we going to the ship
Michigan represented in the real bracket. This Is March, and that means it's Name of the Year time. College football, which annually raises hundreds of names from obscurity, contributes five participants—at least five that I recognize—to this year's tournament:
1 seed Kobe Buffalomeat, an Illinois State signee.
15 seed Dredrick Snelson Jr, a UCF wide receiver.
11 seed Bumper Pool, a 2018 LB committed to Okie State (who Michigan pursued).
5 seed and Michigan signee Luiji Vilain(!).
1 seed Quindarious Monday, a 2018 safety out of Georgia recently offered by Michigan.
2 seed Sultan McDoom does not appear to be related to Eddie, FWIW. Also there is a Taco Dibbits who is presumably not related to Taco Charlton.
I believe Vilain is the first Michigan-affiliated participant since Iris Macadangdang made it to the final in 2009, losing to LSU DE Barkevious Mingo. Yes I knew that off the top of my head. Yes my brain is very good and full of useful things.
The NOTY bracket is always a magical one that different people will take different things from, like a diamond with 64 gleaming facets. Personally, I'm partial to Boats Botes. Boats.
— Cass Tech Football (@Detroit_CTFB) March 14, 2017
Many, many spring practice(?) things. I was thinking about splitting out huge data dumps from Sam Webb and Steve Lorenz into a separate post but since they're mostly about winter workouts—ie not even practice—during the heart of NCAA tournment season maybe we'll just jam it in here.
Prepare for JAM:
- Webb reports that Don Brown is bringing up Mike Wroblewski—who is apparently called "ROBO"—unprompted as the third ILB along with McCray and Bush. Sounds like Michigan will be rotating three guys for two spots.
- Drevno picks out Mike Onwenu as the gentleman with the biggest offseason improvement. Also mentioned: Rashan Gary, Ian Bunting, and Donovan Peoples-Jones. Meanwhile Lorenz reports that Onwenu has shed significant weight and is in a good spot.
- Sam is asked which early enrollees are consistently drawing mention and responds with Cesar Ruiz and—surprise—Donovan Peoples-Jones. Lorenz also mentions Ruiz as "college ready" physically and broaches the possibility he'll be a four-year starter. That would necessarily kick either Mason Cole or Ben Bredeson out to tackle. Frey thinks he can bat Cole around this spring and it won't have a negative impact.
- Lorenz also asserts that the coaching staff is pushing Juwann Bushell-Beatty because they think he can make it. They thought he was a reasonable option midseason, so he's got to be doing something right in practice.
- Per Lorenz, Karan Higdon's gotten up to 200 and he'll push Chris Evans.
- Metellus and Hudson are candidates at both safety and VIPER(!). Metellus is getting talked up a lot as a guy who had "one of the best winters on the roster" by Sam and by Lorenz as the favorite to start next to Kinnel, as he's a "rock solid 205" and a Don Brown favorite.
- Lorenz reports that Michigan is big on Carlo Kemp and Donovan Jeter has impressed early.
There's more at each of the links but that's how they get you, with the useful information.
ACC BIG 10 BIG 12 SEC PAC 12 BIG EAST. It's me again. Looking 4 home & home next year. Pls call me 4 chance 4 QUALITY road win, top 33 RPI pic.twitter.com/zYAZpR3kJn
— Dan Muller (@DanMuller) March 13, 2017
Illinois State should have been in. Ken Pomeroy writes on the exclusion of Illinois State from the field. One reason I was mildly incensed about what the committee did this year is that they gave the numbers-literate a window for hope:
In January, the NCAA invited me and several other people to discuss using new metrics to support the tournament selection process. It is encouraging that the people in charge of men’s basketball at the NCAA are interested in using the best tools available.
That discussion obviously went nowhere, as the Minnesota-Wisconsin seeding discrepancy and Illinois State exclusion demonstrate. Kenpom's take on the Redbirds:
Teams from a competitive mid-major conference like the Missouri Valley play a much different kind of schedule. Most games against teams outside the top 100 are conference games, which are just as likely to be on the road as they are at home. Also, very few of those “bad” opponents are going to be as bad as Howard or Western Carolina, whom Marquette played. Although it played many more teams outside the top 100, Illinois State still had fewer games (three) against teams in the bottom 100 than Marquette. As a consequence, a whole lot more of Illinois State’s games against poorer teams were potentially loseable, if the Redbirds had a particularly bad night or their opponent was feeling it. And the Redbirds did lose two of them—road games to Murray State and Tulsa. ...
