The (#15) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played three games last week in the EA Sports Maui Invitational tournament, and they won two out of three of them, to move to 5-1 on the season. On Monday (11/21/2011), they beat (#8) Memphis 73-61, on Tuesday (11/22/2011), they lost to (#6) Duke 82-75, then on Wednesday (11/23/2011), they beat UCLA 79-63. As a result, they finished 3rd (out of 8 teams) in the tournament, which is very respectable. It was a very talented field this year, and Michigan’s win over Memphis was huge. Michigan played very well, and it was very encouraging to see, especially after three lukewarm wins over “cupcakes” in Crisler Arena to start the season. UM played pretty well in the loss to Duke, then played another solid game to beat UCLA handily. It was a good tournament.
By Andy Andersen
Saturday the Wolverines prevailed in a very tough battle against OSU at home. Combative, competitive, and closer than it perhaps had to be, “The Game” turned out to be the long sought after signature win that the program has been seeking for several years. Coach Hoke has the best first season record at Michigan since Fielding Yost.
While this win was not as unexpected as Bo’s 1969 win over the hordes of Woody Hayes, and will not resonate at that larger than life level, it will live on even though this was not a top ranked group of Buckeyes, a team of the Century, by any measure. It was a great and entertaining game in its own right.
Appreciation of this win will be a cornerstone for the Hoke era to build on, the capper to a great regular season. It points to a restoration of toughness, of playing the full sixty minutes, of meeting adversity head on, of better than average coaching, of improvement over a season, and team effort. The Buckeye is off our collective Wolverine backs.
The (#17) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games last week, and they won both of them, to move to 3-0 on the season. On Monday (11/14/2011) they beat Towson, 64-47, then on Thursday (11/17/2011) they beat Western Illinois (WIU), 59-55. No, that 2nd score isn’t a typo: they only won by 4. It was part of an underwhelming week. Sure, they won the Towson game by 17 points, but they were actually outscored after the first 10 minutes of the game. They opened with a brilliant 21-0 run to start the game, then played even with Towson for the rest of the game. The WIU game was even worse. Every time UM started pulling away, WIU grabbed the momentum back and made the game close again. Michigan never led by more than 9 points, and WIU had a lead in both halves. Not very impressive.
By Andy Andersen
Saturday the Wolverines threw about everything they had at the Cornhuskers including a fake field goal, a gang tackling hustling defense, special teams causing turnovers while not contributing them, and an aggressive Denard Robinson. The Huskers were unable to convert many third downs, and weren’t successful at that until the third quarter.
Denard Robinson, and Fitz Toussaint performed better than their Husker counterparts Burkhead, and Martinez. They are good, but on this afternoon, they were surpassed. The Wolverines held the ball for 41:13 minutes to The Huskers 18:39. This is just what the Wolverine coaches ordered, and the Wolverines played the game the coaches had envisioned for them in games past, but they had not yet accomplished it. They made Nebraska one dimensional and then compressed that dimension.
Michigan gained 418 yards to the Huskers 260, having a 7 game win streak going in the Big House this season.
Fitzgerald Toussaint had his fourth 100-yard game of the season, and achieved 138-yards on 29 carries, with two TDs. He is displaying the promise he has shown at practice for so long, and there is no question any more whether or not he is the featured back. He has a nice combination of moves, speed and power, and is improving every game. His last TD was an extraordinary run. He was stopped around the line of scrimmage, slid off, cut, and with a burst of speed put it in the end zone. It was a play of great effort and performance.