I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
An intermittent observation on the probable postseason fates of the hockey and basketball teams.
If The Season Ended Today...
Michigan would make it as the last #2 seed in the bracket by virtue of their eighth place PWR ranking despite their recent run of uninspired play. Unlike March Madness, the seeding of the hockey tournament is a mechanical process that can be projected with a high degree of accuracy. Thus USCHO runs mechanically accurate bracketology columns with some regularity. In their latest, Michigan ends up in an ugly place, figuratively and literally:
#16 Alabama-Huntsville vs. #1 Wisconsin
#11 Harvard vs. #8 Michigan
(#11 vs #8? Well, 9 and 10 are both CCHA teams and there can be no intraconference matchups in the first round)
The first round matchup is a good one--ECAC teams have highly insular schedules and are thus always overrated by the PWR rankings--but the prospect of playing #1 Wisconsin in the Cheese State does not appeal. And you're damn skippy that the wildly partisan Green Bay crowd will be rah-rah-rahing for old Harvard in the opening round.
...But Since It Doesn't
Yay. You're good.
Michigan is locked into a #2 or #3 seed at this point unless they suddenly turn into a very crappy or very good team. The teams ahead of them have solid leads in most of the components of the pairwise. Likewise, Michigan leads the three and four seeds by a healthy enough margin that there's little danger of missing the tournament without a wholesale, Kirstie-Alley level collapse.
However, there is an opportunity to move up if Michigan gets right. All six games left in the regular season are against teams that are (and will finish the season) with an RPI of over .5000, which makes them "teams under consideration" in NCAA hockey jargon. One of the components of the PWR is your record against these teams. .500 is considered pretty good; Michigan is 9-9-3 as of this moment. Going 5-1 or--dare I say it--6-0 over the closing stretch against a series of teams all fighting for NCAA berths could vault Michigan up the PWR. Michigan's opponent in their CCHA playoff series would also be a TUC unless two of the four CCHA teams destined for the road in the first round spring upsets.
Michigan's going to be playing ten games against good teams... if head gets removed from ass things could happen. That would require a different team from the one that's muddled its way through this season, but the possibility exists.
So, You're Telling Me...
Michigan is in. Upward or downward mobility from a middle of the pack seed is unlikely.
And You Think...
This team isn't all that good. There is the slight possibility that Johnson and Hunwick have been screwing around all season and will suddenly get serious about that whole defending people thing, but I think that's unlikely. Splitting Johnson and Hunwick may provide a cure if Mitera and Dest can cover for their partner's occasional forays into total insanity... but there are other issues yet.
Michigan does okay against their tough closing slate, finishing 4-2 in the regular season and making it to the CCHA final before bowing out. This nets them a #2 seed.
Paper... er, Internet Telephone. Right! On that Jon Tenuta guy: there's no meat to that particular rumor, as I indicated in the last post:
what follows is total wild-ass speculation, voracity at its most unverified, literally a list of names nutballs on message boards have thrown out
EDSBS saw that and posted something with the headline "Jon Tenuta to Michigan?" and this is how we all got convinced Chris Perry's spleen exploded--by not checking the source. Idle speculation now turns into an Internet rumor train--not that EDSBS did anything other than point to my post and say "this is interesting and we hate Chan Gailey" and thus are totally blameless, but that's showbiz. Tenuta's there for no reason other than he would probably regard the job as a step up and might cause spontaneous nocturnal emissions if hired; that's why he got included. There are no insiders whispering about him. You may now resume your candelight vigil with reduced expectations.
This is an example of blogs destroying the universe; mea culpa. Chagrined, I shall be more cautious in the future.
But since I haven't decided to kill myself, we move on. I think this little masterpiece from the RCMB is supposed to be insulting in some way, but I think it's the greatest thing ever, save Dick Vitale's presence:
Outstanding. If you hear me inexplicably referring to Face, Murdoc, or BA Baracus in future discussions of Michigan basketball, this is why.
