A DeShawn Sims performance that ended prematurely with 23 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, and 1 assist combined with a tremendous early defensive effort to put Michigan well in front of Wisconsin early. Unfortunately his was the only consistent performance by an individual wearing a Maize jersey all night. Despite this fact, Michigan was in the lead throughout the entire game until the final three minutes.
Sure, many will say that there's no shame in losing to a top 20 team that's nearly unbeatable on their home floor, but to say that simply indicates that you didn't watch this basketball game. Multiple double digit leads blown at a place where you simply cannot afford to do that... aggravating doesn't begin to cover it.
Michigan's basketball team found itself on the wrong end of a 24-9 run at the end of the game at the Kohl Center and, quite frankly, gagged away a game they had no business losing. Where do we begin? Michigan, who had done a fantastic job on the boards in the first half, suddenly started giving up second and third chances in the second half. The final stats will show that Michigan out-rebounded Wisconsin to the tally of 32-30... however, 7 of Wisconsin's 9 offensive rebounds came in the second half, leading to Wisconsin having an 11-2 advantage in second chance points. Meanwhile the referees made sure that Wisconsin never faded too far from the lead (14 of their 17 free-throws came in the second half), we all know to expect home-cooking in the conference, but this game was beyond the pale. Then to top it all off, in crunch time, the Wolverines crumbled like a house of cards.
What a hugely frustrating loss.... Other items of note?
- Wisconsin's bench outscored Michigan's 19-1.
- Michigan had 7 second half turnovers to Wisconsin's 1.
- Wisconsin tallied 11 second chance points to Michigan's 2.
All of this despite Michigan holding Wisconsin scoreless for nearly the first 8 minutes of the game and all of 18 points for the entire first half. Michigan had ample opportunities to run away and hide in this contest and was unable to capitalize on any of them.
Other quick thoughts, list style:
- Zack Novak cannot buy a bucket, he continues to make plays by hustling out there but just absolutely no offense to speak of.
- Manny Harris has to quit sleepwalking for 25+ mintues a game. If he's even somewhat involved in the early going this is a different basketball game entirely. He was rushing out there and making poor decisions with the basketball, this team simply cannot afford a performance of this kind from him.
- As great as the performance from Sims was, it'd be really nice to see him get just a tad more aggressive out there... sure I'm nitpicking, but that's what we do.
- I give Wisconsin and Bo Ryan credit for never panicking in the ballgame, they pretty much stuck to what they always do and hung in their system despite an atrocious shooting performance early on.
- Is it possible to travel while still dribbling the basketball? According to this crew: yes.
- No, seriously, the officiating was THAT bad.
- Any remaining tiny ridiculous glimmer of hope for a bid went away with Michigan's lead in the waning minutes... arg. The road fails to get any easier as Purdue appears next on the slate with State on the horizon.
Not a whole lot else to add at this point, I'll leave the more in-depth analysis to the experts.