Game 29: Wisconsin at Michigan Recap

Dylan Burkhardt

Photo: Detroit Free Press

A month ago today, Minnesota beat Michigan in Crisler Arena. The final score was 69-64, but down the stretch the outcome was never really in question. It was Michigan’s seventh loss in eight games and a once promising season had derailed and was hurtling toward abyss. Michigan’s turnaround over the last month has surprised even the most optimistic Michigan fans, but it also forces us to suffer through a deflating loss like this. The pain of losing a coin flip game like tonight’s is infinitely harder to manage than a loss like Minnesota, where you simply get outplayed.

Obviously the focus falls on the last possession of the game. I’m not a huge fan of using the fouls like Michigan did but that part of the strategy was executed pretty well. Ideally you’d like to use the sixth foul with two or three seconds left, but the first three fouls were used very well. I don’t think Wisconsin was ever going to rush into a shot and Michigan forced them into a lower percentage shot than they would have likely attempted in their typical set. The switch was obviously botched (and there also wasn’t any secondary help from the far wing) but the logic there is pretty clear. There’s one guy that everyone knows can and will beat you: Jordan Taylor. Stu Douglass reached for the ball, and if he’s going to do that he needs to knock it loose because that enables Taylor to pass over him. Taylor is a 41% three point shooter and odds are he would have got a good look. Taylor made a great play to find Gasser, a 28% three point shooting freshman, who banked it in. Michigan’s end of game strategy wasn’t flawless but I don’t think a Gasser three was one of Bo Ryan’s top five options breaking the huddle. At the end of the day, Gasser and Taylor deserve all the credit in the world for making a big time play.

In the end, this game shouldn’t have come down to a miracle shot. Michigan had the chance to seize control of the game down the stretch but just never could grab it.  The Wolverines took a two point lead with 2:41 to play but came up empty on their final three offensive possessions: a Hardaway turnover, a Morris miss and a missed front end of the one-and-one. I don’t know that these possessions were terrible, as Michigan basically got decent isolation sets from both Morris and Hardaway, but the results weren’t there. Empty possessions down the stretch always come back to haunt you, especially against Wisconsin, and this game was no different.

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Michigan did an admirable job on the defensive end of the court, defending Wisconsin almost as well as anyone else has this season. The Badgers scored .96 points per trip with an effective field goal percentage of 43% — 45% on twos and 28% on threes. Michigan only let Wisconsin get to the free throw line three times the entire game, an astoundingly low number, but they also could only manage to create a measly five turnovers. Wisconsin’s eight second chance points — 15% of their scoring total — all felt like backbreakers, but Michigan did rebound 76% of Wisconsin’s missed shots.

Offensively, Michigan ran their sets pretty efficiently and got good shots. The Wolverines shot the ball very well with an eFG% of 57.3% – 46% on twos and 54% on threes – but free throws were their undoing. Michigan missed its final six free throw attempts, including all six in the second half, and finished the game 5 of 11 from the charity stripe. Usually it’s Michigan’s inability to get to the line that proves costly, today it was the inability to convert their few available chances. Michigan turned the ball over on 18% of its possessions, which isn’t necessarily that terrible but every single one of those turnovers was magnified by Wisconsin’s pace and style of play. The Badgers attempted 17 more field goals than Michigan for the game. In the second half, Michigan made just 3 of 15 two point attempts compared to 5 of 8 three point attempts.

Is there any question that this is a game of inches?  Michigan’s prayer in Champaign rattled out while Gasser’s bank shot falls. It’s nearly impossible to project which direction Michigan goes from here. Minnesota has looked extremely vulnerable while Michigan beat Michigan State on the road. It’s fair to say that Michigan has a legitimate chance to win both of those games. They could also crumble and lose both. Winning out might not punch Michigan’s ticket, but it would certainly keep a multitude of possibilities alive in the Big Ten Tournament.

