How this works again:
- Readers predict the final score of a designated game by placing a guess in the comments, preferably in the format of [M score][hyphen][Opp score], for example "41-0" or "35-0 Michigan", or "28-0 Go Blue", or "42-0 Harbaugh!" etc.
- The three guys who read this part holler at people who post in a different format
- First person (by timestamp) to post a particular score has it.
- If you got it right, I contact you for an address by your MGoBlog account email, and you give me some time to get that to you.
- If nobody got it right or I don't hear from the winner(s) we push it to next game or let it go.
This Week’s Game:
Michigan vs. Oregon in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
And on the line:
Take your pick:
Went through a lot of ideas before settling on the only one it could be. Of course we have some other hoops tees too.
Fine print: One entry per user. First user to choose a set of scores wins, determined by the timestamp of your entry (for my ease I prefer if you don't post it as a reply to another person's score--if you do it won't help or hurt you). Deadline for entries is the start of the game. MGoEmployees and Moderators exempt from winning. The algorithm finds the winners as it chooses. The algorithm is self-correcting. The algorithm asked Jeeves! The algorithm is was Mr. Basketball in Germany. The algorithm never imagined this was possible.
#20 Michigan (26-11, 10-8 B1G) vs
#16 Oregon (31-5, 16-2 Pac-12)
Delicious Barbecue Center
Kansas City, Missouri
|WHEN||7:09 pm ET, Thursday|
Oregon -1 (KenPom)
Michigan -1.5 (Vegas)
PBP: Kevin Harlan
Analyst: Reggie Miller & Dan Bonner
Right: I can't possibly hate on Puddles, even if Oregon won't acknowledge that's his real name.
Our Tourney Sponsor: It's not just basketball season; it's buying/refinancing season. We will keep telling you to use HomeSure Lending (NMLS 1161358) for all the reasons you read this site. As we and so many readers have attested, Matt will make the process easy, knows all the tricks, and keeps a small shop that deals with multiple lenders, so he can charge way less than the loan mills and get you approved faster. He can do Michigan, Florida, or Ohio now, and recently opened an office in Ann Arbor.
John Beilein gave a very John Beilein quote yesterday:
Q. This came up in Indiana and it seems to with you a lot this time of year. For casual fans outside the midwest you're not as appreciated as the brand name coaches, Krzyzewski, Williams, Calipari, Pitino and Boeheim. Do you care?
JOHN BEILEIN: I don't care. Our program is about Michigan and it's about those kids. I don't care about that. I came up a lot different than everybody else and I am blessed to be in these situations. I don't want to be measured by those. I would love to be measured by, what are those kids like on the court and how they represent our university and what are they like many years later and not about the trophies. The trophies will come.
I just wanted to teach social studies and be a high school coach, and somehow it morphed to this. But I really want it to be about those teams and the University of Michigan.
Perhaps the most John Beilein quote, really.
Anyway, the topic of Michigan's great performances so far in neutral-site games came up in MGoSlack this morning, and I ventured over to Bart Torvik's site to see just how the Wolverines stacked up to the rest of the country in such games:
Limited sample size and all: hot damn. Oregon is 31st with a 7-2 record, 117.0 adjOE, and 93.7 adjDE.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.
