"Coach Mattison told me what the Ravens were about, what he thought," Beyer said. "He definitely encouraged me. I hold his opinion in high regard."
WCWS Update: The SEC walked into the WCWS in full ESS-EEE-SEE mode. You saw the 6th seed Bama last night; there's an entire bracket of SEC teams (#1 Florida, #5 LSU, #4 Auburn, and #8 Tennessee) opposite us. Last year Bama lost to Florida in the national championship series, and Florida is the most likely to repeat. In a sport dominated by pitching the Gators have the best, Lauren Haeger, who just narrowly defeated Michigan's Sierra Romero for the college softball version of the Heisman.
The rest of Michigan's side of the bracket is UCLA, which owns a third of the national championships ever, not including the 1995 one that the NCAA vacated, demonstrating a dedication to the sport most D-I teams athletic departments can't afford for football.
This is the dispersal (bigger dot = more national championships) of softball titles since 1982:
Some of these things are like the others; one is definitively not.
The last is fully owned Nike™ subsidiary, the Oregon Nikes, who wear spacey backpacks everywhere they go so Nike™ can convince a demographic of schoolgirls who wear stupid-looking athletic gear to school to get Nike™ backpacks. The Oregon Nikes also have a great pitcher, who finished third in the PoY running.
A distant third. Really the competition was between the senior pitcher with 194 K's who held a league that hits .330 to .183, and our own Sierra Romero.
Here's what a hitter who challenges for the PoY in a pitching sport looks like: Romero hit .472 with 21 home runs, 80 RBI, 55 walks, and set the NCAA career grand slam record. She also had 20 steals on 24 attempts. She plays shortstop with a Jeter smoothness (or second base because Abby Ramirez is such a good infielder).
The thing about Michigan is Romero isn't the only star. Kelly Christner hit .407 this year and matched Romero for home runs. Sierra Lawrence had a .484 OBP from the leadoff spot, plus 14 dingers. Kelsey Susalla matched Sierra2's power numbers while hitting .379. Lauren Sweet, the catcher, hit .324 with 12 homers. Michigan too has great pitchers—sophomore Megan Betsa and senior Haylie Wagner are Ace 1 and Ace 2, with senior Sara Driesenga (.078 ERA) still around as a luxury, and the future, freshman Tera Blanco, waiting over at 1st base.
Michigan softball isn't a monster program from the heart of baseball country, isn't a golem assembled from overcharging for shoes made by underpaid slaves, and certainly is not from the conference that believes Pat Forde columns about its greatness should fulfill writing requirements. The thing it's probably most like is a 1920s MLB team, except replace chewing tobacco, beer, and fighting with pizza and dancing.
It has a pinata-smashing softball Harbaugh if Harbaugh was more successful coaching it. Betsa said she gets her mental toughness from competitions like who can balance heavy logs on their hands while doing workouts. Last night Hutch literally fell over while trying to put the breaks on Romero at 3rd base; Romero ran through it but scampered back safely to leave the bases loaded for Sweet to turn a 1-0 game into the 5-0 game.
It had a .461 on base percentage this year, and outscored its opponents by an average of 9 to 1.5. It made making pizza into a theme, complete with complicated hand gestures and fan signage. It won a map-contradicting national championship ten years ago, and dances more often than that one. It led the country with 171 homers this year, and sprinkled every one of them with cheese.
Etc. The South didn't like Michigan camping there—and couldn't do anything about it—in the mid-1860s either. SEC rules changes troll Tom Brady and Brady Hoke, plus Notre Dame's faces and Dantonio's favorite tackling strategy. What a blue shirt is. Terry Frei on the Rob Lytle book. Michigan Stadium Movie Night opted for Disney fantasy flick (Remember the Titans) over a documentary on Scandinavian economics (Frozen).
LOOK AT THESE BOND VILLAIN-LOOKING DUDES
Ed was traipsing about the poppies and algorithms this week, but the rest of us were there. Topics!
- FIFA is old
- Craig hates soccer
- Xzibit be talkin' about the dang thing
- Unfortunately his script is bad
- I have an excellent career in voiceover work coming
- Nobody else thinks this is the case
- Big Sean is very average sized
THE USUAL LINKS
Softball beat Alabama 5-0 to advance in the Winners Bracket tonight. Baseball's tournament begins tomorrow in Louisville. Right this moment we'd like you to join us in the Show.
Our fantasy partner Draft Kings is running a $100k MLB pool this evening, and a few more pools tonight and tomorrow (if one closes links will redirect to the next game I'm in).
Details (current game the third):
- $100k prize pool
- First place wins $10,000
- Only $3 to enter (FREE with first deposit)
- Top 7,850 finishing positions are paid.
- Starts Friday 5/29 at 7:05 PM EST
- Salary Cap Style Drafting. $50,000 to select 10 players: 8 position players and 2 pitchers
- Roster Format: 2 pitchers, 1 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 SS and 3 OF
Let's get ready to softball. Michigan's part in the Women's College World Series kicks off tonight at 7, as they take on six-seed Alabama. Michigan swept Alabama 8-2 and 4-1 earlier this year, but that was before the Tide turned to freshman Alexis Osorio to do most of their pitching. The game is on ESPN2.
Meanwhile in Louisville. Baseball takes on Bradley tomorrow in the UL regional. Michael Baumann has an excellent and concise preview at D1Baseball. On Michigan's first-round opponent:
Bradley has become the poster child for the RPI robbing traditional power conferences of spots in the tournament, as the Braves’ No. 19 RPI — which peaked at 10 — never quite felt right. Going 10-11 in the MVC — which is a good conference, but not that good — is a bad look, and along with an 11-12 record against the RPI top 100, always gave off the impression that the Braves were a paper tiger.
Bradley will need a win out of No. 1 starter Elliot Ashbeck (11-4, 3.11) in the opener against Michigan, and from there, they can try to cobble together something that gets them from the start of the game to closer Matt Dennis (3-0, 1.59, 12 saves) until it’s time to start Ashbeck again.
That sounds as enticing as possible for a 2-vs-3 matchup in which you are the lower seed.
Should Michigan get past the Braves, Louisville (presumably) presents a formidable challenge in the next round. Michigan figures to draw a pitching matchup featuring a projected first-round pick against their #2 starter, who is… not going to be a first round pick.
MLive also has a Bradley preview.
Today in things we are glad no longer warrant a post. Remember the books and the birds?
Those were deployed in annual posts poring over the worrisome state of Michigan's APR after the Carr-Rodriguez transition year saw a huge crater that threatened to drag Michigan under the red line for penalties. Those posts have officially been retired.
Michigan football recorded a perfect single-year APR score (1,000) in 2013-14 for the first time since the NCAA began monitoring the metric in 2004-05. The program's four-year rolling APR average now sits at 990, third in the Big Ten. The NCAA released the updated figures Wednesday.
Well done, Hoke and academic staff.
Meanwhile I'm growing more and more skeptical of the validity of the APR. As a number of commenters pointed out in the post on freshman ineligibility, any metric that gives Crean-era Indiana basketball a perfect score is not particularly rigorous. But it's better to be at the top of a not particularly rigorous metric than towards the bottom.
Summer camp, 1992. I wish I could bottle old Michigan replay music and have it follow me around, en-jivening my day to day.
It's about that time. Michigan basketball refrains from offering recruits until June 1st of their junior year. June first is just a few days away… and nobody seems to know who is on the list. Or if there is even a list.
Michigan has just two certain spots in the class of 2017—those from the departures of Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin. They are aiming for a point guard in 2016. Assuming they get one that would fill their scholarship slots and push center commit Austin Davis to 2017 minus any attrition. That means they'd have one slot at most with almost no idea where they should use it.
For the first time in a while it seems like June 1st will pass without a solid definition of Michigan's top targets in a recruiting class. It is possible some offers will go out, and more possible still that Michigan finds some gentlemen at their annual summer camp, which is scheduled for June 6th. Here is a 2017 top 100 guy planning to attend from a long way way:
Having already landed its biggest 2016 recruit, Tyus Battle, Michigan is now setting up its wish list for 2017.
One name currently included is Greg Floyd Jr., a 6-foot-8 forward from Las Vegas.
On Wednesday, the Las Vegas Knicks, Floyd's AAU team, announced via Twitter that Floyd will visit Ann Arbor for Michigan's College Practice Camp on June 6.
Michigan may also offer NY combo guard Kevin Heurter, who is currently scheduled to be a member of the class of 2016 but has a 2017 offer from Syracuse and is very young for his class.
It's a kind of legacy. The SEC has added neutral observers to the press box to determine whether or not a player cannot continue because he has been hit very hard in the head. Get The Picture dubs this the…
The Brady Hoke Rule
Woof. On the other hand, APR?
I wonder how Dantonio will get mad about this. This is clearly not trolling. It is the opposite of trolling.
"We know we're not the biggest guy on the block (right now)," Harbaugh said, per a live video stream recorded by The Wolverine. "Michigan State's the biggest guy on the block."
Harbaugh's comment was then met with a clap from someone in the back of the room. He acknowledged that clap, and followed it up by heaping praise on what Mark Dantonio and the Spartans have accomplished.
It is directed at Michigan State and Mark Dantonio, the man who's super power is generating offense from anything and everything. It is master trolling.
I heard you like team in your team in your team. There is a Michigan hype video narrated by the wonderfully scratchy Xzibit. Unfortunately it is not embeddable, which rather defeats the purpose of putting it on youtube. But at least it's on youtube instead of Michigan's terrible proprietary player?
(Woof on the writing, though. Lou Avery's generic organizational slogans of the week. You probably paid someone to do that. I will do this for free, Michigan. It is already my job.)
More like Steve Albrecht. Someone asked Steve Nash about Spike and comparisons made between the two during a reddit AMA:
"He's a good young player — flattered."
