Monday, April 20, 2009

For Your Viewing Pleasure...

Found these while out and about the blogosphere...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring Game 2009 Video

via The Big Ten Network

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Rich Rodriguez Post Spring Game Presser

Rich Rodriguez's spring game press conference

Spring Game Observations


Though I'm more than 2,000 miles away and had to observe over an feed, I have to admit that the Spring Game (scrimmage) was fun to watch. Most of the scrimmage entailed either the first offense vs. the second defense or the second offense vs. the first defense. Apart from this, the team practice field goals, punting, and other situational-type scenarios. The latter took place at the end of the scrimmage.

I know what people will say after I say this, but, Tate looked really solid today. Of course, he wasn't "live," and didn't have to worry about contact, but this kid can flat out play. He made one costly mistake backed up into the endzone where he allowed a safety and fumbled, but things like that are going to happen early. Other than this miscue, he starred. His passes were generally crisp, accurate, and timely. His escapability was definitely showcased today. There were several instances where the pocket collapsed or a defender showed his face where Tate was able to pull it down and take off. This is an area that could help this team tremendously this year.

Brown's long touchdown scamper was a thing of beauty; excellent blocking up front, great vision and burst, and good top end speed to capitalize. It certainly looks like Coach Rodriguez will try to get Minor and Brown both into the backfield at the same time as often as possible.

Minor didn't overly impress today, but we all know what he's capable of when he gets going so I won't worry too much about that. He didn't get many opportunities to make plays.

It was good to see the receivers get into the action. They were nearly non-existent all of last year. Mathews had a nice grab on a fade ball from Forcier. Roundtree had a grab or two. Robinson made several solid plays. Hemingway got into the fold a little with the Coner. Being a receiver coach myself, I'd say they had a decent outing. Stonum seems to be uncomfortable still, but he's a talented athlete and will improve.

I know this offense doesn't feature much from a TE, but I still figured to see Koger and Webb get some balls thrown their way today. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case. Maybe those packages are reserved for the Western game?

The defense needs some work, though much of their lack of success could probably be attributed to missing players. Several key guys were held out of today's scrimmage for various reasons, including Martin and Warren.

Check out later for updates and to see the team's award winners from the Spring. Also, I think it's safe to assume will have updates available later, as well.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring Game Promo

Tell me this doesn't getcha pumped for the Spring game this year...

(HT: mvictors)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sheridan Injured

A few media outlets reporting yesterday and today that returning QB Nick Sheridan was injured in practice recently. The injury appears to be significant, with some reports saying Nick was seen out and about wearing a large boot and using crutches. Coach Rodriguez will speak to the media today, so we'll find out for sure the extent of the injury and his backup plans for the Spring game and QB depth.

Until then, viva Tate Forcier!

Update: Confirmed. Sheridan is out 4-6 weeks with a "small" fracture sustained during a scrimmage situation at the end of practice on Tuesday. Over at Varsity Blue, Tim has posted video of the press conference.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Post-Tourney Loss Links

Take a break from all the March Madness action today and check out what they're saying about yesterday's loss.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

(10) Michigan 63, (2) Oklahoma 73

Well, it was a great run. The Wolverines hung tough with the Sooners for 3/4 of the game, but in the end Blake Griffin was too much to handle. Griffin's numbers: 33 points and 14 rebounds. Michigan simply had no answer for Oklahoma's size differential. Zack Novak gave a victors valiant effort defensively in the paint, but in the end I think it affected his offensive productivity. Griffin was just too strong all day long.

The biggest surprise for the Wolverines tonight was the first half production out of Anthony Wright. Wright finished with 14 total points, but was a non-factor in the second half.

With the score 30-29 in Oklahoma's favor at the start of the second half, the Sooners came out of the locker room to score seven quick points. Michigan never got closer than three after that point. They had a little run around the 8-9 minute mark when C.J. Lee hit two three-pointers in a row, but it was all OU after that. Michigan simply could not get anything going offensively in the game's last 4-5 minutes and could not stop the Sooners on the other end of the court. This was a game where, in the end, the Wolverines lack of size really hurt.

As a Michigan fan, you've got to be impressed with how John Beilein led this team this year. After a 10-22 mark last year, the Wolverines finished the 2008-2009 season with a 21-14 record, including one victory in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan showed tremendous improvement in beating UCLA, Duke, Purdue, Illinois, and Clemson. They also held their own against the likes of Maryland, Connecticut, and Oklahoma. Coach Beilein definitely has this program going in the right direction. The Wolverines bring a great recruiting class in next year that includes a quality point guard in Darius Morris, a sharpshooter in Matt Vogrich, and some size down low in Jordan Morgan and Blake McLimans.

