On a night that Michigan Basketball did not desperately need a win, yet desperately needed a win, to prove their B1G worth, Tim Hardaway Jr. came through. I like to call him, "Big Time Timmy Jim" because nobody calls Tim Lincecum that anyway. Michigan didn’t actually need to win this game because they have all but sealed up a solid seeding in the tournament, but they did need a rebound after coming out flat against a streaky Purdue team (dang you Robbie Hummel). The Fighting Illini however had a couple of things in mind. The first being their tournament hopes. Illinois basically needed a couple of late season wins and a strong showing in the B1G tournament to prove that they are worthy. They also were protecting their seniors and home court from Michigan that hadn’t won against the "Orange Crush" since 1995. To make a short story shorter (or just 40 minutes of basketball shorter) the duo of Tim Hardaway and Trey Burke pulled together and squashed the Illini and their seniors with a combined 46 points. Not too shabby in my book.
- Tim Hardaway is the catalyst that makes Michigan go. I have been saying it all year and I will say it again tonight, "if Michigan doesn’t get steady play from Hardaway, don’t expect them to do much in the tournament this year." Michigan goes as he goes. Tim does things in ways that he daddy didn’t. His dad was a shake and break, make you look silly, get to the bucket, kind of guy. Mr. Jr. is a lengthy two-guard that can stretch the floor and rise over you from deep or mid-range (even though he shows us flashes of getting to the bucket). If Hardaway can build his confidence early and often, Michigan will be just fine. (25 pts, 6-7 fgm-a, 4-4 3pm-a, 9-10 ftm-a) GET TO THE LINE FELLA!
- Trey Burke is an exceptional player that should win B1G frosh of the year honors. Burke has been doing the same things all year long. He controls the floor with his swagger. He can shoot the "Trey" or get to the bucket all in one swift movement. Most importantly, he protects and distributes the ball as needed by this Michigan team. I really hope he sticks around for a couple of years to really develop his raw talent (same for Tim). (21pts, 7-13 fgm-a, 2-3 3pm-a, 5-6 ftm-a)
- Beyond these two "ballers" as some would call them, Michigan was rather non-existent. They got the regular grit from Novak and Douglass, without the contribution in points, but not much from anywhere else. Smotrycz was a non-factor all night. He fouled out in about 15 minutes of play while only hitting one bucket on the night. The rest of the cast didn’t do too much of anything. Morgan needs to continue to contribute inside or we could be in trouble. Overall, Hardaway/Burke played in for 46 of Michigan’s 72 points. And let us all pray that we don’t see a team that has a talent like the 7’1" Griffey inside on a team that knows how to use him, shame on Illinois for not feeding this kid the rock at least once every trip down the court or possession. He doesn’t have to score every time, just let him touch the ball and good things will happen. I really wish Michigan had that kind of length sometimes…Mitch McGary, where you at?
And finally my Brew of choice for the night…Samuel Adams Imperial White. By the label, "Samuel Adams Imperial White pushes out the boundaries of a witbier. While the brew delivers orange and coriander notes, typical to witbiers, it has a bigger mouthfeel and body. It’s truly a unique brew." I feel like this is a brew that is similar to any traditional witbier. It has a strong scent of coriander no doubt and a sweet taste, without the "body" it promises. It was actually kind of perfect for a Thursday night. It pours a nice orange and has minimal foam and retention with an ABV of 10.3%. I say, "if you like Blue Moon, you will like this Imperial White." I’m a big fan of Sammy A, by the way, so any craft they divvy I will try once. Cheers to Michigan basketball and a good Samuel Adams Brew.
See this link for a visual of this Brew: