I’ve heard plenty of your complaints about Michigan’s basketball program following Sunday’s disappointing 72-71 loss to Indiana. The Wolverines blew a five-point lead in the final moment which spread tears to Michigan State and Ohio State as those teams hoped to share a Big Ten title with the Hoosiers.
The Wolverines are being labeled as choke artists because they missed three free throws in the final minute, allowing IU to rally. They will be labeled as soft again because the Hoosiers beat them up 53-30 on the boards and seemed to get every important loose ball and rebound to steal this game and the outright Big Ten regular season title. And I’ve already heard from some of the ridiculous who say to fire head coach John Beilein.
I agree with most of your points, except the Beilein firing. However, here is the most disturbing thing for me down the stretch. Michigan stopped playing team basketball. The Wolverines did not make one pass beyond the half-court line on six straight possessions. On five of them point guard Trey Burke was handed the ball. He dribbled down court and drove to the basket or shot each time.
Nobody else touched the ball. Nobody else moved. It looked like the team turned from the Michigan Wolverines to the Burke Wolverines. It appeared as if he was trying to win the Big Ten title, Big Ten player of the year and national player of the year rather than lead his team to victory. I believe a lead guards job is to lead and team and make teammates better. It is not his job to make himself look better.
Yes, I know Burke has won games this way before with last-second drives and shots. But five straight possessions? It is not the kids fault. Shame on Beilein for allowing it.
There are many reasons why the Wolverines lost. Your version is just as good as mine, if not better. But when the game got tight and the pressure wrapped around their necks, the Wolverines threw the team concept out the window. And that is never a good idea.