- I hate to be Mr. Negative, but it is going to take quite a turnaround for Michigan to make the NCAA tournament. They have struggled quite a bit lately outside of the Northwestern game, and that trend continued in Columbus last night. Michigan lost 72-54 in a game that was never all that close. Michigan trailed by 18 at the half, cut the lead down to 10 during the second half, and ultimately ended up losing by 18. It wasn’t only one thing that caused this one-sided game, as turnovers and poor shooting led to Michigan’s demise early on. The Wolverines turned the ball over a whopping 21 times and only shot 30.6% from the field and 26.9% from three-point land.
- Manny Harris actually had a triple-double in this game. Unfortunately, the triple-double was 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 turnovers. He did keep Michigan on life support in the second half by getting to the free throw line so often, but the turnovers definitely were a big problem, though the team as a whole had lots of problems with turnovers.
- Zack Novak was ejected from this game in the final minutes after receiving a flagrant foul for elbowing Ohio State’s P.J. Hill in the face. The elbow was thrown after a free throw attempt and looked intentional. Novak looked like he was going to box out Hill but instead elbowed him directly in the face. It looked like the two teams were going to start getting into it after the elbow, but the officials broke things up and cooled everyone down. The refs then reviewed what happened on a video monitor and decided that Novak was deserving of an ejection.
My guess is that Novak will get very little playing time against Purdue on Saturday or simply not play at all. Although it was only an elbow, it was a dumb play that was a result of frustration. That is just something you can’t do, and I would bet on John Beilein making sure the rest of the team understands that. At the very least, Novak probably won’t start. Beyond that is anyone’s guess right now, but I would be surprised if he played.
- As mentioned, Michigan’s next game is at Purdue on Saturday. Tip off is set for 1 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast on CBS.
- Switching gears to hockey, the Michigan Daily reported some great news on Wednesday.
Sidelined since an Oct. 10 knee injury, senior defenseman Mark Mitera returned to team practice briefly yesterday and today. He hasn’t worn a red jersey, which is traditionally worn by a player returning from injury. Mitera skated laps and in a few basic, no-contact drills in warmup this afternoon.
“It’s good, but Mitera’s not ‘back’ back,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “It’s all a matter of getting into full practice, full tempo, full intensity and then full contact. i think he’s fine. it’s just a matter of him and the doctors getting confidence.
“He looks fine and he feels fine, but he’s not in shape.”
Steve Kampfer practiced yesterday as well and seems like he will be ready to play against #1 Notre Dame this weekend.
University of Michigan police are not going to further investigate the hit on Steve Kampfer from last Saturday’s Michigan State game. Apparently the only reason they looked into it at all was because of “intense media attention.” This isn’t really surprising, as it would be hard to build a case against Andrew Conboy and Corey Tropp since the assault happened during a hockey game.
- Former Michigan linebacker Larry Foote said this on Tuesday:
“This Super Bowl, we’ve got seven Michigan guys playing. Tell Michigan State to take that!’ ” joked Steelers linebacker Larry Foote, a former U-M All-American who’s always happy to stoke the in-state rivalry fires. “Seven of ‘em. Does Michigan State have anybody here? Nope. Not a soul.”
You gotta love Larry Foote.