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!


Teezie said...

Great recap man, well done. Glad to hear the in-law visit was good. What do you think Michigan has to do closing up the season to solidify a tourney birth? On the contrary, if _______ happens, we are for sure out?

Ross said...

Thanks for the props. Personally, I think they need to win one of these last two games, either at Wisconsin (ideal) or at Minnesota AND win at least one Big Ten Tourney game. This would put their overall record at 20-13 and probably secures a bid. If they can't get one of these two last games, they REALLY need a big run in the tourney, otherwise it's NIT time.