I just have some quick thoughts on the basketball game we all watched tonight. I know you don’t come here for basketball coverage, but this will be cathartic for me (and maybe for you).
- Congratulations to Villanova. They were the better team, both in the tournament and in the regular season. They deserved to win, and the “experts” were correct to predict them to win the game.
- It was a bad time for a bad game. I said before the game that Michigan needed to have a Texas A&M-like game, and obviously they didn’t. Charles Matthews had his worst game of the tournament, partly because of some mental mistakes, and partly because Villanova had the athletes to match him. This was not a good matchup for Duncan Robinson, and he played like it. The Wolverines needed to be firing on all cylinders and, well, a couple of those cylinders were misfiring.
- This was a good matchup for Zavier Simpson. Simpson probably took some motivation from the way people were talking about him before this game, but I was confident all along that he would do just fine against National Player of the Year Jalen Brunson. Brunson had 9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 turnovers. If you can hold any NPOY to those numbers, you’re doing a good job.
- Donte DiVincenzo was the X-factor. The guy had 31 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocked shots. He was 5/7 on three-pointers. What can you do when a guy is in the zone like that? I thought Abdur-Rahkman did a good job on him defensively, but he was too quick for Simpson and Matthews; Matthews, in particular, looked to be surprised by DiVincenzo’s quickness and athleticism, both offensively and defensively.
- The referees were not the reason ‘Nova won the game. Again, the referees were not the reason ‘Nova won the game. BUT. I was still frustrated by the way the game was called. People talk about Michigan being handsy and physical, but Brunson should have sat out the vast majority of the game with foul trouble. He flopped on defense and threw elbows on offense, and the refs didn’t do a thing early. I think somebody got in the referees’ ear and/or they just realized all the bulls*** emanating from Brunson, so they came to their senses, called him for 4 fouls, and eventually removed him from relevance.
Congratulations to John Beilein and the Wolverines on a great season. They set a school record for wins in a season, won the Big Ten Tournament, and won 14 games in a row leading up to the national championship game. I don’t know if Wagner will come back, and both Robinson and Abdur-Rahkman are finished, but the future is still bright for these guys. I’m excited to see Charles Matthews, Jordan Poole, Isaiah Livers, Zavier Simpson, and others mature in the coming years.