The Morning After: Michigan, or clapping alone

  • 01/08/2009 7:30 am in

Hey, so that was fun, right?

Haha, just kidding! That wasn’t fun at all! That was precisely as much fun as a rusty ballpeen hammer to the eye socket, only less violent, so long as you don’t count “throwing an empty can of whatever stupid health drink I’m swilling these days across the f–king room” as violence. The only thing that could have made last night’s second half less fun was if Tom Hamilton and Shon Morris were screaming and rattling off stupid one-liners, respectively, throughout the entire godforsaken telecast. Oh, wait. They were.

F–K.

I mean, really, where to start? With IU’s brilliant, peerless, unbelievable and unlikely first half? With Michigan’s inversely horrible one? With the Hoosiers’ slow descent in the second half? With the way Michigan gradually edged their way back in the game — not at all once, but with the methodical surety of a team absolutely confident of their superiority?

Instead I’ll start (this is sort of a start I guess; the actual start, as you likely noticed, was the angry diatribe at the top of the post) with halftime. Right in the middle, before the flood. IU was winning by a margin I’d honestly rather not recount. A few seconds after the buzzer sounded for halftime, I found myself doing something peculiar: clapping. To myself. This isn’t exactly rare; it happens every time I get even marginally excited about beating some snotty Brit in FIFA 09. But I did catch myself, and stop for a second, and pay attention to my computer again, and think, and that’s when it hit me:

The Dread.

I knew — could feel — that at the very least, Michigan would come back. It wouldn’t last, this success. Michigan would start hitting shots and IU would start missing them and the weird little turnovers Michigan was making would stop, and John Beilein would ramp up the 1-3-1, and whether it happened slowly or quickly or sooner or later the 2008-09 Hoosiers would play like the 2008-09 Hoosiers and bad things would happen. And they did.

Such is life as an IU fan this year. No lead is safe. No success is unblemished by the potential of future failure. And when the Hoosiers do win a Big Ten game, it won’t change this season’s general trajectory. (It will be bloody fun, though.)

———–

I had a whole bunch of little stats and observations I was ready to share, as if to lend some insight, but really, what insight is there to lend? It’s not a marginal thing you can dissect. IU played really, really well in the first half. They made shots. They made so many shots they still turned the ball over a bunch and it didn’t really matter as much. They shot and passed and worked the ball and Michigan didn’t do any of those things, and that was awesome. And then in the second half, they didn’t entirely stop doing those things, but gradually so, and man, you watched the game, right? You saw it.

(I’ll just add, as a general observation, that I’m starting to love Tom Pritchard, and that Devan Dumes is by far the most frustrating player I’ve ever watched, let alone rooted for. You can see the talent there. You know it exists. And every time he does something good, whatever demon sits on Dumes’ shoulder that tells him, “hey, Devan, you know what would be cool is if you ran at the hoop with reckless abandon right now, or shot that stupid 25-foot three, yeah, do it Devan go GO GO DO IT WILL BE FUN,” and Dumes listens. Devan: Stop. Think. Take like one-eighth of a deep breath. Give the demon time to talk himself to death; trust me, he doesn’t need long. After that, do what you must. That’s all I ask.)
———–

No, instead, I’d like to say a few words about Big Ten Network broadcast partners Tom Hamilton and Shon Morris. First, Hamilton:

Tom, hi. Eamonn here. Can I ask you a favor? Just between you and me, and the people that read this blog? Cool. Stop shouting. Stop thinking everything is awesome. When Gus Johnson does it, it’s great; when you do it, it is quite possibly the most annoying thing in the world. Even in the first half, when my favorite college basketball team was playing better than they have played (or might play) all year, you were ruining my experience. A little turnaround jumper is not AN AMAZING SHOT. Michigan’s comeback was not INCREDIBLE. It was to be expected, at least in some regard, and if you didn’t expect it you were broadcasting a game featuring two teams you knew nothing about. Which is worse?

Shon. Hey, Shon. I’m not even going to make fun of your name, dude. I’d prefer to focus on the merits here, and I’ve got to be honest: You occasionally said some insightful things last night. Occasionally. Unfortunately, you liked to punctuate them with what seemed to be prerehearsed lines — and if they seem prerehearsed, they probably are — like “100 percent? I can’t even get 100 percent on a blood test!” Oh, man, the jokes to be made here, Shon. But look, I’m refraining! I assure you, it isn’t easy.

I’m holding back, because I want to be your friend, Shon, and that’s why I tell you this: Stop it with the shtick, and don’t say silly things. There are guys that pull of the college basketball shtick, and there are guys that don’t. Look at Jay Bilas. Dude has no real charisma to speak of, but he’s solid enough and so people don’t mind when he’s covering their games. You don’t need shtick (“Onions!” “Baybee!” etc.) to be a good color guy. Just talk hoops, and be good at it. (Hint: It doesn’t help to tell IU fans that IU will be a Top-3 home court team in the Big Ten this year. I like to remain optimistic, but c’mon, dude.)

Cool? Cool. With my advice, I have no doubt you guys’ll … still not be very good at broadcasting. But this is the Big Ten Network. “Not very good” would be a huge step in the right direction.

———–

Funny, but that last sentence goes for IU, too. Not very good. I’d take that. For a half, we were very good, and it gives me hope. But 20 minutes of “very good” does not a program make. As we found out last night, if you couple it with 20 minutes of “horrible,” it doesn’t even win you a Big Ten game.

Filed to:

  • BFowler

    I agree with the Dumes comment 100% (if I could get 100% on anything….?). He alone raised and killed me. The threes he hit in the first half were a boost of confidence for the whole team and you could see the guys rally. The drive with 40 seconds to go instead of milking the shot clock to zero and even if you do not get a shot off, you leave Michigan only 6 or 7 seconds (and, heck, just fould them and you are still up three, they can not tie from the line!).

    I really couldn't care about how bad the announcers on the B10 Network are, they could never be as HORRIBLE as listening to Bill Walton call anything. Not saying they are very good, but let's go ahead and admit it, they are not exactly drawing top talent right now, what is this year 2? CBS and NBC can do better than Bill Walton.

    I read the, “help is on the way” comment from a previous post, and I think that the next group of freshmen will still be freshmen, but at least there will be bench options and the fatigue factor will not be as huge.

    Here is what I would say is the worst part of the last two games: EXPECTATIONS. We now expect this team to do something (whether it be blow a lead or not, I had the same feeling E). I actually began to let myself think, “Hey, we could BEAT these guys!” That was the worst part for me………then, well you know the rest.

  • ALH_00

    At half, I was just thinking 17 is a lot of points…just play solid. Don't turn it over and hopefully take some good shots. I'm still not sure how it happened, but deep down I knew it was inevitable. Back to accepting moral victories for now.

    Great games Jones and Williams.

  • When Michigan made their little run that really cemented the fact that they'd be coming all the way back, why was Moore still on the bench? I realize he's a walk-on and all, but he also had a calming effect that Dumes shooting 30-footers just didn't. I mean, any points during that stretch (around the 8-9 minute mark, if memory serves) would have probably meant a victory, as opposed to empty possession after empty possession.

  • SteveEyl

    As bad a Tom Hamilton is (he's the CLE Indians radio guy, and he never shuts up, like he's on the radio), the thing I really can't stand about the BTN is the camera work.

    How effing hard is it to KEEP THE BALL AND THE BASKET IN THE FRAME AT ALL TIMES?

    So amateurish.

    I'm not even sure what to say about the actual game. I seem to have gotten pretty good at focusing on the improvemnt, and there was improvement there. But that would have been a really nice one to win…

  • TexasHoosier

    I love Matt Roth so much. I want to like Dumes, but it's really hard. Why does Roth wear the shoulder pad undershirt? It makes him look like a goblin.

  • TomCoverdale's Eyebrows

    I was only able to watch the first half of the game, and I found myself texting buddies like a giddy school girl. Despite the fact that these kids blew a golden opportunity, its hard to be mad or frustrated, in my opinion. Every game, every play every second is a new experience for these guys and this team, so its reality that collapses like this will happen.

  • MPmike

    Hit freaking frow throws! Very bad free throw shooting is a sign of a very bad team.

  • ha! i remember that 'blood test' bit. horrible.

  • coachv

    roth isn't wearing shoulder pads. he just doesn't have a neck. if he did, he'd be 6'6″ and a 4-star recruit.
    eamonn, right on about the annoying announcers (and terrible camera work), but to me bill rafferty is the most unbearable, with his screeched, rehearsed lines. a man in his 60's screeching like that! ugh. i have to keep my finger poised over the mute button at all times when forced to watch a game he's covering. every time i don't mute rafferty in time, i stab myself in the ear with a sharp pencil as punishment.
    and eamonn, the word is rehearsed, not prerehearsed. that' would be redundant, let alone grammatically incorrect. like forewarn instead of warn. reaffirm instead of affirm. readjust….etc. you get the idea.

  • CDWIU’98

    If Devan Dumes never played another minute, I’d be happy. And it’s just not driving the lane and turning the ball over or taking a ill-advised 40-foot 3 pointer with 30 seconds still left on the shot clock and then missing 2 of 3 free throws. It’s been his play the entire season. He turns the ball over too much and takes awful shots. He hurts the team more than he helps. Ugh.

  • Kelin Blab

    According to my count Steve, IU lost by 20….given about 10 points I never saw….I am glad I have BTN but hell don't tease me by showing the court only

  • Kelin Blab

    coachv-

    Rafferty is one of my favorites, you gotta love the intro…..”man to man”…….thank GOD packer retired.

  • I don't want to throw Dumes under a bus, I actually like him a lot. I love his swag. But he needs to balance his talent and confidence with a little moderation. That's all.

  • Kelin Blab

    People lay off Dumes because he is one of the few IU players that can get his own shot and consistently plays with confidence. Does he make mistakes…YES…Does he take bad shots…..YES…..BUT without Dumes last night IU loses that game in regulation. Lets not forget he is new to this level of college basketball so it is an adjustment……

    I think Devan at times trys to be “the man” for this team and show some leadership but tries to do it in the wrong way, we always don't need the big shot or big play…..

    Again without Dumes, we are losing to Michigan and some other teams alot worse….

  • hoosier53

    I have to agree that the way Dumas plays keeps me on the edge of my chair. When he shoots those unreal shots I cringe until they go in and then I jump and shout. When he starts dribbling the ball it is like spinning the wheel of fortune waiting for it to land on turnover or slicing move or charge or succesful feed. You never know what you are going to get but some times it looks good. And that last 2 on 1 decision………..man I felt like I wanted to cry, but if he had made the shot or drawn a foul then I probably would have justed taken a deep breathe and thanked the BB gods for dodging another turnover bullet.

    That all being said your post sounds a whole like what I hear from UK fans that I am surrounded by down here in Southern Indiana. Praising a player or crucifying him depending on how he played the last game (or the last half) is a part of their DNA. It is something IU fans should be careful to avoid.

    This whole year is one big do-over. We knew that going in. We expected a few bright moments but knew for the most part it was going to be a year to want to forget. In the last two games this team has played so much better than it did in the pre-conference games that it actually gives me hope that we might steal one down the line. But let's be realistic……there is a really good chance that even with the faith and zeal of CTC this team is liable to slowly but surely begin to fold under continuing disappointment. Don't want to be one to praise them where it is not deserved but I really don't want to be a post where they will be trashed when they make the decisions we expect this group of young players to make. Of this group how many do you really think would be getting major time on an established top level D1 team. Keep it real…….they are playing way over their head and being put into situations where they will most likely fail.

  • HoosierSmitty

    Yeah, you look at the game and Dumes was great in the first half. I think we were up 6 (maybe just three) late in the game when he popped two straight threes on one possession. He was trying to give us that BOOST forward…and ice the game, but it didn't happen. He's doing what he knows…and sometimes it's brutally frustrating….

  • SteveEyl

    Word.

    How about the one in the second half where somebody (Verdell?) drove to the bucket from the left wing, and just dissapeared off the screen. And all the while, Hamilton is going on about what a great shot it was.

  • Tyce

    Normally, I like to give guys the benefit of the doubt. After reading all of these comments I think all points have been made on Dumes, but seriously how do you make those plays. I agree we have to have someone who will try and score points, but even on a lot of those shots that fell in the first half I still didn't like the shots. Its not a good example for anyone else to follow, even Devan himself. I think what it really boils down to is this… This team is not a very good team, but it was the best we could get, I can live with that, easily, but the one area of the game that we can compete with other teams in is smarts, its INDIANA basketball, and lack of smarts is why we lost last night. It may have looked like we were trying not to lose in the second half and using the shot clock, when in reality we just managed to not turn it over until late in the shot clock then never got a better shot than a 3 with a hand in your face. With all the missed free throws, with all the turnovers, and even the lack of offense, we had that game won in regulation. That is whats so frustrating is that we lost because of a few plays that most of the educated basketball fans on IU could have made in their sleep when they were 7. I don't mind being out abilitied by a team because its going to happen this year, but when we give up games (even ones we shouldn't win) because we don't know basketball situations at INDIANA that's when its time to be very upset with our play.

