Milk House, but it definitely sounded like Creighton was the home team. Michigan fans at the next two games (and in general, but that's a story for another day) need to step up the intensity and support their team.

Up Next

The winner of the Marquette-Xavier game will face our Wolverines tomorrow at noon. Preview upcoming when we know who the winner is (at the time of publishing, Marquette leads Xavier in the first half).

Comments

Starko

November 26th, 2009 at 3:32 PM ^

Great game by these guys in particular. Michigan should have run away with this one except for a run at the end of the first half, helped along by a couple crappy calls in a row and some hot shooting by creighton. Huge relief to get the win. Three disappointments of the game: 1. Manny missing four free throws down the stretch, he's usually money (of course he made up for it by a three point play and a dunk in OT); 2. Manny not getting the third triple double in Michigan history, SO CLOSE; 3. Matt Vogrich not getting a look from three, I'm excited about this kid.

chitownblue2

November 26th, 2009 at 3:36 PM ^

You can be thankful for Perry, too.

And not thankful to see Wright take 5 shots in 90 seconds towards the end of the 1st half.

On the refs - I just think that the quality of NCAA referees is, largely, poor. We saw it a ton in the Big Ten all last year. The refs weren't favoring anyone, in my opinion, they were just bad.

footbox

November 26th, 2009 at 4:05 PM ^

The defense played pretty well for most of the game but there were some things that worried me. Against more athletics teams, such as the teams in the Big Ten, the trap zone Michigan played could get beat pretty badly. It took Creighton most of the first half to figure it out but once Creighton did they were getting a lot of opens cuts to the basket. Also Creighton had a good number of wide open three point looks that they missed which they would normally make. I understand that their percentage from beyond the arc wasn't to far below their season average but with the looks they were getting it could have been much higher than their average. But overall I though Michigan played pretty well against their first competitive opponent, should be an exciting season!

shtheva

November 26th, 2009 at 5:38 PM ^

I think Beilein went to the trap, knowing that against a team like Creighton, it would work. Once it wasn't working as well, especially late second half, when we made our run, I saw a whole lot of the 1-3-1 defense. I don't think we have anything to worry about defensively. Personally, I was more worried about our inability to rebound, at times. I feel like Manny and Novak are the only ones that can really FIGHT for a rebound. It's frustrating.

Blue in Yarmouth

November 27th, 2009 at 8:47 AM ^

I guess you missed the last play of regulation where 5 maize pylons would have done a better job slowing them down than the guys we had on the floor. They at least may have tripped over a pylon. That was pathetic defense with the game on the line. Should have never went to OT IME.

NickUmich

November 27th, 2009 at 8:59 AM ^

...That play didn't bother me too much. Yes, Stu didn't do a great job at one-on-one defense, and there was no help defense, but it was obvious that Beilein had told the team that under no circumstance were they to give up a three point look. So, the defense was set up to give them the one on one look. I think he just wanted to make sure that we didn't lose the game on that play...and figured that we would be able to beat them in OT if they scored the two. Given how the last minutes of the game had gone, I think it wasn't a bad move. That being said (Curb Your Enthusiasm season finale reference anyone?), it was poor defense nonetheless. But it was partly by design.

chitownblue2

November 27th, 2009 at 11:30 AM ^

I was surprised Beilein left Stu on the floor during Manny's free-throws. Stu isn't a good defender - particularly 1-on-1. I saw Beilein subbing offense/defense with Morris and LLP at the end - is LLP a worse defender than Douglass? I think this is the one aspect in which we're going to miss last year's seniors - CJ Lee was our best on-the-ball defender.

NoHeartAnthony

November 26th, 2009 at 8:12 PM ^

Beilein seems to play the 1-3-1 early on in the year, when it seems teams might be more sloppy... then as the year goes on play more m2m. So as the year goes on, especially into B10 play, I'd expect to see mainly m2m, with some zone to mix things up occasionally.

WanderingWolve

November 26th, 2009 at 4:18 PM ^

Can we add Douglass' three to tie the game at 65? He was 3-4 ft behind the 3-pt line. That was clutch! Another thing to be thankful for Manny: taking over at the end of the game to make sure the team won.

