hockey is not actually discussed but this is a lovely shot [Patrick Barron]
On the roundtable this week:
- Sam's back
- He says "Greg Sankey" and I end up yelling about casual sex and drunken Tuesdays.
- Then we talk about basketball, which is less fun.
THE USUAL LINKS
I broke. Now I fisk everything.
Michael Weinreb, writerist who does not mind bashing head against same wall
Weinreb poops on Michigan in print approximately every six months with whatever logic is at hand. The latest is at Rolling Stone. Weinreb points out that Harbaugh is crazy, because that's a new insight, and then launches into his usual concern trolling act:
Not surprisingly, given that Harbaugh is an undeniably brilliant football coach, this strategy is working. The Wolverines lured the nation's No. 1 recruit, Rashan Gary, and one of the country's best recruiting classes. But there are two underlying questions to consider here:
Here we go.
The first is whether this can possibly be sustained, or whether Harbaugh will eventually burn himself out, as he did at Stanford and with the 49ers.
Anyone still parading this line out after the Jim Tomsula experience is either so braindead they're writing a 12,000 word article on Daniel Holtzclaw or simply dishonest. Harbaugh left Stanford for a job with the 49ers after a 12-1 season that completed the most stunning turnaround in recent NCAA history. Stanford did not want to lose him. They left everything more or less the same after he left.
Harbaugh left the 49ers after a year-long disinformation campaign by Jed York, who emphatically proved he was the problem over the past year. 49ers players fled San Francisco en masse after Harbaugh's departure. York hired a vastly unqualified yes-man who may literally have been Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force to run the team into the ground and fired him after just one year. Harbaugh's final 8-8 season was an injury-riddled mess; in his absence Colin Kaepernick evaporated and the team barely crossed midfield in most games. If you're still on Team York in 2016, you have issues.
What happens, say, if Michigan beats Ohio State and qualifies for the College Football Playoff next season and a top-tier NFL job looms on the horizon?
Like they did two years ago? Like they did this year? I don't think Harbaugh's guaranteed to retire in Ann Arbor but if he wasn't deeply interested in a run of significance at Michigan he wouldn't be here in the first place. Meanwhile this worry boils down to "what if Harbaugh is good at his job?" Heaven forfend.
What happens if Harbaugh doesn't get something he specifically demands from the Michigan administration?
This has already happened. It will continue to happen. Harbaugh may not have many filters but neither is he a literal child who will pout and leave the first time he's told there are limits, which, again, has happened repeatedly already. This is a guy who has turned around four separate football programs. One of them was under Jed York. He is used to not getting what he wants. Meanwhile find me an NFL team without an owner.
What happens if the academics in Ann Arbor began complaining about the bills coming due?
Michigan's athletic department is self-sufficient. Again, you'd have to be an idiot or deeply disingenuous to even bring this up.
And the second question surrounding Harbaugh is what all of this might mean for college football.
Nothing? Other than Michigan might be good?
Maybe, by essentially professionalizing the recruiting process, Harbaugh is dispensing with the pretense that college football is still an amateur sport.
This is the sentence that finally broke me. For one, the idea that Harbaugh is "professionalizing" the recruiting process makes zero sense. All he's done is recruit a little harder within the rules and his weirdness has made that viral. No part of that is professionalizing anything.
Meanwhile, the SEC and ACC are tossing six figures at recruits. Nobody cares about this. Michigan's athletic director publicly and repeatedly asserted that Rashan Gary turned down money to sign with Michigan, and the media reaction was absolutely nothing. Again, I am all for the professionalization of something that is already de facto professionalized, but pretending like it's Harbaugh shaking the NCAA's foundational concept is the work of an idiot, a liar, or a lying idiot. None of this has anything to do with money.
But here's the thing: If you read beyond the headline of Sankey's complaint, he has a legitimate point. A Pac-12 study last year revealed that athletes in the conference spent an average of 50 hours a week on their sport and were often "too exhausted to study effectively." I have no idea if Sankey and his member schools are serious about exploring this idea, but this is the sort of concept on which the Big Ten should be leading the way.
He does not have anything approximating a point. Michigan isn't adding time. They are moving it. They are in fact moving it away from finals, for as much as that matters. They are moving practice time to a point where there is no studying to do.
As a student athlete, I like the idea of knocking out some of my spring practices when I don't have to worry about class.. #perspective
— jake butt (@JBooty_88) February 10, 2016
In reality, it doesn't matter either way. The players will put in the time, both in the Big Ten and SEC. A little money, a flight or two, doesn't matter. It'll help Michigan recruit, the players will get a bit of a tan, nobody will be negatively affected, end of story.
