I did not make this headline up
BASKETBALL. This is Henri The Otter Of Ennui's brother, Hank The Otter Of Swank. He's trying to eat a crocodile.
He has been watching Michigan basketball and is feeling rather metal. \m/
Don't drink? Grantland's Andrew Sharp profiles Nik Stauskas, and, uh…
Shooter. Shooter shooter shooter shooter shooter shooter. His ballhandling has made him a more complete scorer this year, but let’s not kid ourselves. That Wayne song was all about Stauskas.
This feels like meme backlash. Yes, Stauskas is nasty whenever provided an opportunity to launch, and sometimes even when not provided one.
But he has an almost 50/50 split between twos and threes and Michigan's highest FT rate by a wide margin. Shooter-shooter-shooter shooters have profiles more like Zak Irvin's 1:3 ratio of twos to threes and 21 FTAs on the season. Oh, and they're not top ten in the Big Ten in assists.
So… no, Andrew Sharp. No.
But kinda yeah. HAHAHAHA
The main problem with this chart is it doesn't seem to give full credit to the shot right before the half, which was launched from Botswana.
Down goes a guy considerably worse than Frazier! Nevermind that business about Michigan's relative immobility as a three. After Duke and Syracuse losses to Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, respectively, the door is wide open for Michigan to move up to a 2. Also helping is Nebrasketball, which moved into the top 50 in RPI with a win over Indiana. That provides Michigan a couple extra wins in that overvalued category.
Michigan's still definitively behind three teams (Florida, Wichita, Arizona) but they've got a shot at everyone else. They are behind another five or six outfits and thus can't hit that 1 spot without a miracle, but two is at least a 50/50 proposition with Duke ceding advantage with a horrible loss.
In RPI terms the relative equality in record is because of an easier schedule. Duke is 4-4 against RPI top 50; Michigan is 8-5, 10-5 as long as Nebraska sticks. Duke also has one additional bad loss after tonight and zero road pedigree. Michigan is 7-2 on the road in the Big Ten. Beat an Indiana team that may be without Noah Vonleh and has definitely exited the bubble picture and I'm guessing a semifinal exit in the BTT will be good enough for a two.
Foot… ball? SB Nation takes an in-depth look at what Doug Nussmeier will do differently than Al Borges. This passage reinforces just how bonkers Michigan's approach was last year:
For example, the Michigan offense involved six primary run schemes: power, iso, draw, horn (a tackle lead play), inside zone, and outside zone. It's worth noting here, just for comparison, that NFL run-game guru Alex Gibbs believes that a ground attack should be built almost entirely on just inside and outside zone.
"Horn" was a little-used counter on which Michigan's tackles struggled to execute because of a lack of experience. The tackles struggled to execute. You know, the good, veteran dudes.
The run game will likely be built around inside zone and remain committed to the concept from week to week. Whereas Borges would build a million different constraints and play calls around multiple different run and pass schemes, Nussmeier will run inside zone in multiple ways, from multiple formations, and with different constraints built off of it to counter defensive responses. At Alabama, players would rep inside zone against every single defensive look that might come up, ensuring it could be called against any opponent.
Brutal. Tom Seeberg, father of Lizzie, speaks on his daughter's death. After issues here this is compelling:
"I think the context of revealing his name maybe adds to maybe why we certainly accused Notre Dame of conducting a superficial investigation," Seeberg said Tuesday on WGWG-FM 87.7. "But maybe it adds context to why they might conduct a superficial investigation. In a he-said-she-said matter, you can quickly gather forensic evidence to try to determine what happened there, or you can let it linger like they did. Let evidence spoil."
Please read the whole item; it's a fair piece for one that comes from father of deceased person who may or may not have been assaulted by a Notre Dame football player. It may have taken a while, but at least Michigan took what action was available to it—ex post facto or not—in its situation. Some of the things Seeberg's father states apparently sans emotion are crippling.
This is the point where it's really easy to fall into either THEY ARE TERRIBLE homerism or I AM OUTRAGED signaling; I'm not trying to do either and the Chicago Tribune does a terrific job of not doing so either while still allowing the to-date mysterious story from the Seebergs to come forth.
Walton profiled. Derrick Walton on The Journey, which remains a disappointingly but understandably whitewashed version of life in the Big Ten:
Damn if they don't get some remarkable video, though. That shot through Trey Burke to Beilein against Kansas… damn.
Well then, do something about it. Mark Cuban's NCAA rant has been disassembled various places, and deservedly. Cuban asserts that the one-and-done rule is somehow the NCAA's deal, and things go downhill from there. He also asserts that people would be better off if the D-League was a real alternative, which it won't ever be because the NBA would rather take the marketing bonanza that is the NCAA tournament and apply it instead of trying to make the Fort Wayne Mad Antz relevant nationally.
