This is really starting to become old. With seven losses on the season now, I can pretty much list the common threads that seem to be connected in all of them and pick what excuses we'll use. They go as follows:
- Missed free throws
- Failure to rebound
- Cold stretches of 10 minutes or more
- Painter can't land the big recruit
- Painter is overpaid and should be fired
- Failure to attack the basket while settling for threes
- Defensive breakdowns at critical times
- Leaving shooters unguarded on a switch.
Tonight's game seemed to have a little bit of all of them. I've already received a number of "Painter can't recruit" and "This loss is on his coaching" comments because we should instantly give up 21 games after we all begged him to return. The final minutes we took three three-pointers (where we struggled all night) instead of driving to the basket. Some will blame Painter, but it is far from his fault that the team stands around and settles for threes on offense when everyone can hear Painter screaming, "MOVE, MOVE, MOVE" for the entire first half what is he supposed to do? Is he supposed to go out there and shove them around the court.
The other side of the coin is that Michigan did everything it needed to do to pull out a win. Jordan Morgan was the difference maker for them even though we played well on Trey Burke, and Tim Hardaway Jr. was unstoppable at the end. they definitely earned this one, especially after they responded to out big second half run. I tip my cap to them.
Admittedly, it is very hard to look at this game objectively right now. It's not because we lost, either. It is because of the number of people that are giving up and settling for the NIT when we still have 10 damn games left to play.
Yes, it is not going to be easy, but there is a ton of basketball left to play. I've seen enough to know we're at least going to have a chance in every game, but unfortunately, we just don't put it together.
I think I will leave the rest until tomorrow because honestly, this game completely drained me. This sucks right now, but we can't quit and resign ourselves to the NIT. If you want to give up on this team, fine. The real fans will stay on board.
Tomorrow I'll try to take a wider look at the season so far and evaluate the rest of the year, but the remainder of our home games, plus the trip to Northwestern, are now must win. In the meantime, use a finishline coupon for purchases.