|G||31||Dylan Ennis||Sr.||6'2, 195||79||19||110||No|
|Athletic grad transfer with solid outside shot, higher TO than assist rate.|
|G||3||Payton Pritchard||Fr.||6'2, 200||72||16||113||No|
|Takes more threes than twos, decent assist rate that just edges out TO rate.|
|G||5||Tyler Dorsey||So.||6'4, 195||74||21||116||Not At All|
|Dangerous catch-and-shoot threat has 20+ points in five straight games.|
|F||24||Dillon Brooks||Jr.||6'7, 225||54||31||115||Not At All|
|Can and will score from anywhere. Offense runs through him.|
|F||1||Jordan Bell||Jr.||6'9, 225||72||19||120||Very|
|Excellent finisher, rebounder, shot-blocker. Skilled passer from high post.|
|G||2||Casey Benson||Jr.||6'3, 185||52||12||120||Not At All|
|Low usage. Turnover prone for a Just A Shooter™ type.|
|C||35||Kavell Bigby-Williams||Jr.||6'11, 230||23||20||99||Very|
|Good rebounder and shot-blocker, but huge downgrade from Bell on offense.|
|F||11||Keith Smith||Fr.||6'7, 205||11||19||107||Very|
|Hasn't played >6 mins since January. Tight rotation with Boucher out.|
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
Miss me? Yeah I haven’t done one of these in a long time as other matters took precedence and reader-generated content came in at a pace slow enough for you to keep up with it on the sidebar. That all changed with the basketball team’s turnaround, so let’s bring back the Best of the Reader Contributed Content feature to highlight that stuff (and get me called out on Reddit for aping Brian’s Unverified Voracity writing style).
BEILEIN’S BEST AND WORST
By Monkeyknife in the Beilein Photoshop thread
It was 10 years ago this week that Michigan fired Tommy Amaker and went searching for a guy who could take this Amakerized program to the next level. It was barely seven weeks ago that the next guy got as close as ever to finally losing the fanbase. Bronxblue picks up the details and the Michigan zeitgeist, which is all about “I’m sorry I doubted you Johnny!”:
It’s why when the anonymous coaching quotes came out about this team a month ago, the money line was “[t]hey get guys eight or 10 points who don’t deserve to score.” It sounds like an insult, but it’s more a compliment to Beilein’s philosophy. It’s how he got WVU to have 3 straight top-25 offenses per Kenpom with mostly cast-offs, or how he’s had exactly 2 teams (2010 and 2015) finish outside the top-40 in offense the past 9 year.
I mean, he’s right. Walton doesn’t have the horizontal wiggle to be an elite defender, so he’s had to get really crafty at steals, and that’s Michigan’s most complete player. The in-season development curve is astonishing this year, but massive development has been a constant under this regime. Glad we got to see it pass Orr for winningest in M hoops history.
The Beilein Effect, by the way, was the topic of a short diary a month ago by Mercury Hayes.
Last year at this time, Moritz Wagner was in the middle of a stretch where he played one minute across five games. Michigan lost four of those games. Two weeks later, he scored nine points in a BTT win over Indiana before logging 22 minutes against Tulsa in the NCAAs.
It’s a good start, but I’d love to see this in numbers: how do Beilein players start/finish seasons versus, say, the one-and-dones getting a year of Calipari or Self after high school?
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PLANE
We now know what happened to the plane, via TheDirtyD via Avherald via the NTSB.
The elevators are those flaps on the back of the fin. One side got stuck in the “let’s make this plane go down” position while the other didn’t. That felt wrong so the pilots said “nope,” choosing to skid on the ground while going 199 mph (173 knots) rather than up go.
HOCKEY WAS HAPPENING
We sent David Nasternack to cover hockey games from the press box this year. Occasionally I went and he’d come down at halftime with a scoresheet showing Michigan badly losing Corsi even though the goalies were standing on their heads. I only read them when we won to be honest.
The not-Mel candidate rumored by Datsyuk’s agent is apparently Red Wings HC Jeff Blashill, who’s a real candidate, says Spath. Spath would be the guy after Red who’d know. Blashill was Western’s HC when they got good and was only plucked from college hockey when Mike Babcock ID’d him. He’s 43. Yeah that’s worth a look.
WHY DIDN’T WE CALL THE GIMMICKY TOP FIVE ‘FAB’?
If you only have time each week to listen to one podcast, it should be The British History Podcast—I’m so sorry people who pay my bills but Jamie is spectacular. If you have time for two, then do that and the MGoPodcast. But if you have the bandwidth for three, and it’s not one of those rare weeks when Dan Carlin put something out or the like, then absolutely check out the Dak and Dunc Show, a podcast by Michigan’s own Andrew Dakich and Duncan Robinson.
