Saturday, March 6, 2021

Michigan vs Michigan State Basketball

But first, this:  "There were young girls everywhere, on the Summer side of life."  It is a shout out to Les Miles, and just like the title, clickbait for sure.  But please, don't ban Gordon Lightfoot.

I will always remember Miles for his dyed hair and self-promotional stints during actual games.  Anyone who thought he would win at moribund Kansas without the talent in Louisiana knocking on the door was crazy.  Besides, he was already washed-up.  The teams were still pretty good, but as I recall, he was lambasted for moronic clock management, playing as boring and conservative as possible, and not winning the big games.  

The irony is Miles was never a credible, engaging, or likable personality anyway.  He had to be the big cheese and he never was.  Maybe in Oklahoma.  Today the players are the stars.

At the very least, or most, depending on how you look at it, he will get a retirement nest-egg at 67.  At LSU, I would think they would have better things to do than investigate their own corruption from eight years ago.


The real point here, before they play again tomorrow, is to look back at Game 1.  I watched live and was not real impressed.  I was wrong.  Sometimes we let other things from the real world--I was busily working on three countersuits at the time--get in the way of watching a college sports game.  We want kill, kill, kill and revenge, revenge! for everything at once.  I'm not that kind of rabid fan.  I just wanted Michigan to play hard and to play their game, both of which, when combined can be very good.

They did.

At first, why Michigan won was:

1.  Michigan State is not very good.

2.  All starters played really well.

3.  Defense.

Everyone who follows Juwan Howard and Michigan basketball knows that they always start with a pass to the post and an attempt there.  Last year it was infuriating because Jon Teske missed the shot almost every time.  This year it is Dickinson.

In this game Mike Smith lit it up from early on.  It was not brilliant, but in terms of Michigan athletics (e.g., football) game planning it stands out.  Smith is indefensible as a ballhandler and assist man, and he is also a scorer Michigan has not always utilized this season.

Hunter Dickinson doesn't always have all the moves (yet), but he plays hard and well.  There was that one game that he was out of sorts and benched...  He wants to be a dominant center and relishes the challenges against the biggest and best players.  Garza and Iowa are the best proof to date.

Livers plays hard and is all-around.  A little like Charles Matthews.  On a given day there may be bigger stars but he is the heart and glue.

Ditto, but not the one, for Eli Brooks.  If you watch him on defense, he is always chasing the ball or someone; he is great at fighting around screens.  He is tireless, fearless, and strong.  He is experienced and sound.  Plus, he is a great shooter (if open) as well as a driving threat.  Although smaller, he is similar to Chaundee Brown--you can tell that Howard wants big, strong guards.

Last, but not least, Franz Wagner played his usual--not always--excellent game, with scoring.  He was motivated and he is always long.  If you look at the boxscore, he had 19 points.  Watching the highlights, he was standing at the top of the key hitting 3's.  That was why Michigan stretched the lead to close to 30, and that is rout-like win.

Plus, the game and even the above highlights featured to memorable moments -- Austin Davis bear-lifting Livers from the floor, and Aaron Henry trying, and still trying, to help Wagner after clobbering him.

Even Dickie V. was pretty good in this one.  Not traveling, and screaming from a studio or home, suits him.

It is hard to say why Michigan State isn't a better basketball team.  They have a deep team with a number of top 100 recruits.  Part of their problem is their tallest player (Bingham) is thin and not really a 5.  We'll see what Sparty brings in Game 2 -- their season is not over yet but it might be close.  My guess is they will bring it all and it will be a complete startover; if Michigan does the same, they will win again.

The Big Ten has a number of good teams.  Purdue has snuck-up to the #4 Seed.  Covid rules are there for very good reasons and Michigan won the regular season.  Poor sports like Illinois gripe about it.  Another rigged and fraudulent election...  We'll see about that one too.

That's what is so great about it.  They're all super capable.  They are also college kids, so you never quite know.

No comments:

Post a Comment