to play football, not to play trumpet
I knooowww you belooooong to soooooomebody neeeeww.
But toniiiiiight you belooooong to me.
Is the state of Michigan driving kids away from in-state schools? This year Tom Izzo rode an easy bracket to a Final Four appearance with a down-year team, then put together a very good recruiting class, even if his top target went to Purdue. Since he really has no need to make excuses at the moment, his friends are doing it for him. Before the tournament it was "Tom Izzo doesn't cheat but everyone else does." Which is generally true—on a scale of "Look at our shiny Tommy Amaker" to "Ridin' this Calipari" MSU is definitely near the Amaker extremity of programs that regulate that stuff as best they can (nobody, including Michigan, would stand up to scrutiny, nor should).
The latest non-excuse excuse is MHSAA's arcane rule drives top 150 talent out of the state of Michigan, and thus away from the in-state schools. An article by Graham Couch—
Hey where are you going? Stop. At least see where I'm going with this. Yes the Couch article was exactly the paragon of crappy slappy journalism you'd expect from one of the worst journalists of my generation. He interviewed a couple of Detroit high school basketball coaches about the "parasitic" effect of AAU and national prep powers—as if anyone but the in-state schools would be helped if Miles Bridges was forced to live in Flint rather than a prep school down the street from Marshall University.
But that doesn't preclude a possibly real effect of talent leaving the state (and not looking back) due to overly stringent rules put in place by the body that controls high school athletics.
Couch cares because Michigan State in basketball is like an SEC football school (minus the cheating), in that their historical success is tied to proximity to talent. If the state of Michigan is systemically exporting more talent than it's bringing in, that's bad for the in-state schools. However if one program is suffering from greater national vagrancy because it's built on recruiting in-state talent and doesn't know how to compete for regional and extra-regional players, that's just that program falling behind the times.
Are more basketball players playing elsewhere in general? Is this state different somehow? I realized I didn't have a study to link to show this, so I made one.
And found M and MSU are getting less in-statey:
Bentley has a list of all Michigan basketball players except for 2008 (I added). For Michigan State I could only find a list of letterwinners, so I compared just Michigan's varsity:
A lot of wiggle: This isn't like football where there's over 100 players on each roster; if three freshmen from a prep school decide to attend the same college you'll get a big jump on the graph above.
There are two major national events responsible for two huge dips: World War II (1942-1945), and the implementation of Title IX, which regulations were promulgated in 1974 and clarified in 1979. The "three-part test" comes from '79, and it's from then through '82 that the three-part standards, e.g. having as many girls on official athletic rosters as boys, truly went into effect.
That said, there's a historical mean of around 50% in-state for Michigan and about 60% for Michigan State—not enough difference on a squad of 16 players to make a difference. Both schools have recently gone more out-of-state, Michigan to a much greater degree.
What about the Wolverines?
[Hit the jump]
I was bouncing post ideas off my brother last night when he mentioned he didn't know much at all about Jim Harbaugh's playing career. I realized that outside of the pre-OSU guarantee, I didn't either—after all, Harbaugh's senior season occurred a year before I was born. I'm sure I'm not alone here, so I thought I'd do a series of posts on Harbaugh's best games at Michigan, with a huge assist from the incomparable WolverineHistorian.
The natural place to begin, of course, is Harbaugh's first start, when Michigan opened their 1984 season against the defending national champion Miami Hurricanes.
The Setup: After winning the 1983 national title under Howard Schnellenberger, Miami looked to continue their dominance with Jimmy Johnson at the helm after Schnellenberger bolted for the fledgling USFL. By the time the 'Canes traveled to Ann Arbor, they'd already begun the season 2-0, defeating #1 Auburn and #17 Florida to rise to the top of the polls—and extend their winning streak to 13 games.
Michigan entered the game ranked #14 in the country after going 9-3 in 1983. Much of the pre-game attention centered on Harbaugh, the kid with deep Michigan roots making his first start after attempting just five passes as a freshman backup to Steve Smith. Bo Schembechler went so far as to say his team could throw the ball around 25, maybe even 30(!), times in a game.
[Hit THE JUMP.]
"let's not have that tourney run" –Big Ten ADs [Fuller]
The Big Ten athletic directors have gathered in Illinois to stroke their chins and issue pronouncements about the state of the games. As per usual some of the things they're saying are from space aliens unfamiliar with English. Northwestern's Jim Phillips exhibits a mild version of the affliction. The reporter's paraphrase is the worst bit:
One-and-done play is symptomatic of the problems that plague college athletics, Phillips said at the Big Ten spring meetings, in that it does not benefit the student-athlete at large.
