First – One last little action for the MMQ before we jump into the MMPG:
Presenting the Hot Seat Mascot Champion for 2014:
I had a feeling about Nicky from the get go. Looking forward to seeing her photo at the top of the page until next season!
And They’re Off!
Actually, College Hoops has been going since November, but only the true junkies find time to squeeze a meaningless game in here and there until CFB and the NFL is over…but now that were in the two week Super Bowl “We’re going to stuff so much useless talk, statistics and other garbage down your throat” lull in lieu of actual sports, I’m going to assume that many of you are going to catch some hoops.
And for those of you that already have, you know it’s been an eventful season! Michigan has had its share of ups and downs…really more downs (Ohio State in Columbus was the most recent, un-explainable debacle), but somehow, with bubble-gum and bobby-pins, JB has held the group together and they have posted a 5-2 record in the B1G – so far. I’ll be really impressed if he can match that in the next 7 games and my hopes are not high…but I’m simply not ready to count them out of the NCAA’s just yet….
The reasons why the NCAA is going to be an accomplishment in and of itself: Flu bug has hit Michigan. It made it around to most of the team and still, somehow, Michigan found a way to beat a pesky Northwestern Squad that is more dangerous than their record indicates. And of course Caris LeVert left Crisler on crutches with a season ending foot injury immediately following that game…And last night, starting a myriad of freshmen and a still hobbled Derrick Walton, Michigan pulled off a road victory over a feisty Rutgers team (that somehow – and I’m still trying to figure this one out – beat Wiscy). So, JB’s still got it and I could easily see the argument for him being the best college hoops coach in the State of Michigan.
Yep – I’m ready to go there and willing to take on any Sparty argument from whoever wants to make one…In the immortal words of Al Bundy:
I’m basing it on the last 5 season’s performances (Both B1G and the NCAA Tournament), how many former Wolverines are playing minutes in the NBA and what he’s been able to do this season to date. Anyone want to challenge? Anyone?
The current rag-tag group of kids that were mostly playing high-school ball at this time last season just aren’t going to roll over for anyone. Michigan will continue to be scrappy in every game they play.
Izzo at least has the luxury of having his entire squad available to him and they’re mostly healthy…but they also seem to be having their own problems. A season sweep by Maryland is the latest disaster…and it didn’t have to be as Sparty had Maryland on the ropes at Breslin and then couldn’t seal the deal….Izzo needs a leader on the floor and he doesn’t have one this season…at least not yet. Thrice and Valentine are simply not cutting it…Dawson is a role player. Somebody has to step up.
Sparty fans are pissed and there are rumblings of “NIT” among the faithful. My thoughts: DON’T PANIC YET! There’s still time and games for both these teams and I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: With the addition of Maryland and Rutgers this season, 8 of the 14 B1G teams have a shot with a 0.500 or better B1G record. Sparty just needs to keep on plugging away…
Michigan’s losses to EMU and NJIT are going to hurt them big time, but there’s still hope….slim….but some hope.
A win (somehow?) over Wiscy on Saturday night would be huge, but again, not holding my breath. Sitting on a 12-7 record right now doesn’t leave a lot of room for error… So, IT'S GUT CHECK TIME!!!!
The next 7 games on the schedule???
Wiscy - Home – This one is going to be tough…but at the same time, maybe a true confidence builder? Still….The bettor in me says….LOSE
Nebraska – Home – Miles and the Cornsuckers have not lived up to expectations this season and have disappointed. Should be a WIN…
Sparty – Away – Always a coin flip game and Sparty will NOT forget being swept last season by the Wolverines….LOSE…
Iowa – Home. Swept the buckeyes but then had that inexplicable let down against Wiscy on the road. Still, Imma’ gonna’ say that Michigan somehow beats the Hawkeyes…WIN
Indiana – Away – A dumpster fire. But a dumpster fire with a chip on its shoulder. WIN….maybe…
Illinois – Away. See Indiana. Should be able to WIN…..
Sparty – Home – I’m hoping for the split this season….WIN
So, that would put Michigan at either 16-10 or 17-9 and within a couple of victories of the seemingly mandatory 18 wins needed to make the NCAA. And assuming that they pick up another 4-5 B1G wins, that would make them 9-4 or 10-3 in the B1G. It would be hard to ignore that record even with the EMU/NJIT debacles….
Sparty SHOULD dominate in their next 5 games, and could win 6 out of the 7 games that are next on their schedule . After facing a Nittany Lions team tonight at home (that is winless in the Big Ten), the Spartans travel to Nebraska and Rutgers, are home against Michigan and Illinois and then travel to Northwestern. All winnable. That would make Sparty 8-2 in the B1G and certainly in the mix…
But, it’s the B1G and anything can happen.