Michigan Basketball: Tournament Time -- Expect the Unexpected?

Posted at 6:00am — 3/10/2011

Michigan Basketball: Tournament Time — Expect the Unexpected?

2011 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament.
March 10-13, 2011.
Conseco Fieldhouse — Indianapolis, IN.
Friday: Illinois vs. Michigan.
2:30 pm or 25 minutes after first game.
DirecTV Channel: 206 — ESPN.

Will the Big Ten tournament go as expected with Ohio State and Purdue meeting in the final? Or will things get gummed up to the point where one hot team catches some breaks?

The first round games appear to be fodder for the upper bracket gluttons, but things happen. The most interesting match-up of the first two rounds may well be Illinois and Michigan. Either team can win or lose and on the neutral floor a close match-up should be expected. Maybe the determining factor will be which team minimizes the weaknesses that have plagued each throughout the year. Being a likely close game, one error could spell disaster either way.

Michigan still gives up offensive rebounds and goes AC/DC on shot selection. The hands and overall strength give up toss up rebounds to opponents. For Illinois the weaknesses are not as crystal clear and change like a chameleon. One night focus is the problem, another shooting, but frequently the team plays puzzling and inconsistent.

The puzzling part is the Illini have plenty of talent but said talent only produces reasonable results. Illinois has senior leadership, but the leadership has taken some criticism. No matter, just know this, Illinois could put the whole scene in order and put on a big time performance.

Just a short time ago, it appeared Illinois would take out Michigan easily, but a close game at home ensued with Michigan almost pulling off a big road win. No one has blown out Michigan of late.

Coach Beilein has plenty of time to prepare his charges, a good asset for a young team. He will not change much on the offensive end, the options are obvious and things may change only if Illinois makes adjustments that open up other Michigan options. Michigan will be playing against a team that plays pretty tough defense and is willing to run a half court defense. Michigan will give up points inside, but like with Michigan State, the objective is to minimize the damage and provide an opportunity to win.

Michigan will need to take the ball to the hoop and get some fouls on the Illini. Michigan will need to stay out of serious foul trouble, an obvious statement but still important..

There is little reason to believe that Michigan will not play hard, the question for both teams is how well will each play?

The most dangerous player for Michigan to defend is Demitri McCamey, a senior with good skills and athleticism. Brandon Paul could provide some tough match-ups problems and Tisdale and Cole will probably cause at least worrisome damage to Michigan inside.

For Michigan the question will be who joins Morris and Hardaway as a scoring threat in this game? Like anything else the flow of the game and who makes a shot early may dictate this outcome.

Michigan is projected to be a 10 or 11 seed if the Wolverines indeed gain entry to the NCAA tournament. Better a ten seed than the dreaded 8/9 match-ups.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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