Michigan Basketball: Texas vs. Michigan — Wrap-Up
Brutal But Beautiful win — Michigan Takes Down the Horns
There was no doubt that the Michigan-Texas match-up was going to be a tough day on the court. Even though Michigan was playing as well as a team could play, and building a nice lead, it was certain things were going to change. Things did change later in the second half, but the end game greatly favored Michigan. The final result was a convincing win that places Michigan in the Sweet Sixteen for the second consecutive year.
I am not in the mood to argue, and will not, but the player of the game was Jordan Morgan. Morgan has served well as the surrogate team father since McGary went down to injury. He has received playing time and little by little his importance to the team has expanded. He has reached his ceiling, but the ceiling has exceeded adequate. Morgan has focus and purpose, a nice combination for a team leader.
Obviously, Coach Beilein made the decision that Morgan was Michigan’s ONLY inside hope on defense. All day long, he took elbows and shoulders from Texas monster man Cameron Ridley. Only a forklift could get Ridley out of his parking spot two feet from the basket. However, Ridley only could muster 6 points, but plenty of rebounds.
But, wait, Morgan out-rebounded Ridley and also outscored him. He stepped to the foul line and made seven of eight shots. Morgan held his ground; he was Michigan’s line in the sand. One might say that Michigan was fortunate in that Texas missed several second and third shots from point blank range, but the good fortune was helped by an all out effort to make life miserable in the paint. Morgan played for the M on his jersey with intensity.
As bad as Michigan played against Wofford, the Wolverines played some of the best basketball of the season the first 25 minutes of the game. Things then broke down a little, but once Michigan had control down the stretch, the end game was again impressive. The biggest factor appeared to be Texas choice to slow the game down as
Rick Barnes threw up a zone defense that slowed the Wolverines to a crawl and the lead melted. Michigan helped by each guy having a collective brain lock up now and then, frankly, led by Stauskas mishaps. Michigan was much more patient than against Wofford. One thing for sure, Michigan did not like the high doubling the Wofford defense threw at the Wolverines and probably welcomed the difference in defensive approach that Texas offered early in the game.
The balance of the scoring was excellent as four of the five starters hit double figures and Walton Jr. almost crashed the double-digit mark. Shot selection, with the exception of a few Stauskas prayers was much better. The most accurate statement is everyone did their job and Morgan provided the shoulders.
Michigan started off very well on offense hitting the bombs. Then, the floor got some spread and the inside options worked well against both the zone and man to man sets.
Texas played well, excepting missing on the inside chippies. Thirty seven percent was the final shooting total for Texas, even with the ability to get the ball inside. Isaiah Taylor was given room and he shot several easy attempts as the game wore on to finality.
This was one of Michigan’s best two game efforts of defense, not perfect but scrappy and good enough. Michigan saved the fouls for the second half, a strategy that certainly helped Morgan. On the other hand, in conference play Morgan would have been sitting for fouling Ridley’s elbow with his chest.
Michigan will now await the winner of the Tennessee and Mercer game. The Volunteers are on a tear. They like to run and they do not play super perimeter defense. Tennessee does have size and can swat shots. Mercer just plays solid and would invite any team to send up 37 threes against them.
Coach Beilein made some good personnel moves and the guys have several days to rest. As all of you know, this was his 700th win, a magnificent accomplishment for an under the radar, do it his way type of guy. This game must have been very special to Father Flanagan, as Michigan was the sissy in the sand against the bigger Longhorns. But beauty prevailed as the beast goes home.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu
Go Blue — Wear Maize!