a terrible blight on our fine country
[Editor's note: oh right, this is going on today too.]
|WHAT||Michigan v. Illinois|
|WHERE||Ann Arbor, MI|
February 23rd, 2010
|THE LINE||Michigan -2.5* (!)|
*Line provided by online sports betting site Sportsbetting.com.
Well, they're playing for pride now. And maybe an NIT bid. This Michigan team's larger goals are out of reach, so they'll have to search within to get the necessary motivation to pull off any wins for the rest of the year, much less one against a team that still playing for its tournament life.
After a long layoff before a game in which they were facing an opponent they've already seen this year, they'll now have just a couple days to prepare for Illinois in the teams' only meeting of the season. Considering Michigan has tended to play better on long rest, and against familiar opponents, this doesn't bode well.
That said, high-level athletes have a way of responding with surprise performances when they are questioned or left for dead. Does this Michigan team have it in them? Role players and superstars alike will have to step up to salvage some pride and earn in NIT bid.
The Fighting Illini are 17-10 on the year, with a 9-5 Big Ten mark. Though they've dropped their last two, to Purdue and Ohio State, their previous game was a road victory over Wisconsin in the Kohl Center. If Illinois can finish the year with a strong run, they still have a good chance at the NCAA tournament. However, Michigan is their only remaining game against a team that is likely to miss the tournament, so the pressure is on tonight.
6-3 guard Demitri McCamey and 7-footer Mike Tisdale are key players for Illinois. They're an inside-outside combo, both among the team's leaders in effective field goal percentage. McCamey also excels at driving the lane and drawing fouls or dishing for assists. 6-9 forward Mike Davis is the team's leading rebounder, and plays the second-most minutes on the squad.
If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy.
|Michigan v. Illinois: National Ranks|
|Category||Michigan Rank||Illinois Rank||Advantage|
|Mich eFG% v. Ill Def eFG%||214||73||II|
|Mich Def eFG% v. Ill eFG%||226||77||II|
|Mich TO% v. Ill Def TO%
|Mich Def TO% v. Ill TO%||51||40||I|
|Mich OReb% v. Ill DReb%
|Mich DReb% v. Ill OReb%||237||190||I|
|Mich FTR v. Ill Opp FTR
|Mich Opp FTR v. Ill FTR
|Mich AdjO v. Ill AdjD||99||50||I|
|Mich AdjD v. Ill AdjO||62||54||-|
Difference of more than 10 places in the national rankings get a 1-letter advantage, more than 100 gets a 2-letter advantage, more than 200 gets a 3-letter advantage, etc.
This looks like a tough matchup for the Wolverines, who have slid lately after showing steady improvement over the first month of 2010. The only places Michigan has the advantage are not turning it over to the Illini and not sending them to the free throw line. Surprisingly, despite all of Illinois's advantages in the margins, they are only slightly better in overall efficiency numbers.
Vegas actually favors Michigan, which is free money for Illini bettors, if you ask me. Ken Pomeroy also thinks Illinois will fall to Michigan, though by only 1 point. Following this Michigan team all year long, it seems like the experts think MIchigan is due for a bounce-back. Unfortunately, I don't see it, and think Illinois will win by something like 65-57. Prove me wrong, boys.
OCR FTW. I'll let those inclined pore over it. It sounds a lot worse in this format than it did coming from Brandon; it sounds like they have reasonable explanations for some of it. The QC folk being impermissibly involved sounds pretty bad, though, and one Alex Herron is so fired.
