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Tuesday, April 26, 2016
MICHIGAN WOMEN HIT THE ROAD AND THE ROAD HITS BACK
The basketball season ended for the Kim Barnes-Arico as soon as she loaded her Michigan women's team on the bus. Once the Wolverines left Ann Arbor, their time in the National Invitational Tournament (N.I.T.) quickly ended.
You might remember the UM Women for their glorious appearance in the Breslin Center in February, when they trailed Michigan State by 27 points after three quarters of play. They went on to finish in eighth-place in the B1G, missing out on the Big Dance for the third consecutive year. All this after their "record start" of 7-0, compiled largely with home games against teams most people would not recognize.
But hey, they got their 20 wins, right? Thanks to their extra N.I.T. contests, Barnes-Arico hit the 20-win mark for the third year in a row. Without those easy games, the Lady Wolverines would have landed above 15 wins but below 20 in all but the first season under "Bare-Armed" Barnes-Arico.
Nothing against Michigan for racking up the victory totals, but get ready for the pre-season hype this fall when basketball season rolls around again. Those N.I.T. runs did nothing for program prestige and little for recruiting, but they gave the Michigan Mainstream Media Machine (M-4) everything they will need to get cranked-up for next year. The media will overlook HOW the UM Women got their 20 wins only to report that they have a series of 20-win seasons playing in the green shadows of MSU. Count on the M-4 to claim that it's a better recent streak than Suzy Merchant has put together, and to ignore the fact that Merchant actually turned-down an N.I.T. bid after the injury-plagued 2015 campaign.
Barnes-Arico has Miss Basketball coming in next season, along with a high-scoring junior, plus the 20-win seasons, bla-bla-bla, etc. The M-4 will do everything it can to pump up the excitement while Barnes-Arico takes a page from the John Beilein playbook and schedules a series of Bottom-100 teams to parade through Crisler Arena in November and December. It's possible they might help drive as many as three-thousand people to actually attend a Michigan Women's Basketball game on one of those nights. Especially if they give away free tickets.
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