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Wednesday, February 13, 2013
WolverineNation Mailbag

By Chantel Jennings

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- I recently discovered that Valentine’s Day is actually the anniversary of the day that St. Valentine was beheaded, which gives a bit of a morbid taste to the holiday of love, chocolate and Hallmark cards (depending on where you stand on the issue).

So for this week’s mailbag I’ll focus mostly on the love portion and the things you all love -- Michigan football, basketball and recruiting, though, let’s not kid around, Saturday afternoon might’ve felt like a beheading for basketball fans.

Next week Mike will take care of the mailbag so send him your questions (michaelrothsteinespn@gmail.com, @MikeRothstein). But now, onto this week’s questions…

Paulcjohn1 via Twitter: Why was Caris LeVert playing and guarding Ben Brust?

Lawrence Marshall
With Lawrence Marshall committed to OSU, Michigan needs to focus on other top in-state prospects.
Answer: Yes, LeVert should’ve fouled, but watching the replay, it’s hard to know when he would’ve because he had about a split second. And had LeVert fouled Brust in the act of shooting, then that’s three free throws and the probability that Brust (even though he’s just a 67 percent FT shooter) makes all three of those is much, much higher than him sending that Hail Mary in. LeVert is a good perimeter defender. I have few qualms about him being out there on the floor. And considering Tim Hardaway Jr. had four fouls and a possible OT was looming, you don’t want Hardaway Jr. anywhere near the ball to pick up that fifth, so you put your second- or third-best perimeter defender on Brust, and LeVert is in that group.

What confuses me more is why Mitch McGary wasn’t guarding the inbounds pass. Instead, he was perched underneath Wisconsin’s hoop, 90 feet from the ball. Had the Badgers gone for a two, they would’ve lost. The only reason to have McGary down there is if you think he’s going to a) run out and block a 3-pointer (unlikely) or b) keep him away from a possible foul (more likely). Even so, I would’ve preferred to see him put a bit of pressure on Mike Bruesewitz, who took the ball out.

And as far as the shot, and why LeVert was there -- it really didn’t look like Brust was going to be the guy who took the shot. The way they lined up, they crossed Jared Berggren and Traevon Jackson, which caused Trey Burke and Glenn Robinson III to switch. That sent Burke deep and Robinson high, but it left the middle of the court wide open for a sprinting -- and what appeared to be a third option -- Brust. It was a good play, and Wisconsin ran it to perfection. There was little Michigan could’ve done there.

2) BHugh215 via Twitter: Worried at all that 2014 defensive linemen Malik McDowell and Lawrence Marshall are visiting Ohio this weekend?

A: I initially answered this question on Saturday, and by Sunday I was wrong. I didn’t think Marshall would be committing so early in his recruitment since he’s still on the upswing and hasn’t really gotten the chance to camp nationally. However, he’s a Buckeye now, which changes things a lot. With Marshall choosing Ohio State, I think that places a greater pressure on Michigan to close on the final top in-state recruits -- McDowell, Drake Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) and Tommy Doles (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian).

Now, from a D-line point of view -- Michigan needs to get a haul with this class. McDowell and Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) now are must haves. Everyone else on the offer list has yet to rank Michigan highly or is still too early in his recruitment to have a list (and most are from the South, which isn’t great either). Now, it’s not time to freak out. Lose Harris and McDowell to Ohio State, and then, maybe.

3) Cary Coppola, Des Moines: Who was the football recruit that got away?

A: I would say Ole Miss signee Laquon Treadwell (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee) or USC signee Ty Isaac. Treadwell (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) had the Wolverines leading for the early parts of his recruitment, but they couldn’t close the deal with Treadwell. As time passed things looked worse and worse for the Wolverines. As far as Isaac, I actually kind of figured Michigan had him. I remember I was flying back to Detroit from somewhere and Tom texted me that Isaac had committed to USC, and it was one of those, “Wait, seriously? Is this a joke?” moments. So I feel like both of those guys got away, but with Treadwell it was a long, drawn-out thing that I expected in the end. Isaac caught me off guard.