he grew a beard
I've been scoping out blogs of relevance in order to praise them and link to them so they will do the same to me, boosting both my self-esteem and traffic. (I figure if both of those things of mine get high enough I will become Russell Crowe.)
I've found a couple of excellent local blogs that I would (and do!) link to even if they think I suck and never return the compliments/flowers/slave children:
Blue Cats and Red Sox is written by a Bostonian transplanted to UM for Art School. A girl, even! She's probably completely insane, but she likes sports and Franz Ferdinand. And she writes a friggin' TON. It's unbelievable. I am in the process of not believing it right now. Right now it's all Red Sox and Tigers but I figure when there is no baseball there may even be Michigan related content. I mean, who would write about Michigan when no one was playing any games? A freak, that's who.
The Detroit Tigers Weblog is not creatively named, but it is excellent. It's even got statistical regression charts! This is not a selling point for you? Oh. Well, it's also got a lot of interesting content... but you're probably going to be pissed off if you hate charts, because they're coming here eventually. So go over there now.
Many people on the Internet are very, very dumb. Not you, you read mgoblog. You're the Internet Elite. But other people are, and it makes me alternately amused/saddened/angry, and when you're all three of these things it's time to make fun of some dumb dudes.
The following is a list of my Sporting Internet Pet Peeves. I am taking suggestions for the extension of this list... I wish it to be comprehensive! What are your hated pet peeves? Tell me! I'll skewer!
Stupid, juvenile nicknames
Most relevant to Michigan fans is the infamous "scUM," but this idiocy affects many fan bases. Any "State" school is liable to find a dollar sign replacing the S in their abbreviation. In a rush to damn the NCAA people will completely disregard the fact that "NCAA" doesn't have any S's in it and go ahead and make the same swap anyway. Penn State gets called "State Penn" whenever a player gets drunk and frisky. Morons spell out "University of Spoiled Children" over and over again to display their disdain for USC.
"scUM and the University of Spoiled Children are playing in the Ro$e Bowl because the NC$$ needs the money."
This person is a moron who is under the erroneous impression that he is being funny, like that one uncle who tells the same joke every Thanksgiving for 30 years. This affliction is always, always a sign that you can safely ignore anything the person says, as they are either twelve or have Down's Syndrome.
Insert bullet travelling at extremely high velocity into skull.
Most common with universities best described as "technically not high school" or fanbases in areas where there is no pro alternative. Obviously, then, this is an absolute plague amongst OSU fans, and is rampant at MSU as well.
"tOSU" is permissible to use in a slightly disdainful fashion since OSU fans tend to use it themselves.
Everyone and everything is a "stud," which always conjures up the most homoerotic images imaginable. NTTAWWT.
"I saw Bob Recruit on television the other day. His tight pants revealed a set of rippling muscles that would look fantastic in a Michigan uniform. He repeatedly thrust himself through the opposing line, time and again burying himself in the opponent's backfield. I can say without hesitation that Bob Recruit is a stud."
This person is attempting to deny his homosexuality by being a huge sports fan.
A bottle of whiskey and a ticket to San Francisco.
All. This generally doesn't happen to the Indianas of the world, though, as they don't have any "studs."
"Stud" is permissible when talking about nails and/or horses.
U R A CHEETER!!!
Hey, if you can't beat 'em, bitch about how they cheat constantly and the reason they don't get caught is because the NC$$ needs to protect them because said successful school actually makes a lot of money, unlike your loser alma mater that scrapes together enough wins to go to Boise in December once every five years.
"Michigan's been paying players for years. How else would you explain all the recruits they get? It's not like they have the largest stadium in the country and a track record of success spanning back to the 60s. How do these recruits even hear about Michigan and their so-called 'winged helmets'? They're on ABC and ESPN... who even gets those? Alaskans? Proof? Remember that one time their basketball program got in trouble? QED."
This person cannot bring himself to admit that his school is markedly inferior to his opponent's school for legitimate reasons.
Suggest this person cheer for the Yankees.
Junior-college-esque state schools who can't stand the success of big brother. Michigan State, UCLA, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State.
Basketball teams coached by Billy Donovan, Quinn Snyder, or Jim Harrick and SEC football teams not named "Vanderbilt" can be freely tarred with this brush, because the chances of you being wrong are tiny.
It's a picture of boobies!
