44 minutes. Yes, a lot of it is dated now.
Still Ira in for Sam, who’s in a place with better meat right now.
- First weekend recap: Michigan beat Louisville two points at a time. Weekend vs. very tough teams showed what a Beilein offense can be when all five guys are firing.
- Beilein now versus when he got here: totally different offense, totally different defense. Moe is the first 5 who can shoot that B’s had since Pittsnoggle and that one guy the year after Pittsnoggle.
- The rest of the tourney: Big Ten has acquitted itself well, the refs not so much.
- Nerd-out on the seeding: advocating better metrics but don’t make it all about advanced stats either. Right now they’re just using RPI, which is bad.
- Oregon preview: Almost as up-tempo as Oklahoma State—don’t let them take a three! Vegas takes into account the loss of Boucher and the fact that Michigan is playing like a 2-seed.
- Kansas in case: Bill Self-destruction in March is a thing, but Kansas has some ATHs. Ira makes a good argument that we’d rather face them than Purdue?
- Rundown of the rest: Who do you like for the Final Four?
- Spring Football! Brian points out which guys he wants to hear nice things about.
You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.
THE USUAL LINKS
The final shots. [Joseph Dressler]
In the movie script, that shot goes in.
Michigan hadn't played their best game—far from it—but Derrick Walton nevertheless had a clean look to send the Wolverines to the Elite Eight and keep this magical run going. With time about to expire, Walton cleared out space, rose, and fired. His shot caught iron. Walton clutched his head, likely feeling the same combination of surprise and dismay as the rest of us.
"I had a good look at the basket and it just didn't drop for me," Walton said.
This is not a movie script.
In a disjointed game, Michigan's seniors fought valiantly to the finish. Walton shook off a hard fall on his elbow in the first half to finish with a game-high 20 points on 6-for-10 shooting, five rebounds, and eight assists. Zak Irvin poured in 19, going 8-of-14 from the field, pulled down eight rebounds, and played lockdown defense on Oregon star Dillon Brooks, who needed 13 shots to score 12 points. In the last five minutes, the two combined for three go-ahead shots, and Walton added a nasty fadeaway jumper to give the Wolverines a three-point lead with 2:02 left.
They could not get a fourth. Instead, Oregon's two best players on the night made the plays in winning time. Jordan Bell, a force in the paint all evening, put back a missed free throw to get the Ducks within one after Walton's jumper. After Walton couldn't get a tough layup to fall, Tyler Dorsey got a step on Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and finished at the rim for what were ultimately the final points of the game.
Michigan would get two more shots to win. DJ Wilson's three-pointer with 46 seconds remaining was well off the mark. After Dylan Ennis missed another free throw with 15 seconds to play, Oregon surprisingly chose to give only one of their three remaining fouls to give, allowing Walton to get that final look. It fell short.
"I've seen him make that shot thousands of times, so I had confidence in him knocking it down," said Irvin. "It looked good from my angle. No one else on this team that we wanted taking that shot. He's been on a run and he's such a great player. I'm proud of him."
Jordan Bell made play after play in the paint. [Dressler]
From the start, this didn't feel like Michigan's night. The Wolverines went just 11-for-28 in the first half, and while they only trailed by two at the break, it could've easily been worse. Wilson sat for much of the half with foul trouble. Oregon's guards repeatedly blew by Michigan defenders. Dorsey sunk three of his four first-half three-point attempts. Walton grinded out 11 points and seven assists by halftime, keeping his team within striking distance. With Wilson set to get back on the court, the hope was Michigan could find their groove.
It never quite clicked. Moe Wagner barely played in the second half and finished the night with only seven points on 3-for-10 shooting. Abdur-Rahkman all but disappeared, tallying more turnovers (3) than points (2). Duncan Robinson's eight points weren't enough to offset his defensive shortcomings. While Wilson hit four three-pointers, he didn't get a bucket inside the arc as Bell dominated the paint; his missed second-half layup will stay with him for a while.
While tonight wasn't their night, this team can hold their heads high. Walton and Irvin battled to the bitter end, and this season will ultimately be remembered far more for the remarkable highs of the last month than tonight's low. When it mattered the most, this team galvanized around its leaders, and the most difficult part of tonight is knowing we won't get to see them all play together again.
"It's the tightest bunch I've been around in all my years of playing basketball," said Walton. "Just a very selfless group. I had the joy of being a part of it and being one of the leaders. Like I said, I wish we could have more games to play together because I think a couple minutes throughout the game we didn't show the type of team we were becoming and overall just thank them for allowing me to be part of such a great team."
"We're very close-knit, playing our best basketball and didn't want the season to end," said Irvin. "This team had a lot of great memories. We battled through adversity and just a team that I will always remember."
He's not alone.
— Alejandro Zúñiga (@ByAZuniga) March 20, 2017
Our Tourney Sponsor: Buying a home or refinancing in Michigan, Ohio, or Florida? Talk to HomeSure Lending. Matt’s story is he went to work for that big loan mill we have in this state and learned all of the tricks they use to keep their assembly line running and customers convinced that’s the only way to get a loan. Then Matt started HomeSure Lending to not do all of those thing, and blow the competition away on price and customer service. He keeps overhead down with a small shop, and with all the MGoBlog readers he’s served now if he wasn’t doing an excellent job you’d have heard about it.
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.