Game 27: Michigan at Illinois Open Thread

Dylan Burkhardt

Tip off is at 8:30 pm eastern on the Big Ten Network. As always, we encourage you to join the discussion in the comments. Here are the usual links to all of our pre-game content:

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  • maxwell’s demon

    I think we attempted 18 3s and if we had just made THREE, we would have won. God damn it. Please keep your head up kids, we didn’t have to win this one even though we very easily could have.

  • Kenny

    Another close game to swallow. When are we going to win those close games? Luck has to be switched to our side at some point.

    • blue86

      We do win close games. We just only win the close games that end up being close after we blow 20 point leads. We need to learn how to win after we make the come back.

    • georgeesq.

      Well, we beat MSU and Penn State on the road in close games. We have the youngest team in the Big 10 by far. Yet we’re playing tough teams on the road down to the wire now. I’m disappointed that we lost a winnable game, but I’m not going overboard with the criticism.

  • AG2

    I guess the only thing I could say is that we would have beat Minnesota if we were playing like that.

  • tin mad dog

    After watching somebody like Tisdale who really has little going for him except for height succeed against us, I say put me on the Sim Bhullar bandwagon.

  • ChathaM

    Mixed feelings after this one…

    One one hand, they played very hard, and actually “played” a pretty good game aside from that soft defensive stretch in the first half when Illinois built their lead. They simply didn’t shoot the ball well from distance. So many of the missed threes were excellent looks, capped by the Smotrycz miss to finish things. I should probably feel encouraged by the ability to compete on the road. But…

    I don’t. If we’re going to move forward with an undersized team that will get outrebounded no matter how hard they wiork, we won’t ever reach the upper tier of the Big Ten, and we will always be left wondering well into the season whether we’ll be NCAA-worthy. A team like this has such a small margin for error that it can’t expect to consistently win against top notch competition. So, small picture…I love how these guys compete. But, big picture…nothing’s going to change until we can get some larger athletes into the program. I’ll always be a M fan, but what I truly hope for; a perennial conference contender; is just not going to happen if Beilen can’t attract big talent to AA.

    • grandchamp

      Wait until the end of next year to talk like this, we are super young and inexperienced. If we would have won this game which we should have we would have been in 4th place in the big ten by ourself.

      • ChathaM

        Oh, I agree that youth and inexperience is a factor here. There’s no doubt that our freshman and sophs will become even better players as they move forward. But, they aren’t going to get any taller, and I really believe that this will hold them back from being a B10 title contender at any point in their careers. Hope I’m wrong…

    • Tweeter

      dont you think the fact that Michigan was a team of freshmen for the most part and Illinois a team of juniors and seniors, has something to do with this. How different would this game have been had Smot, Hardaway, Morgan, Dmo, Horford, Colton all been thru a college workout program for three years? Im guessing a little different.

    • mike

      tell that to the 89 illini team.

  • jeff

    I know it’s not really any consolation but to be even mentioning Michigan in the same sentence as post season tournament of any kind is a tremendous leap over expectations going into the big ten season. This team has a lot of potential and some big time recruits in the pipeline. I disagree that you have to have huge size to win at the college level and I think that as the young guys develop we won’t be so reliant on outside shooting and will be able to find other ways to score. Stu is a bit disconcerting as it seems he’s struggled to find his niche night in and out especially when his outside shot isn’t falling but he’s hit his share of big shots and you efinitely need guys who wont get trigger shy in crunch time. I still believe that this is year 1 of a crucial three year stretch and the fact that we are in this position now is certainly cause for optimism.

    • Tweeter

      i dont think it is that Stu has struggled to find his niche. I think he has a niche. He just is a streak player. When he is on, he is our best player or close to it. When he is off, he is one of worst players. Part of that is that he is a volume shooter. In a lot of ways he reminds me of Eddie House. He can absolutely carry a a team for awhile but when his shot isnt falling, he looks really bad.

      I do think people miss the way he plays on defense a lot nights. However, tonight was not a great example as it seemed like he lost McCamey on a couple of key possessions but I will have to watch the tape to be sure as I think he went under screens a couple plays in a row. So maybe Beilein told them to do that in order to better prevent easy dump offs to the bigs.

  • ATLblue

    Anybody else frustrated with Smot taking the shot at the end? In my opinion he should have take the ball to the basket rather than pulling up for the jumper

    • Tweeter

      eh, he hasnt been great finishing at the rim and had already been blocked once tonight going to the basket on a similar play where he pump faked and drove. So, he took the shot that was more in his comfort zone. I am ok with that. Honestly, in a late game situation we got a great look from a pretty decent shooter. Would I have rather Novak or Hardaway gotten the shot, probably, but I’m not going to fault Smot when the ball comes to him in that situation and he makes a good move to get an open look.

    • BK

      yea, lotsa people. check back a few posts.

    • Gary

      He had an open look and he took it. If he had made it, we would have all been very happy. If he drove to the basket, got cut off, and took a lousy shot that missed, or turned the ball over, people would be saying he should have taken the open shot when he had the chance. Frankly, I trust Smot more on the open three than the drive.

  • Drae

    Man tough lose… would of been a good win to get on the road… hopefully Brundridge and Burke will be ready to run next year… you could see D-Mo was trying to push it at every chance just didn’t have the horses to run with him… need to regroup for Iowa…

  • AG2

    PLEASE Blue don’t let Illinois beat you twice. Stay focused and take care of business @ Iowa!