Michigan basketball team has seen everything, except a win, on the road
FAYETTVILLE, Ark. -- In four true road environments, the Michigan basketball team has seen a bit of everything.
At Virginia, the Wolverines hung tough early before falling apart late.
At Iowa, Michigan started out slow, played worse in the middle and never had a chance.
At Indiana and Arkansas, the Wolverines found a way to dig out of double-digit deficits to earn a shot at the buzzer, but both times the shot fell off the mark.
They've pretty much seen it all.
Everything except a win.
"We've got to come out more intense, we can't come out flat," Michigan freshman point guard Trey Burke said following the team's 66-64 loss at Arkansas on Saturday. "(But) that's something we'll learn from."
Michigan has played a total of eight games away from the Crisler Center this season. The Wolverines went 2-1 on a neutral floor during the Maui Invitational and beat Oakland on a neutral floor at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
But when the Wolverines have set foot inside an opponent's home gym, each time they've left disappointed.
Michigan has lost four road games by an average of eight points, but the combined home record of the teams that have beaten the Wolverines in those games is 43-5.
So is Michigan coach John Beilein concerned about his group's inability to perform away from home?
No. Not yet, anyway.
"I think we've been competitive (on the road)," Beilein said. "But I'm concerned, just like 365 other coaches are, when you go on the road. If you're going to win on the road, you've got to have more talent than the other team, or you've got to play your best game.
"That's pretty much what it comes down to."
In four road losses, the Wolverines have had nice stretches, but by no means have they put together a full effort.
Arkansas began the game Saturday on an 11-for-11 shooting tear, jumping out to a 20-point lead. Michigan fought back to pull within two in the closing minutes, but the ugly beginning was too much to overcome.
The same scenario played itself out at Indiana, while the Virginia and Iowa losses featured much more bad than good -- both resulting in double-digit defeats.
But the Wolverines insist the entire situation is a process.
Because, simply, if winning on the road was easy -- everyone would do it.
""It's college basketball, sometimes shots go in, sometimes they don't," Michigan senior captain Zack Novak said. "We're concerned about how we play, not where we play."
The road won't be getting any shorter for the Wolverines anytime soon, either.
Michigan (15-5, 5-2 Big Ten) visits Purdue on Tuesday before heading to Ohio State on Sunday. The Wolverines also have road dates remaining at Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern and a back-to-back trips to Illinois and Penn State to close out the season.
Beilein and company insist there's no inherent mind block with playing games on the road, instead saying it's been more a result of playing quality opponents in those games.
Whether they're right is up for debate, and they'll have plenty of remaining chances to prove their theory. Seven of Michigan's final 11 regular season games will be played away from the Crisler Center.
"We lost (at Arkanas) because they played better than us," Beilein said. "It wasn't because of where we were.
"But, again, you've really got to play well on the road to win. Any of my teams that have been able to steal games on the road, they really shot the heck out of it in that game."
Definitely good advice.
But also far easier said than done.
Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.
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Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 9:37 p.m.
Michigan showed a real gutsy effort coming back in this game. But they MUST solve the shooting problem if they're going to have a successful rest of the season. Hardaway must pull out of his slump for us to win games like this. If he has a normal game for him, we would have won yesterday. And Smotrycz is also playing poorly. If we can pull out of the shooting funk, we can do well the rest of the way.
Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.
Zack Novak's flagrant foul was over-the-top. I don't care what Zack is quoted saying about it or that he asked the Arkansas coach about the player after the game. You only have to open your eyes and watch what he did. He dang near pounded the shooters head off. And don't forget; this happened back in 2009 with Novak where he received a suspension for a flagrant foul. I was embarrased for his behavior; probably his parents are too. It will be interesting to see what Coach Beilein does and if he does nothing what the Big Ten will do. In my opinion, a message needs to be sent to these players that pounding the heads of guys doing layups/dunks is not acceptable behavior in the Big Ten. Any Michigan fan who disagrees with me is not being honest with themselves.
Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.
I enjoy watching Michigan basketball, but I am really disappointed in Zack Novak's bheavior and his flagrant foul on the Arkansas player and his nonchalant and the coaches nonchalant respond to the foul. I can understand playing hard and aggressive and that injuries will happen but his action could have caused serious damage to the Arkansas player and ended his career. Zack should have been kicked out of the game and suspended for another game. It's no secret that Harris and Morris did not get along with him and he could potentially be the biggest problem for this team. You can believe that other players in the league have taken note of his behavior and will respond accordingly.
Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.
You're about the only person who thinks that about Novak. I've never heard anything about Harris and Morris not getting along with him. What is your source on that? And his rough foul was not intentional. He was going for the block and couldn't reach the ball causing his arm to hit the Arkansas player in the head. Don't over react to the incident.
Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.
Get over yourself, keepingitreal!! Why don't you read the story about this incident and stop overreacting!! <a href="http://www.annarbor.com/sports/um-basketball/michigan-basketball-captain-zack-novak-meant-no-harm-in-hard-foul-on-arkansas-bj-young/">http://www.annarbor.com/sports/um-basketball/michigan-basketball-captain-zack-novak-meant-no-harm-in-hard-foul-on-arkansas-bj-young/</a>
Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.
wolverines lost cause of poor coaching for one thing and poor shooting as usal 6-19 burke come on man get some one else the ball just not hardaway or douglas . coah dont call time out after they run half the shot clock down then call a play where every one is at 3 point line come on.watching michigan paly is like weatching reruns missed shots comeing frome dow town
Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.
Senior leadership wins games on the road. I recall the time Ray Jackson and Jimmy King went to Indiana and kicked Coach Knight's butt. I like our seniors but unfortunately, or I should say fortunately, we're lead by a freshman point guard. Having said that I want to give credit to Stu and Novak for going up to East Lansing last year and beating the Spartans.
Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.
It is tough for anyone from the Big Ten to win on the road. Excellent comeback, Burke's shot was in the cylinder & just popped back out. The Big Ten title probably will come down to the last weekend or two.
Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.
Yep and State lost to Michigan! 0-3 last three!!!!!
Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 10:19 p.m.
To win on the road in the Big Ten is tough. You lost to Arkansas and Virginia.....next excuse please.
Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.
Are you sure you're not an MSU writer in disguise Nick??
Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 10:21 p.m.
Hired by Ann Arbor.com. Guess there are a few smart people there.
Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.
Nick is a Michigan State Grad. So that is why his articles are usually slanted to the negative on Michigan.
Wally the Wolverine
Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.
OK, I guess I missed it. What was it about the article that raises the question about the writer's credentials? Is it because it wasn't a sugar-coated, feel good story about a close loss? So we came up a bit short, before you know it the law of averages will balance out to some Ws on the road.
Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.
Actually, despite being a Spartan fan, was impressed by the wolverines yesterday. Coming back from the deficit took guts and talent... and made me actually think better of the team. Trey Burke is awesome. Makes me nervous for the next game w. MSU, though Wolverines have their work cut out for them with road games... remainder of season will be a bitch