Mike Lantry, 1972
|WHAT||Michigan (18-6, 10-2 B1G) vs. Wisconsin (20-5, 7-5)|
|WHERE||Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|WHEN||1 pm Eastern, Sunday|
|LINE||Michigan -6 (KenPom)|
|TV||CBS (PBP: Spero Dedes; Analyst: Bill Raftery)|
Right: The Stauskas Stepback [Chris Smith/UMHoops]
After Michigan State's victory over Northwestern last night, the Wolverines and Spartans are once again deadlocked at the top of the Big Ten standings with 10-2 conference records. The in-state rivals are two games clear of Iowa, victors over Penn State on Saturday. MSU hosts Nebraska and travels to Purdue before heading to Crisler next Sunday; Michigan, meanwhile, will have an entire week to prepare for the Spartans after this game.
Given that Michigan State (@Michigan, Iowa, @OSU) and Iowa (Wisconsin, @Minnesota, @MSU) both have three very tough matchups left on their respective schedules, a victory on Sunday would give Michigan the inside track to the Big Ten title, and quite possibly an outright one. According to KenPom, Michigan is at least a 66% favorite in every one of their remaining games—they have a 19% chance of running the table. Win this and a 15-3 conference record isn't just distinctly possible, it's the expectation.
Finishing atop the conference wouldn't just put another banner in the Crisler rafters; according to the mock NCAA bracket put together by media members in Indianapolis this week, the B1G champion is set to get the most desirable two-seed spot in terms of both matchup (Wichita State is easily the weakest one-seed) and location (Indianapolis).
THE PREVIOUS MATCHUP
If not for Wisconsin scoring the first basket, Michigan would've led wire-to-wire in their first win in Madison since 1999. The Badgers managed to cut a 15-point second half deficit all the way down to one before Nik Stauskas drilled a stepback three-pointer over Nigel Hayes.
Stauskas was brilliant, leading all scorers with 23 points while adding in four assists; Caris LeVert (20 points), Glenn Robinson III (14 on 6/8 FG), and Jondan Morford (combined 12 points, 14 rebounds, 6/6 FG) also excelled. Michigan scored 1.16 points per trip, their best mark against Wisconsin since 2006.
The Michigan loss represented the second of what would be five losses in six games for the Badgers, though they've since rebounded with three straight wins (@Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota).
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold:
|G||12||Traevon Jackson||Jr.||6'2, 208||76.2||23.3||No|
|Not particularly efficient, but gets to the line and shoots well from beyond arc|
|G||1||Ben Brust||Sr.||6'1 196||86.9||17.8||Always*|
|Very good outside shooter, mostly a catch-and-shoot guy, still hated|
|G||21||Josh Gasser||Jr.||6'3, 190||83.4||12.8||Always*|
|Tiny usage, great shooter, high FT rate despite more 3PA than 2PA, still hated|
|F||15||Sam Dekker||So.||6'7, 220||75.3||23.7||Kinda|
|Potential first-rounder, very efficient inside arc, few TOs, iffy outside shot|
|C||44||Frank Kaminsky||Jr.||7'0, 234||64.8||23.2||Not at all|
|Very effective near basket or outside, decent rebounder and shot-blocker|
|F||15||Nigel Hayes||Fr.||6'7, 250||44.7||25.5||Very|
|Solid scorer inside arc, foul magnet, poor FT shooter, active defender|
|G||24||Bronson Koenig||Fr.||6'3, 190||35.9||13.2||Yes|
|Barely played in first matchup, midrange shots falling, three-pointers not|
|F||13||Duje Dukan||Jr.||6'9, 220||20.8||17.6||Kinda|
|Stretch-four type seeing very few minutes in B1G play|
As is their norm, Wisconsin keeps a short bench (339th nationally in bench minutes); with Dukan barely getting any run in conference play, this is a seven-man rotation.
Point guard Traevon Jackson doesn't excel in any one area and has struggled to finish inside the arc (42.4% 2-pt), but he's a well-rounded player who can distribute the ball, knock down three-pointers (37.9%), and get to the line frequently. To combat his ability to get to the rim, Michigan used Caris LeVert to defend him in the first matchup; this worked out well—Jackson finished with 7 points on 12 shot equivalents while making just one trip to the charity stripe.