That's dang right.
Etc.: Journalism! Science! Maybe he just likes peeing in condoms. Hooray money, I guess. SEC complaining is the sweetest complaining. Matt Hinton is relevant to your interests: how to build an offensive line. Jabrill Peppers probably not staying five years. Quinn on Battle. Quinn on… Battle.
Big Visit Weekend Ahead
Michigan is set to host a solid group of targets this weekend. Before getting to the full list, let's check in with three-star NJ OT Will Fries, who wrapped up a two-day visit yesterday and gave his reaction to 247's Clint Brewster ($):
"It was amazing I had great time," Fries told Wolverine247.
Is Michigan in Fries' top group now following the visit?
"Yes, they are."
The list of weekend visitors comes courtesy of reports from The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan($) and 247's Steve Lorenz($), unless otherwise noted. While there isn't a full-blown "buckle up" situation heading into the weekend, it's worth keeping an eye on a couple of these prospects:
- Five-star WI OT Ben Bredeson will be on campus all weekend, and this is a hugely important visit for Michigan, as this is likely his last trip to Ann Arbor before he makes a decision in early June. The Wolverines are in a top four along with Wisconsin, Notre Dame, and Ohio State; the Badgers appear to be M's chief competition.
- Four-star Farmington Hills Harrison DE Khalid Kareem told TomVH he'll take a weekend visit. Kareem has been a steady presence on campus since Jim Harbaugh arrived, but Michigan has plenty of competition from the likes of Alabama, Michigan State, and Notre Dame.
- Four-star IN WR Austin Mack will be in Ann Arbor on Saturday, a visit sandwiched between trips to Notre Dame and Ohio State this weekend, per 247's Bill Kurelic ($). Mack is expected to end up with the Buckeyes when he announces his decision on June 7th.
- Three-star ATH Kiante Enis and four-star all-purpose back Chris Evans will both make the trip from Indiana. Enis, a running back who could play a number of positions, already holds an offer. Evans doesn't, but he's expected to add one this weekend, and if he does there are rumblings of a potential commitment—his Crystal Ball immediately added several Michigan predictions after the visit was announced.
- Three-star Paramus (NJ) Catholic WR Donald Stewart already has Michigan at the top of his list heading into his first campus visit. Lorenz reports that while a commitment isn't expected to occur this weekend, one could come shortly thereafter.
- Three-star MN ATH JD Spielman is still getting his football recruitment off the ground after committing to Ohio State to play lacrosse. He's expected to choose football at the next level, and Michigan was one of his first offers for the gridiron.
- 2017 four-star QB Dylan McCaffrey and 2017 in-state DE Corey Malone-Hatcher will be in Ann Arbor, as well. Malone-Hatcher is visiting this weekend since he has a conflict preventing him from attending next Tuesday's in-state Junior Day, when the other seven in-state rising juniors offered by Michigan will all be on campus.
- 2016 commits Brandon Peters and Matt Falcon will assuredly have their recruiting hats on. Peters, especially, could help convince his fellow Hoosier State prospects to join up.
There's a notable omission: Four-star IN DE Auston Robertson previously planned to visit with Austin Mack, but his mother told 247's Steve Wiltfong that he'll be at Notre Dame on Saturday ($). Robertson is considered a Michigan State lean, and with his decision coming up on June 7th, Michigan's chances are slim at best without getting a final chance to impress him.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
"I just forgot we're allowed to pitch it because that happens so rarely, you know?"
This week we have a guest responder, Craig Ross, author of The Obscene Diaries of a Michigan Fan, and The Search for the Unified Theory (Football Version), neither of which he would actually encourage you to buy—as if that's going to stop us.
Craig also has an article about the weird as hell 1925 season in this year's HTTV, now available for pre-order in the MGoStore, and which we do encourage you to buy. Because his fan memory goes back to pre-Bump I thought he'd have a unique response from history that none of us young 'uns would have remembered, then he answered with a play we'd just as soon forget.
Special thanks to Wolverine Historian for making most of these replies possible. Prepare thineself for some youtubes!
Describe the weirdest play/sequence you can remember as a Michigan fan?
BiSB: Personally, I find weirdness in the mundane. It's the draw play on 2nd and long, or the corner who allows a receiver a free inside release on 3rd and 2. Like snowflakes, even the most typical, nondescript plays demonstrates the chaos of our very existence. Each is unique, and each is OH MY GOD PITCH THE BALL TO BREASTON YOU ARE TYLER ECKER AND HE IS BLACK JESUS WHY IN THE NAME OF ALL THINGS HOLY DO YOU STILL HAVE THE FOOTBALL HE'S RIIIIIIGHT THEEEEEEEEERE.
Honorable mention for the Brandon Minor touchdown catch against Michigan State in 2008, when 100,000 people we all like,"uh, I'm pretty sure that's not how a pylon works, champ..."
[Hit the jump for two blocked punts in a row and people making top fives]