Monday, February 24, 2014

Michigan SWEEPS Sparty!!!


It’s Great to be a MICHIGAN WOLVERINE!!!
I wish I could summarize everything I was feeling yesterday as that game developed from the dreaded, “Oh no…not another slow start” to the complete and utter satisfaction of watching a tired, slow and thoroughly beaten Jolly Green Giant team go down for the 6th time in their last 8 attempts to the Wolverines!  When asked what the victory meant for Michigan, Beilein’s words were music to every Michigan fan’s ears, “Michigan Basketball is BACK!”
I think it was pretty clear to everyone in Crysler and those watching at home when Stauskas answered a Harris “Hope and Prayer” bank shot three pointer with a much more authoritative “Nothin’ But Net!” three at the other end.  In fact, when Stauskas got hot (21 of his 25 coming in the 2nd half)….Yeah, we knew.  And Sparty knew, too.  That Stauskas 3 over the head of Harris was the shot that really took it out of them.  The look on Harris’ face pretty much said it all.  And the look on Izzo’s face was not one of satisfaction or even, “Hey, we’re still in this game!”  It was one of, “Who are these guys in the Maize and Blue and this has to be the worst display of Green Slime basketball I’ve seen since the last time we played these guys!”   And everyone was healthy!!  What gives?
I could go on with all of the blown calls and Sparty luck that this game seemed to have, but in the end, none of the peripheral noise could stop the iron will of Stauskas, LeVert, Walton, RGIII, Irvin, Spike (he led the 10 point comeback in the 1st half with a big 3-pointer) and even Morgan and Horford more or less said, “Uh-Uh.  Not today.  Not in the House that Cazzie Built.”  In fact, my hat is off to Beilein as he proved to be the better coach, too!  Back door screens?  When was the last time you saw Michigan do THAT?  And those were planned, folks.  You don’t make that kind of play up on the fly….
Hee-hee!!!  HAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!
He who laughs last laughs best!  Granted, there’s at LEAST 1 more opportunity that more than likely exists that these two teams meet again (either the B1G Tournament or the NCAA’s) and it’s incredibly difficult to beat anyone 3 times in one season….But OH WOULD THAT BE SWEET!
A Season Sweep?  Fuhgeddabout it!
Winning the B1G Regular Season?  Yeah…about that.  Michigan now has a 1 game lead and is favored in each of its last 4 remaining games, but when you do the math and multiply the probabilities out, well, there’s a really big chance they lose 1 contest….somewhere.  I can’t stomach a loss in ANY of those games based on the fact of who’s left:  Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota, and IU.  Any loss to that bag of trash would hurt.  The good news:  Sparty is even LESS likely to win out from here.  So, there’s that. 

