— Alejandro Zúñiga (@ByAZuniga) March 20, 2017
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New features this week: A few style updates. Better scrolling, chat and twitter logs shouldn’t jump around so much. The Pin section only fits one item now. Also the Twitter embeds have added a pick-and-pop game, plus a killer pump fake and drive move. Beilein, man.
The yellow/ orange bar is your mana.
Sending messages costs mana.
Messages cost more, the more active chat is.
The red dudes on the side bar are lives remaining.
If you break the Board Rules, you lose a life. Lose three lives and you have to insert a quarter into your monitor. No no keep trying it, it’ll go in. As always, the Liveblog Chaos Mitigation Post is The Law.
Enter here: http://kibitz.io/#/ncaa
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.]