Tater

November 26th, 2009 at 6:17 PM ^

I usually don't bother to complain, but after the study that came out last week about officiating, it definitely looked like there was some validity. To me, it looked like the refs were trying to keep Creighton in the game so that the viewers would keep the game on.

Of course, it worked. They got an exciting, compelling game, and the constant hyping of Creighton as a team that was trying to make the best of its ONLY CHANCE to impress the NCAA Tourament committee looked more "valid" the longer they stayed in the game with "15th ranked Michigan."

I don't buy wholesale conspiracy theories, but I have believed since the 70's that officials, being human, are just as subject to human foibles as anyone else. I have always contended that if you gave me a striped shirt, I could influence the outcome of almost any football or basketball game, because I have seen it happen too many times.

Luckily, the correct team won today. I guess that's good enough for me.

tc

November 26th, 2009 at 6:28 PM ^

I watched this one with several Big Ten basketball fans. Entering the game I was pro-Michigan and felt the team could compete for a league title by winning at home and competing on the road. As the game progressed, however, I found my confidence wavering and had a difficult time explaining how Michigan would finish in the top three in the league.

What are your thoughts? Does this game provide any clarity for the season? I was hoping for a stronger performance against a mediocre team on a (primarily) neutral floor.

Cameron

November 26th, 2009 at 10:39 PM ^

* We have a top tier player that can take over late in games, despite having an off day overall.

* When hitting from outside, this team can play with anyone.

* #0 looks to have taken "the leap" between his freshman and sophomore years. Wow.

* Morris' ball skills look to be greatly improved over other point options last year.

* Despite my frustration with LLP as the primary ballhandler, he acquitted himself quite nicely with his outside shooting.

* I don't expect this team to suffer from the free throw stripe.

* We're now 1-0 against probable tournament teams, if one game is at all indicative of Creighton's team. I doubt the MVC has a better team to offer up.

Seth9

November 26th, 2009 at 7:04 PM ^

The Michigan fans were quiet for a lot of the game, likely owing to the fact that we were underperforming expectations to an extent. However, during overtime, we were just as vocal as Creighton had been during the game, if not more so.

tybert

November 26th, 2009 at 8:20 PM ^

Lots of things to be thankful today.

1. We won vs. our first quality opponent. AND winning in OT does add character. We can learn from a WIN today.

2. Manny has learned to be an all-around player. The RBs and assists are huge. That Iowa OT benching last year paid off.

3. Lions didn't really embarrass me that much today. Beats the 47-10 mauling by the Titans last year. GB is very good and we did have a chance for a while. Plus, we scored first (ya hoo!)

4. In spite of our football team's comparison to the 1962-63 teams (our last two really poor back-to-back teams), it hasn't affected the quality of a Michigan Degree. Glad I got mine!

5. The weather isn't too bad either. I can remember shoveling snow a few times on Thanksgiving this decade.

Those who stay will be champions, indeed!

DoubleMs

November 26th, 2009 at 11:36 PM ^

3. Actually, the Pack is pitifully bad this year. They literally have Woodson and Driver going for them. The rest of their receivers suck, they have maybe one multi-cut back... their D Line is decent but nothing like it used to be... they haven't had a TE worth his money in like... five years. They are squeaking by. I'm shocked they have as many wins as they do.

zlionsfan

November 27th, 2009 at 12:05 AM ^

They've had one poop game (against Tampa Bay), one bad game (against Minnesota), and have played fairly well or really well the rest of the way.

The offensive line has been awful at times, but the offense as a whole has been really productive when Rodgers has used his time well. The defense may not be Super Bowl-caliber, but it hasn't needed to be. Special teams have struggled, but against the Pack's schedule, it hasn't hurt them much.

I can imagine the feeling that a team isn't worthy of a 7-4 record at this point in the season, but honestly, "pitifully bad" isn't a phrase you should be using to describe Green Bay, not when there are two teams in the division worse than them.

might and main

November 26th, 2009 at 8:21 PM ^

Man I love his play. The hustle, the beautiful 3 pt ability, boxing out, all around awesome. And that reverse layup? Crazy! Quickly becoming one of my favorite players in a veeery long time.

Bosch

November 26th, 2009 at 8:40 PM ^

The refs did seem to swallow their whistle at times but I won't go as far as to say the calls were unbalanced. Michigan got to the line 23 times to their 6. That certainly had to do with each team's style of play more so than anything else, but if Michigan makes their shots at the stripe, they could have sealed this game in regulation.