Noted/hated gunners Ben Brust and Josh Gasser round out the starting backcourt. Aside from Brust's higher usage and Gasser's higher FT rate, they're extremely similar players. Brust shoots 39.6% from three while leading the Big Ten in attempts; Gasser shoots 42.3% from beyond the arc, where he takes more than half his shots. Both are exceptional free-throw shooters and middling finishers inside the arc. Meanwhile, their lack of size is something Michigan can take advantage of on the other end of the floor—Stauskas worked Gasser off the pick-and-roll in the first game and LeVert was able to shoot right over Brust.
Athletic wing Sam Dekker takes the highest percentage of the team's shots, though his jumper has often failed him in Big Ten play—he's shooting 28.6% from beyond the arc in conference. He's at his best when he's able to attack the rim off the dribble; he was 5/10 on two-pointers in the first game, mostly generating those shots near the rim, and 0/3 on three-pointers. For a player who relies on driving as much as Dekker does, he takes care of the basketball very well.
Frank Kaminsky is a stretch four in a center's body, which has its positives and negatives. He's a very adept outside shooter (40.7% 3-pt) who can also go to work on the block (71.2% on shots at the rim, per hoop-math) and knock down midrange jumpers (42.9%); all these shots are pretty impossible to block. His rebounding numbers are good but not great, which hurts this small Wisconsin team, and considering his size he's not the most imposing interior defender, something Brian mentioned as a big factor in Michigan's previous triumph:
There is something wonky about Wisconsin's defense this year that was not the case last year. That is Wisconsin trading Jared Berggren, Ryan Evans, and Neverending Ginger Assassin…
…for Frank Kaminski, Sam Dekker, and a 6'3" guard. Their ability to contest the jumpers their defense is designed to provide has been seriously compromised by their lack of size. Compounding issues: while Kaminski is taller than Berggren he's nowhere near Berggren's class as an intimidator.
Wisconsin packs the three-point line and plays a soft hedge against the pick-and-roll, theoretically forcing opponents to attempt difficult pull-up twos. This year, however, those shots have been a little easier, and the dropoff in interior defense has also led to opponents shooting unusually well against the Badgers from the outside due to drive-and-kick opportunities when the defense collapses.
The backup of real significance is freshman Nigel Hayes, whose FT rate of 103.4 (yes, he's attempted more FTs than FGs) would be third nationally and miles ahead of any B1G player if he got enough minutes; he's averaging just under 11 points per game in conference even though he hits just 59.5% of his free throws. Hayes has a wide, solid frame for a 6'7 guy, which allows him to split his minutes evenly between center and power forward, though his rebounding numbers aren't up to snuff for a big man. He utilizes a long wingspan to block his fair share of shots and generate a surprising number of steals, though he's also foul-prone (5.6 FC/40).
Fellow freshman Bronson Koenig gets sporadic minutes at guard and gets very little usage; he mostly functions as a spot-up shooter, though he's not doing well in that role (4/21 3-pt in B1G play).
From the first preview:
Wisconsin jumped out to a school-record 16-0 start before Tuesday's loss at Assembly Hall, and they didn't do it against the proverbial tray of cupcakes: those 16 wins include nine KenPom top-100 teams, four of which rank in the top 25 (Florida, St. Louis, Virginia, and Iowa). Their most impressive win is probably the 48-38 suffocation of #17 Virginia in the B1G/ACC Challenge that set the game of basketball back a good half-century.
Since then victories at the Kohl Center have lost some of their luster, as Northwestern(!) and Ohio State both triumphed there; the Badgers also lost by 13 at Minnesota during their early Big Ten skid. They've righted the ship with a road win at Illinois and home victories over MSU and Minnesota in their last three games. That Minnesota win came on Thursday night, so this is a pretty quick turnaround for the Badgers.
Both of these teams are heavily reliant on outside shooting to generate points, even though they go about generating those shots in wildly different ways; the gap in offensive efficiencies between the two can be almost entirely explained by Michigan's edge in three-point shooting (40.2% in Big Ten play to Wisconsin's 34.2%). Other similarities include subpar rebounding, few turnovers on either end, and remarkable foul avoidance on defense.
One area that could play to Michigan's advantage is Wisconsin's dependence on producing points at the free-throw line. The Badgers are second in the conference in FTA/FGA and score 25.4% of their points at the line, also second in the Big Ten. The Wolverines, on the other hand, have the second-lowest FTA/FGA allowed and give up the fewest percentage of points in the conference at the line—just 17.2%. Michigan matched Wisconsin in FTA in the first game; if they're able to do that again—and that feat should be easier at home—odds of a victory are pretty good.
Stick to shooters. Wisconsin's best chance at a victory is to generate a gap in three-point attempts and take advantage; Michigan was a little fortunate in the first game to match the Badgers's seven triples despite five fewer attempts. The bigs have to be very disciplined against Kaminsky, especially when deciding when to help on attacking guards; Jon Horford nearly gave up a huge three in the first game when he unnecessarily sunk into the paint. Meanwhile, the guards have to stick to Brust and Gasser like glue and run them off the line if necessary—two-point attempts from them, even open ones, are more optimal for Michigan than half-decent looks from beyond the arc.
Attack the soft middle. Michigan shot 55% on twos in the first game despite LeVert and Stauskas both missing a number of open pull-up attempts from the free-throw area. The gameplan probably won't deviate much from the first time around—lots of pick-and-rolls to generate those interior looks while keeping an eye out for the occasional open shooter when the defense collapses.
Limit transition chances. Wisconsin doesn't run much (surprise!), generating just 15% of their shots in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock. When they run out, however, they're quite effective: the Badgers boast a 61.5 eFG% in transition compared to 51.6% in non-transition opportunities. Taking care of the basketball shouldn't be a huge issue—one exception: watch for post passes off of screens, as Wisconsin's bigs often sink into those and come up with steals—so this is all about hustling back after missed shots, something that Michigan has struggled with all year.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 6
Mark Donnal, redshirting stretch four type, is capable of doing this:
Favorite Instagram comment: "There's no way your white."
Grantland feature on Trey Burke and Jared Sullinger. Luke Winn puts Michigan at #8 in his power rankings, looks at past teams with similar gaps between offensive and defensive efficiency (make sure to read the Duke section right above Michigan for context). If you're anything like me, you'll enjoy this SBNation multi-article feature on the history of the dunk contest.
*Yes, this goes against the general principle behind SIBMIHHAT, but some wounds take a long time to heal.
I haven't been doing hockey previews this year because hockey kind of evaporated there for a long time and when it came back I didn't want to pick up the baton again just to tell you the things you could learn by going to the team page of opponent X on College Hockey Stats. So I'm going to morph this into a status update/preview thing with a new format. A work in progress.
[At right: an understandably perplexed Red Berenson. Bill Rapai photo]
|WHAT||Michigan at Minnesota|
Friday: 9 PM Eastern
Saturday: 8 PM Eastern
|LINE||college hockey lines, junkie?|
State Of The Bid
State Of The Pairwise
The Pairwise rankings got revamped in the offseason, yet again. Like the BCS rankings, each iteration drops more and more stuff until you're left with something simple but unsatisfying. This iteration dumped the "teams under consideration" factor entirely. Now everyone is under consideration, even Michigan State.
The only factors left:
- head to head
- common opponents
Since RPI breaks all ties, Pairwise comparisons against teams you haven't played devolve to a straight RPI comparison. The only way for the PWR to deviate from straight RPI is for you to be –2 in head to head or lose head to head and common opponents. This happens once in Michigan's 58 comparisons, as Michigan's grim loss to Western in the GLI lets their superior COP play. But since the tiebreaker for tied teams is the individual comparison, and the tiebreaker for multiple tied teams is RPI the only way that hurts Michigan is if Western is one of the teams right next to them in the standings.
Nowadays, PWR == RPI to a 95% confidence. At this instant the PWR follows RPI to the letter save for Colgate ranking in front of Maine.
So it's kind of dumb now, because RPI is dumb. But it was kind of dumb before, what with teams popping above or below an arbitrary cutoff point radically altering the standings up until the last day of the season*. Meanwhile, the RPI is different but perhaps equally as dumb this year, as an attempt to reform it brought about these changes:
- Road wins and home losses are weighted by a factor of 1.2; Road losses and home wins are weighted by a factor of 0.8.
- Points get added for "quality" wins against the top 20 according to RPI.
