ohio state blogs will post literally anything
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Michigan 3, Northern Michigan 2
UM 1 NMU 0 EV 11:42 Martin (1) from Connor (12) & Cecconi (5)
Kyle Connor picks a puck up off the half boards and carries toward the high slot. NMU forms a wall, and Connor’s only real options are above said wall. He sees Cutler Martin start to pinch down and makes the logical pass to him.
The important thing to note here is that the high-slot defender closed the gap on Martin quickly, so instead of taking a slap shot he had to load up and quickly release a snap shot.
NMU’s Atte Tolvanen temporarily believes he’s compatriot Pekka Rinne and makes an ill-advised glove-save attempt in which he reaches across his body to try and snag a puck headed over his right shoulder. He misses, because he’s not Pekka Rinne.
[More after THE JUMP]
Michigan announced less than an hour before tipoff that Caris LeVert would miss the Penn State game with a lower leg injury. The Nittany Lions ran out to a 7-0 lead as the Wolverines struggled to even get a shot off in early going.
Instead of faltering, though, Michigan found their groove from beyond the arc, netting all of their first 18 points from beyond the arc. Duncan Robinson utilized his deadly pump fake to free up his own shot and assist on a couple others during that stretch, Zak Irvin got into rhythm, and a hot streak from Aubrey Dawkins turned a deficit into a rout.
Mark Donnal earned the start at center. After an inauspicious start—Donnal sat after one minute due to a foul—he picked up where he left off against Illinois, making his first seven shots on his way to a team-high 16 points and eight rebounds. The work of Robinson (six assists) and especially Irvin (seven) off the dribble left room for Donnal at the rim and he continued to look great catching and finishing off the high screen. His effort on the defensive end also stood out; in two games, Donnal has gone from odd man out to effective starter.
That couldn't have happened without a great team effort to move the ball around. Michigan assisted on 18 of their 29 made field goals, forcing Penn State to try an ill-advised switch to zone that had little positive effect. Dawkins took full advantage by slicing through the defense for a pair of layups and feeding off Robinson and Irvin to drill all three of his triples. He'd finish with 14 points, Irvin had 16 of his own—making 4/6 threes—and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman posted 14 on 5/7 shooting.
It's dangerous to take too much away from a matchup against Penn State, which looked as listless as their football team. That said, it's hard to ignore the transformation of Donnal—and to a lesser extent Irvin and even Robinson—in the absence of Michigan's best player, especially when Derrick Walton had a rough day.
A trip to Purdue looms on Thursday. If LeVert returns while his supporting cast continues to display this level of in-season improvement, however, Michigan can put themselves right back into the conversation as one of the Big Ten's upper-echelon teams.
Michigan (11-3, 1-0 B1G) vs
Penn State (9-5, 0-1)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|WHEN||Noon ET, Saturday|
|LINE||Michigan -11 (KenPom)|
PBP: Jeff Levering
Analyst: Shon Morris
Right: WHY ARE OLD MASCOTS ALL SO SAD?
After Mark Donnal's superlative performance against Illinois, John Beilein is willing to make changes to the rotation if Donnal—or any of the other centers—can produce consistently:
At some point, someone has to lock down the center position. [Donnal] could be on the verge of doing so.
"Is he better coming off the bench? Is he better starting?" Beilein asked rhetorically. "When anybody puts on that type of performance — and he'd been doing it the last week or so in practice before we went on (holiday) break and when we came back, especially when we came back — we're thinking about changing, whether it's the starting lineup or the rotation. It's all in the mix right now."
They'll face a true seven-footer in PSU's Jordan Dickerson today, which should help bring some clarity to the situation heading into Thursday's game at Purdue.
UPDATE: Donnal is starting, but Michigan announced moments ago that Caris LeVert will miss the game with a lower-leg injury of some sort:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan men's basketball head coach John Beilein announced this afternoon (Saturday, Jan. 2), senior guard Caris LeVert will sit out the Wolverines game against Penn State with a lower left leg injury.
"Caris will miss today's game and his future status will be determined on a day-to-day basis," said Beilein. "We hope to know more this upcoming week as he continues with his treatment."
