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Michigan gave up almost all Big Ten championship hopes by going down to Penn State tonight 84-78. The Nittany Lions were 0-14 before this game and got their first conference win of the season against Michigan. They played the Wolverines tough in both games this season, but were finally able to put the pieces together to get a victory in the second game.
The leaders for Michigan were Tim Hardaway with 19 points and Trey Burke with 18 points. Both hit some big shots, but the team's defense struggled throughout the night, especially outside the arch, where Penn State was able to go 10-20 throughout the night, well above their season average. The leaders for Penn State were Jermaine Marshall with 25 points and D.J. Newbill with 17 points.
The Wolverines will face in-state rival MSU on Sunday. Though the conference title is likely out the window, Michigan will look to recover from undoubtedly its worse loss of the season. The Wolverines now have 5 losses in conference play, the same number they finished with last season. They still have an outside shot at a top seed, but they will need help. A lot of help.
Absolutely pathetic. Normally, I'm an optimist and I try to find positive factors out of each game. This is not a game that should be considered a positive, in anyway, shape, or form. Michigan lost to a team that was winless in Big Ten play. Certainly Penn State is improving. They were competitive in each of their last three games, but they were still unable to win. Along with this, a road win is never easy, especially in Big Ten play, but this is the kind of loss that can trainwreck a season. Michigan's projected seeding is going to take a big hit, their conference title chances are done, and now they're staring at a big home game against MSU to rebound from this loss.
The major problems for Michigan were rebounding and defense all night. Penn State owned the boards early in the game and in the 2nd half, they were given wide open shots and easy drives to the basket. Even when the game was on the line, Michigan seemed incapable of keeping Penn State out of the lane. That's just not something that should happen. Morgan certainly looked solid when he was on the floor, but he still made several mistakes and was beat badly at the end of the game, erasing just about every gain he made.
However, I can't help but point out the lack in desire this team has shown. There is no doubt that it's hard to get hyped for a game against Penn State and that the Nittany Lions will surely be excited, but that's no reason to just jog up and down the court and not fight for rebounds. Some of the players were fighting hard, but this team just didn't play hard enough and it showed. If Michigan plays like this again, they could easily drop the next 3 games. Along with this, the late game decision making just didn't make much sense. Why settle for risky shots when you are getting good looks inside and calls wen you drive the basket?
Overall, there is absolutely no way to write this game off. It is a terrible loss and one that will linger with Michigan fans for weeks, months, and perhaps the offseason if they don't find a way to recover. This team is good, but when they play like this, they don't show that whatsoever. Going up by double digits late in the 2nd half and letting it up against a team like Penn State is just unacceptable.
Basketball Analyst For BTPowerhouse & Wolverine 247 - Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tbeindit
I agree man. Ive come to terms now that this team WILL NOT rebound or play defense. Every game I watch and think this is the game they are finally gonna play a REAL basketball game. Every time I get disappointed. In fact, if anything they are getting worse. To me it seems like a bunch of dudes that are tired and don't really give a shit. It's like everyone of them just got dumbed by the love of their lives, the focus just isn't their. I see more hustle and want too at the YMCA for God sakes!
Here's the difference, if this happened last year Novak would have gone nuts. Novak actually had a pulse. I kid you not I would take Novak over any of these fools besides Trey. Who stands up and says enough is enough on this team? To me it seems like Beilein is a paddy cake kind of guy. No more mister nice guy coach, these KIDS need to learn a lesson. Clearly what you have been doing isn't getting through to them. If it did, I wouldn't be typing this.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by LEXwolverine1 14 months ago
Beilein is probably the wrong coach for this group, those kids look like they need a Bobby Knight not gramps.
Given what I've seen this year, Coach Beilein cannot field an elite defensive team.
We have the players necessary to field a top-20 defensive team but Michigan has actually regressed on defense this year.
IMO, Coach Beilein needs to hire an assistant coach that excels as a defensive coach.
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Fire Beilein simple as that. He couldn't do at WVU and he won't do it here
I disagree that we have the players to field a good defensive team. The only big we got who is serviceable defensively is Morgan. Burke and Hardaway are average defenders at best. Burke could be elite but he doesn't bring it on the defensive end all game long. Stauskas is a below average defensive player. McGary and Robinson both have the skills to be good defensively but are still learning.
I lean towards this. People are going to rip on Beilein for this and most of that will be legitimate, but I think fans forget that there are 5 freshmen in the heavy rotation and no seniors. Defense is the hardest thing for young players to do and it's showing this season. I also would just add that Burke is a pretty good defender, not an elite defender by any means, but he doesn't get beat that often. The problem defensively right now is that they are doing nothing to defend the lane right now, which is giving players wide open looks.
I posted a topic wondering why Michigan has seemed notoriously bad at defending the three. I think, aside from Burke, the on-ball defense is pretty bad. Players can get the ball into the lane quite easily, which gives other defenders the choice to collapse and help or stay. If they stay, the driver usually gets a good look. If they help, an open shooter is usually found and defenders don't close out in time. The on-ball defense needs to improve.
I HATE EVERYTHING!!!!!
Yes. This is definitely part of the problem. One of the biggest culprits of this is Stauskas, who has a lot of trouble stopping drives to the basket. Along with this, there has been a lot of talk about Michigan's inability to defend ball screens. Part of this definitely rests on the big men, but other players like Stauskas are also struggling there. They're doing things like hedging out, but they're not getting around screens, which makes it a pointless move.
When you hedge a big man, you're hoping to slow outside ball movement, cause turnovers, and generally just create mistakes. Michigan's big men are going out and hedging, but they are not forcing enough ball pressure, which creates major mismatches behind them. This has been a big problem all year and Morgan has been the best at doing it, but he can't be the only one to do it, especially if he only plays 24 minutes a game.
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