But Weinreb don't care. In six or nine or twelve months we'll get another of these. It's tradition. The man simply cannot be dissuaded no matter how bad these pieces look in retrospect. Remember this one?
I would worry that Harbaugh is doing this for the money (a reported $48 million over six years, which would make him the sport’s highest-paid coach) or out of some misguided sense of obligation to his alma mater, and that he is not prepared to play the game within the game by embracing the salesmanship of the job, the one key aspect college coaching demands that pro football doesn’t (see: Belichick, Bill).
"Worry" dispelled, worry about the opposite, rinse, repeat. Keep paternoing that chicken.
Greg Sankey, malfunctioning corporate robot
“That had nothing to do with a particular program, just a concern of, wait, we have agreed to a recruiting structure,” he said.
We did, and it allows for coaches to act as guests for remote camps. You banned satellite camps amongst yourselves, but that's your business.
“… Are we going to allow the recruiting and the pressure on young people, the earlier recruiting, the bringing in boosters to practices to watch when you’re on these satellite camp tours?"
This is a non-sequitur, and particularly hilarious/infuriating coming from the SEC commissioner. Harbaugh shows up at camps. If players want to show up where Harbaugh is, they do so. If they don't want to go, they don't go.
Nothing about a satellite camp accelerates recruiting, and lol the SEC commissioner is talking about boosters. Greg Sankey is ON IT, guys. He'll get right to the bottom of this "booster" business, once and for all.
“Over and over I have sat in AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) meetings and heard football coaches say we don’t want football recruiting to go the way men’s basketball has gone, meaning, let’s try to anchor to the best we can our football recruiting in the scholastic environment. It’s around education, it’s around people who are supervised by administrators and school boards. That seems a healthy approach for recruiting, not going out to create other opportunities.”
…to be around football coaches in a camp environment that you have decided is perfectly fine as long as it is in a different geographical region. This is a complaint against 7-on-7 and Nike camps and Rivals camps and the like inartfully repurposed against Harbaugh.
Sankey is actually making an argument in favor of satellite camps, which bring NCAA compliance along with them and expose players directly to coaches without the intermediaries that infest basketball recruiting. This is the best argument he has against satellite camps: one in favor of them.
Mark Emmert, figurehead
NCAA prez Mark Emmert says NCAA will have April meeting focused on cutting back on time spent on athletics. Emmert believes it's too much
— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) February 19, 2016
...because he has lawsuits to deal with.
NCAA prez Emmert clearly against the spring break football trip. "There's a difference between not being prohibited and being OK."
— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) February 19, 2016
That's what "not prohibited" means. It means it is okay if you do it. I looked this up.
Maybe flatulent twit Mark Emmert should concentrate on enforcing the zillions of rules on the books currently that are being flouted more and more dramatically with every limp-wristed NCAA enforcement action.
Pat Narduzzi, personal foul enthusiast
going pro in something other than beer bonging
If I was a high school player, and you’re telling me I couldn’t go to Cancun or Daytona on spring break, I’d be kind of like, ‘Are you serious?’
Think of the casual sex and drunken falling off of balconies. This is the fake-ass concern people opposed to Harbaugh have come up with: college football players are being denied a week of drinking at 9 AM. A Notre Dame recruit died over spring break in 2010. A few years later we're fighting for the sanctity of waking up in vomit that may or may not be yours.
You'll note that the ACC and SEC are trying to ban satellite camps, too, but they don't talk about that over and over again in public, because they don't have even a fake-ass pearl to clutch there. There is zero reason for satellite camps to be banned; doing that in fact hurts various kids trying to get noticed. Think of the children! Why won't anyone think of the children?
All of these men are horseface. It has been decreed.
[photo by Bryan Fuller]
C'est Poisson d'avril pour le mêlée printemps:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan football team will host its annual Spring Football Game presented by PNC Bank on the evening of Friday, April 1, from Michigan Stadium. The exact start time will be announced at a later date.
The spring game is free and open to the public.
The gates to the Big House will open one hour prior to the start of the game. Additional information will be forthcoming regarding parking, stadium entry locations, concessions and other activities for April 1.
The Wolverines will practice a total of 15 times during the spring, culminating with the first-ever spring game scrimmage in the evening. The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network.
The football team will conduct its first spring practice on Feb. 29 in Bradenton, Florida.
