22. January 2009 · Comments Off on The Grind, Beilein audio and Wildcat mix-tape · Categories: Archive 2009, Coach Beilein, Hoops, Jokes, Michigan State · Tags: , ,

After the Penn State loss, I’m guessing most M fans would say a NCAA tourney bid is not going to happen in 2009. That’s of course a 180 from just over a week ago, but we were warned by a few folks this season might go this way. Shots aren’t falling and the team is struggling, Coach Beilein talked with Sam Webb and Andy Evans this morning on WTKA about where the team is at, what he’s doing to get things back on track, and how he & Pittsnogle faced a similar slump one year at West Virginia:

The situation is even worse than Brian at mgoblog suggested just earlier this week:

Moving forward, the last two games have blown whatever margin of error Michigan had in their effort to make the tournament. Even if you assume wins home and away against Northwestern and away against Iowa—potentially dodgy but absolutely necessary to make the tourney—you have to find three wins in these games to get Michigan to .500 in conference:

Home: Penn State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Purdue
Away: Ohio State, Purdue, Minnesota

Yikes. One of those assumed games is Saturday’s tilt against Kevin Coble and the bomb-dropping Northwestern Wildcats who showed Michigan State a little something called style last night at Breslin. A few highlights from the action, you’ve got to see these guys:

And more….I can’t get enough of these guys:

04. January 2009 · Comments Off on Beautiful Hoops; M downs Illini 74-64 · Categories: Archive 2009, Coach Beilein, Coach Rod, Hoops

What a classic basketball game today as Beilein and hoops recover from the tough Wisconsin loss to get their first conference win, 74-64 over Illinois. It certainly wasn’t a must win, but losing the first two Big Ten games at home would have caused a bit of a shiver.

On hand for the game was once again coaches Carr and Rodriguez, each with their wives. BTN color man and Buckeye Jimmy Jackson couldn’t help but admit that he was sorry that Lloyd Carr hung up his whistle, saying as a Buck, Carr was his favorite coach. Some forget that Carr crushed the Buckeyes early in his coaching career and despite the struggles against Tressel was 6-7 lifetime. But he certainly finished on a down note and Jackson’s comment would be excusable if Carr and his wife Laurie weren’t sitting right next to him on the end of the press table. Come on man.

But I thought Jackson did a good job for BTN and today, and man, was he awesome at Ohio State. When they panned over to Fab Fiver Jimmy King chilling in the tunnel JJ talked about some of their battles (Ohio State won two during the regular season with Michigan winning in the NCAA tournament). I was at the game at Crisler his senior year and Jackson was unbelievable. Here’s a shot of King looking fresh with his tight beard:

Fab Five Jimmy King

Damon’s Grill is a decent spot to hit if you travel especially in a pinch when you need to see a game. A few years ago they opened a franchise on State Street just off 94 but I don’t think I’ve stepped in there yet. Last winter I considered stopping by to check out Coach Beilein’s show which is broadcast on location at the rib joint but after seeing this article, I won’t be visiting anytime soon.

The Wall Street Journal’s Weekend Edition published this piece on a crisis affecting bargoers- the practice of shorting pints of beer. Sales of “falsies” or 14oz glasses are on the rise as the price of beer is shoots up. The article goes through the issue and how many beer lovers are reacting, going as far as trying to legislate away the practice as has been done in the UK for quite a while:

In the U.K., the Imperial Pint (equivalent to 19.2 U.S. ounces) has been a government-regulated standard for several centuries. The standard requires use of official pint glasses — with the word “Pint” and the European “CE” marking — etched onto each glass.

I mention Damon’s because they were cited as one of the 14 ounce offenders in the article. I’m sure this is a common practice at restaurant chains but check out the statement from one of the Damon’s suits:

Some restaurants make no apology for reducing their beer-glass size. The Damon’s Grill restaurant chain switched to 14 ouncers from 16-ounce glasses two years ago and didn’t lower prices. “Someone who comes in and wants a beer doesn’t want a huge glass,” says Tanny Feerer, vice president for purchasing at Damon’s International. “Fourteen ounces is enough.”

Sounds like Damon’s is a couple ounces short in the PR department as well. Oh man that was dumb.

Here’s more on the article, including a video and a podcast:

Here’s the podcast:

22. February 2008 · Comments Off on Jalen Rose on WTKA (full audio .mp3) · Categories: Archive 2008, Coach Beilein, History, Hoops, Recruits, WTKA 1050AM

Jalen Rose to be honored by Michigan

It was great to hear Jalen talk a little bit about the Fab Five, their legacy and even about a certain football recruit this morning on the Michigan Insider with Sam Webb on 1050AM WTKA. He’s in Ann Arbor this weekend to be honored at Saturday’s hoops tilt against Illinois and says this is a tremendous moment for him [my thoughts on this].

