I did not make this headline up
Michigan (14-13, 7-8 B1G) at
Maryland (23-5, 11-4)
College Park, Maryland
|WHEN||Noon ET, Saturday|
|LINE||Maryland -8 (KenPom)|
PBP: Bob Wischusen
Analyst: Dan Dakich
Right: Testudo, circa 1942. Yes, that's intended to look like a turtle.
Once again, it doesn't look like Derrick Walton will be available. John Beilein said today that Walton underwent X-rays (negative) earlier this week, then tried to return to basketball activities on Thursday, but didn't complete the workout.
Despite the win over Ohio State, Michigan is still on the NIT bubble. They're projected as a six-seed on three NIT bracketology sites. In all likelihood, the Wolverines are going to need to win two of their last three regular season games (securing a winning record) and perhaps one more in the BTT to secure a bid. Remember, that NIT bubble shrinks every time there's a surprise conference tournament winner that wouldn't otherwise make the NCAAs.
As Drew Hallett points out, there's another seeding watch: BTT seeding, which could become very important if Michigan loses two of their last three. If the season ended right now, Michigan would be the nine-seed, playing #8 Illinois in the second round for the right to face top-seeded Wisconsin in the quarterfinals. That scenario is far from ideal, of course, but Michigan likely has to win out and get help to rise to the #7 seed and avoid the Badgers.
Winning this game would have a small chance of helping out Michigan's BTT seeding; more importantly, it would clear a major hurdle towards securing an NIT bid.
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||2||Melo Trimble||Fr.||6'3, 190||86||25||No|
|Impressive freshman gets to line a ton, hits outside shots.|
|G||44||Dez Wells||Sr.||6'5, 215||74||31||No|
|Handles ball a lot. Selective but very efficient 3P shooter. Draws contact.|
|G||20||Richaud Pack||Sr.||6'4, 190||59||12||Kinda|
|Very underwhelming shooting numbers, but gets to the line.|
|F||10||Jake Layman||Jr.||6'9, 205||73||22||No|
|Skilled stretch 4 who can shoot, attack the basket, defend, and play the 5.|
|C||35||Damonte Dodd||So.||6'11, 245||36||14||Very|
|Good rebounder and shot-blocker, but very turnover- and foul-prone.|
|F||1||Evan Smotrycz||Sr.||6'9, 235||50||17||Kinda|
|Fully grown Lobstrycz having a very down shooting year.|
|F||11||Jared Nickens||Fr.||6'7, 200||45||14||No|
|Spot-up gunner hits 40% of threes.|
|F||25||Jon Graham||Sr.||6'8, 230||30||14||Very|
|Low usage rebounding specialist. Especially good on offensive glass.|
Maryland has only lost one home game all season—to #2 Virginia, way back in early December. On Tuesday, they successfully defended their turf against Wisconsin, pulling off a 59-53 upset.
No, this won't be easy.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
[I bet you’ve never appreciated Upchurch and Fuller more than you do today]
Drevno will be responsible for play calling
Offensive gameplans will be a joint effort between all of the offensive coaches and Harbaugh
Four of the five starters on last year’s OL losing weight is a coincidence; Drevno’s still looking into it and said he’ll get the weights where they need to be
The quarterback competition is “wide open,” and their progress is primarily being tracked by Harbaugh and Fisch
Drevno said Harbaugh’s the smartest man he’s ever been around and unique in a great way
Winning has cured more ills than penicillin
“It feels good, this cold, doesn’t it?”
- We’re used to it.
“I like it.”
What are some of the characteristics that are going to help kids see the field early for you? Toughness, mobility- is there one thing above any others?
“I think, number one, it’s just how they take the information from the classroom [and] take it out on the field. Understand their assignments and have a want-to and a physicality and being a teammate, a great teammate.
“Is that it? Okay, great!”
On the roster four of the five starting offensive linemen from last year lost weight. Was that something that was kind of a plan as far as you guys were concerned or is it just a coincidence?
“No, I think it’s just a coincidence. I’m still looking at their weights and evaluating them now and we’ll get those weights where they need to be and be able to move in a very good fashion up front.”
You’re starting with a clean slate. How much does experience count for the guys who’ve played?
“You know, it’s- it really is a clean slate. I just turn on the film and see who’s doing it at a high level and doing it at the top of their craft. At USC last year I started three true freshmen, so I’m just trying to find the best players out there and that’s the best thing about it; guys get out there and compete to be the best.”
Can you kind of tell the guys who’ve played already?
“Yeah, at times I can. You can just because they’re a little bit more grooved in their technique and things, but kind of day to day at times. Yeah, you can.”
[After THE JUMP: the quickest way to an offensive lineman’s heart is through a barbeque]
But No That Blocked Punt Against CMU Was Totally Worth It.
Alum96 decided to go into excruciating detail on the upcoming cliff, and which spots will need to be addressed. Like “two OL recruits in two years” he also pinpointed the situation:
…we only recruited 9 defensive players in 2013 and 4 in 2014. That's a middling 13 players - of which one is already gone (Ferns). 12-ish defensive players is what you generally get in 1 class, not combined in 2.
Two years out you want to have more in the tank than:
- DEs: Poggi, Marshall, S.Johnson, R.Jones
- DTs: Hurst, Mone, Pallante (if he doesn’t stay at FB)
- LBs: McCray, Winovich, Furbush, Wangler
- CBs: Dawson, Watson, Washington
- S: Kinnel, Peppers if he isn’t in the NFL
Some of these guys are not going to work out. Attrition happens. And if by some miracle both are avoided this is a one-deep. There’s time to fill the gaps if Harbaugh can find in the 2016 class the kinds of guys who can ball like an All-Big Ten player before they can buy a beer. Of course he can do that because HARBAUGH.
Another way to mitigate this would be to get redshirts on some of the juniors or sophomores they don’t need as much this year. No way: Taco and Jourdan Lewis are starting, Dymonte is the current guy they roll in for the nickel (at safety; Peppers moves down to the slot). Probably no way: Gedeon is the first LB in after the starters (but if McCray…), Mone is currently 2nd on the NT depth chart (but if Pipkins…). So Michigan could maybe late-shirt Delano Hill and Channing Stribling, leaving six scholarship cornerbacks and four safeties available for 2015.
/shakes fist at 2013 special teams
Bring Back the Molly McGannon Memorial Children of Yost Section
Our official chronicler of the student section SaddestTailgateEver addressed the changes at Yost as the student section was shrunk, split, and shoved off to the (wrong) side, while prime property was roped off for the usually empty opponents’ parents section:
That is a full-blown, fully mapped DMZ that you better keep stepping through and not stop. So now we have students that don’t fit in Section 17, stuck above row 10 in Section 18, and a bunch of needlessly empty seats below them. And for what? So these parents can have some elbow room to look at their sons’ backs?
This also puts the parents right in front of the “c-ya” cheer, and has led to altercations, and staff stepping in on behalf of the parents who usually started it. To that I’ll add that the glare in the revamped old barn is like stepping onto the bridge of the J.J. Abrams Enterprise.
I don’t have the heart to tell him what that place was like when I had season tickets circa 2000. Yost would be best if it acknowledged what it is—a raucous throwback to 1920s-style sports fandom—but it’s hard to see the administration trying to re-engineer that feel since the Goss/Martin ADs barely tolerated the Children of Yost.
What they can do is cut the feed to the RAWK MUZAK they blare in your face, put the opponents’ families in the obstructed overhang seats (this is a compromise; I would prefer gibbets), and put the students front and center, then look away and let the atmosphere fill in organically.
[Hit the jump for people talking about bad calls and the 1997 Championship]
HELLO. I am back. I was blank yesterday after being in a car for like 14 hours, but here are some links to other things.
According to Wikipedia, I have been to the place where this was conceived.
Things I learned in Iowa. A sampling.
- Iowa is not as flat as Nebraska
- …but it's close
- …and it's really surprisingly large when you have to drive from one corner to the other
- Do not smell a pig farmer's phone
- …especially if he's presenting it you to like the natives might present Dr. Livingstone an eyeball to consume
- …even if he looks stunningly like Dr. Drew
- David Foster Wallace was not joking about the omnipresence of the howling mid-American gale that scours pockets from your face when there are shards of ice to fling at you
- …this does at least keep the roads clear
- You can be relieved and grateful to see a Subway
This is maybe not enough things to justify the time spent but needs must.
Here are all these things and then a school that's like NOPE. As Ace covered this morning, there's another uniform hijink in the near future. (Can hijinks be singular?) The basketball uniforms aren't iconic like football, so the proportional outrage is lower. I'm still bugged by the fact that Adidas is coming up with one design element and applying it to everyone because they want to advertise themselves, with no thought to how they could help Michigan out.
Michigan did draw the line at Adidas's Zubaz monstrosities a few years back, so at least there's that.
Still, I'm jealous that Indiana's the uniform in the center going NOPE here:
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) February 26, 2015
"We have seen your ideas and find them lacking." –university that employs Tom Crean.
I wish we had the desire to do that. And the desire to go back to the 1989 throwbacks permanently.
