Thursday, March 11, 2010

Michigan Basketball: Iowa vs. Michigan -- Big Ten Tournament -- Preview

Posted at 8:00am -- 3/11/2010

Michigan Basketball: Iowa vs. Michigan -- Big Ten Tournament -- Preview

Who would have thought the Michigan basketball season would be where it is right now. A below .500 record at 14-16 and a lousy 7-11 Big Ten Conference record and only one way of making the NCAA Tournament. Of course the chances of Michigan making a run in the Big Ten Tournament seem slim at best; but it is still one last shot at making this season look somewhat successful. Of course, to do this unthinkable task, the Wolverines are going to have to rattle off four wins. The Wolverines will start their journey today as they face the Iowa Hawkeyes, a team they have faced three times the last three years in the Big Ten Tournament. Tip-off is slated at 2:30PM on ESPN2.

If there is one positive to look at going into this game, it is that the Wolverines have beaten the Hawkeyes in both contests this year. The first game was back in late January when the Wolverines crushed the Hawkeyes, 60-46, in Ann Arbor. The win came after dropping three straight contests, one of those being a 1-point loss to the Spartans. The Wolverines surprisingly came out focused versus Iowa and simply dismantled them. Unfortunately, the second game in Iowa City was much closer and not nearly the same effort that the Wolverines displayed in Ann Arbor was put forth. The game ended up being a Wolverine win, but only 2-points separated the two teams when the final buzzer sounded and the Wolverines limped out of Iowa City with an 80-78 win.

So what team will show up in Indianapolis this time?

It is a tough call with the current Wolverine team to say the least. It is clear that if the Wolverines play motivated basketball, and resemble the team that all expected to see this year, the Wolverines can stop the Hawkeyes. But of course it is always a toss-up as to if you are going to see the better version of the Wolverines. Too many times this year the Wolverines have underperformed, as in Iowa City where they barely escaped with a win. Either way, I expect an Iowa team that is going to look for revenge and the Wolverines better be prepared for the best Iowa team that they’ve faced this year. Iowa and Indiana play hard every game, and a lay down could be disastrous, let alone embarrassing.

The obvious is now put forth, the Wolverines will need BOTH Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims to score over 20+ points apiece in order for them to win big. Too many times this year we have seen one player show up (DeShawn Sims) and the other be almost non-existent (Manny Harris) and that simply will not be good enough if the Wolverines are serious about playing in the NCAA Tournament. Of course, it won’t be just those two that the team will count on. Sophomores Zack Novak and Stu Douglass better be ready to hit some 3-pointers as well. Darius Morris will also be another factor in the game. He has matured nicely this season and has overcome his early season freshman mistakes. Hopefully we see the “new” Darius Morris instead of the early season version.

In my opinion, there is one key aspect that will either have the Wolverines moving to the next round or heading home to Ann Arbor; shot selection. If Michigan wants to throw up ill advised 3-pointers and pray that they go in, the Iowa game will be closer than it should be. When Michigan is making good decisions on shot selection, typically they win comfortably, but those shots better be going in the hoop. Michigan coach John Beilein claims that they shoot 1,000 shots a day in practice; well hopefully all those shots will finally lead to a great shooting display because we haven’t seen more than one or two this year.

Iowa 59, Michigan 66

Written by Jwick180

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Jwick good article and glad to see Michigan move on even though they played like crap today.

GBMWolverine Counter

Total Pageviews