Saturday, January 17, 2009

1883 Days

....That's how long its been since Michigan beat OSU in Football.  The number was spray-painted on a bed sheet and waved in the waining minutes of the 65-58 loss to the Buckeyes.  It was a sign that was displayed proudly during tonight's game by OSU's fans that had made the trip.  These same fans stayed well past the final buzzer, singing "Carmen, Ohio" and spelling the four letters that sting in ears of Wolverine fans.  On the same day that Michigan lost to OSU in "The Dual" (Michigan's head-to-head competition with OSU at the indoor track building) and then proceeded to lose to the Buckeyes in Baskteball, the sign and the singing were a reminder of how this year has gone for Wolverine athletics.

As for the actual game....This game probably would have been a lot more lopsided than the final score showcased if OSU hadn't gotten a bad case of ADD and strayed from the gameplan.  Here's a few questions this game left up in the air:

Why did Thad Matta take his foot off the gas?  Matta made a great move my inserting Dallas Lauderdale and BJ Mullens into the line-up at the same time around the 10 minute mark in the first half.  The Wolverines went to the 1-3-1 zone, playing Gibson with four guards (Harris, Douglass, Grady, and LLP).  The Buckeyes then went on a run, throwing three  quick offensive series consisting of alley-oops and drop-pass dunks to both Lauderdale and Mullens.  Then, Matta stopped going down low and totally went away from that strategy.  In fact, Lauderdale only played 8 minutes in the second half, after playing 13 in the first, getting four points and leading the team in rebounds (4 boards).  Thad Matta let Michigan back into this game and might have changed the course of this game had he gone with a bigger line-up.

Where has Stu Douglass been?  Stu Douglass returned to the sharp-shooter we saw earlier in the year, scoring 12 points from beyond the arc.  He still took one or two ill-advised threes, but otherwise played nicely and within the offense.  Welcome back.

Why did Manny quit going to the rim?  Harris drove to the hoop three times in the first 5 minutes, getting fouls on two of the attempts.  This strategy was working well through the game.  But after there was a no call during the first four minutes of the 2nd half on one of his drives, this strategy stopped.  Manny did the same thing in the Wisconsin game: He got discouraged and it threw him off his game.  This has to change if the Wolverines are to be successful against teams that decide to throw the zone at U of M.

Is this the end of Michigan's newest streak in the rankings? Yes
Are the next two against PSU and NU must wins? Definitely

Where do we go from here? Michigan needs to regroup and put this week behind them.  DeShawn Sims needs to become more assertive in the offense and needs to find his shot.  If he and Manny can get back on track (along with the emergence on Zack Novak this past week with his hustle plays and rebounding) Michigan should put themselves in good position going into the last week of January.


No comments: