‘NIT’-picking: Is it too early to leave UM out of NCAA tournament?

Posted: December 3, 2009 by Jared Field in High School
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

ANN ARBOR, Michigan — I spent a couple hours in Crisler Arena last night watching a team that I’m certain won’t make the NCAA tournament.

The University of Michigan lost to a pretty average, at least by ACC standards, Boston College squad that will itself probably just sneak into the tournament.

What’s Michigan’s problem? Simple: They don’t have much talent. I know that Coach Belein is supposed to be able to win without much of it, but even he won’t be able to get this team to the NCAA Tournament.

The Wolverines somehow managed to score big victories over some big-time opponents, including Duke, last season, but I can’t envision them doing that again.

Michigan is a two-man team without a post presence; and if either Manny Harris or Deshawn Sims fails to show up for a game, like on Wednesday night, they will undoubtedly lose — it doesn’t really matter who they’re playing.

Senior forward Zack Gibson had nine points in 16 minutes thanks to a couple late 3-pointers when the game was out of reach. And, ladies and gentlemen, he was UM’s best option in the post.

Sims was awful: four points and three rebounds.

And that’s how you lose to a pretty average team.

Here’s a quick rundown of the 10 players I saw last night:

Manny Harris: No one is better at attacking the basket. His body control is beyond belief. Still a pretty poor outside shooter and looks, at least physically, much like he did in high school.

Deshawn Sims: Lethargic and disinterested. His lack of production cost his team the game.

Zack Novak: He didn’t shoot it particularly well, but he’s a gamer. It was fun watching him try to guard 6-8 Joe Trapani.

Stu Douglass: Doesn’t seem to be as tough as Novak, but managed to hit a trio of 3-pointers. Unfortunately when UM had to have a 3-pointer late in the game, he passed it up.

Laval Lucas-Perry: Scored a couple baskets in garbage time, but overall probably played his worst game of the year. He had a great deal of trouble beating his man to the basket and his outside shot didn’t fall.

Zack Gibson: He played about as well as one can expect for a player of his ability. I liked his effort. I really hope his two 3-pointers last night don’t allow him to think he’s a perimeter shooter all the sudden.

Darius Morris: The freshman guard didn’t show a single flash of anything. He looked sloppy and scared to shoot. He had zero points, zero rebounds and zero assists as a starter.

Anthony Wright: Looked too slow to be a factor. 

Matt Vogrich: Made a couple hustle plays, but after missing his first 3-point attempt, appeared shy to pull the trigger. I kept looking at him hoping that he would somehow morph into Brad Redford.

Ben Cronin: Cronin is the basketball project equivalent of the Big Dig. He’s lucky that he’s a 7-footer. If he were 6-11, he wouldn’t be able to dunk.

— Jared Field

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