The Mid-Court Press

My Take on Michigan Basketball, The Big ten Conference and the College Basketball Landscape

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Michigan 76, Louisville 82

Yeah I’m a few days behind on this post I know.  Monday night was a very good game and yes the outcome wasn’t what I wanted but it was a good way to end the college basketball season.

This group of Wolverines should be extremely proud of what they accomplished in this Tournament.  Coming into the tourney I thought they would win one or two games just because they hadn’t played well to finish the Big Ten season and I was seeing signs of an early tourney exit.

However they proved me wrong and went on a heck of a run and that I will not forget anytime soon.  This team showed guts and never backed down all tournament long.  No matter who they were playing, they just went out and played there game and were not going to be denied.

It’s during runs like these that you need to sit back and take it all in and enjoy it while you can. You never know when they’ll do it again.  This is a special group of kids that have created memories not only for themselves but also for Michigan students, alumni, fans…

Sure Louisville came out on top and were a little better than Michigan in the end but it’s still been a fun season and I’m glad I was able to write about them throughout this season.  

No matter what happens with player’s leaving to go Pro and new player’s coming in, the 2012-13 edition of Michigan Basketball will always have a special place in my heart.

I hope you all have enjoyed The Mid-Court Press over the last few months. I know I’ve had a good time writing.  This will be the final Mid-Court Press post so thank you all for reading my posts and take care.

MCP

Filed under Michigan Basketball College Basketball Final Four

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Syracuse 56, Michigan 61

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Mitch McGary was once again a monster last night for the Wolverines. He certainly stuffed the stat sheet with: 10pts, 12rebs, 6ast and 2blks. He continues to be the heartbeat of this team.

This Michigan team seems to be locked and playing with a tremendous amount of confidence, it’s great to see.  Last night was again a team effort with the bench stepping up and making some key plays. Jordan Morgan took 2 important charges, Caris LeVert making some big shots, Jon Horford making the most of his minutes and Spike Albrecht making good decisions.

This is it Monday night for all the marbles against top-seeded Louisville. The Wolverines made it this far, they might as well win 1 more….

MCP

Filed under Michigan Basketball Final Four National Championship

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The Final Week Ahead…. Tournament Edition

Well everyone we enter our final week ahead with 4 teams left standing ready to square off in the Final Four in Atlanta.  Last week we saw some great basketball, especially in the Michigan-Kansas game Friday night, wow!  Wichita State continues to get it done and are headed to the Final Four as well after knocking off Ohio State Saturday night, congrats to the Shockers.  Louisville continues to be impressive with each game they play and should remain the team to beat in Atlanta.  Syracuse is making an appearance as well, their first since 2003 when they won the National Championship.  The Orange 2-3 zone seems to be working well.  The Orange will be facing the Maize and the Michigan Wolverines who are rolling into Atlanta.  This is the Wolverines first appearance in the Final Four since 1993.  Let’s take a look ahead at the two National Semi-Final matchups for Saturday night…

                   

Wichita State vs. Louisville

The Shockers are this year’s Cinderella; can they keep their fairy tale alive against the top-seeded Cardinals?  Louisville might be too much to handle for the shockers and the Cardinals style of play might wear down Wichita State who may run out of steam after a heck of a run. Even though the Cardinals lost Kevin Ware to a horrific broken leg I think they still get it done and will be playing hard for Kevin.

Syracuse vs. Michigan

This is a citrus matchup, just like Syracuse’s game against Marquette in the Elite Eight.  I know the Wolverines will be prepared for the famous Boeheim 2-3 zone unlike Tom Schrute I mean Tom Crean of Indiana.  The Syracuse zone has done a real nice job all tourney long and the play of Michael Carter-Williams has made a huge impact for the Orange.  Syracuse might want to make an effort of putting a hand in Nik Stauskas’ face.  This is a very intriguing matchup that could go either way.  Both teams come in with a lot of confidence, is it Saturday yet?

So there you have it our final The Week Ahead for the season.  No matter what happens on Saturday night and Monday night’s National Championship game, it’s been another great year in College Basketball and I’m lucky I could be a part of it. Thanks for the memories.

MCP 

Filed under Michigan Basketball Final Four

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Michigan 79, Florida 59

The Gators certainly laid an egg on Easter Sunday.  But let’s not diminish the work the Wolverines did to book their ticket to the Final Four!  Michigan came out hot and never looked back.  I sat their waiting and waiting for a Gator run but it never came.

Nik Stauskas a good Canadian boy was certainly feeling it Sunday, going 6 for 6 from behind the arc.  He finished with a game high 22pts.  Trey Burke also had himself a well rounded game going for 15pts, 8rebs and 7ast.

Sunday was just a fantastic day not only for the players but also Coach Beilein, who’s built this program back up and deserves a lot of credit for the turnaround. Coach Beilein is a teacher and a program builder and it was nice to see him finally enjoy all the work he’s put in at Michigan.

 This team seems to be rolling now and playing with a lot of confidence and it’s great to see.  On to Atlanta….

MCP

Filed under Michigan Basketball Final Four

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Michigan 87, Kansas 85 OT

What a game! I don’t have a whole lot to say about this game because I’m still in shock that the Wolverines pulled it out. I certainly had doubts in the game whether they would come back or not. It didn’t look good at some points but they never quit.  I’ve questioned this Michigan teams heart and fight all season long but last night they showed the true heart of a champion.

