Nothing But ‘Net – Week #22 – 03/28/2022 – Sweet, But Not Elite

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played one game this past week in the NCAA Tournament, and they lost it.  Since the Big Dance is single elimination, they’re done, and the season is over.  They were the #11 seed in the South Region, and they played this game in San Antonio, TX.  On Thursday (03/24/2022), they lost to the #2 seed (#6) Villanova 63-55.  Michigan’s final season record is 19-15 (11-9 in Big Ten).

What Happened?

The #11 seed isn’t even supposed to make it to the Sweet Sixteen, so losing to the #2 seed is not surprising or embarrassing.  In fact, Villanova went on to beat the #5 seed (Houston) in the Elite Eight, and they’re now in the Final Four.

Michigan played Villanova even for most of the game, with just a couple short scoring droughts that cost them the game.  Michigan led (very) early, 5-1, with 18:02 to go, and still led 9-8 at the 14:33 mark, when Villanova started to pull away.  They led by 7 points (18-11) with 10:30 to go in the half, before Michigan clawed their way back.  UM led 22-20 at the 3:58 mark, and the score was tied (22-22) at the 3:42 mark, but then Villanova went ahead for good.  They only led by 3 (31-28) at halftime, but that was as close as Michigan got in the 2nd half.  Villanova kept their lead in the 6-8 point range for the rest of the game, winning by 8.  Michigan missed several point-blank shots that could have gotten them back into the game.  It was very frustrating.

Stats

The stats for the game are just plain sad.  Michigan shot poorly overall (21-for-61 = 34.4%), they shot 3-pointers poorly (6-for-18 = 33.3%), and they shot free throws horribly (7-for-14 = 50.0%).  They won the rebounding battle (41-38), but lost the turnover battle (8-7).  They lost this game with poor shooting, especially in the paint and at the free throw line.

Who Started?

The starters were Eli Brooks, Moussa Diabate, Hunter Dickinson, Caleb Houstan, and DeVante’ Jones.

Who Looked Good?

Dickinson was the leading scorer for Michigan, with 15 points.  He also had 15 rebounds, for a solid double-double.  Unfortunately, he was the main offender in the “missing point-blank shots” category, especially in the last few minutes.  He shot 6-for-16, which is way below his season shooting percentage.  If he had had his normal efficient shooting performance, Michigan would have won.

Brooks was the only other Michigan player in double figures, with 14 points.  He also shot poorly (5-for-14), and he missed his share of layups and short jumpers in crunch time.

Jones had a decent game, with 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Diabate had a decent game, with 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots.

Terrance Williams II hit a big 3-pointer, made both of his free throws, and that was it, for 5 points.

Who Looked Not-So-Good?

Houstan scored Michigan’s first 5 points, all in the first 2 minutes, then he didn’t score again.

Frankie Collins scored 2 points on 1-for-3 shooting.

Brandon Johns, Jr. was worthless out there, with 0 points on 0-for-5 shooting.

Who Else Played?

No one else played.

Who Didn’t Play?

Isaiah Barnes, Kobe Bufkin, Jace Howard, Adrien Nuñez, and Will Tschetter are the scholarship players who didn’t play.

Ian Burns, Jaron Faulds, and Brandon Wade are the players on the scout team who didn’t play.

What Does It Mean?

It was a rollercoaster season for Michigan, with high expectations in October, despair in February, a slim glimmer of hope in the first 2 rounds of the Big Dance, and an unceremonious exit last week.  More about that in the season wrap-up, next week.

What’s Next?

Clean out the lockers.  The season is over.

Check back next week for the season wrap-up, final grades, and a look ahead at next season.

Go Blue!

2022 Michigan Football Season Ticket Holder Survey

The athletic department has sent the following survey to some football season ticket holders. We will discuss this in detail during a future podcast but until then here is the survey.

Note the spelling mistake in the following question responses. This should have been corrected by now.


Note the highlighted question in the next section. It’s probably the most important data point being collected.

