The first time around Iowa embarrassed Michigan at home, the second time Michigan pulled off a gutty road win. Some in the media even went as far as proclaiming that Michigan had turned the corner after the Iowa win and excitement ran surprisingly high (for a team so far under 500). The Iowa win coupled with the Ohio State home win were the bright point of the season and showed that just maybe this team can play a little ball. However a disappointing finish has reminded Wolverine fans that there is still a long ways to go.
Cyrus Tate is averaging 14 points and 7 boards his last 5 games and has came into his own the last half of the season. Freeman killed Michigan at Crisler but was pretty much a non-factor in the second game against Grady. Grady had one of his better games of the year at Iowa with 7 points and 9 assists.
For Michigan it’s the same story: Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims. If only one of them has a good offensive game it has proven very hard for Michigan to win. The backcourt needs to take care of the ball, this wasn’t a huge problem all year (Manny struggled but overall numbers were down) but against Purdue the ball handling was atrocious. It has been a long season and I really don’t have a clue what this teams mind set is right now. They sound somewhat conceded but also make statements that they “want to win it for Beilein”. Hard to get a good read.
Tommy Amaker teams you always had a pretty good idea that they would lay an egg in the Big Ten Tournament. Beilein on the other hand is clearly known as a tournament coach including a run to the Big East final in 2005. Not to mention that the Mountaineers played in the 8/9 game that year. This team clearly doesn’t have the firepower to make that kind of run but it would be good to see them at least get this win over Iowa. A win over Iowa and a solid effort against Wisconsin could do a lot for momentum into next year. It would certainly leave a much better taste than losing 5 of the last 6 to mostly bottom tier Big Ten teams.
Unfortunately I just don’t see Michigan pulling this one out. I think this team is beat up physically and mentally doesn’t have it in the tank to beat Iowa. Hopefully the prove me wrong and play some inspired ball. UMHoops Prediction: Michigan 60 – Iowa 65.
A couple quick notes. For anyone trying to keep up with the game that is at work or doesn’t get Big Ten Network, I’ll be watching and myself and others could post updates/comments during the game to help you folks out. Secondly, Novak’s answers to
everyones most peoples questions should go up tomorrow night so be sure to check back.