TO THE HOT TAKE CANNON
|WHAT||Michigan vs. Purdue|
|WHERE||Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|WHEN||9 pm Eastern, Thursday|
|LINE||Michigan -17 (KenPom)|
|TV||ESPN/WatchESPN (PBP: Joe Tessitore; Analyst: Sean Farnham)|
Right: Matt Painter could really use a hug (via)
Despite facing one of the easiest slates of Big Ten opponents thus far, Purdue is struggling mightily in conference play (3-4) after going 10-3 in non-conference action with just one victory over a KP100 squad. Matt Painter is trying just about every possible lineup combination to get things to click, including eight different starting lineups so far this year. How's that going, coach?
Purdue coach Matt Painter, on his rotation: "I'd like our guys to play better, so I'd know who the hell to play."
— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) January 27, 2014
Purdue boasts ten(!) players averaging over 13 minutes per game; all fall under the categories of inefficient high-usage player, low-usage role player, or Guy Named Johnson Who Jacks Up Ill-Advised Shots On The Regular.
Sophomore seven-foot center AJ Hammons falls into the first category despite shooting 55% from the floor, rebounding nearly 10% of Purdue's misses when he's on the court, and posting a monstrous 91.8 free throw rate. Why? He commits a turnover on over a quarter of his possessions and has just 11 assists all season. He's a superlative rebounder and shot-blocker, but his effort waxes and wanes without much warning; he's scored 16+ points in five games this year and seven or fewer in seven games, including no points against three TOs in 27 minutes against lowly Washington State and a two-point, three-turnover, three-foul performance in Purdue's most recent game, a home blowout loss at the hands of Wisconsin.
In his two starts last season against Michigan, Hammons combined to shoot 2/10 from the field with just four free-throw attempts, six rebounds, five turnovers, and two blocks. He could reverse course and have big game; he's just as liable to be a total non-factor. His backup, 6'10" freshman Jay Simpson, is actually doing better on the boards, but he's not a shot-blocker and is shooting under 45% from the field.
The essence of Hammons: frustration (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
The Boilermakers start a relatively small lineup aside from Hammons; the de facto four is 6'5", 222-pound freshman Basil Smotherman. Yes, his name is really Basil Smotherman. A defensive specialist, Smotherman is also Purdue's most effective scorer inside the arc, shooting 75.6% at the rim and 48.4% on two-point jumpers, to go with solid offensive rebounding and a low turnover rate; naturally, he's the lowest-usage starter.
6'5" sophomore guard Raphael Davis is listed as a probable starter in the game notes, though he normally gets less playing time than 6'6" freshman Kendall Stephens. Davis has a knack for getting to the line but otherwise doesn't add much production; his shot has been iffy this season. Stephens is a pure spot-up gunner shooting 36% on 118 three-point attempts and just 7/21 from inside the arc. Davis has started the last seven games but expect to see plenty of Stephens off the bench.
Brothers Terone and Ronnie Johnson round out the starting backcourt and represent the only two Boilermakers averaging double-digit points this season. Ronnie, the 6'0" point guard, has a very solid assist rate and has hit 12 of his 29 threes; he's also attempted 144 two-pointers, mostly of the jumper variety, and he's connecting on just 43% of those. Terone's two-point shooting line is quite similar—44% on 157 attempts—though he's at least focusing more of his attention on the outside, hitting 36% of his 68 3PAs. Both get to the line relatively frequently; both knock down their free throws in the 63-64% range.
Other backups of note are freshman guard Bryson Scott—a two-point chucker in the Brothers Johnson mold (NTBJ), hitting 36% of his 120 2PA while attempting just seven threes—and 6'6" Cornell transfer Errick Peck, a solid rebounder who posts decent shooting numbers and a high turnover rate in a marginal role. 6'0" Seattle transfer Sterling Carter is also liable to make a cameo; he's another pure shot-up gunner shooting... 19/70 from three this season, well below his career mark.
