Attrition, Expected and... Not So Expected
In a move that should surprise no one, three-star in-state ILB David Reese announced his decommitment from Michigan yesterday so he can find a program that will allow him to enroll early:
— REESE3⃣ (@Dreese18) December 10, 2015
The coaches assuredly saw that coming. That wasn't the case with the decommitment of three-star CA QB/ATH Victor Viramontes over the weekend, per 247's Clint Brewster ($):
The de-commitment came as a huge surprise to Michigan as coach John Baxter just saw Viramontes and reported back to Harbaugh that the visit went extremely well.
We have been told that Viramontes was given bad information from a member of his camp that Michigan wouldn’t give him a shot at quarterback and he would immediately be a fullback or linebacker, which is completely false.
Sam Webb discussed the Viramontes situation extensively on his radio show Monday; alum96 was kind enough to write up a summary on the board that's well worth reading. The upshot: while Michigan wasn't expecting Viramontes to leave the class, they don't consider him a must-get—they'll continue to pursue him but at this point there are other uncommitted prospects who are higher priorities.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
The 2013 Motor City Bowl between Pitt and Bowling Green, via StadiumJourney blog.
In our roundtable yesterday I suggested a new way of calculating bowl eligibility. It struck a chord, and it's offseason, so I thought I'd do a follow-up.
The Problem: With 40 (plus the NC) bowls, the bowl field has now expanded to 80 teams, or 62.5% of what's currently 128 FBS schools. However the old six-win provision for bowl eligibility remains mostly intact, disqualifying mostly mediocre schools who played much harder schedules in favor of bad, barely eligible, barely FBS teams.
This system doesn't just create less watchable bowls. It incentivizes schools to pad their non-conference schedules with noncompetitive opponents and FCS programs, and incentivizes conferences to play fewer conference games lest they disqualify more of their teams from bowl play. The result is a less competitive, and thus less interesting, football season.
My Proposal: A simple points system:
- 3 points for a win over any team in the final CFP Top 25
- 2 points for a win over any Power 5 school not included above
- 1 point for a win over any FBS school
- -1 points for a loss to any FCS school
I initially proposed 7 points as the cutoff for eligibility, but as one reader correctly predicted, this is still too exclusive. So I amend that to the highest bowl points level you need to fill the available bowl games is your bubble region.
[After the jump: I try this out with the 2015-'16 bowl field]
You said this would be a good basketball team.
What are YOU doing here, bolded alter-ego?
I'm bothering you. You said this would, and I fake quote, "not be a festering trash-heap."
I didn't say that but I did imply it. This was not correct, in a general sense. I mean, they did beat Texas and NC State. We may be overreacting here. But a top 25 team this ain't.
My feelings are bad now because you. Hate you.
Okay. Do you still want to talk about this, or was that sufficient for your purposes?
We can talk about it. What is going on, man?
Center is killing Michigan on offense, too
We are taking it as read that the center position is a disaster on defense. Any large, slightly peevish man is spend games against Michigan flexing so much he looks like he's in a bodybuilding competition.
But wait, there's more: Michigan absolutely does not trust their centers to run the pick and roll and it's killing their offense. Michigan got one roll dunk from Ricky Doyle after a second-half timeout, and other than that bupkis. Moritz Wagner got a layup blocked when he could have dunked the ball early and then Michigan didn't try it again until Beilein probably yelled at them about it.
When the pick and roll isn't working Michigan gets stuck on the outside all day because they don't have dribble penetrators, and the ensuing barrage of bad threes in the first half is the result.
This is a big disappointment since Ricky Doyle was very promising as a pick and roll finisher last year, when he hit 77% at the rim. This year he's down to 65% and, more importantly, he's got an astronomical 32 TO rate—a third of the time he uses an offensive possession it's to thunk the ball to the other team. Last year he was at 12. Maybe he got sweatier?
Wagner's shown some promise here—he used that super-quick layup to get buckets against NC State's enormous shot-blockers. But after that initial failure Michigan didn't go back to him.
Perimeter defense is abominable
I kind of expect it from Duncan Robinson. Ace made a good point on twitter: he is better as a bench player because his minutes generally come when the opponent has substituted as well, which helps Michigan hide him on D. Also, Robinson is shooting 60% from 3 on a burgeoning significant 50 attempts.
But that's a problem and then Dawkins is barely better against the starters. LeVert is better this year but still gambles a lot, and it's not paying off much. Once that happens and rotation starts bad things result.
