Michigan welcomes Michigan State to Crisler Arena as the Wolverines slowly watch their season slip away into darkness. Conversely, Michigan State is playing their best basketball of the season in the midst of a 7-0 start to conference play.
It appeared that Michigan might have rejuvenated their season with a home win over Connecticut but they followed that up with disappointment. The first blow was a crushing collapse in Madison that saw Michigan let a 9 point second half lead slip away. The loss in Madison was followed by Manny Harris’ practice incident which led to his suspension and a blow out loss at Purdue.
On paper, last week was just a pair of road losses to the #2 and #3 teams in the conference. That doesn’t seem like it should be something to be ashamed of but there is no doubt that this team is on life support, gasping for their final breaths.
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According to a statement from the Michigan basketball program, Manny Harris has been reinstated. Here are the quotes from the athletic department release:
“It is our hope that Manny will show tremendous growth from his suspension,” said Beilein. “We look forward to moving on and to having a great practice today.”
“I wanted to take this opportunity to apologize to the university, the coaching staff, my teammates and every U-M fan for not being able to help the team against Purdue,” said Harris. “I made a poor decision during last Friday’s practice which I regret very much.
“I fully accept the suspension from the coaching staff. It was the correct decision. I cannot tell you my disappointment for letting my teammates down and showing the lack of leadership that I normally try to provide.
“I love my teammates, the coaches, this program and especially all the fans who have continued to support me. I have learned a great deal from this situation and I don’t ever want to have it happen again.”
Exhale and buckle up for tomorrow night.
Update: Per Andy Katz: Manny Harris will give an apology statement for his actions at practice that forced a suspension for PU game. Michigan’s players and coaches will meet with the media at 2pm today.
On Manny Harris
I’ve been away from the internet since the Harris suspension news broke but here’s my take on the situation. I have very little doubt that the suspension was warranted. John Beilein has plenty of quirks and idiosyncrasies that baffle the mind but he is definitely not an idiot. He would not suspend his best player for a game without a valid reason. Anyone who suggests otherwise is crazy.
Putting aside whether the suspension was warranted or not, there is a bigger issue here. The fact that Harris did something in practice that warranted suspension.
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Here’s the post-game. Sorry it’s late but, as I mentioned, I was in Indiana all weekend. I’ll have a post a little later on more season level issues including Kelvin Grady and Manny Harris among other things.
Photo from Michigan Daily
I learned that Manny Harris didn’t travel to Purdue when I was about an hour from West Lafayette (more on Harris’ suspension in a post later today) thanks a wave of text messages. It’s safe to say that I was disappointed but I was also a little bit curious to see how the team played without him. At the same time, I didn’t think Michigan had much of a chance with Harris playing, it would take a fool to think that they had a chance without him.
The result was not surprising. Michigan hung with Purdue for 7 minutes on the back of DeShawn Sims (Peedi’s starts to the last two games have been eerily similar to last years BTT game versus Iowa) and no one else, but Purdue eventually overwhelmed them. Purdue dominated for the middle 30 minutes and blew the top off the game.
Michigan shot the ball well (eFG% of 53%, 41% 3pt) but they couldn’t hold onto the ball to save their lives. Michigan turned the ball over on a quarter of their possessions and when the game was still in doubt this number was even higher.
Michigan’s guard play continues to be terrible and it’s the number one thing holding this team back. Stu Douglass played one of his worst games in a Michigan uniform, he turned the ball over four times and just seemed to look lifeless on the court. Morris also turned the ball over 4 times while Lucas-Perry added three. 11 turnovers from your three guards is simply not going to cut it.
Despite Michigan’s offensive struggles, their defense was even worse. Purdue scored 1.13 points per possession for the game but it was much worse early on. Late in the first half Purdue was shooting over 60%, rebounding 60% of their misses, and scoring 1.55 points per possession. Purdue executed their offense to perfection but Michigan just had no match for Purdue’s big three. Robbie Hummel, E’Twaun Moore, and JaJuan Johnson got the shots that they wanted and made them.
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Don’t have any details because I’m on the road but Manny Harris will not suit up today for Michigan due to disciplinary reasons. Reason: “unsportsmanlike conduct” in Friday’s practice.