Saturday, February 16, 2019

Green’s five takeaways from No. 6 Michigan’s 65-52 win over No. 24 Maryland

Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus- Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

In front of 12,707 vibrant fans at Crisler Arena, the No. 6 Michigan Wolverines (23-3, 12-3 Big Ten) bounced back in style with a 65-52 win over the No. 24 Maryland Terrapins (19-7, 10-5 Big Ten). Here are my five things to take away from Ann Arbor.

1) A very Teske Saturday:

Despite the usual performance on defense with three blocks, John Teske struggled from the field for the majority of the game until a stretch of seven straight points late in regulation, capped off by his first three-pointer on the seventh try to put Michigan ahead 57-46.

Teske’s outburst proved to be the difference in an up and down struggle for Michigan’s offense going 42 percent (25-of-59) from the field.

Wolverines coach John Beliein complemented Teske for keeping Terrapins forward Bruno Fernando in check for the majority of the game on defense.

“Jon did a tremendous job on [Bruno] Fernando in the first half and in the second half, he got the ball on the block 15 times and scored nine points, which is something we will take every single day,” Beilein said.

Teske’s play coupled with a large deficit sunk the Terrapins in and coach Mark Turgeon gave credit to the Wolverines.

“Teske was tremendous protecting the rim, using ball screen defense and was good,” Turgeon said. We built too big of a hole and you can’t do that against a team that good. They deserved the win.”

2) Ups and downs of Fernando:

Fernando’s streak of seven straight double-doubles came to an end as the sophomore finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, but Michigan’s defense used multiple players to keep the sophomore at bay with a scoreless first half on 0-of-4 from the field.

Adjustments were made at the half by Turgeon as Fernando was able to find other paths to get involved with six points in the first 5:12 in the second half as Maryland remained within single digits. Despite Fernando’s involvement, the Terrapins could not get any closer than three points, which left Turgeon frustrated for a full effort in one half, not two.

“[Bruno] let his offense affect his defense, which left us playing four on five out there defensively,” Turgeon said. “He has been one of our best defenders, which was the most disappointing. I can handle missed jump hooks, but you have to bring it on the other end.”

3) Matthews and Simpson delivered:

On a day where points came at a minimum, Charles Matthews proved to be the consistent force for Michigan with a team-high 14 points, on 7-of-12 shooting in 34 minutes, while Zavier Simpson finished with a game-high eight assists.

Beilein compared and contrasted the duo’s differences in terms of philosophy and how they handle adversities.

“[Zavier]’s leadership right now is as good as anyone we have ever have and Charles is not as demonstrative and doesn’t talk as much, while Zavier is talking,” Beilein said. “We let them talk among each other on the timeout and Zavier has that it factor you need and the team respects that.”

4) End of half field goal drought for Michigan:

The Wolverines missed nine of their last 11 shots to close the half, which kept the Terrapins in contention with a 27-18 score after 20 minutes.

Maryland capitalized in the second half as it trimmed a once 15-point deficit down to three, but back-to-back baskets from Poole and Simpson uplifted Michigan’s offense. 

The Wolverines did not commit any turnovers, which helped maintain control of the lead throughout as a result. 

“When was the last time we had a game where we are at 16 to six in turnovers,” Beilein said. “The ball still sticks at times, but are moving better and seeing each other, which is how we will have to play.”

5) Michigan’s transition offense:

The first few minutes of the game witnessed Teske putting his fingerprints on defense by changing Maryland’s shot selection and forced a couple of turnovers, which led to a 12-2 start by Michigan.

Defensive stops continued to lead to easy transition baskets for the Wolverines as they led wire-to-wire in which they converted 14 points off the Terrapins’ 16 turnovers.

The grind of Big Ten play has begun to hit its apex as a pair of games against rival Michigan State and a trip to Maryland still await Michigan and more consistent performances will be needed in order to have a shot at winning the regular season title.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Green’s five things to watch for in Saturday’s showdown between No. 24 Maryland and No. 6 Michigan

Photo Credit: Leon Halip- Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

The race for the Big Ten regular season title continues to throw curveballs left and right as Saturday’s Top 25 matchup with No. 24 Maryland and No. 6 Michigan provides another piece of the puzzle in a bounce back season for the league. Here are my five things to watch from Ann Arbor.