It seems like the first change is an effort to prevent Big Ten teams from larding their 14 nonconference games with a ton of home outings. In the NHL, teams get about 55% of their points at home. There is some advantage to balance, but the change seems to make the system as biased in favor of the road team as it was in favor of the home team.
Meanwhile, the quality win bonus is the kind of thing you find stapled on to systems people know don't work but are trying to ad-hoc themselves into something that looks like it works right. The upshot of that change is that you'd rather beat Wisconsin and lose to Penn State than vice versa, and hey look maybe the team already knows this. Do they know that you'd rather beat both Penn State and Wisconsin? Someone tell them this.
Right. So now…
*[WORTHLESS ASIDE: Back in the days when I could stand the USCHO message boards there was one guy who responded to all the valid complaints about the volatility of the PWR system by claiming that the system was not volatile because it only existed on the day the field was selected. Eventually it became clear that this was not the guy being willfully obtuse. He actually believed this.
He had something like 100k posts by the time I left, and is probably heading towards a million now. In other news, a virus that wiped the hard drives of everyone who had posted on USCHO in the past year would increase the average IQ of the internet by 20%.]
State Of The Bid
RPI is everything now; Michigan is tenth in RPI and tenth in the PWR, which would have them comfortably in as a three-seed. Michigan has a comfortable gap over the #11 team in RPI; they're closer to 6th than 11th.
Unfortunately, the RPI changes have blown up the exceedingly useful Sioux Sports feature that would let you know approximately what your RPI would be if you won X of your remaining Y games, because that's impossible to predict with the quality win bonuses.
Michigan has just one team with any of those win bonuses on tap, but they're big ones: Minnesota. Four games against the currently #2 RPI team in the country offer the potential of reward if Michigan can even split; meanwhile a home series at Penn State is a minefield waiting to happen, as is a home and home with dismal MSU. OSU is in the middle. Eyeballing it, 6-4 down the stretch would probably be good enough to keep them in the tourney as long as they got something off of the Gophers.
On the positive end, short of doing something like take three from the Gophers and run the table the rest of the way, a one-seed is out of the question. Moving up to a two is very doable; as mentioned, a couple of bumps the right way in the PWR and they'll be the top #2.
State Of The Hockey
You tell me, man. Michigan followed a grim four-game skid with a sweep of MSU that was filled with fortunate bounces and even gameplay, and playing MSU even is really bad news. Then they swarm Wisconsin, unfortunate to not sweep the Badgers one weekend before they sweep the Gophers. Everything's going just peachy after a 7-3 win against Penn State on Friday, and then… splat.
Saturday's 4-0 loss to Penn State was alarming on multiple levels. Nagelvoort gave up two awful bad angle goals that squeezed through his five hole, and all of a sudden it was last year all over again.
The only thing we've learned about this year's team is nothing. On an individual level you've got certain guys performing and certain guys not; on a week-to-week basis you could get anything from a throat-crushing of a top-ten team to one million unchecked guys running through your own slot.
Nieves is the modern day Milan Gajic.
There are two primary issues: lack of production from Michigan's cadre of highly touted, veteran scoring-line wings and the defense. These have been the issues all year, and they are compounding as the year progresses. Boo Nieves is stuck on one goal; Phil Di Giuseppe has five. Guptill is doing a bit better, but the team has exactly one player cracking a PPG, JT Compher.
The team struggles immensely to generate scoring chances at even strength. I'm not sure if it's a lack of confidence or effort, but watching every rush end with a shot from the top of the circle is beginning to wear, as is Michigan's total inability to complete a pass on a two on one. The skill guys on this roster don't have much in the way of skill. Meanwhile, the offensive ability of the defensive corps can be summed up like so: Kevin Clare (career goals: 3) is one of two D who play on the power play.
The defense kind of is what it is. We knew that it was going to be shaky going in, and then Kevin Lohan got knocked out for most of the season. Not getting even one player in the all-conference discussion from Guptill/Di Giuseppe/Nieves/Moffatt is what's really hurting Michigan. The days when a random nondescript forward became an impact player as a junior/senior seem pretty far away.
But all I wanted them to do at the beginning of the year is make the tourney and they're on track to do that.
You just got Skjei'd. No, I don't know how to pronounce it either.