Thank you Coach John Beilein for making Michigan Basketball relevant again. This season was great, even from 2,000 miles away. I only wish I could have seen this team play in person. Thank you C.J. Lee and David Merritt for your dedication and determination. You will forever be remembered as true Michigan Men.

Go blue from AZ!

P.S. On a more cynical note, how arrogant are Blake and his brother Taylor? One time after a dunk, he stands, flexes, and looks at his muscles. Listen guy, you just dunked over someone who's 6'3, you're SUPPOSED to be able to do that when you're 6'10.

Yeah, you're good, calm down...

BTW, Austin Johnson has an ugly mohawk.

CBS pissed me off by showing Griffin's parents the ENTIRE game.

P.P.S. If you have something critical to say ever about a post or anything I have said, feel free to express said critiques, BUT, please make sure you are man/woman enough to reveal your identity.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Will Michigan Pull the Upset Tomorrow?

It is now approximately 24 hours until the tip-off of Michigan's first game in the NCAA Tournament in 10+ years. #10 Michigan will face #7 Clemson in Kansas City, MO at 7:10 EDT. Michigan is one of 16 teams in the South Region, with North Carolina receiving the #1 seed out of the 16.

There has been much discussion since the brackets were announced about whether or not Michigan stands a chance against the Tigers. Some predict that since Clemson has no inside presence over 6'9, the Wolverines have a favorable match-up -- size-wise at least. Others, however, rely on computer-based models and statistics that predict doom and gloom for Michigan tomorrow. To make this decision for yourself, there are a couple of good previews already available for your reading pleasure.
  • takes a look at the match-up mostly based on the numbers. Clemson appears to be a pretty efficient team on a possession-by-possession basis. Aside from Duke and North Carolina, they were tops in the ACC. Meanwhile, Michigan was 7th in the Big Ten. These numbers seemingly favor the Tigers by a wide margin. Also, Clemson is a lot like the Wolverines in that they love the 3 point shot. In fact, they shoot 38% from the arc, good for 35th nationally. Fortunately, Michigan has been relatively efficient in shutting down opponents' three point shooting as of late.
  • Over at UM, Dylan provides "an early look at Clemson." Good news for the Wolverines here in that Clemson's starting five provides 75% of the scoring and they don't seem to have a deep rotation. Clemson loves to utilize the full court press, so without much help off the bench the Tigers may find themselves tiring out in the second half. Michigan should have enough depth to combat this and get their starters a few breathers here and there while Clemson may be forced to leave theirs on the court. Of course, they probably are all very well-conditioned, but even NBA stars need a break every now and then.
This press scares me to death. Michigan likes to take up a lot of time setting up a good look on offense but will have to burn some of the shot clock worrying about getting the ball over the half court line. We've all seen what happens to the offense when the shot clock is running down. Usually it goes something like this: frantic pass, here you take it, I don't want it, give it to Manny, but he's covered, okay, I'll take the shot from NBA-range with a man in my face, damn, it got blocked. Translation: bad news. Hopefully (and I have faith in Beilein) we can install an effective press break this week to handle the pressure.

Tomorrow will probably be the loooonnnngest day as I'll be thinking about the game from the time I wake up until the tip. Luckily, there are some other earlier games to keep me busy while I wait. The Butler-LSU game should be a good one. I'm going with Butler. The Texas A&M-BYU game will be interesting. I'm taking the Aggies. The Minnesota-Texas game should be fun just because it's Minnesota and it'll be interesting to see how they stack up against opponents from outside the conference. I'm going with Texas in this one, though. Finally, after the Michigan victory, I'll check out the Illinois-WKU game. Bracket hint: here's your 12 over 5 upset for this year.

Go blue from AZ!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Michigan's In!

Updated: 10:20 P.M. ET

Michigan makes the tournament as a 10 seed in the South Region, playing the 7th-seeded Clemson Tigers at 7:10 ET on Thursday, the 15th. An interactive bracket from of the entire 65-team field can be found here.

I'll have a more detailed write-up on Clemson later this week after some more research, but initially they look beatable. They have no one on their roster over 6'7 that contributes much. They started out 16-0 before their first loss but didn't play a particularly tough non-conference schedule, though they did beat Illinois. I do remember watching them blow out the Dukies at home but I didn't tune in until the last two minutes, so I'm not sure how exactly that transpired.

