Monday, February 16, 2009

Basketball revisited

I would first like to apologise for lack of posts these past couple weeks of the season. I hope that most people appreciate the concept of being a full-time student and just hoping for something good to happen with the team which until Sunday had not been since, February 5th against Penn State, which still didn't seem like much to get too excited about. I wanted to save my post for after the UCONN game incase maybe just maybe we pulled one off which, we inspiringly lost, thanks to my boy Stew being unconscious from behind the arc. Then I watched with hopes of beating the school up I-96 and watching Manny Harris un-inspiringly stand on the left wing the whole game and get completely shut down by bigger better defenders. However my lack of post has allowed to me reflect on a few things I've learned the past week and a half. 
-Manny Harris isn't as good as I thought he was. I don't want it to sound like I woke up this morning and drank some Hateraide and I'm going to bash our best offensive weapon. However, how many times does anyone see many harris get the ball somewhere other then the left wing? And if he doesn't get the ball right at the start of the offensive set he seems to be a non-factor. Now I know he's been our savior and taken games over like he did yesterday I would like to see more consistency from his game that's all. To be a good NBA player he's going to need to be able to operate from both sides of the court and be able to get into the offense if he is initially taken away. 
- The culture of Michigan basketball is slowing leaning back towards success. I saw it in the UCONN game and even though Manny Harris was awful in the MSU game, the team could have folded after a 15 point outburst in the first half to the spartans or let UCONN run away with the game after taking a double digit lead in the second half. Unlike the Tommy Amaker teams of old they kept playing hard and stayed in the game competitively instead of just folding.
- What happened to us cutting backdoor and getting to the basket? Our offense recently has consisted of jacking up 3 pointers at any given opportunity. Only getting points in the paint from DeShawn Sims, a Manny Harris Drive, or somebody else getting a hustle bucket off the rebound. Announcers talk about Michigan being the leading three-point shooting team in the big ten in terms of makes and I say yeah obviously when you're putting about 30 3's a game up. I don't like this trend... Building a team around the three unless you're Duke is how you upset teams not win a championship.
Through this up and down basketball season and the torment of football season there is HOPE. A flicker of bright light in the distance. We might still be able to make the tourney and no ladies and gentleman I'm not talking the NIT this time. Dave Revsine touched on this yesterday for those of you that watched. There are no strong Mid-Majors making cases this year other then teams that we all can assume will most likely win their conference tourney ie) Butler, Utah State etc... leaving the door wide open for a team like Michigan quality wins and a quality strength of schedule. The problem is though, 3 road games in the last 5 of the regular season doesn't look good for us. Seemingly because yesterday was only our second true road victory of the season. So what is their left? A hope and a prayer, but I'm going to reluctantly hold my fingers crossed until selection Sunday unless the outcome is inevitable before that. Sorry again for the lack of posts expect a football recruiting roundabout roundup hopefully sooner then later.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Quinton Washington...Thank You

It has been reported that Michigan just received a commitment from 4-star and ESPNU 150 OG recruit Quinton Washington. Depending on what RichRod does with our boy Will Campbell this gives us 3-4 offensive lineman for the class and should improve our overall class ranking. Washington was considering South Carolina, Tennessee, USC, Miami, and Michigan. So as you can see from Washington's school's of choice his abilities seem to be no Fluke. With what we had to do endure with the O-line last season this is like pleasant music to my ear. The only downside is with RichRod's system and everybody coming back it will be hard for Washington to step in and make an immediate impact right away in Ann Arbor. Washington went to Miami for an official this past weekend and I am guessing going to parties at Miami and watching the players snort coke wasn't as selling as a midwinter snowball fight with the Michigan players. It was rumored that his final two came down South Carolina and Michigan, and thankfully for us he made a wise decision. Now not only does this commitment bode well for this year's recruiting class but the recruiting classes to come, this shows RichRods ability to go to the south and steal recruits from their home states. With PA WR Je'Ron Stokes, FL QB/ATH Denard Robinson, and Denard's tag along bff FL/CB Adrian Witty all expected to commit to M things on the recruiting front seem to be looking good for M.  We'll see how tomorrow plays out but things seem to be looking good. Expect a post coming soon after signing day for a full evaluation of this years class and where and how they potentially fit in next year.

Side Note: I just wanted to rant about the Detroit Free Press reporting that for the first time in 20 years the hillbilly school up I-96 was going to have a better recruiting class then M. Washington will be giving us our 5th ESPNU 150 prospect and Stokes and Robinson will give us 7....State = 2... GOOD REPORTING DUDES...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Bright Spot