If Marquette and Illinois State swapped schedules, the Golden Eagles would almost surely lose some games to teams outside the top 100. If you put Illinois State in the Big East, it would have earned some quality wins. No doubt, though, the Redbirds would do much worse than their 17-1 Missouri Valley Conference record when facing the tougher competition. But consider that Xavier went 8-10 against Big East teams not named DePaul and easily earned an at-large bid. The standard for small-conference teams is incredibly high, while the standard for major-conference teams is not as high as you think.
The "bad loss" mode of thinking fails to take into account the fact that when you play a high number of road games against teams with RPIs from 100 to 200, an NCAA quality team will be expected to lose some of them.
There are metrics that take this into account. "Wins Above Bubble"—defined as "the amount of wins you have - than the amount of wins an average bubble team would expect to have against the schedule you faced"—is an easy concept to grasp that ranks on overall resume instead of the distorted windows that arbitrary RPI bins provide. Illinois State was excluded despite being 1.5 WAB, ahead of 7-seed Dayton and 9-seeds MSU and Vandy*.
We blithely dismiss Illinois State's record because it came against "nobody", but anybody can be somebody on the road. Take Illinois State's game at Missouri State. On the day of the game, Missouri State was ranked #130 in Kenpom—bad loss territory if this was RPI. Illinois State was ranked #44, which is where nine-seed VT is ranked today and ahead of at-large picks VCU, Seton Hall, Providence, and USC. Kenpom gave Illinois State—which, again, was performing like a legit NCAA tournament team at the time—just a 63% shot at victory. Play nine road games against teams from 100 to 200 and an NCAA bubble team should lose a couple, as Illinois State did. Their record should have been enough to get them in the field.
*[I don't think WAB should be used for seeding; it's a selection metric. I mention the above teams because they were not only in the field but evidently not even on the bubble.]
New hockey coach maybe possibly. This gentleman appears to be Pavel Datsyuk's agent:
— Jeffrey Moss (@JeffMossDSR) March 15, 2017
Obligatory disclaimer: agents are not always reliable sources, and the deletion of said tweet makes it even shakier. If, however, he is correct and Michigan has already moved to secure their next head coach that could mean they've gone off the board. IE: they hired Not Mel. It seems doubtful that this guy would be in the loop if it was Pearson.
This podcast was recorded at Human Element, the Ann Arbor-based team of software developers and designers who are currently (perhaps literally if the site seems slow right this second) deep in their Kerrytown nerd cave, entrusted with the top-down redesign of this very site.
We Couldn’t Have One Without the Other
We get to make audio content because we can afford the studio time and equipment to make it happen, and that is thanks in large part to our longest and greatest supporters, Rishi and Ryan, proprietors of UGP, Moe's, and the Bo Store.
All or our sponsors are people just as embedded in the MGocommunity and whom we know personally. Homesure Lending, Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Ann Arbor Elder Law, Deo Bookkeeping, Michigan Law Grad, Defensive Drivers Group, and Peak Wealth Management.
1. Michigan after Maverick: Big Ten Tourney Recap Part 1
starts against 0:55
How far these players have come. We back up to the streak (and a couple of weird things on the road) before to set up the culmination of Maverick Morgan’s white collar comeuppance, followed by out-x’s and o’s-ing the Big Ten’s best guy to talk to about X’s and O’s.
2. Michigan after Maverick Part 2 and Gaming the RPI
starts at 20:45
Second half of Minnesota everyone’s legs die, Derrick Walton puts the team on his back. Announcers have to learn to appreciate Walton shots. Praise for announcers AND for referees—I’m warning you now in case you get here and start to wonder if this really is the MGoPodcast you’re listening to.
3. NCAA Tourney Preview
starts at 37:10
Not a good draw—Oklahoma State was seeded way—however Beilein might be the exact kind of coach that Cowboy shtick doesn’t work against. If they’re hitting from 30 feet or Michigan’s not hitting their open threes, it’s tip your cap time. Louisville is some big scary blocky dudes who don’t score enough to be terrifying. Kansas is the 1 seed you want in your region.
4. Gimmicky Top 5: Great moments in 2016-'17 M Hoops
starts at 1:05:15
HUEL (Human Element to any HUEL marketing managers out there) co-founder Jason Magee sat in to reminisce our favorite moments. Jason, not Ace or Brian, remembered the one that David and I were going to pantomime in the studio if they didn’t get to it.