That it’s already rankable among general podcasts—no “for a podcast by athletes” provision—should tell you how good it’s gotten over just a handful of recordings. The first episode was done in the middle of the Big Ten Tournament this year and they’ve been doing one per game since, so everything is still recent enough to make every episode worth listening to now.
Positives: The hosts have great chemistry and presence. It’s also more insight into the team than we’ve had since Josh Bartelstein was blogging. The interviews (which they’re getting better at) are so far with current teammates plus Caris, and they push their guests to give non-press conference answers, so sometimes they can get really candid about things like how close DJ Wilson was to transferring or Wagner’s defense in the first part of the second half of the Minnesota game. You’ll learn a few Beileinisms such as what “wearing a tuxedo” means. Dakich tries to be the clown; Robinson the straightman is very good at reining Andrew in when necessary.
Areas for Improvement: Reining Andrew in is often necessary, and you have to get over Dakich sounding so much like his dad. And so far about half of each show is non-basketball stuff that might only interest other current students. There’s a lot of talk about head size. Also pro tip: if you’re in college, you really don’t want to know what your future wives are doing right now.
Anyway, start listening then head over to MGoBoard to discuss each ep. Latest thread is here.
NOW WITH MORE WALTON
Ace linked these earlier but Maize.Blue Wagner went through the old Hello posts for the current team to see what we thought of each. Later MBW tweeted at us and I pulled up our HTTV hockey-hoops point guards preview article, so if you already read it go add that.
THERE IS NO RESPONSE
Longtime contributor and MGoBlog community member Cali Wolverine lost his wife to cancer.
ETC. When your biggest rival is happy you’re finally firing your awful coach, you had a really awful coach. Guess what wins milestone Hutchins hit last weekend and the click to see if you were short (HINT: you are). Oregon primer, that in addition to Ace’s article today should serve you until the official preview later this week. MGoBlogger meetups in Kansas City. Our brackets. Recipes for duck. The Bubble that was. TBT with Rich Strenger. Fresh Livers highlights.
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN:
They deleted the video of every three so here’s a shot chart of Michigan’s offense vs. Oklahoma State:
Click for big. Thanks for bringing this home, Ace.
Boucher tore his ACL in the Pac-12 tournament
The absent man. Oregon post Chris Boucher is a major, major loss for the Ducks. Boucher played 20 minutes a game with excellent shooting (63/35) on high-ish usage; he has a top-ten block rate nationally; he is an excellent rebounder. In the three games since he went out, Oregon's given up
- 1.19 PPP against Arizona, the #17 Kenpom offense,
- 1.10 PPP against Iona, the #69 Kenpom offense, and
- 1.13 PPP against Rhode Island, the #59 Kenpom offense.
That looks like a major step back for a team with an adjusted D efficiency of 0.95 PPP.
In the aftermath, smallball. Oregon was already an up-and-down team playing one big, and now they are more so. 6'9" Jordan Bell is a terrific athlete who replicates most of what Boucher brings to the table except three-point shooting. With Boucher out, 6'11" Kavell Bigby-Williams is getting about 15 minutes a game as Bell's backup. Those are all the players taller than 6'7" with more than spot playing time.
This is kind of what they were doing before and now they're all-in on it. If that sounds like a recipe for more transition, you are correct. A quarter of Oregon shots come in the first ten seconds of the shot clock, which is a near-Oklahoma-State level of pushing the ball. Meanwhile their eFG% is a deadly 64%—exactly the same as Michigan. Their points are split about evenly between rim runs and three-pointers.
Stop me if you've heard this before: stopping transition is Michigan's #1 job in this game. Oregon goes from lethal from behind the arc (44%) to meh (36%) if you can just get them into the latter two thirds of the shot clock. Their eFG% plunges 11 points to 53%.
For what it's worth, Michigan could not prevent Oklahoma State from getting up a ton of transition looks—22 of their 64 shots—but held them to 48% eFG. Oklahoma State was vastly more effective in the halfcourt, ironically.
