Tag Archives: Ann Arbor

Wisconsin Stuns Michigan at Home

Fans packed the stands for a sold out game at Crisler Arena expecting to cheer their Michigan Wolverines to victory over the visiting Wisconsin Badgers basketball team. Wisconsin had other plans, however, and delivered one of their finest performances of the season to upend the home squad and send fans home wondering what might have been.

Contrasting the scene envisioned by most of the 12,707 fans arriving to stiff winds and frigid temperatures at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Wisconsin never trailed and put forward an astounding shooting performance that left Michigan hapless trying to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit.

Each time Michigan made a run and cut the score to within a bucket or two, Wisconsin delivered a death-nail from behind the arch or several consecutive buckets in the paint. The feeling in Crisler was that if Michigan was going to come back, it would have to do so by matching Wisconsin’s shooting; a tall order on a night that Wisconsin shot 64% from the field.

That hope never materialized and two missed opportunities with trips to the free throw line in the final minute kept the spread at three points, which got extended to five and seven after Wisconsin capitalized at the charity stripe on their own end.

The standouts of the game for both teams were evident most of the way. Wisconsin junior point guard, D’Mitrik Trice, turned in a career performance, scoring his way out of a season-long slump and shooting the lights out of Crisler Arena in the process. Trice delivered on 10 of 16 from the floor and a soul-crushing 5 of 6 from three point land. Junior forwards Micah Potter and Aleem Ford also performed well and each added 18 points. Potter finished the night with 7 rebounds and Ford finished with 8. The trio shot nearly 64% from the field and an even more impressive 67% from behind the arch.

Michigan senior point guard, Xavier Simpson, had a career day with 32 points on 14 of 22 shooting. The guard cut deep into the Wisconsin defense and consistently delivered multiple hook shots off the glass over sizable Badger defenders all night. He added 5 rebounds and 6 assists to his stat line on the night. Despite the performance, few other Wolverines scored effectively in the first half or second half and defensive woes meant the Wolverines were unable to sustain runs long enough to close the deficit.

Simpson was aided by freshman guard, Franz Wagner, who came alive in the second half and got to the rack on a number of contested takes. Wagner was the only other Wolverine to finish in double digits and concluded his night with 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting, which he paired with 7 boards.

Wisconsin held off the late Michigan run to secure the 81-74 victory.

Wisconsin will close out their regular season with games against Minnesota, Northwestern and Indiana. Michigan will look to rebound at #23 Ohio State before moving on to face Nebraska on senior night and #9 Maryland on the road in the regular season finale.

Michigan Defeats Middle Tennessee State in Season Opener

The University of Michigan Football team opened up their 2019-2020 season on Saturday with a 40-21 victory over Conference USA foe Middle Tennessee State (8-6 & 1st in C-USA East Division in 2018) at the Big House.

All eyes were on senior quarterback Shea Patterson and Michigan’s new hybrid offense, which borrows elements of the pro-style, spread and up-tempo offensive systems, under first-year offensive coordinator Josh Gattis. The Wolverines received the kickoff to start the game, and the senior quarterback and his offensive teammates trotted out on the field ready to unleash their “speed in space” scheme.

It didn’t exactly start off as expected, though.

On the first offensive play from scrimmage, Patterson fumbled the ball over to the Blue Raiders while scrambling to escape the MTSU pass rush. It seemed as if all air was sucked out of Michigan Stadium, and on the ensuing possession, Middle Tennessee State QB Asher O’Hara would escape three Michigan tacklers in the backfield and scamper for 18 yards into the end zone to give his team a 7-0 lead early in the game against the heavily favored Wolverines.

“A win is a win, but I don’t think anyone in that locker room felt like we played up to our standard.” Shea Patterson

Michigan would straighten things out, however. After a Jake Moody field goal to make the score 7-3, Patterson found a wide open Tarik Black in the end zone for Michigan’s first touchdown of the season.

Despite some sloppiness on both sides of the ball, Michigan had the game relatively in hand for the rest of the night after Black’s touchdown catch. Patterson tossed two more scores on the night, one to wide receiver Nico Collins and another to tight end Sean McKeon. Jake Moody added to the scoring, tacking on another field goal, and both backup junior quarterback Dylan McCaffrey and running back Ben VanSumeren ran their way into the blue-turfed end zone. A failed two-point conversion after the McCaffrey touchdown would leave the Wolverines with the 40 points that concluded their scoring for the night. Blue Raider quarterback Asher O’Hara would go on to throw for two touchdowns, including one coming in garbage time with just over a minute left to play, to bring us to the final score of 40-21.

Shea Patterson did not seem to be completely pleased with the Wolverine’s performance:

“A win is a win, but I don’t think anyone in that locker room felt like we played up to our standard,” said Patterson after the game. “We’ve got to play better. I’ve got to play better.” Questions were raised by fans and media members about the quality of Patterson’s play both during the game and after, but fifth-year head coach Jim Harbaugh seemed to provide an explanation during postgame interviews:

“I thought Shea (Patterson) played extremely well. He was working through a little something, he was being evaluated at halftime. I was keeping a close eye on him. (Patterson) Had some quarterback runs designed in the third quarter that I prefer to see Dylan (McCaffrey) running because I didn’t want to make Shea’s issue worse. Made some great plays, did a great job.”

The Wolverines obviously suffered through some growing pains in their first game under the new offensive system.

Despite that, Harbaugh was optimistic and said that he had seen a lot of good things, but admitted, “we’ve seen in practice (that) we can operate cleaner…That’s what we’ll strive for this next week. This is a new offense, and for a first time out, it was good. Could it be better? Yeah, sure, and that’s what we’ll be striving for.”

Nobody knows how deep Josh Gattis delved into his playbook on Saturday night, but despite the shakiness, he did enough to spark excitement from a lot of the Michigan faithful.

Michigan’s defense, for the most part, looked promising. Like the offense, they faced some adversity, and still have a lot of room to improve. They gave up 301 total yards and three touchdowns, but also forced a fumble and an impressive interception by junior Ambry Thomas. Don Brown is in his fourth year as Michigan’s defensive coordinator, and it is expected that the Wolverine defense will be a bright spot once again this season.

The Michigan football team continues their season next Saturday at the Big House in what could be a dangerous trap game vs. the Army Black Knights at Noon ET. Army runs the triple option like Navy and Air Force, which is an offense that has been known to give even the most talented defenses trouble. However, all eyes will still most likely be on the Gattis-run offense.