Nothing But ‘Net – Week #01 – 10/31/2011 – Season Preview

Hey, welcome back for another season of Nothing But ‘Net.  Let’s start things right off with a few questions/answers:


Q: What is this “Nothing But ‘Net” thing, and how is it different from the other 5000 University of Michigan men’s basketball sites?


A: Good question!  “Nothing But ‘Net” (NBN) is the longest running (since 1999) UM basketball site on the Web, with a special angle you won’t find anywhere else: the view from the cheap seats, specifically sections 209/210.  The motto for is “By Fans … For Fans”, and NBN is a great example of that.  I’ve been a UM basketball fan since 1974, and I’ve been to almost every home game since then, win or lose, good or bad.  During the season, I write once a week (by noon Monday) about the games from the previous week, but I also look at season-long trends, all from the viewpoint of a fan.  Sure, there are plenty of other UM basketball sites out there, and I read several of them myself (,,, and, but the viewpoint at those sites is “journalist”, with media access.  I write about what I see during the game, as a spectator, a fan, and an usher.  Yeah, I’m working as an usher again, for sections 209 and 210.  If you go to a game, drop by and say “hi”.

Continue reading “Nothing But ‘Net – Week #01 – 10/31/2011 – Season Preview”

Nothing But ?Net – Week #11 – 01/10/2011 – Welcome To The Meat Grinder

Nothing But ?Net ? Week #11 ? 01/10/2011 ? Welcome To The Meat Grinder

Yeah, it was a meat grinder for the Michigan men?s basketball team last week.They played two games against tough teams, and they lost them both.On Wednesday (01/09/2011), they lost at Wisconsin, 66-50, then on Sunday (01/09/2011), they lost in Crisler Arena to (#3) Kansas, 67-60, in overtime.As I said last week, I don?t know which was a tougher task: beating Wisconsin in Madison, or beating the undefeated #3 team in the nation at home.As it turned out, Michigan had a tougher time vs. Wisconsin, but they were both very difficult games.The two losses lower Michigan?s record to 11-5, 1-2 in Big Ten play.

Michigan played two good halves last week; unfortunately, they were in two separate games.They played very well in the first half of the Wisconsin game, and led by 2 points (28-26) at halftime.They controlled the tempo, and made Wisconsin play their game.They managed to push the lead to 4 points (33-29) early in the 2nd half, but then Wisconsin went on a 13-0 run, and the game was over.Once Wisconsin gets a lead in the 2nd half at home, they are virtually unbeatable.The young Wolverines panicked, and the rout was on.

Against Kansas, Michigan played a dismal 1st half (down 25-18 at halftime), but they came back strong in the 2nd half, and managed to force overtime in the last minute of regulation (51-51).They took their first (and only) lead of the game early in overtime (54-51), then Kansas stormed back and dominated the rest of the game.Still, it was encouraging to see UM fight back in the last 11 minutes of regulation, and take Kansas to overtime.

Unfortunately, a loss (or two) is still a loss.It?s nice that Michigan can play a good half against good teams, but they need to play two good halves to beat the big boys.

I?m trying to break my stats habit, but it?s hard.The stats tell the story in both games.Against Wisconsin, the culprit was shooting: UM shot 39.5%, UW shot 47.7%.The rebounding numbers didn?t help: UM was out-rebounded 29-21.In the Kansas game, it was 3-point shooting and fouls that cost UM the game.Michigan shot a miserable 3-point percentage (1-for-10 = 10%) in the 1st half, and it only got a little better in the 2nd half and overtime.They finished shooting 4-for-28 (14.3%).Ugh.The foul situation was the other big factor in the Kansas game: Kansas shot 31 free throws, compared to only 17 for Michigan.That was the difference in the game right there.

Individually, Zack Novak had a very good week.He was one of only two UM players to hit double figures in both games (15 and 12 points), and he was the leading rebounder for UM in both games (5 and 11 boards).That means he had a double-double in the Kansas game.He shot 3-pointers very well vs. Wisconsin (5-for-7), but not so much vs. Kansas (2-for-7).