There is a solution here. It's easy, actually: the NBA moves to an NHL-style draft where any relevant player is automatically inserted at 18. This preserves their eligibility. The NBA then allows teams to sign draftees but forces them to guarantee contracts one year longer than their eligibility would last (IE, signing a guy out of HS: five year contract, freshman 4 years, etc) except in the case of graduating seniors, who are owed nothing.
If there's a five-round draft, say, that
- increases NCAA popularity as NBA fans check out their prospects,
- reduces bad NBA contracts for unready or plain overrated prospects,
- encourages the NBA to sign guys when they're ready and only then,
- allows LeBron-type prospects to immediately hit the NBA like they deserve to.
That is a vast improvement on the current system and 1000% more fun than anything Mark Cuban's come up with.
Here's an interesting metric. Bill Connelly has a novel stat: solo tackle rate for offenses. The teams at the top of this ranking correspond closely to spreads: Kansas State, Texas Tech, Arizona State, Baylor, Indiana. Michigan was middle of the pack; MSU and ND towards the bottom. Meaningful? No idea.
Etc.: Nebraska is one win over Wisconsin from punching their NCAA dance ticket. Viva Nebrasketball! Everything you need to know about that one incredible Iowa cheerleader. His name is Oz! Jim Delany is just the worst. Football is faster than ever now, for a given version of "now" that includes 1968.
Michigan is included as part of a scouting report series on "second-tier" contenders; nothing in it you don't already know except that Michigan apparently struggles against teams that push tempo. Um?
Because it's always the right idea to mess with a good thing, Michigan (among several other Adidas schools) unveiled special uniformz for the postseason. They're not terrible, though I'd prefer "MICHIGAN" across the chest; they're also completely unnecessary and way worse than, say, the throwbacks they wore against Penn State last year.
Jargon-laced press release ahoy. (Emphasis is mine, because holy jargon.)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team and adidas unveiled today (Thursday, March 6) the Made in March Uniform System for the 2014 basketball postseason. The collection was created to provide the Wolverines with adidas' most advanced uniform system and basketball apparel technology so they can take on the challenges and intense play of March.
To evoke team unity and spirit, Made in March uniforms feature the Wolverines team name across the chest, while the school's "Go Blue" rally cry is printed on the inside collar of each jersey.
Made in March uniforms feature a functional perforated print pattern along the leg of the stretch woven short to enhance breathability and ventilation, keeping players cool as the clock winds down. Adidas' quick-drying jersey technology found in current NBA uniforms along with ClimaCool zones on the chest, back and side move heat and moisture away from the body to keep the jersey light and dry as players sweat.
The Made in March Uniform System debuts on-court beginning with conference tournament play.
You can purchase these if you'd like; since I don't want to encourage this behavior, you'll have to find the link elsewhere.
The good news: at least we're not Baylor.
Let's enumerate the wonderful things about this GIF:
- The Orange Crush is very bad at casting spells, judging by the two dudes right behind Nik Stauskas.
- Stauskas staring down 6'11" Nnanna Egwu for a couple seconds, going "yeah, I got this," and coldly hitting a three in his face.
- Derrick Walton meandering back on defense as soon as he sees Stauskas is going to shoot.
- Andrew Dakich beginning his roll the dice flourish while the ball is still mid-flight.
- Andrew Dakich, period.
- Exasperated Orange Crush girl throwing up her WTF hands at the very end.
- The Illini fans in the far corner whose will to move/exist has been completely destroyed.
This GIF, by my highly scientific ratings, comes in at #6 for the Illinois game. You're gonna want to hit the jump and watch the rest.
[JUMP and make Tracy Abrams bail the heck out]
RPI Effect Only Teams
If you care, Michigan played the following teams: UMass-Lowell (10-18), Houston Baptist (6-23), South Carolina State (9-19), Coppin State (10-19), Long Beach State (13-15), and Charlotte (15-13). But while I don’t want to say these games didn’t MATTER, they didn’t, you know, matter. Except the Charlotte game, because blerg. Michigan’s fate will be determines by larger narratives. Not many people are going to hammer too hard on RPI when you’re talking the difference between a 2 seed and a 3 seed. So, let us move along.
Big Sorts of Teams
Iowa State (22-7, 10-7 Big 12)
This week: Lost @ Kansas State (80-73); Lost @ Baylor (74-61)
Michigan probably moved ahead of Iowa State for good by virtue of Iowa State’s rough week. Bracketmatrix has them as the last 3 seed, it’s unlikely a home win over bubble team Oklahoma State (side note: how did THAT happen?) would get them past Michigan.