Nothing But ‘Net – Week #21 – 03/21/2022 – Sweet Again, Times Five

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this past week in the NCAA Tournament, and they won them both.  They are the #11 seed in the South Region, and they played the first two rounds in Indianapolis, IN.  On Thursday (03/17/2022), they beat the #6 seed (#24) Colorado State 75-63, then on Saturday (03/19/2022), they beat the #3 seed (#5) Tennessee 76-68.  The two wins raise Michigan’s record to 19-14.  They are now in the Sweet Sixteen.

What Happened?

These were two huge wins, especially since Michigan was the lower seed in both games.  It’s a big deal that Michigan is moving on to the Sweet Sixteen, and it’s even more impressive that Michigan has advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in the last five NCAA Tournaments.  No other team in the Big Ten can come close to this achievement.  In fact, since Michigan was the only Big Ten team to reach the Sweet Sixteen last season, no other team is close to five in a row.  Purdue is the only other Big Ten team to make it to the Sweet Sixteen this season.

The other big story this week was Michigan FINALLY breaking “The Pattern”.  Starting with the home Purdue game on 02/10/2022, Michigan had gone W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W.  When they won the CSU game, things didn’t look good for the UT game, but Michigan finally won two games in a row, at the right time.

Both games were close and exciting, and Michigan came from behind in both games to win in the last few minutes.  CSU missed their first 3-point attempt, then made their next four in a row, along with a 2-point shot, and they jumped out to a quick 14-7 lead at the 15:18 mark.  Michigan hung around, and got within 5 points (18-13) with 9:25 to go, when CSU went on a bruising 10-0 run to go up by 15 points (28-13) at the 4:44 mark.  Michigan could have packed it in at this point, but they responded to adversity with poise, and slowly fought their way back.  They outscored CSU 16-8 to close out the half, down 36-29.  Michigan came out hot to start the 2nd half, and went on a 6-2 run to get within 3 points (38-35) at the 18:02 mark.  CSU pushed the lead back up to 6 points (44-38) with 15:27 to go, but Michigan answered with a 7-0 run to take the lead for the first time in a while, 45-44, with 12:53 left.  CSU took the lead back, pushed it up to 4 points, and had their last lead (49-47) at the 11:03 mark.  Michigan went ahead for good, 50-49, with 10:30 to go, pushed the lead up to the 6-8 point range, and made their free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.  It was a solid, impressive win over a good CSU team.

Not many people gave Michigan much of a chance against UT.  Unlike the CSU game, Michigan started this game hot, and led 10-2 at the 17:03 mark.  That didn’t last long, and UT cut the lead to 2 points (10-8) with 15:53 left in the half.  Michigan held onto a slim lead until the 9:36 mark, when UT went ahead, 18-17.  UM went back ahead, then the game was tied a couple times.  Michigan pulled ahead again (24-22) with 6:27 to go, and kept the lead until the 3:02 mark, when UT went back ahead, 31-30.  UT closed out the half with a 6-0 run, to lead 37-32.  Once again, Michigan opened the 2nd half with strong play, and managed to tie the game up (45-45) at the 15:03 mark.  For the next 4 minutes, the lead bounced back and forth, with Michigan up 54-53 with 11:29 to go.  Michigan went cold, and UT got hot, and suddenly UT was ahead 60-54 with 8:27 left.  Once again, Michigan patiently crept back into the game, and tied it up (60-60) at the 5:03 mark.  It was still tied (62-62) with 4:01 left, when Michigan took the lead for good.  Their lead was only 2 points (68-66) with 1:27 to go, but Michigan closed out the game with an 8-2 run, including 6 free throws, to win by 8.  It was a glorious victory over a Top-5 opponent.

Stats

The stats for the CSU game are solid, but not gaudy.  Michigan shot well overall (26-for-48 = 54.2%), they shot 3-pointers poorly (4-for-14 = 28.6%), and they shot free throws very well (19-for-22 = 86.4%).  They won the rebounding battle handily (36-25), but lost the turnover battle (15-11).  They won this game at the free throw line, where CSU only shot 5-for-7.

The stats for the UT game are very similar to the CSU stats.  Michigan shot well overall (27-for-54 = 50.0%), they shot 3-pointers decently (6-for-16 = 37.5%), and they shot free throws well (16-for-20 = 80.0%).  They won the rebounding battle (36-33), but lost the turnover battle (15-7).  They won this game with defense, especially 3-point defense, holding UT to 2-for-18 shooting from deep.

