I opted to enjoy the New Year rather than hurry up and write a post game about Thursday’s game. Mostly because I am just as frustrated as the rest of you. Grasping for answers about how a promising season could go so wrong, so quickly.
I can point to statistics about how badly Michigan has shot the ball or how terrible their defense has been. But at the end of the day, something just isn’t right with this team.
It’s becoming more and more apparent that this is just a lost season. At 6-6, Michigan will probably have to put together a run to make the NIT, forget the NCAA tournament. A loss to the 2nd worst team that they will face in conference play is certainly not the way to get started.
As for the actual game, Stu Douglass and Zack Novak played their best games of this season but DeShawn Sims and Manny Harris were painfully missing in action. Harris and Sims struggled with foul trouble (9 combined fouls) and just never got going. Jeremiah Rivers deserves credit for playing great defense on Harris but Manny consistently settled for outside shots (1-5 3pt). DeShawn Sims just didn’t show up, he wasn’t assertive, missed bunnies, and didn’t show up on the glass.
[[[four factors graph will be posted when StatSheet comes back up]]]
A quick look at the four factors makes it obvious what happened. Indiana lived at the free throw line (59% FTR), shot the lights out (52 eFG%), and won the turnover battle. Michigan has done an extremely good job of keeping opponents off the free throw line this year, but silly fouls plagued them in the second half whether it was tackling the other team or fouling jump shooters. Michigan did a terrible job forcing turnovers against the typically sloppy Hoosiers but most of that can be attributed to running the 2-3 zone throughout the second half.
Michigan’s field goal percentage defense has been terrible, opponents have shot an eFG% over 50% in 7 of 12 games and Michigan is 1-6 in those 7 games. Only Iowa’s eFG% defense has been worse in the Big Ten.
At this point, it’s just time to watch and see if this team can get any better. Any of you that have been following this program for sometime have been through rough seasons before so it’s time to buckle up. Ohio State comes to Crisler Arena tomorrow without Evan Turner and fresh off of a 22 point beat down from Wisconsin.
- Stu Douglass: 40 minutes, 6-11, 16 points, (4-6 3pt). A great performance from Stu, he hit a number of big shots and showed great poise throughout. Michigan is going to need performances like this going forward.
- Zack Novak: Simple phenomenal performance from Novak: 39 minutes, 18 points, 5-10 (4-9 3pt), 9 rebounds, 3 asst, 2 steals, 1 block, and 0 turnovers. Zack plays with more hustle than probably the rest of the roster combined and I suppose it’s time to start hoping that it rubs off.
- Manny Harris & DeShawn Sims: As mentioned above, silly fouls got the best of them and they put forth an extremely mediocre performance. Michigan needs much much more from these two.
- Laval Lucas-Perry: The shot is missing in action but at least Laval added a few assists. Michigan needs Laval to be a scorer, and he saw most of his minutes passed along to Darius Morris in the second half.
- Darius Morris: Darius is developing slower than most hoped but he still shows flashes that remind us that he can be a very good player. At this point though I don’t think he’s in a good role coming off of the bench.
- Anthony Wright: Just terrible, he consistently chucks and misses three point shots and doesn’t bring much of anything on defense.
- Zack Gibson: Watching Gibson is still painfully frustrating but he did manage 5 rebounds in only 8 minutes, that’s one more than Manny and Peedi notched the entire game.