Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Penn State 57-58

Indiana, Nebraska, Northwestern, and now Penn State, are terrible teams.  Michigan State is not great.  Michigan is above .500 in conference play.

Last year Hunter Dickinson made Michigan a top ten team and this year he is sustaining them at the level they are currently at, which is 49.

If there is one thing Harbaugh, and Mel Tucker too, get it is that each season stands on its own.  No one--and I mean no one--is going to stay so the only thing you can count on is the next season.  All the theatrics don't matter much if you are prepared for the season.  The roster for that season, as well as the "staff" (i.e., the entire organization), is built during the off-season, hopefully quickly and in advance.  At Michigan, you can usually outspend, and steal from, just about anyone.  The portal is more important than recruiting; you must know who is going to leave and seek a portal replacement.  The portal is more dependable for the next and only season that can be controlled.  The recruiting budget is now the recruiting/NIL budget.  

It is a whole new world of roster and organizational management.  The institution will still be there next year, but will you?

That is the dooming problem for Michigan basketball.  Dickinson is right in announcing this as his last year because he is a 7-footer with proven skills and moxie.  The rest of the roster is going to be endless speculation about mock drafts, transfers, and bad or ending career decisions.  

Diabate is averaging 9 points a game and he plays all the time (except when in foul trouble), his name is called all the time, and he has never taken a shot.  Maybe Houstan should have played the Duncan Robinson role if the roster could sustain it a long time ago because his minutes are wasted.  Brooks is a role player on a good team and this is not a good team; specifically, his floaters don't go in and he is slow.  I saw it in the Indiana game:  DeVante' Jones (I've finally mastered the spelling nuances) is so slow, clumsy, and predictable that if you stand in the right place he will clunk into you for a steal.

Collins was in the box score but didn't play against Penn State.  Williams and Johns are beginning to resemble each other.  I respect their ability to remain enthusiastic and to keep going out there.  I missed it but I believe Kobe Bufkin was the recipient of Howard's ominous stare; he has received minutes recently and has not done--or shown, because they're all so talented--much if anything.

The rest of the roster is in quarantine.

Howard is bouncing up and down and coaching his brains out.  He can be intimidating.

As for the season, the team is showing grit, and that comes from Howard, but that is it.  But the team is really Dickinson, and he is showing growth and maturity too.  Plus, at times he controls his fouls and gets blocks and plays great defense too.

Moussa Diabate' is 6' 11" and could be the only center next year.

But I just don't see the bench and the team staying together.  Losing makes things worse and the tension is going to ratchet up.  All these kids are either unprepared or they can't hack it and in today's world that translates into transfers.  Either that or they are destined to be career dead-weight like Adrien Nunez.

By tension, I mean, the good teams are feasting.  Michigan has pulled-out some ugly wins and that is commendable, not to mention beneficial in terms of the Big Ten tournament, but...

The post-season could be quick and ugly.  They'll be plenty of time and rumors.


Arkansas-Aurburn was a treat.  The talent on both sides was light-years ahead of Michigan basketball.  Sleazy (Bruce Pearl), but a far cry from Michigan at Penn State.  Kessler is ready.  One play in particular, JD Notae--he of the "I ain't $2 comment RE the indoor gym-was dribbling in the open court, going slowing and the defender was facing him in good position, and Notae turned him completely around.  Another time, Auburn, including Kessler, was standing all all over but not in the paing; Notae took the ball at the free throw line and went straight to the basket.  And Jones, for Auburn:  6' 10" jumping at the 3-point line is unstoppable.

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