LeVert appeared to tweak his left ankle late in the Illinois game, and while he continued to play he limped around a bit. Hopefully this isn't anything major, especially with Purdue looming later this week.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.
|G||33||Shep Garner||So.||6'1, 185||87||22||No|
|Nominal point is more of a scorer. Shooting better from 3 than 2.|
|G||23||Josh Reaves||Fr.||6'4, 190||63||20||Yes|
|Good block and steal rates, struggling offensively. 3/29 on threes.|
|F||0||Payton Banks||So.||6'6, 220||75||22||Yes|
|Decent finisher and rebounder, very iffy outside shooter.|
|F||10||Brandon Taylor||Sr.||6'6, 225||77||29||No|
|Huge usage, middling efficiency (48/36/68 shooting splits).|
|C||32||Jordan Dickerson||Sr.||7'1, 245||45||11||Very|
|Top-ten block rate, excellent offensive rebounder, low usage.|
|G||3||Devin Foster||Sr.||6'2, 205||45||12||No|
|Low usage, bad finisher (10/27 2P) and FT shooter, turnover-prone.|
|C||44||Julian Moore||So.||6'10, 235||40||17||Very|
|Good rebounder and decent rim-protector but not on Dickerson's level.|
|F||1||Deividas Zemgulis||Fr.||6'6, 220||20||16||Not Really|
|Effective scorer in limited minutes.|
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
Odd time, but the UA game is tomorrow so let's set the stage.
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) January 1, 2016
Rashan Gary coming back
senior highlights, or a bear playing football?
(bonus: Kareem Walker runs at 2:30 and 5:40 that look pretty decent)
Excellent news here:
— Adam Friedman (@RivalsFriedman) December 31, 2015
Michigan getting a return visit feels like a trip to confirm, with only one late official visit to a yet-to-be-determined team able to overturn what looks like a large Michigan lead. Sam Webb has a couple of long posts about Gary's status that continue to give off the impression that Gary is headed to Ann Arbor. Interestingly, the second discusses a prospect committed elsewhere who does not want his name out who will visit in January, might flip, and if he did flip would lock down Gary. Sam offers zero hints as to who this might be but it's a guy
- at the UA game
- committed elsewhere
- with a connection to Gary
There are two guys who seem like candidates: PA TE Naseir Upshur, an FSU commit who is tight with a lot of the NJ prospects flooding to Ann Arbor, and five-star TX OL Greg Little. Little, an Ole Miss commit, was briefly a source of Ole Miss optimism about Gary since those two have apparently struck up a friendship over the course of their recruitments. Little and Gary were at Ole Miss on the same weekend. Maybe this is a situation where these guys might be a package if they can find a school both guys like.
The previous paragraph is entirely speculation.
BTW, Gary is not likely to cede his status as the nation's top prospect.
Gary, meanwhile, has been utterly dominant so far at the event, drawing universal praise for an elite combination of strength, quickness and ability.
ESPN's CFB/NFL draft analyst @KevinW_ESPN said today it was easy to see why Rashan Gary is No. 1. On a different level.
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) December 30, 2015
There just isn't another player like this one in the country. He is elite and he is No. 1 in the country for many reasons. He was constantly beating the one in front of him, he was in the backfield all day, and he was chasing plays down.
Rivals has him as a "stock up" guy despite the fact that his stock can't actually go up. Here's a bunch of reps between Gary and Little:
I like 'em both.
As far as Gary's decision goes, feelin' real good.
— Garrett Fishaw (@MGoFish) December 31, 2015
Delance decision primer
TX OL Jean Delance will announce tomorrow during the game. We have a ballz in for him based on a few things, but there is no certainty with his recruitment. Lorenz has a a ballz in for Michigan. Tim Sullivan thinks it's very close between Michigan and Texas with Michigan his tentative pick. He mentions something that was a reason we put in our pick:
Delance said he and his mother have to "duke it out" over where he goes. That his mother openly prefers him to stay at Texas, and that the phrasing implies he and Mom are on opposite sides of a disagreement (or boxing match, if he's being strictly literal, I guess)... that means he's favoring Michigan, right?
I mean, he told Josh Newkirk this about Texas:
“Texas is right down the street from my house,” he said. “(In my) home state, that’s what people want me to do. But I got to follow my own dreams, make my own destiny."
Sometimes quotes like that don't mean as much as it sounds like they do, but with Delance he's said things along those lines while being effusive about Harbaugh.
On the other hand, Scout guys are hearing Texas. The Texas 247 guy feels "just as strong about Texas as I did the day I put in a crystal ball for him." (As we'll see in a bit that might not be a bad thing.) Wiltfong and LSU guys at 247 were hearing Texas as well.
And Michigan did offer MD OL Stephen Spanellis, a Virginia commit. Normally that's a bad sign about the other guys on the hook but we've seen Michigan set up a few January visits for guys they may not have room for. Michigan is going into what will be a busy, tense Signing Day and they want to have backup options. A Spanellis offer does say one thing: Michigan has not gotten an official "yes" from Delance and desires to cover themselves if things go the wrong way.
So I don't know. I think it'll be M but if it goes the other way nobody will be too surprised.
[UPDATE: Steve just flipped his ballz back to Texas. Bleah.]
Brad Hawkins jittery? Probably not
Some conflicting information on NJ WR commit Brad Hawkins, who told Rivals he's thinking about visits to North Carolina and South Carolina and "wasn't sure if his recruiting process is over and done with."
"I'm 100-percent committed to Michigan," he stated. "I picked Michigan because it just felt like home. The people there are great people. The environment is a great environment. It's a college football town. There's nothing like it."
Maybe keep an eye on that but it appears that Hawkins is still a very good bet to end up in the class; can't say that about some other people who have scheduled visits. One thing that is clear: neither Hawkins or Johnson is set to enroll early. They were intending to but apparently are no longer.
FWIW, that 247 article confirms that Hawkins is coming in at WR. I'd speculated that either he or Mitchell might be slated for a switch to safety given reports that Michigan would take both CA WR Dylan Crawford and FL WR Pie Young should those prospects be amenable. That still might be the case—see Brian Cole and a zillion other position switches—but not right away.
FWIW, Hawkins is impressing at the Semper Fi game, with Brian Dohn reporting that he's "looked very good" and is amongst the best WRs at the game. Meanwhile Johnson was named the ALPHA DOG on day two:
Ron Johnson (Camden, N.J./Camden) was easily the most dominating player on the second day of practice.
The four-star Michigan commitment could not be blocked at the line of scrimmage, firing off the ball and using his raw strength to explode on contact. At 6-foot-4, 230-pounds, Johnson is lean, but on Thursday he showed the upper body strength is already there to throw blockers to the wayside. … Coaches were raving about his performance on Day two, and rightfully so.
Johnson and Hawkins have sort of been forgotten men since their commitments but they're both four star guys.
The last New Jersicorn
Hey, so NJ S Jordan Fuller has had a recruitment even more mysterious than that of TX DE Levi Onwuzurike. He has talked to virtually nobody. He's offered no lists. The only indicator that he's considering anyone is that he took an official to Notre Dame. Dohn reports that Fuller has now set visits to OSU on January 15th and Michigan on the 22nd, with a couple schools trying to get a visit the following week. That appears to be a top three of M, OSU, and ND.
WI OL commit Ben Bredeson has also caught the eye. There have been mixed reports since apparently he drew a lot of duty against Gary, which isn't going to go well for anyone in a drill. Bredeson apparently slowed Gary down a bit, which is good enough to claim the "most successful vs Grendel" award.
Coach Herm Edwards mentioned a few players who stood out: Dwayne Haskins, Ben Bredeson, Levonta Taylor, Rashan Gary, Nigel Knott on the list
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) December 30, 2015
Scout's Bill Greene was impressed:
He had a good day Monday, and most people would agree he was one of the top linemen on Team Highlight. Bredeson is huge, but he was far more athletic than he looks on film, with better footwork. He was aggressive, and it was apparent he came to play football, not be on vacation.
Bredeson told folks he would start out at left guard when he arrived at Michigan. I'm pretty sure we already knew he was slated to be an interior OL, but there's oddly specific confirmation all the same.
Keep recruitin' that chicken
EJ Holland, the Texas guy who refused to believe that TX DT Jordan Elliott was favoring Michigan—which other people believed due to things like "Elliott saying it to every recruiting reporter he talked to"—will not let his recruitment die:
According to a couple of sources, Elliott is committed to Michigan but could still sign elsewhere in February. Texas will have a good shot if Jeffrey McCulloch and Dontavious Jackson side with the Longhorns. All three communicate frequently.