Ever open a fifteen-post thread at work and get two different 800x600 pictures of impossibly fake boobs alternating for pages and pages? And then have your boss walk up behind you? Thanks, internet hero, for turning my idle surfing of a sports site into a firing offense! No one needs to see the same set of fake gazongas eighty times accompanied by your three words of deep insight into the team of your choice.
Go to Rivals and click on a thread.
Person is fourteen and has a constant boner. Likely to turn into a guy who says "stud" constantly after being rejected by women for the next ten to eighty years.
An introduction to life's harsh realities, hopefully beginning with a slap upside the head.
Anybody with a site on Rivals.
Arguments about hot chicks are always welcome as long as denoted in the subject title and the specific purpose of a thread. Also exempt are pictures of Scarlett Johansson.
We Never Wanted That Program Savior Anyway
A classic refrain whenever a big-time prospect selects another school, especially unexpectedly: we never wanted him anyway. He's a head case, a loser, afraid of competition, who wasn't any good anyway, who beats his mother I heard. He isn't man enough to play for Old State U. He lied to the coaches. He looks suspiciously like a witch. Let's kill him!
"Chad Henne chose scUM because he is scum! He obviously doesn't have the mental toughness to play for Joe Paterno and has instead chosen to play for a coach who can feed himself. I hope that stud Dan Connor rams into him again and again, that stud. What a stud."
This person has absolutely no self-esteem, probably because they are completely worthless. Instead of accepting the fact that high school seniors change their minds constantly, this person is deeply hurt by the recruit's rejection of his chosen school. Why? Because rejection is all this guy knows. He hasn't been on a date in three to five years. He's stuck at the same dead-end job. He escapes his miserable life by obsessively following his college football team, and you don't want to be a part of it? Bastard!
Inform this person that the 5'8" two-star DT they just got is a real sleeper.
Most, though this is a Penn State speciality.
Anyone who goes to Tennessee, as all that stuff about them beating up women is probably true. Also Joe Crawford.
Braylon Edwards is not going to be on the cover of NCAA Football '06. Outrage!!!
What's that? Desmond Howard is? Uh... never mind.
Ken Pomeroy has a "state of the game" post up which is, in the words of Napoleon Dynamite, flippin' sweet. It includes a graph charting field goal percentage, game pace, and offensive efficiency since 1948 with significant rules changes highlighted.
Pomeroy points out two main trends: the number of threes being launched continues to skyrocket and the pace of the game continues to plummet... 2005 marked an all-time-low. These are conveniently two of the three things I love to harp on when I talk about why I don't get behind college basketball as much as the pro game (number three: excessive timeouts). The three-point line has been the subject of much discussion in recent years. It got bumped back a little for the '03-'04 season but the nine inches they added have obviously failed to halt the three's rise to power. Pomeroy suggests that moving it back even further (perhaps to the full NBA length) is something that will happen in the near future.
What of the shot clock? Well, Pomeroy suggests it should actually be increased in order to force teams to play a more aggressive style of defense instead of waiting around for their zones to get cracked. That makes little sense to me, but who do you trust, me or Pomeroy? (ME? Wrong answer.)
I would prefer a vicious crackdown on charges, including a no-charge circle similar to the NBA's and the implicit understanding that if it's at all close the tie goes to the offense. The ability to drive and finish or kick out should be much improved. I fear that increasing the shot clock will invite bad teams to slow the game down extensively, like Michigan did against teams with a pulse last year.
Anyway, run over there and check it out. Pomeroy is the man, man.
ESPN.com has a huge article that goes team-by-team in the Big Ten and details questions and answers heading into the fall. It's very comprehensive... props to Brett Edgerton, who put the thing together. Too bad you're credited as a "researcher."
Maybe you should start a hippin' and a hoppin' and then youd be on page two with all the big ballers. Wizzle nizzle fo' shizzle.
First off, does anyone have advice for converting what Excel spits out as an HTML file into something Blogger-acceptable? It's all style-sheetin' and meta-datain' and Blogger does not like you to put such tags in post bodies, so I have to make GIFs of the charts. It's not a big deal--the GIFs are actually smaller than the html page--but it's time consuming.
Anyway. I've done some number-crunching, stat-smooshing, your general what-have-you and present the results to you. mgoblog would also like to introduce a pet stat of his own: Shots Per Possession, which is basically exactly what it sounds like. More on that later.