They're pissed! They're not pissed! Ron English's sudden post-signing-day departure understandably upset Jonas Mouton's coach:
The high school coach of one of Michigan's newest recruits, California safety Jonas Mouton, expressed frustration at the timing of the move by English, who recruited Mouton. English was offered the Bears' job last Thursday, one day after Mouton and other high school seniors signed binding national letters of intent.
"It's pretty disappointing for Jonas,'' Venice High School coach Angelo Gasca said. "One of the links these young men have to the university is the coaches that they have relationships with.''
Jonas, having signed a LOI, is sort of screwed. He could decide to transfer right away but would lose two years of eligibility instead of one. This isn't an issue anyway, as Mouton's mother confirmed:
"We didn't know that Ron was looking elsewhere when Jonas sent in his letter. But we know that coaches move around, and he is happy with Michigan and he is looking forward to going there. I guess they want him back there in July."
S'all right? S'all right.
Side note: Mouton's mother is named "Duran." God willing, her middle name is also Duran. That is all.
The smiting continues. There were a series of posts in the blog's infancy all about how God was busy smiting the various bits of the basketball team and Jason Ryznar. The smiting continues, as Lester Abram is going to miss tomorrow's Ohio State game. $&*#&@!
Rivals also has a free update on the performance of Michigan's '06 and '07 basketball recruits.
Etc: The M Zone cosigns my letter of protest to EDSBS; Joey applies to be an assistant football coach, but makes the fatal mistake of mentioning the word "punt" only once and implying that he doesn't like said act. Next!
...is that Ron English's departure is not a sure sign that Jim Herrmann is going to remain the Michigan defensive coordinator. Mutterings are taking place here there and everywhere. Most suggest that Herrmann will end up with the J-E-T-S jetsjetsjets (and Victor Hobson) as the linebackers coach.
In his stead? Well, three names are being tossed around (warning: what follows is total wild-ass speculation, voracity at its most unverified, literally a list of names nutballs on message boards have thrown out):
- Carolina Panthers DC Mike Trgovac. The least likely candidate comes with the most verification in the form of a Detroit News article that tosses his name out. I doubt this happens without a wink-wink nudge-nudge agreement that Trgovac will be the head coach when Carr retires, a la Bret Bielema at Wisconsin. Trgovac, a player under Bo, would be taking a pay/prestige cut to return to college. As someone who is beginning to build head coach buzz in the NFL, Michigan would probably have to knock socks off to get him back in Ann Arbor.
- Seattle Seahawks DB coach Teryl Austin, who served in the same capacity at Michigan from 1999 to 2002. Austin was an ace recruiter who really opened up talent-rich Pennsylvania, dragging Tim Massaquoi, Steve Breaston, Marlin Jackson, and Scott McClintock out of the state (plus a few others who didn't pan out), but he never could get Todd Howard to look for the freaking ball. I'd be somewhat leery of bringing back the guy who presided over 2000's notoriously dumbtarded defensive secondary, which was nicknamed the "Suspects" for good reason--by the end of the year they should have been named the "Convicts." Also, he just got pwned by Antwaan Randle-El. I'm just sayin'.
- Georgia Tech DC Jon Tenuta, who has been defensive coordinator at a bevy of D-I schools including Ohio State. Tenuta--OSU's DB coach from '96 to '99 and DC in 2000--got the boot when Cooper did, was immediately hired by UNC in the same capacity, and got poached the next year by the Jackets. Tenuta's D has kicked enough ass to get a team quarterbacked by Reggie Ball to the 7-5 heights that represent the AD-approved theoretical maximum for the Georgia Tech program.
