November 12: The Day After
Posted by Zach on November 12, 2008
ZACH: I caught bits and pieces of the Michigan Tech-Michigan and Georgia Southern-Duke games on The U last night. Taking too much credence out of a performance against a Division II team (although Michigan Tech was picked second in their conference behind Grand Valley State…so I guess they’re not gawd-awful) would be foolish…but Manny Harris was terrific, dropping 30 points and notching 7 rebounds in 30 minutes. He showed a variety of elaborate moves driving to the hoop and shot well from the outside, nailing three long balls. I considered Harris for my Big Ten Player of the Year award before ultimately deciding on Keaton Grant as a sleeper, especially because Michigan won’t be especially competitive this season. He looks like he’s on a mission to prove me wrong. But, again. Division 2.
Duke put on an absolute clinic in defeating Georgia Southern. They played much better than the first night’s performance against Presbyterian- most notably rebounding, limiting turnovers, and playing active defense. Nolan Smith went 3/4 from deep, showing that it’s entirely possible Greg Paulus’ one major strength (outside shooting) won’t even present a downgrade in the starting five. Kyle Singler appears to be the total package early- the outside jumper is still there, but he’s attacking the rim and boards with more ferocity, getting easy shots and converted. Freshman Elliot Williams grabbed 11 rebounds in 14 minutes of garbage time a day after his ridiculous 360 dunk with Duke leading by 300.
A Duke recap wouldn’t be complete without a frontcourt update. Duke played their usual dribble-drive, spread the floor around the perimeter type offense, which will work fine against Georgia Southern, but against opponents with multiple big men, they’ll need someone to emerge in the post. Brian Zoubek picked up four more fouls in 14 minutes. Miles Plumlee played sparingly, and Lance Thomas looked like he was slightly improved. The jury’s still out. Speaking of Thomas, he went 1 for 8 from the stripe, and Duke as a whole went 25-49. That has to be a point of concern. But, again. Georgia Southern.
Southern Illinois struggled with Division 2 California (PA) last night in Carbondale. The game was actually tied at halftime before the Salukis and Carlton Fay (16/11) pulled away in the second half. Massachusetts and Corey Lowe (11 assists) dominated their D2 opponent and these two teams will face off tonight for a visit with Duke at MSG. In the Ann Arbor Regional, Northeastern handled IUPUI with ease and will play the Wolverines tonight. This one will be much closer than expected unless Michigan’s supporting cast around Harris steps up.
Michigan vs. Northeastern – 8 PM ET (ESPNU), UCLA vs. Prairie View A&M- 10 PM ET (ESPNU)
NW Wins Horse Trailer Player of the Day: Manny Harris, Michigan: 30 points, 10/15 FG, 3/5 3PT, 7/9 FT, 7 rebounds, 2 assists
We’ll have the Wednesday selections up when the lines are released.