On with the show, first with adjusted rebounding statistics. Raw rebound numbers are often distorted by possession variance. A better way to look at rebounding numbers is a simple percentage of available rebounds garnered. I've done this for both offensive and defensive rebounds for all teams in the Big Ten (conference games only):
Ewwww. Amaker haters, here's your ammunition. Michigan had sporadic injuries to frontcourt players--Hunter missed seven conference games, Petway two, and Brown one--but at all times there were three legitimate options in the frontcourt. Injuries cannot explain away the fact that Michigan was far and away the worst defensive rebounding team in the conference.
Michigan was about average with its offensive rebounding, which is still somewhat disappointing with a jumping jack like Petway on the team. Offensive rebounding is more athleticism and skill than defensive rebounding, which is mostly a matter of boxing out your man, and Michigan had one of the better offensive rebounders in the league in Petway. He got no support from anyone else, however.
The offensive rebounding is not the real issue, though. Michigan must improve its defensive rebounding next year to have a real chance in the Big Ten. There's no reason they can't do so. The only reason they were horrendous this year was poor coaching. mgoblog will be watching Def Reb % like a hawk next year... it's the canary (in a coalmine) stat for '05-'06.
As for the rest of the Big Ten... MSU's utter dominance certainly leaps out at you. This probably a combination of Izzo coaching and Paul Davis definitively proving that he is not a "disappointment" or "soft." Davis is a bad mutha (scroll down) on the boards. The only guy better is his teammate and football-moonlighter Matt Trannon.
The hits just keep on coming. Ugh. Unlike the rebounding numbers, I do believe that the turnover percent can be explained away by injuries. The Michigan backcourt morphed into Dion Harris and Three Guys From The IM Building midway through the season and that was it as far as turnovers went. Dion played 40 minutes a game as the only offensive option. He got tired and turned the ball over, so someone else would bring the ball up the court and turn the ball over.
Will this improve significantly next season? Yes. It almost has to. Michigan won't leap up into the top half of the Big Ten--Horton, Harris, and Sims are all very turnover prone--but hopefully they can get to about average.
And now the pet stat: Shots Per Possession. There are two version of this stat per team, one offensive and one defense. The formula for both is (FGA + 0.44 FTA) / Possessions. It is exactly how many shots you get or yield per possession, an important measure of offensive efficiency that combines your rebounding and turnovers into a single stat that shows how effective you are at getting off shots. It obviously does not address shot quality.
What jumps out at you? How about Illinois' SPP of 1.00... a whole shot per possession! That essentially means that Illinois had one offensive rebound (161 on the year) for every turnover (160 on the year). They were 39-2 for a reason, kids. Michigan's OppSPP of 0.97 is bad but nowhere near as bad as their regular SPP of 0.89, which beats only Northwestern.
Take the difference between the two SPP stats and multiply it by the average number of possessions in a game and viola, Shot Differential. Shot diff passes the initial sanity check... all five tourney teams at the top, Illinois at the tippy-top, and Michigan State close on their heels. Michigan, of course, sucks at everything. Other things of note: Wisconsin's hands-off defense has its costs They give up an unusually high number of shots for a good team, largely because they're tied with Penn State for last in opponent's turnovers. Minnesota's reputation for hard-nosed defense is well deserved. It appears to be the only thing that they do well, but they did it well enough to make the tournament last year.
Finally, pirate rating weights parrot percentage very heavily and successfully negotiates a balance when it comes to eyepatches--having too few relative to parrot percentage (signifying you're a bunch of posers) is punished just as harshly as having too many (signifying you can't control your parrots and they keep pecking out eyes). When Michigan lost Horton for the year it lost both a source of PP and a guy who could reliably handle a parrot without risking an eye--something John Andrews and Dani Wohl found to be difficult, to say the least. Michigan should improve here.
Summary: Ewww. These stats are totally gross for Michigan, especially the defensive rebounding number, which is awful and not explainable by pointing to injuries. Anyone questioning Amaker's coaching ability should point to that stat first and foremost. The numbers reflect what I've muttered privately for a while: Michigan is not only a bad team, it's a dumb, inefficient team. The stats that seem to relate to talent and effort (offensive rebounding and opponent's turnovers) see Michigan in the middle of the pack. The stats that are mostly intelligence, technique, and coaching (turnovers and defensive rebounding) see Michigan at the very bottom. Michigan may slide by next year with good shooting, shotblocking, and perimeter defense, but if the latter statistics don't improve over the course of a few years Michigan will never be a threat to win the Big Ten or advance deep into the tourney.