The other Michigan player who had double figures in both games was Tim Hardaway, Jr., but he had to take a lot of shots to get those points.He had 10 points (on 3-for-10 shooting) vs. Wisconsin, and 19 points (on 5-for-19 shooting) vs. Kansas.He was 2-for-10 shooting 3-pointers vs. Kansas, which really hurt.

Then there was Darius Morris.He had a weak game (8 points) vs. Wisconsin, but came back strong vs. Kansas (16 points).The big problem was that he led the team in turnovers both games, with 4 in each.

Here are complete stats for the Wisconsin and Kansasgames.

?What about the all-important Nothing But ?Net Expectation-O-Meter (NBNEOM)?? you might ask.It stays right where it was last week: ?Meets Expectations?.The Wisconsin and Kansas games were games that Michigan was expected to lose, and they met those expectations.

Speaking of games that Michigan is expected to lose, there?s another one coming right up: on Wednesday (01/12/2011, 6:30 p.m.), Michigan hosts (#2) Ohio State in Crisler Arena.OSU is undefeated (15-0), and they have a really good freshman center (Jared Sullinger), which could be a big problem for Michigan, since UM is a little short on height.

Michigan plays one other game this week: on Saturday (01/15/2011, 8:00 p.m.), they play at Indiana.Now, Indiana isn?t that good this season, but they?re better than they were last season, and Michigan always has trouble playing in Assembly Hall.This is a ?toss up? game, but it?s a crucial toss up game, because Michigan will likely be coming in on a 3-game losing streak.

Go Blue!

Crisler Arena: 5 things that need to be fixed…

Bill Martin’s lasting legacy as Athletic Director is impressive list of facilities built or renovated during his watch.
Football, baseball, softball, and wrestling are among the sports that now have top rate facilities.  Ice hockey has venerable Yost Ice Arena, with some of the most rabid fans in all of college athletics.
Virtually ignored during the building frenzy has been Crisler Arena.
Sure, new lights were installed and a new practice facility is on the way but the facility itself has some serious problems that need to be solved.
I believe that these problem would best be solved by having a crane working at Michigan Stadium “accidentally” knock the place down for the insurance money but what do I know?
Apparently the athletic department has no problem finding $226 million for Michigan Stadium which gets used eight or nine times a year but has to look through the couch cushions to scrounge together $20 million for renovating Crisler that three varsity sports call home.
So basketball is figuratively, and with new renovations to Michigan Stadium literally in the shadow of the football program.  From the steps of Crisler you can gaze on the incredible new football field house, and then glance over to the glorious new softball/baseball complex nestled next to Yost Ice Arena.
What does a revenue sport need to do to get some love?
Here are the things that any renovation need to to address.
1.  Add some character to the place
Crisler Arena has all the character of a K-Mart; bleak and depressing.  It’s the ugly building next to Michigan Stadium. Nothing about it says, Michigan, history or tradition.  It’s design cues echo the utilitarian cookie-cutter stadiums built in the late 1960’s and 70’s that have mostly (thankfully) been replaced.
2.  Lose the top rows
The view from the upper reaches of Crisler  Arena is terrible.  It’s like watching basketball on google earth.  Remove the top 5 or 10 rows and reduce capacity.  Make the venue more intimate.  Bring the crown into the game.
3.  Ditch the cushy seats
The seats at Crisler are nice and comfortable.  Like a movie theater.  They encourage you to stay seated.  Any renovation needs to look at some seats that encourage crowd participation.
4.  Fix the concourses
The concourses need to be opened up with more space and light.  Add more bathrooms.  Improve the display cases- use multimedia to highlight all UM sports and loop Big Ten network footage.
5.  Win
An energized crowd makes up for a substandard facility.  The team needs to be regular participants in March Madness not to mention competing for Big Ten Title.