Rose also talked about his thoughts on the University one day having the entire Fab 5 back on campus, the day he hopes happens before he, Ray, Jimmy, Chris and Juwan are using “canes and wheelchairs”. Here’s the full audio of the interview:

Jalen even gave an unsolicited plea for Terrelle Pryor to make the right decision and come to Michigan. Sweet Jesus, I thought the coaching search was a Death March! That said, it’s great to know that busy guys like Jalen are concerned enough about the school (and a sport they didn’t even play) to chime in. He clearly also follows the basketball team and likes what Beilein is doing so far.

UPDATE: Check out Eric Lacy’s piece and interview on Jalen in the Detroit News. And a take from Rosenberg.

Just great to see these guys starting to pull it together. What a win over the hated Buckeyes and such a great way to start wrapping up the season. The guys that stayed never seemed to waver on Beilein’s system but either way it’s great to see some of the struggle start to pay off.

Coach Rodriguez addressed the fans at halftime and guaranteed that the team would be wearing Maize and Blue when they come out of the tunnel. Oh, and they’ll play real hard as well.

13. January 2008 · Comments Off on Relief: Beilein and crew down Wildcats · Categories: Archive 2008, Coach Beilein, Coach Rod, Hoops, Indiana

Congrats to the Coach Beilein and the hoops squad as they got off the schneid by taking down Northwestern 78-68 for their first Big Ten win. No word whether Coach Rodriguez did the mid-court shot at halftime. Apparently Beilein’s inspirational highlight DVD helped.

Coach Beielin asked team manager and local guy Pete Burak to suit up for the game, but he didn’t play. Pretty cool.

Eric Gordon: Money!
Seriously, what are you supposed to do about that?

And in case the Indiana blow-out wasn’t out of your mind yet, the IU Blog Inside the Hall runs a little film session on Eric Gordon demonstrating the super frosh’s ridiculous range. The set? You bet: Crisler arena.

Empty Crisler Arena
This is midway through the first half – this is real

Made it up to the game last night and it wasn’t as close as the 78-64 final score.

– It’s a little frustrating to sit and watch. The offense pretty much looks for an open three and then clanks it off the rim. The good news? It seemed like they were getting good looks at the rim before then tossing the brick.
– The highlight of the game was DeShawn Sims’ three-quarter court heave to end the half. The place erupted and that was nice to see.
– Newsflash: Eric Gordon is amazing. Michigan kept it relatively close near half because Gordon was on the bench with three fouls.
– A few local AA-list celebrities at the game including:
* Coach Carr with wife Laurie at mid-court. He got a huge cheer when they showed him on the screen.
* Coach Rod with a few new staffers (see pic). Both coaches spent some time with Florida grad and supreme hotness Erin Andrews.
* Joe Dumars courtside checking out the talent.
* Sam Webb of WTKA.

– As far as the arena, it was at best 40% full with large portions of the Maize section empty. Four of us walked up to Crisler without tickets. A few different fans handed us free tickets within minutes.

– Carty reacts to the Jay Bilas comments. He inserted the entire Bilas comment on Beilein in the post then reacts. Check it out.
– mgoblue.com publishes Coach Rod’s entire new staff. Glad to see he retained equipment manager Jon Falk, keeper of the Little Brown Jug.
– MLive published the audio of Rich Rodriquez’s interview with Jim Rome from yesterday. I’ve got it here:

Update Postgame:

Eric Gordon: Money!

And in case the Indiana blow-out wasn’t out of your mind yet, the IU Blog Inside the Hall runs a little film session on Eric Gordon demonstrating the super frosh’s ridiculous range. The set? You bet: Crisler arena.

A Guest Column by Brady Bonus – East Coast correspondent

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Well it looks like a new low established by the men in (black and) Blue ensures me that we will not be seeing an end to this fruitless, uninspired and seemingly aimless brand of hoops anytime soon. I guess it’s fitting that Tommy’s first milestone-setting, program-lifting hoops victory of his career comes at the expense of his own (old) team. Heading into Lavietes Pavilion in Cambridge, a few things struck me and fellow UM alum Dave Henry pretty quick. Here’s my summary from the game:

Quick pre-game facts that ensured Michigan of victory:
• The slide-out style bleacher gymnasium closely resembled our high school hoops gyms.
• There was an Asian kid starting for Harvard [ed. Feb 2012: Yes, the “Asian kid” was Jeremy “Linsanity” Lin of recent NBA/Knicks fame]
• A starting five of all white dudes without scholarships for Harvard
• There seemed to be more Michigan fans present than Harvard fans, and we were much louder
• Harvard doesn’t offer athletic scholarships (stated twice for emphasis), and they led the season off with a 55 point loss to Stanford
• Tommy Amaker was coaching the opponent

Dave and I started the evening talking about what sort of victory would be considered unacceptable. I thought that anything less than a 20 point victory might be considered a setback for this young squad. Henry agreed. We soon realized that these arrogant assumptions about a team that hadn’t done anything special yet in this young season was inflated at best.