"These throwbacks appear to be jerseys Michigan actually used to wear. They just don't get it, do they?" –The Brandon formerly known as athletic director
A seven footer! 2016 C commit Jon Teske was supposed to be growing constantly, as high school people tend to do, and now he's broken through a symbolic threshold:
Jon Teske has grown 1 inch since verbally committing to play basketball at Michigan back in early August.
This would be trivial if not for one fact: When Teske enrolls in 2016, he will officially be U-M's first 7-foot player since Ben Cronin, the first recruit coach John Beilein signed when he arrived in Ann Arbor eight years ago.
Teske is reportedly a shot blocker, something Michigan hasn't had since Beilein arrived.
Other than adding strength and bulk and improving his quickness in the lane, Teske's defensive skills are already at an elite level. He provides Medina with a safety net on the back line and blocks shots with a combination of a pterodactyl's wingspan and sharp instincts. Most impressively, he does so without fouling.
"The number of shots he changes is just unbelievable," Hassinger said. "That's what Michigan will get out of him -- he's such a good rim-protector. ... We can do so much defensively because he just rules the paint."
Would you go so far as to say he is also strategic? Jedd Fisch gets in on the Jameis Winston praise pile:
George Whitfield said Jedd Fisch really wowed Jameis & Bryce Petty on their time at #Michigan: "He was very tactical but also dynamic."
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) February 18, 2015
Sounds like a man to play Battletech with. Meanwhile, another quote on Harbaugh from Petty:
"Outstanding guy," Petty said. "Just a football dude. That's the best way I can describe it. He just gave us a lot of advice about what to expect here (at the combine), about how to handle everything, especially going in as a rookie into a camp and what he expects as a coach in that scenario, things like that.
"We were tickled to death, anytime you get a chance to meet and talk to a guy who has been in it for four years and had a lot of success in it."
Harbaugh is definitely a Football Dude, as anyone who has watched that QB clinic video and giggled about knuckle placement knows.
Marketing back in the day. Gary Moeller repeats "keeps ticket prices down" three times in about 30 seconds at the end of this clip about marketing from a 1991 edition of Michigan Replay:
The word "brand" does not make an appearance.
We like this better because it doesn't work as well. It's that time of year when NFL guys ding spread QBs because their offenses provide too many open receivers to judge whether the guy can fit it in tight windows:
Ignore NFL translation, isn't this weird? Prostyle is better because it produces less open guys/doesn't work as well? pic.twitter.com/wfChgwGzdN
— Chris B. Brown (@smartfootball) February 26, 2015
I think the NFL guy was saying that tight windows are an inevitability in the league rather than pro-style is necessarily better. (Or even a concept that really means much other than Our QB Don't Run. New England is basically Texas Tech with a separate LeGarrette Blount offense stapled to it.)
And stay out? CHL teams are making noises like they would withdraw from Washington if their for-profit enterprises with mid five-digit attendances have to give their players anything other than a per diem and the vague promise of an education package maybe a sixth of them will use:
Silvertips GM Garry Davidson was clearly singing from the same songbook when he told legislators if the state did not exempt the teams from minimum wage laws, “it could negatively impact our ability to operate and would force us to move or not operate in the state.”It’s an age-old tactic used by sports teams and it’s age-old because it so often works. Build us a new arena or we’ll go to a place where they’ll happily build one for us. Give us tax breaks and concessions or we’ll have to pick up our ball and go somewhere else. And in this case, grant us an exemption from laws governing the basic human right to minimum wage or we’ll take our teenagers and have them entertain hockey fans somewhere else.
Oh really? Considering the Everett Silvertips (4,898 average fans per game), Spokane Chiefs (5,570), Seattle Thunderbirds (4,353) and Tri-City Americans (3,976) are attracting decent home crowds, it’s safe to assume the revenue they’re drawing from their regular season gate alone is robust. Probably multi-millions.
A CHL departure from Washington is about as likely as the Big Ten re-implementing freshman eligibility. There aren't enough markets in BC and Alberta that aren't already covered. Meanwhile on the other side of the continent, a QMJHL team just sold for 25 million dollars.
Silver lining: it turns out there is in fact a sports organization that can make the NCAA look good.
Obligatory. Ohio State has a five star recruit incoming.
This is man with a good super power. Michigan Hockey Now pings commit Nick Pastujov about various personal things. He has never gone to a concert, he likes the World Cup, he envisions having a hilarious dinner with Bill Gates, Steve Carrell, and Bob Marley, and he has a very practical approach to super powers: "could do anything." That just about covers it, I'd think.
Etc.: Kentucky fans are terrified of Northwestern.
