Mason NEEDS this, Pistons, after all you've put him through
VOB went to see the U18s versus the Soo Indians and filed this report. The only Michigan players mentioned are the two defensemen. I'll excerpt here:
Jack Johnson - easily the best player on the ice last night and its not hard to see why he ranked only behind Crosby for this year's draft. An absolute rock in terms of strength and physical play. Threw thunderous body checks with reckless abandon causing many Indian turn overs in both ends. His physical play alone will get him into the NHL but coupled with a good skating stride and an ability to handle the puck on the rush and the PP will make him a number 1 Dman and a potential franchise player. The only problem may be that he is too aggressive and while this may be a problem in the NCAA next year, it won't in the NHL.
Mark Mitera - man oh man is Michigan going to have quite the D men with both Johnson and Mitera suiting up next year. A solid Dman who did not make a mistake the whole night. He must have grew 3 inches and added 20 pounds from the time I saw him last and he uses his size quite well. Does not have the vision or offensive upside as Johnson but is steady and dependable as they come. Has a good low shot and good skating abilities. Was used on both the pp and pk. A sure fire top 4 NHL Dman and a first round pick in the 06 entry draft.
We already knew that about Johnson, but such a glowing report on Mitera is very encouraging. I like what I saw from him a lot in the UM-U18 game, and the general rumble is that he has taken a quantum leap forward in the past year or so.
VOB is a guy with some connections in the OHL. I think he's directly affiliated with some team or another. He and I have frequently sparred on the HF message boards about NCAA hockey vs. CHL hockey (I, of course, have demolished him each time, leaving him to wonder what the point of this whole world is, anyway), but he knows what he's talking about. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish the guys who have a clue from the 14 year old 31337 kids but VOB is one of the former.
Michigan's fleeting stay at #4 in the Pairwise is over. This weekend was a total disaster/gift from heaven for Michigan, as Miami and Bowling Green lost their way out of TUC status. Michigan dropped into a tie for sixth with Harvard and likely sealed a trip to Grand Rapids for regionals.
The weekend was actually a total disaster for OSU, who managed to squeak by Ferris in three games but dropped from a solid three seed to 16th in the PWR and out of the tounament, largely because of those TUCs dropping off the face of the earth. This also killed Northern's faint at-large hopes, killed 'em dead.
Looking at the RPI shows exactly how screwed the CCHA is getting by the PWR this year. The RPI cutoff for TUC status is 0.500. Three of the first four non-TUC teams are mediocre CCHA teams: UAF (0.4991), BGSU (0.4989), and Miami (0.4953).
I think it's time to move past the bizarre fiction that the stubbornly stupid PWR system, which is followed letter-for-letter by the NCAA hockey committee when seeding teams in the tourney, is somehow superior to the actual judgement of humans. Either move to a system that does not have obviously counterintuitive properties (eg, UW would have been better served losing this weekend than winning) and arbitrary distinctions between teams (eg, considering wins over BGSU to be really, really significant until they lose two games of 40), or let actual people who can actually apply reason do it.
Also, please note that PWR is giving Michigan exactly what it wants right now, a spot in GR, so this is not self-serving whining. It's principled whining.
I just noticed that the front page of Michigan Hockey Net has a video of the Ortmeyer-Nystrom-Ortmeyer goal to beat #1 DU from the Yost regional a couple years back. Gives me chills.
I... I... don't know what to say. (Stolen from The Victors.)
Update: Oh. Thanks to reader Carl P Grant(!).
Ask CFN starts off with a couple of UM questions. One answer contains this sentence: "Outside of being unable to stop Vince Young in the Rose Bowl and Ohio State's Troy Smith, what was so horrible with the Wolverine run defense?"
That's like asking "Outside of the Holocaust, what was so bad about Hitler?"
They also come down on the side of Carr in the epic Wolverine Fan Coach Battle, but since their self-esteem doesn't wax and wane with Michigan wins and losses you knew that already.
David Sklansky is a well-known poker author. He runs Two Plus Two publishing, which prints a free internet mag. In the latest issue he addresses a topic I've gone over before: when to go for it. If you were interested in the Romer paper I linked to before but math makes your brain hurt, Sklansky provides a good basic summary of the principles behind it.
To summarize: football coaches are too conservative, often choosing the 'safe' play over the 'risky' one, even if the risky play is statistically far superior. The article also spawned an interesting thread on their forums. Serious gamblers have a state of mind that makes football coaches' decisions incomprehensible. In their opinions, positive expectation (i.e., how 'good' something is for you) is always more important than variance (i.e., how likely it is that something very good or very bad happens instead of something in between). Now, this may not be the case in an unevenly matched situation. If you are the heavily favored team you should probably adopt the lower variance strategy, expecting that you'll increase your chance of winning by lowering the variance more than you would by taking a marginally positive expectation.
Lloydball is thus somewhat justified by this point of view... if Lloydball actually reduces variance. I submit that it's not necessarily that clear. Running and eating the clock increases variance as you're reducing the number of plays/drives in the game and thus reducing the chance that your assumed superiority will show on the scoreboard by the time the game is over. That's akin to watching Michigan play Illinois in Crisler and seeing Illinois run every shot clock under ten seconds before getting into their offense. If you are a heavy favorite and your offense is equally effective running and passing, you should be playing to lengthen the game by getting in and out of the huddle quickly, throwing frequently, and getting out of bounds. (This obviously only applies to strategy early in the game. The particular situation you find yourself in drives decision making later.) Punting, on the other hand, is always the low variance play. The opponent will likely have the ball about 30 or 40 yards back from your current position on the field. Going for it has two very different outcomes: you've got it or they do. It's high variance.
That doesn't necessarily mean that a favored team should always pick the low variance play, it just means that they should have a higher expectation threshold than an underdog. A perfect example of this was a game a few years ago between a very down Alabama squad and #1 Oklahoma. 'Bama started the game off with an onside kick which they recovered. They then proceeded to scare the pants off the Sooners before some scatback named Works pulled OU's butt out of the fire. The decision to onside kick it was brilliant for Dennis Franchione, Alabama's coach at the time, but would have been a blunder had Bob Stoops tried it.
In conclusion, Lloyd should hire Doyle Brunson.