Possible solutions on the perimeter can't shoot
Michigan needs four guys who are reasonable shooters from three on the court to run this offense. Kam Chatman, who did a nice job on D against NC State, is 0/8. MAAR is 2/11. That contributes to the offense bogging down.
This goes double when neither guy really facilitates anyone else's offense. MAAR has an early-Irvin-esque assist rate, which is frustrating because he's able to get to the basket better than anyone else on the team. He shoots decently inside the arc; Michigan needs him to set some other guys up to facilitate the offense.
Zak Irvin is broken
Shooting 20% from three, getting killed on the boards, bleah. He has seemingly not recovered to get in the flow of the game from his back injury, and that's a major downer. Hopefully these upcoming games give him an opportunity to shoot himself hot.
LeVert is not quite an alpha dog
Caris LeVert is very good at basketball, and statistically he's one of the best players in the country. I just think that sometimes, in the wrong matchup, you can shut him down. His ability to get into the lane is so-so, so the right defender can fend him off and then he has a game like he did against SMU. That did not happen to Trey Burke or Nik Stauskas. Maybe this is a one-off bad game—hopefully nothing is quite as bad as that. I think Caris is a very very good basketball player who might be better as a second banana.
I think our goals have reset to "make the tournament," which kind of sucks, but Michigan should be able to do that. A weak Big Ten gives you some pause but there's going to be a game or three against a tough opponent in which Duncan Robinson goes 11/10 from three, and that should be enough.
Friday, December 4, 2015
#12 Michigan 6, Wisconsin 4
UM 0 UW 1 PPG 06:28 Kunin from Hughes & Davison
Wisconsin’s lucky this play even unfolds. Not only is the pass to the point almost picked, it bounces and almost rolls out of the zone. Hughes pulls it across the blue line just before it trickles over.
Nothing unconventional here; Michigan sends a defender up to cover the point, so Wisconsin passes to the wing. Meanwhile, Shuart starts to retreat, trailing a Wisconsin player toward the front of the net.
With Warren defending high and Shuart tracking a guy in the equivalent of man-to-man coverage, there’s a big seam across the ice that’s inviting a quick pass from wing to wing.
As Kunin receives the pass he sees two options; it looks like he wants to pass, but he wisely decides not to force the puck to the front of the net and instead shoots.
The pass fake delays Nagelvoort for a portion of a second, but he’s still able to lock down the nearside post. Kunin rips a perfect shot over his shoulder; Nagelvoort doesn’t have a chance at that, and the shot probably doesn’t happen if Shuart peels off the guy he’s decided to play press-man on.
[After THE JUMP: Someone needs to add a team-specific modifier to the COY’s “we want moooore goals” chant]
[This week we've changed up the format a little bit. I posted the question in a chat group and people weighed in when they got to it. So it's a bit more conversational.]
Do you like low level bowls? Where should they draw the line?
Ace: I’m torn on this mostly because of one game: last year’s Bahamas Bowl. Two 7-5 teams with smaller fanbases from non-power conferences played a football game in the Bahamas and the turnout was as expected.
— Chad Bishop (@MrChadBishop) December 24, 2014
BUT, I watched that game anyway, and it was completely insane and awesome:
I find myself making fun of the lower level, obvious cash grab for guys in garish blazers bowl games right up until I’m watching and enjoying them because they’re football.
[Hit THE JUMP for a more sensible approach to bowl eligibility]
The excuses don't quite cut it.
Yes, Michigan didn't have their starting point guard, Yes, they went on the road against a good SMU squad, and couldn't fly to Dallas until this morning. Yes, they're young and inexperienced. Yes, Caris LeVert had an uncharacteristically awful game.
The Mustangs managed to weather the loss of one of their key players, though, flourishing despite the departure of Markus Kennedy in the opening minute. The issues that have plagued Michigan's defense all season came to the fore tonight; SMU got dunk after dunk after dunk created by all-too-easy dribble penetration; the Mustangs didn't miss often, but when they did, they were more likely than not to grab the rebound; they rained in 8-of-15 threes on more open looks created by shoddy perimeter defense.
Walton's absence doesn't explain all of that. Youth only goes so far. Same for weather-impacted travel plans.
LeVert went 1-for-13 tonight. Without him carrying the load, only Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Duncan Robinson could crack double-digit points. Even with the extenuating circumstances taken into account, Michigan remains too reliant on one player to carry the load on one end, and they're entirely too lost on the other to make up for it.
Michigan's next four opponents, each ranked worse than 250th on KenPom, all come to Crisler. That's welcome news for a team that needs to do quite a bit of tuning up before they're ready to take on the Big Ten.