Purdue's lone KP100 victory came by three points at #63 West Virginia—not exactly a statement game—and they only faced two other such opponents, losing on neutral floors to #16 Oklahoma State and #100 Butler. Despite not facing Michigan, Michigan State, or Iowa so far in Big Ten play, the Boilermakers have gone just 3-4 with close wins at home against Penn State and Nebraska and away at Illinois. They lost a double-OT game at Northwestern despite the Wildcats being down to six available players by the second overtime, got blown out at home by Ohio State and Wisconsin, and dropped a close one against Minnesota at The Barn.
KenPom favors Purdue in just two more games this season. This is not one of them.
Now that we're partway into conference play, I'll start posting four factors charts for all the games and Big Ten games only, with sample size issues obviously coming into play on the latter for a while.
Four factors, all games (national ranks in parentheses):
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||47.6 (258)||16.7 (68)||37.2 (30)||39.2 (209)|
|Defense||45.8 (52)||18.0 (207)||31.0 (152)||40.6 (171)|
Conference-only (seven games, Big Ten ranks in parentheses):
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||42.3 (10)||16.7 (6)||36.7 (1)||36.8 (8)|
|Defense||46.8 (5)||14.6 (11)||24.4 (2)||41.1 (8)|
Despite featuring a talented seven-footer, Purdue is dead last in the conference in two-point shooting (40.7%)(!), and their three-point shooting isn't much better—ninth in the B1G with a 30.7% mark. They're also ninth in free-throw percentage, last in shots blocked, and somehow posting a worse eFG% in transition (47.0%) than in non-transition possessions (47.8%).
Their defense is in the middle of the Big Ten pack, though a fair amount of luck appears to be bolstering their numbers; Purdue is last in the league in 3PA/FGA (39.3%) and first in 3P% against (28.8%). This is mostly due to Northwestern's woeful 4/24 3P performance in their matchup; Minnesota went 11/24 from beyond the arc against Purdue, so this team is susceptible to getting lit up from the outside, and their two-point defense is well below average despite Hammons' inside presence. The one thing they're consistently good at on both ends is rebounding.
Attack Hammons early. Hammons is Purdue's only real rim protector. He's also relatively foul-prone. If Michigan can find a way to get him in early foul trouble—whether by driving right at him, forcing him away from the basket with high screens, or taking charges on the other end—then the interior will be theirs for the taking.
Box out. Purdue can't really shoot, but they can rebound, and rely largely on putbacks to generate points. Hammons and Simpson are obviously the biggest worries here, though Smotherman and Peck are also excellent offensive rebounders; the bigs must stay disciplined on the boards and the guards might have to help out—a repeat of Caris LeVert's eight-rebound performance (all defensive) against MSU would be quite welcome.
Look to run. The Boilermakers' tendency to chuck off-target jumpers and crash the boards should lead to plenty of transition opportunities if Michigan wants to take advantage. The last few games have featured great outlet passing from not just Morford, but also perimeter players like LeVert and Stauskas. Expect to see some fast break fireworks and a nice bounce-back game for GRIII as a result.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 17
The all-Johnson backcourt is a point of contention because Purdue rises and falls with them. When they are good, Purdue looks great. When they are off, Purdue looks pretty terrible and things like the Northwestern game happen. I feel like we rely on them too much to the point where other guys defer to them even when they struggle.
As for [Terone Johnson] on Stauskas, I don't trust Purdue defensively at all. We're a long way away from being able to play lockdown defense on anyone. There is just no edge with this team. There is no pride in playing Purdue-style basketball that we have been known for since Gene Keady started.
The dripping sound you just heard was Nik Stauskas drooling uncontrollably.
Hammer and Rails attempts to figure out what happened to Matt Painter's program. Brian linked this earlier but seriously look at Caris LeVert's numbers compared to Tim Hardaway's last season. Congratulations, Michigan State, on receiving the fugliest of Nike's new lineup of alternate jerseys. The Michigan-MSU game at Crisler has been set for a noon tipoff on February 23rd.
McDowell Watch: Day Somethingorother
Let's go to Sam Webb, live on the scene ($):
"He talked with (Hoke) late last night," McDowell's father reported. "(Michigan's in-home) is for tomorrow. We (i.e. both parents and Malik) are going to Ohio State this weekend. Florida State is making it in tomorrow also."
