I think the best way I can sum up last night's Michigan game is by comparing it to a trip to the dentist. It's something you dread and it's usually a bit painful, but in the end it wasn't as bad as you thought it would be. Michigan didn't get blown off the floor, UCLA style, against the Buckeyes, but they did manage to lose by double digits.
The Wolverines played well early and went into halftime only down by four points. Unfortunately this got my hopes up that perhaps they were going to do the unthinkable and pull an upset here, and then, like clockwork, they came out in the second half and kicked my optimism square in the groin. Michigan had the ball, down four, with 8:52 left in the game. This was the big moment to keep themselves in the game and possibly put the Buckeyes on their heels. What followed?
- Lester Abram misses from three (I swear loudly)
- DeShawn Sims gets the offensive rebound (I'm happy)
- Sims misses the put back, but Michigan gets the rebound again (Still optimistic)
- Dion Harris misses a jumper (Time to start drinking....)
After this sequence Michigan was outscored 20-11 and never had another chance. It's moments like these that separate NIT teams from NCAA teams. Michigan had three shots to cut the lead to one or two, on the road against a top five opponent, and blew the opportunity. Ohio State then took the opportunity and ran with it and secured a double digit win on their home floor. The Wolverines played well, but didn't capitalize on the chances they had (which seems to be a common theme during the Amaker Era) and left empty handed once again.
I don't know if I can blame this on coaching, but it seems like none of these players have gotten much better since coming to Ann Arbor. Courtney Sims still disappears when facing elite competition. Dion Harris and Lester Abrams are still streak shooters who have difficulty handling the ball, and the team still has difficulty competing down the stretch when you need to match the opposition shot for shot.
In the end this game was ultimately disappointing. Michigan put themselves in a position to pull an upset on the road, but faded down the stretch...again. Makes you wonder if Amaker is the coach to take Michigan to the next level.