"Frankly speaking," Phillips said, "shame on us. We've allowed the National Basketball Association to dictate what our rules are, or influence what our rules are at the collegiate level."
Phillips said NBA executives "look at us as the minor leagues."
"Nobody feels great about kids going to school for a semester and then leaving," he said. "That's crazy. It's absurd. So we've got to fix it.
"Why have we accepted that? Why have we just allowed that to happen without any pushback?"
I do have some sympathy for the resentment colleges must feel that the NBA has imposed one-and-done on them. It really is the worst possible system for the NCAA, which draws piles of criticism for the way CBB feels right now despite having done nothing.
But as per usual with the NCAA, the proposals on the table to deal with the problem cling tightly to a blinkered image of reality developed by watching "Newsies" 24 hours a day for the last decade. One-and-done does nothing to anyone who's not a one and done. For those who are, the NCAA has no ability to "benefit" them. They're just cooling their heels for a year because they have to before they are very wealthy. One and done is an entirely cosmetic issue. It is an issue, as it leads to things like Kentucky. I find Kentucky under Calipari annoying.
But the Big Ten's freshman ineligibility proposal is the clumsiest possible way to address the situation. It is nuking an anthill from orbit. As John Gasaway mentions, one-and-dones were a mere 14 kids last year.
Statistically it would be similar to terming "adults who have to visit the ER after using a pogo stick" a "culture." http://t.co/ojPoHzzK8Z
— John Gasaway (@JohnGasaway) May 20, 2015
Mitch McGary is that culture's king. I digress.
The Big Ten is trying to sell us the idea that students are not prepared to enter college, go to class, and compete for its teams at the same time their APR scores look like this.
Big Ten APR Scores (football; basketball)
Illinois: 957; 957
Indiana: 972; 1,000
Iowa: 969; 971
Michigan: 975; 990
Michigan State: 962; 980
Minnesota: 962; 960
Nebraska: 980; 947
Northwestern: 991; 980
Ohio State: 972; 977
Penn State: 954; 964
Purdue: 961; 985
Wisconsin: 989, 975
So which is it? Do you "continue to shine", as this BTN article claims? Or is it dire enough for the Big Ten to want to impose ineligibility on the 95% of their athletes that are just fine thanks?
Part of the problem is that if the NBA does come to the table looking for a reasonable solution (like NHL style draft-and-follow), they're going to hear the most impossible nonsense coming from the other side. No, you can't go to summer league. No, you can't have an agent. No, you can't even go to pre-draft camps to get a more accurate picture of where you stand. We're gonna have a freshman ineligibly snit fit over 14 guys.
The Big Ten has a problem with one-and-done. Fine. But Jim Delany's proposal is unserious. It is never going to happen. Having a "national discussion" is rhetoric on the level of that Nationwide Your Kid Just Died commercial. You can have that discussion. It is going to be about how much you suck and nothing else.
This is a toddler saying "NO, MINE" to someone who can take the toddler's toys away whenever he wants. If the NBA is going to listen, the NCAA is going to have to come to them with a serious proposal instead of a temper tantrum.
Da-nah, dah nah, dah-nah-nah-nah-nah.
(I've been looking all over for a solid copy of the song that used to start Tigers games, in case someone reading worked for WDIV and has a copy.)
I realize I've been lax on picking games with our fantasy partner for the readers to play against each other. The $300k "Swing for the Fences" MLB contest however isn't once to miss.
|Holaday is my Tiger. Also Kinsler. And Cabrera. And still Scherzer. I have many Tigers.|
- $300,000 prize pool.
- First place wins $100,000
- Only $3 to enter (FREE with first deposit)
- Top 25,930 finishing positions are paid.
- Starts Wednesday, May 20th at 7:05 PM EST
- Salary Cap Style Drafting. $50,000 to select 10 players: 8 position players and 2 pitchers
- Roster Format: 2 pitchers, 1 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 SS and 3 OF
Brian mentioned in today's mailbag that any given baseball game is going to have a ton of randomness. However you get so many opportunities for data points that the stats end up pretty reflective. Even imperfect ideas like "let's divide all the hits by at-bats (and not count walks and sacrifices) and "how many runs per game does he give up?" were able to stand as a sort of consensus opinion on player values for a century.