Who Started?

The starters for the CSU game were Eli Brooks, Frankie Collins, Moussa Diabate, Hunter Dickinson, and Caleb Houstan.  Collins started in place of DeVante’ Jones, who missed the CSU game with a concussion.  Jones was back as a starter for the UT game.

Who Looked Good?

Dickinson came to play.  He was Michigan’s leading scorer in both games, with 21 and 27 points.  He was very efficient in both games: 8-for-10 shooting vs. CSU, and 8-for-13 vs. UT.  He contributed a lot more than just points though: He had 6 rebounds and 4 blocked shots vs. CSU, and 11 rebounds (for a double-double) and 4 assists vs. UT.  He even shot 3-for-5 from 3-point range in the UT game.  He was awesome.

Brooks is playing like a 5th year senior who doesn’t want his Michigan career to end.  He was Michigan’s 2nd leading scorer in both games, with 16 and 23 points.  He also had 7 rebounds and 6 assists vs. CSU, and 5 more assists vs. UT.

Diabate had one good game (13 points, 6 rebounds) vs. UT, and one decent game (7 points, 9 rebounds) vs. CSU.

Houstan was one of the heroes of the CSU game (13 points, 3-for-8 shooting from deep), but he was a complete non-factor in the UT game (0 points on 0-for-4 shooting).  His three 3-pointers in the 2nd half of the CSU game got Michigan back in the game when it was slipping away.  It’s too bad he couldn’t get anything going in the UT game.

Collins had one great game (14 points, 6 rebounds) vs. CSU, and one mediocre game (2 points) vs. UT.  He was another of the heroes of the CSU game.  His 14 points were a new career high, and he even hit another 3-pointer, his first since mid-December.  He did a very nice job running the offense in Jones’ absence.  He wasn’t nearly as effective vs. UT.

Terrance Williams II had a quiet game vs. CSU (2 points on free throws), but he was a big reason that Michigan won the UT game.  He hit a huge 3-pointer, but his biggest contribution was a pair of offensive rebound-putback baskets late in the 2nd half, when UT was trying to come back.  Those were very important points.

Who Looked Not-So-Good?

Jones only played 11 minutes in the UT game, all in the 1st half, and only scored 2 points.  He apparently hurt his wrist, and he banged his head against the floor, and that was it for him.

Brandon Johns, Jr. was worthless out there, with 0 points in both games.

Who Else Played?

Kobe Bufkin only played in the CSU game, and scored 2 points on free throws.

Who Didn’t Play?

Isaiah Barnes, Jace Howard, Adrien Nuñez, and Will Tschetter are the scholarship players who didn’t play in either game.

Ian Burns, Jaron Faulds, and Brandon Wade are the players on the scout team who didn’t play in either game.

What Does It Mean?

Last week, we were holding our breath and crossing our fingers, hoping Michigan would be in the Big Dance.  This week, we’re celebrating two solid victories and looking for more in the Sweet Sixteen.  At the beginning of the season, Michigan was ranked #6 and the Sweet Sixteen was taken for granted, but as the season went on and Michigan underachieved, just making the tournament became the new goal.  Now, Michigan is “playing with house money”.  Winning the first round game vs. CSU was the break-even point, and beating UT was gravy.  Any further wins are all beyond what was expected going into the NCAA Tournament.

What’s Next?

This week Michigan continues play in the NCAA Tournament.  As mentioned above, they are the #11 seed in the South Region.  Their next game is on Thursday (03/24/2022, 7:30 p.m. EDT, TBS) vs. the #2 seed (#6) Villanova, in San Antonio (TX).  If they win and advance to the Elite Eight, they’ll play the winner of the (#1 seed) Arizona/(#5 seed) Houston game on Saturday (03/26/2022, TBA, TBS) for a trip to the Final Four.  Here’s the full bracket.

