Monday, February 12, 2018

Feast Or Famine

First – I’m tired of blowing and shoveling snow.  I’m done with winter. 
Spring can start any time at this point. 
Michigan didn’t start out in a hole for the first time I can remember in a long time.  In fact, Michigan shot the lights in the first half (64%) and took a 22-point lead into halftime and the hapless Badgers looked even worse than that gap would lead you to believe. 
Unfortunately, there was a 2nd half. 
And Michigan decided to check out for about 5 minutes in 2nd half and Wiscy closed what had been a 25-point lead down to a single digit deficit.  I was sweating profusely at that point and couldn’t help but remember the collapse in Columbus and started thinking that red teams are the bane of Michigan’s existence this season.  I would prefer to be in a bracket without any red teams come NCAA Tourney time.
Anyway, the comeback didn’t succeed but Wiscy extended the game hoping Michigan would have trouble at the charity stripe.  They didn’t, thankfully, and Michigan did something that’s only happened one other time since 2000:
They won at the Troll, er, Kohl Center.
In case you like Omens:  The last team to win at the Troll Center?  Your 2013-14 National Champions (seeing as how Louisville has to forfeit that title).
Moe got his 6th Double-Double and Robinson and MAAR got 16 and 15 points respectively. 
4 games left before the B1G Tourney. 
Games – Dates – Time – Result - Record
Illinois(H)                  January 6th               Noon                          WON  79-69              14-3
Purdue (H)                January 9th               9:00 PM                     Lost    70-69              14-4
Sparty (A)                   January 13th              Noon                          WON  82-72              15-4
Maryland (H)            January 15th            6:30 PM                     WON 68-67               16-4
Nebraska (A)             January 18th              8:00 PM                     LOST 72-52              16-5
Rutgers (H)              January 21st             Noon                          WON  62-47              17-5
Purdue (A)                 January 25th              7:00 PM                     LOST  92-88             17-6
Northwestern (H)    January 29th            7:00 PM                     WON  58-47              18-6
Minnesota (H)          February 3rd             2:30 PM                     WON  76-73 (OT)    19-6
Northwestern (A)      February 6th              6:00PM                      LOST  61-52             19-7
Wiscy (A)                   February 11th            Noon                          WON  83-72              20-7
Iowa   (H)                   February 14th           6:30 PM
Suckeyes (H)           February 18th           1:00 PM
PSU (A)                      February 21st            7:00 PM
Maryland (A)             February 24th            Noon
Sparty-Purdue lived up to the billing Saturday with a buzzer-beater from returning star Bridges that he tossed in from about 3-feet from behind the 3-point line with 3 tics left on the clock.  Granted, OT at home would have probably gone Sparty’s way, but the game-winner looked nice going in…
However, I still think Purdue is the better team and I can’t wait for the re-match in the B1G Tourney.  
Speaking of which:  It was interesting to hear Izzo bitch about the compressed season and how exhausted his team was after playing 5 games in 12 days. Delaney needs to listen to these coaches and not pull the week early MSG stunt ever again, unless he can get the usual weekend when all the conference tourney’s are played.
Never Again.
Of course, if the impact of having an extra week and a half off before the NCAA’s start is POSITIVE for the B1G teams, then I’ll get back to you. 
The Committee Has Spoken  
Sunday at noon-thirty, right before the Michigan-Wiscy match-up, the Committee revealed the NCAA Tourney’s top 16-Seeds. 

Michigan was projected to be holding an 8-seed per Lunardi and Jerry Palm, but Palm stated that Michigan could easily move up to as high as a 6-seed with wins in the 4 remaining games this season. 
With respect to the rest, here’s a link:
Biggest Issue:  Sparty and Tennessee are both 3-Seeds?   Duke and Kansas are both somehow 2-seeds?  With Kansas as a 2-Seed being the bigger crime…
I don’t know what the committee is drinking or smoking, but I’ll take a case and a bag of each. 
Something I agree with:  the 1-Seeds all seem about right, but I wouldn’t have Virginia as the overall #1.  There’s just not enough offense on that team.  Purdue is ranked right and I don’t have a problem with either Xavier or Villanova, who should be the overall 1-Seed.  And based on who the 2-Seeds are, I don’t think any of them are moving up to the 1-Seed line.  But I can certainly see how nearly all the 3-Seeds could displace the 2-Seeds if they win out over the rest of the regular season.  Especially Sparty.  I’m pretty sure Sparty easily beats the 5 teams ranked immediately ahead of them.  I don’t understand the disrespect there…the suckeyes are being a little disrespected as well as a 4-Seed, and I could see them inching up if any of the 3-Seeds stumble in remaining games this season. 
If this season is any indication, the Tourney will be upset riddled and not very chalky.  I can’t remember the last time a 1-Seed didn’t make the FF, but this might be one of those seasons.  Virginia is vulnerable, Villanova is beatable, Xavier is dangerous, but runs cold at times and Purdue just lost it’s second game in a row. 
So, yeah, anything can happen…it’s basketball!
Signing Day
I got a text stating that Michigan’s recruiting class was lackluster and that Harbaugh has “Lost his edge”.  My answer to that:  Maybe
Let’s face facts:  Recruiting does impact season outcomes.  Michigan was still suffering from the gaps that Hoke’s final season left on the offensive line. 
Good recruiting and depth take time to produce.  While Michigan didn’t have the 1 stellar 5-star (that they lost to Georgia) they have some solid players.  And Michigan is recruiting like Stanford now (Stanford’s class was ranked #63).  Stanford looks for smart, slightly under rated players that they can work with in the weight room and on the field.  If Michigan is now doing the same thing, I don’t have an issue with that. 
So, no, I’m not panicking because Michigan’s class was rated #20-24 overall and didn’t have a splashy look about it.  I’ll panic if and when I don’t see the results on the field.

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