Oh, what a game, what a game! After that first half, it would’ve been really easy for the Wolverines to come out of halftime, give up 5 straight points to the Spartans and then crumble and lose by 15-20. When they were down by 13, it would’ve been really easy for them to lose faith, and let the Sparties “Own Crisler” once again. Knowing beforehand that Dion Harris would make 1 field goal, Courtney Sims would have 4 points, and Horton would have 7 turnovers, there wouldn’t have been a Michigan fan alive that would’ve thought this game would even be close. And yet they prevailed.
Daniel Horton was absolutely outstanding once again, Ron Coleman was an unexpected surprise, Chris Hunter provided the post presence that we needed Courtney Sims to be, the Rockbiter was rockbiting it up—creating jumpball situations, getting on the floor, and looking goofy as all getup in the process….gotta love that kid.
Big-time credit to Tommy Amaker and the Michigan coaching staff on this one. They recognized that Sims was completely useless out there and that Smith was in way over his head and they got them out of the game before it was too late. And once they got State in foul trouble, they took advantage of it. It was obvious that the team that came out of the locker room at halftime was not the same team that went in there down by 7 points. I don’t know enough about basketball to talk about specific adjustments that were made (aside from the fact that I know they did a much better job of getting into the paint, and their zone defense was outstanding), but it felt really good to see something positive happen for Amaker after what he’s done for this program.
As for the MSU fans/coaches bitching about the officiating, a couple of points: 1) I’m sure MSU never gets calls in Breslin, nosir! That’s what happens in Big 10 basketball, and it was nice to see U of M getting calls at home like every other team seems to. 2) You rip on Lloyd for complaining about the refs all the time, so shut it. 3) Michigan was playing without probably their best all-around player (though Horton’s play is making me rethink that sentence) and if he’s there, the refs probably don’t matter all that much.
That was a great game by 2 pretty darn good Big Ten basketball teams. For State, I was very impressed with Neitzel, even if I made a few tasteless comments throughout the game. Davis still looks soft as ever. Him and Courtney should have a cuddle. I thought Michigan did an outstanding job against their wings and with keeping MSU from running in the second half.
Michigan proved with that win that they have the capability to be right there by the end of this Big Ten season. Beat Wisconsin, and this team probably cracks the top 20 next week in the polls and they would have a tie for the Big Ten lead.
And the best part of all this? Friday night I’ll be in East Lansing for the hockey game. There will be no comments about basketball directed toward me, and if the Wolverines win, the “Just like football” chant can be amended to “Just like basketball”. Gotta love it.