Sunday, March 25, 2018

Hail! Hail Michigan: The Champions of the West (Bracket)

Hail! Hail Michigan, The Champions of the West (Bracket) The University of Michigan Alumni Association called an impromptu meeting in Los Angeles this weekend. A capacity crowd of 19,665 was announced for Staples center. About 19,000 of them wore the maize and Blue as Michigan turned Staples Center into Crisler Pavilion for a home game against the Seminoles in the West Region of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Florida State prides itself as “junkyard dogs” on defense. Michigan also knows how to play defense. Coach Beilein jhas always emphasizes d scrappy defense. It’s unfair to say the Wolverines mauled the dogs. It’s more accurate to say Michigan had enough grit to outlast Florida State 58-54. Basketball fanatics will say it was an ugly game. Michigan shot 38.8% from the floor (19/49). Florida State was even lower, shooting 31% from the floor. How good was Michigan’s defense? FSU got no fast break points! Basketball purists will say it was a great defensive match. Michigan’s great football coach Bo would be proud of the defense. Florida State shot 31% for the game and 22% in the second half. Michigan, which was raining threes on Thursday against Texas A & M made only 4 threes in 22 attempts against FSU, which only connected on 4 of 17 of its own. They weren’t falling because of great defense. Both teams had trouble driving inside. Michigan shot 19 0f 49 from the floor. Its season free throw travails reappeared with 16 out of 24, with four misses in the last 1:20 of the game. FSU blocked 7 Michigan shots. The Wolverines W is the only statistic that matters! Florida State may have been only a 9 seed, but it defeated #1 Xavier and #4 Gonzaga. Those wins were well earned and not flukes. Defense wins games this time of year. No team was truly predominant in college basketball this year. The pre-season prognosticators have been way off. Athlon, Sports Illustrated, and Street and Smith had neither Loyola Chicago or Michigan in their top 25. Street and Smith picked Michigan 8 in the Big Ten and Loyola 4 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The NCAA finals will have either a 1, 2, or 3 seed playing a 3 or 11 seed. Forget the rankings; teams actually have to play the game! Michigan’s next game is against Sister jean and Cinderella. Never underestimate the Ramblers. The Jesuits have God on their side. Georgetown thought it did, but lost to Florida State. Loyola will come into the game with an attitude that they have neither nothing to lose nor nothing to prove. They will be dangerous. Loyola and Michigan have several commonalities: 1) They both play as a team; 2) They both have juniors and seniors starting; they’re not one and dones; 3) They play great defense; 4) Both have long winning streaks, during the toughest part of the season: 17 for Loyola and 13 for Michigan, 5) They’ve know how to win; 6) They got little respect preseason. Michigan’s tournament MVP was Charles Matthews from Chicago. He did not know who Sister Jean is. I hope he gets to meet and greet her. And yes, we were at the game.

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