Nothing But ‘Net – Week #20 – 04/05/2021 – A Sad End To A Great Season

UMGOBLUE.COM

The (#4) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played one game this past week in the NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis, IN, and they lost it.  On Tuesday (03/30/2021), they lost to the #11 seed (UCLA) 51-49.  The loss leaves Michigan with a record of 23-5.  Michigan’s season is over.

What Happened?

UCLA is a good team, but Michigan is much better, and should have won this game handily.  UM played one of their worst games of the season, and still had a chance to win the game in the final seconds.  Unfortunately, they picked the absolute worst time to go completely cold, and it cost them the game and the chance to move on to the Final Four.  It’s a real shame.

The game started out fairly well, but slowly, with Michigan getting a 7-point lead (11-4) with 10:47 to go in the 1st half.  Michigan still led by 3 points (17-14) at the 6:12 mark, when the momentum shifted.  UCLA went ahead by 3 points (20-17) with 3:01 left, and led by 4 points at halftime (27-23).  They quickly pushed the lead up to 9 points (34-25) with 18:15 to go, then Michigan rattled off 8 points to pull within 1 (34-33).  Michigan actually got the lead back a couple times (43-42 with 7:06 left, and 47-46 at the 4:30 mark), but they missed their last 8 shot attempts, with only a pair of free throws in the last minute.  Several of those shots were wide open, and a couple were layups.  If any one of them had gone in, Michigan could have won the game, or at least forced overtime, but no.

Stats

The game stats are horrible.  Michigan shot terribly overall (20-for-51 = 39.2%), they shot 3-pointers terribly (3-for-11 = 27.3%), and they shot free throws terribly (6-for-11 = 54.5%).  They won the rebounding battle (38-28), but lost the turnover battle (14-8).  They lost this game with terrible shooting.

Who Started?

The starters were Eli Brooks, Hunter Dickinson, Brandon Johns, Jr., Mike Smith, and Franz WagnerIsaiah Livers missed his final game with a broken bone in his foot, so Johns started in his place.

Who Looked Good?

Dickinson was the only Michigan player in double figures, with 11 points.  He had more turnovers (4) than rebounds (2).

Brooks almost hit double figures, with 8 points.  He out-rebounded Dickinson, with 5.

Johns also almost hit double figures, with 8 points.  He was one of the few Michigan players to shoot a good percentage, 4-for-5.

Chaundee Brown, Jr. also scored 8 points, on decent shooting (3-for-5).  He led the team in rebounds (9), and hit 2 of Michigan’s 3 made 3-pointers.

Smith had a miserable day shooting (3 points, on 1-for-7 shooting), but he did a fine job running the offense.  His only basket was Michigan’s other made 3-pointer.  He did miss 2 important free throws right before halftime.

Austin Davis did a good job spelling Dickinson, with 7 points.

Who Looked Not-So-Good?

Wagner had a terrible day shooting (1-for-10 overall, 0-for-4 from deep), but he did have 8 rebounds.

Who Else Played?

No one else played.

Who Didn’t Play?

None of the non-mainstream scholarship players (Jace Howard, Zeb Jackson, Adrien Nuñez, and Terrance Williams II) played.

None of the scout team players (C.J. Baird, Jaron Faulds, Rico Ozuna-Harrison, Brandon Wade, and Luke Wilson) played.

What Does It Mean?

Michigan is done for the season.  It was a sad end to a very good season.  Michigan greatly exceeded pre-season expectations, they made it to the Elite Eight, but they lost a game they should have won.

On the other hand, if they had made it to the Final Four, they probably would have lost to (#1) Gonzaga in the semifinal game.

What’s Next?

Pack up the lockers, the season is over.

Check back next week for the Season Wrap-Up, Final Grades, and A Look Ahead.

Go Blue!