Minnesota is perennially packed with talent and occasionally plays like it; this is one of those years. Despite the sweep last weekend they're still locked into a one seed at 19-4-5. Both of those losses were 2-1 affairs in which Minnesota outshot Wisconsin, in one case badly. Their sole other losses were at Notre Dame and against UMD; they have had inexplicable difficulty with MSU, going 2-0-2 with two one-goal wins.
There is no one scoring star. Minnesota has nobody averaging a PPG. They do have piles and piles of depth, with five guys over 20 points already and four more over 16. They roll three true scoring lines.
If there is a star, it's a guy who is nowhere to be found on point lists: defenseman Brady Skjei. (Skjei is somehow pronounced "Shea," in case you're wondering where this Skedge guy is on the broadcast.) Shea, a sophomore, was a first round pick last offseason and was the cornerstone of the World Junior defense corps. He's got size, strength, and defensive skill. He is legit.
Goaltending has been excellent, with sophomore Adam Wilcox a true #1—his backup has 84 minutes on the season. He's got a .930, which places in him a tie for 11th with Nagelvoort*.
Michigan's six points back of the Gophers and can tie for the conference lead with a sweep. Good luck with that. For RPI/tourney purposes, a split would be super.
*[Expand the nets. There are 12 out of 82 qualifying goalies with a .930, 28 with a .920, 47 with a .910, and a whopping 62 with a .900. Goalies are too good.]
Via Hail to the Blue in the comments, "The softball team is in action today, tomorrow, and Sunday in Lafayette, LA at the Ragin' Cajun Invitational. Follow @umichsoftball on Twitter for live updates. Couple of tough games against UL-Lafayette today and tomorrow down here."
Pitchers and Catchers! There used to be a day sometime in the late summer every year when I start to get really excited about football. This tingling would progress to a low hum when practices started up, and would be a spinal vibration by the time I'm racing into the stadium for whatever MACrifice we're starting against. I miss that. Last year we were doing the basketball book so August was just a bleary eyed gauntlet, and the year before the season started in Jerryworld. This year I already know that excitement will be damped down by a month's worth of reliving The Horror.
Pitchers and catchers reporting isn't so much an event, or even a day on the calendar, as it is a metaphor: It is the day that winter's back begins to break; a promise that day follows night.
|9||W All Track Combined||$141,452|
You can't dampen pitchers and catchers day, not when Omar Infante is the rookie you're praying will lead the offense, not you're seeing his back plus Prince Fielder's and your 4th best pitcher's because the expense of being so awesome has passed what awesome can net.
Sorry, this is supposed to be about Michigan not the Tigers. Ah but it is, for it's a lead-in to Raoul's comprehensive preview of Michigan's baseball team. It's still tough for a northern team to be more than a good mid-major in this sport, but Bakich seems to have Michigan heading in that direction.
When baseball is really good (e.g. their 2006 run) they're the fourth sport in these parts. Are they Michigan's true #4 sport? There was a interesting thread this week where the question of that sport's identity was posed by Wolverine Devotee. To that discussion I added the list at right from Michigan's Title IX reporting. Some of those teams (like lacrosse) are benefiting more from ticket sales/TV revenue generated by opponents' fans. I tried to compare where each stands among other universities, but many schools lie their asses off in those reports regarding women's sports revenues, for example West Virginia says their W Track & Field team takes in what Michigan's hockey team does. My guess is this gets them around a Title IX provision but I don't know which. Either way it makes the stats useless.
As for Michigan's fourth sport, I still think it's softball.
My bloody valentine. Sunday there will be a whole bunch of recruits who don't have drivers licenses yet watching the Wisconsin game at Crisler. Next week there will be a large and star-heavy group of those who can drive, and who can also say things like "I'm committing to Michigan," say, for example, if they were suddenly taken by a wave of euphoria that might accompany an effective conference title clinch over a rival. This is not crazy; it has happened before. Go make our football team good, basketball.
FWIW HopeInHoke's diary shows winning the conference from here is possible, but nowhere near a certainty. MSU's only road loss in-conference is to Wisconsin; remember when that was a thing we used to just chalk up to "happens to everyone"? LSA's weekly stats report shows Michigan's superior to an average of remaining opponents in everything but rebounding.
[After the jump: things Marcus Ray et al. say about Michigan's 2014 secondary]
Damien Harris Visiting, U-M Still Leader
Next weekend's Michigan State game will double as a de facto Junior Day for the football team, and 247's Steve Lorenz confirmed a big-time visitor will be in attendance—one-time Michigan commit Damien Harris:
It will be Harris's first unofficial visit to Michigan since the Notre Dame game last fall, making it his first appearance since stepping back from his early commitment to the Wolverines. His mother has publicly stated that Michigan is still the top school for her son and that he just wants to re-evaluate his options.
Harris took an unofficial to Ohio State—his first visit anywhere in months—for the Michigan game and tweeted out some support for the home team. His coach, however, said U-M is still the team to beat:
Harris' high school coach at Madison Southern (Ky.), Jon Clark, told Rivals.com earlier this week that the Wolverines are still No. 1 on the list for the top running back in the class of 2015.
"Michigan is still his top school, but he wants to make sure," Clark told the site. "He's open to looking."
While Harris is still picking up offers—Auburn, Miami (YTM), and Wisconsin all entered the post-decommitment fray—this looks to be a classic Michigan-OSU battle with the Wolverines, at least for now, holding the edge.
[Hit THE JUMP for a rundown of new offers, weekend visitors, and more.]
— Zoltan Mesko (@ZoltanMesko) January 17, 2014
ATTN: New Yorkers. Rather large game approaching on the 23rd. If you seek the camaraderie of your fellow Michigan Man, here is a thing you might do: hang out with Zoltan Mesko and two small dogs at Professor Thom's, with proceeds going to a good cause. Details:
Professor Thom's, February 23rd, Noon.
Happy hour drink specials, complimentary appetizers, door prizes & more!
A $10 donation at the door (or online) to benefit the Zoltan Mesko Foundation will be your ticket to the event. If you can't make it, but would still like to donate please do so at zoltanmeskofoundation.org
Here is the facebook page. No word about speedo availability, ladies.
Just the worst. If you follow me on twitter you already know about this, but since many people don't for excellent reasons like "tends to go on rants about Penn State bench players," let me introduce you to John Johnson, a guy getting ten minutes a game for Penn State who drives me completely insane because:
- His ORTG is 87, which is actually up two points from last night.
- Despite this he takes 23% of PSU's shots when he's on the court.
- He has an assist rate of 4.6 and TO rate of 20.
- His parents named him "John Johnson," which is… wow. Also what happens when he finds out about Major Major Major Major? Exactly.
I have to tell you about this here because BISB stole my platform to lob statistical oddities at you and now I just track Illinois defensive rebounding anomalies in my basement.
Did you know the Big Ten now has TWO guys named Maverick? Or that Purdue has only three guys playing more than half their minutes, and nobody (NOBODY) averaging 30 minutes a game? Or that Northwestern starts a guy, Sanjay Lumpkin, who takes fewer than 10% of available shots? Only me and the basement elves did.
By the way, do we have a Reggie Cleveland All Star team for guys who should be oompa-loompas but are in fact 6'6" half-Indian dudes? Because… well, you see where I'm going with this.
OTHER THING. Rewatching the Ohio State game made one thing clear: Amir Johnson tries to block everything. I mentioned the Morgan basket on a missed Albrecht shot that was functionally equivalent to a pass as Williams came over. That is a canonical example but far from the only one. About ten minutes into the first half it became clear that OSU's defensive rebounding problems were about 80% Williams attempting to swat everything, leaving Michigan bigs all alone on the weakside.
The offensive rebound numbers don't even tell the full story, as there were a number of instances in which Michigan was in position to add to their totals until funny bounces intervened. The numbers back this up, especially if you tick over to the conference only Kenpom stats. Ohio State is 11th in the league at defensive rebounding. And it doesn't even help their defense. In league play OSU is 10th at defending twos.
OTHER OTHER THING. What, you want links to things? Oh fine. Here is your Indiana schadenfreude after they managed to lose to Penn State despite being up 11 with three minutes left.
This is absolutely 100% unacceptable. This team is hot garbage with a bevy of talent. Seriously, I'm not going to talk any crap about youth or inexperience. That had nothing to do with the non-stop disasters that we've witnessed this year. I even want to try and blame this most recent egg on Tom Crean and I can't find where I actually feel he had a problem in this game.
Win chart? Hell yes.
I'd like to thank the Nittany Lions for doing that to someone else this year.