Clemson blogs can be found here and here. will have ticket information later tonight. Game time is TBA. As soon as I find out, I'll post it here. Also on, they have a "Behind the Scenes with Coach John Beilein" grid where they've broken down how JB spent his Sunday. A couple interesting items on the list:
4 -4:15 p.m. Said he couldn't sit down so, "I moved the barbecue grill outside and cleaned some sticks off the lawn."
6:34 p.m.Any uncertainty becomes a reality as Michigan's ticket is punched
for the NCAA Tournament. The Wolverines are announced as the
10th seed in the South Regional and will face seventh-seeded
Clemson from the ACC on Thursday. A celebration ensues and a
smile is visible on the coach as the arena erupts in excitement
and the team begins to jump around and hug each other.

7:04 p.m.Hugs senior C.J. Lee outside the locker room and talks with DeShawn Sims in the tunnel about taking care of his class work before the team departs for the tournament. has a brief write-up on the bid -- first time since 1998, dramatic scene, Ed Martin, etc.

ESPN has an easy on the eyes version of the tournament bracket here.

The Michigan Daily has a nice write-up of the pre-selection show festivities that occurred at Crisler. Coach Beilein had the opportunity to speak with the CBS host about 15 minutes before the show started.

Digger and the boys break down the South Region...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spring Practice Update

Spring Practice began today for the Michigan Wolverines Football team. has a rundown of the day, a twenty page photo gallery, a video of practice hosted by Doug Karsch, and an audio clip on Rich Rodriguez's comments prior to practice. The team used its new outdoor facility, though the temperature hovered around 35-40 degrees. They practiced in helmets, jerseys, and sweats as they must have two non-padded practices before going full gear.

Update: The Free Press posted a twenty page photo gallery as well. They have a few nice shots of both William Campbell and Tate Forcier.

Update: Tate Forcier looked pretty good today, throwing several "pin-point passes."

Update: Mlive finally comes through with a little tidbit from today's practice. It's mostly about Sheridan and Foricer though.

Another Update: Be sure to check out the video on It's about six minutes long, has interviews from several key players, and shows the players going through a variety of drills.

Now We Await Our Fate

Michigan falls to Illinois 60-50 in a game that would have locked up the Wolverines' first tournament birth in more than a decade. Instead, the shots simply weren't falling, Illinois played great defense, and Mike Davis played like an all-star. This game took me all the way back to mid-season, when no one could hit a shot, the team couldn't score, and their field goal percentage hovered around the low 40's. Now, the Michigan faithful will have to anxiously await the team's fate by rooting for other bubble teams to lose and sweating out the selection show. Full post-game and bubble watch for today can be found over at

You can join fellow Wolverines Fans at Crisler tomorrow to watch the selection show. Doors open at 5 PM and there is no cost for admission. Also, CBS will have a crew there filming the team's reaction. I'm hoping to see an excited Michigan team explode when CBS announces a 10 seed. Let's hope it's not one of those we see every year that ends in disappointment and we're instead left watching Beilein talk about how deserving this team was of a bid but yet still speaking politically correct about the selection committee and its process.

I still feel pretty confident about Michigan's chances on Sunday, especially given the losses by Wisconsin, Penn State, and Minnesota. The Wolverines' resume has got to look better than Penn State & Minnesota's. If the committee doesn't think the Big Ten warrants 8 bids, I'm banking on Michigan receiving the invite over those two teams. Giving Michigan a bid and snubbing the Nittany Lions and the Golden Gophers would give the Big Ten six invites. This, I think, is a more likely outcome though I'd like to see eight bids.

Other News

  • Spring Practice begins for Michigan's Football team today. Check out Coach Rodriguez's twitter updates to see what's new. I'm hoping to find some video/pics from practice, so if you find any, let me know. UPDATE: Rodriguez spoke to the media before heading out to practice. has all the details in transcript form here.
  • Michigan's Pro Day went well yesterday. has the big news and an interesting photo of some old friends.
  • Devin Gardner has reportedly committed to the University of Michigan. This is great news for the future of the QB position. Mgoblog breaks the news here.
I'll have the tournament bracket up with thoughts/feelings tomorrow evening. I'll be like the rest of you tomorrow, biting my fingernails and sweating profusely. Until then, go blue from AZ!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Michigan 73, Iowa 45

Now THAT was fun to watch. Michigan jumps out to a quick 10 point lead early in the first half and never looks back to beat a resurgent Iowa squad by 28 points. The hero of the day: DeShawn Sims. Peedi was absolutely fantastic today. His stat line: 27 pts on 12-16 shooting, 3 stls, 2 rebs, and 1 ast in 30 minutes. Sims took over the game from the tip, scoring the Wolverines' first 14 pts without a single miss. At the half, he trailed the ENTIRE Iowa basketball team by 1. You can't say enough about the way Sims has been playing basketball as of late. He has been on fire. I'm hoping that hard foul early in the second half didn't hurt him enough to affect his stroke. It didn't look like it judging by the way he finished the game, but blood was drawn, and it looked like he was shaking his wrist for a few minutes as if in pain.

