Saturday, March 14, 2009

Running Diary: Illinois/UM from Friday

Night number two of our Live Blogging here on M&B. Again, apparently Canseco Fieldhouse has the worst internet server to ever be created. So we did this running diary during the game and edited it early this morning. Thanks for the patience.

Alllllllllright!!!! Back for Round Two! Between now and when we finished last nights game, here’s what happened:

  • Rob and Stu were forced to share a bed after I won odds/evens throw-down to win the single.

  • We saw LeBron make a case for defensive player of the year with his block on Jason Richardson.

  • UConn/Syracuse played the game that never ended.

  • Talked to Gus Johnson over beers.

  • Drunk Iowa BTN intern spit all over Stu while trying to start a conversation with us and WOLV-TV

  • I attended a job fair that didn’t take resumes

OK! Good times. Now on to the game…

Crowd has filled in nicely to the Fieldhouse. The fans are 80-20 in favor of Illinois. This feels like a UI home game.

“Queme los barcos”: The UM team comes out of the locker room wearing shirts with this phrase on the back. It means “Burn the ships” and was the message Cortes told his troops before storming the New World. Basically, it was a “leave it on the court” metaphor.

(By the end of the game, I was calling for the team to burn the shirts along with the ship they traveled in).

GAMETIME: Like the show 24, events occur in real time,

17:54 Douglass puts it on the floor and gets called for a 5 second. At least he put it on the floor as opposed to the picking up of his dribble. Of all the players on this team, Douglass has the biggest identity crisis. Scores 20 against UConn, and then disappears down the stretch in the B10 schedule. He plays great defense, and then we don’t hear from him for three straight games. I give up trying to figure this kid out.

16:33 Zack Novak hits the deck and is bleeding. The official tells Beilein “He’s bleeding again.” I swear Novak loses more blood a week than any other player in any sport I’ve ever seen. They really should set up some sort of charity deal with the Red Cross where U of M will donate 100 dollars for every time Novak loses blood on the court. This would be the biggest charitable donation in U of M history. Guaranteed.

15:14 McCamey for three. 7-4 Illini. Anthony Wright into the game for the Wolverines. He attempts his first three and it’s way off. Over/Under Anthony Wright taking 2.5 shots on the next three possessions…or until he feels better about himself.

13:28 Davis with another turnaround over Novak. He is getting whatever he wants off the low block. I’m feeling Déjà vu from last time we saw him, where we made him look like Antonio McDyess 11-9 Illini.

11:40 Douglass for three!!!! Davis answers with a jumper. He looks like Sims last night. This could get ugly real fast.

This is a good time to mention that Michigan is going to be in trouble during the tourney if they face a team with a big front line that can pass (See Memphis or MSU). Right now, they have Novak playing the 4-spot. I know he’s a great shooter, but they NEEEEEEEEED Jevohn Shepherd to be ready come next Thursday. Hell, I’ll take Wright, too. But if they insist on starting four guards against a frontline that all hovers over 6’8, I would suggest everyone save their money and not even book a hotel room for the first round.

10:00 Coach Beilein just called the Illini “not a good rebounding team.” Irony?

9:10 Novak takes a charge underneath the hoop. I’ve seen this call go either way 6 times today in the previous two games played here today. The rule change that needs to happen most is the charge under the hoop. If this happened, Manny Harris would set the record for foul shots in a month.

7:33 Mike Davis has ten points. Anthony Wright back into the game as Merrit knocks down a three. Wright puts a bigger body on Davis. I like this match-up. Maybe not as much as with Jevohn Shepherd, but we are up 22-18. I’m going with it.

5:28 Zack Gibson with his second reverse in as many possessions. Good thing Illinois doesn’t watch film, or else they’d know this is all he does on the low block.

4:22 Heat-check 3 by Gibson. Way long. CJ Lee just said “Don’t leave McCamey! Leave Jordan” in the huddle. Stu said “That’s the first time any one has ever said ‘Don’t help on Jordan!’ in a basketball huddle.”

3:49 Timeout on the floor.

I need to mention quickly that Larry Fitzgerald Sr. is here covering the tournament for his Minnesota newspaper. Fitzgerald Sr. was the subject of a ton of coverage for the super bowl because his son (Larry Jr.) was playing. He said he refused to cheer in the press box if they he scored, in order to not appear biased.

Good to see Larry Sr. holding his journalistic integrity to the highest degree.

…However, it hasn’t stopped him from wearing a Cardinal’s No.11 jersey this whole weekend. Each day. At least it was easy to tell who he was.