Of those three, Tenuta represents the best combination of plausibility and palatability. His defense was 12th in total yardage in 2004 and 22nd in 2005. That's all the more impressive when you consider the Georgia Tech offense, a craptacular thing that ended up about 80th overall both years. He's been a college coordinator for going on a decade now, has recruiting experience in the south and Ohio (he's from Columbus), and going from Georgia Tech to Michigan would be a step forward in his career and possibly a stepping stone to a head coaching job.
Austin would be okay--he's the Pied Piper of Pennsylvania--but I still have night terrors thinking about that Todd Howard-led secondary. If "led" is the right term for it. I'm unthrilled by Seattle's pass defense over the past few years, too (Stats from Football Outsiders; low is good for defense):
- 2005 Pass Defense DVOA: 10.0%, 25th in the league.
- 2004: 0.7%, 17th in the league.
- 2003: 6.9%, 22nd in the league.
Is this the result of a crappy defensive line giving opponents time to throw? Uh... no. In '05 the line was #1 in defensive line yards and #6 in sack percentage. Strangely, the line was terrible in 2004, when the Seahawks had their best pass defense under Austin. Go figure.
Wither certified Boy Genius Scot Loeffler?
WTKA's WXYT's Doug Karsch declared him to be staying yesterday--yes, after WTKA declared him gone the day before. Whatever. There's also a Detroit News article with a direct quote from Loeffler:
"I am not leaving the University of Michigan," Loeffler said by phone Tuesday afternoon. "I am happy and perfectly content here."
Ryan Mallet, come on down.
Remember: all this speculation is guaranteed to be just as accurate as all that English-to-DC talk. See your bookie today!
Being Ron English-ovich. Ah, my favorite part of collegiate coaching switches: the government mandate that all such positions be posted on the Internet for a given length of time. I applied to be the head coach of Clarkson hockey a couple years back (and aren't they regretting their decision now). Well, now you can apply to fill the shoes of Terry Malone or Ron English:
DUTIES: As Assistant Football Coach: Recruit, condition, train, and monitor performance of football team members within a facet of the sport and assist in the intercollegiate athletic competition of the team. Recruit and participate in the selection of athletes for the football team; coach team members individually or in groups, demonstrating techniques of a game. Observe team members and determine the need for individual or team improvement; determine the position assignments of team members within a facet of the sport; recommend contest strategy for a facet of the sport; insure adherence to all association and conference rules by athletes and supporting staff; assist in the monitoring of academic progress and status of team members.
A word of warning, though... this bit is, er, not so accurate:
Want to get hired? Have no idea how? Never fear! MGoBlog is here, with...
MGoBlog's Guide To Being Hired As An Assistant Coach:
- Try to be good friends with Lloyd Carr.
- When asked what to do on fourth and medium with the game in the balance, say "punt."
- When asked what to do on first and ten from the opponent's 16, say "punt."
- When given the brain teaser about the missionaries and the cannibals, say "punt."
- In fact, you might just want to say "punt" as frequently as possible. Changing your name to "Punty McPunterson" might be a good idea.
- When asked what a blitz is, scream "don't mention the war!"
- Remember: silly mustache == job security.
No doubt I expose myself...
to charges of being a "typical Michigan whiner" by saying this, but I must object to EDSBS's placement of Lloyd Carr in the "Meatnormous" division of their Coaches Death Match tournament. I will provide you some handy pictures; you tell me which of these things does not belong:
Hint: it's the one that looks vaguely human. In any case, if you'd like to vote, follow the link above. I would caution against the comments section, which turned out exactly like you would expect it to.
Coaching stuff is official, by the way. The News done verified that voracity. English and Malone out, DeBord OC. Chengelis claims that Loeffler is not interviewing with any NFL teams, but I think the message board insiders are closer to the situation than she is. If Loeffler stays and the coaches who are brought in are agreeable, I think this whole thing will be remembered as one of the more uselessly hysterical episodes of Michigan Internet fandom.
An intermittent observation on the probable postseason fates of the hockey and basketball teams.
