Positives From Big Ten Opener For Michigan

Chris ScheiCorrespondent IJanuary 2, 2009

On New Year's Eve, I couldn't wait for Michigan's Big Ten opener against Wisconsin. How disappointed was I? Plenty.

Wisconsin came into Crisler Arena and beat Michigan 73-61, lead by great shooting. Outside of Zack Novak's three-pointers, it was a pretty abysmal performance from Michigan. Excuses can be made, some have said they were flat after playing a game just 48 hours earlier. But in the Big Ten, there are no excuses or moral victories.

Some positives, believe it or not, did come out of this game for the Maize and Blue.

1.) Despite Wisconsin shutting down Manny Harris and Deshawn Sims, the Wolverines still hung in there, keeping themselves within range to come back.

2.) Zack Novak had a great game, scoring a career-high 20 points.

3.) Laval Lucas-Perry continued to show us why we were excited for him to become eligible to play. He hit some three-pointers and played good defense.

4.) Coming into the game shooting 45 percent from the field, Wisconsin shot over 60 percent against Michigan. Some was due to the lack of defense from Michigan, but if Wisconsin shot the ball that well and we were still in it, that's always good.

At the end of the day, however, Michigan needs to come ready to play every night in the Big Ten, and they obviously did not do that on Wednesday. Manny Harris got frustrated easily by what he felt was bad officiating. But Harris needs to remember that if he drives the lane and gets hit against Florida Atlantic, he's going to the free-throw line. In the Big Ten, they may not call it at all throughout the entire game.

I'm sure coach Belein had a talk with him about that, since coach was only upset with the officials on very few plays where Manny drove to the lane.

Overall, a rough start to the Big Ten season for Michigan. As wide open as the Big Ten is, there is no reason that Michigan should lose anymore home games, plus steal a win or two on the road.

If we can do that, we are tournament bound.