- For the third straight year, Michigan’s season-opener in football will be broadcast nationally and start in the afternoon. Just like the Utah game in 2008 and the Western Michigan game a year ago, the UConn game on September 4 will start at 3:30 p.m. and be shown on ABC/ESPN2 (depending on where you live). Also, it was announced that the UMass game on September 18 will start at noon and be shown on the Big Ten Network. So far the game times/TV details have been announced for five games. The other game times will be determined either six or twelve days prior to kickoff.
- Brian of mgoblog went through the documents included in Michigan’s response to the NCAA and determined that Brad Labadie and Scott Draper should be canned over how incompetent they were in handling the CARA forms. It’s truly amazing to read through the different e-mails and see just how poorly this was handled. If I were Rich Rodriguez, I would demand both to be fired right now, because this situation was made a lot worse over how mishandled it was by Labadie and Draper.
- Jonathan Chait took the Free Press to task for how inaccurate their “investigation” was.
- Michigan’s game against Kansas at Crisler Arena has been scheduled for January 9, the Sunday after the winter semester starts. Also, the Utah game is set for December 10, meaning it will be played the night before The Big Chill at the Big House.
- Ashton Kutcher had to wear a Michigan Wolverines shirt for some movie he’s in, and based on this picture I’d say he’s not a fan.
- Jalen Rose wants to become a college basketball coach at some point in the future.
- NCAA tournament expansion to 68 teams was approved on Thursday.
- The USA Today put together a great story on DeShawn Sims.
- The Utah basketball game at Crisler Arena is going to be the weekend of The Big Chill, meaning it will probably be scheduled for Sunday, December 12. Kansas is also going to play at Crisler Arena next season, but a specific date hasn’t been reported yet for that game.
- Just an FYI, President Obama’s commencement speech at Michigan Stadium tomorrow will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network and streamed live on BigTenNetwork.com.
- Notre Dame wants to remain independent in football, but some Big East coaches want the conference to tell Notre Dame to essentially go all in with its membership or get lost.
- Zoltan Mesko didn’t win the Ray Guy Award (it went to Georgia’s punter instead), but he and Brandon Graham were named to the Walter Camp All-America second-team.
- Brian Kelly is officially headed to Notre Dame. I personally think he will succeed there. It may take some time, but he has won everywhere he has been in the past.
- Michigan hosts Notre Dame in hockey tonight (7:35 p.m.) and then goes to South Bend to finish the series on Sunday (4:05 p.m.). Both games will be broadcast on Comcast 900.
- Some people thought there was going to be a limit of 25 recruits allowed to sign in the 2010 football recruiting class, but that is not true. The limit is still 28.
- It has been a long, long time since Michigan’s football, basketball, and hockey teams have all been struggling this much at the same time.
- At the end of Wednesday’s basketball game, Utah fans chanted “just like football,” referring to the Utes’ season-opening win at Michigan in 2008.
- Nine Michigan State football players have been charged with at least one count of assault or assault and battery as well as one count of conspiracy to commit an assault and battery. In addition, Myles White (commit Austin White’s brother) has been charged for allegedly urinating in public and being a minor in possession of alcohol. The Alamo Bowl should be interesting to watch simply because of how many players have been suspended in the last few weeks. Depth is definitely going to be a concern for MSU.
- The Heisman Trophy will be awarded tomorrow, and I personally think it should go to Toby Gerhart. Ndamukong Suh is a close second on my list, with Mark Ingram coming in third.
Not that it didn’t seem like it before, but after going to Utah and losing 68-52 last night, I think it’s painfully obvious that Michigan is just not a very good basketball team outside of Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims every once in a while. Nobody anticipated this bad of a start to the season, but the combination of an unbelievable shooting slump and losing a couple leaders like C.J. Lee and David Merritt has just taken its toll on this team. Rather than get off to a hot start and be well on its way to a solid seed in the NCAA tournament like most expected, Michigan is just continuing to struggle mightily. It’s still a little too early to start writing off Michigan’s hopes of even making the tournament, but things have to get turned around quickly with the Big Ten portion of the schedule on the horizon.
