Michigan’s 76-50 loss to Wisconsin, as well its nine-game losing streak, might best be described as a lack of coordination. It seems that the Wolverines (3-9 Big Ten, 12-14 overall) just can’t get their parts moving together all at once.
That was certainly the case Wednesday. After two straight games in which sophomore guard Dion Harris had been responsible for just less than half of Michigan’s total point output, the Wolverines were pressing for another scoring threat.They got that last night in sophomore Courtney Sims, who led Michigan with 16 points in addition to Harris’s 15.But Sims’s strong performances have come during games that were already far out of reach before Sims made an impact. The center scored 15 points on Feb. 5 in Columbus against Ohio State, a game that Michigan lost 72-46.“It was like this at Ohio State, too,” Sims said. “It’s tough, but sometimes you just need to keep fighting.”The rest of the machine that is Michigan’s rusty offense still needs some tweaking. When Sims’s and Harris’s performances are subtracted from Wednesday’s final box score, the rest of the Wolverines shot 7-for-22 from the field for just 19 points.Ironically, it was the performance from Michigan’s role players that kept the team afloat early in the losing streak. In Michigan’s 84-55 blowout at Purdue, the bench combined for 26 points and played most of the second half after Michigan coach Tommy Amaker benched some starters.The Michigan bench was responsible for 20 points in Wednesday’s loss, but 16 of those came from Sims. It’s all part of the theme of making everything work all at once for the Wolverines.“I think that’s something we’ve been trying to find,” junior Graham Brown. “I think that’s one of the things we’re really searching for right now. We’ve had it for a little bit, but it’s been on and off.”Other parts of Michigan’s offense that might deliver a boost are just plain missing. Junior forward Chris Hunter left Wednesday’s game early in the first half after aggravating his left ankle, an injury that forced him to miss five games earlier in the season. He gave it another go later in the half but remained planted on the bench in the second half.Junior Daniel Horton’s absence is still affecting the team as well. He has missed seven games due to suspension. Michigan lost all seven of those games by an average of 18.6 points. Horton began practicing with the team on Tuesday, but Amaker said his playing status is yet to be determined. “We’ve got to work as a machine and we’re not doing that right now,” Sims said. “I don’t know, we’re just not playing well as a team right now.”Michigan’s opponent this weekend is the Indiana Hoosiers (6-5, 11-11), the team that started Michigan’s losing streak, beating the Wolverines 62-53 on Jan. 19.“We’re not going to stop trying,” Amaker said. “I’m confident our kids are going to continue along that path of trying.”