Nothing But ‘Net – Week #10 – 01/02/2012 – A Promising Start

Happy New Year!

The (#18) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games last week, and they won both of them, to improve their record to 12-2 (2-0 in the Big Ten) on the season, including 7 wins in a row.  On Thursday (12/29/2011) they beat Penn State 71-53, then on Sunday (01/01/2012) they beat Minnesota 61-56.  Both games were in Crisler Arena.  This is a very promising start to the Big Ten schedule.

The Penn State win was easy and convincing, but Minnesota put up quite a fight.  PSU really only has one good player (Tim Frazier), and he got his points, but the rest of the team is pretty weak.  After PSU took an early 5-4 lead, UM went on a quick 7-0 run to go ahead 11-5, and they never trailed again.  The lead got as large as 16 points in the 1st half, and 22 points in the 2nd half, before PSU got a little closer (18 points) at the end.  It was an easy win.  Not so in the Minnesota game.  At the first media timeout, Minnesota was up 6-1.  That’s one point in 4+ minutes of “action” for Michigan.  Not good.  Michigan tied the score at 6-6, then again at 11-11, before they finally got their first lead, 13-11, with 9:16 left in the 1st half.  Once again, Michigan never trailed again, although Minnesota did tie the game at 35-35 in the 2nd half, and get within one point (57-56) with 2:08 left in the game.  Michigan made some clutch shots and grabbed some crucial rebounds, and managed to hang on for the win.  It was very exciting.

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Nothing But ‘Net – Week #09 – 12/26/2011 – A Dangerous Cupcake, And First Trimester Grades

The (#20) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played one game last week, and they won it, to improve their record to 10-2 on the season, including 5 wins in a row.  On Thursday (12/22/2011) they beat Bradley 77-66, in Crisler Arena.  Coming in, Bradley looked to be the final “cupcake” in a series of three cupcakes, but they put up quite a fight.

The final margin of victory looks pretty comfortable, but for first 30 minutes it was a seesaw battle.  Michigan opened up a few small leads in the first half (25-19 with 8:32 to go, 31-26 with 3:45 to go), but Bradley kept coming back, and tied the game (33-33) at halftime, on a long 3-pointer at the buzzer.  The crowd and the Michigan team seemed deflated, and things looked dicey for the second half.  With 18:05 to go in the game, Bradley was ahead (38-36), but that was their last lead.  The game was tied 4 more times, and Michigan never led by more than 3 points until their big run, but once UM pushed the lead past 3 (54-49, with 11:02 to go), it was over.  The Wolverines went from a 52-49 lead with 12:00 left to 71-56 with 6:21 left, a 19-7 run in just over five and a half minutes.  It was a very exciting run, with a couple steals, a couple dunks, and a couple 3-pointers mixed in.  Bradley had been playing with good composure, answering every Michigan basket with one of their own, but once the Michigan run started, they panicked, which cost them the game.

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Big Ten Report – Preview (12/26/2011)

The Big Ten season starts next week, before the New Year again.  I still can’t get used to league games before the new year, but I guess it’s a permanent thing.  Once again, there are 18 conference games, but now there are 12 teams in the Big Ten, so the scheduling is a little different, again.  I kind of wished that the Big Ten had applied the Leaders/Legends divisions to other sports besides football, especially basketball, but they didn’t, so it’s just a big 12-team league.  The new kid on the block (Nebraska) isn’t very good at basketball, so the addition of a 12th team doesn’t change the overall power structure much.

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