Thursday, March 18, 2021

Pre NCAA Tournament

A Player's Coach

The Michigan team is reflecting its coach.  Juwan Howard has more in common with the players than John Belein did.  Nonetheless, for the latter, 68 is not too old to hang it up, if he so chooses.  And just to finish that thought, enjoy him as a commentator while you can because it is the best insight into Michigan basketball we will ever see, and right now he is all in for his former, but still home, team.

For Howard, this quality will be behind his longevity and the rises and falls.  Last year's team, like this one, did not finish the season with a bang.  And Coach has had hits and misses on the recruiting trail -- misses mean players sitting on the bench like Nunez (a leftover sure, but a complete zero this year) and the coach's son, both of whom would mean disaster in a NCAA tournament game.  Zeb and Williams could signal the same, although each seems capable of certain things which have not been incorporated into the team.  The transfer route, like that of the five-stars, is undependable (ask Richard Pitino).  

Anyway, the bench is thin.  Over-depending on just a few guys may be Michigan's downfall in the tournament.

This "next man up" business that tries to replace Isaiah Livers with Brandon Johns is what the players want to hear.  People do not learn and a "miraculous" recovery would not surprise me, but it certainly will not happen this weekend.  If they say 3 weeks, why not 2?

Which is fine, because a couple of weeks for Livers to rest is a long time.  Michigan doesn't get to pick which one of the two worst team's in the tournament, according to the guru, but they have enough weapons to compete for now.  

It is a good draw -- the best that could be expected.  The all-powerful committee gave Michigan respect like most schools would not have received.  They lost 3 of their last 5 and the win against Maryland was not a pretty sight.  The vaunted Big Ten can do no wrong against the rest of the country...

That is not true, of course.  Anything can happen, including Michigan avoiding Illinois again and winning the national championship.  

Texas South vs. Mount St. Mary's kicks it off in about an hour.

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