If dusk of it-was-still-March-yesterday sounds pretty chilly that's because it usually is, via Weather Underground:
It appears the idea is to get on TV in primetime. The Final Four games are Saturday so that's not a conflict. But Michigan's never come close to filling the stadium for this even on 70 degree days, and even last year's "it's actually a competition!" game was pretty boring once they'd emptied out Lloyd Carr's trick playbook.
This was a bit of a worst-kept secret but it is now official:
Per a source, Pembroke Pines, Fla./Flanagan coach Devin Bush Sr. has been hired as a Defensive Analyst for the Michigan football staff.
Bush built Flanagan from not much into a state champ in Florida's largest division; he was a star at FSU and a first round pick before an eight-year NFL career as a safety. He is likely to slot into the role that Chris Partridge vacated after his promotion.
Notably this is not the defensive backs job recently vacated by Greg Jackson. Sam Webb has heard that former Wisconsin S and Michigan grad assistant Aubrey Pleasant, now a QC coach with the Redskins, might be in line for that job.
Michigan still has an analyst spot open after Erik Campbell got a position coach job at UConn.
That's a good sportmanteau right there. A high quality word-construct. /self high five
Anyway, a touted QB is always a nice piece to get in your recruiting class because people sit up and take notice. People like MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones and MI DE Corey Malone-Hatcher.
@dpeoplesjones that's what I'm saying
— corey malone-hatcher (@CMH2017) February 16, 2016
Hyphenated people. Also people who sound like EDM superstars.
— Brice Marich (@BriceMarich) February 16, 2016
CT WR Tarik Black also told Steve Lorenz that McCaffrey's commit has an impact on him; Lorenz is skeptical that is a thing and not just a thing to say for most of these WRs.
Still, Michigan can sell Peoples-Jones and others on the fact that he's going to have a highly capable quarterback for the duration of his tenure. Harbaugh's track record and the kind of recruits they're bringing in should combine to make for an attractive proposition.
Top list for top target Bandy
FL CB Trajan Bandy released a highly specific top ten:
— Trajan Bandy (@BandyTrajan) February 18, 2016
Good spot to draft from, third. Lorenz relates that Michigan is more likely to move up that list than down it since he's one of the top CBs on their board along with Flangan's Stanford Samuels III.
Simmons returns to campus because it is across the street
I had a great visit to Michigan today!〽️ pic.twitter.com/kHSrFHCRv0
— antjuan simmons (@_antjuan_) February 17, 2016
Business has picked up with MI LB Antjuan Simmons since Don Brown was hired. Simmons has been on campus twice in the past month. That means a bit less than it might for players who have to get in some sort of vehicle to do so; it is still encouraging. Brown has a great affection for smallish, fast, and vicious linebackers—Simmons promises to be that guy.
This is Still my favorite play through high school so far pic.twitter.com/O6Q50ERsyy
— antjuan simmons (@_antjuan_) November 22, 2015
Yes. Yes he does. Michigan is recruiting him as a SAM, which should give you some insight into the kind of guy that will be at that spot going forward—think Stevie Brown, not Jake Ryan. He told Allen Trieu he got a "great vibe" at M. Interestingly enough, he mentioned the SAM thing with Brandon Brown and then followed it up with an odd name:
"He sees me at SAM linebacker. He wants me to play like Jabrill Peppers."
I guess nickelback == SAM linebacker under Brown? We'll see.
BONUS: ultimate croot tweeter right here
@_antjuan_ Don't go to Michigan, u can't even drink the water Bro, and the coach might ask u to stay the night, Creepy. Lol, best of luck
— Brandon Scott (@KashScott) February 18, 2016
This is exactly who I envision tweeting croots.
I never thought that dude from Smashmouth would stoop so low, though.
Surging for Eno Benjamin
— Eno Benjamin™ (@eno_benjamin5) February 16, 2016
Michigan offered TX RB Eno Benjamin, and that's significant enough to pull out of the bulleted list and discuss specifically because Benjamin is highly likely to be a major target. Benjamin's trainer is one David Underwood, another Texas running back who made the trek to Ann Arbor. Benjamin has a small top list that Michigan joins; he has an unusual leader for a top-100 type kid out of Texas:
“Michigan is working their way up to the top,” Benjamin said. “They’re up there. Iowa is still #1 right now. I’ve kind of been feeling Arizona State quite a bit as well as Texas Tech.”
He has a visit planned for early March. Lorenz thinks Michigan might already lead for Benjamin and that he's been after a Michigan offer for going on two years now, so that visit will be one to watch for a shift in his public leaderboard, or maybe even a commit.
