Five Key Plays: Michigan vs. Duke

Evan Smotrycz explodes in the first half

Smotrycz hasn’t been consistent this year but he’s completely changed the complexion of several games. At the very least he’s displayed samplings of the offensive tools that make him such a promising prospect going forward. Evan had 11 first half points versus Duke and all of them were critical, allowing Michigan to hang around in the game despite playing without several starters. As you would expect, he hit a couple three pointers, but his most impressive move was a quick fake and drive past Miles Plumlee for a three point play. Evan’s potent combination of size and three point shooting ability mean that this pump fake is going to be there constantly. The key is being able to take the ball strong all the way to the hole or learn to shoot a pull up jumpshot. This was probably Evan’s strongest drive and finish all season long and he averaged 10 points per game over Michigan’s final five contests.

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State of the Blog: March 21st, 2011

picOur third full season is in the books and it was quite a journey with a full spectrum of highs and lows. The season was not only a joy to watch and follow, it was a great opportunity to continuously improve our coverage. [click to continue…]

Video: Trey Burke Guides Northland to State Semifinals

Trey Burke had 29 points on 6 of 12 (3-5 3pt) shooting with eight assists, five rebounds and five steals in an 80-62 Northalnd win. The Vikings advance to the OHSAA Division I semifinals where they will face AP No. 1 Garfield Heights and Penn State point guard commit Trey Lewis. Here’s video of Northland’s win from Cap City Preps. Burke wears #3 for Northland (green).

In other recruiting news, 2011 big man Max Bielfeldt is expected to make a decision shortly. Bielfeldt will decide between Michigan, where he recently had a very positive official visit, and Illinois. This is a recruitment to pay close attention to this week.

Video: Beilein, Douglass and Novak After Duke Loss

Duke 73, Michigan 71

Photo: Detroit News

It’s only fitting that Michigan’s season ended in this fashion. Not with heartbreak at the buzzer, but with a second half comeback that nobody more than a couple steps away from the Michigan bench would have deemed possible. Duke was the bigger, stronger and quicker team and held a 14-point lead with 11:40 to play, even a 12-point lead with 6:25 to play. This game was supposed to be over. These are the defending national champions playing a psuedo-home game with a roster full of NBA draft picks and senior All-Americans. 12-point Duke leads are supposed to grow into 20-point leads rather than dissolve down the stretch.
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Transcript: Beilein, Douglass and Novak After Duke Loss

John Beilein, Stu Douglass and Zack Novak took to the podium and addressed the media after Michigan’s gutwrenching loss to Duke. We’ll have video later.

COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Great basketball game. So many ups and downs in the game and really proud of our team. I felt we spent a lot of time convincing them this year that they could win, no matter who they were playing against. They believed it and almost came through again today against another top, top team.

We’d like to have some plays back earlier in the game. I can’t even recall any of them, but there were a few. That’s part of coaching. Down the last few minutes, really proud of how hard — if you ever played the wing of a 1-3-1 zone, you are running for, you know, like crazy. The bottom guy is running from corner to corner. They did not show any fatigue in that and that was a great obviously thing for us to be able to go to that zone.

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