We all know the classic movie formula.
The main star has a great life for the first 20-minutes, then something bad happens, and for the next 40-minutes to an hour he or she is trying to resolve the situation. Finally, they figure it out and everything is better than ever.
Genius. We have all seen it a hundred times and it never gets old.
I feel that is the way the Michigan basketball season is going.
Think about it, they had about as good a non-conference schedule as you can pull off. Beating two top-five teams and losing just two games before league play, both to major conferences.
Now, more than halfway through the Big Ten schedule, they are struggling immensely.
I think things are going to get better, and soon. Just look at the Purdue game.
Michigan was hanging in there with arguably the second best team in the league, at Purdue's home court. It probably would have been a good game right up to the finish before guard Manny Harris got hosed.
He elbowed another player, but anyone watching could see it was an unfortunate accident. Harris ended up being ejected. Come on. A flagrant foul would have been more than enough. That killed Michigan's momentum.
Quick side note for all you out there who think forward DeShawn Sims is Wolverine's most valuable player because he is the only real inside threat. Look at what happened to the team when Harris left Saturday and at the Ohio State game from earlier this week. This team goes as Manny goes. Case closed.
Now, I think if that game had gone normally, things would have turned out differently. At least a hard fought loss. But it didn’t.
Still, this will turn around soon. A team with this kind of talent does not play .300 ball for more than a few weeks or so. We are nearing the end of that period, I can feel it.
At 4-6, they need to go 5-3 the rest of the way, and then win a game or two in the Big Ten Tournament to solidify a NCAA Tournament spot.
There are some winnable games against Minnesota, who they play twice, Iowa, Northwestern, Penn State and Wisconsin. They also have two games against Purdue and Michigan State, and they could easily pick one of the two biggies off.
A realistic scenario has them going 4-4; losing to Connecticut and winning one game in the Big Ten Tournament. That will leave them 19-14, with a resume that has wins against UCLA, Duke, Illinois, and possibly another top tier Big Ten team. Leaving them right on the bubble of the last four teams left into the tournament, and my guess is that they sneak in.
However, that is just this year.
They will have all five of their starters returning, only losing C.J Lee, David Merritt, and Jevohn Shepherd. They also will bring in four strong recruits, led by four-star Darius Morris from California.
This team will be really scary next year. The 2008-2009 season is just the beginning.
And hopefully this movie ends well.