8A - Thursday, December 3, 2009
kay, okay, the time for And sure, if a few more 3-point-
making excuses is over. ers fell, the Michigan men's bas-
Nobody wants to hear ketball team might have squeaked
that "the other guys were just out a win over Boston College last
faster and stronger." No more of night or even Alabama last Sun-
"the shots just day. I get that.
didn't fall." But the numbers are hard to
And don't even miss.
try the "well, Let's start with the most
we only had important one: three. That's the
one day to pre- number of losses Michigan has
pare for Boston piled up in the past five six days,
College." all against unranked opponents.
One loss can The preseason No. 15 ranking is
be written off NICOLE long gone. Question marks have
as an anomaly. AUERBACH replaced the preseason praise.
Three is a And the problem is that nobody
trend. seems to have an answer -
And a trend like this can't be whether it's a momentum-chang-
ignored. This one might as well be ing basket or even an eloquent
a neon, flashing warning sign. way to describe what's going on.
Sure, it's just a couple of days "I probably won't be able to be
into December - it's really early clear about exactly what the heck
in the season. went on out there," Michigan
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
losses spell concern for Michigan
coach John Beilein said to start in a row."
his postgame press conference. It's hard to explain why so
He trailed off, at a loss for words. many different Wolverines keep
Junior Manny Harris tried his missing shots. And the worst part
best to articulate the demoraliz- is that the area they're struggling
ing loss, too. .with is the most critical part of
their offensive game plan.
Which brings us to another key
Question marks number: 34. Last night, Michigan
attempted 34 3-point shots, which
have replaced is an alarmingly high number -
even for a Beilein offense. The
the preseason team ended up making nine on
the night, with a few coming from
praise. desperation shots near the end of
But for more than 12 minutes in
the middle of last night's second
"(We're) not knocking down half, the Wolverines couldn't buy
shots," he said. "It could be a a three.
focus problem. I don't know what Some shots were wide-open,
it is, but we got to find a way to others forced, but they all had
overcome it. ... There's no reason one thing in common: they didn't
why we should lose three games go in.
"We have a lot of guys who
shoot rather than drive," Har-
ris said. "If they're open, they're
going to shoot the ball. That's
just the flow of the offense, and
if we were knocking them down,
we wouldn't be here talking
about it. We just aren't making
those shots. It hurt us, hurt us
Harris said the team has to
find another way to score if the
shots don't fall.
So what did Michigan try? In
the second half, the Wolverines
penetrated the Eagles' interior
defense with a Harris dunk and a
Stu Douglass layup, complement-
ed by a Zack Novak 3-pointer for
a quick 7-0 run.
And then, for whatever reason,
the Wolverines stayed away from
the paint. Beilein said Boston
College's zone defense was so
strong, it was like trying to run
..:.... against a football defense with
eight in the box.
Okay. So if you're stuck shoot-
ing from the perimeter, what do
you do when you're ice-cold?
That seems to be where every-
du one draws a blank. And that's
where Michigan froze and the
The Time of Your Life game spiraled out of control.
Now it's time to look beyond
the numbers, and figure out what
First of all, the three early
Mlt HGcA\ Nlosses - especially with Utah,
Kansas and Connecticut loom-
ing in the next two months - are
ses damaging, but they also put this
Junior Manny Harris struggled against Boston College's zone defense last
Michigan's 62-58 ACC/Big Ten Challenge loss,