As Monday came and went a strange calm settled over me. Normally at this point in the season I'm all atwitter with various scenarios for bowl bids, watching the polls fevorishly for highs and lows, and generally over hyping my expectations of Michigan's bowl chances. But on Monday my head was clear of these things. It should've been. After Saturday, for the first time since the '60's, Football season ended in November rather than New Year's day or late December. So it appears I've got some time on my hands.
A complete season wrapup would probably be a good idea, but that's going to take some time. There are lots of other things to do. For instance, the new Bond movie is out and I hear Judi Dench is doing partial nudity. Wait... no. I mean player evaluations. How well the coaches faired. Who's staying. Who's going. Who's replacing whom. Who's walking through that door with the expectation of starting. And what we can expect from a MAC heavy schedule, a Notre Dame club that will be substantially better than its loss to Syracuse indicates, a slate of Big Ten games against steadily improving teams, and of course Ohio State in 2009.
There are also other sports to celebrate. For the first time since the early '90's Michigan basketball is relevant and not just a case study in fan masochism. The Wolverines are 3-1 with a win over No. 4 UCLA to pin on their resume, as well as a runner up trophy in a tournament they were supposed to be fodder for. Manny Harris is absolutely on fire, scoring 96 points in his last four games and was named to the 2K Classic all Tournament Team. DeShawn Sims has given Michigan an inside presence on both ends of the floor, Anthony Wright has been surpriingly effective distributing the ball, and freshman Stu Douglass and senior David Merritt have contributed both defense and much needed scoring. All the details on the season so far can be found here.
This is a fun team to watch. And they're playing tonight as the Wolverines host 1-1 Norfolk State. The Spartans are led by senior guard Michael Deloach, who is averaging 25.5 points per game. The Spartans are new to DI basketball, existing on the big stage for just eight seasonsas a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Tip off is scheduled for 8:30 EST and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network. Enjoy.
Another team worth tipping our cap to is the Women's basketball team who just posted win over No. 13 Vanderbilt, the biggest win of second year Coach Kevin Borseth short tenure at UM. The Lady Wolverines are 2-2 on the season and head into the Southern Mississippi Thanksgiving Tournament starting on November 28, 2008.
For you hockey fans, Michigan's Hockey team continues to pull in the country's top talent, inking three members of the US National Development team to scholarships. New commits Chris Brown (Flower Mound, Texas), Kevin Lynch (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) and A.J. Treais (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) will lace up their skates for the Maize n' Blue come 2009. So the future remains bright. On the ice, Michigan's had some tuff sledding, dropping two games to Miami this past weekend despite strong games from Billy Sauer and Brian Hogan. The team stands at 8-6(5-5) on the season and is preparing to face Minnesota and Wisconsin in the 16th Annual College Hockey Showcase in Minneapolis and Madison. Puck drop 7:05 CST in Minneapolis on November 28, 2008.
So there is plenty to grab our attention as football fades into the baskground until March and spring practice roll around. And we'll get to wrapping up the Football season in due time. But for now, enjoy a little peace and quiet on the gridiron front and let yourself enjoy a pair of resurgent Basketball program often forgotten about until mid February and a preinial power in our Hockey program. They'll help you transition from football to back to normal life.