Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Uglyyyyy, The Tourney & The Walton Debacle

Well, This Sucks
Because who doesn’t feel a little bit like the Penguins from Madagascar right now and I can’t put a highlight clip from this game in the blog, because, frankly, there really isn’t much of a highlight reel for Michigan to begin with…
Let’s face it, Michigan has been in a shooting slump for the last 3 games.  Unfortunately, Michigan’s slumping at a point in their schedule where a 4-5 game winning streak would have been a no-brainer if they were playing like the team that almost beat Purdue and owned Sparty in January. 
There’s always a slump during the season in Hoops.  Always.  Not every team has them, but most do.  The good teams find another way, either with defense or somehow slowing the game down or speeding it up, depending on the opponent. 
Michigan started out strong last night and I thought the slump was over, but then a Livers twisted ankle that sidelined him for the rest of the game (I hated watching the replay as that has happened to this guy too many times) and a scoring drought ensued in the 1st half followed by an almost unwatchable 10-minute stretch in the 2nd half leads me to believe that the slump isn’t over.  Michigan again couldn’t do much at the free throw line and the Wildcats demonstrated why they are the best free throw shooting team in the B1G. 
Is the Free-Throw coach from the Wildcats available?
I hate to complain about the same things over and over, so I won’t.  But this team needs a slump bust in a bad way, and they need it soon.  There’s too many key games left on the schedule and a collapse could knock them out of the NCAA 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
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
5 Games left...I will take 3-2 right now.  4-1 would be wonderful.  5-0 is out of the question with the way Michigan is playing right now.  Maybe a noon game this Saturday at Crisler can right the ship. 
Tell me if you’ve seen this story before:
3-Pt. FG% - 22.7%
FG% - 38.6%
Those ain’t numbers that win basketball games.  And you’re not going to win many games with 52 points
Again, slumps hopefully don’t last forever and Michigan finds a way out of this mess…
So About That NCAA Tourney…
Because it’s never too early to discuss who will probably be in the Final Four and who the sleepers are.  First a Look at Lunardi (Who had Michigan as high as a 7-Seed on Sunday):
FF Projection:  Purdue, Villanova, Oklahoma, Auburn  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  I  will probably have Purdue winning the whole enchilada this season.  Villanova is solid and depending on seeding, should easily make it to the final weekend.  In fact, depending on seeding, a Purdue – Villanova final isn’t out of the question.   I know, no Blue Bloods in the Group.  But Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and Kansas have been playing lousy Basketball and have all recently lost.  Duke lost to the worst team (St. John’s) in the Beast.  Kentucky lost the series to Tennessee who’s remarkably only a 4-Seed at this point (I’d have them on at LEAST the 2-Seed Line).  I think Tennessee is a pretty talented team.  Auburn has some height issues, but they’re playing great under Pearl. I know WVU swept Oklahoma, but the Big iiX has figured out how to defend Trae Young.  Everyone else in the Tourney is going to have a very difficult time with Young, and depending on seeding, they could easily be a FF team.   
Could be FF Contenders & Dark Horses:  Virginia, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Michigan, Arizona, Saint Mary’s, Washington, Nevada 
Bennet’s Cavaliers play SMOTHERING DEFENSE, as usual, but Defense will only get you so far come Tourney Time.  And I'm still pissed they lost to Syracuse a couple of years ago. Tennessee is probably deserving of a higher seed than they will receive and will be a hard out come Tourney Time.    Cincinnati is another team that will be a coin flip of a pick when the time comes.  I mean, the Bearcats are good, but not good from the charity stripe and haven’t played a tough schedule.  Michigan, if they can correct their shooting woes, will be formidable and could be a Sweet 16 contender, assuming they get in. Arizona is a mess and they didn’t win TWO GAMES IN A ROW for the month of January.  Winning 6 in a row isn’t easier…
Why Didn’t I See THEM Coming:  Providence And Vermont
A little bit of a hunch, but they’re both good teams….
I Should Have Taken Them Further:  Sparty,   I’ve seen Sparty play their last 3 games and they are NOT a good defensive team and still turn the ball over way too much.  But that doesn’t mean they can’t go deep in the Tourney and, Izzo.  So I’ll probably lament the fact that I have them not getting out of the first weekend (again, depending on seeding) and will be made about the decision. 
Uh-Oh.  More Dirt On Walton
The Detroit news has a lengthy investigative article on what REALLY went down in the Bar with Walton and Ashley Thompson on that fateful evening. 
Summary:  It doesn’t paint a pretty picture of Walton or the East Lansing PD. 
All of the statements would suggest that something went down and Walton definitely laid more than an open hand on this woman.  She had contusions and abrasions that were verified by the hospital the next AM.  I know, I know… she could have fallen down the stairs…
ESPN’s report included a phone call and subsequent 6-hour interview with Thompson. 
She said she hadn’t thought about the case since 2010, until she was contacted by ESPN this fall. Thompson said she got a call out of the blue from an ESPN reporter, and when she called her back, the reporter asked her, “Do you know what this is regarding?”
“I’m guessing it’s about Travis Walton punching me in the face,” Thompson told the reporter.
An ESPN team eventually flew down to meet with Thompson, interviewing her for six hours
Due to the fact that there were eyewitnesses who stated that Walton never touched her (Doubtful) and due to the fact that there was no surveillance tape available, the charge was plead down to…Wait for it….This is good:
It seems the ELPD and prosecuting attorney pleads a lot of assault cases down to Littering. 
“I can affirm that the plea offer was approved by my supervising attorney and was within our normal guidelines,” Meyers said in a statement. “Despite that, these were difficult decisions and I was fully aware that the decisions made by the city attorney’s office affected both sides.”
Littering, it turns out, has been a common plea-down in East Lansing’s 54B District Court. For example, in numbers provided to The News by Meyers on Tuesday, he said he worked 52 assault cases between 2014 and 2017. Of those, 34 were pleaded down to the litter charge, or 65 percent; only one ever went to trial, and got a guilty verdict from a jury.
Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State, said he was surprised to hear an assault-and-battery could be pleaded down to littering.
“I suspect they chose the most innocuous charge they could that could get a guilty plea,” Henning said. “I wouldn’t say that’s typical.
Classic.  This is going to get really ugly for Izzo.  Remember that Walton was living with Izzo at the point in time this went down. 
If you want to read the entire article it can be found here.

No comments: