Michigan (8-3) vs
Youngstown State (5-6)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|WHEN||6 pm ET, Saturday|
|LINE||Michigan -19 (KenPom)|
PBP: Dan Gutowsky
Analyst: Kyle Macy
Right: This week in bizarre, surprisingly sad mascot histories.
In a pleasant change, Michigan probably won't need to reconfigure their lineup from Tuesday's win over Northern Kentucky. For those who missed it, that starting lineup was Derrick Walton, Caris LeVert, Duncan Robinson, Zak Irvin, and Ricky Doyle; Mark Donnal and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman were the two primary backups as John Beilein made a concerted effort to whittle down the rotation before Big Ten play begins.
As has been the case for the past couple games, the intrigue tomorrow will come from how Beilein handles the rotation. Aubrey Dawkins, Moritz Wagner, and Kam Chatman played a combined eight minutes on Tuesday; I'd assume at least one gets a more prominent role—a seven-man rotation is a little light—and the best guess is Dawkins and Wagner see a slight uptick in minutes:
Beilein on rotation: NKU was running a motion that was confusing to Moe. Dawkins saw minutes drop b/c Robinson was "on fire."
— Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) December 18, 2015
DJ Wilson is back at practice but isn't yet going full-court, so he'll remain out tonight.
Youngstown State has lost to every team they've played within KenPom's top 280 teams; they have three wins against the dregs of D-I and two more against Thiel and Geneva, which... are not D-I. They haven't played an opponent that's comparable to Michigan; their only top-100 foe was #3 Purdue, which they lost to 95-64 last weekend.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
On the roundtable this week:
- No Ed
- Ed is there in spirit since we rip on him for 60 minutes
- And by we I mean "I"
- The glorious correctness of Craig's six-guys-only strategy
THE USUAL LINKS
Taking an old question in reverse: Choose one current Michigan player whom you'd like to take back in time and have him play for a former team?
David: I think I would put Zach Werenski onto the 2010-11 Michigan Hockey team.
After Brandon Burlon's injury before the tournament run, freshman Kevin Clare was pushed into Michigan's 3rd defensive pairing...which ended up turning into playing mostly just five defensemen. After the Tiny Jesus show against North Dakota in the National Semifinal -where Hunwick made a whopping 40 saves- Michigan was just gassed going into the Title Game. It showed as M took twice as many penalties as Duluth did. Hunwick played amazing again, but the team was chasing play most of the time. If you put another NHL first round defenseman on that team and Clare isn't forced into action that might have been a little above his head -or if thy could have rotated through 6 blue-liners more confidently (Clare did have 2 of M's penalties)- Michigan might have been able to stay out of the box more and conserved energy, etc, etc. Not to mention adding Werenski's offensive prowess...he already has 4-8-12 in half a year, this year. Would it be a slam dunk? I don't know...but I would take another shot at that game if I could get it...
Option #2 (if its allowed): Trading Senior LeVert for Freshman LeVert in 2012-13.
Option #3: Adding Peppers/Lewis to the '06 football team...but would either of them (or anyone, for that matter) keep their feet on that hideous Columbus sod??
[After THE JUMP: we debate which team would most benefit from #HoverPeppers]
On Bush and Walker
Both my lil Bros committed back2back!! Mood: pic.twitter.com/jyAYuH8DeA
— PeppyPep (@JabrillPeppers) December 17, 2015
So those went well. Michigan withstood a push from Florida State on both players and with Walker's commitment they flipped the #1 tailback recruit in the country from Ohio State. The latter has a negligible impact on Ohio State's fortunes going forward—when Walker started wavering they flipped a touted Wisconsin commit in a week—but is an eye-catcher.
Steve Lorenz of 247 has a good take on the difference here:
The Michigan program recruited very well under Brady Hoke, with two top five-ish classes. However, these are the types of recruitments that would slip away from them late when we're talking about nationally-recruited prospects out of power areas (California, Texas, Florida, etc.). Jim Harbaugh and Michigan have now beaten both Florida State and Notre Dame twice for out-of-region prospects since he took the job, and may be in a strong position for a third on Thursday with Kareem Walker.
Check. Michigan's class is now #1 or #2 in the country, depending on who you talk to. It won't finish like that since southern schools will add a ton of five star types late, but "Harbaugh hates recruiting" was about as accurate as everything else NFL reporter types said about him a year ago.
Those commits also catch the eye of certain compatriots.
1. RB in the country to Ann Arbor Ⓜ️
— Jean Delance ® (@JeanDelance74) December 17, 2015
Toot toot, all aboard the Harbaugh Express.
BONUS: More dreadlocks. Always more dreadlocks.
New tight end offer
It's only mostly sunshine and recruits, though.
Yeah, you should probably read into this one: Michigan has offered three star MO TE Chase Allen. This is probably a bad sign about FL TEs Isaac Nauta and Jacob Mathis. Richt got fired, the whole nine yards, and Michigan probably has a read on how that recruitment is going to go. Really would have helped if WA QB Jacob Eason had flipped to another school, but that didn't happen and opinion from Georgia mod types is now very sunny there. Mathis seems ticketed to Florida. So Allen feels like a next-man-up kind of offer.
But not entirely. Michigan already has a commit from MA TE Sean McKeon and a lot of depth on the roster. They have a lot of guys chasing a few spots, so offering a guy like Allen is an indicator they value him pretty highly. Meanwhile Allen's Michigan offer was quickly followed by one from Florida State, so this might be a situation similar to that of TN WR Nate Johnson where a kid rises late after his senior film gets out. Allen picked up Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, and Minnesota offers over the last couple weeks. Allen played a ton of high school basketball, including offseason AAU stuff, as a 6'7" power forward. That explains his late rise and lack of profile. If he ends up anything like Maxxxxx Williams I'd be okay with that.
Allen is in the Bunting mold wherein he is mostly a hilariously oversized high school wide receiver, but he did do some inline blocking a year ago. At 225 he's a guy Michigan would put on the shelf for a couple years and bring out of the oven.They've got the depth and time to do that.
Bad news, though?
@Dr_ChaseAllen all these offers don't change the fact that you're a ginger
— Dyl (@dylanxmills) December 17, 2015
Allen apparently has a 4.0 and a 33(!) on his ACT, so Michigan is a place that would appeal for reasons other than football. Also he wants to be an engineer. My man.
Allen plans an official to Ann Arbor in January. The Gophers were widely regarded as Allen's leader before the Michigan offer; in the aftermath three different Gopher analyst ballz'd him to Michigan. This appears to be based on nothing other than "Minnesota-Michigan recruiting battles generally go one way," but… yeah.
Rashan Gary things
This article got sold as an Ohio State comin'(!) kind of thing on the message boards, giving any Michigan fan's adrenaline up. On review it's really not a thing. Ohio State is recruiting Gary. They hired Greg Schiano, who knows NJ DE Rashan Gary from way back. Get a little further and it's clear that Ms. Coney was just describing the various things happening in Gary's recruitment, including Michigan activity…
"Michigan had coach Partridge and coach Mattison come by yesterday," Gary said ."Michigan was on point because Chris Partridge knows us from the transfer from Scotch Plains to Paramus Catholic. He was going to be a great football player, but I wanted to make sure he was going to continue to be a great student."
…and that it's probably going to take a bit more than that to shake up Gary's recruitment. I'm sure everyone is having a fight or flight response anyway.
Still open to wide receivers, apparently
There's been no indication that Michigan is about to stop recruiting receivers despite the Nate Johnson commitment and dwindling numbers. Michigan still has FL WR Pie Young on the hook, which would take them to four in this class despite losing nobody. (To graduation, anyway.) Theory: one of their commits might be ticketed for safety. Both NJ WRs Brad Hawkins and Ahmir Mitchell have the right size.
In any case, the Rutgers 247 site offhandedly reported something of interest to Michigan: NJ WR Donald Stewart has official to Michigan set for January 22nd. A lot of people projected Stewart, who attends Paramus Catholic, into Michigan's class over the summer but that never came to fruition. Things have been cool there for a long time, but they're apparently not dead… as long as he actually gets to that visit uncommitted. Stanford, the presumed leader after Michigan ceased being that, gets a visit the week prior.
On… wuz… urike?
I think I just figured out how to spell that without looking it up. TX DE Levi Onwuzurike has been a "true ninja" of the recruiting process according to Steve Lorenz, but now that it's coming down to decision time there is at least the faint outline of a leading group. According to Steve:
He's set to announce a top four in the near future, and while Baylor, Washington and Michigan are safe bets to make that group, there isn't a great feel for who the fourth school would be. It may be local TCU. Either way, that fourth school is currently on the outside looking in (in our opinion) regardless of who it is. One source closer to the Michigan side of things was blunt when asked if there was any feel for what he was going to do: "None".