Villanova is currently 28-7 (16-4 in Big East).  During the regular season, they had impressive wins over (#17) Tennessee, (#15) Seton Hall (twice), Creighton, (#17) Connecticut (twice), and (#9) Providence.  They lost to (#2) UCLA, (#6) Purdue, (#2) Baylor, Creighton, Marquette (twice), and (#21) Connecticut.  A couple of those losses were pretty bad: 57-36 to Baylor and 79-59 to Creighton.  So far in the Big Dance, they have beaten (#15 seed) Delaware and (#7 seed) Ohio State.  They have one noteworthy player (Collin Gillespie), but no height (no one over 6’9”).  If Michigan can get the ball inside to Dickinson, he could have a field day.

Note that Michigan has a special relationship with Villanova.  They met in the National Championship game back on 04/02/2018, in San Antonio, and Villanova won 79-62.  Three players from that Villanova team who played in that game are still playing on this season’s team: Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, Collin Gillespie, and Jermaine Samuels.  For Michigan, Eli Brooks is the only player on this season’s team who played in that championship game.  Michigan will be out to avenge that loss.

Michigan has played Villanova since that loss in the championship game, the next season at their place, and Michigan throttled them 73-46 on 11/14/2018.

Check back next week to find out what happened and why.

Go Blue!

Nothing But ‘Net – Week #20 – 03/14/2022 – A Non-Fatal Collapse

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played one game this past week in the Big Ten Tournament, and they lost it.  On Thursday (03/10/2022), they lost to Indiana 74-69 in Indianapolis, IN.  The loss lowers Michigan’s record to 17-14 (11-9 in Big Ten).

What Happened?

First things first: Despite losing in their first game of the Big Ten Tournament, Michigan was still selected to play in the NCAA Tournament, starting this week.  They are the #11 seed in the South Region, which seems about right.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that Michigan collapsed in the last 12:52 of the IU game, although this collapse proved to be non-fatal, since Michigan still made it to the Big Dance.

On paper, this is just another loss in a season full of them.  It was expected to be a close game, and it was.  Michigan was the #8 seed in the tournament, and Indiana was the #9 seed.  Michigan had beaten IU at their place by 18 points back in late January, and UM was favored by 3 points in this game.  Losing by 5 points in a tournament game, that’s not so bad, is it?  Well, it is when you give up a 17-point lead in the last 12:52 of the game, and lose by 5.  The game was close for the first few minutes, and was all tied up (10-10) with 13:54 to go in the 1st half.  Michigan went on a nice 11-0 run, and led by 11 (21-10) at the 8:48 mark.  They kept the lead in the 11-13 point range for the rest of the half, and led by 13 at halftime, 41-28.  IU started the 2nd half strong, and got back within 8 points (43-35) with 18:05 to go.  Michigan promptly regained control, and pushed the lead up into the 13-15 point range.  They kept it there until the 12:52 mark when … they just stopped playing.  At that point, the score was 60-43, and Michigan had been scoring regularly.  They went completely cold, and IU got hot, and the last 12:52 were just plain miserable.  IU went on a 9-0 run to get within 8 points (60-52) with 9:19 to go, then Michigan made 2 free throws to momentarily stop the run.  IU went on another run, this one 11-0, to lead 63-62 at the 5:39 mark.  Michigan made 2 more free throws, for their final lead (64-63) with 4:37 left.  Michigan finally made a basket at the 1:42 mark, to pull within 5 points (71-66), and a 3-pointer at the 0:44 mark to pull within 2 points (71-69), but IU made their free throws to win by 5.

Take a good look at that: from the 12:52 mark to the 1:42 mark (11 minutes and 10 seconds), Michigan only scored 4 points, all on free throws.  In that miserable stretch they did the following on offense:

  • 12:08 – Turnover
  • 11:08 – Missed jumper
  • 10:42 – Missed layup (in the paint)
  • 10:19 – Missed jumper (in the paint)
  • 10:00 – Turnover
  • 09:42 – Turnover
  • 09:01 – Missed jumper (in the paint)
  • 08:59 – Turnover
  • 08:36 – 2 made free throws
  • 07:46 – Turnover
  • 07:13 – Missed jumper
  • 06:39 – Missed jumper (in the paint)
  • 06:28 – Missed 3-pointer
  • 06:27 – Turnover
  • 05:51 – Missed 3-pointer
  • 05:15 – Missed jumper
  • 04:37 – 2 made free throws
  • 04:06 – Missed 3-pointer
  • 03:57 – Missed jumper
  • 03:16 – Missed jumper (in the paint)
  • 03:09 – Turnover
  • 02:19 – Missed 3-pointer

That’s 7 turnovers, 8 missed jumpers, 1 missed layup, and 4 missed 3-pointers, for a total of 13 missed shots in a row.  5 of the 8 of those missed jumpers were in the paint.  It was horrible.