(i.e. until Mitch Meluskey hit .300)
This helps—you know by now who's good—and hurts—a guy who's hitless in 11 games can go 4/4 with a homer. I've played just a few baseball games to get the mechanics down and found my pitcher makes or breaks me, and winners tend to pick medium-expensive guys who have a lot of power. If you've got a way to beat the system, put 'em in the comments. Or use it to win my money I guess.
Two freshman bigs, Diamond Stone (L) and Caleb Swanigan, have changed the B1G outlook.
For a day, at least, Purdue is the center of the college basketball world's attention after the Boilermakers added the commitment of five-star big man Caleb Swanigan, Indiana's Mr. Basketball and one-time Michigan State commit. Swanigan will team with AJ Hammons and Isaac Haas to form what will certainly be the conference's largest and most talented group of bigs.
In a Big Ten conference with one clear but unproven frontrunner in Maryland, followed by a pack of contenders with glaring questions of some sort, Purdue is now very much in that group of flawed teams hoping to make a title run. Even Maryland, the prohibitive favorite after landing five-star center Diamond Stone, has issues they'll need to address if they want to live up to the hype. Here's a quick look at next season's contenders, the strengths that could power them to a conference crown, and the weaknesses that may do them in.
This team, on paper, has just about everything. The Terps can put four solid outside shooters around Stone, whose offensive skills are very advanced for a freshman. Melo Trimble was one of the best freshmen in the country last year, his efficiency should improve, and his remarkable knack for drawing fouls makes it difficult to keep him from consistently producing. Power forward transfer Robert Carter is a double-double threat. Maryland was a good squad last year and they should only be better this year.
So what's the problem? For one, Maryland might not have been quite as good as their record suggested last season. They pulled out so many tight games that they finished second nationally in KenPom's "luck" metric. The Terp offense ranked only tenth in the Big Ten in efficiency.
The offense will improve, to the point that it should offset regression in the luck department, but it's certainly worth wondering if a team that's proven so little will really end up in the national title discussion.
Denzel Valentine flourished last season, and while the surprising Final Four squad loses Travis Trice and Branden Dawson, the rest of the supporting cast returns. Transfer wing Eron Harris should pick up much of the scoring slack left by Trice, while top-30 recruit Deyonta Davis helps make up for the loss of Dawson. Tom Izzo is still here, and that should be enough to consider MSU a contender.
|Indiana could have a tough time defending the rim in 2015-16. [Patrick Barron/MGoBlog]|
But can the offense thrive with Tum Tum Nairn running the show full-time? Nairn's jumper is so wonky—25/75 on twos, 3/10 on threes—that opponents can sag off him without fear, and he didn't make up for it by being an elite passer; his turnover rate outstripped his assist rate last season. With Trice gone and no point guard incoming, Nairn is the guy at point guard, and State's success will depend on his ability to become some sort of threat on offense, especially since his height hinders him defensively.
The backcourt trio of Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon Jr., and Robert Johnson is up there with any in the country, especially when it comes to raining in triples. Troy Williams is an explosive finisher on the wing. The starting five shouldn't have any trouble putting points on the board.
But, um, where'd everybody else go? Tom Crean is aware that five players are on the court at once, and at least one of those players is usually rather enormous, right? 6'10" forward Thomas Bryant enters with five-star credentials, but the depth up front is still a major concern, along with the usual concerns about whether this is the year Crean's unstable program finally collapses.
So many skilled wings!
So few proven bigs.
One should never count out a Bo Ryan squad, even in what should be a rebuilding year. Nigel Hayes is a legitimate NBA prospect whose game continues to evolve, and Bronson Koenig usurped Traevon Jackson as the team's best option at point guard even before Jackson went down to injury. Role players Zak Showalter and Vitto Brown will be juniors this season, and with Ryan's record of slow-build, big-payoff player development, it wouldn't surprise at all to see one or both experience breakout seasons.
On the other hand, I needed to bring up Showalter and Brown when discussing key returners, because the Badgers lost three starters, Jackson, and top backup Duje Dukan. That's a hell of a lot to lose for any team, and Wisconsin is only bringing in one top-100 recruit (SG Devin Pritzl) among their reinforcements.
The Buckeyes will need a heck of a youth movement to contend for the title, but they've got the talent to do so: five consensus four-stars, including three top-50 prospects, will join junior Marc Loving and sophomores Jae'Sean Tate, Keita Bates-Diop, and Kam Williams to form the core of this squad. Big man Trevor Thompson is eligible after transferring from Virginia Tech last year, giving the team a much-needed frontcourt presence.
