College Basketball Nation: Tim Hardaway
April, 6, 2013
By Robbi Pickeral | ESPN.com
ATLANTA -- Michigan hasn’t been to the NCAA title game in two decades. And Saturday, it didn’t allow a 2-3 zone -- no matter how lengthy or athletic or frustrating -- to keep it from returning.
Led by Tim Hardaway Jr., Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III -- and helped by the fact that Syracuse’s James Southerland and Michael Carter-Williams, who average double digits, combined for only seven points -- the Wolverines survived a last-minute push from their fellow fourth seed to win 61-56 in the national semifinals of the NCAA tournament and advance.
A quick look at the game:
Turning point: Trailing 17-15 with 10:14 left in the first half, Michigan outscored Syracuse 21-8 before halftime, shooting over Syracuse’s defense (including two 3-pointers from freshman Spike Albrecht and a loooong one from Trey Burke) when it wasn’t beating it down the floor. The Wolverines led 36-25 at halftime -- and 43-32 with 15:08 left, before the Orange painstakingly patched together a 13-5 comeback that cut their deficit to 48-45 with 7:41 left.
But it didn’t get interesting again until the final minutes, when Southerland -- scoreless to that point -- dunked with 1:58 remaining to cut his team’s deficit to four and then hit a 3-pointer with 48 seconds left to cut it to 57-56.
Michigan’s Burke and Jon Horford bookended a Brandon Triche offensive foul with a free throw apiece. And after Trevor Cooney missed for Syracuse (30-10), Jordan Morgan sealed it with a breakaway dunk for Michigan.
Key player: McGary finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high six assists.
Key stat: Southerland and Carter-Williams -- who had been averaging 10 and 13 points, respectively, during the NCAA tournament -- were a combined 3-for-15 from the field.
Up next: Michigan (31-7) advances to play top-seeded Louisville in Monday night’s championship game. The Wolverines last reached the title game in 1993 (although that season record was vacated because of NCAA sanctions).
February, 12, 2013
By Michael Rothstein | ESPN.com
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Some thoughts after No. 8 Michigan State's 75-52 pulverizing of No. 4 Michigan on Tuesday night at the Breslin Center.
Overview: As Adreian Payne lifted his arms toward the home crowd, trying to get it louder with 7 minutes remaining in a game no longer in doubt, the Spartans forward looked like he wanted more.
All of Michigan State appeared to want more. Meanwhile, Michigan looked like it just wanted to travel the one hour southeast back to Ann Arbor as fast as possible. The Wolverines had already gone deeper than usual into their bench to play guard Eso Akunne and by then it didn’t matter, because nothing John Beilein's team was doing worked.
Michigan State dominated, almost from tip to final whistle.
Yes, it is tough to win on the road in the Big Ten, but for a program touted as a national-title contender all season, this was Michigan’s last chance to win a significant road game in the Big Ten. And it failed. Miserably.
The second-half comebacks Michigan had at Indiana and Ohio State didn’t show up, either, mostly due to Michigan State’s ability to control the paint and body up the Wolverines’ big men.
It all led to Michigan State’s first 20-plus-point victory over Michigan in over a decade, when the Spartans beat the Wolverines 71-44 on Jan. 30, 2002.
Turning point: Michigan State guard Keith Appling made three consecutive jumpers, including a 3-pointer in transition with 16:32 left, to give Michigan State a 48-29 lead and whipped the already-hyper Breslin student section into a loud, jumping, delirious frenzy of white shirts going nuts at every possible opportunity.
Key player: Spartans senior Derrick Nix punished Michigan’s four-headed big-man rotation inside in the first half and helped to open up everything else for the Spartans. Nix finished with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists on 7-of-10 shooting.
Key stat: Zero first-half points for Tim Hardaway Jr. After scoring 18, 23 and 18 points in the previous three games, respectively, Hardaway couldn’t find anything in the first half. He missed all six of his shots, including four 3-pointers. This from a player who brought Michigan back a week earlier against Ohio State by making six 3-pointers, then followed it up by making what was almost the game-winner at Wisconsin on Saturday. Without Hardaway's production, Michigan struggled to shoot 27.3 percent from the 3-point line in the first half. Hardaway would finish with two points.
Miscellaneous: Michigan football coach Brady Hoke, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, former coach Lloyd Carr and former Michigan basketball player Zack Novak all watched the game from behind the Wolverines' bench. Hoke and Michigan State counterpart Mark Dantonio had a brief chat before the game right behind the benches. After not scoring in double figures for almost a month, Nix now had back-to-back games with 10 points or more. This ends a rough four-game stretch for Michigan, which started the sequence as the No. 1 team in the nation. After a 1-3 swing with games at Indiana, Michigan State and Wisconsin and a home game against Ohio State, the Wolverines have some major regrouping to do.
Next game: Both teams receive something of a breather in the Big Ten. Michigan State travels to Nebraska for a game Saturday; Michigan has a home game against Penn State on Sunday.