Monday Basketball Discussion Thread

Submitted by ijohnb on March 11th, 2019 at 10:20 AM

Big Ten Tourney Week.  Congrats to MSU.  Impressive season, fought through legit adversary and won some really big games.  I think both losses, particularly this last one, will help this Michigan team grow both in this post-season and next season as well.   

The Friday midnight tip is going to make this a little bit of a long week, but with Matthews still recovering I guess the longer we wait the better.  Hopefully this can make for a little bit of a random discussion depository for thoughts and takes that don't warrant their own thread. 

First, who do you see winning the BTT and what is your opinion of our draw.  I don't hate the likely Iowa matchup, though I get a knot in my stomach every time Jordan Bohanan shoots a 3.  I think Iowa likes to push pace and attack down hill but that is tough to do against our transition defense.  We also need to avenge the ref-show in Iowa City so I am fairly comfortable with the matchup.  Not much about Purdue scares me (assuming a healthy Matthews), I like that matchup if we get there.  Frankly, looking at the bracket, it is hard not see Michigan v. Michigan State Part 3 as coming to fruition next Sunday.  Part of me wants it to try to square things on the season to the extent possible.  Another part of me hopes the next time we see Cassius Winston on the same floor as Michigan will be at Crisler sometime next January.

Also, maybe it has been posted and discussed, but what exactly is Matthews injury?  Is it just a sprain, the dreaded "high ankle" maybe?  It surprises me that he both returned to the game in which it happened and has taken this long to recover.  I know he practiced and warmed up, which seems to indicate that he wants to play, but with his NBA aspirations a part of me wonders if he is a little apprehensive about pushing his luck.  Chances are he is going to have to really impress at the draft combine, etc., and it would not be ideal if he is nursing anything at that time.  Have not "heard" anything to indicate that is the case, but given what the injury looked to be I thought he would be back by now.  I certainly thought we would see a few minutes from him on Saturday.

In any case, there was a time just a decade ago when our only shot at the NCAA tournament was to try to win the BTT tournament only to give up a wide open half court heave to OSU.  And while Saturday was not ideal, we are a looong way from those days.  Let it begin.  Happy March Madness.




March 11th, 2019 at 10:26 AM ^

We are a sweet sixteen team. 

Not bad. Could be better. 

We looked so much better when we played UNC but I guess we stretched early. 


March 11th, 2019 at 10:36 AM ^

New data has shown that we can't beat MSU - I didn't really think the PSU loss was a big deal. Everyone slips a game here and there. Wisconsin, our first loss, was.. annoying. We had a lead and let it slide. I really thought we had MSU, and we let the lead slide. In December, we would add to leads and dominate. We are second in our conference, its hard to argue we should be a one seed.


March 11th, 2019 at 12:00 PM ^

The MSU argument feels a bit misleading, unless we are also going to accept that MSU can't beat Indiana.

MSU played better than UM in the second halves of both games.  But UM and was without Matthews in both of them and should, in theory, get him back for a third matchup.  Yes, MSU gets Ward back but he's probably not someone who demonstrably changes their ceiling because it just puts offensive possessions into his hands and not Winston's.

MSU has the best player in Winston, but in both these games you can point to one or two things that, had they played out differently, the games might be different.  Doesn't take away from their wins but the idea UM can't best MSU in a future matchup based on the last two games feels a bit tenuous.


March 11th, 2019 at 3:59 PM ^

The data shows that we have not beaten MSU, but whether that means we can't ever do so is conjecture.  

In both games we were ahead in the second half.  Can we avoid the killer droughts that plagued us each time?  Also, what happens if we get back Matthews?  Maybe that would help the offense overcome those lulls, not to mention our defensive rebounding (which was rough on Saturday).


March 11th, 2019 at 5:46 PM ^

This narrative is so wrong and tired.  Michigan just won relatively comfortably at Maryland in their second to last basketball game.  That was as impressive as the win against UNC given the former was at home and the latter was on the road.

Guess what their national Bart Torvik rank is their last three games (i.e. national ranks since Feb 26): 2nd.  In the country.

This is an exceptionally good team.  Every bit the top 10 team and final four contender they've been all year.

Could be better? Of course!  But man, the insane overreactions around here to a road loss against a very good team with poor officiating is comical.


March 11th, 2019 at 10:31 AM ^

I know that we have struggled down the stretch, but I attribute much of that to the Matthews injury. 

Without Matthews, Poole's usage has had to increase significantly, which is impacting his game. Even Teske's usage has gone up because without Matthews, we have had to play Livers more in the wing spots or have had to play less experienced players (necessitating that experienced players at other spots play over their back-ups to avoid a line-up consisting of too many bench players at the same time.  A healthy Matthews is the difference between us winning the BTT and possibly advancing to a Final Four or beyond, and us going out in our first or second game of the BTT and likely not advancing beyond the Sweet 16.  

