It's Tournament Time!
That's right. The NIT! If you're looking to fill out a bracket for your office pool, the 2006 NIT bracket can be printed up here. I hope you're as excited as I am.
I'll do a rundown of the NIT tonight and post it tomorrow.
The Fallout Continues
Jim Spadafore of the Detroit News puts the blame for this season's collapse squarely on Amaker in his recent article. With regard to Tommy's job security, Spadafore says Amaker's not on the hot seat and his job seems secure. What really confused the hell out of me is that Spadafore says Michigan should make the tournament next year AND contend for the Big Ten championship.
[T]he Wolverines should finish in the first division of the Big Ten because they return seven of their top 10 players: juniors Harris, Abram, Sims and Brent Petway, sophomore Ron Coleman and freshmen Jerret Smith and Jevohn Shepherd. Incoming freshmen DeShawn Sims of Detroit Pershing, a top candidate for Mr. Basketball; Anthony Wright, a 6-6 forward at Oak Hill Academy (Va.), and 6-4 wing K'len Morris of Grand Blanc also should help. It's also important for Amaker to sign high school pehnom Patrick Beverly of Chicago to replace Horton. Also, the Big Ten will be down because Michigan State, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa will be losing a host of key contributors.
Please note the added emphasis I placed on the middle sentence. Someone has to replace Horton's production (e.g. the unsigned Beverly), otherwise this pronostication is moot. I'm all for rosey predictions, but the line up he listed is a mid-Big Ten team. None of the players he mentioned (perhaps with the exception of Abram) has shown an ability to take over a game at a critical period or manage to hold onto the damn ball. Michigan's future is entirely dependent upon Amaker's ability to lure a top name recruit to Ann Arbor to replace the scoring void left by Horton's departure. This is an ability he has not shown since his first recruiting class, so you'll pardon me if I'm a little skeptical of Spadafore's predictions.
Unlike the News, Schembechler Hall is calling for blood. Jim Carty over at the Ann Arbor news is flat out pissed. And Greg Johnson of the Grand Rapids Press knocks the Maize and Blue around a bit. Finally, Michael Rosenberg at the Free Press zero's in on Tommy to cap the festivities. All is not well in Ann Arbor. Tommy's taking more shots than Alex Murphy at the beginning of RoboCop.
In addition to the rush to blame, there is a calling out of the darkness that perhaps Michigan got screwed and should be in the Dance. Mgoblog took a look to see that Air Force and Utah State made the tournament to the exception of Michigan and several other talented schools (Cincinnati getting my "What? No Reach Around?" Award). While I believe the "body of work" Michigan did over the season should have been enough to make the Tournament, finishing the season the way we did completely overshadows those accomplishments. Air Force finished the season winning 7 of 10, including a 6 game winning streak. Utah State also finished the season winning 7 of 10, with 4 game and 3 game winning streaks.
Playing in the Mountain West and WAC doesn't even come close to playing in the Big Ten. However, winning counts for something. And that's something Michigan didn't do.
At Least One Men's Team Will Play In A Real Tournament
The Michigan Hockey team managed to pull its collective head out of its ass this weekend for just long enough to beat Ferris State in the second round of the CCHA playoffs. The Wolverines beat FSU 6-4 and 3-2 to advance. This likely cements a NCAA tournament bid for the Icers. Their reward? They get to play Michigan State on Friday in the CCHA semis. The Blog That Yost Built has all the details.
In addition T.J. Hensick and Matt Hunwick were named to the All-CCHA second team.