2008-2009 Season

Throwing Elbows with Jay Bilas

Update 1:39 PM: Manny is not expected to be suspended by the Big Ten:

Big Ten spokesperson LaTonya Sadler told the Free Press today that the Big Ten “did not find it violated the sportsmanship agreement.”

There has been plenty of media coverage this morning (linked below) on Manny Harris’ “thrown elbow” in Saturday’s game. Jay Bilas got on television Saturday night and ripped Michigan apart. He called for John Beilein to get his team “under control” and said that he felt the Manny Harris play was intentional. I really have to wonder if Jay even watched the game or whether he just saw the bloody shot of Chris Kramer and assumed Michigan was in the wrong.

Jay wrote a column last Thursday outlining what defines toughness in a college basketball team. Here is one of the entries in the list:

Catch and face: Teams that press and trap are banking on the receiver’s falling apart and making a mistake. When pressed, tough players set up their cuts, cut hard to an open area and present themselves as a receiver to the passer. Tough players catch, face the defense, and make the right read and play, and they do it with poise. Tough players do not just catch and dribble; they catch and face.

I hate to break it Jay but that is all Manny Harris did; catch and face. You can’t run your offense with your back to the basket so Manny got the ball, ripped high, and faced up. Watch Manny play, he has probably done this 500 times this year. Jay goes on to give his criticism of the play because he hit Kramer in the nose:

“I respect his right to protect his kid and stand up for him, and I respect that, but that doesn’t mean I have to buy it. I don’t buy it. I saw (the play) 100 times. That’s not a basketball play. That’s not the way the game is played. How many games are played every day, high school, college or pro, and players execute rip-through moves, and how many noses are broken?”

Is it really surprising that Kramer was the one that got his nose broken? You don’t see this play every day because not everyone plays defense that close when you are 25 feet away from the basket. Kramer can play there but he has to know he runs the risk of getting nicked. If everyone played as tight of defense as Kramer then you might see this play quite a bit more. In fact, a similar play occurred in the Florida/Tennessee game later that night. No ejections were made, only a foul on the defender and a dead ball technical.

The only cheap shot I saw on Saturday was Jay Bilas attacking the Michigan program. Calling for John Beilein to “get control of his program” on national television is nothing more than a low blow from a guy who has held a grudge against the program since March 17th, 2007.

Update: Beilein has recommended no further punishment and plans to appeal any suspension if it is levied by the conference (linked below).


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