Five things moving forward that we learned from Eastern Michigan’s 45-42 win over Michigan Tuesday night:
1. The 2-3 Zone is perfectly run by Rob Murphy’s team.
Yes, we already know the background. Murphy was taught by the best -- Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim -- and they have run the zone defense since Murphy has been here, but last night was quite possibly the best it has been executed. Michigan never looked comfortable on offense, forcing up tons of bad shots. Michigan coach John Beilein even stated afterwards that Eastern’s zone was "As good of a zone defense as I've ever seen, as quick of a zone defense as I've ever seen anytime, anywhere."
2. Jodan Price has finally found his three point shot.
Price came to Eastern with high praise of his long distance shooting. The previous 7 games had not reflected that. Price was shooting 30 percent from three going into the Michigan game. Last night, he went 3-5 from distance.
"It was tough," he said after the game. "First six games I was talking to my Dad and my family. Man I’ve got to get it back, I've never been in a slump."
To correct this problem Price said, "I have a little game with myself like the NCAA Tournament. If I make six in a row, then I'm a champion. Then I see how many in a row I can get from the same spot, to see how many championships I can get."
At least night it was apparent that he has got things back on track to be one of the best three point shooters in the MAC.
3. The Dayton loss was one the team felt “got away.”
Senior point guard Mike Talley said the road game against Dayton was tough.
"We felt like we lost it in the last few minutes so we were just trying to correct those mistakes from the last game," he said. "Michigan is a great shooting team and we held them to 19 percent shooting. We tried to correct the high post and interior touches and limit those and contest three point shots.”
The big difference: Dayton shot 35 percent from three while Eastern Michigan held Michigan to 19 percent.
4. This win was much bigger than “just a win.”
The U of M-EMU rivalry has been a lopsided one. The last time Eastern was able to go in and defeat Michigan was in 1997 when they had the Earl Boykins/Derrick Dial combo. Last night's win was just the third time that Eastern has won the “Battle for Washtenaw County” in 30 trips. This is a big enough win that it could wake up a fan base that averages only 840 fans per home game.
5. Going up to East Lansing; can they pull another upset?
Unlike Michigan, MSU has experience in their front court. Mike Samuels will have a much harder time containing the paint as he did against Michigan’s younger big men. Eastern did a phenomenal job exposing Michigan’s flaws last night but the Michigan State Spartans are a whole other beast. Next Wednesday’s matchup will tell us even more about how strong this 2014-15 Eagles team is.
Follow Andrew Mascharka on Twitter: @amascharka