Absolutely great game out of our basketball team tonight. When you shoot at that high of a percentage, you aren't going to lose too many games. The one thing that was very troubling for me though was that there was almost zero dribble penetration by anyone in that game. The most telling stat about our lack of drives was the fact that as a team, Michigan shot one free throw. One. Luckily we were knocking down almost 3 out of 4 outside shots because there weren't a lot of easy baskets to be had. If they were having an off night though....well....it'd be UCLA all over again. Like against UCLA, our bigs weren't anywhere to be found. Petway had a couple of nice dunks, but Sims and Brown combined for 4 points on 2 attempted shots.
Lester looked like the Lester of old, and Dion Harris was great shooting the ball as well. Jerrett Smith had a horrible game. 4 turnovers against 1 assist, but I swear he could've had twice that in TOs. I don't know how many times that kid wanted to try and split a double-team, but he didn't have it working at all tonight.
That was one of the cleaner Big 10 games I've seen. Only 13 free throws and 21 fouls between the two teams, and no one had more than 2 personals with the exception of Harris (who somehow had 4).
Good win for the boys in Blue, I just get the feeling that we're in for some really ugly games if we can't get the ball inside the paint. You're not going to shoot 65% all that often, no matter how good of looks you're getting from the outside.
To hockey last night:
Christ Almighty....that was not Michigan hockey. The lack of effort is really disturbing me. As I said last night, if you can't get up for Michigan State, you've got real problems. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find more than 2 players on our team (Tim Miller and Noah Ruden) that you could say played even average hockey last night. Johnson and Hunwick let another man get behind them for a breakaway goal, Hunwick took a stupid-ass penalty leading to the first goal (though the penalty on Bailey was BS).
The powerplay was lifeless...even when they kept the puck in MSU's end for over a minute and twenty seconds, they still couldn't muster up any quality scoring chances off it. The wings look to pass back to the point too quickly, and the point men look to shoot it into the defenseman's pads too quickly. What happened to Andrew Ebbett setting up behind the net? What happened to the John Shouneyia play where he'd be down low and cycle it with one of the guys on the wing? You're telling me TJ Hensick couldn't be lethal in that same role?
Why put Hensick on a line with Bailey and Fardig? I love both those kids, but you're wasting TJ putting him with 2 non-scorers. They got outhit, outworked, and pretty much dominated by the Spartans, who did an outstanding job of clogging up the passing lanes and using their sticks to keep Michigan from getting anything going. I don't know that Michigan completed two passes in a row on a breakout the entire night.
The Johnson hit. I'm still at a loss. Everyone who saw it thinks he committed murder, then a Michigan fan tells them to watch the tape, and they realize they're completely wrong. Even my dad thought the penalty was reasonable until I made him watch the clip again and pointed out that at no time did he leave his feet, hit Howells in the head, use his elbow, raise his stick, or intentionally hit him from behind (Howells obviously saw him coming and turned). He got Johns-owned and McInchak responded to seeing blood and just assumed Johnson must have done it.
That brings me to another point: Isn't it about time that the league takes on responsibilities for suspensions? It's one thing to ask a ref to make a split-second decision about is it a penalty or not, and if so, how many minutes should it be. It's another thing to ask him to make a split-second decision on if a player should be suspended for the next game or not. Without the benefit of replay. The technology is there. Every game is recorded in some form or another, and sure, sometimes you won't have a good angle. But if the technology is there--like say in a game covered by Fox Sports Detroit--when the video clearly shows that no contact was made with a player's head, how can a player be suspended for a contact to the head violation??? This is the second time this year that sometime like this has occurred, the other being David Rohlfs getting suspended for a fight where he never threw a punch and never took off his gloves. Why not use video replay if you have it to review incidents before issuing a suspension?
The announcers were just brutal last night. For being Michigan basketball's play-by-play guy, Matt Shepherd sure had a stiffy for Colton Fretter and David Booth last night. And for being the CCHA's media guy, Fred Pletsch just does not have a clue. I can't even go into how much was wrong with some of the stuff they were saying last night....the tip of the iceberg being that Kevin Porter apparently was the captain of the Canadian World Junior team and won a medal. And yes, he's also somehow one of the 22 Michiganders in the game. Imagine that. Michigan kids going to Michigan and Michigan State. What a concept.
Ruden was awesome between the pipes. It'd be hard to fault him on either goal. And it seems like I'm saying that after every single game.
One final note tonight: I forgot to mention this when I talked about the Wings/Rangers game, but NBC's coverage of the NHL was absolutely outstanding. I love having the "sideline reporter" in between the two benches, because he can hear what the coaches and players are saying to each other. I love the interviews with the players on the ice. Goalie cam is going to be ridiculously cool. Mike Emerick is by far the best hockey announcer in the States. Especially considering it was a first broadcast, I thought they did an excellent job.