It’s not often that I turn off or leave a Michigan game early no matter what the score is simply because I don’t want to miss anything that may be worth talking about on this blog. That was not the case on Sunday, though. Michigan was playing so poorly against Michigan State that I finally reached my boiling point and couldn’t take any more of it. Watching MSU run Michigan out of the Breslin Center was simply not worth it, so I decided to move on to other things once the score hit 42-14 on an alley oop to Isaiah Dahlman of all people. I figured that was the best thing to do for my well-being considering Michigan only had 14 points with 16 minutes left in the second half and was just playing downright awful basketball. In the end Michigan lost by a score of 64-48 (only 16 points!) and capped off the regular season with yet another performance that was excruciating to watch.
The story of this game was Michigan’s inability to do anything on offense. For a few minutes Michigan was in the game thanks to sloppy play by Michigan State, but the Wolverines simply couldn’t capitalize on the Spartans’ mistakes. Michigan was just as sloppy and careless with the ball, and it struggled to simply make shots. MSU’s defense was suffocating, and on most possessions Michigan followed a similar script: pass the ball around the three-point line and fire up a bad shot with time running out on the shot clock. This led to multiple scoring droughts that lasted for around four minutes at a time. In the final 4:32 of the first half, for example, Michigan only scored 1 point (a free throw by Laval Lucas-Perry), and in the first 4:37 of the second half Michigan only scored 2 points (a pair of free throws by Zack Gibson). Gibson finally ended the field goal drought with a layup on the possession following his free throws, giving Michigan its first made shot in more than nine minutes of action.
Michigan State led by as many as 29 points in this game before it basically took its foot off the gas in the second half. Looking at the play-by-play breakdown of the second half, Michigan did play decent at times, going on a stretch where it made 5 consecutive shots after the first field goal drought ended. The Wolverines played awful basketball at times as well, however, following up that hot streak of made shots with another scoring drought of almost four minutes. Michigan got to the free throw line a lot in the final five minutes of the game to cut the lead down to 16 points, but by that time MSU was emptying its bench anyways.
The only player who scored in double figures for Michigan was Zack Gibson, who played for 16 minutes. Most of Gibson’s points came from the free throw line, where he went 6-7. The next-highest scorer was DeShawn Sims, who had 9 points to go along with 9 rebounds. He struggled shooting the ball big time, going 3-8 from the field and 3-6 from the free throw line. Zack Novak and Darius Morris both had 8 points on 3-6 shooting. Manny Harris only scored 4 points (a season low) and went an ugly 1-10 from the field. Stu Douglass, Laval Lucas-Perry, and Matt Vogrich (he made his only shot in the 3 minutes he played) all scored 3 points. Anthony Wright missed the 2 threes he took and Corey Person recorded an assist in 2 minutes of action.
As a team Michigan shot the ball 34.9% from the field (15-43) and 19% from three-point land (4-21). Like I said earlier, Michigan State’s defense was great and gave Michigan very few open looks. The worst thing about that, though, is that even when Michigan did have open looks it still struggled to make shots. All in all it was just a pathetic performance, especially when you continue to look at the boxscore and see that Michigan turned the ball over 19 times. Usually Michigan does a great job of taking care of the ball (it only had 4 turnovers in the first game of the season against MSU), but it was just careless on Sunday. MSU had 17 turnovers of its own, but there were a few instances where the Spartans would turn the ball over and Michigan would give it right back literally seconds later.
Next up for Michigan is the Big Ten tournament (full bracket here). After finishing the season with a 14-16 record overall and a 7-11 record in the conference, Michigan will be the 8 seed in the tournament. For the third straight year, Michigan’s opponent in the first round is Iowa, the 9 seed. The Wolverines beat the Hawkeyes 73-45 last year and 55-47 in 2008 in the Big Ten tournament, and so far this season Michigan is 2-0 against Iowa.
Michigan didn’t play Iowa to open the Big Ten tournament in 2007, but it was victorious over Minnesota. Unfortunately, despite winning its first game of the Big Ten tournament the last three years, Michigan hasn’t been able to win in the quarterfinals even once. In fact, Michigan has only been to the semifinals once (in 2004 after beating Iowa) since the first conference tournament in 1998, which Michigan actually won. Even then, Michigan advanced to the semifinals after having a first-round bye, so it hasn’t actually won two games in a single Big Ten tournament since the very first one in 1998.
If Michigan beats Iowa, it would face Ohio State in the quarterfinals. The Buckeyes are the top seed and have eliminated Michigan in the quarterfinals three times in the history of the Big Ten tournament. The most recent time was in 2007 when Ohio State was also the top seed and beat Michigan 72-62. Before that OSU beat Michigan in 2002 (75-68) and 1999 (87-69), both times as a 2 seed. The Buckeyes went on to win the whole thing in 2007 and 2002 after beating Michigan.
Thursday’s game against Iowa is set to start at 2:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN2. If Michigan is able to get past the Hawkeyes for the third straight year, Friday’s game against Ohio State would be a noon ET start on ESPN. Based on how Michigan played on Sunday, though, that’s a really big if.
- The women’s basketball team opened the Big Ten Tournament with a 67-54 win over Northwestern. Tomorrow Michigan will play Michigan State, the No. 2-seeded team in the conference.
- Just this week alone former Michigan hockey players Danny Richmond, Aaron Palushaj, Aaron Ward, Kevin Porter, and Chad Kolarik have been traded and current players Steve Kampfer and Matt Rust both have had their rights traded. To see where they are all headed you can check out the hockey team’s Twitter feed.
- Linebacker Lawrence Thomas has cut his list to 10 schools and Michigan isn’t one of them. The chances of him coming here were beyond slim to begin with given that he goes to Detroit Renaissance, but I’m a little surprised Michigan didn’t even make his top 10.
- TomVH recently caught up with Craig Roh’s father.
- Jay Feely has faith in Dave Brandon.
- Daniel Horton was playing basketball in France, but he was recently cut by his team.
- The Big Ten reportedly had an investment firm investigate expansion by looking at Missouri, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Rutgers and was told that it would be worth it to add another team or teams. Assuming Notre Dame doesn’t change its mind about joining the conference, Rutgers is apparently the school that would do the most for the conference if it joined the Big Ten, followed next by Missouri and Pittsburgh. Personally I’m not a fan of Rutgers joining the conference at all, because I just think some of the benefits of adding the Scarlet Knights are being overstated. I would much rather have Missouri or Pittsburgh join the conference, but I guess for now the new front-runner resides in New Jersey.
- Northwestern and Illinois are hoping to play each other in football at Wrigley Field this season.
- Michigan and Florida Atlantic are reportedly close to agreeing to a deal that would bring the Owls to the Big House in 2012. FAU played at Michigan State last season and will play at Spartan Stadium again in 2011. This year FAU will play MSU at Ford Field, which is where the Owls played in 2008 for the Motor City Bowl.
- Brian of mgoblog interviewed the author of Bylaw Blog about the allegations against Michigan. It is very interesting and provides a look at what sanctions Michigan could be facing. Also at mgoblog is a look at some past cases that are similar to what Michigan is going through and what sanctions came from them.
- A user on mgoblog compared the Free Press’ allegations with what the NCAA actually found, and it’s pretty amazing just how off the paper was in so many instances.
- NFL.com has combine videos of Zoltan Mesko and Brandon Graham.
- AnnArbor.com has a video of Graham getting ready for the combine with Mike Barwis.
- Tony Gibson thinks Donovan Warren will have a great career in the NFL.
- New England Patriots and former Michigan linebacker Pierre Woods is working out in Ann Arbor to stay in shape during the offseason. Considering how he and Lloyd Carr never seemed to be on the same page during his time at Michigan, it’s good to see him back around the program again.
- MGoBlue has news aerial photos of Michigan Stadium.
- Dave Brandon’s last full day at Domino’s included a nice surprise.