As for what kind of back Benjamin is, Scout recently updated their brief scouting report:
Benjamin is a highly instinctive, high-volume running back who possesses big-play ability as well as workhorse production. Possesses exceptional feet w/outstanding balance and lateral ability. Dangerous start-and-stop runner who maximizes yardage at second level w/cutback ability. Good at avoiding direct blows. Lacks ideal size but gains ample yardage after contact. Not a top-end burner, but plenty fast w/good initial acceleration.
Sounds a bit like Fitzgerald Toussaint before he was Poor Damn Toussaint.
New offers & quick hits
Your regular list of guys sporting new offers who may or may not become major targets:
- Michigan offered 2018 CA QB Cameron Rising. I normally ignore kids who haven't played their junior year yet, but QB is an exception since those recruitments often end very early. Rising called the offer "surreal" and says he is "extremely interested"; he has a solid grasp on how handled guys as different as Kapernick and Rudock. Rising is a pro-style guy with rushing upside—he ran for 750 yards as a sophomore—and looks likely to be a major target in 2018.
- Scout reports an offer for KY OL Jedrick Wills, a "mauler" who will be tough to pull from the South. Scout has him #53 in 2017.
- 247 reports an offer to CA OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, who's around 200th on the composite.
- Rivals reports that CA DE Deonte Johnson got an offer.
- Rivals also reports that CA OL Popo Aumavae got offered. Oregon is the favorite. WI OL Logan Bruss also got an offer; as per usual Wisconsin will be tough to beat for an instate lineman.
- Apparently Michigan offered IN OL Emil Ekiyor a year ago. He "really loves" what's going on at M and has a tentative top five of M, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Georgia, and ND.
Small developments amongst guys who are already on the board:
- MI OL Phil Paea lists M, Oregon, and BYU as the schools he's "hearing from" the most. Those are often proxies for top X lists from recruits who are hesitant about putting a list out there. He just picked up a Minnesota offer; he tells the Minnesota Rivals site that Michigan was his favorite team in-state but his "dream offer" came from the Ducks.
- NJ LB Drew Singleton looks like another M-Clemson battle.
Etc.: McCaffrey is undecided on whether he will enroll early.
IT'S MADE OF PAPER UNKNOWN TO MANKIND. The Daily has a book that compiles all their Harbaugh stuff, Harbaugh-related stuff, and Harbaugh-tangential stuff from the past year. You can order it for $5 plus shipping, or skip the shipping and pick it up from the Student Publications building on Maynard. Proceeds help the Daily keep running so they can continue to pump out epic features. Someone's got to write COLUMNS that don't make you want to die.
If this is the start of the zombie apocalypse I'm going to be upset. Gotta give me at least five years of Harbaugh before the end of the world.
The Ross Academic Center is being quarantined pic.twitter.com/Cp0L7jFiAr
— Jason Rubinstein (@jrubinstein4) February 17, 2016
Apparently most of the swimming and diving team is sick and they're checking the pool for something that turns you into a flesh-eating, non-verbal lumbering horror. Sounds like they should check the press box, not the pool.
Also please not before the MONORAIL. True story: one of the first Every Three Weekly articles ever was about an outlandish plan to join Central Campus to North Campus with a monorail. (In it, Tom Goss projected it would make money thanks to monorailgoblue.com, because Michigan had just launched mgoblue.com. Also it was on paper. I am old.) Well, IT'S HAPPENING DOT MONORAIL:
Schlissel, city envision monorail to unite North and Central campuses
Tuesday, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel reintroduced the idea of creating a rapid transit system between Central and North Campuses, a project that has essentially been dormant since 2013.
Would I ride this just to ride it? Definitely. Let's put our town on the map.
Yes, thank you sane person. Man, has it been hard to keep the fisk in the garage after the latest and dumbest hot take explosion about Harbaugh. The main reason I haven't opened both barrels is indecision about whether I should go after Mitch Albom, Drew Sharp, or Tony Barnhart, all of whom put the literary equivalent of Skyline chili on the internet in response to Harbaugh's plan to visit IMG. Nothing has been as dumb as this, though:
I mean… I can't put it past a guy whose version of the "Art of the Deal" will be titled "Chasing Rutgers," but cumong man. Put down the Confederate flag bong and sober up.