2:36 Wright. Shepherd. Lee. Sims. Harris. Lineup combo 102098756 for Coach Beilein this year.

1:19 Meachem on Harris. I’m thinking mismatch. Michigan thinks otherwise and settles for a Novak fade-away three that lands way short.

23.5 Manny with an incredibly awkward looking three point. He shot that as if he was walking a tightrope with one foot in front of the next. Something is not right with this team…

0.00 Illinois misfires at the end of the half, but keeps a one point lead. 25-24 Illini. I’m trying to figure out whether I should be looking for a hotel, or drinking more coffee for the ride home.


Stu has nothing to add. Terrible shooting half. This team almost looks like they won the first game vs. Iowa, and then collectively thought “Uhhh so… what do we do now?” They just look a step slow.

Here is our Halftime exchange with Rob:

Rob: We are playing well!

Stu: Is that sarcasm?

Rob: No, it wasn’t Iowa yesterday but if they play that was in the 2nd half they win.

Stu: They are shooting 9-30!

Rob: Relax. It will work out.

10 minute pause….

Rob: Alright. Well, these stats are worse than I thought.


19:22 Tisdale hits the Illgauskas-patented 16 footer off the high screen and roll. Sims answers with a deuce of his own. 27-26 Illini

16:56 Davis with the full court reception and bucket…Then the steal….and then the dunk. Partisan crowd roars with approval. Bruce Weber is one of those coaches that likes to run the wacky schemes that have you pass up open shot, but also wants to run when he can. Well, they are definitely running. Timeout Michigan. 33-26 Illini.

14:13 Douglass has a two-on-one with Harris cutting to the hoop. Here is my thought process:

GO! Nice steal! He's got Manny on the wing. Take it- wait…

What’s he doing? He’s slowing… He’s not going to sho- NO! #@$%!!!!!!!!!!!

(Missed three)

Uhhhhhh, OK. Five steps more and he’s got Harris on the low block. Wide open.

5 seconds later...

Coach Beilein: "Five more steps for the wide open lay-up!"

See? Me and Coach see eye-to-eye on plenty of stuff.

12:26 Meachem with a dagger three. Manny with the runner that goes too long. Crowd is roaring behind us. It looks as if Illini was the only team to buy second session tickets.

Bill Martin just used his phone to cancel his hotel reservation for tonight.

10:27 Sims with a steal and the forced foul at the other end. Splits the pair. Just notced Jeffrey Jordan has a “Jumpman” tattoo on his entire right shoulder. Jeff, your dad is Michael Jordan. Everyone knows this! This might be the worst tattoo decision I’ve seen in a long time.

9:20 Sims walks after getting good low post presence. Mich looks a step slow and every three is landing short. That’s a sign of tired legs. See Iowa/Mich live blog below.

7:08 Davis has 20 pts and ten boards. I don’t know what they thought was going to happen defensively here, but he can’t miss. This is just unbelievable. If they send Wright out there to guard Davis, Tisdale runs the pick-and-pop with McCamey. They just don’t have the weapons and strength to guard UI at this point.

4:12 Sims for 3 from 19 feet… even though Rob had the call and said it was a 30 footer! Like Belushi giving his speech in Animal House, Rob was in the moment and we are letting it slide. Momentum is starting to swing slightly at this point.

3:29 Sims on the lay-up. Down by 7. UI controls. Here we go.

2:55 Davis squashes that run with the turnaround. Novak tosses it off Sims’ hands and into the back court. Over and Back. This is the basketball equivalent of “blue balls.”

UM Band plays “Living on a Prayer.” Cliché and not necessary.

1:06 Someone just yelled out “What are you doing Hightower?” That’d be great except… Eddie did the first game at noon. Valentine (the ref from this game) probably gets this a lot, but looks nothing like Ed, except for the fact that they are both black. For future reference, Hightower has hair… Valentine has very little of it left.

0.00 Terrible finish. 60-50 Mich loses. Interesting towards the end, but I’m not really happy with how things went. Michigan shot terribly and got very little from both Sims and Harris. We all know how what happens if both those things occur. Leaving the game tonight to head back, as are the kids from WOLV and the Daily.

Best Moment of the Weekend: We have a tie! Getting to meet Gus Johnson over beers at the BTN media party, or getting to say “hello” to Erin Andrews. Media Relations director Bruce Madej got a hug from EA, so this trumps anything WCBN achieved this weekend. Although I got to give props to Gus for taking a couple minutes to chat and let us ask some questions.

We’ll be back next week, hopefully with a full broadcast. Hope you enjoyed the blog, and we’ll have a tourney preview (with a special guest) hopefully later this week.

Until then…

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