- Goalie Shawn Hunwick, who won his first career collegiate game on Thursday, is the scoreboard operator at Alumni Field (softball). You learn something new every day.
- Baseball great Barry Larkin originally came to Michigan to play football for Bo Schembechler.
- Despite multiple reports to the contrary, Texas’ athletic director claims that the school hasn’t had any talks with the Big Ten.
- Some information about NCAA Football 11 is out, and it looks like EA Sports is finally going to add some features that have been missing from the game for way too long. That said, not much of this info is gameplay-related, which is what I’m really looking forward to hearing about.
- Michigan students Meryl Davis and Charlie White won a silver medal in ice dancing at the Olympics, and fellow students Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates finished 11th.
- Birmingham Seaholm wide receiver Shawn Conway committed to Michigan over the weekend after being offered a scholarship. Conway, Michigan’s third commitment for 2011, is a definite sleeper considering that Michigan is his only offer so far. I know many fans out there are concerned over the fact that Conway has flown under the radar so much, but let’s keep in mind that it is only February. A lot of times players that are sleepers will suddenly jump up in the rankings after their senior year or simply once they gain more attention. That’s not to say that will for sure happen in Conway’s case, but he has good size and good hands, making it seem like he could be a solid possession receiver for Michigan someday. For more on Conway, check out mgoblog.
- AnnArbor.com has a recap and various videos of the Victors Rally that was held on Sunday. The Wolverine Blog also has a few videos from the event.
- Coaches almost decided to play Justin Turner and burn his redshirt last season. Although I imagine he would have helped the secondary, in the long run I think that was a good decision.
- Brandon Graham’s stock soared after the Senior Bowl, and if he manages to run a 4.5 40-yard dash in Indianapolis like he did in practice recently it could continue to be on the rise.
- Bill Martin’s official title from March 8 (after Dave Brandon officially becomes the athletic director) to September 4 of this year will be “special adviser to the president.”
- The USA Today profiled Dave Brandon.
- Fielding Yost was a curler back in the day.
- Five Michigan hockey recruits are in Rivals’ top 50 rankings. Two of them have five stars.
- I think John Beilein’s expression during the Penn State game last Saturday just about sums up my overall expression for Michigan sports since October.
- Beilein doesn’t expect Ben Cronin to play basketball again.
- Michigan has submitted bids to host NIT games for both the men’s and women’s teams. At this point I don’t think Michigan will even have to worry about hosting anything for the men’s NIT.
- UM Hoops and The Wolverine Blog put together a two–part Q&A on where things stand with basketball recruiting.
- Brent Petway is headed to France to play basketball.
- Former Michigan basketball player Dommanic Ingerson was arrested last week in Oakland after stealing a purse and a jacket from two women and proceeding to swim in a lake naked.
- George Sisler, who played baseball at Michigan from 1913-15, was elected to the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
- The Big Ten has hired a research firm to analyze schools that could join the Big Ten. The initial list included 15 schools. Texas was not on the list, but you don’t need to really do research to know how big of an impact adding the Longhorns to the conference would have.
- Michigan Sports Center turned four on Sunday.
- According to Greg Banks, Michigan will attempt to fill the void created by Brandon Graham’s departure with various players, including Ryan Van Bergen.
- Mel Kiper thinks Donovan Warren should have returned for his senior season.
- How lame is the officiating of Ed Hightower and company? Had DeShawn Sims missed his game-tying three at the end of regulation, a foul would have been called. Because he made it there was no foul. That about sums up how inconsistent college basketball referees are, especially in the Big Ten.
- Anthony Wright didn’t play against Iowa because of a forehead injury. Based on what John Beilein said about Wright, it sounds like he was in an altercation of some sort, but that is just pure speculation.
- Michigan hockey commit Jon Merrill is ranked fourth in the nation by CollegeHockey247.com.
- A poster over at mgoblog has a recap of Mock Rock, which took place earlier this week. AnnArbor.com also has a recap.
- Frank the Tank has another great look at why Texas to the Big Ten isn’t quite as crazy as you might think.
- Representing Michigan in the 2010 Winter Olympics are Jack Johnson, playing hockey for Team USA, and two pairs of American ice dancers.
- Johnson made quite the journey to be at the opening ceremony on Friday night.
- Cameron Gordon is switching to safety this spring.
- Vincent Smith is on the road to recovering from his ACL injury.
- Lloyd Carr is enjoying the retired life.
- Brandon Minor, Brandon Graham, Donovan Warren, and Zoltan Mesko have been invited to the NFL Combine.
- UM Hoops talked with David Merritt about the basketball team, which plays at Iowa tonight (9:05 p.m. ET on the BTN).
- The Big Ten hasn’t talked to any schools yet about joining the conference.
- Mock Rock is being held tonight at the Hill Auditorium.
(Copied from the 2010 recruiting page)
|QB||Devin Gardner||6-4||195||Inkster, MI|
|QB||Conelius Jones||6-2||197||Spartanburg, SC|
|RB||Austin White||6-0||186||Livonia, MI|
|RB||Stephen Hopkins||6-0||220||Flower Mound, TX|
|WR||D.J. Williamson||6-1||172||Warren, OH|
|WR||Jerald Robinson||6-2||175||Canton, OH|
|WR||Jeremy Jackson||6-3||194||Ann Arbor, MI|
|WR||Ricardo Miller||6-2||208||Ann Arbor, MI|
|SR||Drew Dileo||5-10||175||Baton Rouge, LA|
|OL||Christian Pace||6-3||262||Avon Lake, OH|
|DL||Jibreel Black||6-2||253||Wyoming, OH|
|DE||Jordan Paskorz||6-3||225||Allison Park, PA|
|DE||Ken Wilkins||6-3||244||Washington, PA|
|DT||Richard Ash||6-4||263||Pahokee, FL|
|DT||Terry Talbott||6-4||265||Huber Heights, OH|
|OLB||Antonio Kinard||6-4||210||Youngstown, OH|
|OLB||Josh Furman||6-3||194||Millersville, MD|
|OLB||Davion Rogers||6-6||210||Warren, OH|
|OLB||Jake Ryan||6-3||220||Cleveland, OH|
|DB||Demar Dorsey||6-1||175||Lauderdale Lakes, FL|
|DB||Terrence Talbott||5-10||172||Huber Heights, OH|
|CB||Cullen Christian||6-0||180||Pittsburgh, PA|
|CB||Courtney Avery||5-10||165||Lexington, OH|
|S||Marvin Robinson||6-1||190||Eagle Lake, FL|
|S||Carvin Johnson||6-0||185||Metairie, LA|
|S||Ray Vinopal||5-10||178||Youngstown, OH|
|P||Will Hagerup||6-4||215||Whitefish Bay, WI|
|(Height and weight data taken from Rivals.com)|
|Big Ten Recruiting Rankings
|(Note: These are the default rankings on each site and are not based on average star rating.)|
I will admit, the Pitt to the Big Ten rumor that popped up over the weekend seemed more like smoke rather than full-fledged fire given the lack of a concrete source behind it, but the rumor was certainly intriguing. Nonetheless, now that some time has passed and Pitt officials have gotten a chance to comment on the matter, it’s obvious that for now, at least, it was all nothing more than a rumor.
“There is no announcement to make because there is nothing happening,” said Pitt spokesman Mike Gladysz.
Another Pitt spokesman added: “It’s a total rumor. There is no truth to it. I am 100 percent sure.”
Now hear this: rumors on Internet message boards should be read for amusement purposes only, and not consumed as responsible journalism.
Right now I will simply say that usually where there’s smoke, there’s fire as well. In other words, a rumor like this could very well be a sign that something behind the scenes is happening. Of course, it could be complete BS as well. Until the Big Ten comes out and says something one way or another, chances are this won’t be the last rumor about a team joining the conference, and it certainly won’t be the last time there are whispers about Pitt being that team. The thought of a decision being made so quickly was an interesting one, but for now we will have to continue to wait to see what happens with Big Ten expansion.
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