Monday, March 8, 2010

Basketball - Anyone????

I normally don't post on Basketball. There are a multitude of reasons, but the main one is I am not able to watch every game. And for that reason, I feel it's unfair of me to critique a team or a coach without the benefit of me seeing each and every attempt that is made to add a W to the win column. I read a lot about them, but suffice to say everyone has their own opinion....

However, I feel it necessary to make one comment after watching what can only be described as a "debacle" yesterday in East Lansing. This was the last conference game for two of Michigan's (and Beiline's) best players - Sims and Harris. I tuned in specifically to see if they could some how pull off the same magic they found at Crisler when the Amaizing Blue took Sparty to the last second and if there had been a lay-up that would have found the rim, there would have been a mass celebration in Ann Arbor. With that image in mind, I watched.

And what I saw can only be described as borderline pathetic. We were out hustled, out played, out sized (which I know isn't entirely Beeline's fault) and pretty much out shot every step of the way. The Beeline experiment, while producing fruit last year by making the NCAA Tournament, has failed miserably this year. The team has simply not looked good. And Beeline, for lack of a better term, has failed to respond accordingly with the talent he has.

I am not a basketball expert. But I can tell you just by watching the few games I saw this year that the team is not shooting the same way they shot last year, especially 3 pointers. A quick check of that stat confirmed my suspicions this AM. Everyone, to a man, is shooting worse this year. But is it because of the individual or is the game plan on how to "stop" Michigan out there? Deny the 3 and they don't have anything else.

If I can recognize this as a casual observer, shouldn't Beeline have been able to see the same thing and design something that would get premium shots with the talent you have that isn't a 3 pointer? Something to generate a small semblance of offense? You have to keep the other team honest and frankly, Michigan failed to do that. Sparty simply owned us on both ends of the court. Sparty crashed the boards and without any size on Michigan's line up, they dominated. Granted, with injuries and lost recruits, Beeline cannot be entirely blamed for the size issue...He saw the exposure and did everything he could to shore it up, but it just didn't work out. And in the Big 10, size matters.

I don't know how far away this program is from a consistent top 3 or 4 finish in the Big 10. Years, probably. If yesterday's result is any indication. But until the stranglehold of Sparty, The Cheeseheads and Purdue have on the top 3 spots is broken, Michigan is a 2nd tier program that probably won't see the NIT this year. Yes, there is still the Big 10 tournament, but come on, who are we kidding?

So, where does that leave this team next year and in the future? Can Beeline create the same atmosphere here that Izzo enjoys at MSU? Is it possible? Can the tide turn at this once proud basketball institution and can it make it's way back up to the nation's elite?

All questions without answers...of course....

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