Michigan appears to really want Onwuzurike, who is flying under the radar somewhat because he loathes attention.
Don't you dare be sour
In the aftermath of Devin Bush Jr's commitment to Michigan comes a parable about grapes. Shot:
Yup. A bit surprising how optimistic they are about him. https://t.co/Ydb8SG5QcK
— Jason Staples (@DocStaples) December 15, 2015
TBH, I think Bush made the right decision here. He’ll be in line for early PT at Michigan. Don’t think he’d have ever started at #FSU
— Jason Staples (@DocStaples) December 16, 2015
That second tweet has a bunch of replies from FSU fans asking who on earth is going to play over him since FSU's LB depth chart looks pretty similar to Michigan's after this year: one contributor back and then a herd of question marks.
This one probably won't go our way
Michigan kinda maybe led for TX DT Chris Daniels for a minute, but after an Oklahoma visit that was immediately followed by a commitment date things have been trending the Sooners' way. Daniels will decide Friday at 7. Sort of, anyway: Daniels plans visits in January.
Michigan's in his top three along with Alabama and OU; the Sooners are the favorite. Maybe there's a chance though:
Michigan: "Well, Michigan was always a school I wanted to go to since I was little. I'm not going to say they were my dream school, but they were the school I was really looking up to when I was younger. I felt like their defensive line coach has a lot of history in the NFL and college and he can develop me also."
Michigan has a January visit set up with AZ DE Connor Murphy in the event Michigan does not lock Daniels down.
In basketball, UMHoops talks with Zach Fleer about Ibi Watson's development.
You’ve been able to practice and all that?
“Yeah, I’ve been able to practice. Yeah, I expect to play complete. That’s all that really matters, right?”
Was there any point afterward- even that day, because you didn’t come back in the game obviously- where you thought it might keep you out of this game?
“No. I mean, I know this process. We have a few weeks to get healthy so I wasn’t really concerned about that. I’d figure out a way, whatever it is.”
You played with Bosa in high school, right?
Did you guys have any words after that?
“Yeah, we talked. Talked to him after the game. Texted him a little bit, see how it was going and stuff.”
What was the injury?
“You guys don’t know that yet?”
No, nobody told us.
“Am I allowed to release anything? I’m deferring to you.”
[looks at SID]
As long as you’re health now it doesn’t matter, right?
“Exactly! See, who cares!? Who cares? It’s over now.”
How long were you limited? Were you healthy and back throwing a couple days later?
“I mean, we could take our time so we took our time. There’s no point to force anything with having a few weeks to get ready.”
[After THE JUMP: more Rudock, Kyle Kalis and Jourdan Lewis]
Kareem Walker (center) with fellow NJ native Ahmir Mitchell. [Isaiah Hole/247]
Michigan has once again fought off Florida State to land their second top target in as many days. After Devin Bush Jr. committed yesterday, top-ranked Wayne (NJ) De Paul Catholic RB Kareem Walker's announced his Michigan pledge this afternoon. The Wolverines have been in the driver's seat for Walker since his October official visit eventually spurred a decommitment from Ohio State, where he'd committed during last season's national title game; Auburn and Florida State emerged as contenders but Michigan managed to fend them off.
Walker is the 23rd commit in the 2016 class, the second at running back (joining Kingston Davis), and the fourth from New Jersey (Brad Hawkins, Ron Johnson, Ahmir Mitchell). If Michigan closes out like they hope, Walker won't be the last to join the class from the Garden State.
5*, #2 RB,
4*, #1 RB,
4*, 87, #1 RB,
4*, 94, #2 RB,
4*, #1 RB,
Every site but 247 has Walker as one of the very top prospects in the country, and even though 247 is a significant outlier they still consider him the second-best running back in the class. There isn't a Leonard Fournette or Reggie Bush level of can't-miss back; Walker is a cut below them as a prospect but still obviously quite good.
Walker has a solid, college-ready build; he's listed at 6'0", 200-210 pounds by all but 247 (6'1", 210).
[Hit THE JUMP for the informative portion.]