We now resume your regularly scheduled sports blogging, sans meta-, with a look at Michigan's March Madness prospects. Pleasantly, this year "none" is not an option.
Garrett Rivas clapclapclap
If The Season Ended Today...
Everyone would be very surprised. Also, Michigan would be a middling seed. Joe Lundardi has them #7 against Colorado, ex-home of both Chauncey Billups and, er, me. A seven seed seems harsh to me for a 16-4 team with a fairly good SOS (#70) and an RPI that would have them a #5 if it was the sole basis for seeding (#18). Template-beridden but long-in-the- tooth blog Bracketology 101 has Michigan a #5 in their latest projection. Bracketography.com splits the difference, placing Michigan #6 and setting up a titanic storyline game that may see me rush the court and beat an elderly man about the head: Michigan versus Steve "I Ruined The Program" Fisher's San Diego State Aztecs.
...But Since It Doesn't
Michigan would be well served to win some additional games. The schedule breaks down like so:
- Tomato Cans*: @ Purdue, Minnesota
- Swing Games:Ohio State, @ Ohio State, Indiana, Illinois
- Er... Um: @ Michigan State
(*Obviously, that whole Penn State-beating-Illinois-at-Illinois thing means there is no such thing as a gimme in the Big Ten. Nonetheless, there are two teams on the schedule that inspire far less panic than the others.)
The good news is that there's only two games left in hostile environments against non-tomato cans. The bad news is that there are only two games left against the Big Ten's Four Horsemen of Incompetence.
Michigan could probably squeeze into the tournament by beating Purdue and Minnesota and winning one game against one of the bottom four in the Big Ten tournament, but they'd be one of the last teams in if they made it. Win a couple of the swing games and Michigan looks very solid at 10-6 in the conference anointed by the RPI as the nation's toughest with three or four of the committee-coveted good wins. They would be in no question and would likely recieve a seed in the #5-6 range.
The tough closing stretch provides a major opportunity if Abram gets healthy and Michigan's threes keep falling. Getting hot and going on a tear at the end of the season--while extremely difficult--could see them shoot up the fake brackets of projectioneers around the country. I don't think that'll happen, but college basketball is weird.
So, You're Telling Me...
Barring total collapse, Michigan is in. They probably need three more wins the rest of the season (Big Ten tournament included) to be assured of a bid. In a scenario where Michigan's bid is in question they would get to play one of the FHOI in the first round of the BTT. They would really, really have to blow it to show up in the NIT now. (No whammies.)
To maintain their current seed projections (anywhere from #5 to #7), Michigan has to go 10-6 or 9-7 in conference (#5-ish for the former, #7-ish for the latter). If they do something stupid like go nuts and streak towards 11-5 or 12-4 with a strong showing in the BTT, they will get a sweet sixteen seed and possibly home games at the Palace. (<-- that depends on how MSU does down the stretch.)
And you think?
Beat Purdue and Minnesota; split with OSU; lose @ MSU; beat one of Indiana/Illinois at home; 10-6 in conference; out in BTT semis; #6 seed. If we play Steve Fisher I strap myself to a chair to stop myself from pulling a reverse Artest.
It was a bad weekend, what with the coach shuffling, basketball getting the woodshed treatment from Iowa, and the hockey team splitting yet again. So instead of talking about sports I'm just going to be meta-mean. Enjoy. PS: this gets a Unsuitable for Children, The Elderly, And Those With Heart Conditions Swearing Alarm.
I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance.
This was mildly funny for two weeks in the middle of 2003. Now it is grounds for a visit from the cock-punching robot.
Provenance: Internet message boards.
Category: I think I'm funny... I'm not.
...also: "just a hunch."
I realize it's the size of Volkswagen, but shut the fuck up about it, okay? Your gut is not particularly well informed about the outcome of sporting events. The reason you reference your gut is to absolve yourself from any responsibility to back up your statement with those funny things called "reasons." Therefore, by definition, your statement is useless. You are wasting the lives of everyone who scans your subject line and should have a starving squirrel taped to your scrotum.