022311_SPT_UM vs WIS_MRM
Photo: Ann

Player Bullets:

  • Darius Morris: Morris didn’t have his greatest game but I really thought he let the game come to him. He finished with 8 points (4-9 fg), five assists, four rebounds, and four turnovers. Several of the turnovers were close calls (barely moving his pivot foot) but Morris took over the game when Michigan was in trouble in the first half and didn’t do nearly as much over dribbling as we’ve become accustomed to. Then, there’s the missed front end on Michigan’s last possession. I do give Morris credit for the defense he played down the stretch, he did a great job forcing Taylor into an awful shot on Wisconsin’s second to last possession.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr.: Hardaway continues to play well, finishing with 16 points on 6 of 13 (4-7 3pt) shooting with four rebounds, three assists, four turnovers and a steal. He had a couple bad turnovers but some of those are inevitable when you run that many sets through a player. Hardaway hit a pair of huge threes in the second and really put Michigan in a position to have a chance but he also had an 0-2 trip to the line and a costly turnover down the stretch.
  • Jordan Morgan: Morgan really battled against Leuer and also managed to do a decent job of staying out of foul trouble.Jordan finished the game with 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting and five rebounds. Leuer scored 12 points on 14 shots and consistently settled to fire up contested threes. Leuer is probably quicker, stronger, and more athletic than Morgan but I thought Jordan showed more fight – he also held Leuer to just one offensive rebound.
  • Stu Douglass:  Stu had five points on 2 of 4 (1-2 3pt) shooting with a rebound, steal, block, turnover and an assist. There was obviously a communication breakdown between him and Hardaway on the last play which will be what we remember. He did a good job defending Taylor at times but also did a terrible job of boxing him out (I would guess he was the culprit on all three of Taylor’s offensive boards).
  • Zack Novak: Something is wrong with Zack Novak. I don’t know if it’s tired legs, something personal, mechanical, or psychological, but something is wrong. Novak has now missed his last 14 field goal attempts in a stretch that spans over two and a half games. He still battled admirably against the much bigger Nankivil, grabbed six defensive rebounds, had two assists, and took a charge but Michigan needs him to snap out of his shooting funk.
  • Evan Smotrycz: Smotrycz hit both shots — a nice roll to the basket to end the half and a three in transition — and even got to the line (but missed both FTs). Smotrycz was out muscled, and only played 11 minutes, but it was good to see him provide an offensive spark that’s been lacking recently.
  • Matt Vogrich: I really thought Vogrich played with great energy and aggressiveness. He was 1 of 2 (1-1 3pt) shooting but he shot the ball with purpose and confidence coming off screens and his miss was about halfway down before popping out. He also had two rebounds and two assists. Matt has been playing more two guard and the ability to play both the two and the three should make him more useful off the bench with Stu starting.
  • Jon Horford: Had a tough turnover as he tried to kick the ball out to Vogrich as Matt was in the process of cutting backdoor. Jon did grab two nice defensive rebounds in two minutes. Those two minutes do a great job illustrating why to be excited about Horford – rebounding – and why he isn’t playing a lot now.

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  • Alex

    I’ve said this in another thread, but winning the next two games could secure a five seed in the BTT which would be huge. Winning three games in three days is easier than the four games if the team started on a Thursday. If we were to win four games in a row, there would be some quality opponents in that mix. Whatever happens, the worst the team can do is the NIT which is much better than what people thought would happen at the beginning of the season.

    The end results of the Illinois and Wisconsin games stink but they are good learning experiences for our young team. I really feel for them and can only imagine that they feel a million times worse than we do. I hope they are not too hard on themselves. They are really trying very hard and it shows. They should be proud of their effort.

    Michigan still partially controls the outcomes of these last two games. Win them both and make some noise in the BTT and who knows what could happen.

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      Yeah, if Michigan wins out and if most other games go as planned (a big if) they will likely play Illinois in the 4/5 game of the Big Ten tournament. That would be a must win with a chance to upset OSU in the next round.