  • cooper

    Williams and Jones were very good I think, though Williams disappeared in the 2nd half. He never seemed to get the ball and they went away from him in the post where he was great in the 1st half. Jones played very well, and has definitely taken over PG for now. I didn't see Pritchard play real solid at all, I thought he got worked over the entire second half. Maybe I'm wrong… Dumes is what he is. He needs a PG that won't give him the ball all the time. In the 2nd half the offense turned to throw Dumes the ball and hope he bails the team out. A great first half, but 62.5% from 3 in the first half is fools gold. Team played very well in the 1st half but thats what really makes it a bad lose

  • MillaRed

    I think another thing to consider here is Coach Crean. Dumes really hasn't made any adjustments to his game since game 1 and Coach has to take some responsibility there. Coach also made two decisions down the stretch I wasn't thrilled about.

    We're up 3 points with possession and freshmen all over the place. As soon as Pritchard makes that skip pass and we cross half court CALL TIMEOUT!!!! These guys need to be TOLD how to close it out.

    Then with a tied game and 20 seconds on the clock with possession, he calls tiemout with 7 seconds left? That's not enough time to run a set.

    Don't get me wrong. CTC is our boy I know that. But these decisons affected the outcome of the game.

  • indianajoe

    That's what I was feeling also, but I will pose this question. When should we expect more from this team? Because if we do, there's always going to be somebody that says this team is young and doesn't have enough talent. I think we should expect play just like the first half of the game. I know that's not going to happen but the team just raised their ceiling of potential.

  • IndianaJoe

    That's what I was feeling also, but I will pose this question. When should we expect more from this team? Because if we do, there's always going to be somebody that says this team is young and doesn't have enough talent. I think we should expect play just like the first half of the game. I know that's not going to happen but the team just raised their ceiling of potential.

  • hoosier53

    I am not crazy about the way Dumas played. The long shots made me cringe until they went in and then they made me cheer. The erratic dibble/drive/dish/turnover menu keeps me on the edge of my seat praying that he will pass before he loses total control. The bad decision at the last made me want to cry. Had he made the shot or drawn a foul I am sure I would have cheered.

    That all being said I must say you sound like a University of Kentucky fan the way you want to throw this guy under the bus. Living close to the border I hear their diatribes all the time and try to keep from falling under their influence. Keep it in perspective, keep it real, keep it clean. Yeah I did not have faith with the 20 point lead because I saw what they did with it the last time they were up……….but we were in the game…………….we were close to a win…….we were where we could dream of a victory. This year is a total do-over and we need to remember that as the disappointments continue to happen. They looked so much better in the last two games than they have during the pre-conference schedule that I acutally have hope that sometime this year we may actually steal one.

    Be an IU fan, realistic, not a UK fan – a total ……….

  • brosallman

    Dumes has a lot of Bracey Wright in him, too much leeway and too little talent.

  • Young Kelin Zeller

    I love Roth also, I hope he works on his ballhandling….he is a SHOOTER! I hope they start setting some screens for him….

  • Rafferty is 1,000,000,000X better than Packer.

  • danprs

    Crean will demonstrate his poor game coaching to the Indiana fans. Rah! Rah! is good for the program, coaching during the games wins games. MU fans lived with Crean's game decisions now Indiana fans will have to endure.

  • Seven cats in a bag being run over by a lawn mower is 1, 000,000,000X better than Packer.

  • hahaha. touche.

    but honestly i do like Rafferty – much more than seven cats getting shredded in a lawn mower.

  • fergrad

    The announcers last night made me want break things. “Assembly Hall is as quiet as a library!”. Dork. I am actually physically ill today and I'm officially blaming it on those two jackasses.

  • Brian

    Fun to watch Tommy Boy play cheerleader and coach…keep clapping…

  • MGOBLUE

    If you don't like the announcers hit MUTE, Thanks for the memories

  • MGOBLUE

    If you don't like the announcers hit MUTE, Thanks for the memories