Arrrgh. Would something relevant happen? Please? A commitment, maybe, or some encouraging news or something. You, blog readers! Go do something Michigan-related and newsworthy.
Eh. Word-brick coming up on bball pretty soon. Hang in there.
I am a fan of Big Ten Wonk, as any red-blooded flyover country Big Ten fan should be, and have been observing with interest his Points Per Weighted Shot tracking over the course of the year (which was cannily devised by John Hollinger, brazenly renamed by Big Ten Wonk, and appropriated for Michigan-related purposes by mgoblog). Anyone looking at Michigan's numbers can see that they are bad. This is not surprising, because Michigan is a bad team.
But let's take a fantastic voyage... inside the numbers!!! To do this, we need some numbers. Number wrangling, Excel hassling, eventual defeat and the last resort of a screenshot produces this:
I've highlighted numbers I find interesting. Included are all players of significance from this year and last year. First of all: Horton is horrible at this stat. Putrescent. He has two of the four worst scores over the past two years (one, admittedly in a season abbreviated by injury and legal issues). The other two low scores are from Coleman and Harris this year. Coleman and Harris can plead Dani Wohl and John Andrews. Horton has no such mitigating factors.
Second, the numbers seem to support the idea that Harris' awful '05 season can be excused. I tracked some difference stats at the bottom of the chart (basically '05 stats minus '04 stats, leaving all the "extra" shots players took this year). Harris's 131 extra FG attempts and 25 extra FT attempts yielded only 101 points, or 0.71 points per shot. That's atrocious. The player in dead last on BTW's final regular season chart, Purdue's Brandon McKnight, kicks the crap out of it with his 0.87. The working theory of mgoblog is that Harris was forced to take a zillion extremely tough shots because no one else on the floor could create and that his numbers this year are not his fault.
Third, break out the harps, angels, and assorted iconic imagery, because Lester's coming back. PPWS is not a perfect stat. It often overrates players like, say, Brent Petway, who get infrequent shot attempts that are usually thunder-dunks or offensive putbacks but cannot create their own shot. It's better for comparing posts to posts and perimeter players to perimeter players. The real sign of a great player is high PPWS and high volume. See Dee Brown, dominating PPWS this year and taking a truckload of shots doing it. Lester took 257 shots in '04 and finished with 1.28 PPWS, which would be good for seventh in the league this year, behind only a bunch of players from MSU and Illinois... Final Four-bound MSU and Illinois who have multiple efficient offensive options, get a lot of assists, and are generally well-coached basketball teams. Lester does not operate in that sort of environment, and he's still hanging with the very best the Big Ten has to offer. Lester is not a good college player. He is a great college player, and his loss is what murderified this year. He's the kind of player you find on championship teams.
Next year, Abram will be back. If he matches his '04 performance he'll be turning Harris's league worst 0.71 point shots into something approaching the league's best 1.28 point shots. Harris's PPWS will shoot up as well, as he'll actually have an option other than taking an off-balance runner while having his liver eaten by a giant eagle. Coleman should get a good number of open looks for his three-point stroke with better players on the floor around him.
Better days are coming.
Ugh. The only thing more sickening than Drew Sharp trashing class college athletes as "losers" is Drew Sharp praising them.
"On a day that celebrated resurrection, Michigan State rose from the ashes of stinging doubt to reach its expectations," says Sharp. Gee, I wonder whose stinging doubt we could be referring to, hmmm? Maybe yours, you front-running bandwagon fool? Could you have said something like "these guys just don't have it"? Or maybe something like "they're already done" after the Iowa BTT loss? Perhaps the main media voice that was driving the trashing of Hill, Anderson, Davis, et al, was yours, hmmm?
Sharp's spent all year trashing the MSU seniors for being choking losers, running a column after every loss about how pathetic they are. Now they're in St. Louis, in the Final Four, and does Sharp mention this fact in any of his fawning "they're just tougher" columns? No. He just jumps on the bandwagon and hopes people don't remember. How does this guy have a job? Why isn't he working in a White Castle somewhere? We'll never know.
What we do know is that "Razor Sharp" stands at #1,388,509 on Amazon, slightly below "Hitler's Book of Bedtime Stories" and only three above "This Book Doesn't Exist." The man is a joke.
Speaking of jokes, check out this review of "Razor Sharp," which is awesome.
The one chosen to represent Canada in a US vs. the World All-Star game, that is. Impressive given that highly ranked UCLA recruit Ryan Wright, who considered Michigan, is also from the Great White North.
This is what Shepherd's coach thinks of him:
"If he finishes off well, people will be putting him in that class as one of the best (high school) players ever produced in Canada," Dawkins said. "And if you combine that with his character, he could be one of the greatest of them all out of Toronto."
Mmmm, that's good praise. Hopefully he can contribute immediately.
I dunno. All three major sports are finished this year. Spring practice is in full swing, but information regarding said practice is generally either premium or non-existent. Recruiting will probably trundle along sleepily until the mid-summer camp.
I have these things on my plate for the spring and summer: a "State of the Program" for both basketball and hockey, a Hockey Recruiting Blowout(!), NFL draft coverage as it relates to Wolverines (and, cough, the Lions), and any targets of opportunity that present themselves. So. Be on the lookout for three to four diatribes you could print out and stun a water buffalo with, but hugely substantive posting is probably going to be on the low side, since news of substance will probably be scarce. I was hoping to make this post in two weeks, but apparently God has decided that this is the year of Extremely Painful Michigan Sports... Rose Bowl, basketball disaster, CC game... Worst. Year. Ever.
Worst in the Sports-Guy "stomach punch" sense, that is, not the Bobby Williams "49-3" sense. But you knew that already.
Ok, ok, ok. The Big Ten added two impressive scalps to its resume over the weekend in #3 Arizona and #2 UK. Wisconsin also scared the living daylights out of #1 UNC. Crow away, BT partisans, as no matter what happens the rest of the way, the conference has had the best tournament of any in the tournament, period.
The mild annoyance of another Spartan run in the tournament is mitigated by the further proof it provides that Douche Sharpe has no idea what he's talking about, ever. EVER EVER. I have nothing but antipathy for Michigan State and all it stands for (in summary: beer and timekeeper cheating), but I have to note that MSU's senior class has handled itself with nothing but class for every moment of their four years, has won an awful lot, and has never popped their damn jerseys. Anyone disputing their achievements, or the way they got them, is an idiot.