What's up everybody, Michigan and Oklahoma are about to tip off so let's do a quick review: in their last game against Clemson, Michigan looked good. Really good. For most of the game. They struggled rebounding the ball, and that won't get any easier with Blake Griffin down low. They shot the ball well, particularly Manny Harris, who played like a man possessed. DeShawn Sims was virtually absent, accounting for only nine points. If Michigan is going to have a chance of winning today, Sims needs to step it up against one of the best big men in the country. Michigan almost gave the game away in the final minutes but once again Manny bailed them out at the end, hitting perhaps the biggest shot of his young career, an and-1 floater in the lane.
And that's how it went down.
It's the second round of the NCAA Tournament. You know Jon Beilein has this team as prepared as they'll ever be. It's win or go home. Let's get it.
Initital thought: how much would it suck to be Taylor Griffin? Nobody ever talks about you because your little brother is so much better than you. I didn;t even know he existed until this game. He's virtually anonymous, all because of his little brother. Anyway, back to the game.
19:15- After a quick foul on Manny Harris (bad), Sims hits a nice fadeaway jumper (good). If he can get involved, this game will be very, very close.
17:30- So far, discouraging play from Michigan. They have already blown a couple of golden opportunities on the offensive end, including a sure dunk from Sims, he just wasn't ready for the pass. Michigan cannot afford mental mistakes like that. If they want to win, they can't have any space-out episodes Sims is now famous for.
16:04- Traveling call on Blake Griffin. That's a good sign, because this guy walks all over the world, it's good if the refs won't allow it.
15:25- Nice Michigan drive-and-dish that results in a Zach Novak 3-pointer. If both our white boys are hitting, that's a VERY good sign. It stretches the defense and frees up space down low for Sims to do work.
15:05- Manny just picked up his second foul when trying to box out Griffin. This...is not good. Not good at all.
14:35- Some inbred-looking guy for Oklahoma just nailed the ugliest 3-pointer I have ever seen. I hate this man.
13:58- 3-pointer from Sims. Huge shot. With Manny out, the scoring load falls squarely on him, and it looks like he's ready to put this team on his shoulders. He knows how it feels.
13:10- Blake Griffin just put on a padded-elbow sleeve. Supposedly to make sure his elbow isn't injured when he throws it against DeShawn Sims' jaw. Somebody needs to tell him to watch out for that.
12:11- Anthony Wright sighting! Actually, he played kind of a lot during the game against Clemson, but he actually just nailed a nice mid-range jumper. We need whatever we can get, to be honest.
10:35- Oh, man I just saw a replay of Laval Lucas-Perry getting dunked on by one of those Griffin boys. Disgusting. Definitely a balls-in-face situation. Oh, well. Michigan's hanging in there, and they just had a great defensive possession. It looks like Oklahoma is going to have a tough time defending us as long as we're hitting shots. What's worrisome is the prospect of, in turn, defending them. So far, I'd say the Wolverines are off to a good start.
9:53- I don't know what has been possessing CJ Lee to throw away the ball as of late, but whatever it is, please stop. He just threw a pass, like, three feet over LLP's head. What are you thinking? Not a good time to choke. But then again, is it ever?
8:27- After Anthony Wright turns the ball over (it's ok, he has eight points, including a 3-pointer), he gets a very nice block inside on Oklahoma's ensuing possession. So far, for how undersized Michigan is, their interior defense has been very, very good.
7:54- Oklahoma 22, Michigan 21. Just realized I hadn't given all you loyal readers out there the score yet. My bad. So far, you really can't complain about the way Michigan is playing. They look poised, active and determined. Really, they look like they've been here before. Hopefully, they can keep it up.
7:35- Consecutive foul calls on CJ Lee trying to defend Blake Griffin. The first call was justified, but the second was ridiculous. There's a reason 6'5" guys playing pickup don't call fouls on guys half their size. It's because they really don't alter their shot that much. This ref doesn't seem to understand that principle.
6:46- Immediately after getting blocked from behind, Stu Douglass picks the ball back up and hits a mid-range jumper. Way to stay with it.
4:45- Big bucket from Anthony Wright, followed by a nice hook by Sims to put Michigan up 3. A couple of huge plays, and we are surprising everyone. Last night, Digger, Hubert Davis, and Dickie V all took Oklahoma (because you know how much those guys love going out on a limb), and they said it would be Blake Griffn dominating down low. So far, Michigan has kept him at bay. They can't do it forever, but they may be able to do it long enough to win. We shall see.
3:03- I don't understand how boxing someone out so well that they are moved out of bounds is a foul. Apparently, the ref is seeing something I'm not, and he just pinned the second foul on Sims. Thank God this half is almost over. Michigan is playing this well without Manny! Think about that!
