Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glen Robinson III will both have to play at a very high level in March in order for the Wolverines to live up to expectation.
Fortunately for them they are both very close to people who have experience playing at a high level. They are both sons of (and named after) former NBA All-Stars.
Tim Hardaway Sr. played college basketball at UTEP before coming to the NBA. Once he reached the professionals he made a name for himself as a scoring guard who could also initiate the offense. He played for a number of NBA teams, most notably the Miami Heat where he developed a strong on-court chemistry with Alonzo Mourning.
But of all the things that Tim Hardaway will be remembered for none will stand above his killer crossover dribble. Some say Hardaway not only had the best crossover in the NBA, but also revolutionized it in a way that made it a mainstream move for guards. Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Chris Paul, Russell Westrbook; none of them could claim to have a better crossover than Hardaway.
While Hardaway Sr. needed to use the crossover to his advantage to compensate for a lack of height, his son surprisingly grew to be six inches taller than his famous father. Hardaway Jr. grew up playing one-on-one against his dad. His competitive spirit led him to eventually beat him when he was in ninth grade, a sign that he was destined to be one heck of a player.
Hardaway Jr. is averaging nearly 15 points and five rebounds on the season.
Glen Robinson went to Purdue University and eventually made a name for himself in the NBA as a tough-nosed scorer. He was a two-time All-Star and earned himself the nickname “Big Dog.”
His son irked many fans of Robinson’s alma mater, Purdue, by choosing to attend Big 10 rival Michigan. He reinforced those feelings by scoring 12 points and grabbing nine rebounds when Michigan faced off against the Boilermakers.
Robinson III is about the same height as his dad, but some might argue he is an even better athlete. Only a freshman, Robinson has yet to announce whether he will be declaring for the NBA draft. If he chooses to jump ship he will have a chance at being a lottery pick as many scouts like his potential as a defender/rebounder/finisher. He may not generate the type of hype RGIII of the NFL did, but GRIII will be a name that we will likely hear for quite some time.
Both young men will get their chance at expanding on their fathers’ NBA legacy at some point, but right now they are both huge reasons why Michigan should be considered a favorite to win the NCAA Tournament.
Led by the two prodigies and Trey Burke, who ironically was hardly recruited by most Big 10 schools yet might be the team’s best player, the Wolverines will be a tough draw for anyone matched up with them.
Michigan Wolverines head coach John Beilein yells to his players during the first half of their Big Ten men’s NCAA basketball tournament quarterfinal game against the Illinois Illini in Indianapolis March 11, 2011. REUTERS/Brent Smith (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
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It didn’t take long today for the Bowl Championship Series to get a significant shake up. Sure, we already know who’s going to play in the national title game — because if we’ve learned nothing this year, it’s that every game matters … unless you play in the SEC — but the other games still were up for grabs today.
Houston, which had gone through the season unbeaten and found itself in the top 10, had the inside track to the Sugar Bowl as the top non-AQ school in the country with a ranking inside the top 12. I’m not sure if today’s loss to Southern Mississippi would knock the Cougars outside of the top 12 (it probably should), but it doesn’t matter, as they’re not Conference USA champions, meaning they’d have to get in as an at-large. Good luck with that.
So who gets the spot? Well, if Houston falls behind Michigan, it’s likely enough to get the Wolverines into the top 14, making them a shoe-in for an at-large spot. Then again, Michigan is likely to get there anyway, and most projections have them playing in the Sugar Bowl against Houston already. TCU would be the non-AQ school with the best chance, as it sits at No. 18 in the BCS standings right now, and only needs to get to No. 16 to earn an auto-bid. Head spinning yet? If a non-AQ school wins its conference and finishes in the top 16, it can get an automatic berth in a BCS game provided the champion from at least one AQ conference is ranked below it. Thank you, Big East.
If TCU doesn’t jump two spots (which is possible but not all that likely), then an at-large selection would fill the slot. The most likely choices are Boise State, Kansas State and, if it loses today, Oklahoma State.
