Friday, April 5, 2013

Michigan Friday: It's the Final 4 Countdown

Basketball is a funny game, it's sort of like golf as a team sport.   Sometimes you can play a really good round of golf and your putts just don't fall.   Shooting a basketball is sort of the same way, your form could be good and you could miss everything.    Or you could catch fire and make everything you look at.   See Hardaway and Stauskas's season for an example of that theory.   Both guys are great shooters and at times they haven't been able to throw the ball in the ocean from the beach. 

If Michigan is going to play on Monday Night, they need Hardaway and Stauskas shooting well from outside the zone.    To me that is the #1 key to Michigan's success.   I already expect Burke to push the ball and limit turnovers and McGary to play with energy and make a few bunnies.  We just need our shooters to shoot well to break that suffocating Syracuse zone.  

Here are what the experts are saying on how you break that Zone:

  1. Push the ball and don't let them set the Zone.  Which means Burke needs to get out quick off a Syracuse miss.  McGary is huge here getting boards and getting the ball to Burke.
  2. Attack the high post around the free throw line.  Look for Michigan to send Hardaway and GR3 there.  They both need to hit a little "free throw" jumper.  Tim struggled from that spot against Florida.
  3. Shooters at the corners - Stauskas will get a ton of shots.

Syracuse is not a great offensive team and if Michigan struggles in the half court offense they will need to lock down Syracuse on the defensive side of the court.  Michigan will then need to rebound and get a few easy GR3 outlet lay-ups and dunks.   Teams play zone defense to stop the pick and roll and they are betting they can't get beat by outside shooting.    I don't see Burke being effective working the ball into the lane and then kicking it out or making a fading away lay-up.   There will be too much traffic in the lane.   Burke's job will be to beat the Orangeman down the court, getting Michigan some easy baskets and being an effective shooter from 3. 

If shooting the 3 is going to be the #1 key to Michigan's success, what is #2?

Michigan must play very good defense and get easy points off turnovers.  Michigan bombed Florida's 2-3 zone but Syracuse's zone is much better.   Michigan also got a ton of turnovers on Florida that led to easy baskets that killed the Gators momentum and made the Wolverine shooters job very easy.

No matter what happens this weekend, I have nothing but pride and a sense of accomplishment for this group of young men lead by a Sophomore from Columbus, Ohio.

  •  More hardware for Trey:  Update:  Trey wins Wooden Award!.   He won the AP Player of the Year and the Cousy Award.

  • I was reading the transcript from Big Al's press conference yesterday and this line concerned me:  Hoke said you talked to Shane Morris after Russell Bellomy’s injury. How does the injury impact Shane, and how does this impact how you coach him?“Really not as much as you might think. He was going to come in and compete anyway. There’s one less slot there to go through, so that’s really all it impacted. He knows there’s one less body. Doesn’t affect him as much as you might think.”     --- What the hell does that mean?  Big AL your #2 QB isn't even enrolled at Michigan yet, seem a little concerned. 
    Does it concern you that you have to go into the season with a true freshman as your backup quarterback?Eh, the numbers are what they are. I’m not going to lose any sleep over that. I’ve been in this situation before. So it’s not a completely novel concept.”  ---- I sure hope this is coach speak, because I'm about to lose my mind on this attitude and approach.   I normally would consider this 100% "coach speak" but the way Big AL handled the QB's last year, I have my doubts.  If you want to compare coaches, see how Greg Mattson answers questions during his press conference.

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