      • tyler

        I could see beating Illinios on a neutral site. It certainly could go either way. But gotta care of business now. I think MInnesota is our most winnable game left. They are just playing so poor.

        • grandchamp21

          I think Illinois is playing the worst right now in the big 10 with the exception of NW and IND. I’d welcome that match-up.

  • Tweeter

    Thoughts on the game: First, it is very encouraging that in many of our losses this year, we are talking about missed opportunities (a free throw here, open three there, unforced turnover, etc.). This team obviously has something that very few people thought it would have.

    Second, I think some of what Novak is going thru may be due to the fact that Stu has moved into the starting lineup and Novak is playing more at the four. Perhaps the team needs to play Smot more or Christian more or a combo of that, and get Novak more time at the 2. I know we have been playing small for many games now, but mabye its now starting to take its toll on Novak.

    Third, on the last series. Honestly I dont know who to blame. I like the fouling strategy and I think it worked close to perfectly so I am not going to blame that. Personally I like that Stu over-helped and forced Taylor to give it up, but on the other hand it sounded like Beilein said in the postgame that they didnt want to help like that so maybe that is on Stu. In a perfect world I would want that exact same D from Tim and Stu, with the defender guarding the guy in the far corner to be a little more aware and help up to guard Gasser. Thats hard to do in such a short clock situation since your dont know the setup Wisky is going to run and you are telling players to stick to shooters.

    Fourth, rebounding. I thought the team did a terrible job at boxing out tonight. Maybe I need to watch the tape, but I just felt like guys did not do enough to actually get into players bodies. It seemed like far too often rebounds became a tip drill. Some of that may just be due to the fact that Wisky is quite large on the wings and their center/power forward are basically guards so Morgan found himself away from teh basket a lot.

    Fifth, I love Beilein’s sideline demeanor especially when you get to see a Bo Ryan. Watching Ryan absolutely belittle players and try to intimidate officials, makes me very happy to have a guy like Beilein on our side. There was one timeout where Ryan didnt even enter his teams huddle until after the first horn and instead he spent the whole time just laying into an official. Which really pissed me off not just because of Ryan’s antics but also because the official stayed there the whole time and took it.

    Finally, I feel terrible for the team, but it would be a great sign to see them rebound with a good effort against Minnesota. Its hard to imagine how they feel right now but if they show up on Saturday and play like they did tonight, they will win.

    • J.D.

      Bo Ryan is to intense, but it was awesome to see JB get a technical foul in Iowa. Because when he gets T’d up you know he means it. Sometimes you gotta light a fire under some guys butts to get a win. I don’t know how to feel about JB though, sometimes he seems a little to relaxed. On one hand I wish JB was a little more like Bo Ryan but when things work out for a team like Belein’s it makes the win so much better.

      • lordfoul

        I don’t think Beilein looks relaxed at all. The man’s face is a field of stress lines. He just seems like more of a gentleman than Ryan (who looks like a demon) and I appreciate his demeanor.

        • That Guy

          I think John Beilein is an absolute class act. Guy handles everything really well. As an outside observer you guys should be thrilled to have him. He wins the right way without being a moron like Thad Matta or John Calipari. Sure he gets stressed but have you ever coached? All you do is prepare to do things a certain way. You enact it in practice, you see kids do it correctly and execute. Then games occur and things don’t go perfect, it freaks coaches out. If he was not stressed he would be a loser.

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      I agree with you about the rebounding Tweeter. I was a bit surprised we rebounding 3/4 of their misses, especially when they had two or three multiple offensive rebound possessions. I guess that just emphasizes how important every possession is and that every possession sort of felt like the game.

    • JeremyS

      Tweeter, you are right. Rebounding was a BIG issue tonight. Michigan needs to find a man and put a body on him. There were way too many times where they were just standing around waiting for the ball to come to them. Find a man and box out.

