First, give credit to LSU. They made some tough shots, some circus shots, and some clutch shots. It’s still in large part a make or miss game. They kept up the intensity even when it seemed like Michigan was pulling away. They played to win, not to avoid a loss, which is sometimes easier when there are so few expectations. Waters is a player.
As for UM, we didn’t make a ton of mistakes but we made crucial ones. Didn’t have a ton of TOs but at least four lead to easy lay-ups, which three coming in the first half to allow them to take the lead and feel good and one coming right at the end of the game to give them a lead. We let Waters – the one guy who really could beat us – take an open (if deep) 3 and then get the and-one too easily to let LSU back into it.
The problems at PG and to a lesser but related with MAAR really hurt us on just about every crucial mistake offensively and defensively. On the plus side, Wagner and Matthews gripped the reins and hopefully realized this is their team and they have to make it happen. But having a leadership/confidence/playmaking hole at the two guard spots is a big problem. Obviously PG is the bigger problem, but MAAR just isn’t the kind of 2G/wing that can make up for like Caris, Nik, etc.
Final annoying complaint – I didn’t think the refs were that bad or anything, but I did think we got screwed on a couple crucial calls. MAAR got bowled over on a loose ball late in seemingly the exact same way (accept with less force) that they gave a foul to Matthews a few minutes earlier. And we got some ticky-tack fouls that put them in the bonus later that allowed them to score and made playing defense harder for us. Then they swallowed the whistle late on a couple of our drives – not necessarily wrong calls but not a consistent whistle. We didn’t lose because of the refs but I did think we were slightly hurt by them. Who knows though.
It won’t be a bad loss but it sucks because of the opportunity cost – we don’t get what might have been a pretty decent neutral court win or the opportunity to get one against ND. Hopefully we can get one against VCU or Cal.