New rules. The NCAA proposes allowing replay booths to not only overturn targeting expulsions but also the targeting penalties, which was always going to happen once it became clear that leaving half of a non-penalty to stand was rage-inducing. So hooray.
The committee also recommended a rules change that will allow defensive units to substitute within the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock, with the exception of the final two minutes of each half, starting with the 2014 season.
If a team snaps the ball before 29 seconds on the play clock they will be hit with a five yard delay of game penalty.
You try to not be a jerk about everything and this is how they repay you.
More offensive yet is the stated reason for these changes:
“This rules change is being made to enhance student-athlete safety by guaranteeing a small window for both teams to substitute,” said Calhoun.
Nobody buys this. A player who is hurt or in trouble can fall over and the game will stop to accommodate them.
Speedy coaches have texted any reporter they know expressing their skepticism/disgust, and some guys have even taken to twitter to express something than bland positivity. "Think of the children" isn't flying in this case. The pushback here exceeds anything I've seen in the last decade or so. Even the hated clock rules that got rolled back after one season didn't get public heated disagreement from coaches.
But… Matt Hinton does point out that very few snaps would have much chance of running afoul of the rule. Oregon averaged 20 seconds per snap, so how many would actually be under ten? Not many.
I went back to the the canonical example of lightspeed, Indiana, to find out. Specifically, I wondered if that play on which Indiana's tempo burned Ray Taylor for a touchdown would have been affected. You know, this one:
That play was snapped exactly eleven seconds after the previous one ended. IE, it would have been legal, probably. Indiana may have had to wait a beat if the play clock took a second to reset.
Ten seconds is not many seconds. It may not even be enough to substitute confidently. If the rule does get passed it's probably not going to have the huge impact people fear it will.
It goes without saying that getting the rule change passed would be good for Michigan, which regards speed as a distasteful attempt to gain advantage.
It sucks you have to say this, but yeah you have to say this. Welp:
Goal No. 1 for Doug Nussmeier at Michigan? 'We're not going to go backwards'
May you succeed in this task, for all of our sanities. I'm encouraged by what this quote implies about Nussmeier's approach to data:
"There's a number of different things, you wish you can pinpoint one thing, but we need to get our players to understand how their success rate decreases with loss yardage plays," he said. "You look at statistical football, it doesn't add up. We've got to stay on schedule, within the sticks. We'll talk about that and it'll be a big part of the spring.
"We'll talk about our goals with down and distance, what we're looking for from each play yardage-wise. And what a negative play does to you as far as your percent chances to score and how our negative plays hurt our chances to score last year."
That sounds like a guy who's willing to look at stats to see if there's anything he can learn from them, which is a change of pace from the fancy-stats-are-for-losers approach of his predecessor.
Spartan health update. Izzo had the "feeling" Keith Appling was out a couple weeks as of February 9th, which would make his return for the Michigan game in some doubt. I mean, no doubt, really. But he might not be full go. Well, of course he won't be full go. No Michigan State player will be. For one, they'll be trying to cope with the emotional havoc associated with having a 14 year old call you names on twitter*.
I've had grown men (my players) in my office in tears because of what's being written.
The things these guys play through are insane. It's Iwo Jima out there.
Meanwhile, the Fist of Stupidity gets its pins removed on the 20th, which makes fist owner Branden Dawson hypothetically but not necessarily available for Michigan. Anyone ever had pins taken out of their hand? Would you be ready to play basketball three days after? Seems unlikely to me, but maybe they're really tiny or something.
*[First sentence of first comment: "Social Media is bringging this Country to its Knees."]
Etc.: Wildcats make preliminary argument to local labor relations board. Induction Burner! (It's not happening, Brian, stop trying to make it happen, Brian.) Andrew Sinelli, suddenly key defenseman. We may not have Oompa Loompa Reggie Cleveland, but we do now have the Basil Smotherman All Stars, which are comprised of the guys who sound the most like peers of the realm.
Somewhere there should be
for all the world to see
a statue of a fool made of stone.
An image of a man
who let love slip through his hands
and left him to stand here all alone.
I found your statue, Mr. Ruffin.
It depicts Dan Dakich watching Aaron Craft attempt this shot.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the GIFs, including lots of Derrick Walton, "Plastic Man," John Beilein giving dap in the run of play, sad Ohio fans, and more.]