Hold your panic gifs. Lorenz talked to Elliott's mom and she shot that down emphatically. Meanwhile her twitter feed is a pile of Michigan stuff. Elliott himself also continually tweets Michigan stuff and seems peeved whenever someone suggests he's not solid
Why this dude will not let the Elliott stuff die is unknown, but he thinks Delance goes to Texas, so that's good news.
It's going to be that time soon. I still don't care about 2018 and refuse to until next fall, but 2017 is closing in on being the current class. So:
- 2017 MI CB Ambry Thomas is "very interested" and feels "comfortable" in Ann Arbor. Early favorite there was MSU, we'll see how that holds up.
- 2017 MI WR KJ Hamler, AKA "Speedy Eaglet," says Harbaugh is an "electric, electric coach." MSU gets a cursory mention.
- Michigan still leads for five star NY OL Isaiah Wilson, with Ole Miss and OSU the other two schools drawing mention. Lorenz cautions that Wilson's recruitment is likely to be a "bumpy ride."
- 2017 GA WR commit Jeremiah Holloman is impressing at a camp: "Holloman is a legit 6-foot-3, and, while he's lean, he's got a really well developed frame. He does a tremendous job of using his height to his advantage, and he was a troublesome matchup for many of the top rated defensive backs during practice." Twitter has a catch for those interested.
- Holloman's teammate and 2017 GA RB commit Kurt Taylor was fielding serious Florida interest before he pulled the trigger.
FL LB Joel Dublanko is still on the radar. He's coming in on the 15th despite not having an offer and seems to be a guy who would be a late offer if Michigan has room on Signing Day. Ditto LA DE Malcolm Roach, a Texas commit who told Holland that he would set a visit to Michigan in January. FL TE Jacob Mathis has an official set to Ole Miss right before Signing Day; M is involved there still. Sullivan doesn't think it's happening. FL WR Keyshawn "Pie" Young remains high on Michigan and plans on committing on Signing Day.
BYU QB Taysom Hill was offered a grad transfer opportunity at Virginia, which is no surprise after Bronco Mendenhall took that job.
[File photo: Patrick Barron/MGoBlog]
Through the first half of the season Jake Rudock looked more like a liability than a solution at quarterback.
That felt like a distant memory as Rudock picked apart the vaunted Florida secondary, becoming the second Michigan quarterback (John Navarre) to surpass 3,000 single-season passing yards in the process. Rudock connected on 20/31 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns and looked like a completley different player from the one that threw three picks at Utah to open the season.
Even with Jabrill Peppers sidelined due to a hand injury, Michigan looked like a team peaking in bowl season and ready to carry that momentum into 2016. De'Veon Smith, perhaps unencumbered by the turf toe he'd dealt with all season, had some extra pep in his step; more importantly, he knew where to take that step, showing much-improved vision on his way to a 109-yard afternoon.
The O-line stymied a Florida pass rush that ranked among the best in the country. Jehu Chesson repeatedly won one-on-one battles with balleyhooed cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, a projected top-ten NFL draft pick, including a hitch-and-go touchdown that broke the game open. Grant Perry emerged with a couple big grabs and his first career score. If Rudock can be satisfactorily replaced, all the pieces are there for the offense to break out in 2016.
The defense, meanwhile, limited an overmatched Gators offense to 262 yards. Florida couldn't hit a big play—their longest gain went for 27 yards—and didn't have a means to stay ahead of the chains outside of a few scattered scrambles by quarterback Treon Harris, who had to deal with plenty of pressure from Michigan's front four. When Harris lost his composure, the Wolverines took advantage, most notably on a Jarrod Wilson interception in the end zone with the Gators threatening to answer Chesson's long TD.
The special teams battle hardly came into play, but Michigan won that, too. Channing Stribling intercepted the holder's pitch when Florida faked a field goal on their opening drive; long after the game had been decided, a cavalcade stuffed a fake punt in the backfield.
Rudock teared up in the televised interview following his final collegiate game. Jim Harbaugh is done working his magic with Rudock, who guided a limited team to ten wins in their first year in a new system. When this team reconvenes in the spring, most of the talent from today's blowout will be back, and if Harbaugh has coaxed similar improvement from the other quarterbacks on the roster, they'll be poised for a run at the playoff.
Michigan finishes Harbaugh year 1 with an authoritative blowout of #19 Florida to acquire ten wins. Not bad.
And you can't have one without the other...
Now a bunch of recruiting and lets get it in 2016.