"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
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- 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.]
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Interest Level: Cold
Michigan offered four-star 2016 NC OT Landon Dickerson last week, per The Wolverine's Brandon Brown ($). As is the norm with a touted recruit hailing from south of the Mason-Dixon line, Michigan will not only have to overcome offers from several powerhouses, but also concerns about the weath-- wait, what?
Right now Dickerson is the No. 16 guard in the country and just a three-star prospect, but with an offer list that includes schools like Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, South Carolina, and Tennessee among others, his ranking is likely to get a boost. Still even with all of those high-profile offers, the Maize and Blue appeals to him.
"Geographically Michigan is probably a great place for me," he said with a laugh. "I'm a cold-weather kind of guy. I'm the guy that when it's 25° outside I don't have a shirt on and I'm in flip-flops. I don't think it could be any better geographically.
If you grew up in a place like Michigan, you not only know people like this exist, but that they're the exact type of person you want playing offensive line for your football team. Dickerson is a long way from making a decision, though he says Virginia Tech and Tennessee have stood out to him. If he wants to get that warm, fuzzy feeling of advanced hypothermia, however, he may seriously consider his new offer.
Dickerson isn't the only rising senior O-lineman to nab an offer of late. Three-star PA OT Johncarlo Valentin* added an offer last week, and he told TMI's Brice Marich he's already familiar with the program ($):
“They offered me after they watched me work out,” Valentin told The Michigan Insider. “I was overly excited. Not really did I see it coming. I am very interested in Michigan. I like everything about them.”
“I already have visited them. I was there last summer and it went wonderful. I do want to visit again, but I just don’t know when yet.”
Michigan joins Arizona State and Virginia Tech as significant offers on Valentin's list, and he's fielding interest from several other top programs. Valentin is high school teammates with one of M's top tight end targets, Naseir Upshur, and the two have spoken about playing together at the next level.
Michigan also offered 2017 four-star MD OT Jordan McNair, who told Marich he's "very interested" in the Wolverines ($).
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Kickstarter expiration imminent. Our Hail To The Victors kickstarter ends at 5 PM. If you have been procrastinating, you have run out of time. We'll have copies in the MGoStore for those who haven't been able to participate. Signed copies, Kickstarter-exclusive shirts, and the ability to get your name in the thing are only available until 5. Consume!
there was a lot of this last weekend [Bryan Fuller]
CROOOSH. Softball annihilated its regional over the weekend, coming up a single run short of mercy-ruling all three of its opponents. They draw #14 Georgia in the super regionals at Alumni Field in a Thursday/Friday series. Thursday's game is 9PM on ESPN2; Friday's is at 6 on ESPNU. South Bend Wolverine, who graciously previewed the regional for us, is planning on profiling Georgia on Wednesday.
Hiring the team mom. Andy Staples interviews Harbaugh about the Gwendolyn Bush hire:
Bush peppered the coach with the same kinds of questions she did when Harbaugh was recruiting Lyons to Stanford out of Fort Lauderdale’s Dillard High. The banter gave Harbaugh flashbacks to the lengthy questionnaire Bush asked all the coaches recruiting her son to complete in 2010. It also gave him an idea. No parent he’d dealt with had studied the recruiting process as thoroughly as Bush. “Some people don’t take the time to really learn the process,” Bush said. “They just let it happen.” Bush wouldn’t allow that for her son. Inspired by St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) High tailback James White, who sent coaches brief surveys before committing to Wisconsin, Bush and Lyons designed a 50-question exam for coaches to complete before they could recruit Lyons.
Plus, Bush now also had the experience of a parent whose child had played high-level college football while completing a demanding degree program. As a bonus, she had worked in the Broward County school system in a variety of positions for 27 years. She had administrative experience. She would be perfect for Harbaugh’s version of the director of player development position. “With her credentials in the educational system, I thought she’d be a tremendous liaison to academics and also a voice for the moms,” Harbaugh said. “In the recruiting process, the mothers get very little airtime—even throughout the entire college experience.”
Wayne Lyons was headed to Michigan either way, and Harbaugh just took the opportunity provided by Bush getting back in touch to hire a person with that level of detail.
Seeya. The number of Indiana basketball players hitting the highways and byways of America, bindle over shoulder, swelled to five over the weekend with the dismissals of Devin Davis and Hanner Mosquera-Perea. The reason for their departure: Davis was cited for pot possession. Perea's offense was being in the room.
Kevin Trahan notes that the departure of these gentlemen on such a flimsy pretext likely means they were out the door no matter what:
…two Indiana players—Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson—failed multiple drug tests last fall, yet only received four-game suspensions that were more like two-game suspensions, given that two of the games were exhibition contests.
Why the Roger Goodell-like disciplinary inconsistency? It's hard not to wonder if Mosquera-Perea and Davis are less incorrigible embarrassments to Crean's team than a pair of inconvenient bench bodies, victims of scholarship oversigning. After all, Williams was a star for the Hoosiers and integral to their future success. Mosquera-Perea and Davis are not. Meanwhile, Crean needs an open scholarship as he looks to sign star high school big man Thon Maker—and surprise, two spots just become available.
Robinson got the ziggy earlier this offseason after demonstrating he can't shoot at all; Williams is still around, mean-mugging after he successfully makes tea.
Here's some perspective on this offseason's vigorous Creaning: for a football team to go through this much premature attrition they would have to lose 33 players. Tom Crean is the Houston Nutt of basketball. Giggity.
What about the other slot? A familiar name might fill it:
Michigan graduate transfer Max Bielfeldt, who won an appeal that will allow him to transfer within the Big Ten, will visit Indiana on Sunday according to a report from Jon Rothstein.
Bielfeldt confirmed his plans to visit in a text message to Inside the Hall on Saturday afternoon.
Inside the Hall optimistically lists Bielfeldt at 6'8" and most of the comments are along the lines of "he can't be worse than Perea." Which… okay, maybe.
Dave Brandon 2.0 has not been stopped yet. I feel for Texas fans with no light at the end of their terrible AD tunnel yet. Steve Patterson, the new Worst Athletic Director In America, on playing Texas A&M:
On playing the Aggies, Patterson said, "We're booked through '27. My phone's not ringing every day."
— Kirk Bohls (@kbohls) May 17, 2015
On playing in Mexico City:
Texas AD Steve Patterson says UT could play a football game in Mexico City before 2020.
— Kirk Bohls (@kbohls) May 17, 2015
Patterson is obsessed with the possibility people in Dubai or Mexico might buy a UT t-shirt because he is the kind of executive sociopath that is more concerned with putting a bullet point on a resume than actually figuring out what is a good idea.
Jerry Hinnen points out that playing at Azteca has historically been a nightmare for the USMNT due to the altitude, smog, and heat. Mexico plays all their games there specifically to discomfit visitors; Patterson wants to play a football game there in the vague hope it gives Texas recognition in a country that doesn't care even a little tiny bit about American football.
Etc.: Doug Skene and Mike Spath break down Rudock's game against Wisconsin. That is the next passing UFR on my list, and it projects to be an encouraging one. Get The Picture on the coming attendance dip. Angelique talks to Adidas. NoDak hockey coach Dave Hakstol hired by the Flyers in the same position.
AFC Ann Arbor beat Oakland United Sporting Real Dinamo Forest FC SC 4-0 to win their first-ever league game. Points to the rowdies for chanting "dos a cero" for the period of time that was a thing.