NOTICE OF ALLEGATIONS
President of the University of Michigan
[NCAA Bylaws 184.108.40.206.1, 220.127.116.11.1.1, 11.7.2 and 18.104.22.168 (2009-10 NCAA Manual)]
1. It is alleged that from January 2008 through September 2009, the institution's football program exceeded the permissible limit on the number of coaches by five when quality control staff members (noncoaching sport-specific staff members who were not counted as countable coaches) engaged in on- and off-field coaching activities. The quality control staff members included Adam Braithwaite (March 2008 to the present), Dan Hott (January 2008 to the present), Josh Ison (February 2009 to the present), Bob McClain (January 2008 to February 2009), Eric Smith (January 2008 to the present) and Bryan Wright (June 2008 to the present). Specifically:
a. During 2008 and 2009 winter and voluntary summer workouts, and outside of the regular playing season, quality control staff members regularly monitored and conducted skill-development activities with football student-athletes that occurred two days a week. Additionally, the quality control staff members coached the football student-athletes through those activities to improve technique and develop fundamental football-related skills. [NCAA Bylaws 22.214.171.124.1, 126.96.36.199.1.1, 11.7.2 and 188.8.131.52]
b. During 2008 and 2009 spring and regular-season football practice, quality control staff members regularly assisted ' with football student-athletes' flexibility and warm-up activities. Additionally, on some occasions, the quality control staff members provided advice and/or corrections to football student-athletes pertaining to technique and plays. [NCAA Bylaws 184.108.40.206.1, 220.127.116.11.1.1, 11.7.2 and 18.104.22.168]
c. From January 2008 through September 2009, the quality control staff members sometimes watched game and/or practice film with football student-athletes and provided advice and/or corrections to the football student-athletes pertaining to technique and plays. [NCAA Bylaws 22.214.171.124.1, 126.96.36.199.1.1, 11.7.2 and 188.8.131.52]
d. From January 2008 through September 2009, the quality control staff members sometimes attended meetings involving coaching activities. [NCAA Bylaws 184.108.40.206.1, 220.127.116.11.1.1, 11.7.2 and 18.104.22.168]
Please indicate whether this information is substantially correct and whether the institution agrees violations of NCAA legislation occurred. Submit evidence to support your response. [Editor's note: rest after the jump.]
The University received a notice of allegations last night and held this press conference in response. Tim is currently holding the notice right now and it should be available online soon, but what I gathered from the press conference:
- Michigan checked up on and punished players for missing class in the summer, as suggested earlier.
- QC assistants overstepped their bounds and did some prohibited coaching activities.
- The infamous Sunday workouts from the Free Press article were indeed too long. By 20 minutes. Because it's unclear what exactly counts when it comes to stretching. Similarly, there were instances where Michigan may have been over the 20 hour weekly maximum by about two hours because of similar stretching-related issues.
Your initial take on this is likely to be "WTF where's the beef," and… yeah. 1 and 3 seem incredibly minor items that will draw something even less than a slap on the wrist. Possibly an unpleasant poke. Two, depending on exactly what that entails, could warrant a bonafide slap. Nothing found comes close to the Free Press's WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN reporting, which brazenly suggested that Michigan was exceeding allowable maximums by a factor of more than two.
Free Press: Fail
Let's stew on that: it was immediately apparent to anyone who did a cursory google search on the topic that allowable practice limits are a supremely gray area that every program in the country does an end-around on. This did not appear in the article. This is what the article suggested:
Players spent at least nine hours on football activities on Sundays after games last fall. NCAA rules mandate a daily 4-hour limit. The Wolverines also exceeded the weekly limit of 20 hours, the athletes said.
This was blatantly dishonest at the time and—surprise!—it turns out that Michigan is not blowing through NCAA regulations without care. The infamous Sunday activities were 20 minutes over. Because of confusion about stretching.
First: I don't think this is going to be a big deal. But Brandon did bring up that apparently Michigan is still under probation for the Ed Martin thing because the NCAA case took forever to conclude and since the allegations date back a couple years now that Michigan was technically five months away from getting out from under that. For something that happened 15 years and two athletic directors ago.
Brandon was very clear that the NCAA takes these sorts of things into consideration and it was not likely to be a problematic thing, especially given the nature of the current allegations, but he brought it up. So I'm bringing it up.
Anyone who had any doubts about Dave Brandon's suitability as athletic director, and there were a few, must have dumped them about five minutes into this press conference. Brandon was epic. He gave transparent, honest answers that sound a lot like the fictional Rich Rodriguez who lives only in my (and perhaps your) head. You know, the one that passionately argues the case for Demar Dorsey with unassailable logic.
Brandon's Q&A session was a combination of justified deflection, smooth answers to hard questions, and one totally unambiguous declaration that nothing in the NCAA report would impact Rich Rodriguez's job security. Many people in the liveblog were giving it to Birkett for that question, but isn't it much, much better that it was asked and answered so forcefully? If it's not asked then this news cycle includes a bunch of questions about that. Now there are no questions.
Michigan has 90 days to provide a response and there will be an NCAA hearing in early August. If Michigan chooses to self impose sanctions—which was broached just like that: "if"—it will probably happen after the response and, obviously, before the hearing.
I am not entirely sure whether the allegations rise to the level of major violations but it certainly doesn't sound like it. Scholarship reductions seem exceedingly unlikely. More ASAP.
[UPDATE: Okay. Tim has just provided the documents and they explicitly state that the allegations "are considered to be potential major violations" and that if the institution believes any of them should be classified as secondary they should present that in their response.]
Drumroll please. As always, Live Blog Chaos Mitigation Post. The brief version: it's moderated so posts only show up after a producer approves them. This prevents the thing from descending into unreadable chaos.
U-M to hold media briefing about NCAA report
ANN ARBOR, Mich. --- The University of Michigan will hold a media briefing at 1 p.m. ET Tuesday, Feb. 23, in the Regents Room at the Fleming Administration Building regarding the NCAA report about the football program.
The briefing will include U-M President Mary Sue Coleman, incoming athletic director David Brandon and football coach Rich Rodriguez. They will take questions immediately following their statements.
In the months since the university launched its internal investigation I've heard a thousand things of dubious provenance that range from an asteroid hitting Ann Arbor to the NCAA taking away ten scholarships… from the Free Press. So I'm loathe to say anything definitively.
Here's the but you were waiting for: but I do have a couple of folk I trust who have proven themselves one step away from important people. These folk say the results of the investigation are "not expected to have major implications." They will report something on at least two issues:
- Michigan checks up on players to make sure they are in class, and has been doing this since Bo. (I know someone who's had football players as a TA and can confirm that polo-shirt wearing folk checked in on luminaries like Jake Long.) This has been going on during summer classes; apparently it is not kosher to do this.
- The "quality control" people at issue in the investigation have football coaching experience. One of them, for instance, is our new safeties/OLBs coach. Before his time at Michigan he had some stints at smaller schools. Someone testified that the QC people did not have coaching experience, which may have been an "honest mistake," which the NCAA will rule on. How could this be an honest mistake?
The people testifying weren't the gophers or anyone at the workouts. It sounds like they were people in compliance or elsewhere in the athletic department but not the football program who were either ignorant or deceitful, either of which would explain the rumors going around about heads rolling in the aftermath of the report.
I followed up but couldn't get any clarification as to whether not expecting "major implications" meant they didn't expect any major violations. A major violation can have a minimal effect, as we've seen consistently over the past decade, but any major violation would sully Michigan's to-date pristine record and create another totally awesome media avalanche. It would be just like Michigan to get hit by the NCAA for making sure its players are in class.
Again, I think the above is worth posting and is accurate. It may not be comprehensive and may be a positive spin on something nastier. We'll find out in about an hour.
We'll have a liveblog going at 1PM. Tim will be twittering as well.
1,000 words on the basketball season. The Daily's Ariel Bond obviates the need for further comment:
For this service we thank her.
On Conway. There has been a huge e-gument in the aftermath of MI WR Shawn Conway's commitment. I'm kind of annoyed. I really hate it when a kid commits out of nowhere in February and people go nuts, pro or con. I think they go excessively negative in response to the school of mindless boosterism that regards every commitment as a victory, but often the end result is like the fights I had with my brother as a kid: I would hit him first, but not that hard. Then he would hit me back harder than was justified, so I would hit him as hard as he hit me. From there it would escalate until we were rolling around on the ground trying to bite each other's eye sockets.
In Conway's specific case, he is an in-state kid who they have seen extensively at their 7-on-7. He's 6'4" and has enormous hands. He won't turn 17 until June. His speed may be questionable—or his highlight tape might not be sped up like many are. There's a good reason he's under the radar: he didn't play until last year because of transfers and when he did get on the field it was for a poor team with a poor quarterback. This doesn't seem too similar to a Drew Dileo or Antonio Kinard because the things that held those guys back in the rankings were physical limitations. Conway has more upward mobility from a rankings perspective. Even cranky local fixture Magnus, an actual football coach, likes him.
And also: it's not like Dileo or Kinard has proven himself either way yet. Rodriguez built a good program with guys like them. At the very least it's clear they trust their own evaluations. That's a better state of affairs than this one:
"I used to go in the coaches' offices, and sometimes they would literally have Rivals.com up on their screen," said Matt Shodell, who covers UM and its recruiting for CaneSport.com. "I won't name the coaches, but they would be writing names down on pieces of paper. I don't know how much film they were looking at."
That was Miami under Coker.
This argument is a lot like people complaining in November that the class was going to have two defensive players in it.
No research necessary. Texas is apparently excluded from the short list of 15 schools the Big Ten is doing research on. Barry Alvarez:
"They basically broke down what they would bring to the table," Alvarez said at a meeting of the UW athletic board. "They talked about academics. They talked about size. They talked about size of their arenas. They talked about attendance. They talked about the populace in that specific area."
According to Alvarez that process will continue, and Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany could make a recommendation to the university presidents this summer.
"I think it could be one (school), or I think it could be multiple." …
"In our initial study, there wasn't anything on Texas," Alvarez said.
Scale back your world domination plans where a 36-team Big Ten fights Mecha-Godzilla every January first, it seems. Alvarez also asserted that Notre Dame is not likely, though he didn't specifically mention their absence from the list of 15 teams.
On the other hand, researching Texas's suitability is a waste of time. Here is a million-dollar consultant's report on whether Texas joining the Big Ten would be a net benefit for the conference: hell yes.
Goalie acquisition. A few days ago I mentioned a potential Jack Campbell replacement, one Jeff Teglia of the USHL. Here's another kid down to Michigan and Minnesota. He is lanky Joel Vienneau of the OPJHL:
"[Michigan's] Mel Pearson saw me last weekend and he thought I played really well," the 6-3, 185-pound netminder said. "He likes my size. They haven't offered [officially] yet but they are very interested in me because they lost Jack Campbell to major juniors and have a big need."
Like Teglia, he's putting up excellent numbers. Unlike Teglia, he's playing in a league that provides questionable competition. Even so, a quick googling of both gives the impression Vienneau is the better prospect. There's the Minnesota offer, for one, and then there's a number of people on Hockey's Future insisting that the latest CSB rankings for Vienneau—29th NA goalie—are preposterous and the kid is an easy top ten prospect. While HF folk are easily mockable, there is some truth in the hive mind. The Hockey News featured him as a prospect to watch and guaranteed he'd be picked in the upcoming draft. The same guy called him out as a potential mid-round pick in an interview. A leap in the final CSBs seems assured.
Yost Built surfaced an earlier article in which Vienneau declared he was "95-99 percent likely" to end up a Gopher, but that was before Jack Campbell changed his mind and Michigan started looking around. Michigan has a big depth chart advantage. While Minnesota also has a junior starter with a questionable save percentage, Michigan's backups are walk-ons who are not threats to play. Minnesota has a sophomore who went in the fourth round of the NHL draft. Vienneau plans a visit to Michigan after his season ends and will decide then.
Elsewhere in hockey recruiting, the Cedar Rapids Gazette has a fluff piece on Roughriders teammates and Michigan commits Derek DeBlois and Mac Bennett, who have known each other since they were "tiny." They also surf. On the East Coast. So there you go. I'm curious as to whether DeBlois, currently slated for 2011, will move his enrollment up a year. There's a spot with the departure of Robbie Czarnik, and Michigan needs forwards who can put the puck in the net.
Star system… comes to hockey. College Hockey 24/7 has release a top 50 list that features a ton of incoming Michigan folk:
4. Jon Merrill
13. Mac Bennett
31. Kevin Clare
35. Luke Moffatt
37. Jacob Fallon
Michigan has the third-most names on the list with five. Minnesota has six, Notre Dame seven. Oddly, Miami is shut out and Michigan State has only one guy—goalie Willie Yanakeff is #50. Both schools are bringing in fairly hefty classes, too.
It appears that uncommitted recruits were not included, because Teglia and Vienneau are absent and it seems hard to justify Yanakeff over Teglia when Yanakeff has an .887 save percentage and Teglia has a .918 in the same league.
Etc.: UMHoops scouts Carlton Brundidge and Cody Zeller. Baseball won two against a good OVC team, lost two to Texas Tech, and lost Ryan Lamarre for "an extended period of time." I hate you so much, 2009-10. The final ice dancing competition goes down tonight; Davis and White are in second. Victor's Rally speeches from the Youtubes.