1) Terrapins rising behind Cowan:

Fresh off a 70-56 home win against No. 12 Purdue on Feb. 12, Maryland comes into Saturday’s game playing its best basketball of the season behind Anthony Cowan Jr’s team-high 16.0 points per game, to go along with 4.5 assists per game.

Cowan’s skillset even expands to the perimeter with 49 three-pointers on the season, which is tied for a team-best along with freshman Aaron Wiggins.

2) Bruno the beast:

Any good team needs someone who can complement outside shooting and sophomore big man Bruno Fernando provides an instant punch in the paint. Fernando averages a double-double with 14.6 PPG and 10.7 rebounds per game, to go along with a conference best 66.8 shooting percentage.

In the 14-point win against Purdue, Fernando notched his seventh straight game with a double-double (12 points and 12 rebounds). Fernando’s quest for another double-double will not be an easy task as Michigan center Jon Teske’s size at 7-foot-2 could throw some curveballs with his versatile skillset on both sides of the ball.

3) The rise of Teske:

While Charles Matthews, Zavier Simpson and Ignas Brazdeikis have made the most impact for the Wolverines’ offense, John Teske’s contributions have not gone unnoticed.

The junior’s game continues to blossom with a 19-point, 12-rebound outing in a 61-52 win over Wisconsin on Feb. 19, but his shot blocking has been the calling card with a Big Ten-best 2.20 blocks per game. Teske’s frame against Fernando’s athleticism and strength will be a matchup to watch for.

4) Wounded Wolverines:

There is no worse feeling in sports than losing to a team you are supposed to and Michigan became victim as it played one of its sloppier games of the season in a 75-69 loss on the road to bottom dweller Penn State on Feb. 12. 

Coach John Beilein received back-to-back technical fouls for arguing with officials shortly after the end of the first half in State College.

Beilein did not comment to the media about what triggered the outburst, but will be back on the sidelines for the Maryland game as Michigan looks to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since Feb. 4, 2017.

5) First meeting as ranked foes:

Given the schools’ rich histories, it is hard to believe that Saturday’s meeting between the Terrapins and Wolverines are the first where both teams are ranked in the Associated Press Top 25.

Despite Maryland’s success at 19-6 this season, the meeting at Crisler Center should serve as extra motivation after being swept by Michigan last season in both meetings— 68-67 on Jan. 15, 2018 and 85-61 on Feb. 24, 2018.

Sit back, relax and have your favorite craft beer because Saturday afternoon will be a treat to watch.

Big East mid-week recap for Feb. 15

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

With Valentine’s Day being a thing of the past, another exciting weekend of Big East basketball is right around the corner as some big matchups will be in play. Before the games start up, here is a recap of league play from earlier in the week.

Tuesday, Feb. 12:

No. 10 Marquette 92, DePaul 73

In an almost pro-Marquette crowd at Wintrust Arena, Markus Howard continued his hot shooting with 36 points for his fourth 30-point outing in the last five games. An 11-0 run late in the first half proved to be the catalyst as the Golden Eagles remained a game out of first place.

While Paul Reed was a non-factor for most of the game, Femi Olujobi picked up the slack with 19 points for DePaul in the loss.

St. John’s 77, Butler 73 (OT)

It was the Mustapha Heron show in Queens as he scored a game-high 28 points to push the Red Storm past the Bulldogs in overtime. Heron also delivered from the foul line going 6-of-6 in the extra session.

St. John’s moved into a tie for third place with Seton Hall at 6-6 in the Big East, while Butler dropped to 5-7.

Wednesday, Feb. 13:

No. 13 Villanova 85, Providence 67

The Wildcats keep the engine flowing with ease as they won their 20thgame for the seventh consecutive season behind another dominant showing from the one-two combo of Eric Paschall and Phil Booth with 25 and 22 points, respectively.

Despite Providence being swept in the season series, Nate Watson finished with 18 points and six rebounds.

Seton Hall 85, Georgetown 67

Behind a game-high 30 points from Myles Powell, the Seton Hall Pirates marched past the Hoyas to move into a tie with the Red Storm for third place in the Big East at 6-6.