Florida State (18-11, 9-8 ACC)
This week: Beat Georgia Tech (81-71); Won @ Boston College (74-70)
Florida State met two necessary conditions for an NCAA bid this week. Losing to either of those teams would’ve probably been the end of things for the Seminoles. The good news is that Syracuse also seems very beatable, so it’s possible for Florida State to close strong. The problem is that now a win over Syracuse wouldn’t bring the cache it would have two or three weeks ago, so they might still need to do some work in the conference tourney.
From a Michigan standpoint, though, FSU doesn’t really matter all that much anymore. No one cares about your 6th best win, and pretty much Michigan's entire seeding case rests in its conference schedule. So if you’d really like to see some more #Nebrasketball, you might be hoping they drop their last couple of games to clear some room at the bubble.
#4 Dook (23-7, 12-5 ACC)
This week: Lost @ Wake Forest (YTWF) (82-72)
This was a gift on a number of fronts. Duke’s loss potentially leaves some wiggle room for Michigan to move up to a 2-seed. Also, Duke’s loss was a loss for Duke, which is a win for Not Duke. We are Not Duke. So, let’s compare the two teams right now:
|Record||KenPom||Losses (KP ranks)||Best wins (KP)||Is Duke?|
|MICHIGAN||22-7||10||1, 8, 11, 12, 28, 69, 182||11, 12, 13, 17, 17||No|
|DUKE||23-7||8||1, 6, 14, 23, 51, 92, 113||2, 10, 14, 15, 25||Yes|
I dunno, that’s close.
#3 Arizona (28-2, 15-2 PAC 12)
This week: Beat Stanford (79-66), Beat Arizona State (74-69)
It's hard to blame Arizona for a less-than-dominant performance against ASU. They'd clinched pretty much everything there was to clinch (PAC 12 title, #1 seed in the PAC 12 tourney, likely #1 seed, helped RichRod kill the 10 second rule), and sometimes it's hard to get up for games that don't much matter.
One potential cause for concern is depth. Arizona is really only rolling about 6 guys deep, which is working fine for them now, but if they run up against a team that draws a lot of fouls, it could be an issue. But no, Michigan isn't one of those teams.
Stanford (18-11, 9-8 PAC 12)
This week: Lost to Arizona (79-66); Lost to Colorado (59-56)
According to Bill Walton (who called the Stanford/Colorado game), Stanford's loss is a lot like the Punic War if it was fought by Muppets; you're not sure where they got the weapons, but you can't expect them to be back in time for lunch.
I'm not sure exactly what he meant by that, but Stanford's bid is in real trouble. Bracketmatrix had them as a 10-seed before the loss to the Buffs, so they still have some work to do. And not that it matters, but it would be nice for Michigan to have at least ONE win over a tournament team from its non-conference schedule.
[AFTER THE JUMP: Michigan, and all the teams that finished behind Michigan because Michigan finished ahead of everyone who isn't Michigan]
A couple GIFs to tide you over until tomorrow. First, a new entry in the Andrew Dakich Celebration Pantheon:
Also keep an eye on Stauskas, busy trolling the entire Illinois student section, and if you're of legal age you're allowed to look at the Orange Crush and their variety of inappropriate hand gestures.
The second GIF requires a jump, because it contains every Michigan three-point make from the game. Yes, all 16 of them.
[Ed-Ace: BUMP. GIFs coming either late this afternoon or tomorrow, depending on whether this three-point supercut breaks Photoshop.]
Rooting against this guy shouldn't be too hard.
Last night was a great night of basketball, not only because of Michigan's win, but because a number of well-established teams lost. Tuesday night was just a microcosm of what has been seen in the past 7-10 days as about a dozen ranked teams lost (and some more than once). For example, Creighton, Syracuse, Iowa State, Ciny and St. Louis have all lost two straight games. MSU fell to Illinois while Kansas and Louisville lost games as well.
The rash of losses by top teams has placed Michigan firmly on the 3-seed line, with an outside shot at a 2-seed. According to the Bracket Matrix, Michigan is the second 3-seed behind Virginia. With Duke, Wisconsin, Villanova and Syracuse as twos and Kansas, Florida, Arizona and Wichita State as the one seeds.
Of course, there's still a lot of basketball to be played and if this frantic, unpredictable nature of college basketball continues its course over then next week and a half, anything can happen. Let's recap the top seeds and how they have performed overall and in recent games to see who/what we should hope for down the stretch.
One Seeds (these teams aren't going anywhere)
Wichita State - 31-0. Not going anywhere.
Florida - 28-2 and 17-0 in SEC. Not going anywhere.
Arizona -27-2 and conference champs. Could slip to a 2-seed if they lose final two games and tournament opener. Highly unlikely. Not going anywhere.
Kansas - Dropped a game against Oklahoma State this past week. And while they have a favorable schedule against Texas Tech and West Virginia. Anything can happen. At 22-7, Kansas is ranked No. 8 in the nation. They are however, 2nd in RPI compared to Michigan at 13. I'm no Ken Pomeroy, but I think Michigan would need a bit of help or luck to pass Kansas in the brackets.