I may break down pretty soon here and call someone horseface, but for now Andy Staples is keeping me sane:
The Power Five leagues, including Sankey's SEC, got autonomy legislation passed so they could loosen some restrictions that other Division I schools wanted to keep tight. The new attitude in major college sports was supposed to be this: If you want to do it, do it. If you don't, don't. That lasted until several millionaire coaches got mad at another millionaire coach trying to mitigate their competitive advantage.
I'm so so done with being Meatloaf The Football Program: I'll do anything to win but I won't do that. Staples does mention that Harbaugh getting up in his players' spring break might come up during the infinite lawsuits the NCAA is fighting, but since a bunch of spring sports already do that it's likely a moot point. And as I always point out, Michigan fans should be hoping amateurism dies swiftly and comprehensively for the same reason the Yankees don't want a salary cap. I don't think Harbaugh is consciously attempting to point out the hypocrisy, but I'd support him if he was.
Meanwhile in attempts to negative recruit based on the above. Michael Dwumfour opens up about his recruitment process, detailing an ill-fated Penn State trip:
The Penn State coaching staff knew the competition it was up against. According to Dwumfour, the Lions poked fun at Jim Harbaugh’s recruiting techniques.
That didn’t sit well.
“When I was at Penn State, I heard jokes about Harbaugh and stuff like that,” Dwumfour said. “In the back of my head, I’m thinking ‘What he’s doing is working, obviously. Instead of criticizing him, you might want to take some of his techniques to try and help yourself out and get some recruits.’”
The prospect of Penn State coaches making fun of Harbaugh's sleepovers boggles the mind, but I put nothing that is bogglingly dumb past James Franklin.
Status of Bush the elder. Devin Bush Sr was long rumored to be on the verge of a Michigan job, something that he was openly hoping for in an interview with Brandon Brown:
“For me, if I was to get an opportunity, because I would love to coach at the next level, I never wanted to put it out there because I didn’t want to move my kids while they were in high school. If you get into that world you could be moving every eight to ten months. Once my son graduated, now I would be open for an opportunity because I don’t have to worry about moving kids, it’s just my wife and I.”
That sounds like a guy who is waiting for the Ts to get crossed and Is dotted. And now that Michigan's down Greg Jackson they might look at him for that job as well; Bush's profile isn't that far away from Jackson's: former NFL safety, little high-level experience. Harbaugh grabbed Jackson when he was an assistant DBs coach with Wisconsin.
Who doesn't these days? Tom Brady's agent wants to blow up the NCAA, and he's likely correct about how the edifice comes tumbling down:
This is the promise of [Don] Yee's advocacy. He is a football insider with firsthand knowledge of how a business works and the credibility to make people listen. He is exhausted, he says, by talk without much action and has reached the point of arguing for revolution: Blow up the system. Start over. Build anew. "This generation of players has more tools at its disposal than any other to be heard and to organize," he says. "If they adopted a Twitter hashtag of #disruptthefinalfour for the NCAA tournament, they would at least start a discussion. And significant change typically happens through some discussion that is too large to ignore."
All it would take is two basketball teams deciding to delay a Final Four game and amateurism is all over but the shouting. They don't even have to refuse to play. All they have to do is agree to start the game 15 minutes late, and there will be no illusions as to where the power actually resides. Yee:
"Nothing will change for the players unless they take the responsibility of becoming something more than willing victims to this system," Yee says. "At some point, you have to look in the mirror and ask yourself, 'Who am I? What am I doing? What's going on, and what am I doing about it?' These players, they have all the power -- they simply don't realize it."
That is correct. Someone's going to be the NCAA's Curt Flood, and pretty soon. Related: Sonny Vaccaro talks to the NYT, says the same things Vaccaro usually does.
I guess he's a Walverine. Michigan fans have this odd conversation about whether it's okay to be a Michigan fan without having attended the school. They do this largely because MSU fans are livid that nobody who doesn't go to MSU gives a damn about the Spartans and project this anger all around them. Meanwhile 95% of Alabamans are either Auburn or Alabama fans, and… uh… let's just stipulate that more than 5% of Alabamans do not have a degree from either institution. (Ace, at home, just screamed "BAN BOOKLARNIN'" again.)
It is good to have Michigan fans scattered about with no other connection to the school. One of them just joined the recruiting class:
“Honestly I’ve been a Michigan fan since I was little,” [Dylan] McCaffrey said. “My grandma is a big Michigan fan. She has a house about 40 minutes away [from Ann Arbor], so I don’t know why, but I just ended up loving them. I could’ve always seen myself going there, and in the end I just went back to how I felt about Michigan as a kid.”