The positive is also the negative here. Can such a young team find the right combination of players to make a run? This team lacks a proven point guard, doesn't have much big man depth, and will have to find a number one option with the departure of D'Angelo Russell.
They're going to be a load to handle inside, with two skilled seven-footers in Hammons and Haas alongside the 6'8", 265-pound Swanigan at power forward. With last year's Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Raphael Davis, on the wing, it's going to be very difficult to score on the Boilermakers.
The team's roster construction could hold back Purdue's scoring, however. Spacing is going to be an issue for a team with only one above-average shooter, SG Kendall Stephens, projected to start. An offense can only be so efficient these days without boasting at least a decent outside shooting threat, but Purdue doesn't project to add much shooting after finishing last in the Big Ten from beyond the arc last season. Unless a returning wing—like sophomore Vince Edwards—really improves from the outside, the Boilermakers may run into trouble trying to bull through every team in their path.
I think I'm stretching the definition of "contender," but the Big Ten's middle is so murky it's tough to tell. The Illini have a couple very promising players, especially Malcolm Hill, and John Groce is bringing in a strong recruiting class featuring three four-star prospects. They also get PG Tracy Abrams back from a torn ACL, though how much that's worth is quite debatable.
Illinois loses Rayvonte Rice, who really came into his own last year, as well as Nnanna Egwu. Rice was the team's best bet to get to the basket the last couple years—and developed a lethal outside shot as a senior—while Egwu leaves a hole at center that'll be filled by either Maverick Morgan, who hasn't impressed thus far in his career, or an undersized, totally unproven option.
you asked for it
"Soon he will start appearing in historically significant photos and no one will remember that he was not, in fact, present."
Harbaugh put his Jim Harbaugh on the Declaration of Independence, and war was avoided. The British decided to do anything else at all; Harbaugh was forced to invent the game of baseball so he could play it with himself.
Shot clock effect on upsets.
Given that lowering the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds had little to no effect in the NIT, and that we can expect the same for a full season, I wonder if a side effect of the change might be fewer upsets. While efficiency might not change, the number of possessions will. I would think that with more possessions the better team is likely to win, because more possessions mean less randomness and greater reversion to the mean overall.
Give EMU 50 possessions against Michigan vs. 100 possessions against Michigan, and I would think that they would have a better chance to win with 50 possessions than 100. Could the 30 second shot clock actually make March Madness less maddening by reducing upsets? Thoughts?
-A slightly amused reader who still hopes for upsets
I think that's correct. I still remember that game back in the Amaker era when Illinois was at their apex and Michigan was rolling out Dion Harris and walk-ons named Dani. Michigan's strategy was to run the clock down without running offense and have Harris take a contested shot—the most Amaker strategy ever—and it worked for a while.
Anything that increases the number of trials without making those trials significantly less reliable indicators of talent should reduce upsets. It should be a real effect, but it might be so small as to not be reliably measurable. Maybe Kenpom will address it once he's got a big ol' bag of data.
I have gotten a lot of questions/assertions about the 30 second shot clock—far more than I think the change warrants. The differences are going to be minor. The median NCAA team saw only 10.7% of its shots go up in the period of time just erased. Some of that time can be reclaimed by being more urgent about getting the ball up the floor. (For example, the NBA's back court violation is an eight second call, not a ten second call.) The net impact is likely to be less wasted time and approximately equal efficiency. That's a good change for the game.
More on shot clock
I don’t believe this will affect the quality of shots as much as it will affect substitutions…
On a number of occasions I watched several teams, Wisconsin and Michigan included, essentially ‘waste’ at least 5 seconds tossing the ball back and forth outside the 3 point arc without any other movement. Case could be made this was simply being used to offer the players a short rest on offense, meaning that the top players likely play longer before substitution.
This may mean that teams with deep and talented benches gain an advantage…so the question may become whether it is the team with the best starters or the team with the best top 9 that wins.
-Howard [ed: a basketball referee]
There's another effect: if teams do decide to make those five seconds up by being quicker that's going to result in more pressure to get up and down the floor and more tired legs late in games. That'll be something to watch next year: does the percentage of bench minutes go up as a result?
Again: probably marginal impact but one that I would argue is unambiguously good.
[After the JUMP: another theory of baseball competitiveness, sea cucumbers.]