      Also, the cause of tonight’s loss was free throws. If they make their free throws, they win the ball game. They just have a issue making free throws, especially in the clutch. I think that’s why Morgan’s two clutch free throws at the end of regulation were so impressive last game.

      This team is sure fun to watch though. Dylan is right, it will be interesting to see which direction they finish. The way they are playing now, I wouldn’t even put it past them to win the BTT. They just need to work on rebounding and make their free throws.

      • gobluetwo

        Agree about the FT problem. 6 missed in a 1-pt loss to UW, 4 missed in a 2-pt loss to Ill, 18 (!) missed in a 4-pt win against IU. Make just 2 more FTs in either of the losses and you’re looking at a different outcome. The IU game was just astounding from the perspective of the sheer number of attempts by both teams (UM 19-37, IU 13-22), but Michigan just makes a few more and the outcome is much more comfortable. Maybe the youngsters are just tired at this point in the season, but it would nice to take better advantage of those opportunities.

    • bird

      Sometimes I suspect Tweeter is a computer that is being fed all Michigan Men’s Basketball-related data (including emotion, which it is somehow able to convert to binary), and that is programmed to simply spit out the right answer.

      I, on the other hand, feed myself whisky after such a loss, which a co-worker just told me she can smell.

      • Tweeter

        lol, I cant tell if this is a compliment or insult, but either way I consumed a few as well last night after that game.

  • gpsimms

    it’s so painful, but i really love watching this team. we’re 6-3 since that minnesota loss, and i think if we continue to play as well as we have over these past 9 games then there really is a chance we win 3-4 games in a row.

    Everyone seems to think 3 is not enough, and i kind of think 4 will be tough to get… but if we did get to the point where we’re playing osu in the 3rd round, the team will be feeling like they can do it.

    finally, i know the selection committee has their hands full. but anyone who has watched this team in the past nine games, in particular tonight, must be thinking “these kids can play.”

    • Tweeter

      thats the thing with the selection, you never know what is going to matter to the committee for any particular team. They always talk about how it is about getting the, now 68, best teams, but all the factors that are cited by people like Joe Lunardi are resume factors that demonstrate the 68 most deserving teams. As of this right now, Michigan is clearly one of the 68 best teams (obviously mean that to mean 35 or whatever at large teams), but its going to be tough with regard to the most deserving aspect.

    • billiam

      It doesn’t matter that we only lost by X points; It matters that we lost. The comittee won’t care. However, I do share your sentiments that we hope UM makes it in.

      I’m thinking next year is the year guys. But it’s not a sad thought. Its a hopeful thought, because we always hoped next year was the year, and now we know it’s the year. Get ready for an NCAA run, boys.

  • grandchamp21

    Novak is getting beat up playing the 4 and it is effecting his offense. We have been playing well though so I’m not sure that it isn’t worth the trade off.

    • grandchamp21

      Smot is a liability on the defensive end right now and we don’t have anybody else to play a lot of minutes at the 4 besides Novak.

      • J.D.

        What about Horford? Although the trade-off there is he is an offensive liability, he had an ugly turnover throwing the ball to where Vorrich used to be, but if you remember early in the season, Morgan had a hard time with throwing to where a cutter used to after faking the hand-off on ball screens. Tonight it seemed like we were playing well rotating Morgan, Smot and Horford. If JB is planning on using Smot as a more traditional forward type, he needs to feed that kid some gun powder, he is to finesse. You gotta get mean!! Although he did make two pretty strong moves to the basket.

        • the_white_tiger

          I personally would rather see Christian on defense as opposed to Horford at the 4. I’m not sure that Horford is much more of an improvement over Smotrycz defensively, and if we’re willing to have a black hole at the four on offense, we might as well have a perimeter player (Christian) than another player who has to play in the post and would get in the way of Morgan (Horford).

  • JB

    I follow several of the players on Twitter and J-Mo and Smotrycz posted after the game. It seems like they both have solid perspective on the loss. A team can go one of two ways after a crushing loss like this, but I’m predicting a big bounce back against Minny.