- "Danger Zone"—Kenny Loggins
- “Playin’ With the Boys”—Kenny Loggins
- “Take My Breath Away”—Berlin
- “Across 110th Street”
THE USUAL LINKS
MGoBlog’s Tournament Sponsor is HomeSure Lending. NMLS 1161358.
March Madness is wonderful. Millions of people across the country will fill out a bracket, predicting winners for each game, hoping that they’ll be the one to pick the right upsets, and trust the right teams to make it to the Final 4. Of course, no amount of research is any guarantee of success, and part of the fun is the insane randomness that determines the course of these next few weeks. Still, becoming acquainted with the participants is key to making informed bracket choices, and I’ll be writing up a few posts with that in mind.
In order to sort out which teams are better or worse than where they’re seeded, I took the list of teams sorted by the committee 1-66, and I compared it to a composite computer ranking of tournament teams based on the average of Ken Pomeroy, Jeff Sagarin, and Bart Torvik’s metrics. I then calculated the difference between where a team should theoretically be ranked given their strength according to that composite ranking and where they actually wound up.
This is the resulting bracket:
The seven most overseeded teams (which are clustered in just two regions) are
- West #6 Maryland
- West #2 Arizona
- South #5 Minnesota
- South #4 Butler
- South #7 Dayton
- South #10 Seton Hall
- West #3 Florida St.
They’ll be discussed after the jump.
Tourney sponsor reminder: HomeSure Lending is that. NMLS 1161358.
This began as a tool I made to fill out my brackets, then a few years ago I shared it and it became a thing. Much of the data are from Kenpom, though this year I also included ThePowerRank.com’s rankings, which Ed determines by expected margin of victory over an average opponent. Both he and Kenpom wound up pretty close, but it’s a bit more data when you’re deciding things like which should-be-a-6-seed do I choose in this 7-10 matchup? Alex Cook will have a thing later today that shows which teams got screwed the most in this year’s rather whacky seeding. Spoiler: Maryland and Minnesota shouldn’t be over the BTT championship participants.
The Tool The Tool The Tool:
To use this you:
- Follow this link to make a copy of the spreadsheet.
- Select the two teams you want to compare.
The site will be pulled from Team 1, fyi, so if you pull a match that doesn’t exist you’ll still get the distance each team will have to travel to their real site.
Thanks also go to the guy who wrote a google script to pull drive times with a formula.
Your correspondent took in Oklahoma State's games against Kansas, @ Baylor, and West Virginia to get a feel for Michigan's first-round matchup in the tournament. These were all Okie State losses against very good teams, the first two competitive. The last not so much. None of those teams is remotely like Michigan—Kansas is super athletic, wild at times, and up-tempo, Baylor is super athletic and runs a bizarre 4-out zone in front of a seven-foot shotblocker, and West Virginia is a ruthless pressing turnover machine—but there was a limited selection on the tubes. Also Big Twelve basketball is apparently Big Twelve football just like Big Ten basketball is Big Ten football.
Evans defines Oklahoma State's style
THE FASTER AND THE FURIOUSER. Watching Oklahoma State's recent game against Kansas was a jarring experience after the Big Ten Championship game. "Methodical" is probably the best descriptor for the latter; in comparison the Big 12 game was like watching an And-One mixtape.
Oklahoma State is fast. PG Juwan Evans is fast. The color guy doing their game against Baylor early in the year repeatedly stated that Brad Underwood, the Cowboys' coach, wants his guys to get a shot up in the first seven seconds of the shot clock. They've taken this to heart. Their #87 tempo on Kenpom will feel like a jet airplane to Michigan fans, but that doesn't quite encompass it.
27% of their shots are classified by hoop-math as "transition"—ie, within the first ten seconds of the shot clock. That's a full 50% more than Michigan (18%) and 24th nationally. A lot of the teams in front of them are very bad low majors trying anything to disguise their halfcourt offenses; the only more transition-oriented teams in the tournament are Creighton, UCLA, Kentucky, and Arkansas.
Okie State is going to try to play this game at light speed.
This is a good matchup against a good team, numbers edition. Okie State is a very good ten seed according to Kenpom, and that's reason for consternation. The way they play and Michigan's previous outings against turnover-dependent Ds and transition-dependent Os should give you confidence. Some data:
- As you might expect from a team that rarely turns the ball over and largely abandons the offensive glass, Michigan's transition D is good relative to their halfcourt D. They provide very few opportunities (18% of opponent shots). Their transition eFG defense of 53% is barely worse than halfcourt (51%). Meanwhile Okie State's transition is often forced; they're only middling at converting transition opportunities.