Jessie Govan highlighted the Hoyas’ offense in defeat with 20 points.

Xavier 64, Creighton 61 (OT)

In a gritty effort in overtime, the Xavier Musketeers snapped a six-game losing streak behind a 23-point, seven-rebound effort from Naji Marshall.

Martin Krampelj put together another solid outing for Creighton in defeat with 18 points and nine rebounds.

On deck:

Saturday, Feb. 16:

Xavier (12-13, 4-8 BE) at Providence (14-11, 4-8 BE), 2 p.m.
DePaul (13-10, 5-7 BE) at Butler (14-11, 5-7 BE), 8 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 17:

Seton Hall (15-9, 6-6 BE) at Creighton (13-12, 4-8 BE), 3 p.m.

No. 13 Villanova (20-5, 11-1 BE) at St. John’s (18-7, 6-6 BE) (Madison Square Garden), 5 p.m.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Green's five takeaways from No. 10 Marquette's 92-73 win at DePaul

Photo Credit: Geno Green- College Sports Overload

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

It was a frenetic pace as the No. 10 Marquette Golden Eagles (21-4, 10-2 Big East) breezed the DePaul Blue Demons (13-10, 5-7 Big East), 92-73, behind Markus Howard’s fourth 30-plus point game in his last five. Howard’s in-depth performance kicks off my five takeaways from Wintrust Arena.

1) Howard’s versatility:

When you think of Markus Howard, three-point shooting comes to mind with the ability to create and execute shots anywhere. Tuesday night’s game at DePaul showcased the junior’s ability to endure contact towards the rim and deliver on a 36-point night, on 12-of-21 from the field.

Despite past struggles at DePaul from Howard, Golden Eagles coach Steve Wojciechowski knows Howard can have off-nights on the road and Tuesday’s performance proved anything can be overcome.

“With great players, history doesn’t really matter,” Wojciechowski said. “Markus is a great player and even great players can have off-games. Markus was Markus and provided terrific leadership tonight, along with Sam [Hauser] Sacar [Anim].”

DePaul coach Dave Leitao knows giving Howard too many opportunities can lead to bleak consequences and Tuesday night proved to be the case.

“He’s a very tricky cover because of his high-skill level and shoots the ball as well as anybody in America,” Leitao said. “He has the ability to keep you off-balance, good enough with the dribble to catch and shoot and to go to the basket. Whenever you pay too much attention to him, the other guys around him benefit.

2) The good and the ugly from Sam Hauser:

After being held in check by Villanova’s vaunted defense to four points on 2-of-6 shooting on Feb. 9, Sam Hauser felt at ease after draining the first three points of the contest, which led to a 17-point night in 31 minutes.

Hauser began to find open looks on the court as Marquette’s lead expanded to 29-20 near the halfway point of the first half.

Things did not end on a positive note as Hauser took a shot to his right eye at the 6:36 mark in the second half as he was taken to the locker room after saying that he could not see. Hauser returned to the bench towards the end of regulation, but did not return to the court.

3) Marquette’s ball movement on the perimeter:

Long-range looks came a lot easier to start the game compared to Villanova on Feb. 9, when the pace was dictated in a half-court, grind-it-out. Marquette made five of its first six baskets from three-point land to go up 16-7 on DePaul.

As DePaul answered each challenge from behind to keep the game within a possession for most of the first half, the makes from long range and unselfish play helped set the tone for a 16-5 Marquette run to end the first 20 minutes with a 51-39 advantage.

“I thought we shared the ball well and when we get open shots, we can shoot at a high percentage. I felt we were unselfish and was proud of my guys for that,” Wojciechowski said.

4) The 11-minute momentum shift:

While Marquette enjoyed its run to close the first half, DePaul committed five turnovers and missed four straights from the field on two different occasions in an 11-minute stretch.

The struggles on offense proved to be enough to keep DePaul from pulling to within single digits of Marquette for the remainder of the game.

Wojciechowski knows runs will come and was proud of how Marquette played in that stretch to keep DePaul caged.

“We were able to string together a few stops and teams in our league are good,” Wojciechowski said. “Some people are going to make runs, no matter what time of the game is. We started the second half really well against Villanova and I thought tonight that our guys were locked in pretty well.”

