Thursday, January 8, 2009

Michigan 72, Indiana 66 (OT).

Here's the box score. I really don't know what to do with it. The game was such a tale of two halves that a full-game box score doesn't tell much of a story. I'm embarrassed to say how into that game I was and how much I wanted IU to win it. It may as well have been the Elite Eight given the way I handled it. Of course, the missed free throws in OT were tough, but the game was over by then. IU had a six point lead with a minute to go but couldn't hang on. Devan Dumes is taking quite a bit of grief in certain quarters (most conspicuously from a certain 4'10" sports columnist with bad facial hair whom I will not dignify with a link) for his decision, with about 40 seconds remaining and a three point lead, to drive to the basket to take advantage of a 2 on 1. Obviously, in retrospect I wish he had tried to dribble the clock out, but I think it was as much an execution problem as a judgment problem. If it had been a 3 on 1, or a 2 on 1 with a defender in a worse position, it would have been worthwhile. As well as Michigan shoots the ball, I would rather have a 5 point lead with 30 seconds left than a 3 point game with 10 seconds left. Ultimately, he made the wrong decision and a bad play, but I disagree that he violated some cardinal rule of basketball. If that had been a bit better opportunity, going for the quick basket would have been the right decision.

As for the rest of the game, I don't have a whole lot to say. While IU's defense was good, Michigan missed plenty of makeable three pointers in the first half, and everyone knew that neither that trend nor IU's 50 percent shooting would hold up. I thought Matt Roth showed why he is going to be a weapon for years to come. Nothing in the tempo-free gameplan from Pomeroy is overwhelmingly good or bad. We took moderately good care of the ball by this team's standards, rebounded pretty well at both ends of the court, and so on. This was a missed opportunity against a pretty good team.

IU now travels to Illinois on Saturday, and we can expect Bruce Weber to show no mercy. Next Tuesday, IU goes to Ohio State. After that, IU enters a three game stretch that presents a bit of hope: Penn State and Minnesota at home, Northwestern on the road. IU will be a prohibitive underdog, but if the effort remains, I do agree with the emerging consensus that this team will find a way to win a few conference games.

Reaction from the Michigan blogosphere:


Tim said...

Dumes should get very little grief, if any. Without his nailing shots that looked like they had no chance all game, the Hoosiers aren't even in position to get the win.

John M said...

Well, if you've spent time in Detroit, I certainly don't have to tell you about dim-witted, hair-pulling sports columnists. At least one of yours got fired last week.