Kaleb Tarczewski, Glenn Robinson III

As Glenn Robinson III goes, so goes Michigan

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But when he disappears, Michigan becomes an entirely different — and much more beatable — team.source:

For the first time this season, Glenn Robinson III showed up for Michigan.

In the first 20 minutes against No. 1 Arizona, Robinson had 16 points on 7-for-7 shooting, hitting step-back threes, scoring in transition and beating people off the dribble in the half court. He looked every bit the lottery pick that he’s been projected as being since Trey Burke started throwing him alley-oops.

And it’s no coincidence that, with Robinson playing like an all-american, the Wolverines were beating up on the Wildcats. Michigan took a 37-28 lead into the break, a score that was set when Robinson hit a deep, step-back triple over Aaron Gordon.

In the second half it was a different story. Robinson went back into hiding, taking just two shots from the floor in the second half — the only FG he made was an alley-oop when Arizona was short-handed as Kaleb Tarczewski lay on the floor after hurting his ankle — and scoring all of four points.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Arizona was able to scrap their way back to beat Michigan 72-70.

Much of that was a result of the Wildcats finally flexing their muscles in the paint, which was to be expected. Michigan gave up 17 offensive rebounds, but Arizona only had two second-chance points in the first half. That was bound to change. But when Arizona went big, Michigan was able to counter that by taking advantage of the matchup that Robinson has. Ashley couldn’t stay with him on the perimeter. His presence, his aggressiveness, forced Arizona to go small.

But in the second half, when he disappeared, the Wildcats were able to use that bigger lineup.

And while it may seem almost too convenient, the bottom line is that this game is a microcosm of all that is going wrong with Michigan this season. Without Trey Burke, Michigan has issues on the offensive end of the floor. I wrote all about them here, after watching the Wolverines lose to Duke. Burke made everyone on that team so much better.

To make up for his absence, Michigan needs Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert and Robinson to be just that much more aggressive. They need those three to be able to attack off the dribble, to break down defenses and create scoring chances. Derrick Walton, their freshman point guard, certainly isn’t ready for that role. Spike Albrecht played great today, but he’s a guy that can take advantage of defenses geared towards stopping the talent surrounding him. He’s not going to be a guy that John Beilein builds his game-plan around.

Add in the struggles of Mitch McGary as he works his way into shape after an offseason back injury, and the Wolverines are essentially relying entirely on their three perimeter talents to create offense.

When Robinson is playing well, they are that much more difficult to guard.

USC athletic director Pat Haden to step down in June

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LOS ANGELES (AP) University of Southern California athletic director Pat Haden says he will retire on June 30.

USC President Max Nikias made the announcement Friday.

Haden has run the athletic department for 5 1/2 years, leading the Trojans through a multiyear stretch of NCAA sanctions against its vaunted football program. He created a large NCAA compliance program and improved graduation rates and grade point averages across the athletic department.

The former USC quarterback also received criticism for the football program’s relative underachievement and for his handling of coach Steve Sarkisian, who has sued the school over his termination last year.

Nikias says Haden’s department also raised over $400 million during his tenure.

Nikias says Haden will start a one-year job guiding the renovation of the Coliseum after he retires.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Ivy League’s best meet in New Haven

Columbia guard Maodo Lo, right, steals the ball from Northwestern forward Aaron Falzon, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Evanston, Ill.  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Columbia at Yale, 5:00 p.m.

The two best teams in the Ivy League, with matching 4-0 league records, meet for the first time this season. The Lions were close to suffering their first loss last weekend, but an Alex Rosenberg jumper as time expired gave the Lions the win at reigning champion Harvard. Rosenberg’s one of four players averaging at least 12.2 points per game for Kyle Smith’s team, with senior guard Maodo Lo leading the way at 15.8 per contest.

They’ll face a Yale rotation led offensively by point guard Makai Mason (15.7 ppg, 4.1 apg), and the front court tandem of Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod has been outstanding. The winner get a leg up in the Ivy race, with the rematch scheduled for March 5 in New York City (regular season finale).

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Central Michigan at Akron, 8:00 p.m.

Two of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference meet at the JAR, as Akron looks to extend its win streak to six straight. The Zips’ balanced offensive attack has been led by forward Isaiah Johnson (12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), who currently leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. As for the visiting Chippewas, guards Braylon Rayson and Chris Fowler combine to average 32.7 points per game, with Fowler also responsible for a MAC-best 6.3 assists per contest. CMU’s had some struggles on the defensive glass in league play, ranking 11th in that category, but they’ve done a better job defensively than they did in non-conference play.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • MAAC leader Monmouth is back in action, as they host a Fairfield team led by one of the conference’s best players in senior forward Marcus Gilbert. The Hawks have a deep lineup led by junior guard Justin Robinson, who at this point in time is the likely frontrunner for MAAC Player of the Year honors.
  • Looking to catch Monmouth is Iona, which is a game behind the Hawks at 9-3. A.J. English and the Gaels visit Canisius in a matchup that should not lack for offense. Iona’s more inclined to run, but Canisius doesn’t lack scorers either with guard Malcolm McMillan leading four players averaging double figures.
  • Given the fact that they’re 1-3 in Ivy League play, Harvard’s essentially in the spoiler role unless some chaos breaks out at the top end of the standings. The Crimson can help in that regard with a win at Princeton, with the Tigers (2-1) a game behind Columbia and Yale in the loss column. Princeton’s been the better offensive team this season, thanks in large part to junior forward Henry Caruso who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding.