The transfers are out, coaches are making suggestions to improve the college game, and the hardwood is becoming “painted wood that you play basketball on.” There is a lot of news and commentary to get to this Thursday. Let’s hit the listeners with a frickin’ FUNKY BOOM. Here is your weekly Notebook jam — We gettin’ funky with Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears today!
True Court Appeal
Everybody is getting into the the hardwood makeover! We should expect one at Minnesota in the next few years with renovations expected to their basketball facilities. This season, we saw a new floor at Value City Arena with renovations taking place at the Schott. In 2011, Northwestern, Illinois, Michigan and Purdue made changes to their home floors.
This year, it’s Nebraska — who unveils the brand new Pinnacle Bank Arena next season, has made some drastic improvements. First and foremost, they have shrunk the block N at mid-court to respectability. They have have also added an outline of the state of Nebraska, with a star on the city of Lincoln — the home of Nebraskatball, and the capital of the state. Nebraska’s design also has a nice finish around the wings and top of the key, and around the perimeter. In fact, It looks like they got their floor plans from a very solid program. Truth is it looks tons better than the original design, and doesn’t go way overboard. Just because your campus isn’t on the beach FIU, doesn’t mean you have to bring the beach to the university.
With basketball season rapidly approaching and a lot of information to digest from around the conference, I thought it was high time we hear from bloggers representing them. We finish off the series in roundtables with our last seven today! We hope you enjoy the feature and give us plenty of feedback, and be sure to check out Part One.
Introducing our comrades from around the B1G we start off with Rick Reese of the Iowa Blog Black Heart Gold Pants; Brian Rosenthal, Lincoln Journal Star writer and Husker Extra writer; Penn State writer for StateCollege.com Ben Jones; Philip Rossman-Reich writer for Lake the Posts ; Jonathan Foster, writer for From the Barn, one of my favorite B1G blogs.
I honestly had issues trying to round up bloggers for TTUN and for the Fighting Illini, and have the only Michigan fan I like helping out in Giuliano, (So Fla Wolverine to his twitter mates). tBBC main man for basketball Eric will do us the honor of covering the Illini.
Rick Reese. Black Heart Gold Pants. Iowa Roy Devyn Marble, Aaron White and Zach McCabe are Iowa’s returning starters. There’s also Gabe Olaseni and Melsahn Basabe coming off the bench. Marble holds a slight edge over Aaron White as the teams top returning scorer. Marble averaged 11.5 points per game last season while White averaged 11.1. White was a do-it-all freshman that as freshmen do, only got better as the season carried on. McCabe and Basabe averaged 7.8 and 8.2 rebounds per game. Basabe suffered the dreaded sophomore slump but will hopefully benefit this season with the return of a true center in Iowa’s lineup.
For the first time ever the top four seeds of the Big Ten tournament have advanced to the semi-finals. The three co-champions are still in, and still have an opportunity to prove that they are indeed the best team in the Big Ten.
Ohio State and Michigan get to prove it on the court today.
Today is the rubber game in this season’s series. Both teams split the regular season meetings, with the Buckeyes taking a 64-49 win at home, while Michigan emerged victorious in Ann Arbor 56-51.
But this game has even more historical significance. The Buckeyes and Wolverines have encountered each other repeatedly over the last several years in the Big Ten Tournament. Last season, the Bucks handled Michigan in the semi-finals 68-61 by opening up a significant lead halfway through the second half and coasting to the win. The year before saw Evan Turner’s last second buzzer beater sink Michigan’s hopes of upsetting the #1 seed in the quarterfinals, ending a fairly close game 69-68.
The Wolverines welcomed the Buckeyes into the Crisler center this weekend, and sent the Buckeyes packing with their fifth loss of the season by a score of 56-51. The Buckeyes struggled shooting the whole night but had several chances to tie it up late in the second. Unfortunately, Michigan did just enough to keep Ohio State from ever gaining the lead. DeShaun Thomas had a huge game for the Buckeyes picking up a double double by scoring 25 points on 8-13 shooting, including 3-6 from three, and grabbing 13 rebounds. Trey Burke lead the Wolverines with 17 points and 5 assists for the game.
The Michigan defense came to play early in this one. Ohio State’s offense needed several trips before they finally found their first bucket from the left elbow from DeShaun Thomas – a shot he repeated on the subsequent trip down. The Wolverines weren’t going to let such a golden opportunity escape them, putting down 8 points before the first TV timeout and getting the crowd into the game in a big way.
The offensive explosion from the guys in maize was particularly impressive as they spread the scoring out evenly amongst the starters. Trey Burke had a nice dribble drive with several spin moves to get a good close range shot, while Tim Hardaway had an excellent 18 footer from the left wing. Morgan and Novak also hit a couple easy baskets to help out the run.
Hardaway came to play in this one and dropped several big shots from the outside. Having disappeared for several straight games, his presence was much needed for this Michigan team to have success. With his shots falling from the outside, especially with Buford going cold for most of the night, it was a very bad sign for the Bucks on the road.