Early on last night it looked like Michigan finally reverted back to its ways of last season by playing pretty good defense and running the offense a bit more smoothly, but that didn’t last for very long. Michigan went on a scoring drought that lasted for four or so minutes starting at the 13-minute mark of the first half, and then after making a couple shots, U-M ended up finishing the final eight minutes of the half with only one field goal. That all allowed Utah to go from trailing 12-6 to leading by 8 points at the half. If not for Utah missing quite a few shots during Michigan’s droughts, the deficit could have been a lot worse.
The second half got off to a relatively slow start for both teams, but things started to heat up for Michigan around five minutes in. Trailing by 10, Michigan quickly stormed back thanks to a three-pointer by Stu Douglass, a two-pointer by Darius Morris, and one three and a couple twos by Manny Harris. Suddenly Michigan only trailed by a point, and it appeared that this game was about to get really interesting. Well, it sort of did, but Utah put a stop to the run and went on one of its own to take a 7-point lead. Michigan went on another scoring drought before turning up the heat again to make things close. Manny went to the hole for a layup, and DeShawn Sims followed that up with a three-pointer. Manny then made his third shot of the game from behind the arc to cut the lead to 4 points, but that was sadly the last shot Michigan made all game.
With 5:43 left in the second half it looked like there was going to be an exciting and close finish, but Michigan again forgot how to shoot and let Utah go on a big run to win by 16 points. It was an unbelievable collapse, but then again, Manny Harris can only do so much. He accounted for nearly half of Michigan’s total points (he had 25) and pretty much tried to do it all in the second half. Sure, DeShawn Sims and a couple other players tried to get involved, but Manny was really the only one making shots and going to the hole consistently. There is only so much he can do, and when only one other player, DeShawn Sims, scores in double digits (he had 10 points), the chances of winning are slim. Just look at Utah’s boxscore for an example of the opposite of that. The Utes’ leading scorer had 22 points, but the other four starters had 12, 11, 10, and 8. Utah didn’t get much out of its bench, but it didn’t need to because Michigan played so poorly.
Although Michigan has been struggling all season long, it didn’t help that Zack Novak was out last night because he has the flu. Who knows how different the outcome of the game would have been if Novak wasn’t sick and played, but his absence definitely hurt. Aside from the effort and three-point shooting Michigan lost, it was hurt even more by having to give his minutes to inexperienced players. Eso Akunne ended up playing 17 minutes, and although he played fairly well given the circumstances, I don’t think Akunne is ready to log that much playing time just yet. Eric Puls and Ben Cronin got a total of six minutes between the two of them, and although Zack Gibson finally got a long-awaited raise in playing time, he put up a goose egg, finishing with 0 points.
The thing that Michigan struggled with most against Utah, like usual, was making shots. From the field Michigan shot 34%, and it made 11 less shots than Utah. From three-point land Michigan finished at 31.8%. Manny did quite well from behind the arc, going 3-5, but like I said earlier, he can only do so much for this team. Wait, I sort of take that back. One thing he could do better is make more free throws, but then again, he is still doing better than the rest of the team. Manny was 6-9 from the charity stripe last night and the rest of the team was 5-11. As a whole the team went 55%, which is just really bad. If Michigan is going to continue to struggle from three-point land and even inside the arc, it is going to have to at least shoot better from the free throw line.
Next up for Michigan is Detroit on Sunday (noon on the BTN). This should be a game that Michigan wins by double digits, but let’s not take anything for granted at this point, especially if U-M isn’t at full strength. One of the things I will be keeping my eye on is if Zack Novak plays. I’d be a little surprised if he was in the lineup simply because the flu seemed to hit him only in the last day or so, but let’s just hope that he is the only one that could be out on Sunday. I say that because DeShawn Sims apparently wasn’t feeling too good after the game, meaning he could be sick as well. Hopefully this thing doesn’t spread too much, because that’s the last thing this team needs right now with Kansas coming up in only nine days.