Musings from Press Row: Michigan

Phog.net's Ryan Noel was on hand in Ann Arbor, Mich. Sunday night, as the Jayhawks took on the Michigan Wolverines, and is now here with the final non-conference edition of 'Musings'.

* Just so we're clear: I haven't heard any of Bill Self's comments yet from last night. The overtime messed up my travel schedule and I had a long drive home, so I bolted before the press conference. I figured I would write my musings down before venturing into the world of coach-speak.

* Losing Travis Releford effectively killed off that game for Kansas. Not only was his injury deflating to the team's morale (have you ever noticed how much cheering that kid does from the bench?), it really hurt us in the matchups as our forwards were struggling to defend the small Wolverine lineup. While Releford wasn't scoring or even touching the ball much, Michigan had no ability to exploit a "small vs. big" matchup in their favor.

* Josh Selby looked rattled for the first time this season. The student section targeted him some during timeouts and, frankly, it seemed like he was the only guy they actually knew. (Speaking of the student section – is there a more confusing group of students than Michigan's? Between the multiple "Shake Weight" and "Shake Weight for Men" chants to the guys with "4-0-10" painted on their chests, I was confused all night. Maybe that was the point?) Regardless, it got to Selby a bit and he struggled.

It's not surprising, nor should it be – he's still a freshman and it was his first tough environment. Now when we head to places like Ames, Manhattan, and Columbia, he'll be a bit more prepared.

* The junior trio of Markieff, Marcus, and Tyshawn actually had a good night. Not great, but certainly not terrible. They stayed out of foul trouble while faced with bad matchups, not to mention actually playing pretty good defense on the "little" guys they had to guard.

If anything, I think the twins may have tried a bit too hard to defend on the hedges, as Michigan's lone big man beat them on cuts to the hoop quite a few times. In fact, Beilein seemed to have a plan where they forced one twin into the screen, which (almost every time) clogged up both twins at the same time and left their big man cutting free down the lane.

* Tyshawn, by the way, was by far and away the best defender on the floor. Michigan really struggled to screen him off of their main ballhandlers (Hardaway, Jr. and Morris) and Tyshawn seemingly deflected one out of every few passes thrown their way. Is he Brandon Rush and locking down guys to the point that they never get shots off? No, but that doesn't mean he's not a pretty darn good defender in his own right.

* I don't know if it ever showed up on television, but Thomas Robinson took an early blow to his nose and I don't think he was ever really "there" the rest of the night. He played pretty hard, but I think that hit somewhat took him out of the game early on. I doubt it was the type of blow that gives concussions, but it probably gave him some watery eyes and blurred vision for a little while.

* If there's a more underrated and under-appreciated player in the country than Tyrel Reed, I'd love to hear about him. Reed never takes a play off, has a knack for making cold-blooded, serial killer 3s, and always seems to be skying above forwards for tough rebounds.

If you're a Jayhawk and you don't absolutely love this kid representing Kansas...what's wrong with you?


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