Viewing Notes:  CBS is fun to watch a game on!!!  Gotta love Raftery.  ”Payne in the Rear for Sparty when he misses those free throws??”  “Valentine is breaking my heart?”  For an old coot, he’s hilarious.  And Verne Lundquist stating he was getting the “Happy Gilmore Treatment” from Stauskas the night before had to be classic! 
Sparty:  Sparty and the Sparty Fan collective is in full “MARCH IS THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS!” mode!!!  And, we now KNOW who DOESN’T want to win the B1G!!!  As referenced earlier, Sparty simply doesn’t look like they want to win very much anymore…whether this is the break that Izzo team’s take during the regular season before their big “March Madness” run remains to be seen, but they have clearly dealt themselves a SEVERE blow when it comes to winning the B1G out-right (Yes, somehow, that’s still mathematically possible.. I know, don’t ask me, either).  As much as I LOVE to beat Sparty, I want Sparty to do well and maintain the “image” of the conference.  They are our own little “dook” in the B1G and gives everyone that has to play them a little extra pride to say, “We kicked their butt!”   But when they suck as bad as they are sucking right now (1-2 in their last 3 in mid-February with a lone victory over hapless Purdon’t), well, it does make one scratch his head and wonder if Izzo’s lost a step.  With the schedule as tough as anyone’s in the last three games, it’s not looking good to win out.  And where is Sparty’s Floor Slapping “D”???  My guess for Sparty?   Practice is kicked up a notch.  No more coddling injuries.  Little Apple(ing) better get his crap straightened out.  (You could make an argument that Apple is the best weapon Michigan has on Sparty’s team!) And the rest of Sparty is going to find out what the wrath of Izzo can look like when the Iz-Troll gets angry.  I’m sure they are still thinking win out and win the B1G Tournament and there’s a shot…
Wiscy:  Moving right on up in the seeding in both the B1G tourney and the NCAA.  Wiscy is a big fan of whoever is playing Sparty right now after taking care of Iowa and making 2nd through 5th place in the B1G a huge log jam.  But Wiscy right now holds all the tie-breakers and would get the #3 seed in the B1G Tournament if it was seeded today. 
Iowa: How is it that Michigan is the ONLY B1G team to have lost on Iowa’s home court this season?  Sparty, The Suckeyes and Wiscy all beat the Black Birds on their floor….I had Iowa as a team that was trying to find its way into the NIT, but I’m starting to really believe it now.  They could help their own fate with a win in East Lansing….
ohio:    Taking care of business, but the hapless suckeyes and a lost Aaron Craft are not looking like a strong tournament contender come March…
NEBRASKA:  Nebraska as it stands right now, in my belief anyway, is in the NCAA Tournament and they have bumped the Gophers out.  Shocking for a team that was picked to finish dead last in the B1G!!!  Congrats!
Minnesota:  I don’t know what to say here.  RPI and big wins against non-conference opponents in the pre-season had everyone taking notice…Now, they’re a team praying that the RPI keeps them in the selection committee’s sights come selection Sunday.  I’m not even sure that 2 wins in the B1G tournament saves them….They probably have to win it.
Indiana:  Puuuuke…….Nuff Said. 
NCAA Tournament Locks:  Michigan, Sparty, Wiscy, ohio, Iowa,
Locked up, avoiding Dayton and needing a couple of wins:  NEBRASKA
Last B1G Teams In:  Minnesota – assuming they win out – and I don’t think they can….
Wishing they had one or two more victories right now or hoping for a final  3-4 game run or B1G Tournament Victory:  NO ONE!!!
Roaming around waiting for any other sport to start:  PSU, NWU, IU, Illinois and Purdue
Getting down to the proverbial “Nitty Gritty” and the chips are getting stacked in front of the big boys and the other little guys are scrambling for spots. 
Right now, the 4 number 1 seeds will be:
  1.  Florida (My new “first 1 seed to lose in the tournament” team)
  2. Wichita State (Haven’t lost since last year’s Final Four)
  3. Arizona – Another 1 seed that might not make it out of the first weekend to the Sweet 16….
  4. Syracuse  (More on the Boeheim thingy in a minute….and I know, two losses in a single week and I still have them as a 1 Seed?  Well, who else do you move up?)
The 2-4 seeds, in particular order because it DOES matter as we get closer:
2 Seeds:        Dook, Kansas, San Diego State, Creighton
3 Seeds:        Michigan, Kentucky, Louisville, sparty
4 Seeds:        St. Louis, Villanova, Virginia, TEXAS