1:13- GREAT rebound by Zach Gibson leading to an Oklahoma foul on Wright. I seriously make a living ripping on Gibson, but he has stepped it up so big in this tournament. And there's another tap-out! He's doing it all right now.
0:14- Timeout by Michigan they have the last shot of the half and they're down, 30-29. If they can pull ahead on this last possession, I know a one-point lead at halftime doesn't sound like much, but psychologically, it is so huge. They are more than just in this game, they seem to be the team controlling the ebb and flow. Michigan fans could not have asked for a better half from the Wolverines.
HALFTIME- The last shot of the half was a fallaway 3-pointer by David Merritt, perhaps the most useless player on the team? Really? I'm sure that wasn't what was drawn up. Unfortunate, but still a very good half. Hopefully, they can continue playing this way. If they do, it's gonna be a loooong drive back to Norman. I'll be back at the beginning of the second half.
19:36- Putback by Sims just misses in the post. Manny and Sims are both back.
17:46- So far, Michigan doesn't look as good as they did in the first half, but it's very early. I have to say, I am amazed at ho strong Blake Griffin is inside. He kind of reminds me of Kevin Love, both in that he's a great college player and a so-so NBA prospect. Right now, he's having his way with us down low, and Manny's taking ill-advised almost 3-pointers. He needs to attack the paint and hopefully get a few fouls on Griffin.
17:24- Sims picks up his third foul. That SUCKS.
16:26- Great pass by Manny to Lee on the fast break for a layup. In Zach Gibson news, after an ill-advised 3-pointer, he is officially back in my doghouse.
15:34- Another strong move in the post by Griffin. It really doesn't mater what you do, he is just going to put the ball in the basket if his in the paint. He's just that strong. It's weird--usually I end up hating every player on th team Michigan is playing, but I can't see myself hating Griffin. For some reason, he seems really likable.
14:31- Just what Michigan needed: a Manny dunk. Griffin is manhandling us down low, and we have suddenly gone ice-cold, which means the white boys can't make anything, specifically Stuey. Random question: why does it seem like CJ Lee is guarding Blake Griffin all the time?
12:48- I'm getting tired of saying it, but it must be said again: we cannot stop Blake Griffin with the guys currently on our roster.
12:30- WHAT HAPPENED?! Did our bench just get called for a technical? This is a ridiculous call! Thanks refs I hate you.
11:24- HUGE 3-pointer by Gibson. It was definitely a "NO-no-no-no...yes! Yes!" situation. We still have found no answer for the Griffin duo down low, and we need to score a whole lot more and a whole lot faster if we want to have a chance. Where are you, DeShawn? Oh yeah, on the bench as a result of reffing incompetency.
10:33- Why does Gibson suddenly think he's a 3-point shooting specialist?
9:54- Very nice, very strong inside move by Sims, who just got back in the game. Imagine if we had had his inside presence the whole game.
9:23- After getting dunked on that savagely, Zach Novak may want to consider quitting basketball. That's all I'll say. Big 3-pointer by Lee to bring the deficit to within 10.
7:56- Anthony Wright hits by far the biggest bucket of his career, right in between the Brothers Griffin, to cut the lead to eight. He has proved a lot of people wrong tonight, including me.
6:55- Oh My God amazingly clutch 3-pointer by someone who isn't exactly known as Mr. Clutch, CJ Lee. Huge shot. The lead is now just five. The Wolverines are getting help from everywhere right now. It's actually really cool to watch everyone contribute. This is about as much of a team effort Michigan has had all year. These guys should be proud no matter what happens from here.
6:02- Following a great steal by Wright, a nice bucket inside by Sims. This is big.
3:09- Sorry I had to let my brother in the building. I'm back now, and Michigan is trailing by seven, 64-57. Beilein had better be drawing up something great in that huddle.
2:35- Backbreaking and-1 by Griffin. Perfect possession by Oklahoma: they ran down the clock to one second and got a big score. That really, really hurts. Oh! He missed the free throw! Nice. Doesn't hurt quite as much.
2:07- Terrible call once again by the refs, calling a charge on Manny Harris when the man guarding him, who happens to be wearing long sleeves (gay) clearly did not have his feet set. These refs haven't been terrible, but they definitely haven't been good.
1:12- Well, Oklahoma is up 12 and here come the fouls. It looks like this one is just about in the books. By the way, Anthony Wright is the Chevrolet player of the game. If someone had told me that yesterday, I would have been insulted that they thought I was so stupid I would take them seriously.
FINAL- Michigan is eliminated, and they're coming back home to Ann Arbor. It seems weird that this season is over. It was so...full. You know? So much progress was made, the last half of the season was spent speculating about whether or not they had what it took to get to the tournament, and they surprised a lot of people when they finally made it and won their first round game. Overall, it was an exceedingly satisfying season, the best, without a doubt, in 11 years. When this team comes back, they can hold their head high. This school is extremely proud of every man.