DeShawn's big game overshadowed a great game by Manny today as well. Manny's final stat line: 18 pts on 7-11 shooting, 8 asts (only 4 turnovers), 7 rebs, 1 stl, and 1 blk in 34 minutes. His shot was falling from any and everywhere. Iowa was never able to frustrate him defensively and he made them pay for it. I especially liked the emphatic drive and dunk toward the end of the first half.

This was a complete game for the Wolverines today. The entire team played well. Overall, they shot 29-49 (59.2%), including 10-22 (45.5%) from behind the arc, dished out 22 assists to 11 turnovers, had 9 steals, and blocked 3 shots. The only negative I can find from the box score is the 26-23 rebounding margin that Iowa held, though much of that can be credited to Michigan's solid day from the field not allowing many offensive rebounding opportunities. Here's to hoping this game can be carried over onto tomorrow's.

Next up: Illinois

In the regular season, Michigan split with the Fighting Illini, winning the home matchup and losing in Champaign. At Crisler, Manny and the boys prevailed 74-64 and in Champaign, Frazier and co. won a 66-51 contest. The key difference between the two games: Mike Tisdale. Nearly non-existent during the first game, Tisdale lit up the Wolverines for 24 points on 10-12 shooting in the second meeting. Obviously, he is the worst matchup for Michigan right now. He has size, length, and a decent midrange jumpshot. The key here is for DeShawn to take it right toward him, as Tisdale's defense is suspect.

In the last meeting, Michigan as a team shot 32.2% from the field. Though much of that can be credited to a decent Illinois defense, the Wolverines have been shooting much better lately and should improve upon that number for sure. Also, Michigan employs a different lineup now than they did back in mid-January. The starters in the last contest: Sims, Novak, Harris, LLP, and Grady. The starters today: Sims, Novak, Harris, Douglass, Lee. If anything, Lee's defense should continue to help on the perimeter, where Illinois has the capability to hurt the Wolverines with Demetri McCamey, who shot 3-6 from behind the arc last time and scored 17 points total.

A victory tomorrow and this could get really interesting for Michigan. They would then play the winner of the Purdue & PSU/Indiana game. Again, like last time, we'll cross that bridge when and if we get there. So until tomorrow, go blue from AZ!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Coach Rodriguez Addresses the Media

Yesterday, Michigan Head Football Coach Rich Rodriguez met with the media to speak about the beginning of Spring Practice, which starts March 14th. Some noteworthy points:
  • The seven early-enrollees have picked their numbers. Notables: Forcier #5; Campbell #73
  • There were a couple number changes: Roundtree from #16 to #12 (switched with the Coner)
  • A few players switched positions over the Winter, like Vince Helmuth, who will now play DT instead of FB. I coached the Freshmen at Saline when Vinny was a senior there and he was fun to watch. I hope he can get some PT this year for the Maize & Blue.
  • Junior Hemingway, a 4 star recruit coming out of high school who saw limited action last year, was granted a medical redshirt. You might remember him from the diving TD catch vs. Utah the very first game of the year. He'll have sophomore eligibility.
  • Of course, as mentioned in an earlier post, both Shaw and Mouton will miss Spring practices. Hopefully both of these guys can get healthy over the Summer and contribute in the Fall. Shaw is a really explosive back and Mouton is a solid LB learning the position.

Monday, March 9, 2009

All-Big Ten Teams Announced

The Big Ten released its all conference picks earlier today. Manny earns a first-team nod from both the coaches and the media, while Peedi gets second-team honors from the media and third-team from the coaches.

John Beilein Weekly Press Conference

John Beilein's Weekly Press Conference: March 9, 2009

Time-Out from Sports for a Second

Tandy really caught the big one this time

Congrats go out to my best friend/best man Ron Tandy today, as he and his wife recently learned they were expecting. Their little one will be born August 6th. This is absolutely wonderful news for the incredibly deserving family.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Tourney is Upon Us (No, Not That One...Yet)

Well, as we for the most part already knew, Michigan will play 10th seeded Iowa on Thursday as the 7th seed. The game will be at 2:30 ET (11:30 my time) and televised on ESPN2. Should they win, they would play 2nd seeded Illinois the very next day (Friday) at 6:30 ET on the Big Ten Network. After that, well, we'll get to that when/if they get there.

