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TMCNet:  Postmortem of Badgers' tying shot little help to Wolverines

[February 11, 2013]

Postmortem of Badgers' tying shot little help to Wolverines

Feb 11, 2013 (Detroit Free Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- After Michigan lost to Wisconsin, 65-62, on Saturday, coach John Beilein and his team re-examined the 40-footer Wisconsin's Ben Brust hit to force overtime.

Trying to identify what went wrong -- the Wolverines were supposed to foul before anyone could get a shot off -- U-M ran the play again at Sunday's practice.

Many wondered why center Mitch McGary wasn't guarding the in-bounder Saturday. U-M tried it Sunday, but got the same result.

"We've gone zone, we've gone man, we've put a man on the ball -- we put a man on the ball yesterday in practice, went one-on-one coverage everywhere, and (scout-team guard) Matt Vogrich, who was substituting for Ben Brust, got the exact same shot that Ben Brust got, with a man on the ball," Beilein said on today's Big Ten teleconference. "It's difficult to stop a half-court shot. We were focusing very much on fouling at the time. We couldn't get either one done, and it was very difficult to get that done. To not foul a guy from half-court when you need three, whether there's one guy on him, two guys on him, a guy on the ball, it's very difficult to stop a guy from shooting from half-court." Beilein said he's not wedded to one philosophy in that situation.

"There's two choices. It's almost like a defensive coordinator, are you going to blitz the quarterback and play single coverage or are you going to double-team the first pass " Beilein said. "We were trying to double-team the pass. It, obviously, didn't happen." Evolving rivalry: The Michigan-Michigan State rivalry was ugly for U-M when Beilein arrived in 2007. He lost his first four games against the Spartans.

Now he has won three of the past four entering Tuesday's top-10 showdown -- the first in series history -- at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.

"When we first came here, it wasn't the rivalry it had been in the past," he said, referring to the 3-14 record in the nine-plus years before he arrived. "There was a pronounced Michigan State dominance. I think both programs continue to get better and better. We had a lot of getting better to do, and we're getting there. But still we have tremendous respect for the Michigan State program. As long as Tom (Izzo) and his staff are there, they're always going to be strong. Hopefully, we'll be just as strong now and in years to come." Note: McGary is the Big Ten freshman of the week. He averaged 13 points, 7 rebounds and 3.5 steals in games against Ohio State and Wisconsin last week. Brust and Illinois' D.J. Richardson are the co-players of the week.

Contact Mark Snyder: msnyder@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @mark__snyder.

Beat writer Mark Snyder will answer your U-M questions in a live chat at 10 a.m. Tuesday at freep.com/sports. Submit early questions here. Then join special writer Nick Meyer for a live blog of the Michigan-MSU game Tuesday night. And at 11 a.m. Friday, U-M women's basketball coach Kim Barnes Arico will answer your questions in a chat. Submit them here.

___ (c)2013 the Detroit Free Press Visit the Detroit Free Press at www.freep.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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