Shot parity watch. Michigan can expect to win most games during which they take the same number of shots as their opponent does, and Oregon is no exception. Michigan's got a good chance to do so—better than they had in the first two games. Even with Boucher Oregon struggled to rebound in Pac-12 play, finishing 9th on the defensive boards and 7th on offense. Over the course of the season they finished 64th nationally on the offensive glass, which is good but a far cry from the two teams Michigan just beat.
It remains to be seen how much Michigan can take advantage of Oregon's middling-to-poor defensive rebounding. On the one hand, Iona(!) rebounded almost 40% of their misses and Rhode Island got 31% of theirs. On the other, Michigan will not be inclined to send extra guys to the boards given Oregon's deadly transition game. If Michigan can draw help defense they'll have an excellent shot to grab an offensive board since anyone rotating down is going to be either a bit shorter or a ton shorter than Wilson and Wagner.
Turnovers should be advantage Michigan. Oregon is good but not great at both ends. Michigan is Oregon's equal at forcing turnovers and is once again elite at preventing them.
DJ meets (hopefully) future DJ, on one end of the floor. Jordan Bell is a putback and roll-man on offense, almost exclusively. On the other end of the floor he is the same kind of versatile defender DJ Wilson is, except better. DX's scouting report on him dubs him an "enforcer," and that's about right:
If Oregon decides to switch everything it is in Michigan's best interest to go after Not Jordan Bell, who's the rare 6'9" guy who can significantly contest a Walton stepback three. Also, if Bell gets switched onto the perimeter Oregon's rim protection evaporates.
With Boucher out Bell has hamblasted the offensive boards. He had 7 against Iona and 6 against Rhode Island as Oregon rebounded about half their misses in both games. After watching Louisville bigs anticipate shots much better than Michigan's counterparts just a few days ago, it seems inevitable that Bell will get 6-10 points on putbacks. C'est la vie.
Bell's offensive game remains rudimentary. As of a month ago, when that DX video went up, he had attempted just 10 two-point jumpers all season. DX's summary of his post game consisted of a couple of tough fadeaways hit over larger personnel. This isn't a bad defensive matchup for Wagner, but Wilson has been occasionally rough when he tries to defend P&R from the five spot, and Bell is not a guy who's easy to recover on if you find yourself out of position.
DJ meets kinda-DJ on the other. Oregon 4 Dylan Brooks is a 6'7" dude with a smooth three-point stroke and the straight line drives that result from guys biting on pull-up three fakes.
That video shows a lot of Brooks exploiting traditional posts or guards who get matched up on him; he's a good player but one who seems like he might be susceptible to the things Wilson is good at right now. Wilson's length gives him the ability to bother pull-up threes without opening up lanes to the basket.
Brooks is also the kind of guy who Zak Irvin has been giving fits for about half the season. (See: Edwards, Vincent and Bridges, Miles.) Brooks will get his; if he does so by taking 20 shots to get 15 points Michigan is in good shape.
Guards! Guards! Sam Vimes veritably infests the roster. The rest of Oregon's rotation ranges from 6'2" to 6'4". Wilson no doubt remembers PG Dylan Ennis:
Wilson went to the bench with an injury after that game and ended up taking a redshirt. Since then circumstances have changed radically for both players. For one, you'll note that Ennis is playing for Villanova in that clip.
At Oregon he's nondescript statistically, with decent outside shooting (37%) propping up an otherwise meh profile. He gets to the rim a lot, where he's bad—52%—but there's a bunch of Jordan Bell Kobe assist potential lurking in those shots.
Tyler Dorsey is Oregon's second best scorer behind Brooks, a 41% three point shooter on excellent volume, who's reasonably effective at the rim. Payton Prichard and Casey Benson, the only reserve, are basically the same player: low usage Just A Shooters who occasionally decide to attack closeouts with middling-at-best results. Both guys assist at a reasonable rate but have TO rates uncomfortably high for gentlemen of their persuasion. Neither is particularly effective inside the arc.