As a Michigan fan, you've got to have mixed feelings about this match-up. On one hand, Michigan dominated Iowa earlier this season at Crisler. On the other hand, the Wolverines lost at Carver-Hawkeye arena in OT just a week or so ago. The unknown here is that Iowa has been injury-plagued this entire season, but seems to be getting healthier each and every game. Cyrus Tate should be a go for this one, which means DeShawn will most certainly have to take his defense with him to Indianapolis. Also, someone will need to actually guard Jake Kelly this time. Since he has moved to the point, Iowa has been a totally different team. Here's to thinking/hoping CJ Lee can have a Gary Payton-esque (in his younger "The Glove" years) game against him.

If Michigan advances past the Hawkeyes, they would meet a slumping 2nd seeded Illinois team that the Wolverines split with during the regular season. Two things scare me about the Fighting Illini -- Frazier and Tisdale. Chester Frazier has been a thorn in Michigan's side for a couple years now, with his on the ball defense and don't-forget-about-me offense. Tisdale pisses me off because I keep seeing James Augustine and I thought he moved on last year. Yeah, Tisdale's only averaging 10 ppg, but he dropped 24 pts on Michigan last game.

Though Illinois presents some slight mismatches, I think it's safe to say that the bottom half of this BTT bracket was the best draw Michigan could have received. They have beaten every team they could potentially play until the championship game. Should they advance past Illinois, for example, they would get the winner of the Purdue and PSU/Indiana game. They split with Purdue and PSU and had the remarkable comeback at Indiana during the regular season.

Let's get past Iowa first, then we'll get more into depth with other scenarios later...

Go Blue from AZ!

Links, Man

I will post later tonight/tomorrow when the Big Ten releases its tournament bracket. Until then, here are some links to keep you busy...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

From Dallas to Buffalo

Terrell Owens has signed a 1 yr/$6 million deal with the Buffalo Bills. Herm Edwards' advice to Trent Edwards, "don't listen to him in the huddle."

Owens should immediately bolster the offense in Buffalo and complement Lee Evans quite nicely.


Michigan 67 Minnesota 64

Michigan earns a quality victory on the ROAD again a tough and scrappy Minnesota team. The victory gives the Wolverines a 9-9 conference record and puts them at 19-12 overall. Also helpful for the tournament resume is the 5-5 finish over the last 10 games -- a key component to getting into the field of 65.

Game hero: Laval-Lucas Perry
LLP finally breaks out of his seemingly season-long slump with a career high 19 points and three-straight 3 pointers during Michigan's comeback in the second half.

Think Bilas can convince the crew that Michigan should be in the tournament now?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Elimination Time Finally Here

The time to put up or shut up is now here. Michigan must take care of business tomorrow at the barn. With Penn State's last second victory against Illinois and Northwestern pulling off a couple upsets, tomorrow's game has become even bigger since last Saturday. Finishing with a 8-10 record in Big Ten play and a possible finish of 8 or even 9 (ouch), would make it really hard for the tournament committee to put Michigan in the field of 65.

There are a number of scenarios that have to play out yet before we know what seed Michigan will be in the Big Ten Tournament. Over at, there is a nice analysis of 4 possible outcomes, placing Michigan anywhere from the 6 to 9 seed in Indianapolis. One surprising note, Penn State has a chance to enter the tourney as a 2 seed. Ideally, that sets up a 7-10 game with Michigan playing Iowa and facing Penn State the next day. Those are two definitely winnable games.

How about the depth of the Big Ten this year? Top to bottom, there is really no weak team. Iowa has pulled off a couple of upsets, and even Indiana has managed to stay close in some games. I had written off Northwestern a couple weeks ago, but man, those guys will not go away.

Tomorrow will be an early one for me, 9 A.M. college gameday, 10 A.M. game (remember I'm two hours behind Eastern Time). It'll be nice to not have to sit around waiting for the game to come on.

I know there's an mgoblog curse on live blogs, but is anyone interested in doing one here? Let me know, I'm always interested in in-game discussions.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Not a ton going on today in the world of Michigan sports. Of course, there's a lot of talk going around the blogosphere about Michigan's tournament chances with an "elimination game" heading into Minneapolis. The bottom line seems to be if Michigan wins at Minnesota on Saturday, then doesn't stink it up at the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago, they should be safe come Selection Sunday.