Another person who was a Michigan fan for no particular reason: Jabrill Peppers. Let all who want to root for winged helmets do so irrespective of their degrees, and let MSU fans stew about it.
More on "floor seats". Everyone hated it. Especially people who have televisions. ESPN trotted out some poor damn spokesperson, who immediately torpedoed any sympathy I might have for her with a statement so inane it bordered on Dave Brandon Hire:
ESPN was built on trying new things and taking risks, and tonight is just another example of that.
ESPN was built on showing people athletics contests, not utterly failing to do so.
Austin Davis is looking rather different these days. Many people thought taking Davis was questionable at best when Michigan did, and it is going to be strange next year when Michigan has up to six post players on the roster (Doyle, Donnal, Wagner, Wilson, Davis, and Jon Teske). But Davis has done everything he can to prep himself:
“The big thing is I changed my diet around; I changed it pretty drastically,” he said. “And then I got on a new weight program.” …
A year ago, Davis was more of a plodder as he moved up and down the court. His teammates often had to wait for him to join them before they could run their offense.
That, more than anything, is why no major college offered him a scholarship — and U-M coach John Beilein made Davis aware of that fact.
“We had a directive,” said Eric Davis, Austin’s dad. “Coach Beilein really wanted to see him start moving better and running the court better.”
He has, and he now looks like a college post. Whether he'll still look like one in college is unknown; his 79% shooting percentage is indicative of both his talent and his competition level.
Who runs Big Ten hockey? The equivalent of Tom Anastos. Tom Anastos, hockey coach, not Tom Anastos, CCHA commissioner. Because Anastos was all right at the latter before being thrust into a role he had no frame of reference for. Ditto the folks running Big Ten hockey:
“Coming from a non-hockey background, it’s kind of hard for me to imagine a fan in the state of Minnesota who wouldn’t be excited to see a Michigan or a Michigan State come in to play,” he said. “I recognize and acknowledge that significant rivalries developed over the years in the previous leagues, and that’s fine."
Minnesota fans did not like this interview with Brad Traviolia, not one bit. I'm not much of a fan either. Nobody comes to the Big Ten hockey tournament because most fans are very far away from said tournament no matter where it is.
There is no possible solution to this problem. A neutral site Big Ten tournament is never going to draw. I have had season tickets for a decade now and I have no plans to ever go to a neutral site Big Ten Tournament, because that product sucks. It sucks being in a big empty building where hockey is going on. I am barely willing to put up with it for an NCAA tournament game. A Big Ten tourney where everyone makes it in doesn't even come close to moving the needle.
The only solution is to go to series on home ice, which four of the six schools should support since they have dedicated rinks. If Wisconsin or Ohio State don't want to host because of high school sports, they don't have to. Quit letting two schools that clearly don't care about hockey dictate to the 3.5 that do.
Hockey tourney status: don't collapse. Jim Dahl's excellent Pairwise projection site is reaching peak utility as hockey comes down the stretch here. Michigan is in barring a spectacular collapse:
Even 2-5 likely sees them sitting in a pretty secure at-large spot, though they'd definitely want to win a game in the Big Ten tournament. Three wins and they would be all but a lock going into that tourney unless results elsewhere conspired against them; 4-3 and they're 100% in.
A one seed would require Michigan to absolutely sprint down the stretch; even a 6-1 finish most likely sees them still a 2 going into the BTT.
I have no idea how good this goalie is. The Daily's Jason Rubinstein on Michigan's poor, bombarded goalie:
After three and a half years, Racine is playing the best hockey he ever has in a Michigan uniform. Berenson named him the team’s bona fide starter more than three months ago. For his last six games, he boasts a .931 save percentage, a career high for any stretch over five games that he has played.
And this past weekend, he was the only reason Michigan managed to escape Madison with five points, rather than three. In Saturday’s contest against Wisconsin, the Wolverines won in a shootout, despite surrendering four goals.
“You should’ve seen him at Wisconsin,” Berenson said. “He stood on his head, and we had no business winning the game based on the chances we gave up.
“That was his best game of the year.”
This has got to be the strangest year for hockey since I've been paying attention. They give up four goals to a very bad Wisconsin team only because their goalie stands on his head; they are on pace for a two-seed.
Etc.: Barry Alvarez apologizes for saying innocuous, accurate thing about UW hockey. Bob Miller on incoming goalie Jack LaFontaine. Jim Harbaugh adopts a kitten. PWO Anthony Kay profiled. Incoming hockeyist Nick Pastujov also profiled.