Stats

Not surprisingly, the stats for the game are lousy.  Michigan shot poorly overall (22-for-58 = 37.9%), they shot 3-pointers poorly (6-for-20 = 30.0%), but they did shoot free throws well (19-for-21 = 90.5%).  They won the rebounding battle (34-32), and they tied the turnover battle (12-12).  They lost this game with that 0-for-13 shooting collapse.  Up to that point, Michigan was shooting decently: 20-for-45 = 44.4%.  If they had kept that up, they would have made 5 or 6 shots in that stretch of 13 shots, for 10-12 points, more than enough to win the game.

Who Started?

The starters were Eli Brooks, Moussa Diabate, Hunter Dickinson, Caleb Houstan, and DeVante’ Jones.

Who Looked Good?

Jones was the leading scorer for Michigan, with 18 points on decent shooting (5-for-10).

Brooks scored 17 points, but he didn’t shoot well: 4-for-13 overall, 2-for-5 from 3-point range.

Dickinson had a strong 1st half, with 13 points, but he only had 2 points in the 2nd half, with 15:26 to go.  He disappeared when Michigan needed him the most.

Houstan almost hit double figures, with 9 points.  After going scoreless in the 1st half, he hit three 3-pointers in a row in a 4-minute stretch early in the 2nd half, as Michigan built up the 17-point lead, then he went cold again.  He ended up shooting 3-for-10 overall, 3-for-8 from 3-point range.

Diabate had a lousy game offensively (4 points), but he did haul in 12 rebounds and block 2 shots.

Who Looked Not-So-Good?

Frankie Collins scored 2 points.

Brandon Johns, Jr. scored 4 points.

Terrance Williams II was scoreless.

Who Else Played?

No one else played.

Who Didn’t Play?

Isaiah Barnes, Kobe Bufkin, Jace Howard, Adrien Nuñez, and Will Tschetter are the scholarship players who didn’t play.

Ian Burns, Jaron Faulds, and Brandon Wade are the players on the scout team who didn’t play.

What Does It Mean?

If Michigan had just hung on and beaten IU, they wouldn’t have had to worry about making the NCAA Tournament, but they still managed to sneak in, even with the heartbreaking loss.  Now that they’re in, they need to start winning a few games in a row.  Starting with the home Purdue game on 02/10/2022, Michigan has gone W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L.  In the Big Dance, one loss and you go home.

What’s Next?

This week Michigan is scheduled to play in the NCAA Tournament.  As mentioned above, they are the #11 seed in the South Region.  They’re scheduled to play their first game on Thursday (03/17/2022, 12:15 p.m., CBS) in Indianapolis, IN, against the #6 seed, (#23) Colorado State.  If they manage to win that one, they’re scheduled to play again on Saturday (03/19/2022, TBA, TBA) against the winner of the game between the #3 seed (Tennessee) and the #14 seed (Longwood).  The other high seeds in the South Region are (#1 seed) Arizona, (#2 seed) Villanova, and (#4 seed) Illinois.  Here’s the full bracket.

Colorado State went 25-5 (14-4 in the Mountain West).  They didn’t play many games against ranked opponents, so they don’t have many impressive wins.  They did beat Creighton and St. Mary’s, but they also lost to San Diego State (twice, by 30 and 5), to UNLV (twice, by 14 and 21), and to Wyoming.  They don’t have any noteworthy players, but they do have some height: a 6’10” forward and a 7’1” center.  It’s worth noting that Michigan beat UNLV in Las Vegas in the Thanksgiving tournament, and UNLV beat Colorado State twice.  This is a game that Michigan can win, as long as they don’t have any 11-minute meltdowns.

Check back next week to find out what happened and why.

Go Blue!