Monday, March 8, 2010

Simply dominated

Michigan played basketball yesterday, or some variation of it anyway. They scored an absurd 14 points in the first half, four of which, I'm told, came because of goaltending violations. They made 15 field goals in 40 minutes, allowed Michigan State to rebound nearly half of their misses, and turned the ball over 19 times. Stick a fork in 'em, this team is finished.

Last week, I wrote this after the Minnesota game:

But not only has this team been unable to put together but a few minutes of well-rounded play this season, the likes of which we saw for a whole game last night, but they haven't even been able to string together stretches of competent play. This team has looked out coached, out matched, and out hustled almost this entire season....

John Beilein sure is lucky RichRod is around. Without him, people might be paying a bit more attention to a basketball team that's quickly headed toward the cellar.

It's sad how prescient that looks a mere five days later, but it's true: This team, and sadly, this program, is headed nowhere but down. Quickly. And if you think that yesterday's game was rock bottom for this team, imagine what it's going to look like next year without the team's most consistent scorer, rebounder, and emotional leader; any semblance of a true center; and possibly, no Manny Harris either.

What's really disappointing is just how obviously defeated this team is and how clear it is that they've given up. People kept talking about how they kept fighting, but frankly, I don't see it. "Keep fighting" as in trying to win games? Of course they are, but nothing this team has done has implied that their really fighting to improve and become anything better than what they are. Is persevering and toughness really attributed to a team that simply goes out on the court and fails the way it has all year?

DeShawn Sims long ago gave up on this team. I'd venture that it was shortly after the Michigan State last-second loss. I mentioned this after it:

I watched The Journey on the Big Ten Network just before the Northwestern game last night and saw DeShawn Sims say after the MSU loss, "It's like I don't want to play basketball anymore", or something similar.

And the thing is, I'm not entirely sure he didn't follow through with this. Sims has been lazy and ineffective for much of this end stretch and I'm not sold that it's because teams suddenly learned how to guard him. You can see it when he runs up and down the court or in his half-hearted defense. Sims as given up on this team and this season. I can't blame him. Harris has been similarly out of sorts but not quite as openly deflated; I don't know what's wrong with him, really.

I've given up on this team and have my time card ready in order to punch out early on the 2010-2011 season, but I'll withhold final judgment on them when I see them on the court together.


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