Huge props to Mitch McGary who left it all out on the court and played great.  Halfway through the second half he looked absolutely gassed but never gave in or gave up, he kept working!

What can you say about Trey Burke? Flat out took control of the game and put on a performance I’ll never forget.  He was locked in that second half and no one was going to deny him. National Player of the Year.

This game was hard on the old ticker but I’m so ecstatic by the outcome it was worth the stress and anxiety. This is the grit I needed to see from the Wolverines and there’s no reason why a trip to Atlanta can’t be in the plans.

Filed under Michigan Basketball March Madness Sweet Sixteen Elite Eight

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Getting to know the Jayhawks

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Location: Lawrence, Kansas

Enrollment: 28,000

Conference: Big 12

Season Record: 31-5 (14-4 conference)

Tournament Appearances: 41 

Final Fours: 14

National Titles: 3

Coach: Bill Self (10th season at KU)

Team Leaders:

PPG – Ben McLemore 16.4

Rebounds – Jeff Withey 8.4

Assists: Elijah Johnson 4.8

Notable Alumni:

Don Johnson (Miami Vice)

Paul Rudd (actor)

Bill James (Bill James Baseball Abstracts)

Wilt Chamberlain (NBA Hall-of-Famer)

Dean Smith (legendary coach at UNC)

Notable Jayhawks currently in the NBA:

Mario Chalmers – Miami Heat

Nick Collison – OKC Thunder

Kirk Hinrich – Chicago Bulls

Paul Pierce – Boston Celtics 

MCP

Filed under Michigan Basketball March Madness Sweet Sixteen

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The Week Ahead…. Tournament Edition

What a great weekend of hoops last week, this is the best time of year.  As expected we saw some upsets courtesy of; Florida Gulf Coast, LaSalle, Wichita State and Harvard.  We also saw some great games that came down to the wire; Marquette-Davidson, Kansas St-LaSalle, Memphis-St. Mary’s, Ohio State-Iowa State and Indiana-Temple to name a few.  The field as been narrowed down to the Sweet 16 and the pressure mounts for each team still remaining.  The Week Ahead should thrill us once more on the road to the Final Four…

Instead of breaking up The Week Ahead like I normally do I will simply break down the upcoming 8 Sweet Sixteen games, which happen to feature Michigan along with 3 other Big Ten teams.

Thursday

East Region – Washington DC

Indiana (1) vs. Syracuse (4)

This is a good matchup between two proud programs.  Indiana had a tough time Sunday against Temple and will need much better execution against a Syracuse team with plenty of talent.  Indiana’s shooters should be ready to go up against Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone.

Miami (2) vs. Marquette (3)

The Hurricanes are venturing into uncharted waters but they have a man in Jim Larranaga who led George Mason to the Final Four and knows what it takes to get there.  Marquette has had two extremely close games so far in the Tournament against Davidson & Butler.  Buzz Williams and his guys are a tough team that won’t go down easy.  I expect this game to come down to the wire and it could go either way.

West Region – Los Angeles

Ohio State (2) vs. Arizona (6)

These two coaches know each other very well but it won’t be a factor in this game.  Ohio State narrowly squeaked by Iowa State on Sunday in what was a great game.  The Buckeyes have impressed me a lot the last few games with their ability to play very good team defense and by the chemistry they have together.  This Ohio State team will be a challenge for Arizona who probably haven’t’ seen a team as good as Ohio State in the Pac-12 this season. 

Wichita St (9) vs. LaSalle (13)

A highly unexpected matchup here.  One Cinderella will get to keep dancing after this one, but who?  LaSalle has been very good in the Atlantic-10 all season and should continue their strong play Thursday against the Shockers.  This Wichita State team is not pretty but they go out and compete and get after each rebound and every loose ball and don’t quit.

Friday

Midwest Region – Indianapolis

Louisville (1) vs. Oregon (12)

Louisville has been impressive so far in this Tournament, while the Ducks have shown there better then the seed they were given.  Although the Ducks have played very well in the Tournament, this matchup with Louisville will cause some problems for them.  The Cardinals pressure may become too much for Oregon to handle.

Duke (2) vs. Michigan State (3)

We get a great matchup here between two of the elite programs in the country. Coach K will meet Coach Izzo for the 3rd time (split the two previous meetings).  Duke is not very strong on the glass but they can put a lot of pressure on the Spartans with their ability to knock down shots.  The month of March is Tom Izzo’s time and with this group of Spartans this year he’ll need to stay on them if they want to take down the Blue Devils.   

South Region – North Texas

Kansas (1) vs. Michigan (4)

Ah yes now we get to the Michigan Wolverines and there matchup with the Kansas Jayhawks.  Michigan was very impressive against VCU, however the Wolverines have struggled against size all season long.  This could become a big concern going up against Jeff Withey who’s a defensive presence along with an active rebounder that can score.  Michigan will need to come out firing and aggressive at both ends of the floor.  The Wolverines can certainly match the talent Kansas has; this one may come down to who wants it more.

Florida (3) vs. Florida Gulf Coast (15)

Florida will be looking to end Florida Gulf Coast’s bracket busting run.  We know the Gators have more talent but will that be enough to get by FGC who have nothing to lose other than the game?  I have to believe Billy Donovan is warning his guys not to take this team lightly and I’m expecting the Gators to come out and play like a Final Four contender should. 

MCP

Filed under Michigan Basketball Big Ten Basketball March Madness NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen