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.
  • Mgoblog.com 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 Hoops.com, 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 NCAA.com 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.

MGoBlue.com will have ticket information later tonight. Game time is TBA. As soon as I find out, I'll post it here. Also on MGoBlue.com, 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.
Mlive.com 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. MGoBlue.com 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 MGoBlue.com. 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 UMHoops.com.

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. Thewolverine.com has all the details in transcript form here.
  • Michigan's Pro Day went well yesterday. MVictors.com 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 umhoops.com, 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.