Oregon is a catch and shoot team. Nobody has an appreciable number of unassisted threes other than Dillon, who's hit 15. The rest of the roster collectively has 25—8 fewer than Derrick Walton. This should mean that closeout-mad Michigan can restrict their deep attempts. When Oregon runs pick and roll they are not looking to rise up from any range (only Brooks is 40%+ on two point Js) so Michigan can hedge soft and recover.
Difficult to resist force versus not very moveable object. When Oregon is on offense this is a matchup between the team that takes the fewest two-point jumpers amongst major conference schools and the team that forces the second most*. 19% of Oregon's shots are two point jumpers, because everyone except Brooks is very bad at them. 45% of Michigan's ceded shots are two point jumpers.
Any time an Oregon guy gets run off the three point line and has to pull up that's a win.
*[Baylor passed Michigan this week. /shakes fist.]
Player Development At Ludicrous Speed, Part One
Moe Wagner considers how to shred his defender to bits. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]
John Beilein's acumen at player development is, by now, unimpeachable. He has turned Michigan into one of the top producers of NBA talent in the country without the steady stream of high school All-Americans who end up at the likes of Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky. After last weekend, Moe Wagner and DJ Wilson—a late import to the 2015 class and an oft-injured three-star wing*—are firmly on the NBA radar after two and three years on campus, respectively. Following the Louisville game, Beilein reminded us just how far those two have come in only a year's time:
Moritz, he averaged two points a game last year. He’s 19 years old. You got to watch this guy. D.J. averaged the same. There’s a process that people go through to develop their teams, and [the Big Ten] had a lot of good seniors last year who graduated and a lot of guys waiting in the wings. It may have not showed in November, December. It’s showing in March.
The year-to-year progression is remarkable; so is the seemingly game-to-game progression. Here's Beilein after the Purdue victory at Crisler less than a month ago:
[Wagner] is learning that fine line between shooting a three and driving it. I can’t wait to work with him more on selling his shot fake before he does, sometimes he just rips and goes. He’s almost like a forward or a guard in how he plays. But he had a really good post move inside. He and DJ have to bottle this thing up, that they can shoot from the outside, but to help teams win, they’re going to play professionally if they have a post-up game. They’re not going to just be these 6’10” shooters. They’re going to need to grow in that physical part of it. He’s got a good mix of that. If we can put that third part in, that he can shoot, he can drive, and he can effectively post up and hold position, he could become very special.
We saw a whole lot more than a pair of 6'10" shooters last weekend. That shot fake Beilein wanted to see Wagner utilize? He busted it out on arguably the biggest possession of the year:
Wagner also obliterated Louisville from the high post. His career-high 26-point output against the Cardinals couldn't have looked more different from his previous best, the 24-point performance in that aforementioned Purdue game. The latter featured Wagner raining in threes off pick-and-pops with a couple post buckets standing out as notable exceptions. The former saw him working with his back to the basket against smaller defenders and using that three-point threat to take bigs off the dribble; he only attempted (and made) one three-pointer.
*[HT to Maize.Blue Wagner for posting a thread of the current team's commitment posts.]
[Hit THE JUMP for DJ's development and the late-season surge from MAAR and Irvin.]
This is not me. I wish it was.
Whoever sent me this POTATO!!!! Much appreciated.... pic.twitter.com/fVaqRvvgTn
— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) March 15, 2017
It turns out to be a wildly successful marketing stunt for a company that will send you image or message-emblazoned potatoes. This company is inexplicably not based in Ohio. The best thing to come out of this is the Wall Street Journal giving the headshot treatment to Dirk's tuber:
Twitter did not find this nearly as amazing as I did, but rest assured this is incredibly entertaining.
