Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ready for that 2010-2011 season?

Two plays from last night's game stick out to me as definitive backbreakers. Both of them came at the hands of the season's goats, at least according to this blog.

The first play came late in the game when Michigan still had a four-point lead. The team had been playing solid defense all game and was holding Wisconsin to a painfully low shooting percentage. They had played primarily man-to-man and did an exceptional job. And once in a while, they threw the 1-3-1 in, just to throw off Wisconsin. Then, out of a timeout, Michigan went to a 2-3 zone. Wisconsin ran a wing player into the top of the key, DeShawn Sims came up to guard him and cut off the entry pass, and Wisconsin slipped a player in the back door for an easy layup--almost certainly the easiest bucket of the entire game, either way--with Michigan's only paint defender drawn up to the free throw line. This is exactly what killed Michigan against Indiana. And worse still, there was absolutely no reason to go to the 2-3 here with Michigan's defense holding strong nearly the entire game. If you are going to go to the zone, make it the one that the team can run. Wisconsin would tie the game on the next possession and never look back.

The second play came at the hands of Manny Harris. With the shot clock winding down and the game tied late, Harris had the ball in his hands. Everyone watching, including the Wisconsin defenders, knew what he was going to do. He started to drive with about 4 seconds left on the shot clock and Wisconsin clogged the lane. Harris tried pivoting back before realizing he'd wasted a bunch of time, twisted, and chucked up an airy airball. The worst part? He had Douglass  (maybe Novak, but it was one of the two) rotating to the top of the key completely unguarded and available for an open catch and shoot look that would've still beaten the shot clock by about a second.

I will let those moments and the general flow of the play speak for itself--although UMHoops basically summarizes how I feel. Everyone that reads this blog knows my feelings toward Harris and Beilein lately. There's no need in belaboring the point. That said, boy did that game go down differently than I had imagined. Good shooting from Wisconsin? Nope. Dominated on the glass? Not really. Sims vs. bigger opponent? Whoa.

Again I say: DeShawn Sims may be playing himself into a first-round draft pick. At the beginning of the year, I thought the guy was a lock to go undrafted or maybe late second round. But seeing how smooth his jump shot has gotten and how much better he is on the boards has completely changed that opinion. Sims has been an animal in Big Ten play and will almost certainly jump into the Big Ten Player of the Year conversation shortly. Last night he went 9-14 from the floor (1-2 from three-point range) and 4-6 from the free throw line with 13 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals, and 1 assist. If it weren't for Sims, Michigan would've scored about 12 points because....

Everyone else is terrible. Harris 4-14 (11 points), Novak 0-6 (0 points), Douglass 2-8 (6 points), LLP 2-5 (5 points). Just flat can't shoot. And to add to that, Michigan had a grand total of one point off the bench, and that came from the split pair of three throws that Darius Morris hit early in the game. Otherwise, the bench produced 4 rebounds, three turnovers, and three fouls. That's it. Not even a single shot attempt from the bench. This is not a good basketball team.

Is it 2011 yet?


Post a Comment