Michigan Basketball Thoughts:


Michigan Basketball Thoughts:

The Michigan – Ohio State game the other night was another tough game to watch, especially early on, the way the team came out and played. On the road, when you shoot 20% from the floor in the first half and add in 10 plus turnovers, you are not going to be in — let alone win — many games.

The problem, primarily, was the effort of the team throughout the entire game. Yes, we saw a glimpse of effort in the beginning of the second half, but it faded fast. I say they gave about 12-15 minutes of hard effort against Ohio State. They haven’t been matching the effort and intensity we saw of them in their win over Duke. Since then, it seems like this team thinks it can win every game just by showing up, without putting the hard work in.

Michigan fans were outraged a few weeks ago when Grady and LLP were not starting, but it seems to me that both of them play better coming off the bench. I would like to see C.J. Lee get some more minutes, and actually start the game, along with Novak, DeShawn, Manny, and probably Stu.

Shepherd and Wright playing in the rotation is probably not a good thing because that means Coach Beilein is not happy with the regular rotation and is trying to find somebody that will spark the team. This team seems to get into a funk easily, especially in the early part of the game where they seem to struggle in away games.

Against Ohio State, Turnovers killed this team. They had more turnovers in the first half then their average game turnover total. The points off turnovers was another killer with Ohio State netting 23.

Manny Harris is supposes to be the best player on the team, but needs to start playing like it. His ball handling is quite terrible having 10 turnovers — by himself — in the game.

DeShawn seems to be going through the motions sometimes. One game he plays good, the next, terrible. He needs to use his athleticism and quickness against the bigger, slower players that are guarding him. Instead, he plays his opponents pitting his weakness against their strengths.

LLP has not played well in several weeks and it is hurting this ball club. For this team to get better, they need Manny, DeShawn and LLP to be their leaders and not rely on Novak and others.

Stu Douglas has been struggling with his shot lately and his confidence seems to be struggling as well. Though his shots aren’t going down, at least it seems to me that he has picked up his defensive game.

Kelvin Grady has been running the team well without many turnovers, but he just does not seem comfortable getting people the basketball and frequently misses the open man. Lately, when teams are really extending the defense, instead of using his quickness to dribble, drive, and dish, he seems comfortable just passing the ball around the arch. He seems to miss the cutter coming across the middle a lot, as well.

Zach Gibson has really struggled this year — but on this team who hasn’t? He needed to be a player that stepped his game up, especially when they knew Epke Udoh was transferring. It just did not happen. I did not expect a lot out of him even though others did. He is a decent player to take some minutes, but was not supposed to be a guy that could be counted on for serious minutes, until Epke left.

As for Zack Novak being ejected from the game — his flagrant elbow: I think the coaches, players, and the referees handled the situation well. It could have been much worse. Some Michigan fans are sticking up for Zack and what he did by saying he was frustrated and tired of losing to Ohio State. That’s fine and all, but why not play harder and get your team ready to play the game instead of waiting for the second half after the coaches have challenged you in the locker room to man-up.

Zack Novak is my favorite player on the team, has been this whole year, because of the effort he brings to the game. I wish several of the other players would put in his kind of effort out there and show some emotion. It almost seems like this team is comfortable losing. It doesn’t seem to affect them that much when they lose.

If I was Coach Beilein, I would sit Zack down for the next game to send the message — not only to Michigan fans, but to the Big Ten — that the elbow was not a a smart move and will not be tolerated here at Michigan.

All sports get emotional. There will be times every player will let their emotions get the best of them (I know I have), but you also need to play within yourself and not throw a cheap shot. And, yes, it was a cheap shot! Zack did not throw the elbow at a ninety degree angle, he purposely threw it going up and was lucky he did not get the Ohio State player in the mouth or nose area.

Talk about hypocrisy: Michigan fans were upset at the action of the Michigan State hockey players last week, but now they are defending Zack and what he did in the OSU game. Funny, how people see through their Maize-and-Blue colored glasses. Don’t get me wrong, I do not think these two incidences are equal in severity, but both should have been avoided — period. People defending what Zack said would be outraged if the shoe was on the other foot and an Ohio State player had thrown the elbow. Some of these fans try to explain it by saying the other player might have been taunting him, or playing rough or dirty or something. Well, that may have been the case, but there was no evidence of it — and throwing an elbow during a free throw attempt, where everybody is watching, is about as bone-headed as it gets — even if there was evidence of foul play by the other guy. This tendency in today’s world of sports, where everybody has to “man-up” or “challenge” somebody because they feel disrespected, is getting out of hand.

Written by ErocWolverine