For the Wolverines to have a chance against a decent Minnesota team on the road, they need to play like they did for the first 36+ minutes of the first meeting. The threes were falling, the assist to turnover ratio was great (21-8), and the defense was solid. The X-Factor in this game might be the fact that last time at Crisler, Manny had limited opportunities, finishing with only 8 points in 22 minutes. I doubt this will be the case come Saturday, as Manny has been stepped his game up a bit lately. Will Tubby and co. prepare for him? Given the fact that Novak and Stu shot lights out (both 6-10) last matchup, Minnesota may focus their efforts in stopping the 3-point shooting instead.

Lost at Sea

The lastest from the story of the NFL players lost at sea: the Coast Guard has decided to suspend the search at sundown today. Still missing from the boating accident are Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, ex-Lions lineman Corey Smith, and former USF player William Bleakley. My thoughts and prayers go out to these families while they deal with this terrible situation. Marquis Cooper is the son of AZ News Broadcaster Bruce Cooper, who co-hosts Friday Night Fever, a high school football recap program airing every Friday Night during football season. The coaching staff and I have spent many-a-nights at TGI Fridays watching this broadcast after our games.

  • Brian at Mgoblog apparently brought a curse upon Sri Lanka this weekend.
  • John Belein takes a few calls via teleconference and comments on Manny Harris.
  • Whew! Red Berenson is coming back to the Michigan Hockey Team for at least one more year. I've always enjoyed going to Yost and watching a great hockey team. Red is a huge reason (the reason) for the success of Michigan hockey over the years.
  • After a flirtation with the 49ers over the weekend, Kurt Warner has countered Arizona's earlier offer.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Catchin' Up

Well, it's been a little over a week since we last met.  Like I said, my in-laws were in town, so I did my fair share of entertaining.  I can't really complain much, my wife and I enjoyed the company, and we didn't have to worry about dinner for seven days straight.  Anyway, the wife is in Tempe today for some dance concert thing, so I decided to take some time and blog a lil' bit.

It was an interesting morning for Michigan Basketball fans this morning if you watched College Gameday with Digger Phelps, Hubert Davis, Bob Knight, and Jay Bilas.  The boys had a conversation debating four bubble teams and which team should get one hypothetical spot.  The four teams were: Michigan, Providence, Siena, and Virginia Tech.  At first, Digger wanted to eliminate Michigan in favor of Siena!  Luckily, he was outvoted by the rest of the crew and Siena was ousted instead.  Then, Providence was eliminated -- much to the dismay of Phelps again.  Then, the boys decided that VA Tech's two quality road wins were enough to nudge them over Michigan.  Thus, Michigan was the loser of the "last team in," according to the Gameday crew.  Surprisingly, the usual Michigan-basher Jay Bilas was so pro-Michigan today I didn't know what to do with myself.  All bias aside, how can you seriously consider Siena a better tourney team than Michigan?  Their best wins, I believe, were Niagra and Northern Iowa!  Try taking Michigan's wins over Duke and UCLA away and replacing them with those two Siena "quality" victories.  Does Michigan even stand a chance in the bubble discussion at that point?

Also frustrating during the debate was the amount of disrespect the Big Ten gets.  Once again the ACC/Big East bias was evident.  These conferences are obviously superior according to these analysts.  Did they watch any non-conference games?  The Big Ten racked up impressive victory after victory.  I'm not sure what the disconnect is.  I'm not saying the Big Ten is the best conference, but it certainly isn't the MAC.

Anyway, the only reason this discussion was even relevant was because of Michigan's HUGE victory over Purdue on Thursday night.  DeShawn Sims was an absolute MAN in this game -- especially during the second half when Michigan went on to shoot 81%!  Sims' final stat line: 29 points, 5 board, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 0 TOs in 34 minutes.  In the second half especially, Purdue had no answer for Sims.  Their main defensive player got into early foul trouble and was extremely limited, so Sims took advantage of this all night.  The whole team was fired up and playing with absolute intensity.  

Manny finished with 27 points, 4 assists, and only 4 TOs in 35 minutes.  Clearly, his benching at Iowa did some sort of good.  This was nice to see.  After all the discussion as to whether or not the move was fair, it would be interesting to see which scenario Michigan Fans would have preferred: allow Manny to play and win at Iowa or bench Manny like Beilein did, fire up the team and Manny, and beat Purdue at home?  Personally, I value the Purdue victory over the could-have-been Iowa victory.  Good move Johnny B!

Tomorrow's game at Wisconsin should be interesting although I never get a good feeling when playing Wisconsin.  I'm not sure exactly why.  Maybe it's because Michigan, IMO, just doesn't match up well with them and haven't for a while now.  The Badgers are just a much more physical team -- especially in the inside, where Michigan has no answer aside from Peedi, who, if he expends too much energy on the defensive side may become limited on offense.  We've seen the results when he plays his best ball offensively so we need him to conserve energy on the defensive end.  When he is playing his game offensively, it opens up everyone else's game, as evidenced by the Purdue game.  

