to play football, not to play trumpet
Harbaugh antics of the week
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) January 19, 2016
He proceeded to spend the night at AZ DE Connor Murphy's house, whereupon Murphy either displayed an ignorance of memes or—more likely—deliberately tried to set twitter's server farm on fire:
— Connor Murphy (@CMurph_90) January 20, 2016
Twitter survived. Murphy reports that he played chess against Harbaugh when he was 12 and lost. No word on whether Harbaugh then took him to laser tag.
Business is boomin'
— David Long Jr. (@dee_knowz) January 19, 2016
Tim Sullivan understands what this is about even if we don't
CA CB David Long commits during Recruiting Nation on ESPNU this evening. Show starts at 6 PM. Even Washington mods who will fight you if you suggest players are not going to Washington have resigned themselves to their fate. They are probably fighting themselves now.
Other recruitments with a likely positive outcome in the near future
1. NJ DT Michael Dwumfour told Sam Webb that the "main reason he didn't flip" is that his high school coach wants him to handle things "in a respectful way." That sounds like he's about to let PSU down easy this weekend. It's not you, Penn State. It's me. We have put in a ballz for Dwumfour to Michigan; Sam issued a gut feeling.
One note: Dwumfour is not qualified yet. He says he's "very close" but just "has to finish up a few things." He also gave Webb some enticing intel on Rashan Gary.
2. PA S and MGoBlog fave-rave Khaleke Hudson left his official visit to Michigan with the Wolverines as a clear leader; Tim Sullivan reports that Michigan goes in-home today in the hope of getting Hudson to pull the trigger. Even if Hudson follows through on planned trips to PSU and Pitt he seems likely to end up in a winged helmet by Signing Day. Webb reports "overwhelming confidence" from Ann Arbor.
"They really want me, and they think they can use me in many ways. They say safety - like a nickel - and maybe running back.”
3. It's status quo for MO TE Chase Allen; he has no visits scheduled and Michigan is a heavy leader. Sam issued a gut feeling on him as well.
4. FL WR Eddie McDoom decommitted from Oregon, who subsequently pulled his scholarship, and currently has a list of "Michigan and… uh". He told Scout that he's planning on pulling the trigger this weekend if he "loves it."
I would be surprised if any of these gentlemen did not end up in Ann Arbor.
Gary panic of the week is downright relaxing
Our brief regional era of was kicked off by a couple of Ole Miss crystal ballz from guys who work for the Rebel 247 site. At the time I noted that they were speculative predictions from guys who had no record of ever talking to NJ DE Rashan Gary or his mother and that actions spoke louder than words, so like chill man.
Days later, lo, the ball has unflipped:
…the news that he is returning to Michigan this weekend on his own dime, factored in with his former high school coach on the Michigan staff, the numerous recruiting ties the Wolverines have with players at Gary's high school, and the reports that his mother did not see or was unable to see the Ole Miss coaches Monday when they were there, seems to be bright writing on the wall.
All of these things save the last were true when the ball flipped in the first place.
Gary's official on the 29th may or may not happen; I'm leaning towards "will" after this Scout article:
According to his mom, Jennifer Coney, his last official visit will be to either Alabama or Clemson, and he could visit one officially and the other unofficially. She said a decision on which school will get the official has not been made.
"The final visit will be between Alabama and Clemson," she said. "We may do both. ...We're not sure which one officially."
That notes Gary is going to be in Atlanta next weekend to pick up some award for being awesome, so he's going to be near those two schools anyway. Even if said visit occurs the kind of things that might push either of those two schools past Michigan have already been attempted by Ole Miss, and rejected.
Finally, USC did hire their DL coach. He's a former Trojan DE who spent the last couple years as an assistant strength coach. Not likely to move the needle.
[After THE JUMP: less good news on Jonathan Jones, a massive massive visit weekend, another class projection, and some 2017 news of note.]
Nine for thirty-one.
Michigan was bound to have a bad shooting night eventually, even in a game where they got a steady stream of open looks. That's exactly what happened tonight; the Wolverines were fortunate to be facing a hapless Minnesota team when the ball refused to behave.
Zak Irvin had himself a night, posting a 19-11-3 line. He did his best work off the dribble, utiziling the high screen to get layups and make 3/5 three-pointers. The rest of the team, however, combined to go 6/26 from beyond the arc. That included a 3/10 mark for Duncan Robinson, who uncharacteristically missed several wide-open looks from his favorite spot just above the break.
The result was a near-unwatchable slog. Minnesota is not a good team, and despite the final score they didn't play particularly well outside of Nate Mason, who scored 25 points—Michigan's perimeter defenders couldn't stay between him and the basket. The Gophers repeatedly gave up great outside looks; Michigan simply couldn't get them to fall.
The Wolverines pushed their lead as high as 15 points in the first half. Robinson, left all alone, had a chance to bump that up to 18, but couldn't find twine. Minnesota finished the half on an 8-0 run and twice as close as three points in the second half, but never kept it there for more than a minute at a time.
Each time they got that close, it was Derrick Walton who responsed, first with a driving layup, then by finding Aubrey Dawkins for a triple that actually fell. Walton scored 22 and got to the rim at will, making 4/7 two-pointers and 11/12 free throws. (He went 1/6 from three, because it was that kind of night.)
While the final result never truly felt in doubt, Michigan survived a scare in a game they'd have no business winning against a quality opponent. They were unlucky with their shots; they were lucky with their foe. It's probably best never to speak of this game again.
Michigan (13-5, 3-2 B1G) vs
Minnesota (6-12, 0-6)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|WHEN||8:30 pm ET, Wednesday|
|LINE||Michigan -17 (KenPom)|
PBP: Kevin Kugler
Analyst: Stephen Bardo
Right: This could probably suffice as the game preview. [Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog]
We're going to have to wait at least one more game for Caris LeVert's return:
But with just one practice between Michigan’s games against Iowa and Minnesota and Beilein’s stated desire to see LeVert practice at least two days in a row before playing him, the coach does not expect the Wolverines’ leading scorer to play Wednesday.
“We continue to get encouraging news about Caris,” Beilein said. “He’s doing more and more right now, on and off the court. We expect on and off the court, going forward, (but) have no (return) date yet.”
“I would assume (he will not play Wednesday). We’ve only got one day to measure (the injury).”
LeVert hasn't done more than "light shooting" in practice at this point; it might be a week or two before he's ready to suit up again. The good news is Michigan has hit a four-game stretch of their schedule in which they should be able to weather his absence.
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||2||Nate Mason||So.||6'2, 185||78||23||Kinda|
|Good assist:turnover, 82% FT shooter, inefficient from the field.|
|G||1||Dupree McBrayer||Fr.||6'4, 195||46||19||Yes|
|Started last two games. Shooting 32% on twos and 14% on threes.|
|F||3||Jordan Murphy||Fr.||6'6, 230||60||25||Kinda|
|Top-100 rebounder on both ends, decent shot-blocker, 53% on twos.|
|F||24||Joey King||Sr.||6'9, 240||77||17||No|
|Deadeye outside shooter also getting to the line. Not great inside arc.|
|C||21||Bakary Konate||So.||6'11, 235||51||14||Very|
|Good finisher/rebounder/shot-blocker, somewhat foul- and TO-prone.|
|G||11||Carlos Morris||Sr.||6'5, 185||69||23||No|
|40% three-point shooter, otherwise quite inefficient.|
|F||23||Charles Buggs||Jr.||6'9, 230||49||14||No|
|Stretch four who can shoot, but doesn't have much impact otherwise.|
|G||4||Kevin Dorsey||Fr.||6'0, 185||42||25||Yes|
|Draws a lot of fouls and hits FTs, but has been atrocious from the field.|
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
Back in the day the recruiting roundups that Ace would put together would show the star ratings from each site of the various Michigan targets. The problem was we kept noticing dramatic differences that weren't really dramatic. For example here's a table of guys given 5-stars by these services since the 2010 class:
Was Scout ludicrously high on M guys, or giving out more 5-stars? Actually they were all ranking not that far from each other, but Michigan just happened to get a lot of the guys in that 4-/5-star margin. It only looks dramatic because there are only five possible rankings.
This was recruiting until 247 introduced their composite rating. That composite is so amazingly useful for most "how good was he as a recruit" questions.
Since forever I've also been maintaining this spreadsheet of data on Michigan players that started as a naming sheet for some iteration of the NCAA game, and just kept gaining columns. My old way of tracking the recruiting ratings on that was to take the stars each service gave out, figuring they all roughly had the same definitions, and average them.
But that was throwing away a ton of information provided by the sites, which typically post national rankings for the top ~250-300 recruits, and in three of their cases have their own more precise star rating systems. For example Rivals's 5-star range includes "6.1" and "6.0", while ESPN (50-95) and 247 (69-102) have numeric scales with the decades roughly coinciding with the next star rating.
They also have position ratings, which don't match up since they split positions differently, but if they can all be turned into percentiles.
So far I've done all but the last bit. Matching table's above. What we end up with is not a composite system like 247's so much as a composite Star Rating system that quadruples the star precision level.
I tried to honor stars and what they mean, but I also took national rankings and position rankings into account when one site's rating spanned multiple ratings of its competitors. So a 5.8 on Rivals will be a 4.00 if he makes the Rivals 250, and a 3.75 if he doesn't. And a 3-star WR on Scout who's ranked just behind the 4-star receivers in the WR rankings is like a 3.5-star.
[After the Jump: charts until I literally break Excel]
Previously: Part 1
Sunday, January 17, 2016
#6 Michigan 8, Ohio State 6
WARREN GOAL, MICHIGAN
UM 1 OSU 0 EV 01:45 Assists: Calderone & Martin
The puck rolls back to Martin off of a faceoff, and he calmly moves it down the boards when he sees a defender screaming toward him.
Calderone’s touch pass is so quick that he doesn’t have it on his stick long enough for that alone to justify a screen cap. Tomkins’ reaction, however, makes it worth drawing up, as he’s still standing and looking at Calderone when Warren’s about to shoot.
Warren’s already extended, the puck is halfway to the net, and Tomkins has yet to drop into his butterfly. He whiffs on this one, getting his pads extended after the shot’s in the net.
Joshua goal, Ohio State
UM 1 OSU 1 EV 09:17 Assists: Greco & Moser
Greco drives wide and shoots, but Cecconi smothers the shot. The puck ends up falling behind them, and Greco somehow manages to flip it in the air. It hits the top of the net and eventually ends up behind it.
Joshua turns and (accidentally?) knocks Werenski’s stick out of his hands; Werenski bends to retrieve it, while Joshua skates ahead, grabs the puck, and brings it to the side of the net for a wraparound attempt.
Racine is able to paddle the puck away, but he does so directly in front of him. That’s…not ideal. I mean, I understand the poke check, but smothering it would be nice.
Joshua reaches back about as far as humanly possible to gather the puck, and a split second later Cecconi and Kile’s blades come together to create a mini-wall in front of Racine. Somehow Joshua flips is over that and inside the post to Racine’s right. Hard for him to stop a point blank attempt where the guy’s unchecked.
[After THE JUMP: we’re terrible we’re great we’re terrible we’re great we’re terr]
Michigan's longest-standing commit is no longer one:
— Erik Swenson (@Eiek77) January 20, 2016
While that's a surprise it's less of a surprise since this week people started putting their name next to the assertion that he would not end up in the class. Mike Spath said so in a post on attrition; Wiltfong did the same at 247; Webb concurred. With Northwestern and Nebraska possible landing spots, academics are obviously not a problem.
Swenson committed to Brady Hoke's Michigan sometime during the Truman administration and hasn't wavered or visited elsewhere; like Rashad Weaver and Kiante Enis this appears to be a case where Michigan re-evaluated the players' talent after their senior season and did not like what they saw. Let's talk about how we feel about that, with the caveat that we are working with incomplete information here since neither side is offering much detail on what went down.
Editorial opinion on decommitting guys based on talent
Michigan's suffered a number of decommits this cycle. Some were not Michigan's choice, others are because of academic concerns, and a few look like Michigan straight-up pulling offers from committed recruits because they prefer other players. To date players in the latter category appear to be Enis, Weaver, and Swenson.
This could be anywhere from completely legit (Harbaugh tells them they may have to find another landing spot if things don't work out) to not great (this is not communicated). There's a post on the board from a gentleman claiming to be two degrees of separation from a recruit who consciously uncoupled from Michigan, and it was more or less the former:
He said the coaches meticulously laid out who his competition would be, and explained to him that they weren't done recruiting the position yet. Harbaugh also told him that his scholarship to one of the best academic institutes was absolutely still available to him, but he would need to work his ass off to see any playing time. Said recruit has decided that while academics are important, playing football is his true passion and wants to see the field sooner than later. He would rather fine tune his game on the field and get better.
Despite the parting of ways the recruit seemed fine with the overall result, as he got a ton more interest after "Michigan commit" was appended to his resume.
Enis and Weaver were probably given a heads-up a couple months ago. Enis made an official to Indiana in December; Weaver scheduled an official to Temple in November. In any case they are likely to find schools that are a better fit for them and have fine college careers.
This doesn't really bother me. These days "commit" is used about as accurately as "literally" and Harbaugh has adapted to that situation. If you want to visit, visit. Michigan is going to recruit as if commits don't exist, just like everyone else does. It can be infuriating for players, coaches, and fans as order and structure break down but that's life. I've never really railed about that practice; it's shipping guys out mid-career without a degree, against their will, that rankles. I don't think Michigan will be doing that and certainly hope they never do.
However, Swenson's situation is considerably more sketch. He has not made a peep since his commitment and was tweeting about signing with Michigan as late as January 3rd. Webb says "don't be surprised if a little mudslinging happens." Swenson took the high road, but if someone pops off after a LOI is safely faxed I won't be surprised, nor will I have much to say other than "seems accurate."
If Michigan was going to pull Swenson's scholarship it should have at least warned him about the possibility during the season so he could make a backup plan. That doesn't look like the case and it appears Michigan has pissed some people off. Not a good look.
If he wants to play and does land with the Wildcats or Huskers, he's probably better off. Michigan looked at senior film and decided he would not play.
I wouldn't want to go to a school that thought I wouldn't play and wouldn't tell me that; I would expect them to tell me that. By November at the latest.
This isn't so much a rug being pulled out from under someone as an order for a rug being canceled. Michigan does have to get more organized with this stuff going forward. Setting someone adrift approximately three weeks before Signing Day—the news took a week or two to get out—isn't enough time for them to find the best landing spot.