Thursday, February 19, 2009

Apparently the Gophers play Michigan tonight

I had completely forgotten. Good thing I heard it on the radio. I, once again, don't have time for a real in depth preview, but I at least want to put a little something down.

As I'm sure you are aware, Michigan was a great story early in the season after knocking off both Duke and UCLA and rushing to a 13-3 record, but has since collapsed on itself going 2-7 after that start before winning in overtime at Northwestern on Sunday. They are now on the outside of the bubble at 16-10 and 6-7 in the conference. A very strong strength of schedule, 18th in the country, and an ok RPI (58th) say they still have a shot. With that SOS, a 9-9 finish in the conference might be enough to get them in. They'll have to go just 3-2 to get there, but with three road games and a home game against Purdue, tonight is an absolute must win.

Michigan leads the Big Ten in 3-pointers made and attempted, but are last in 3 point shooting percentage at just 31.7% and don't have a single player who hits more than 36%. Talk about your all-time failures. Hey Beilein, I don't want to tell you how to coach but you might want to at least consider waiting on breaking out your crazy Rick Rickert-esque West Virginia "everybody shoot a three pointer every time you touch it no matter where or who you are" offense until you, you know, get some guys who can actually shoot.

Interestingly, the Gophers defend the two point shot very well, and actually are the best in the country in blocking shots, but aren't particularly stout against the three pointer, allowing opponents to shoot 34% - about the nation's average.

They will also have to worry about Michigan's killer NBA Jam tandem, Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims, who score almost 50% of the team's points. Harris was defending well by Westbrook last season, but L-Dub seems to have inexplicably lost the fire he seemed to have for most of his Gopher career, and almost seems to be going through the motions at this point. Sims is about 1,000 times better this year than last, so it's irrelevant to even look at his past performance. He will be a good test for Ralph and Colton, although it wouldn't surprise me to see Damian on him at times.

Defensively, Michigan is pretty much an average team for the NCAA, which means they are a poor team to Big Ten standards. Their biggest weakness would be defending the two point shot, and they are slightly better than average against the three.

Talent-wise, this should be no contest. Outside of Manny and Sims, the Wolverines are pretty bare, while the Gophers can legitimately go 9.5 deep. Even so, Michigan does have the two best players in this game, home court advantage, and desperation on their side. I would love to pick the Gophers based on what I've seen, but their last three road games have been a blowout and two would be blowouts if not for huge, fluky shooting nights from the Hoff and then Devoe.

This team gives me zero reason to believe in them. I'm terrified Al Nolen is going to turn it over 7 times, and one (or more) of those three point chucking jackass sidekicks for Michigan is going to get hot. Michigan 73, Minnesota 60 (although Sampson should have a good game).

From the Barn did a nice Q&A collaboration with the Michigan blog UM Hoops, so go read it.


Lefty Snake said...

Where is the sexiest picture of all time. I have been counting the days until we play michigan just for that picture. I guess I will have to go stair at moma dawger some more. Thanks for wrecking my day WWWWWWWWWW.

snacks said...

That's what worries me the most, one of those little weiners like Novak or Douglas going off Jon Diebler or Craig Moore style. Does anyone know if that Novak queer is the brother of the Novak that played for Beilein at WVU? Because he's a lot shorter and shittier. I feel like the Gophers should win, but I'm not confident about it. I'll say Minn 61 - Mich 55.

WWWWWW said...

I use that same picture every time, I thought I'd mix it up. Don't worry, we play Michigan again.

I'm going to assume they are brothers.

Dawg said...

Or is her related to the Novak that played at Marquette with Deiner and Wade?

Better yet he might be related to the legend Tim Dog Novak.

Lefty Snake said...

WWWWWW, You simply dropped the ball this time. Its called tradition. Whenever I see that picture I know it must be Gophers v Michigan time. Todays picture made me think anal porn, not basketball. Not a bad thing, but not what I wanted to think about on Michigan game day. Way to piss all over tradition. I am going to look at Moma Dawgers can again.....thanks W.

snacks said...

Nevermind, I have a faulty memory. The Novak I was thinking of was the one Dawg was referring to. I guess I got my big east teams that wear blue and yellow and had tall white guys who shot a lot of threes mixed up. Guess it could still be his brother though, just made more sense when I thought they both played for Beilein.

I don't think this kid has enough game to be related to Tim Dog. Tim had the legendary hole in one on a par 4 in duluth (was this ever verified or was he just full of it like when he used to give himself bogeys all the time on his bad holes when we all knew he had a triple and he'd shoot a 73 that was really a 78.)

Anonymous said...

I would look at my can too.

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