On a totally different topic, I am somewhat disappointed that Poole has not made more of a jump mentally in his game.  He still takes way too many ill-advised shots that result in Beilein shaking his head, and hadn't fully mastered the motion of the ball around the perimeter (i.e. knowing when to reverse the motion, etc.).  I expect that with another year of coaching, he will get that down, which will make him a much more complete player.  


March 11th, 2019 at 11:39 AM ^

Regarding Poole, I think he has been better the last few games with his decision making. I did notice in the MSU game, after two bad shot decisions, his own teammates regulated his impact. Twice I saw him call for the ball on the wing, and his teammates looked at him and passed to the other side of the floor. If that doesn't get the message through to him, nothing will. 


March 11th, 2019 at 11:52 AM ^

He played well.  He had one really bad possession in the first half where he waved off a screen that I believe ended up in a shot clock violation, and of course the missed box out on McQuaid was a very Poole-like brain fart.  Other than that though I though he played within the offense and made good decisions.  If anything, we could have used a bit more hero ball from him in the second half when the ship was going down because from about the six minute mark our two options were "make a bunch of threes" or lose.


March 11th, 2019 at 11:59 AM ^

I think Poole will develop to that role next year, but so far, he has not proven he can really be the hero ball guy. Mathews has shown it a few times (Wisconsin stands out). I may be missing something, but other than having a good game, I have not really seen Poole be able to be the "give me the ball we are getting points" guy on a consistent basis to really own the second half of a game. Sadly, similar to what Winston did on Saturday. 


March 11th, 2019 at 10:32 AM ^

I will NEVER congratulate MSU on anything whatsoever!  I used to have a modicum of respect for them because they were good losers.  Now they are just insufferable winners!  It will only be a matter of time before the $500M that they owe to some of their sexual assault victims starts to erode their ability to reinvest into their facilities and coaching talent.  Their campus will look dingy and second-rate, and their donors will leave them hanging.  Karma is a bitch and I'm just waiting for her to show up in East Lansing!  

Sandy Lyles Revenge

March 11th, 2019 at 4:16 PM ^

This is no good on so many different levels. I’m not a fan of Msu nor it’s fans but this constantly throwing rape in their face and hope it makes their revenue sports less competitive than ours is really tired rhetoric, and seems to kind of like completely miss the boat on the issue at hand. 

Im sorry, not trying to be M-grad on M-grad violence here nor personally attack you as this is just one of the many, but felt the urge to add my two cents. Feel free to defend yourself and attack me, it’s just like my opinion, man. 


March 11th, 2019 at 10:33 AM ^

With Izzo already getting his banner and a sweep of Michigan, it would not at all shock me if MSU laid down a bit and didn’t reach the B1G final.

This would both give their injured guys more rest along with denying us any sort of shot at revenge.


March 11th, 2019 at 11:13 AM ^

There isn't a team Michigan can't beat in the league tournament if it plays its game. The only teams it doesn't match up well with are Iowa and MSU, because of their reserve strength in the post, especially if Matthews can't play.

That said, Michigan can beat both if it limits their best scorer and takes away their second and third scorers, which for Iowa, can be Cook or Weiskamp. If you can't stop Winston, then you must prevent McQuaid, Tillman and Goins from beating you, which we didn't do Saturday night. It would also help if the officiating allows the teams to play with their actual rotations and average usage.

Tournament play tends to differ from league play. A team can get hot and then just ride the wave into a championship. Michigan needs to get scoring from all its starters and some productive minutes off the bench from the newcomers in order to advance this  year. I think they'll make it to Sunday against either MSU or Maryland.


March 11th, 2019 at 10:40 AM ^

The post season hinges on M's ability to stay out of foul trouble. Our bench is what it is, and that isn't good. Saw a stat during the game that Michigan was like ranked 300+ in bench points per game with 11, hard to see us winning a Natty with a bench like that. The positive thing is that very few teams have the ability to switch screens like MSU does with Tillman or Nebraska did with Roby. I'm hopeful that Coach B will have something in place if we see MSU again this season. I think Michigan is still more talented than MSU, and yes, you can still be the more talented team and lose both games. See North Carolina over Duke or Indiana over MSU. Matthews being healthy is also 1a for this team other than staying out of foul trouble. I don't expect anyone to take a McGary like leap in the post season, but if Castleton or Johns can find the magic like Mitch did, that would be very helpful!  Wouldn't it be great to IU knock MSU for a third straight time? Anyways, cheers brothers and sisters, have a great week and Go Blue!

Perkis-Size Me

March 11th, 2019 at 11:27 AM ^

To be fair to Duke, they've lost to UNC because Zion Williamson was out. UNC got a gift, nay, a divine miracle, sent directly from the basketball gods with Zion's injury. 

