It’s easy to dismiss the desolate Michigan locker room after a 73-71 loss to Duke last March as a distant memory. After all, It’s a new season and both rosters look different, but 12 of the 16 names on the current Michigan roster sat in that locker room eight months ago. As far as basketball memories go, those wounds are still fresh. Duke ended Michigan’s season in a game that Wolverine players thought they had every right to win. They might not have said it publicly but this is exactly the game Michigan players hoped for when they traveled to Maui. Gradually, Michigan-Duke is beginning to feel like a rivalry again.
The two teams split a pair of games in 2009 and played one of the more entertaining games of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, a two point Duke win. Jalen Rose stoked the fire as his documentary provided the sort of inflammatory fodder that can boost any rivalry, and now Michigan and Duke are set to face off again in the Maui Invitational semifinals.
A closer look: Kansas 67, Georgetown 63
Kansas’ win over Georgetown means that Michigan will play the winner/loser of the Kansas/UCLA game on Wednesday either at 10 pm in the championship or 7:30 pm in the third place game. Kansas is the likely favorite to knock off UCLA.
With Michigan on a 10-0 run, Memphis was in serious need of a bucket before the end of the half. With 25 seconds remaining, Memphis is content to let the clock wind down all the way to four seconds. But for Michigan, the most important moment of this play came with 11 seconds to go. As Wesley Witherspoon prepares to screen Douglass, who’s guarding Joe Jackson with the ball, Trey Burke alerts Evan Smotrycz to switch. Because of this heads up play, when Witherspoon does set the pick Burke is able to switch onto Jackson rather than Smotrycz. You can bet John Beilein knew this, and that’s exactly the way he had told Michigan to play the high ball screen in practice and in the huddle (he also points the switch out during the play). Now, after the screen, Burke quickly picks up Jackson with time winding down and finishes the play with a beautiful block to end the second half and preserve Michigan’s momentum.
Things got a little testy after the play as well when Zack Novak confronts Will Barton after Barton shoves Evan Smtorycz in the back. Novak and Barton received technical fouls and although Novak eventually fouled out it’s no surprise and tough to complain with the three time Michigan captain showing a little emotion in backing up his teammate.
John Beilein, Zack Novak, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. took to the podium after Michigan’s 73-61 over Memphis to breakdown the game for the media. Here’s the full transcript of the post game press conference.
COACH BEILEIN: We’re really pleased we could come away with a win today. Memphis presents some very big challenges. They’re a very good defense. We haven’t seen anything like that. Our scout team does not show us ‑‑ they work really hard, but they can’t to duplicate what you see. So we had some sloppy moments and we had some really good moments as well. [click to continue…]