What to root for: Kansas to lose any and all remaining games. Unless they play Iowa State, which we will visit later in the article.
Two Seeds (longshots to drop, but it could happen)
Syracuse - Lost two more games in their last two outings including last night's game versus lowly Georgia Tech. Syracuse only has four losses on the season but have quickly played themselves out of the 1-seed. Currently without Jerami Grant, Syracuse is at risk of losing against Florida State this weekend. Additionally, two of Syracuse's losses are against bottom ACC teams Boston College and Georgia Tech which are as bad or worse as Michigan's losses to Charlotte and Indiana. Syracuse is currently ranked No. 7 in the nation, but will likely drop when the polls are re-released on Monday.
What to root for: Syracuse to lose out, or lose against FSU and perform poorly in conference tournament.
Duke - The Blue Devils have been on auto pilot most of the season with no back to back losses or particularly troublesome stretches. RPI is 7, SOS is 9. They would need to lose to Wake Forest and North Carolina to lose their standing as a solid two seed. Of course, one of those teams, North Carolina, is on the 4-line.
What to Root For: Duke to either beat North Carolina to get them off of Michigan's heals, or for Duke to lose out. It is never a bad idea to root against Duke.
Villanova - No recent upsets or losses. All three losses are against top 25 teams. Two regular season games left (against Georgetown and Xavier). And like Duke, probably not a legitimate candidate to move too far south.
What to Root For: Villanova to lose out. Like Duke, Kansas and Syracuse, that's the only way they will drop far.
Wisconsin - Top non-conference RPI. Fifth overall when factoring in conference games. Two conference games remaining versus Purdue and Nebraska.
What to Root For - Wisconsin losing games is always fun so lets root for them to lose out. In reality, the Badgers need to lose one regular season game and their first tournament game.
Three Seeds (Michigan needs to pass Virginia and a 2-seed to move up)
Virginia - Haven't lost in nearly two months and only one regular season game left (against Maryland). They are close to Michigan and Michigan needs to pass them and one more team to reach that two line.
What to Root for: Maryland to beat Virginia on Sunday and for Virginia to lose early in conference tournament. Since they are closest to Michigan seed-wise, maybe even one loss and perfection by the Wolverines could spring Michigan to the top 3-seed. Still, Michigan needs to pass two teams to earn that 2-seed.
Iowa State - Top 10 in RPI, but now below Michigan in polls after back to back losses to Kansas State and Baylor. Still on the 3-seed line according to Bracket Matrix but behind Michigan.
What to root for: Iowa State to lose to Oklahoma State to give Michigan some wiggle room. Also, root for the Cyclones to not run the table in the B12 tournament. They could pass Michigan if they outplay the Wolverines between now and selection Sunday.
Creighton - 11th in RPI but fading hard in the polls after back to back losses to Xavier and Georgetown. Bracket Matrix has them as a three seed but below Michigan.
What to root for: A loss to Providence in regular season finale or an unconvincing tournament run in the Big East Tournament.
Four Seeds (Don't Get Jumped)
North Carolina - They play Duke in their conference finale and with a win, could finish second in the ACC. A strong performance in the conference tournament could push them to the 3-line.
What to root for: North Carolina not getting to that 3-line.
Michigan State - They are a hot pile of garbage right now but get to play Iowa and OSU, plus the B10 tourney. What if they go 4-1, or even win damn conference tournament? If that happens, I will punch a desk. Let's not think about that happening. Seriously, if Michigan can't win the conference tourney, they sure as hell don't want MSU or Wisconsin winning it. Standard complaints about OSU apply, but if you are a Michigan fan, you would rather have the Buckeyes or any other team win over Wisconsin and MSU.
What to Root For: More excuses out of East Lansing.
Cincinnati - Lost two in a row to UConn and Memphis, but can still win their conference. Could also get quality win over Louisville in conference tournament.
What To Root For - Cincinnati to lose another game. Or not win their conference title. Louisville is on the 5-line so Michigan fans really don't want them to run the table either. Let's just root for Southern Methodist to win the conference title. *(Craig James Killed A Hooker.)
San Diego State - Hi Steve Fisher! The Aztecs have two games left. One versus 21st ranked New Mexico. Likely not enough to get them jumping up spots.
What to Root For - You root for Steve Fisher, because he's Steve Fisher god dammit. He's a nice man!
Conclusion: Michigan is all but certainly a 3-seed, but crazy things can happen. A bad run by a few others could spell a 2-seed for Michigan. Conversly, losing to Indiana and dropping the first round of the B10 tourney could leave Michigan susceptible to losing the 3-seed. Of course, 2-3 of the following: ISU, Creighton, MSU, NC would have to right the ship.