[Shoddy iPhone photo via me]
Durkin wants to play multiple fronts and thinks they have the athletes to handle that
Greg Jackson is working more with the safeties and Mike Zordich is working more with the corners
Everyone has an opportunity to earn snaps based on what they do from spring on; how much a player played last season is irrelevant
It’s too early to tell if there’s a player who didn’t play much last season who’s going to get significant playing time this season or who the leaders of the defense will be
Durkin’s goal is to know what the defense is good at, what needs to be improved, and what they can handle schematically by the end of spring
Jabrill Peppers will be moved to several spots during spring to “find the best fit and the best mix for everyone”
What does a defense look like under you? Everybody wants to know with scheme, etc. What does it look like? What is a DJ Durkin defense?
“I’d say I want it to always be a blue-collar, competitive group. Play hard and compete for everything you get. Scheme-wise and all that, we’re a little different from game to game and a lot of it’s based on our personnel from year to year, too so we’re multiple with what we do schematically, but I just want a group of guys that are going to play hard, be blue-collar, and always compete for everything they do.”
How much can you tell after two days?
“We haven’t had pads on yet and that’s obviously a huge part of the game, so we’ll see. I’m reserving judgment for all that. Our guys have worked hard. I like their approach to the game, to practice- they’re locked in. I like their approach to meetings so I’m encouraged by all that and we’ll see as we get going with the pads on.”
When you watch the film what stood out to you? Were there individuals that stood out in particular?
“The film from practice?”
The past, getting ready for this and I guess the last few days.
“Yeah, but what I want to do is make sure all these guys, and I told them this when we met with them, that they have a clean slate to start from. It was good. I came in and watched some games and tried to see where our needs were for recruiting, but in terms of one by one, individuals, I want guys to know that maybe you’re a guy who hasn’t played much- you have an opportunity to do that. Maybe you’re a guy that’s played a lot, but it’s not just going to be given to you- you have to go earn it. That way I think the whole room understands they have equal opportunity to go earn some snaps on the field.”
Is there anyone in particular that fits that bill of somebody who hasn’t played much that you’ve seen and been like, ‘Oh, I didn’t expect that. Maybe we have something here.’
“Yeah, I mean, it’s too early to tell that. I have been encouraged by a lot of guys. I think, like I said, I like our approach to practice and what we’re doing. I think the guys have a good energy and enthusiasm about it, so when we get the pads on and keep going I’m sure some of those guys will emerge.”
How long does it take you as a coach to figure out what you have?
“I don’t know. I’d like to say by the end of spring we can sit back and have a really good idea, ‘Okay, these are the things we’re good at. These are the things we need to keep working on. This is what we’re going to be talking schematically.’ That’s the goal, by the end of spring to have a lot of things answered. We’re going to go through and install quite a bit and a lot of stuff that I’ve done before and then, like I said, we’ll just sort it out and see what we’re best at.”
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest]
In-State Updates: Michigan Moving Up
While 2015 was a down year for prospects in the state of Michigan, 2016 boasts a solid crop of in-state recruits, and there's no question Jim Harbaugh has to work from behind for many of them; he's just getting to know players who've been recruited by the likes of Meyer and Dantonio for years, in some cases.
Visits over the last few days have spurred progress in that regard. In four-star Cass Tech OG/DT Michael Onwenu's case, so did a certain issue with a teammate, per Rivals' Josh Helmholdt ($):
"[My Ohio State interest] lowered a little after the (Mike Weber) incident," Onwenu said. "My position is they should have told him anyway. He had a bond with the coaches, and if I had a bond with a coach and was excited to play for that coach, that is something I should know."
Onwenu, who'd previously named the Buckeyes as his leader, now claims no favorites. He visited Michigan, which is one of a couple schools recruiting him for offense, last week.
Four-star Detroit King WR Donnie Corley also made it campus last week, and his father told Sam Webb that M is moving up his son's list ($):
Sam Webb: Before it seemed like Michigan was on the outside looking in. It seemed like Michigan was like fourth or fifth on his list. Do you think Michigan is more in the picture with him now?
Donnie Corley Sr.: “Yeah, most definitely. It was real impressive. We were real impressed with it.”
Three-star Farmington WR Desmond Fitzpatrick, who recently added a Michigan offer, was back on campus Tuesday for a practice and also plans to attend the Spring Game, according to Allen Trieu.
The father of four-star Plymouth OT Michael Jordan told Webb that the new staff is "very high" on his son, and he plans to camp at Michigan for a day this summer ($).
2017 Orchard Lake St. Mary's LB Josh Ross, younger brother of James Ross, told GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz that the new staff "definitely does" help Michigan's chances to land him ($). The coaches have re-affirmed Ross' offer from the previous staff.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]