I had to listen to the first half on the radio while driving and I would have guessed that the Creighton fans outnumbered the Michigan fans 2 to 1. I wasn't surprised though. In situations like this, the fans of the schools not playing probably gravitated towards pulling for the underdog.

Tim

November 26th, 2009 at 11:20 PM ^

It's not that there weren't the same number of bad calls both ways, just that the ones that went against us happened to be a bigger impact.

The offensive foul on LLP at the end of the first half was shockingly, embarrassingly bad. The NCAA needs to do something about punishing obvious flops.

champswest

November 26th, 2009 at 9:28 PM ^

This game is an indication that UM will be the hunted not the hunter this year. The announcers kept talking about how Creighton could use a big win over a ranked team (like us beating Duke and UCLA last year).
Concerns: Defense in the paint, free throw shooting, rebounding.
Thankful for: How we kept our poise, 3 point shooting, Manny, Novack.

Gus_possessive…

November 26th, 2009 at 10:02 PM ^

I'm not thankful for:

- Morris' defense. He is so soft. Didn't fight through a single screen and will continue giving up some wide open looks from the top of the key until he gets tougher. I was flabbergasted when he was called in to play defense on the last possession of regulation. I still don't completely understand all of Beilein's substitutions but far be it from me to question his faculty.

- Anthony Wright's game today. Didn't rotate, gave up an easy shot. Closed too early on a transition pass and gave up another easy shot. Hit a three. Took a bad three. Benched. When he's playing well/smart, he's a fantastic 7th man.

I'm thankful:

- That we could make so many mistakes and still beat a good team.

- For Morris' offensive skillz. Clearly a way better option at PG than last year's. And his D will come along, Beilein willing.

jamiemac

November 26th, 2009 at 10:48 PM ^

Tim, nice work getting a postgame post up.

A win is a win, especially against a good team like Creighton.

The team needs to get stronger around the rim.

Perry played his best game as a Wolverine.

Manny being Manny.

No panic, ability to get it done late, covered the spread. I was impressed and more than happy with the outcome.

I keep telling myself not to get too excited that one of the best coaches in all of college hoops has the best player he's ever had at his disposal.......but, whoa. If Manny is Manny and the rest of the team executes Beilein Ball to the best of their ability.........lets just say it will be a fun winter.

DoubleMs

November 26th, 2009 at 11:28 PM ^

Manny wasn't playing like Manny until the last 5 minutes of the 2nd half, either. He was shooting TERRIBLY until then - 3 for 11 at one point, with 0 for 4 behind the arc. Fortunately, he pulled through and dominated in OT.

Gus_possessive…

November 27th, 2009 at 12:03 PM ^

Yea but he was racking up boards and assists while shooting poorly. And playing good D. Manny recognizes when it's time to dish and time to shoot.

Obv numbers don't always tell the whole story, e.g. Morris' stat line of 0 assists and 2 TOs. That usually indicates a terrible game for a PG, right? Well, it wasn't great, but he also helped break the press way better than our beloved walk-ons of yesteryear ever did.

bryemye

November 26th, 2009 at 11:48 PM ^

LLP got hot when we needed him in the second half. Without that spurt from him, I think Creighton might have pulled away. Good on him.

Please make free throws in the future.

I liked that announcers called Manny Harris a National Player of the Year candidate. Respect.

My name ... is Tim

November 27th, 2009 at 2:04 AM ^

we can officially give Zack Novak Michigan's first annual "Wes Welker Memorial Gutsy White Guy That Has Intangibles That Other White Fans Adore" Award.

His overtime play was oustanding. He's so tough! Gamey! (Riverboat Gambler, etc., etc.)

SWFlaBlue

November 27th, 2009 at 10:54 AM ^

will tell us plenty. I, for one, was impressed with the way we played for the most part and if we would have just hit our foul shots at the end it would have been the expected 3 to 6 point win.

ijohnb

November 27th, 2009 at 11:28 AM ^

like Michigan did not expect to have to do the intangibles. Some flat footed attempts at rebounds and so on. The Blue Jays were a little better than expected and it looked like they caught UM in a game when they did not expect to be. I think M will have a nice bounce back today and really come to play.