Please do us all a favor: the next time your gut decides to get chatty, punch it.
Provenance: Internet message boards, Aaron Taylor
Category: Maybe if I tell you this post is useless it's okay... it isn't.
... which probably exists on some level, but is referenced eighty times a game whenever two colleges meet in any competitive endeavor, even if there are no seniors present. A way to fill two hours of airtime when you have no ability to watch the game in front of you and provide interesting commentary on it. I know Daniel Horton is a senior. I know he's playing much better. Your job, Mr. D-List Color Guy, is to tell me things I don't know.
Provenance: Mr. D-List Color Guy
Category: Oh God, oh God, oh God... I have to say something.
When the moon is gibbous, Team X is 12-3
... or any random statistic provided without any context.
Is that good? Is that bad? Tell me what the average winning percentage is! And stop scouting for nonsensical low-sample statistics (record when TE Jeb Putzier scores a touchdown: 8-0) that tell us nothing in the larger context of the game. I like stats. I just think they should be used to tell us something about the sport instead of how TV people like any shiny bauble they come across. The frequency with which these little anomalies are discovered--a dozen per game, it seems like--indicates that they aren't meaningful.
Provenance: Television announcers.
Category: We have a database and we're damn well going to use it.
Playing with Heart/Pride/Intensity/Etc.
Another in the long line of "things ex-jocks say." Asserting that a team cares more may have some validity in certain circumstances (say, a regular season NBA game against Atlanta) but has ballooned into a monster that cannot be stopped. Especially egregious is postgame analysis that boils down to "I don't know what the hell I'm talking about, but they looked like crap." Sometimes teams get beaten for tangible reasons, too.
Provenance: Everywhere that loses.
Category: I have no idea what I'm talking about, but I'm really, really mad.
I'm about as easily offended as the Antichrist, but this particular noun drives me up the wall. It gets employed whenever some mouth-breather who wants Coach X FIIIIIIRED decides to fight the good fight against his opposition, be they real or imagined. The mouth-breather will launch into a tirade about the "Lloyd Apologists," to use an example particularly relevant to the current zeitgeist, while giving no thought to how the term leaked into the sports lexicon and from where.
Kids, "apologist" is a political word used by horribly dull people to describe other horribly dull people. The ADL labels Holocaust revisionists "apologists." Muslim activist groups label the ADL "Israeli apologists." George Orwell busts it out irregularly:
In our age, the idea of intellectual liberty is under attack from two directions. On the one side are its theoretical enemies, the apologists of totalitarianism, and on the other its immediate, practical enemies, monopoly and bureaucracy.
If you use the word apologist in regards to people who think football coaches should not be fired you pick up all those overheated political connotations and you sound like an idiot, probably because you are. This may seem strange coming from a man who has an sports blog, but here goes: it's just not that important.
Provenance: Internet message boards.
Category: I think impressive words mask the shallowness of my argument... they don't.
Drinking the Koolaid
The #1 reason Jim Rome's body should be chopped into thousands of pieces, burned, and hidden away in catacombs at the seven corners of the world lest he return and inflict a new dark age of sports talk radio upon us. Rome uses it to dismiss the arguments of those who disagree with him by comparing them Jim Jones' cult. The assertion is that the person being accused of said drinking has been brainwashed to the point of madness by his team allegiance; ironically, the scores of his fucking clones who have spread out across the globe parroting their dark lord's most annoying gift to the world are more akin to Peoples' Church members than those they accuse.
If I ever get around to chiseling the Ten Sports Commandments on hunks of granite, I will come down from the mountain to find the Israelites gathered around a golden radio, listening to "Rome is Burning." I shall smite them and then scribble in the Eleventh Sports Commandment: thou shall not suffer a clone to live.
Category: I need a bullet in my head. Now.