Michigan Tidbits: Michigan Basketball … well Hoopheads Penn State is next.

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Michigan Basketball: Hoops gets some good news and a tough game tonight? Must win?

Well, some good news finally hit the pavement today: we have been telling people for the last seven months about a new practice facility for the Men’s and Women’s Basketball programs (http://gobluemichiganwolverine.blogspot.com/2008/06/michigan-tidbits-football-and-hoopheads.html) and glad that the proposal is finally going up before the regents. This is not a done deal. The regents have to approve it, which usually takes 3 – 4 times before any actual ground-breaking occurs. A lot of the delay, I believe, had to do with the economy and getting everything in order. The mens team’s marked improvement this year will only help push this through. I do not believe it will be a problem like all the struggles the Michigan Stadium renovation had, but the regents might play the economy card here even though Michigan just received three trillion dollars — or whatever the number was — to help rebuild and upgrade Michigan campus.

[By the way, I don’t condone gambling (wink, wink), but if you do happen to gamble online, please swing by Super Bowl Betting and put down some green on the biggest day of the year for betting — The Super Bowl.]

Now, back to the team and the latest developments. People have said that Coach Beilein was out-coached against Thad Matta. Well, it is a lot easier to be out-coached when you have less basketball talent on the floor. Just look at Ohio State’s roster: they are loaded with four- and five-star kids. The other thing is that when Michigan is not knocking down shots they are going to lose ball games, plain and simple. When you shoot a 35.7% field goal percentage and a three-point field goal percentage of 34.5%, you are not going to win too many games. When Michigan gets the ball inside, they need to convert. The last couple of games they have not done it.

Remember, for most people this year was supposed to be a team that improved and would be in the NIT tournament. When Michigan beat UCLA people got excited and saw what this team could do. Then Michigan beat Duke at home and those expectations went through the roof. Now people are doing a 180 from their overly high expectiations and talking about the shame of failing to get into the Big Dance, which I disagree with a little bit. It would be a disappointment, since the euphoria of early success, but the Big Ten conference is becoming a great conference for basketball, especially this year, where 6 to 7 teams could make it into the Big Dance.

Losing a player like Epke Udoh has hurt this program for depth issues more than what he could do on offense. Defensively, he would have helped out rebounding and shot-blocking, his presence would have been a huge factor.

For this team to do anything in the Big Ten conference — and beyond — DeShawn Sims is going to have to show up on both ends of the court. In the last two games, he has been a non-factor for the most part and has hurt the team on the offensive side of the ball with his shooting. He is getting good looks, but just not knocking them down.

His defense is not that much better either. I realize that in most games he is going up against bigger, taller players, but that does not, or should not, excuse the fact that he is being outplayed. He was beaten on both ends of the floor at Illinois, and again against Ohio State. If he is the smaller man, then he should start trying to use that to his advantage by showing quickness, athleticism, and by being aggressive. He must outwork and outplay opponents and use the fundamentals of basketball to his advantage. It almost seems like he has gotten soft and does not bang the boards or play physical enough lately.

Novak, for example, is a kid that is everywhere at once. He is usually playing against a taller player as well, yet is getting rebounds, loose balls, etc… There aren’t many instances that you can say his man will out-work him nor out-hustle him.

Manny Harris had a very good game against Ohio State. If not for him, that game would not have even been close.

Stu Douglas finally started to get confidence again and knocked down shots, but he needs to get closer to the three point line because those twenty-five footers he keeps trying are hard to come by.

[Again not trying to tell you to bet, but BetUs.com you can wager on more than 50 sports. Sports Betting if your interested.]

Does the Penn State game become a must win? Well, not yet, but they need to pick up some road wins, especially after losing two Big Ten games at home. People need to realize this team is still ahead of schedule and that the Big Ten is very competitive, top to bottom. Take heart, people — there have not been many blowouts this seasons and most of the games have been competitive regardless of the opponent.

Written by ErocWolverine