I know, Texas got creamed at Kansas…but that was kind of expected. Still Texas is my last 4 seed in…Team most likely to move up to a 1 when any of the 1 seeds lose again:  Dook.  That was a big win for the K-troll over the Orange Saturday.  The Bilikens are probably underseeded, but I have no idea who to move down from the 3 line at this moment….(Sparty?)  Kansas is a very close 2nd in the 1 Seed move up potential as is “Whoever” wins the B1G is going to be in the next best spot to grab a Number 1 seed, even though Michigan is in the driver’s seat right now and that would be a HUGE move from where I currently have them (a 3 seed) to a number 1.  I think if Michigan can win the B1G outright AND win the B1G Tournament, you’d have a VERY compelling argument that the committee couldn’t ignore for a Michigan 1 seed…But let’s get the rest of the season out of the way, first.
Read Lunardi or the SBNation Bracket Tracker if you’re interested about the last teams in…I’m focusing on who has a real shot at winning the NCAA by sticking with the top 12 teams….
The State of the Game
Just last Monday the MMPG made a gripe about the refereeing this season and stated that the “charge” in college hoops is one of if not the most mysterious call in all of basketball, if not all of sports.  I had several discussions this week with some of you about that comment and there was an argument for pass interference in football, but the charge seems to be the one that everyone agrees is called the worst.  And I think it’s due to the fact that it’s so obvious when it’s wrong!
There was a TERRIBLE call against Morgan yesterday in the 2nd half for a block that should have been a charge against Sparty.  The referees IMMEDIATELY called a “make-up” foul on the other end and even Izzo laughed and said down to Beilein, “So, we’re EVEN??”  I get that ref’s blow calls and that make-up calls happen to appease those that are on the receiving end of the bad call.  But it still sucks!!!
What happened in the Duke-Syracuse game was, as Boeheim put it, “A Travesty.”  But you had to watch the ENTIRE GAME TO KNOW WHY!  About mid-way through the 2nd half, Jabari Parker literally ran over an Orange defender that had been planted for, oh, I dunno, a week or so in his defensive position, and the BLOCK was called!  Jimmy kept his cool, bit his tongue, gave the ref a quizzical look and tilt of the head and figured he easily had a make-up call coming.  And as a fan, I figured he had one coming, also.
Then, the game ending “Charge that could have easily been a Block OR a no call” happened and JB lost it – as have a million other coaches in Cameron Arena based on the incredibly “Lucky” officiating calls that dook seems to get there.  And frankly, I would have, also.  Not that I like Boeheim and I don’t respect the guy that much (In fact, I hate a lot of people with the initials JB – Justin Beiber, Jack Black, Jimmy Boeheim), he immediately moved into the people I like WITH the initials JB (James Bond, John Belushi, Jason Bourne, and Jessica Biel).  It was a HORRIBLE call considering the call he HAD TO EAT earlier in the game!  I understand that calls aren’t always consistent, but the refs need to balance stuff out….and frankly, these guys did a lousy job.  Jimmy gets the Double –T and gets tossed.  Was it wrong for JB to storm the court and get tossed?  I don’t think so.  Jay Bilas thought it was, but I’m finding myself dis-agreeing more with that guy, also. 
So, is it fixable?  Yeah, I think it is and your MMPG is here with a really simple thought:  In the last 30 seconds of any game, any block or charge should have the whistle blown (WITHOUT A CALL!  I don’t want to have to “reverse” anything!) and the play should be reviewed.  There’s been a foul, we just don’t know what it is yet. THEN, after seeing it in slo-mo, make the call.  It slows the game down and removes the human element, but at this point, I would rather see it called correctly.  This of course will never happen, and controversy will continue to be part of the college basketball landscape for years to come.
Syracuse @ Maryland (Go B1G!!)  (7:00)   - Can the Terps make it 3 losses in a row for JB and the Orange?
Oklahoma @ Kansas (9:00)
Okie State @ TCU (7:00)

VT @ dook (7:00)
Iowa @ Gophers (7:00)
Gators @ Vandy (7:00)
IU @ Wisct (9:00)
Michigan @ Purdue (7:00) (BTN)
WVU @ Iowa State (8:00)
Cal @ Arizona (9:00)
Ohio @ PSU (7:00)
Iowa @ IU (9:00)
Go see a High School Game!
Cincin @ u-Conn (12:00)
Louisville @ Memphis (2:00)  Will this be the beard shaving game?
LSU @ Florida (4:00)  Gators are gonna lose one in the regular season somewhere….
Illinois @ Sparty (4:00)
Texas @ Oklahoma (4:00)
Syracuse @ Virginia (4:00)
Gophers @ MICHIGAN (6:00)
Wiscy @ PSU (noon)
Ohio @ IU (4:00)
Purdue @ Iowa (2:00)

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