5) Olujobi stands out among the Blue Demon players: 

One of the few bright spots for the Blue Demons turned out to be Femi Olujobi and not for what most would assume.

Known more his ability to attack in the paint, Olujobi showcased his perimeter skills with a career-high three long-makes, which highlighted a team-high 19 points.

[Femi] had 3 three’s tonight and came out ready to play,” Wojciechowski said. “He’s a handful to deal with it.”

More effort will be needed on a consistent basis by the Blue Demons as there are no easy outs in the Big East where they are in the middle of a logjam where spots three to nine are within one and a half games of each other.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Genotology for Feb. 11

Photo Credit: Ryan M. Kelly- Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

With less than five weeks away from Selection Sunday, things are heating up in the latest Genotology field of 68 with plenty of movement on the bubble.

Last Four In:

Seton Hall

First Four Out:

Utah State

Next Four Out:

San Francisco
Saint Mary's

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Green's five takeaways from No. 10 Marquette's 66-65 win over No. 14 Villanova

Photo Credit: Stacy Revere- Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

On National Marquette Day, the No. 10 Marquette Golden Eagles (20-4, 9-2 Big East) narrowly dodged the No. 14 Villanova Wildcats (19-5, 10-1 Big East), 66-65 behind a bounce back effort from Markus Howard with a game-high 38 points. Here are my five takeaways from the Golden Eagles’ win from Fiserv Forum.

1) Marquette’s stifling defense:

A season ago, few fans and media members would not have dreamt that Marquette’s defense would make a 360 degree turn.

Saturday’s game represented the apex of the defensive improvements as the Golden Eagles set the tone early as they gave the Wildcats fits with seven of their first eight three-point attempts going the wrong way.

The poor shooting haunted the Wildcats for the remainder of the half, but stayed within distance for a good portion of the contest despite going 2-of-14 from three-point range in the first 20 minutes.

“[Marquette] did a great job of being aggressive staying connected to shooters and came hard to contest with the Hauser brothers,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “The good looks we got, we didn’t make. Even some of the ones we made were actually tough looks.”

2) The Markus Howard show:

After being held to 17 points, on 5-of-17 shooting against St. John’s on Feb. 5, Howard returned with a vengeance as the junior put on a show in the first half with 21 points.

Howard delivered crossover moves that would make Stephen Curry blush as he single-handedly kept Marquette in control of the lead for the majority of the game. The individual stats meant very little to Howard as it was more about the team overcoming a one-point loss to St. John’s on Feb. 5 to being on the other end of a one-point result on Saturday.

“We all stuck together and came back after the loss on Tuesday and went right back to work,” Howard said. “The team showed great maturity by being able to prepare for Villanova and we did a great job of executing on the floor.”

3) Villanova’s senior leadership kept things afloat:

Phil Booth and Eric Paschall carried the load with 36 of the Wildcats’ 65 points, despite Villanova going 9-of-29 (31 percent) from long range. 

The pair continued to excel despite a rough start to the second half as Villanova overcame a 15-point deficit to take a 55-53 lead on Jermaine Samuels’ three-pointer.

The final five minutes of the game saw multiple lead changes as it came down to the final possession as Booth would be swamped by the Marquette defense under the rim and found Samuels on the left post as he struggled to get a decent look as time expired with the ball nicked off the rim.

“We spaced out really, but got congested under the rim and is one of those things where [Marquette] thought Booth would shoot it, so they started to go towards the offensive rebound option and I didn’t have a problem with it,” Wright said. “When you get to that point, you have to let the players make those decisions because it is the plays prior that affect whether you win or lose.”

Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski saw the win as another sign of emotional maturity as it captured at least 20 wins for the third time in the last five seasons.

“We played really great defense throughout the majority of the game and as soon as you have a breakdown, they take advantage of it, which they did,” Wojciechowski said. “Our guys had enough will power and toughness to gut it out against a heck of a basketball team in Villanova.”

4) Anim’s stability:

With Sam and Joey Hauser non-factors for the most part, Sacar Anim stepped up to fill the void with 18 points, on 8-of-10 shooting.