As for the Big East, Cincinnati’s win against UConn leaves a three-way tie at the top of the league, so the final BCS standings will determine who gets the bid. Barring something crazy, that will be West Virginia, which is currently the only Big East team in the top 25, sitting at No. 23.
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson (C) celebrates with teammates after his diving touchdown into the end zone against Ohio State during the first half of their NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Michigan November 26, 2011. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook (UNITED STATES) – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
The streak is over. It had been 2,926 days since Michigan had last beat Ohio State, but today, the Wolverines ended that, picking up a 40-34 win against the Buckeyes in a thrilling game at the Big House.
Courtney Avery picked off a Braxton Miller pass in the final minute of the game to seal the win for Michigan, which is now 10-2 with a legitimate chance to be selected to a BCS bowl. In fact, at this point, I’d be surprised if the Wolverines were passed up by the Sugar Bowl, which is very likely going to have two at-large choices thanks to the SEC likely putting two teams in the national title game.
It was an improved defense that had Michigan in that position heading into today, but it was Denard Robinson that finished the job. The junior quarterback had the best game of his career in what was really a must-win situation for the Wolverines (more on that in a second). He was 14-of-17 for 166 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for 170 yards and two scores. He’s had statistically better games, but this is the one that Denard will be remembered for in Michigan.
As to the must-win declaration: With Ohio State in the state it was in this season, and with Urban Meyer coming on board, if Michigan didn’t win this year, it might have been a while before the Wolverines found a way to win against the Buckeyes. Brady Hoke has done a great job in Year 1, but he’s led a bit of a charmed existence thanks to a very weak Big Ten, an 8-game home schedule, and his chief rival — both on the field and in recruiting — being hampered by a rough season on and off the field. He’s taken advantage and deserves credit for doing so — he should make no apologies for dragging a fading program back to 10-2 — but had he lost this game, a lot of the goodwill he has built up might have been gone.
It nearly was, had it not been for the erratic arm of Braxton Miller. The Ohio State freshman looked brilliant in spots, especially running the football, but he missed a lot of open receivers and cost the Buckeyes at least two sure touchdowns with overthrows. The second came on the final drive, as DeVier Posey had double-moved J.T. Floyd into oblivion and was running free down the sidelines.
The thought of Miller with some more seasoning and in Urban Meyer’s offense should scare not only Michigan fans and the rest of the Big Ten, but the rest of the country. Those two will win a lot of games together.
But not today. No, today belonged to Michigan, which isn’t thinking about all of that other stuff while celebrating the only thing that matters in Ann Arbor, beating Ohio State.
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz (L) speaks with an assistant coach on the sidelines during his team’s play against Georgia Tech in the FedEx Orange Bowl BCS NCAA football game in Miami, January 5, 2010. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Coming off a loss at lowly Minnesota, Iowa looked to be lost. But really, it was just Iowa.
The Hawkeyes are consistent this year. That’s not necessarily a good thing. They’re awful on the road (0-3) and good at home (6-0). Teams playing better at home than on the road is not at all out of the ordinary. But when you lose at Minnesota then win at home against Michigan, there’s something major going on. Does the team bus have a carbon monoxide leak?
Iowa picked up a 24-16 win against the Wolverines by shutting down Denard Robinson and playing better defense than it probably has all year. The Wolverines had four plays from inside the 5-yard line as time was running out, but couldn’t punch it in (cue Michigan fans claiming Junior Hemingway did actually score on one of the plays — he pushed off, folks).
So just so we’re straight, Iowa held Michigan to less points than it did Minnesota. To be fair, I guess, Michigan State did the same thing, eking out a win against the Gophers today.
So now Iowa, which has lost to a team that is 2-7 and another that is 5-4, controls its own destiny in the Big Ten Legends Division. It has Michigan State at home next week, then plays at Purdue and at Nebraska to close out the year.
If things go as they have so far this season, that means a 1-2 finish for Iowa and a middling bowl. But with a well-balanced offense and a defense that can apparently stop people every once in a while, there’s a decent chance Iowa will be playing in Indianapolis. Yes, Iowa, the team that lost to Minnesota.