Another Look at the UCLA game

November 21, 2008

I like how ESPNs Andy Katz said it in this article, It was just one game, but it was against one of the most famous programs on one of the most famous stages.


83742129NL028_2K_SPORTS_CLAThe first half was a bit rough. Coach Beilein said this about the first half,

“The first half to me looked a lot like last year’s team,” said Beilein, who watched his team fall behind by as many as eight points in the opening half. “We’d act like there’s a grenade in our hands and think the ball’s going to blow up if we didn’t do anything with it.”

They were down but not out. UCLA coach Ben Howland said, “When they got down 10 it didn’t rattle them”.

I think back to what Coach Beilein said last week, that this team has great chemistry. I am a big believer in team chemistry. I could see evidence of great chemistry on this team last night.

One of the most dramatic plays of the game was proof of that. With :34 seconds left in the game Anthony Wright hit DeShawn Sims on a back door cut for a dunk and a 4 point lead. Here is what Sims said about that play, “I knew Anthony was going to make that pass”.

How did he know that?

With less than a minute left, Beilein let Anthony Wright know in a time-out huddle that the Bruins, who were over-pressuring Sims in the five position, were leaving themselves open to a backdoor cut to the basket.


When I was taking a lot of heat for my 21 wins prediction one of my reasons for that prediction was John Beilein. The guy is a great coach and you cannot discount that. We have not seen a coach like this in my lifetime at Michigan.

I remember when Beilein was hired that Tim McCormick said John Beilein will be the best coach Michigan Basketball has ever had.


These guys trust each other and they trust their coach. Their coach believes in them and they believe in their coach. Coach Beilein said, “You can win against anybody if you just believe in what you do.” I think they believe.



Inside the numbers: Michigan was out rebounded 38-25. Michigan had 15 assists against 10 turnovers and forced UCLA into 17 turnovers. I think that is the difference in the game right there. Michigan’s execution of the 1-3-1 forced UCLA into those turnovers and the Wolverines converted those into easy baskets on numerous fast breaks.

In the final 6:50 of the game UCLA scored 9 points. In the final 2:30 of the game UCLA scored 2 points.


This was Michigan’s first win against a top-five ranked opponent since the 1997-98 season when U-M beat No. 1 Duke 81-73 on Dec. 3, 1997, at Crisler Arena.


83742129NL035_2K_SPORTS_CLAFreshmen Stuart Douglass had a break out game and showed off his quick release and unlimited range last night. He also continued to show the ability to set up his teammates as a playmaker.


Michigan Defeats #4 UCLA 55-52

November 20, 2008
Michigan UCLA BasketballMaybe this surprised some folks but of the 143 votes in the poll on this blog 64% said Michigan was going to win this game. Well, Michigan pulled the upset defeating the #4 UCLA Bruins 55-52 at Madison Square Garden.
Michigan kept hanging around and staying within striking distance. I could sense early on that Michigan just might pull this off.  

Michigan took their first lead of the game when Manny Harris hit a 3 pointer at the 16:39 mark of the second half. That was after being down at one point 29-19 and making 1 of 12 first half three point shots.

Michigan came out battling in the second half and freshmen Stuart Douglass provided the spark. First Douglass hit a mid range jumper to cut UCLAs lead to 29-25, moments later Douglass hit a deep three to pull Michigan within one point at 29-28.

DeShawn Sims was ESPNs player of the game. Peedi scored 18 on 9-15 shooting and grabbed 5 rebounds. 

Michigan UCLA BasketballThe team played with a great flow. The 1-3-1 defense was causing havoc for UCLA. Meanwhile the Wolverines were executing on offense. Michigan continually worked for and found good shots. Here are some examples of that execution:
Manny Harris drove into the paint and 3 Bruins converged on him. Manny found DeShawn Sims open and kicked it out to him and Sims knocked down a long jumper and
Michigan was leading 40-36.

Stuart Douglass made a nice dish to Anthony Wright for a lay up to put Michigan up 44-41.
Manny Harris picked up a steal and hit Douglass on the outlet pass, Douglass dropped the ball off to Sims in the paint and DeShawn finished to put Michigan up 51-48.

 Perhaps the most clutch execution came with 34 seconds left in the game and Michigan leading 51-49. Anthony Wright executed a perfect bounce pass to Sims on a back door cut and Sims finished the play and put Michigan up 53-49. That play was simply humongous. 83742129NL027_2K_SPORTS_CLA

Manny Harris capped things off by draining two clutch free throws with 4.1 seconds left to put Michigan up 55-52. For good measure Manny blocked Darren Collision’s three point shot at the buzzer to seal the win.

Stuart Douglass had a break out game scoring 10 points and going 2-3 on three pointers. Douglass also dished out 4 assists. 

Manny Harris finished with 15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks.
Michigan coach John Beilein is now 3-1 against UCLA in his career.  

Michigan (3-0) will play Duke in the championship game of the 2K Sports Classic on Friday (11/21) at 7pm. Ironically Michigan will also play Duke on December 6th at Crisler Areana.


Michigan vs. UCLA Preview

November 17, 2008

First of all, thanks to everybody for voting in the poll and for all the feedback I have been receiving so far. Let us know who you think will win the game by voting in the poll at the end of this post.


Michigan has a tough assignment going against the 4th ranked UCLA Bruins. The game will be played at 9pm on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

UCLA features their own version of the Fab Five with their freshmen class, headlined by point guard Jrue Holiday. However, they still rely heavily on two seniors in Darren Collision and Josh Shipp.

Collision is fresh off PAC-10 Player of the Week honors and he was named the MVP of the Los Angeles Regional of the 2K Sports Classic. Click here to read more about Collision’s awards.manny2k


Manny Harris was named the Big Ten Player of the Week and he was named the MVP of the Ann Arbor Regional of the 2K Sports Classic.



UCLA is certainly an outstanding team but they are a team that Michigan is somewhat familiar with. This will be the 7th straight season Michigan has played UCLA. Michigan has lost 4 straight to the Bruins after beating them in 2002-03 and 2003-04.

I am sure Coach Howland will have his team paying close attention to Manny Harris. The keys will be for Zack Gibson and DeShawn Sims to be a factor in the paint and for some of our shooters to bang down some three balls to help open up things for Manny.

The good thing is that Coach Beilein seems to have a nice crew of shooters when you consider that Stuart Douglass, David Merritt, Kelvin Grady, Anthony Wright, CJ Lee and Zack Novak are all capable of knocking down some three pointers. Also the defense will need to be very active and we can’t afford to get crushed on the boards.


  All of the experts out there are giving Michigan no chance to win this game. I don’t know what is going to happen. I do have the feeling that Michigan is going to play a lot better then people think they will. 


It should be mentioned that on Saturday Northeastern went to Providence and beat the Friars 70-66.


Duke will play Southern Illinois prior to the Michigan vs. UCLA game. The winners of the two games will play on Friday as will the losers of the two games.