- By contrast, when Michigan does push the ball they are lethal at 64% eFG. That's 11th nationally. Unlike Michigan, Oklahoma State has made many sacrifices on defense to make their offense so good. They crash the glass, sometimes in inexplicable situations, leading to a relatively large number of transition opportunities ceded (23%) at an efficient conversion rate (57%). Their turnover acquisition is often of the chancy variety, leading to broken rotations and open threes. They were 9th of 10 in league play at preventing threes from being launched.
- Michigan is significantly better in eFG terms in every situation—transition, half-court, late-clock, and putback—without even considering turnovers. In that department Okie State is middling on offense and very good on D; Michigan is superb on O and—surprise!—good on D.
The main worry is that Michigan gets in one of those games where the opposition rebounds half their misses. The Cowboys crush the offensive boards (#6 nationally). That will make up for a projected turnover deficit, and probably then some. Still, without an anomalous shooting performance Michigan should expect to win this game if they can acquire—or even approach—shot parity.
there is a 95% chance this was assisted or a putback
Good news, personnel department. Okie State has no post-up game. Starting C Mitchell Solomon takes some elbow jumpers and will get shots at the rim when he's provided the ball off pick-and-roll action and on putbacks. He's not going to threaten Michigan with foul trouble and incessant four foot jumpers like Isaac Haas. He doesn't create his own shots.
Ditto his backups. Seven-foot freshman Lucas N'Guessan has fallen entirely out of the rotation, so the backup 5 is 6'7" Cameron McGriff. This is not a team that is likely to get Michigan in the post foul trouble that's their bugaboo. They may in fact be more vulnerable to it than Michigan: Solomon averages a whopping 7.7 fouls per 40. For comparison, perpetually foul-beset Mo Wagner is at 4.5. Solomon is the main motive force behind those OREBs and a hypothetical absence will hurt the Cowboys on both ends despite his peripheral role in the first-shot offense.
Bad news, personnel department. Point guard Jawun Evans is fast as hell and can seemingly get in the lane against anyone.
Michigan's had trouble with gentlemen of his description for years. Derrick Walton's been awesome but I don't think Evans is a good matchup for him on D, especially in open court situations.
Forte looks like a walk-on until he hits a 35 footer
This could be a game where you see a lot of Xavier Simpson and Michigan's two-PG lineup. Okie State's SG, Phil Forte, is listed at 5'11" and is more or less Spike Albrecht after a power mushroom. Against Baylor he took and hit insanely deep threes twice, and then got himself a three just behind the arc after successfully shot-faking from about 30 feet. He's got Jimmer Fredette range. He's hitting 43% on the year from 3. He's a 95% FT shooter. You're going to take one look at the dude and think "scrub"; nope. He is Not Just A Shooter. And he's also a world-class shooter. He takes trash shots and makes them.
Since the only other backcourt player to get appreciable time is PG-of-the-future Brandon Averette, Michigan's going to have a size advantage and quickness deficit whenever X isn't on the floor.
Good news for people who love bad news. The flip side of that is there's no way Okie State can switch everything. This was the Big Ten's response to Wilson and Wagner's dual takeoffs and intermittently frustrating down the stretch. The Cowboys are going to have two guys on the court a foot shorter than Wilson and Wagner at all times and are going to have to play it straight up, or bank on their 7.7-fouls-per-40 center to check Walton while their mini-me guards try to box out.
Expect junk zones. Early in the year Okie State was picking up point guards at half-court in a half-press. That slowly evaporated over the course of the season as it got torched and the Cowboys settled back into mostly man to man; under duress they will switch to a 3-2 zone and perhaps other exotics. If Michigan runs out to a quick lead chances are high that they see an extended zone of some sort.
Irvin's D is going to get a test. "Defensive stopper Zak Irvin" is suddenly a thing and hoo boy does he have an acid test here. 6'6" wing Jeffrey Carroll lights up Kenpom leaderboards; he's a high-usage, high-efficiency wing who has been super accurate (80/59/43 shooting) and does not turn the ball over. He's a handful. Closeouts will be key: he's had all of two unassisted threes this year. He's not going to rise up on you.