    JMorgan_52 (Jordan Morgan)
    Times like this I just thank God for health, family, and the countless opportunities I’ve been given

    Followed by:
    JMorgan_52 (Jordan Morgan)
    time to study for this 8:30 exam…

    evanMsmotrycz (Evan Smotrycz)
    every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.

  • lavell99

    Man, that was deflating. I put my head in my hands and slumped in my seat in disbelief after that shot went in. In terms of the game in its entirety, I was overwhelmingly impressed with our defense. This team has more substance than any team we’ve had in over ten years. I love watching us play because it just plain looks like we’re having fun out there. I’m still in a little bit of denial about last night.

  • Dford

    Free throws, free throws, free throws, freeeeeeeeee throws! With that said, great effort by this young team who had the veterans of Wiscy ready to walk off the court with their swag on zero but for some reason found redemption with a prayer shot that was answered. This lost really stung because it was at home and Michigan really played their hearts out but when you don’t hit free throws this is what can happen. With so many close loses against top tier teams it can be crushing to a young team in a long season but they seem refreshingly resilent, and that can bode well for the future. However, wins are not accomplished threw moral victories so cut it out Wolverines and hit your free throws, free throws, freeeeeeee throws…

    • SubAlum_06

      Agree–you hit those free throws and you aren’t in this situation.

  • MikeB

    What a game of inches. Michigan had two near baskets in the 2nd half rim out, each of which could have extened a Michigan lead. One was a Vogrich jumper coming off a screen that was half way down. It’s nice to see him being able to come off screens and shoot it. He’ll be a nice asset if he can add that to his offensive game instead of just a spot-up player. The other shot was a Hardaway 3 that rattle out. I think that would have put UM up 6 around the 7 min. mark.
    What a “what if” game. Wisconsin’s rebounds and ability to track down loose balls saved a couple poss. My beef on the loose balls though is guys were rolling over on the floor to call time out. Those should have been travels.

  • Mattski

    Morgan dazzled against Leuer; it was a happy surprise to hear the announcers talk about him emerging as a star.

    They did fail to box out at times, but some of those long, dreadful second-half sequences where Wisconsin came up with the ball again and again I just felt that they were the longer team. Our boyos were scrapping.

    Thought Beilein did a good job of swapping out his personnel. He and the assistants have found great ways to use these guys this year. He may not get B10 coach of the year, but he might deserve it.

    I don’t see this team crumbling–if they lose the next two they might run out of gas for the tourney. But they can play with anyone.

    Lot of great comments above. And more stellar reportage from Dylan. Love this place.

    • Other Matt

      Agreed on Morgan having a nice game last night. He was able to stay in front of Leur all night with great footwork. He got a little too cute on a couple of second half possessions near the rim, I’d like to see him go up with 2 hands a little more often. He’s been the biggest surprise this season for me.

  • Jeff

    I think it’s time for Michigan to hit a half-court shot to beat somebody. Not only did we have this ending and OSU hitting a half-courter in last year’s BTT, but Iowa hit a half-courter at the end of the half, that turned out to be a fraction of a second late (and may have changed the outcome of that game). Desperation shots aren’t supposed to go in this often are they? Especially in huge situations? When was the last time we hit a shot like that?

    • lavell99

      Agreed. We’ve got to be beating some odds at this point. The only two game winning shots I can remember are Peedi’s 20 footer over Savannah State in overtime and Dion Harris’ NBA range three-pointer in the 2nd OT against ND in the NIT. But in both cases we were tied. So it wasn’t an all or nothing situation. And although the eventual magnitude of the Savannah State game was huge, it was more an avoidance of a collossal loss at the time. Courtney Sims had a tip-in with like a second left against Purdue as a freshman, but can’t remember if that was an actual buzzer-beater or there was still time left. Can’t remember any others. If only Peedi’s tip hadn’t rimmed out against State last year….