The Buckeyes are in the AA this evening for their second shooty hoops battle with the Michigan Wolverines! The game tips at 9:00 PM EST on ESPN.
While you wait, go checkout our friends in the Buckeye Bloggers Network! the Buckeye Blog, OSU Silver Bullet, Buckeye House Call, Our Honor Defend, and Men of the Scarlet and Gray. Fox Sports Ohio also joins us as usual. The liveblog will kickoff at 8:30 PM EST.
The Buckeyes, having recovered from their loss to the little brothers with a solid win over the Golden Gophers, now have to travel to Ann Arbor to face the plucky Wolverines for the second time this season.
Michigan, currently ranked #17 in the AP Poll, has absolutely earned that ranking the last couple of weeks. While they are only 3-2 through their last five games, their two losses have come at Ohio State (64-49) and at Michigan State (64-54). In turn, they’ve picked up impressive wins against #20 Indiana, and Illinois, and also picked up a nice (but not necessarily quality) win at Nebraska.
Michigan’s sophomores struggled at times during the slump. Tim Hardaway Jr. (6-6, 200) in particular struggled to hit his shot in their games against Michigan State and Nebraska, scoring a combined 10 points in those outings. For reference, recall that he scored 15 against the Buckeyes in a general rout. Hardaway is an important cog in the Wolverine’s offense, so it was critical to their postseason outlook that he managed to emerge against Illinois this week and score 15.
This afternoon we continue our trek through the state of Michigan as we get you ready for the Big Ten basketball season. The shadow from East Lansing to Ann Arbor has continued to shrink over the last few seasons as Wolverine head coach John Beilein develops the Michigan program into a respectable foe. Last year, it started rough for the Maize and Blue, but after a tournament berth and the season sweep of the rival Spartans, things are looking bright for the ‘little brother’ of college basketball.
Last year’s team didn’t have any seniors, but gone is leading scorer and distributor Darius Morris, who declared early for the NBA Draft and was selected by his hometown L.A. Lakers with the 41st overall pick. If this team can respond to losing their heart and soul on offense, then should be a favorite to finish near the top of the Big Ten Standings.
The way the season finished for the Wolverines, it’s hard to imagine that they went 1-6 to start the Big Ten campaign and at times could not find a rhythm on the court. After a big upset of Michigan State at the Breslin, the Wolverines got on a roll and ended up winning 10 of their last 14 ballgames.
With the hot streak, the Wolverines went dancing for the second straight season. As a no. 8 seed entering the tournament, the Wolverines opened up with a tough no.9 seeded Tennessee team. At the end of the day, Michigan played their best game of the season, winning by 30 (75-45) — the biggest margin in tournament history in the 8/9 match up. Up by four at the half, Darius Morris and company came out on a 19-2 run and literally became the dagger that ended the violation filled era of Volunteer basketball under Bruce Pearl. The most impressive factor in the game was Tennessee’s obvious advantage of strength, athletic ability, and interior play. Yet Michigan scored twice as many players in the paint, out rebounded the Volunteers by ten, an dominated on defense by holding them scoreless for 5 + minutes twice in the second half.
In game number two of the NCAA tournament against the Duke Blue Devils, the Wolverines looked over matched. With just less than 7:00 left in the game, they were down 12. It what was the greatest display of character, fight and heart of last year’s tournament. Down throughout most of the game, Michigan weathered the Blue Devil storm late, as Tim Hardaway Jr. scored seven unanswered to close the gap to one with 1:30 remaining in the game.
With :9 seconds left on the clock, Duke’s Nolan Smith missed his second free throw to keep it a 2 point game (73-71). The basketball was rebounded by Michigan’s Zach Novak and kicked out to Darius Morris who drove the floor and put up a floater from the free throw line with 3 seconds left that clanked off the back iron.
The Wolverines didn’t quite make it to the Sweet Sixteen, but they ended the season with a bang. An all-around effort that grounded the foundation for a building program and solidified their identity heading into this season.
Like ‘em or hate ‘em, The Michigan Wolverines will be a top tier team in the Big Ten this season.
Day 2 of the Big Ten Tournament brought a close call for the Bucks, but after pulling out the win over Northwestern, Ohio State now turns its attention to the Wolverines of Michigan. Going into Day 3 of the tournament, Ohio State should be back in rhythm and ready to go. It will be important to get going early against Michigan, who likely solidified their entrance into the NCAA Tournament with their win today over Illinois (while in all probability also ending the Illini’s chances of making the NCAA’s). Good job Michigan! Oh, by the way…
Michigan won’t be as forgiving as Northwestern if Ohio State comes out of the gate with abysmal shooting once again. The truly good news for the Buckeyes from today’s game was that despite their poor shooting from the floor, they were knocking down the free throw’s with consistency. A really good formula for improving their field goal percentage for their game against Michigan would be to get back to the free throw line. By picking up fouls early (particularly by pounding it inside to Sullinger), Ohio State should be in good shape to both get the Wolverine big men in foul trouble and find their shooting touch in the first half. Read More