Tip off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network. The biggest storyline from the Iowa side is that the Hawkeyes will be playing on just 41 1/2 hours rest as they lost on Thursday night at Northwestern. As always, we encourage you to join the discussion in the comments before, during, and after the game.
If you don’t know the rules you can read them here. Please choose one of the following eligible players for this game:
Zack Novak, Stu Douglass, Tim Hardaway Jr., Jordan Morgan, Matt Vogrich, and Evan Smotrycz
Please remember to use the same name and e-mail address that you have used for previous games or your selection will not be counted toward your overall tally. You are welcome to join in at anytime but you might have some catching up to do if you missed earlier games.
It’s all or nothing time for Michigan. The next four games, along with the Big Ten Tournament, will determine Michigan’s post season fate. Win all four and the NCAA Tournament is a reality. Lose all four and it’s time to start looking at NIT bracketology charts. Michigan looked a bit like a team allowing the pressure to affect them on Wednesday night. Every shot was just a little bit off and every pass and cut looked slightly contrived. It’s time to let everything go and just play. First up, a road trip to Iowa City.
The last time these teams met, Michigan shredded the Iowa defense and played its best offensive game of the season against any team not named Bryant. The Wolverines scored 87 points in 64 possessions while shooting 68% on twos and 50% on threes. Darius Morris even added a triple for good measure. If there’s one thing the last couple years have taught us, it’s that things won’t be quite as easy in Iowa City. Michigan’s last two games at Carver Hawkeye Arena have been back and forth rollercoaster rides that featured a healthy dose of scoring runs, droughts, buzzer beaters, and inexplicable benchings. Buckle up.
Tim Doyle, who was unfortunately calling the game last night, almost had a heart attack every time Michigan ran the floor and constantly called for the Wolverines to slow it down. Michigan is by no means a fast-break team, but with Darius Morris on the floor it’s not always a horrible option. This play was a little flashy, but it was irrefutably awesome and turned out to be the right play to make in that situation. Darius gets the deflection off a long rebound and pushes the ball upcourt with Zack trailing slightly on his left side. Darius finds himself in a 2-on-2 situation with Demetri McCamey shading the passing lane from Darius to Zack. Darius throws a great behind-the-back pass to Zack before McCamey can react to it, and Zack makes a great pump-fake to finish strong. Michigan was very aggressive early on the offensive end, hitting their first five shots, and this was a great example of how that aggressiveness paid off. [click to continue…]
By David Merritt | To The Point | Posted on February 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm
David Merritt is a former Michigan basketball captain and played on the 2008-2009 NCAA Tournament Team. David is also the founder of I Miss You, Inc. & The IMU Brand, an apparel company focused on offering high quality product while spreading happiness and bettering communities.
This one hurts and not just because of the agonizing nature of final seconds. It was painful because Michigan had a chance to win despite playing an excruciatingly poor offensive game and just couldn’t find the big play necessary to steal a win. In a way, Stu Douglass’ desperation heave was a microcosm of Michigan’s season: so close but just not quite enough.
I’m not going to focus much on the final play. Michigan tried to get Hardaway in an isolation situation and, as the Illinois defense overplayed him, he found Smotrycz for about as clean of a look as you could ask for. The argument as to whether Smotrycz should drive or shoot could go on for ages but I don’t think he could have got to the basket very easily. He’s more comfortable shooting the three and the percentages are close, 38% on threes and 43% on twos. The biggest problem was that Smotrycz seemed to rush a bit and never really got set after the pump fake.