    • jds

      Didn’t Peedi hit a near buzzer beater last year vs Iowa on the road to get us into OT and we eventually won, or am I takin crazy pills?

  • MikeSal

    A loss is a loss no matter how demoralizing it may seem. But one thing’s for sure we played our hearts out and left it all out there. Some bounces went their way tonight but we have stuff to build off of. Morgan has really emerged. They way he moved his feet against Leur was impressive. I think Wisconsin played a pretty crappy game. We caused them to do things they didn’t want to do. We looked prepared to handle the swing offense and I think we defended it pretty well. Unfortunately it boiled down to the last shot. I’d rather have losses like this happen now than next year when everyone expects them to be a lock for the tourney. You live and you learn. Let’s see what team shows up against Minny. My bet is an even hungrier team than last night

  • BBallJunkie

    Our losses against ranked teams have been due to inability to close the game out in the last 5 mins. I believe it is our upper classman the issue- either missed shots, poor defense, lack of rebounding in key moments, or not making a play by either Stu and Zack (though he is playing out of position). The win at MSU is an example in which the upper classman played extremely well down the strech leading to a huge road win. It is a lot of pressure on freshman and soph. However, can’t wait for the future…Go blue!

  • Bleedin’ Blue

    Just a few thoughts:
    1. Great coverage as always…Dylan and crew you are amazing, thank you!
    2. Free throws could have solved all of our problems…THJ and DMo at the line, I’ll take my chance with those two anytime. Your pg has to make fts and Darius just didn’t.
    3. In November, who would have thought a Feb. 23 game would have meant so much. If you would have told me we would have a “bubble” game versus Wisky and lose on a last second bank 3, I would have thought you were crazy. This team has really improved and like everyone has said, they are a blast to watch! Coach B finally has only his players and is doing a heck of a job!
    4. My only concern was the fouling strategy. A fewe things bother me about it. If the game goes into OT, you now have a number of guys in foul trouble. Second, if they hit a shot, you leave yourself no time to get a shot off. Third, by running the clock down you are practicully “forcing” them to shoot and three. I am in no way questioning Coach B, he is far, far smarter and knowledgable than I. As tough as our D was playing I would have liked to see us just D up and rebound.

    All in all, I am still positive (not a senior on the squad!), and I love the rational and insightful comments of everyone on here…what a great fan base! Now lets win in the Barn, sweep MSU and see what happens from there.
    GO BLUE!

    • Tweeter

      re: point 4. I agree with you on the foul trouble aspect. I would have much rather seen them put in Christian if they were going to foul but thats a lot of responsibility to put on a kid that hasnt played a lot.

      As for your other point on the matter, I disagree. Personally, I think they were going to shoot a three either way. Most teams like to go for the win on the road and Wisky takes a large chunk of their offense from three anyway, so I bet that they would have shot a three there regardless. Unless you are saying that if we didnt foul at all they would have gone for a quick two, which is probably true.

      As far as the clock is concerned, yes you are right that we are limiting our chances to respond to a game tying or winning shot, but you are also limiting Wisky’s ability to get a second chance shot or extend the game with fouls if they miss the shot. The way that rebounding was going last night, I was terrified of the prospect of Wisky getting a rebound off a scramble D situation and kicking it out for a wide open taylor three.

      I dont think that there is a perfect strategy in those instances, but all things considered especially who we made shoot the ball, I am ok with what we gave them. Credit their guy, he hit the shot.

      • Bleedin’ Blue

        I was assuming that they would have went for a quick two, but either way, you last sentences sums it up, “Credit their guy, he hit the shot.” He was not a good 3pt shooter either,so I will take our chances, the ball just bounced their way!
        GO BLUE!

  • AG2

    What’s sad is that Evan Turner was also a sub-30% 3pt shooter when he hit that shot last year. I’ll be honest, I thought the team looked scared of Wisconsin, and Jordan Taylor in particular. The way they fouled him at the end its like they were giving him the Kalin Lucas treatment, so he gave *us* the Kalin Lucas treatment by beating us.

    Its funny that Ohio State seems like the most beatable of the top 3 big ten teams. The question I want to know is how Michigan’s attitude toward the Big Ten Tournament is right now. Is it “oh man, I hope we don’t play Wisconsin again.” Or is it “oh man, I want another shot at Wisconsin sooooo bad.” Let’s hope its the latter, and that they go into that game with no fear. No fear of Wisconsin’s mistake-free basketball, no fear of Keaton Nankavil’s ultra-unstoppable 3pt shooting, and no fear of Jordan Taylor.

    • gpsimms

      the team i don’t want to play right now is purdue. don’t know what the team thinks, but i would guess they would be pumped to get another shot at wiscy or osu.

    • georgeesq.

      I was there. The team wasn’t scared of anyone. The strategy was to foul to shorten the clock for Wiscy’s last shot. Almost worked – should have worked. We actually did a good job on Taylor. Stu had a beautiful block of a Taylor shot and we had him frustrated at times. He got his points by making tough shots. Great player.

    • rlc

      It would be a mistake to give Taylor the “Kalin Lucas Treatment” – Taylor is better.

  • What a bummer. The worst part, other than the obvious, is how everything else on the out of town scoreboard fell right for Michigan. Per the Bracket Matrix, MIchigan was 9th from last cut from the field heading into last night. And, we saw 4 of the final 8 cut all lose last night, as well as 2 shaky 12-seed, at-large bids. If that bank shot misses, or D-Mo sinks those freebies, MICH would have taken a huge leap forward in the pecking order.

    As it stands now, I feel if Michigan closes with wins at Minny, vs MSU and over MSU again or Illinois in the 4/5 game, I think that might be enough. Consider the last four outcomes would be heart breaking buzzer beater to a top-10 team (by selection Sunday, Wisco will be) and wins over Minny, MSU, Illinois. That’s a strong close and as long as they dont get blown out bigtime by OSU in the Big 10 semi’s, that might be enough.

    They’d be a top-5 Big 10 team and Big 10 semifinalist with good RPI and SOS numbers. So, win three straight–provided the third win is in that 4/5 game–and I think they can get in.

    At least that’s what I keep telling myself. That game ripped my hear out.

  • JimC

    Now we lost our Mojo. We have 2 days to get it back.

  • Jeff

    Was checking the scores from last night and noticed Cincinnati picked up another big win. That means that the Big East will almost certainly get 10 teams, and possibly 11 this year. Pretty crazy.

  • KAB

    Dyaln,thank you for another awesome recap.We need to forget about that one because we still have a shot.Need to take it one game at a time.It has still been an awesome season no matter what happens these next few games.

  • bryemye

    Vogrich really played his balls of on defense last night. Good on him.

    God that game hurt.

  • jim-e-p

    Dylan – I have to quibble with you about Gasser deserving credit. All he deserves credit for is catching the ball. Without a backboard -which the world knows he wasn’t trying to hit – his “shot” was a monumental choke job by an uncontested shooter that misses the room by five feet. These games are awfully tough to swallow and I sometimes feel I should try to detach a bit, but if you are not “all in” the joys aren’t nearly as high. I agree with one who wrote about JB versus Ryan – when our wins come it will be all the more sweet since it won’t have come by badgering refs (not to say they don’t deserve it). Something is wrong when a team such as Wisconsin wins EVERYTHING at home but is a threat to lose about anywhere on the road in conference. Crisler continues to provide very little of a home court advantage – for whatever reasons. I am for getting Smotrycz back in the lineup and will trade size for any defensive deficiencies. Lastly, I have taken to calling the Kohl Center “Whoville” – in profile Ryan is a deadringer for the Grinch.

  • Drae

    Here’s a thought why not start morris,Douglas,hardaway,smotz and Morgan and bring zack off the bench… he looks to be playing tired…