MI (26-11) advances to the Sweet 16 in Kansas City, Mo., which begins Thursday.
Simple. Clear. Direct. No fancy equation needed.
Over the last two weeks, MI has been playing as well as just about any team in the nation. Then it’s more hard to solve than Fermat’s Last Theorem.
Xavier Simpson- In games where it’s first to 90 wins, Xavier Simpson just isn’t ready to play major minutes. He’s not going to think about whether or not Villanova was fortuitous in putting together a title-contending team in a year where the other contenders weren’t all that good.
Louisville, meanwhile, was one of the best teams in the country over the four-month regular season and is the higher seed. MI gets about 16 points per game from Duncan Robinson, Mark Donnal and Xavier Simpson, but without any bruisers on the roster, Donnal doesn’t match up well against the Cowboys.
Louisville dropped three of its final five games heading into the NCAA Tournament with losses to North Carolina, Wake Forest and Duke. In the Cardinal’s first round game against Jacksonville State, those two had 16 and 18 points respectively. That’s like pouring gasoline on a MI team that’s already on fire. The Wolverines are coming off a 92-91 win over Oklahoma State on Friday while Louisville beat Jacksonville State 78-63.
MI has averaged just 6.3 turnovers per game this season, and they gave up just three in the first half.
Adel has been providing highlights such as this all season long, and now he’s providing them when they count the most in the NCAA Tournament. That, Beilein said Saturday, “is a huge exaggeration”.
The Wolverines take on the Cardinals Sunday at 12:10pm. That Wisconsin team that just knocked top-seeded Villanova out of the tournament?
This next matchup against the length and defensive pressure of the Louisville Cardinals is a tough test.
I asked Pitino what constitutes a good challenge. “But I do wish we did have that national championship for the University of MI now”. My translation: I’m not telling you, or MI, anything about how we teach three-point defense. And said that shooters today have unlimited range in the half-court. Unlike most teams Baylor plays, however, USC does have the size to deal with Johnathan Motley.
Levitch hasn’t gotten double-figure minutes in a game since early February, when he averaged 20.5 minutes in a six-game stretch helping to fill the hole in the lineup caused by an injury to Snider. Michigan’s Zak Irvin has rediscovered his midrange game but still is lacking consistent three-point shooting, just 2-for-8 the past two games.
“I look back, and it’s molded my career in thinking that anything is possible”, he said. “I did it twice yesterday”. But he said it was still not bothering him or affecting his play. Moreover, can it get the Jayhawks out of the tempo they want to play? I’ve never seen shooting like that since I’ve been a coach. It’s a learning process.
Neil Best first worked at Newsday in 1982, then returned in 1985. “John’s son made a 3 from the Lobo”, Pitino said. The Wolverines improved defensively. Derrick Walton Jr. paced the high-scoring affair with 26 points and 11 assists. But if the Wolverines can hit enough shots and frustrate Louisville, they’ll win. The three has remained a staple of both Pitino and Beilein’s teams, even as they’ve found several different coaching homes in the decades since, while other teams have caught up. If they’re going to notch what would be a stunning upset, it will have to be on the back of their third-ranked defense by adjusted efficiency. So they’re truly unique. It’s usually one-day prep. “And they only give you an hour and a half of practice, too”. That advice was simple: Do NOT take that job.
It is hard to think of Rick Pitino as living hoops history, what with his still relatively boyish looks at age 64, and his ongoing college basketball relevance, now well into the 21st century.
He continued: “I’ve seen them in person lose to my son (against the Gophers in a game in February)”.