Monday, March 15, 2010

Basketball dies spectacularly; other odds and ends

We all know what happened through the Big Ten tournament, which drove me to a brief .gif-posting frenzy for fear of becoming invested in anything lest I be emotionally crushed. And then Evan Turner hit a 40-footer.

I've been critical of Beilein for much of the season, on somewhat tenuous grounds (aside from the shooting regression by the team, they've looked disoriented and lost on the court). But this Ohio State loss and the last second loss to MSU, I think are pretty objective coaching errors. As mentioned around here and MGoBlog in the past, the 1-3-1 defense that Beilein elected to use on MSU's final possession when Michigan was up one point was probably the wrong choice. The 1-3-1 is a high-variance type of defense that provides teams with a fair amount of open 15-foot shots, the likes of which MSU hit to win that game. Not to mention that Michigan's had minimal experience playing the 1-3-1 in games this season. Whether or not Michigan would've won this game had they played man-to-man on that possession is basically a toss up, but the kind of shot that the 1-3-1 gave up in that situation (a shot that's pretty indicative of the scheme) argues that it was the wrong call.

The Turner play was a similar coaching misstep. You don't have to defend the inbounder. Michigan isn't long enough in the first place to make an effective denial of the inbounds pass and the benefits you get from that kind of defense are probably limited given that you'd be sacrificing an extra defender. But to allow OSU to play with two men into the back court and only have one defender is a gross error. There absolutely had to be another defender to guard Turner if Douglass gets screened, like he did. Why didn't you have Manny Harris and Douglass, both in the back court, and able to switch on Turner depending on which way he attacked? Even if you did that, you'd still have favorable numbers (3 vs. 2) in the front court in case OSU tries to heave the ball down the court.

Two massive errors that cost Michigan two of their bigger games this season.

In other news, spring practice starts tomorrow for the football team. Hopefully this will be the return of some steady discussion topics and I can begin regularly posting around these parts again. Also, hockey swept MSU this weekend, which was nice. I don't understand the pairwise at all, so I suggest you all go to Yost Built or MGoBlog for your critical hockey analysis. I hesitate putting any effort or hope into this team judging by the way everything seems to go for Michigan this year. But this casual Friday will certainly see the return of one of my Michigan hockey jerseys at work.


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