Mason NEEDS this, Pistons, after all you've put him through
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.
MGoBlog does not endorse the wild panic spreading through the Michigan internets, which is reaching truly epic levels. I'll see what happens with Loeffler and who replaces English and Malone before deciding whether or not to join the paramilitary organizations forming across Michigan at this very moment.
This... this bothers me, though:
Bears coach Lovie Smith offered English the job Thursday. English spent Friday gauging his chances of becoming defensive coordinator at Michigan. One source said that when Michigan offered only the chance of becoming co-defensive coordinator, he told Bears officials he would take the job.
As Yoda might say: either do, or do not. There is no "co-." This combines with the so-widespread-it-must-be-true scuttlebutt that Jim Herrmann was scouting around for positional coaching jobs in the NFL to form an image of the head man that is not flattering. Carr obviously believes there is a need for change but does not have the stones to cut Herrmann loose unless he has a soft landing somewhere. Thus the milquetoasty half-measure of telling English he can share responsibility. English figured that promotion was one in name only and bolted. Thus the Herrmann era continues unabated.
Meanwhile, Terry Malone--who operated an offense crippled by the players it couldn't field instead of the ones it could--joins the ever-growing ranks of discarded offensive coordinators. And discarded he was, unless you think that being the tight ends coach of a team that may or may not be in the NFL in a city that may or may not exist is better than being the offensive coordinator at Michigan. When it comes to offensive coordinators, Carr is One Angry Man. Compare that to the kid gloves treatment given to a man who even Carr has tacitly acknowledged needs to go.
Look, I don't know what goes on in Schembechler Hall. I have heard that Herrmann is well regarded by a few NFL teams. The fact that he's sticking around is not the end of the world, but Carr's inability to finish the job he set out to do is a continuation of the story we saw for the entirety of 2005. It's fourth and four on the thirty-four.
Update: I have no idea what happened to the "Analogy Time" post. Blogger ate it. The comments can be found here.
Right, coaching shuffle after a disastrous 7-5 season. This is not what we had in mind... per WDFN:
- Terry Malone has taken a job with the Saints.
- Ron English will be the Bears' DB coach.
- Mike DeBord will be the new offensive coordinator.
Per a reliable source:
- Scot Loeffler is interviewing with the Patriots next week.
Remember that stock tip about Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork? Yeah.
We'll see exactly what happens when the dust settles--sports talk radio is prone to error, after all and Loeffler doesn't even have a job offer yet--but suffice it to say that if you told me to name four coaches I didn't want Michigan to lose, the list would have been Loeffler, English, Malone, and Steve Stripling. How Herrmann remains bulletproof in all of this is a mystery. Carr has no problem guillotining any offensive coordinator who looks at him funny, but anyone on the staff with a ridiculous mustache is off limits, Gittleson and Herrmann most prominently.
For now: goddammit. Hockey. Must go. Will inform when I know more. Send hot tips here.
Ut oh. This is probably my fault. At no point in discussing the much, er, discussed Ron English-to-DC and Jim Herrmann-to-wherever-isn't-here thing did I say "no whammies." Whammies:
Moving quickly to address the biggest coaching vacancy on his staff, Bears coach Lovie Smith offered University of Michigan secondary coach Ron English the job of defensive backs coach Thursday.
English is expected to accept the offer.
This, of course, has turned the Michigan message boards into radioactive waste. Funny: a year ago everyone was wondering what the big deal about this English guy was. A year of half-competent safety play and way, way too conservative playcalling (not English's fault) and the idea of losing him to the NFL is the cause of more garment-rending than any position coach departure I can remember... ever.
All the rending probably has little to do with English and a lot to do with where that leaves Michigan without him. More specifically, where that leaves Jim Herrmann: at DC. If English ends up in the NFL and the mustachioed crotch-grabber returns to watch his linebackers flail helplessly at passing running backs, I suggest you buy stock in Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork Co.
Ever wonder why the College Football Hall of Fame is in South Bend? Is it the rich tradition of the Irish? Er... no:
When the Hall of Fame moved to South Bend in 1995, then-mayor Joe Kernan said it would cost taxpayers nothing. But since its opening, city taxpayers have funneled millions of dollars into the museum's operational expenses, fueling criticism of its presence in South Bend.
The City Council has pushed to slowly decrease city funding to the hall. It cut operational expenses for the first time in the 2005 budget from $829,000 to $629,000. The Council took another chunk from the hall's funding for 2006, bringing it to $600,000.
Zounds! That money could be spent on making South Bend distinguishable from Gary.
Bob Dole. Bob Dole! BOB DOLE! ... is apparently UW's new offensive line coach. In yet another article about recruiting and text messaging, this passage made my day:
[Text messaging is] bad news for coaches like Bob Palcic, the newest hire on Bielema's first staff. Palcic, who was hired Monday to coach the Badgers' offensive line, said he barely knows how to use a cell phone, much less text messaging.
"If they do eliminate text messaging, that will be a positive for Bob Palcic," he said, "because I'm still just a guy who likes to talk to people on the telephone."
Bob Palcic's teaching the offensive linemen. Bob Palcic's going to the store. Bob Palcic's trying to mash the tiny buttons on a cell phone to tell some punk kid to have a good time tonight. Bob Palcic fought in 'Nam! Bob Palcic has a purple heart... Bob Palcic doesn't need this bullshit!