13 of Anim’s 18 points came in the second half as the confidence started to exude on the hardwood.

“Once I started to hit a couple of shots in the second half, I kind of got on a roll and things expanded from there,” Anim said. “I took what the defense gave me and made whatever plays were necessary for the team.”

5) Marquette breaks through against the elite:

Villanova’s recent dominance of Marquette was potent with nine of the previous 10 wins in the series.

The Golden Eagles’ win pulled them to within a game of the Wildcats in the race for the Big East regular season championship and has another meeting at Villanova on Feb. 27.

With St. John’s, Georgetown and Butler in a three-way tie for third place behind by four games of Marquette, a two-man race has formed and the final month of the season should provide quality moments on both ends of the spectrum.

Welcome to frantic February in the Big East.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Green's five things to watch for in Saturday's game between No. 14 Villanova and No. 10 Marquette

Photo Credit: Quinn Harris- Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

In a season where a lot of parity has occurred within the Big East, the No. 14 Villanova Wildcats and the No. 10 Marquette Golden Eagles have stood out amongst the pack at 10-0 and 8-2, respectively in conference play. Here are my five things to watch for in Saturday’s game at Fiserv Forum.

1) Howard’s struggles:

In a season where little has gone wrong with a league-high 24.5 points per game, Markus Howard ran into a brick wall against St. John’s defense as the junior was held to 17 points, on 5-of-17 shooting in a 70-69 loss on Feb. 5.

Don’t expect the off-night to be the norm as Howard will be in the national spotlight on Fox at 1:30 p.m. CT and tries to solve the puzzle of Villanova’s versatile defense.

In the last meeting against the Wildcats in the Big East Tournament quarterfinal round on March 8, 2019, Howard finished with 23 points in a 93-70 loss as the Golden Eagles’ slim NCAA Tournament hopes were dashed. 

2) Potential resume’ boost for Marquette:

The Golden Eagles are in a prime spot compared to a season ago at this time in terms of their postseason outlook.

Barring a late-season collapse of epic proportions, Marquette is bound for March Madness and a win against Villanova will boost an already impressive NCAA Tournament portfolio with wins over Wisconsin, Kansas State and Buffalo.

3) Villanova’s dominance in the series:

The Wildcats have had the upper-hand on the Golden Eagles taking 12 of the last 13 meetings. A win against Villanova could turn the tide in the series for Marquette.

Saturday’s game celebrates National Marquette Day and the last time the conference foes met on the special occasion, Villanova got the best of Marquette, 89-79 on Feb. 27, 2016 as Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart finished with 19 points each in the win.

4) Booth and Paschall leading the way:

After early season setbacks to teams such as Furman and Pennsylvania, Villanova has groove as it rides an 11-game winning streak behind the superb play of seniors Phil Booth and Eric Paschall.

Booth has finished in double figures scoring in all but two games this season and is tied for fourth in the Big East with 18.3 points per game. Paschall comes into Saturday’s game seventh in the league with 17.3 PPG and has also produced double figures in each game except two.

5) The rise of Marquette’s defense:

One of the bigger flaws in the previous four seasons of Steve Wojciechowski’s reign at Marquette has been a lack of effort on defense. The 2018-19 season has proven to be the total opposite as the Golden Eagles lead the Big East in field goal percentage (.405) and blocked shots (4.7).

Theo John’s size and length up front has caused problems for opponents all season as the sophomore leads the Big East in blocks with 2.2 per game.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Genotology for Feb. 7

Photo Credit: Lauren Rakes- Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

With college basketball taking more of a priority as we get into the second half of conference play, Genotology is back and revved up for the stretch run leading up to championship week in March.

Here is my latest bracket:

Last Four In:

Utah State

First Four Out:

Utah State
San Francisco

Next Four Out:

Saint Mary's

Monday, February 4, 2019

Genotology for Feb. 4

Photo Credit: Joe Robbins- Getty Images
By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

With college basketball taking more of a priority as we get into the second half of conference play, Genotology is back and revved up for the stretch run leading up to championship week in March.

Here is my latest bracket:

Last Four In:

St. John's

First Four Out:

Seton Hall
Utah State
San Francisco

Next Four Out:



Green's bracket of death: South Region