If all goes well, a road victory in Madison would go a long way in securing this tournament birth.  Live blog will be over at Mgoblog tomorrow for the game.  Get there 15 minutes early to get the party started.

Other News

  • The Lions have reportedly traded Jon Kitna to the Cowboys for a late-round draft pick in this year's draft.  Smart move by the Lions, IMO, as he was due a $1 million roster bonus in a few weeks.
  • Matt Cassel has been traded to the Chiefs.  No word yet on what the Patriots' compensation will be.
  • The Lions acquired Seahawks backup RB Maurice Morris yesterday.  He filled in decently for Shaun Alexander a couple years ago when he went down.  He's expected to back up Kevin Smith, and maybe push him for some playing time?
  • The Lions are making some moves.  They reportedly just signed WR Bryant Johnson today.  That isn't absolutely confirmed yet.  I'm not sure how much of an immediate impact he would make.  He will likely provide some much needed WR depth at the very least.
Let me know if I missed anything and I'll try to add it in.  I'm still trying to get this blog rolling guys, so if you're reading, let me know.  A couple comments might just give me enough motivation to post daily and keep up to date with everything going on...

Go blue from AZ!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Steven Threet Transfers

Incumbent Michigan quarterback Steven Threet has decided to transfer from the University of Michigan. Threet gave a statement to the press Monday announcing his decision. No word as of yet as to where he will transfer. Last year, he started eight games for Michigan, completing 102 of 210 passes for 1,105 yards and throwing nine touchdowns.

Everyone knows Threet isn't the type of QB that Rodriguez prefers, as evidenced by the signing of two dual-threat QB's this year, but I think most people agree he was a decent player last year when healthy. Given a year under his belt, he may have either pushed the freshmen for playing time, or provided a crucial role by mentoring the two.

Is this a devastating blow to Michigan's chances for success in 2009? I don't think so. Personally, I think Tate was going to start from day one regardless. Still, this situation is disappointing because of depth. For example, if Tate starts and Denard picks up the system early enough to earn the backup role, then Sheridan almost by default becomes the 3rd option. I like Nick, and think he's a good kid, but I'm not sure if anyone ever wants to see him take a meaningful snap again for the Wolverines.

It is what it is. Threet was not brought in by Rodriguez to run his offense. The writing is on the wall for Steven. This obviously shows that the transition is far from complete. It will probably take another year or two for Rodriguez to fully put his stamp on the program. Still, I think his track record speaks for itself.

Michigan will be back. Will it happen this year? Who knows? Will this year be as bad as last? Probably not. At the very least, we will see improvement on the field. An improved offensive line, improved RB play, more skilled offensive players, and two extremely talented freshmen QBs will improve upon 3-9 most certainly.

Let the countdown to spring practice begin...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Michigan 70 - Northwestern 67

What is it about Northwestern teams that are always so pesky?  It doesn't matter if it's football or basketball, they always seem to do just enough to make you cringe.  Today, they did just enough to force a decent Michigan team into overtime.  Thankfully for the Wolverines, Manny Harris took the game into his own hands and played basketball the way he knows how.  It actually was pretty scary down the stretch with C.J. Lee looking shaky under duress.  It was interesting to see Kelvin get into the game so late to handle the defensive pressure.  Unfortunately, he gave Craig Moore a wide open look as he played a screen wrong - again.

It was ugly, but hey, a win's a win, especially in the Big Ten...on the road.

Dylan over at has a nice write-up of the post game.  I'd write my own but like I said before, the in-laws are in town from Michigan.  I've got to be a "good hubby."

Go Blue!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday Noteworthy Links

No basketball game today, so let's take a look at some of the happenings around the world of sports.  Remember, this blog is a lot of Maize and Blue, but also a little bit of everything.  :)

  • Over at Beck's MLB blog, we are provided with an early look of the Tigers 2009 lineup.
  • Mlive has a nice article about the state of Michigan sports (specifically attendance) given the weak economy.
  • Paul at Varsity Blue provided some quality videos of a few new Michigan football recruits.  The one with Tate Forcier is probably what you all want to see.
  • Apparently the "A-11 Offense" was too much for some.  The NFHS changed some rules around to outlaw the "gimmick" offense.  I've never seen the offense in person, but I would hate to scheme against it defensively.
  • There's a video over at Prep Ticket illustrating the story of future Michigan WR Je'Ron Stokes.  He was probably the last 2009 recruit to sign-on at Michigan.  Coach Rod definitely deserves credit for reeling in this kid.  He was exciting to watch at the Army All-American Bowl.
  • A. Sherrod Blakely wrote a piece on Mlive about the Pistons' Amir Johnson being mentioned in trade rumors.  This is especially interesting for me now since I'm living in Phoenix and constantly hear about the Suns' desire to trade Amare Stoudemire.  Hopefully, the Pistons can make it happen.
  • Amare apparently doesn't like all the trade talk.
  • The Lions have found their personnel man.  Former Jaguars V.P. of Player Personnel James Harris will now have a very similar role in the Lions' organization.  It's no secret there is a ton of work to do with the roster.  How about starting with the QB decision, the offensive line, and then the entire defense.
  • Pre-game for tomorrow's basketball game can be found here.  It could be a struggle for the Maize and Blue.  Evanston is a tough place to play, as the Illini found out Thursday night, having to rally from a double-digit deficit to secure the victory.
That's it for today.  I'll definitely post on the Michigan-Northwestern game tomorrow.  It's at 1 PM my time, so I should have something around 4-5 PM.  My mother-in-law is coming in from Michigan tomorrow though, so I can't make any promises.  

Go blue!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

To Help Soothe the Soul

Amidst the 3-9 football season and the ups and downs of this year's basketball team, it's been tough sledding for Michigan Fans. Here's a little something to help ease all the pain.

MSU Loss Aftermath

U-M's Beilein: 'We're just working to get better'

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

#9 MSU 54 UM 42

Well, that was NOT pretty.  MSU grinds it out at Crisler for a 54-42 win.  For Michigan, this was a devastating blow to their tournament chances.  MSU, on the other hand, gets a quality Big Ten road victory.

Without stats in front of me, it seems like this loss comes down to free throw shooting.  UM struggled at the stripe tonight.  At one point during the game, they were 4 for 9 and trailing MSU by 5.  Two painful misses came at the end of the first half when Gibson's dunk was called back because of an intentional foul on State.  Gibson subsequently missed his two freebies.  I would have rather had the no-call, as Gibson had the easy dunk.  Dylan from said it best during a live blog over at mgoblog: "Murphy's Law."

On the other hand, credit MSU's defense.  They managed to challenge Michigan's shots all night long.  It was no secret they play extremely solid D.  Again, without stats in front of me, I can't imagine UM having shot better than 35-40 percent.

As I mentioned during halftime, Delvon Roe continued to be a force.  He was named player of the game after finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds.  That's a decent double-double for a freshman.

For UM, Sims led the way with a very solid night.  He finished with 18 points and 4 boards in only 25 minutes.  He got into early foul trouble in the second half and had to miss quite some time while MSU continued their onslaught on the glass.  Gibson I'm sure gives it his best every night, but at 6-11 you'd expect a little more out of him simply on height alone.  Maybe a try-out with the football team will give him some toughness?

Highlights here

*My brother sent me another text during the game saying "Greg Robinson is sitting in front of me."  An interesting and exciting night for him I'm sure.  I'm glad he got the opportunity to be in the limelight for a couple of hours.*

Michigan vs. MSU at the Half

At the half, it's Michigan State 23 - Michigan 15.  

The one question I have in my mind right now: did Michigan really just score 15 points in an entire half?

The frustration continues to mount about the missed 3 point shots.  Novak threw up a few; two tough ones from the corner that didn't have chance.  Manny forced at least one with an MSU defender in his face.  Kelvin's lone attempt rattled in and out.  Surprisingly, LLP finally made a shot.

On a positive note, MSU only has 23 points.  The defense seems to have gotten better lately.  JB has been mixing up the looks, using man, the 1-3-1, and the 2-3.  IMO, the 2-3 has been extremely efficient as of late.  I'd like to see them utilize it a bit more.  This should help take care of the mismatches in the post, as UM would have two wing defenders to crash down on an entry pass down low.  Roe has 11 points at the half, at least two of those on a soft Shepherd foul.  If you're going to foul, do it STRONG!

On a more personal note, my brother called me from the game to let me know he met Rich Rod, Bill Martin, and Drew Henson.  He's been hanging out with Jeremy Jackson lately (a 2010 WR commit for UM).  I saw him heading down toward the court as the ESPN cameras showed Izzo heading to the locker room.

Go blue!  Post game wrap-up to follow.  

Thursday, January 15, 2009

2009 Michigan Football Schedule

2 0 0 9
Sept. 26INDIANA* (HC)
Oct. 3at Michigan State*
Oct. 10at Iowa*
Oct. 31at Illinois*
Nov. 14at Wisconsin*