Oregon: good matchup? The WaPo's Neil Greenberg seems to think so. He's using extremely small sample sizes, but given Chris Boucher's absence that's less unfortunate than it usually is. Transition is a major Oregon focus and Michigan's stepped up their stinginess:
In transition, Michigan has allowed opponents to score 39.1 percent of the time in the tournament, an improvement over their regular-season performance (46.3 percent) and a potential stumbling block for Oregon, who has scored almost two-thirds of the time in transition (63.6 percent) against their first two opponents. No other remaining tournament team has had better results on the break. Take that element away from Oregon, and it’s a big blow.
This item won't surprise you but will shock your January self:
The Ducks also won’t get as many open looks as they have through the first two rounds. Oregon has taken 24 of 32 (75 percent) catch-and-shoot opportunities unguarded, per Synergy Sports, scoring 1.08 points per shot. Michigan, however, has allowed just six of 22 (27 percent) catch-and-shoot attempts without a defender close by.
Oregon is was already a bit three-heavy with Boucher in the lineup and figure to be more so without him even if that hasn't shown up in the three games since his departure, and Michigan is very good at preventing threes from being launched.
They're 5'9" with big hair and one of them doesn't have a work visa. Welp, they've been found. Both DJ Wilson and Mo Wagner are major risers on Chad Ford's NBA draft board:
Moritz Wagner, F/C, So., Michigan
No one did more to help his draft stock over the weekend than Wagner. His career-best performance against Louisville -- 26 points on 11-for-14 shooting -- showed why he was been quickly moving up our Top 100 over the past month. Wagner is a fluid athlete at 6-foot-11 who can score off the bounce and on the block. He also has 3-point range.
When he's engaged and not in foul trouble, he can take over a game. The fact that he did it against a bunch of NBA-caliber athletes on Louisville impressed scouts. He sat at No. 40 on our Top 100 before the tournament and moves up to No. 21 in our latest rankings. That's a huge leap for any player, but if you watched his draft stock all month, it isn't just based on one game. It's just scouts getting more and more comfortable with the idea that he has all the skills he needs to be a good NBA player someday.
D.J. Wilson, F, Jr., Michigan
Wilson showed off all the strengths of his game against both Oklahoma State and Louisville. He's a terrific and versatile athlete who can stretch the floor, finish at the rim and block shots. He can even handle the ball and bring it up the floor.
However, his lack of toughness continues to bother some scouts who want to see him initiate and handle contact better. He grabbed only two boards against Louisville and at times seemed bothered by the physicality. Still, athletic 6-foot-10 guys who can shoot 3s and protect the rim don't come along every day and Wilson has made a strong case to be a first-round pick after hovering in the 30s in our Top 100 all season.
FWIW, I was talking to Sam Webb a month or two ago and at the time his impression was that the NBA was interested in both guys but that they were both likely a year away. Let's hope that's still the case, because I'm guessing Teske and Davis are going to need another year of grooming before they're ready. Also I really want to see weaponized versions of Wilson and Wagner.
If one or both does end up going this will be another situation where Beilein's astounding player development—despite almost no access to one-and-done types Michigan was 12th in NBA players produced entering the season—outpaces his recruiting. Nobody was expecting Trey Burke or Nik Stauskas to be two-and-out, and I don't think anyone thought Wilson or Wagner would have any chance of going to the league this year after the pair averaged two points a game in 2015-16.
Remember when Bernard Robinson sticking at the end of a roster for a year or two was notable to Michigan basketball fans? Slightly different situation these days.
Part of that development. Congrats to friend-of-blog Andrew Kahn for landing a WSJ byline. It's a look into some player development tools Michigan (and others) are using. Wagner has a bad day against Ohio State and Beilein set to work on his shot:
...Beilein set out to fix Wagner’s problems using one of basketball’s hottest new diagnostic tools: a machine that measures the arc of a shot as it reaches the hoop. ... [tool vendor] Noah’s data says the ideal shot comes in at about 45 degrees.
Wagner’s practice session showed that he was shooting the ball far too high, coming in at around 53 degrees. Beilein knew they had no chance of going in and pressed Wagner to adjust by flattening his shot.
