The Big Ten season started last week, and there were some surprising results.
The (#20) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played one game last week, and they won it, to improve their record to 10-2 on the season, including 5 wins in a row. On Thursday (12/22/2011) they beat Bradley 77-66, in Crisler Arena. Coming in, Bradley looked to be the final “cupcake” in a series of three cupcakes, but they put up quite a fight.
The final margin of victory looks pretty comfortable, but for first 30 minutes it was a seesaw battle. Michigan opened up a few small leads in the first half (25-19 with 8:32 to go, 31-26 with 3:45 to go), but Bradley kept coming back, and tied the game (33-33) at halftime, on a long 3-pointer at the buzzer. The crowd and the Michigan team seemed deflated, and things looked dicey for the second half. With 18:05 to go in the game, Bradley was ahead (38-36), but that was their last lead. The game was tied 4 more times, and Michigan never led by more than 3 points until their big run, but once UM pushed the lead past 3 (54-49, with 11:02 to go), it was over. The Wolverines went from a 52-49 lead with 12:00 left to 71-56 with 6:21 left, a 19-7 run in just over five and a half minutes. It was a very exciting run, with a couple steals, a couple dunks, and a couple 3-pointers mixed in. Bradley had been playing with good composure, answering every Michigan basket with one of their own, but once the Michigan run started, they panicked, which cost them the game.
The Big Ten season starts next week, before the New Year again. I still can’t get used to league games before the new year, but I guess it’s a permanent thing. Once again, there are 18 conference games, but now there are 12 teams in the Big Ten, so the scheduling is a little different, again. I kind of wished that the Big Ten had applied the Leaders/Legends divisions to other sports besides football, especially basketball, but they didn’t, so it’s just a big 12-team league. The new kid on the block (Nebraska) isn’t very good at basketball, so the addition of a 12th team doesn’t change the overall power structure much.
Some day, sooner rather later, we will look back and wonder how the NCAA lasted as long as it did.
The NCAA is a gang whose members split up the loot generated from basketball and football to curry favor with alumni and pay for their non-revenue sports programs.
As long as the member institutions played by the rules, most everyone was happy.
But the jig is up.
The (#20) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games last week, and they won both of them, to improve their record to 9-2 on the season, including 4 wins in a row. On Tuesday (12/13/2011) they beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff (UAPB), 63-50, then on Saturday (12/17/2011) they beat Alabama A&M (AAMU), 87-57. Both games were in Crisler Arena, and both teams are members of the mighty Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC).
Even though the score of the UAPB game looks pretty close, it was really a 25-point win that turned into a 13-point win in the last 90 seconds. The point is that both games were blowouts against a couple “cupcakes”. Michigan has had a problem with 2nd half letdowns when they have a big lead at halftime against inferior competition, so it was great to see them keep the throttle down for the whole 40 minutes vs. AAMU. UM’s lead continued to grow for the whole game, and even the benchwarmers played well enough to keep the lead around 30 points.