By now you know what happened, but here are some observations from the game action:

• Our guys are not good (or even average) three point shooters, yet they seem to be coached to take the three way too often, and way too early in the half-court set. I know Beilein is a 3 point advocate, but does he think these guys are going to suddenly find their range? Is Beilein that much of a one-trick-pony that he can’t coach to his players strengths?

• Michigan play-by-play guy (AKA the guy who sits next to color man Jimmy King) unfolds a picture frame of his wife and kids and puts it in from of him and Jimmy. This is either really creepy or one hell of a dedicated family man. Henry and I concluded that the 12-15 games that this guy has to travel out of town per year for UM hoops games don’t constitute this sort of bizarre over the top activity. Conclusion: This is very odd cubicle-like behavior, and this guy is either very needy or very overbearing. He should at least offer the left half to Jimmy so they can both bask in the warmth in their respective family bosoms:

• I know it’s a young team, but there are two dominant offensive modus operandi of these Michigan kids:
o Force outside shots with men in your face with a lot of time on the clock
o Drive to the hoop with your head down and force a shot (Manny Harris is the biggest offender)
There was a lot of bad shots and forced outside jumpers, a couple 3 on 1 fast breaks where the ball never left one man’s hands when it clearly should have been distributed for an easy two, and not enough driving to the rim. It seems to me this is a coaching issue, but it’s too early to tell. Beilein wasn’t benching any offenders, he just barked a few times and went and sat down to mope.

• There was one of those Sign Guys at the game. You know the type: Over 25 years old, starved for attention and with a creative streak that can’t be quenched just by home projects. He had a few duds, but his ‘2005 NIT Champs’ tickled me a bit, and I laughed in spite of myself (like Santa). Later, during Amaker’s post game courtside interview with ESPNU, the only time Amaker acknowledged the Michigan fans was when he looked up and this dude was waving the sign 5 feet in front of him, and Amaker graciously smirked and put up his hand with a ‘Thanks for the support gesture’. I don’t know the intent of Sign Guy, but I don’t think that he was thanking the ex ball coach. Classic Tommy though, classy but clueless.

• Any one of our guys could take any one of the Harvard kids off the dribble, yet they refused to do so and consistently settled for long range low percentage jumpers. I suppose this could be a fatigue/travel issue, but if so the kids should check out how Michigan used to travel and then consider whether a 2 hour flight should really be that draining.

• A few bright spots
o Freshman point guard Kelvin Grady (who came off the bench and never gave the spot back to starter Jerret Smith, staying on the court through the end of the game). He was one of the only guys on the court who was making things happen and creating separation from the defense. He’s gonna be good once he matures into a Point Court Commander.
o Sophomore Forward Udoh, who came off the bench and should be getting more time on the court soon replacing some Amaker stiffs that like to stand around.
o That’s about it

• The last few minutes of the game was the worst part of the Michigan performance. Michigan folded like a Donovan McNabb Super Bowl appearance getting outscored 11-0 to end the game without a fight. This game was characterized by long scoring droughts by Michigan who played like they should win based on their pedigree. I wonder if OSU fans will start buying Harvard T-shirts for when Michigan visits? That would be really funny watching Ohio State blockheads don crimson apparel.

• Tommy actually looked like one hell of a coach today. Who knew? Harvard played team hoops, didn’t turn the ball over, passed the rock, played hard and did exactly what they needed to do to win the game. It’s tough to tell if it was an inspired performance or a poor defensive showing by Michigan, not making it tough enough on the white boys from Cambridge. But it was a great team game regardless: back door cuts, crisp passes, few turnovers and long range shots when they were open and needed.

• The Harvard cheerleaders are more beat than the Michigan cheerleaders. Didn’t think that was possible.

• The kids stormed the court after the W like they won a national championship. You can’t blame em though, it was a big win for the program and they don’t have much else (besides great futures, summer homes and financial security) to root for.

• Beilein or any player shouldn’t blame this loss on the tough (actually insane: Alaska, DC, home, Cambridge) schedule for the past 2 weeks. Suck it up and rub some dirt on it, it’s an Ivy League opponent and you should have been able to sleep your way to a 20 point victory. The fact is you played sloppy, unintelligent, uninspired lazy hoops. You forced outside shots when you should have driven to the hoop, you didn’t pass to the open guy when situations demanded court vision instead of tunnel vision, and you let up on the boards and on defense when you needed stops. The schedule was tough, but well, tough shit happens sometimes: suck it up.

• I was impressed with Jimmy King. He was a generous and nice guy, had time for a word with everyone who wanted it. I told him he needed to put a jersey on and help the team out, to which he replied “Naw man. They’ll be aight. They’re young. They got spirit.” Well I’ll have to take your word for it Jimmy on the spirit thing, cause I didn’t see it at the end of this game. I just wish I would have had the wits to tell him he was young too in 91, and they seemed to do aight.