“By the time we were done, he was draining threes all over the place at 45 (degrees), 46, 47,” Beilein said. Wagner, a 41 percent three-point shooter for the season, shook his slump and nailed 8 of 17 (47%) from deep the next four games.
Beilein is still adapting and taking advantage of new tools being created even though he's "no spring chicken," which not every coaching in his 60s does. You can safely assume that Michigan is on the cutting edge with this stuff. The results are proof enough.
Two points. The Big Ten did pretty well in the first weekend of the tournament, sending three teams to the Sweet 16 and Shutting Up All The Haters, except not really. Mark Titus:
As soon as the buzzer sounded on no. 7 seed Michigan’s 73–69 victory over no. 2 seed Louisville on Sunday afternoon, the talk of the internet became whether the Big Ten, which was complete trash from November through early March, had been underrated all season. ... [The Big Ten got three S16 teams and the ACC was bad.] ... Clearly this had to mean something, right?
Of course not. You know what Michigan beating Louisville and Wisconsin beating Villanova proved? That Michigan outplayed Louisville and that Wisconsin outplayed Villanova. How come everyone who gets so wrapped up in conference-pride bullshit always seems to move the goalposts with these arguments?
Neither side of any conference superiority argument generally marshals anything resembling a coherent argument. It is talk-radio fodder.
While a few tournament games don't establish that the Big Ten was at the level it was a few years ago, neither was it "trash." They entered the NCAA tourney fifth out of six power conferences on Kenpom, all of two points behind the second-place ACC. That's roughly the difference between #20 Michigan and #24 Butler, or #37 Northwestern and #44 Illinois State—ie, barely any difference at all. The first two rounds should at least be sufficient to demonstrate that the Big Ten is in the same range as any other power conference (with the possible exception of the Big 12).
This weekend did matter in the computer rankings, sliding the Big Ten up to fourth, and it should influence our perception of the league this year. The real answer, though, is that the Big Ten was just slightly down. Titus seems to be projecting his feelings about Ohio State, which was so trash that many Michigan fans gave up on their season after losing to the Buckeyes*, to the wider league.
Nice. 2017 PF Isaiah Livers won Mr. Basketball. He's a 6'8" stretch four with game and hair fairly reminiscent of DJ Wilson.
Wilson has a couple of inches of both height and hair on Livers, but hopefully he's able to step into the rotation next year.
Star-crossed Ricky Doyle. Remember how he was ill or injured seemingly perpetually? This has not abated, at all.
Ricky Doyle, a Bishop Verot Catholic High School alum, was forced to sit out this season after transferring from the University of Michigan due to NCAA rules, as well as a tumor.
“I just kept having these stomach pains for a long time and I just kind of pushed them off,” he said. “One day, I just had to go to the hospital and it turns out that my appendix has been burst for two months…they found a tumor about the size of a softball and they had to cut 6 inches of my colon out.”
The tumor was non cancerous, Doyle said, and his body formed it naturally around the burst appendix to prevent poison from seeping out and killing him.
Doctors believe the medicine Doyle is on for his sleep apnea dulled the pain to the point where he didn’t realize how severe the tumor was.
Writing on the wall. There's a ton of football stuff that we'll get to in a week or two as part of a spring preview, but one roster note: Sam Webb replies to people asking about a lack of Shelton Johnson coverage that "he is not a part of [Scout's] defensive line preview." I would not expect him on the roster this spring.
Etc.: A lot of people say the tournament saps the importance of the college season. I don't buy that, because I like Big Ten championship banners. For an example of a season that truly doesn't matter, I give you the NBA.
Every Michigan 3 against Oklahoma State. Holdin' The Rope on the Louisville game. Five key plays from said game. We are #3 in Will Leitch's rootability rankings, because of "cattywampus." Leitch on the Brad Underwood hire. TTB talks to Kevin Koger. Jim Harbaugh promotes colon awareness.