Like all Michigan fans I had never been happier to see the football season this past fall come to an end. It was a feeling that I never want to experience again for as long as I live. Watching our "national powerhouse" football team stumble to an abysmal record setting 3-9 season. Highlighted by losing to a MAC team for the first time in school history, losing to all 3 of our hated rivals by a painful average deficit of 22.3 points between the 3, including a 35 point loss to the Fuckeyes to finish off the season. Some people blame it on the O-line, some on the QB, others like to direct their anger toward the coaching staff. Now that the pain has lightened and a couple of top 5 victories by our surprise basketball team acting like morphine for a harshly wounded ego of most die hard Wolverines, we can feel comfort knowing that one maize and blue tradition has held up as we move into this new chapter of Michigan football. That's right, there is a part of our program that is still among the nation's best and it comes in the form of recruitment and hope for the future. With signing day so close you can smell it Michigan finds themselves with a number 7 ranking for the incoming 2009 class. Highlighted by an all-that-is man bulldozer of a human in William Campbell and our Tim Tebowesk "savior" of a quarterback in Tate Forcier. Accompanied with a quick, shifty, athletic group of receivers, running backs, and D-backs makes this class exactly what the doctor ordered. So for those of you still grieving from our "Big House" size kick to the loins this fall, find comfort in knowing that help is on the way. As stated above, signing day is next week and there is still plenty of action for Michigan fans to keep their eyes on. There will be that beautiful block "M" on many top recruit's hats around the country. Some of the big names still out there interested in the Wolverines are Florida high school teammates Denard Robinson and Adrian Witty. Robinson, a 6 foot 180 lbs 4-star ATH with a scorching 4.4 forty is being recruited as a QB. Witty, a 2-star corner that has kind of fallen off the map with an injury plagued senior season, will likely be a package deal with Robinson as they are best friends off the field and hope to room together wherever they choose to play. Other names to keep an eye on is ex-Tennessee commit WR Ja'Ron Stokes who turned heads at the Army All-American game and recently took an official to Ann Arbor, a pair of DT in Pearlie Graves and DeQuinta Jones, and a long shot in top ranked corner Dre Kirkpatrick who has yet to commit and still has the Wolverines on his short list. With a good singing day for the maize and blue next week they can easily retain their #7 class rank and maybe make a push to break into the top 5. So if your looking for a sense of hope in these dark times of Michigan football tune in next week and meet the young men that we will be puting our emotions, pride, and dreams on the line with each Saturday for the next four years.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hello NIT

Now, I must admit I did not watch all of last nights debacle against the worst institution in America. But, as much as I hate saying this I feel like we all saw this coming. Maybe Beilien can pull us out of this slump of losing 4 of our last 5 games by an average of 13.75 points a game but I don't see it happening. Maybe, our inability to to make the tournament was clear when it became quite evident that a semi-athletic middle school basketball team could slap on a full court press and show complete dominance doing it. Maybe the players can feel their once promising season and first tourney bid since 1999 slipping away and I think that became clear when all of our favorite freshman Mr. Novak decided to throw an elbow straight to P.J. Hill's face. I must admit however I did get a slight sense of joy seeing that elbow get thrown. As much losing as we've been having to the worst institution in America recently there was something about seeing one of those SPEDs take an elbow straight to the face that made me smile and have a nice chuckle and forget about the fact that we were about to lose our 4th game in our lst 5. It even allowed me for a slight moment to think hey, we aren't going to go down without a fight this could be our spark. I know they are two different quality of teams but I also felt this way with our comeback victory over Indiana that maybe Michigan basketball was turning the corner and could win a tough road game when they weren't necessarily playing well at all . However that wasn't or will be the case here. Over the past few weeks our lack of inside presence, a deep semi-talented bench, as mentioned ability to handle a full court press, and our inconsistency to shoot the three have become more and more noticeable. Do I think M will turn the corner and this season is a good starting point for the turn around? Absolutely. Do I think M can still make the tourney probably not. But here's what we have to get on our knees and pray to the basketball God's to happen this last month and a half of the regular season. We need to pull off 5 to 6 victories with a good road victory or two somewhere in there. I don't count UCLA or Oakland as road victories seemingly because both were played on neutral sites. That means our only true road victory came at lowly Indiana. So that leaves us with at Purdue, UConn, Northwestern, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota as our only chances to pick up these victories. Purdue and UConn most likely have no chance to happen. Wisconsin hardly ever loses at home and Minnesota has shown signs of being a good basketball team but also that it is an inconsistent team, which is sign for some possible hope. That leaves us with Northwestern and Iowa as our two best chances to pull off victories. We must win all of our remaining home games by beating Minnesota, Penn State and then defeat the hick school up I-96, which on the other hand hasn't hardly happened in what seems to be forever. This leaves us with 19-20 victories with some wins over quality teams. The last thing we need to show the selection committee is a good showing in the Big Ten tournament with a solid victory or two. Do I think this is going to happen? It is very probable but I see it as very unlikely. Manny Harris is going to have to be the best player on the court at all times for both which he usually is, even though as of late he has shown that he is not ready for NBA with his inconsistent play. Deshawn Sims will need to move away from the basket spread out the floor and take advantage of his quickness he hs on bigger slower defenders that will be guarding him. We need to be much more consistent on shooting the three and see some production from our bench other then just Stu Douglas. We'll have to see how the team responds this Saturday at Purdue but, if signs of life aren't shown here quickly we will be saying goodbye tourney and hello sweet sweet NIT...