Nothing But ‘Net – Week #20 – 03/11/2019 – Oh Well…

The (#7) University of Michigan men’s basketball team only played one game last week, and they lost it. On Saturday (03/09/2019), they lost at (#9) Michigan State 75-63. The loss leaves Michigan with a final regular season record of 26-5 (15-5 in the Big Ten). Michigan finished in 3rd place in the league.

Time for more Questions & Answers:

Q: Oh well?

A: Yeah, oh well. Thanks to Purdue’s unexpected loss at Minnesota on Tuesday, the Michigan/MSU game was for a share of the Big Ten title, and Michigan lost that chance. It would have been great to beat MSU on their home floor for Senior Night on national TV and grab a share of the Big Ten title, but it didn’t work out. Fortunately, there are still other goals out there for Michigan to aspire to: a 3rd consecutive Big Ten Tournament title, and a national title.

Q: So, what happened?

A: Michigan played a good, solid game for the first 26 minutes of the game, then fell apart for the last 14 minutes. UM led by 12 points (35-23) with 3:12 left to go in the 1st half, but MSU cut the deficit in half by halftime (35-29). Michigan stretched the lead to 8 points (48-40) with 13:57 left, then went stone cold. Over the next 8 minutes, MSU went on a devastating 25-4 run that put the game out of reach (65-52 with 5:58 left). Michigan never got any closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

Q: How were the game stats?

A: Not very good. Michigan shot pretty poorly overall (25-for-62 = 40.3%), they shot 3-pointers fairly well (8-for-22 = 36.4%), and they shot free throws well (5-for-7 = 71.4%). They were absolutely crushed on the boards (46-20), but they won the turnover battle (5-12). MSU outscored UM from the free-throw line 23-5. Along with the 26 rebound edge, UM stood no chance.

Complete stats here.

Q: Who looked good for Michigan?

A: A few players had a good game:

  • Ignas Brazdeikis had a good game, until he fouled out 5:10 left. He scored 20 points, including 3-for-3 shooting from 3-point range.
  • Jordan Poole was the only other Michigan player in double figures, with 15 points. He didn’t shoot very well: 6-for-15 overall, 3-for-7 from deep.
  • Jon Teske almost hit double figures (8 points), and did his best defending MSU’s smaller, more agile post players.
  • Eli Brooks had one of his better games of the Big Ten season, with 5 points, including a 3-pointer.

Q: Who looked not-so-good for Michigan?

A: Everyone else:

  • Zavier Simpson had his worst game in a while, when UM needed him the most. He scored 6 points on terrible shooting: 3-for-13 overall, 0-for-3 from deep. He usually plays good defense, but he couldn’t slow down MSU’s Cassius Winston (23 points).
  • Isaiah Livers started in place of Charles Matthews again, and he had a mediocre game: 5 points on 2-for-6 (1-for-4 from deep) shooting.
  • Colin Castleton was the backup center again this game, and he didn’t do much: 2 points in 9 minutes.
  • David DeJulius played 7 minutes, and scored 2 points, on 1-for-5 shooting.
  • Brandon Johns, Jr. played 13 minutes, and missed his only shot.

Q: Who else played this week?

A: Coach Beilein played a couple bench players in the last minute: Austin Davis and Adrien Nuñez. Neither of them attempted a shot.

Q: What did we learn this week?

A: We learned that Michigan still can’t deal with adversity. It’s been a problem all season. This team has the talent to beat anyone in the country, but the mental part of the game is what trips them up. When the going gets tough, especially on the road, Michigan often folds.

Q: What’s next for Michigan?

A: Michigan plays in the Big Ten Tournament this week, in Chicago. As one of the top four seeds, Michigan gets a double bye, and begins play in the quarterfinals on Friday (03/15/2019, 9:30 p.m. EDT, BTN) against the winner of the game on Thursday between (#6 seed) Iowa and the winner of the game on Wednesday between (#14 seed) Northwestern and (#11 seed) Illinois.

If Michigan wins on Friday, they advance to the semifinal round Saturday (03/16/2019, 3:30 p.m. EDT, CBS) against the winner of Friday’s game between (#2 seed) Purdue and the winner of Thursday’s game between (#7 seed) Minnesota and (#10 seed) Penn State.

The two top seeds on the other side of the bracket are (#1 seed) Michigan State and (#4 seed) Wisconsin, and the championship game in on Sunday (03/17/2019, 3:30 p.m. EDT, CBS).

Michigan has won the last two Big Ten Tournament championships in a row, for an 8-game winning streak. They are seeded much higher this season than they have been the last two seasons. We’ll see if that helps.

The complete bracket is here.

That’s it for this week. Check back next week to see how Michigan did.

Go Blue!