Absolutely no way in hell Duke gets swept by UNC if Zion is healthy and on the court. UNC got to play a basically crippled Duke team. 

Your point is well-made with IU-MSU, though. I just think UNC-Duke wasn't a great example. 

A Lot of Milk

March 11th, 2019 at 10:44 AM ^

Mini revenge tour? Knock out Iowa, Penn St, and then MSU in three days. Not bad for a weekend. Get back into the tournament having beaten every big ten team for the second straight year


March 11th, 2019 at 10:47 AM ^

I hope Florida/Arkansas can knock off LSU in the first round of the SEC tourney. ESPN Bracketology flipped UM/LSU putting LSU #2 in the West with Gonzaga and Michigan #3 in the South with Duke and Kentucky. I think we can get back into the 2 seed range with a better showing than LSU in the conference tourneys.


March 11th, 2019 at 10:51 AM ^

If we win the BTT and beat MSU in the finals I’ll be a helluvah a lot happier with the season than I am now. I just hate the ref excuse, yeah they are shitty sometimes, but cmon we all need to accept how bias we are when we are evaluating them. We had PLENTY of chances to make that a 20 point game in the first half and early in the second half we had opportunities to get it past 10. I said this before, I love zavier Simpson, but when the guy who has the ball in hands the most is really no threat atall from outside 7-8 ft to score, you can lose any game on your schedule. This hasn’t been talked about much, but I’d love for Beilein to go the grad transfer route and find the best shooter available and recruit the hell out of him, just one seriously Just A Shooter type will help this team so much. I still think the ceiling of this team is the Sweet Sixteen, stay out of Duke’s bracket and there’s a chance for a F4 I guess.


March 11th, 2019 at 11:18 AM ^

I thought the refs were atrocious in the Iowa game, not really this past MSU game.  I know that there was a huge free throw discrepancy but frankly I did not think we really attacked the basket and Tillman defended well on drives without fouling.  The "foul" on Loyer was really bad and Teske absolutely did not travel(and probably should have drawn Winston's 4th four) but I wasn't consistently boggled by the calls like I was against Iowa.


March 11th, 2019 at 11:27 AM ^

The only call I thought was really bad was the travel on Teske. I think that foul on Loyer gets called 8/10 times because two guys were really really pressuring him and it did look like Z may have knocked him down, that was an anticipation whistle and good refs even do it sometimes. And complaining about referring just end up making yourself seem like a complete hypocrite. People will chose to keep their mouth shut about Brooks hammering McQuaid on a three that doesn’t get called. But complain and bitch when iggy drives the lane gets bumped a little with no call. You make yourself look like an idiot. Iowa was just a shit show, I try to throw that game away from my memory bank.

Naked Bootlegger

March 11th, 2019 at 11:46 AM ^

I also don't like complaining about reffing, but I wholeheartedly disagree with you regarding the officiating at Breslin (i.e., the only bad call was Teske's travel).  Cassius Winston traveled numerous times in the 1st half.  Total egregious traveling.   That stuff needs to be whistled, especially if Teske gets whistled for a legal move in the 2nd half.   One Winston travel was during a shot attempt that drew a foul - that's a huge deal.  2 free points, plus a foul that forced either Livers, Iggy, or Simpson to sit in the 1st half (I forget who got whistled for that foul).   Instead, that should've been a turnover and no points on the board.  

I understand your explanation for the Simpson phantom call on Loyer (ref anticipating contact), but that call was still one of the laughably worst fouls I've ever seen.  Another ref needs to rectify the initial call - replays showed no contact whatsoever.  Loyer collapsed on his own volition, so that's two free points and Simpson relegated to the bench when he was absolutely chewing up Loyer offensively.

And, finally, the Teske travel was absolutely crucial.   That would've temporarily stanched the MSU momentum.   Would we have won if Teske converts that layup with a possible and-one?  Probably not.   But the complexion of games gets totally changed at crucial junctures, and reffing absolutely influenced this game.    It is what it is, but still very frustrating.   But please don't describe that game as only one badly officiated call.  It featured a litany of bad calls, including a handful in Michigan's favor.





March 11th, 2019 at 9:49 PM ^

I would even back up a bit before the Teske phantom travel to 8:12 where Goins pretended to get hit in the face by Teske - foul on Teske - when he never touched him.

If you look at the roughly 90 seconds between 8:12 and 6:45, the bad calls make it a 12 point game when it should have been either a 3 or 2 point game (depending on if they call foul on Winston on the phantom travel and Teske hits the FT).  This is the 90 seconds where Teske picked up a foul for the phantom hit on Goins, the phantom travel call, the no call on Tillman when he hit Iggy on his shot and then the ridiculous touch foul on Iggy on that subsequent rebound.