Michigan basketball had a good season.
That needs to be said right off the bat.
They won 30 games, 15 in the Big Ten, made the conference final for the third straight year, played excellent defense and earned a 2 seed in the tournament. Then they proceeded to easily beat Montana in round one, and after a slog of a first half, thumped Florida. But last night, they got absolutely whipped.
Texas Tech beat them, rubbed their faces in it, as they should, and just totally shut them down from the tip. I knew at half time they were done. And that has nothing to do with me being a pessimistic fan. Anyone that knows me well knows that I care much more about their football team than their basketball team. I still love their basketball team, but football is king for me. So, when Tech went up 8 at the half, and Michigan couldn't even get a shot off, I said to no one in particular that they were toast. Tech then came out, scored the first 5 points to grab a 13 point lead, which may as well been 30, and the Wolverines were done. They looked like they had given up at that point. Sure, Tech smothered the hell out of them, holding them to right around 30 percent shooting, and 1 of 19 on threes, but Michigan simply looked like they had given up when Tech got the lead to double digits. After Tech built it to 13, it went to 16, then 20, then 24, getting as high as 29. Michigan never had a chance. While watching the game, I was shocked at how, I don't know if it was, tiredness, being the slower team, the poor shooting, the lack of defensive help in the second half or all of this stuff combined, they performed last night. They legitimately looked outmanned. This was Charles Matthews time to shine, time to show his defensive prowess, going up against a lock lottery pick in Jarrett Culver, and he got smoked. He also looked awful shooting the ball. Ignas Brazdeieks was hunted on defense and got torched. He was also super short on every jump shot, couldn't bang inside with Tech's bigs, and while he put up a double double, those numbers are a mirage. They came when the game was well in hand. Jordan Poole couldn't hit the ocean last night. He also looked lost on defense. Jon Teske was slower than all of Tech's bigs, couldn't run up and down the floor with them and seemed afraid to shoot, even when he was right near the basket. Even the guy I always felt I could count on, Zavier Simpson, just seemed gassed. There was one play in particular, when 2 Wolverines doubled Culver, and their big man slipped and got a wide open dunk. Simpson was supposed to be the help on that play, and he just gave it up. I know he is on the smaller side, but at least give an effort. I was stunned to see him just let it go. Even the reserves that I have counted on all year, Eli Brooks and Isiah Livers, were just plain bad last night. And John Beilein, who I adore, and hope stays at Michigan until the day he retires, got wildly out coached last night. He had no answers for what Tech did on both ends of the floor. Even he had the look of giving up with about 8 minutes left in the game.
This was a brutal way to see their season end when it started with so much promise. They started 17-0, and a program best, 20-1. They had a chance to be the number one team in the country at various points. They beat UNC, Villanova and Minnesota three times. But last night was a complete and total disaster. It washed away pretty much any good they had done for the regular season. I know this is their 5th Sweet Sixteen in 7 years, but come on, put up an effort. Show some fight. Try to, at the very least, make it a game. They did none of that.
All this being said, all is not lost. I know that Matthews, Brazdeikes and Poole were all asked about their future, and they all said they weren't thinking about it at this time. I think it would be foolish for Iggy and Poole to go pro, unless they are guaranteed a first round spot. Matthews may have no choice, but after last night, I don't know if he is going to get drafted. But, say Poole and Iggy stay, they get Teske, Simpson, Livers, Brooks, Brandon Johns Jr, David DeJulius, Colin Castleton and a very solid recruiting class coming in. They will still be a major threat in the Big Ten, and in the country.
With all that being said, man was last night frustrating and embarrassing to watch as a fan. They stunk up the joint last night, and that taste will be in my mouth for some time. I got my hopes up, and it was all shattered by halftime. What a total bummer.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet.
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