2008-2009 Season

Game 28: Michigan at Iowa Post Game

falling-final
Let’s get the typical Michigan overreaction out of our system right now and just say it: the sky is falling. Trust me, I was just as upset as you were during the game but I have attempted to take a step back before analyzing it. At the end of the day, Michigan still needs 2 more wins. They let a golden opportunity slip away but there are three more games left on the schedule.

This one was there for the taking, Michigan had a 4 point lead with only 68 seconds to play but they just couldn’t close it out. Michigan had the big Douglass three pointer but Iowa managed to tie the game with four Matt Gatens free throws in the last minute. Jake Kelly took over the game in overtime on the offensive end and helped Iowa outscore Michigan 14-4 in the extra time.

Michigan shot 44% from the field (and from long range) in the first half and held a one point lead at the break. The second half and overtime were a different story. In the second half, Michigan shot 29% from the field, 36% from long range, and only 23% from inside the arc. Overtime was even worse — Michigan made only one out of ten field goals in the extra time. Shooting as poorly as they did in the second half I think it is a bit surprising that Michigan even had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation.

Looking at the four factors, the big advantages for Iowa were effective field goal percentage and free throw rate. I was very disappointed with Michigan’s defensive effort throughout. The Hawkeyes scored 1.09 points per possession and shot the ball well with an eFG% of 55.9%. This was by far the worst defensive performance from Michigan since the Ohio State road game (1.08, 65 eFG%) and roughly since CJ Lee’s insertion into the lineup. Iowa ran the pick and roll to perfection in the second half and Michigan just couldn’t stop it. Time and time again Jake Kelly got a really good look or Peedi got caught out of position and found Cole for the easy bucket. Jake Kelly was a mismatch problem because he’s 6-foot-6 and running the point, his size allowed him to get off his shot anytime over CJ Lee. Kelly’s career night (23 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals) coupled with Bawinkle hitting his open looks from the corner (4-8 3pt fg) were just too much for Michigan.

On offense Michigan hit twelve three pointers but it wasn’t enough. The most frustrating part for me was how many shots Michigan missed inside the arc. Sims had an awful time finishing inside and he wasn’t alone. Michigan finished 8 of 28 on two point field goals, a mere 28%. That is downright awful. In a lot of ways it reminded me of the Ohio State home game when Sims got plenty of good looks in the paint but just couldn’t finish. Neither team had many offensive rebounds but that doesn’t change the fact that it was one of Michigan’s worst offensive rebounding performances of the year.

As I am sure you have read about in the comments by now, Manny didn’t play in the overtime. I wasn’t on the bench in Carver-Hawkeye Arena so I have no clue what happened down the stretch  but I find it hard to believe that nothing out of the ordinary happened. The last possession was clearly botched but I think there is something at play beyond that, here are the quotes from the Free Press:

“I didn’t think he was playing well, didn’t think he looked fresh, wasn’t himself so we decided to go another direction,” Beilein said.

“We lost the game, I don’t know why I didn’t play,” Harris said, adding that Beilein did not talk to him about it.

“I don’t know nothing,” Harris said. “It was a play he drew up and it didn’t work. It wasn’t for me to take the last shot.”

A lot of the typical company line going here, I don’t think Manny or Beilein want to air this out in the media, this is something that will be handled internally. Beilein also infers that the play was supposed to go to Stu or Zack and it just didn’t go the way it was planned. In regards to Manny, this isn’t the first time Beilein has thrown Manny on the bench and left people screaming; Central Michigan last year and Penn State this year come to mind. It’s looks questionable but we honestly just don’t know what happened. I find it hard to judge without the details. If it was some sort of insubordination, Beilein has to do it his way. If it was just poor play, the decision is clearly questionable. I am also curious if Manny really did try to check himself into the game because that is sure what it looked like about halfway through overtime.

This loss really hurts and there is no denying it. Taking a step back kind of goes to show just how lucky Michigan has been this year. Michigan was 3-0 in overtime games before this one and they also had two comebacks of 20 points or so. If you keep playing with fire eventually you are going to get burned. If the ball bounces a little differently against Savannah State or in Bloomington this season looks a hell of a lot different. A year after a 10-22 season it is pretty remarkable that this is going to be Michigan’s worst loss of the season — an overtime conference loss on the road. Iowa is 3-3 at home this year with wins over Indiana, Wisconsin, and Northwestern, their three losses came to Minnesota (3pts), Michigan State (15 pts), and Purdue (4 pts). That is respectable to say the least.

This game clearly hurts Michigan’s tournament chances but it’s not the end of them. It was a road game so the RPI effect isn’t drastic, Michigan’s RPI only fell to 52. I still think that 9-9 and 1 win in the Big Ten Tournament will get this team in. There are three games left, Michigan needs to win two of them. If they don’t beat Purdue (BUY TICKETS) then I think you can pretty much write off the season barring any Big Ten Tournament run. If they can upset the Boilermakers then they just need one good game on the road to pull a shocker in the final two. Maybe I’m an eternal optimist but this season has seen its share of ups and downs and just maybe there is one more surge.

Player Bullets:

  • Zack Novak: Zack seems like he has found a groove again, hopefully he can keep it up down the stretch. 11 points on 3-8 three point field goals, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover. This is pretty much the solid Zack Novak game, I’ll take it.
  • Stu Douglass: Stu is also getting more and more confident with his shot: 4-9 shooting, 14 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists. This is the second straight game we have gotten some three point makes from both Novak and Stu so that is encouraging.
  • DeShawn Sims: Peedi just couldn’t finish: 5-14 shooting for 13 points, 8 rebounds, and a block. It was almost like there was a lid over the basket, I remember several shots that went in and out. Michigan needed Peedi to be a factor and he just wasn’t. I’m sorry but the last foul of regulation was a joke.
  • Manny Harris: Here are Manny’s numbers for the game: 9 points on 3-13 shooting, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 turnovers. I talked about his benching earlier, but the things that Manny has been doing well are rebounding and penetrating. I wish he would look for the drive and kick a bit more (even though he had 6 dimes) but he also couldn’t buy a call in the lane.
  • CJ Lee: Not CJ’s best effort because Jake Kelly went wild and the shots weren’t falling. The positive is that he posted 5 assists and only 1 turnover but that is about it.
  • Kelvin Grady: DNP-CD. I’m honestly not surprised. It appears pretty clear that Beilein likes CJ in there. Kelvin played the last game because of Manny’s foul trouble, not because Beilein had a change of heart.
  • Dave Merritt: 14 minutes, 6 points (2-3 shooting), 2 assists, 0 turnovers, and a steal. Not bad but the corner threes from Balwinkel were killers. Honestly though, that shot has been a killer all year and no matter if Grady, Lee, or Merritt is running the bottom of the zone the 6-foot-6 Balwinkel is going to shoot over them.
  • Zack Gibson: 3 fouls in 2 minutes. I’m not sure if I have seen this many illegal screens called in a Big Ten game.
  • Laval Lucas-Perry: Laval hit a big three that started getting Michigan back in the game in the first half but he missed his next 5 shots from the field. Finished with 7points on 2-7 (1-5 3pt) shooting with 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steals.

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