Monday, January 27, 2014

Introducing.....The MMPG

I will admit that this is NOT my idea…But after the week Michigan Men’s Basketball had, well, I would be re-miss as a slappy to not capture this event in some fashion!  In fact, I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I didn’t pen something to help remember it.  Basketball is such an up and down sport and I know that there’s a point in time coming where our collective Michigan hearts are going to get ripped out of our chests, but for right now, let’s all just bask in the glow!

I got a phone call from the original SuperFan on Thursday morning of last week as I was running to a meeting.  He suggested the MMPG (Which does not stand for More Miles Per Gallon), the “Monday Morning Point Guard”, and as usual, with any wild and crazy idea, I let it sit there and simmer a little.  Yes, I was ecstatic after the incredible back and forth victory over the Hawkeyes in a game that wore me out just watching it. “Spike” Albrecht was a little dynamo in that one and it brought back memories of the first half against Louisville in the title game last year when he lit the Cardinals up for 17. And I was still on cloud nine from the upset over Wiscy at the "Troll" Center (where the head troll himself is 192-18. Let that sink in for a minute…that’s less than 1 loss a year at home for Wiscy under bo Ryan ed:  small "b" on purpose...there's only one true "Bo")  I thought about putting something together last Friday as a pre-cursor to what I fully expected to be a well fought, but eventual loss for the Wolverines…After all, KENPOM only had Michigan’s chances of winning all three contests against Wiscy - Iowa and Sparty last week at 3.86%.  For the odds people, that means what Michigan just accomplished could only be expected to happen about once in every 25 to 30 tries…

Rumor has it that some MSU fans are trying to convince Rick Snyder to pass a special law with an asterisk on the Michigan win that states, “But that was with Sparty’s two best players sidelined.”  I think I heard that from every Sparty I ran into....

Hey, Sparty!  I have a news flash for you:  Michigan’s three highest offense producers from last year’s team (Burke - the Naismith and Wooden Award winner from the NCAA tournament, Hardaway & McGary) weren’t in this game, either!  And guess what?  Michigan’s offensive Points Per Possession (PPP) has actually increased this season!
Also – and this is rich – I ran into one Sparty fan yesterday that simply said, “Well, that’s the one (game) we’d prefer to lose.  You know, winning later in the season is more important that winning now.  So we’d rather beat you at your place later.”    Huh….and here I was thinking that as a team, wouldn’t you always try to win both games, the home and the away???  A text I received during the Sparty – OSU football game immediately popped into my head and it was,

“You can’t fix stupid…”

But I decided to keep that comment to myself.  And I also kept the fact that Michigan is 3-2 against Sparty hoops in the last 5 tries...Hee-hee...
How big of a deal was this?  Iowa was apparently the last team to pull off the feat of defeating 3 top 10 teams in 1986-87.  And that got me to thinking about who might have been the 3 top 10 teams that the Hawkeyes beat…And I started remembering Gary Grant, Roy Tarpley and the last Big 10 Outright regular season champs….So I did some digging because like I say, my basketball brain isn’t as good as my football brain. 

It turns out, we didn’t owe Iowa a payback as the three top 10 teams Iowa beat in succession that season were Indiana, Purdue and Illinois in roughly the same week (in January) as Michigan.  Iowa then went on to become the number 1 ranked team in the land!  And guess who upset the Hawkeyes a mere week and a half later when they came to Ann Arbor?  Yep…The Wolverines!  (Of course, the Suckeyes managed to upset them first, but still!)  In fact, I remember being at that game that season!  It was a great win....
However, I don’t think that’s (ranked #1) going to happen to Michigan this week as they were ranked 21st going into Saturday and Iowa was a top 10 team (ranked 4th in 86-87) so it was a lot easier walk to make Iowa the number 1 team at that time….
Anyway, Stuaskas, Walton, everyone played out of their collective Maize and Blue minds on Saturday and shot the lights out (57.8% - in case you were wondering).  They hit the big shots when they needed to and, most importantly, they made their charity stripe shots when they needed to!!!  Yes, that kind of shooting can't last forever and eventually, I wouldn't mind seeing this team develop a teensy, tiny bit more defense, but I will take what I'm seeing right now and simply be thankful!

I have to give it up to McGary, too.…that kid cracks me up and got the nation abuzz with his coaching white board advice late in the 2nd half with about 4 minutes left:

“Win The Game!”
I love it!  That’s truly what it boils down to, doesn’t it?
Hail to the Victors and Go Blue! 
But remember:  There’s still a TON of Basketball that need’s to be played!

NOTE:  The Lunardi Bracketology Link is back along with SBNaion's Bracket Tracker and Sports Reference College Basketball Statistics...for the geeks out there among you. Those can all be found as clickable links at the top of the page!  That way, you know, you don't have to go searching on your own.  Also - If there's a link you'd like to see that I don't have, let me know and I will consider adding to the page!

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