Feb 26, 2014; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines forward Glenn Robinson III (1) waits to be interviewed by the Big Ten Network after making a shot at the buzzer to win the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena. Michigan defeats Purdue 77-76. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Basketball: Michigan at Purdue -- Wrap-Up

GBMWolverine Basketball TidbitsPosted at 6:00am — 2/27/2014

Michigan Basketball: Michigan at Purdue — Wrap-Up

Stink, Stank, Stunk, Win

Sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes you are good. Michigan was neither descriptor in the first half, somewhat good in the second half, and lucky at the end. But as my Hall of Fame coach reminded me constantly while in college, “I would rather be lucky than good.”

Feb 26, 2014; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Caris LaVert (23) brings the ball up court against the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena. Michigan defeats Purdue 77-76 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The key number of the game was 16, an integer that worked out pretty much by happenstance. Michigan improved the shooting in the second half by 16 percent over the putrid under 30% of half number one. Purdue shot a very hot 52% in the first half and dropped almost 16 percent in the second half. Pure rationalism would dictate a prediction of a close final score, and in this case rationalism won the day, along with Michigan.

Stink then was the shooting. So, what was stank? Stank could best be defined as warts from the past that again popped up to place the Michigan league hopes in dire straits. The inability to get to the ball had nothing to do with athleticism; it had to do with work ethic and toughness. Purdue is a tough team, albeit not supremely talented (but certainly sufficient). Purdue just played harder. Rebounding is knowledge of angles and technique, but it is also attitude and toughness. It is ripping the ball away and treating the ball like the winning Power-ball ticket. Rebounding is not getting pinned under the basket or ignoring the proper angle. Rebounding is not standing on the floor and waving hands as others jump.

Stunk? The obvious candidate for stunk is the laughable inability or Michigan to guard. There were two guys that would not even wave hello as the Purdue guards went past all defenders for atrociously easy lay-ups. The stunk almost cost Michigan any chance of the big comeback win when Michigan pulled near late in the game.

Feb 26, 2014; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines coach John Beilein coaching on the sidelines against the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena. Michigan defeats Purdue 77-76 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Beilein worked his tail end off and cajoled the troops into believing. Ultimately, Michigan wakes up. The first half performance was due to above par play by Purdue and below play by Michigan. The fifth foul by Hammons, drawn by Robinson III, was the critical play heading down the stretch. Morgan’s dunks kept Michigan in reach of a win.

As bad as Michigan played collectively in the first half, and as bad as the shooting was for Stauskas and LeVert throughout the game, Michigan started to make some progress and ate into the Purdue lead like a strong fungus. Little by little the game became blue. Then came the end-game situations. Michigan blotched the first effort as Stauskas and his dribbling yielded a forced back effort of some 26 or so feet that fell short. In the overtime, things were even. Purdue got the ball inside as easily performed all game by dribbling and Michigan also got the ball inside and dished to Morgan.

Then the end of the overtime came and Michigan was presented one last chance by virtue of Spike Albrecht being prepared to jump into a drive lane and take a clear change. After becoming disjointed (the offense), Beilein called time out with four seconds, but it was not granted immediately and only 2.9 seconds remained. The chess game of time-outs occurred and Michigan drew up a second option of a low screen by Stauskas and Robinson getting the ball about 12 feet from the rim in the right corner on a dangerous, but successful lob pass. In Robinson went to the hoop and he put the ball off the backboard softly. It looked as if the ball would cruelly roll off the front of the rim, but gravity interceded in the nick of time, in fact as time ran out.

So, after stink, stank, and stunk came win. In the crowd, the Purdue legend, Glenn Robinson the II had to be elated, although it may have been in bad form to visually proclaim his true joy.

What this game means is Michigan should make the tourney, even going zero for the rest of the way, not a good idea. Michigan needs to win two of the last three to gain at least a tie for the title (assuming no losses by MSU (a shaky assumption playing OSU). Michigan needs to discuss and practice toughness, because that element will determine who wins this league. Three trap games, similar in nature, await Michigan. Good may be better than lucky next time out.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

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