Malik McDowell released a top four of Michigan, Michigan State, Florida State, and Ohio State—in no particular order—earlier this week. FSU and OSU seem like longshots—the 'Noles because of distance, the Buckeyes because it's tough to get a read on where they stand, though that could easily change after his official visit this weekend.
The in-home visit from Michigan is a huge one; the general consensus is that his parents are very much in Michigan's corner, but Malik is more enamored with Michigan State. With in-homes this week from U-M, FSU, and potentially MSU, plus a final official to OSU this weekend, McDowell is on track for his planned Signing Day announcement. The biggest question at this point: how much influence will his parents have on his decision? That could very well determine if he ends up a Wolverine. The mood is tense.
Also, it's pretty clear at this point that McDowell is the only 2014 prospect left on Michigan's radar. Michigan backed off in their recruitments of running backs Jeff Jones and Marlon Mack, who flipped his commitment from UCLA to USF yesterday, while the latest Rivals update on soft Arizona State commit Kalen Ballage—who some thought Michigan would continue to pursue as an athlete—contains no mention of the Wolverines ($).
[Hit THE JUMP for the most recent spate of underclassmen offers, updates on a couple key 2015 targets, and more.]
Important (not important). This is a frog.
I have been exhorted to call this MGoFrog and make it a thing. I'm afraid that by doing so I will give Adidas an idea for a Michigan uniform, unfortunately.
Important (important). Will Heininger features in an Outside The Lines article on mental health issues for athletes:
"I had emotional pain that was overwhelming; I would wake up, and from morning until I feel asleep -- when I was able sleep -- I had troubling thoughts that were utterly consuming," said the 2011 Michigan honors graduate. "Not a minute would go by in a day, without my depression on my mind … this, this felt impossible."
One of the things CAPA is fighting for is better treatment for these sorts of issues; read the whole thing. Both of the whole things.
"Please enjoy this punch in the nuts." –DJ Newbill
CHAOS! Did you happen to watch the rote blowouts in the Big Ten last night? You did not, because Ohio State and Wisconsin lost to Penn State and Northwestern, respectively. At home. As our own BISB said:
Michigan and Michigan State are like two dudes in a hot air balloon over Pompeii right now.
— Bry Mac (@Bry_Mac) January 30, 2014
Yes. They're trying to push each other into the lava, but yes. Or Adam Jacobi:
The Big Ten Is Full of Blood and Spiders
Jacboi has a nice table that indicates the upcoming "no days off in the Big Ten"/"this conference is so deep" announcer memes are in fact on point:
|Year||Conf. Rating||Rank||Avg. B1G||Worst Team||Rating|
|2003||.7688||5||No. 56||Penn State||210|
|2004||.7520||5||No. 62||Penn State||218|
|2005||.7862||3||No. 47||Penn State||215|
|2013||.8459||1||No. 34||Penn State||148|
The closest thing to an easy out is the Northwestern team that is a half-game out of a first round bye in the Big Ten tourney; there's not even a last year's Penn State to kick around. There's a last year's Penn State plus Tim Frazier. See cliff above.
This is good and bad for Michigan. In the Kenpom world it's good since Michigan's beaten PSU handily and has yet to play OSU, but in the NCAA seeding world you get more credit for beating 6-seed OSU and terrible PSU than you get for beating 10-seed OSU and mediocre PSU. Neither of these effects are huge, so the correct reaction is probably just to point and laugh*. (And fume at how bad Big Ten refs are.)
*[But probably not at Aaron Craft. He got crossed over for the game winner, which was Newbill rushing a wrist-flick shot because Craft was coming. Meanwhile, Tim Frazier's statline: 8 points on 9 shot attempts, 7 assists, 6 TO. No offense to Derrick Walton, but put Craft on this Michigan team and they are a juggernaut. I shouldn't have mentioned this.]
Bill Carmody: gone, but not forgotten
The Wildcat conundrum. Meanwhile, we've been talking about how fascinating Northwestern is on the podcast for the last couple weeks. And boy, aren't they? Last year they were extremely bad, around 140th on both sides of the ball. The Wildcats then:
- fired Bill Carmody
- hired Chris Collins
- graduated two low-usage, mediocre efficiency seniors
- graduated a high usage, low efficiency senior
- got Drew Crawford back
- added a pretty terrible offensive player in freshman Sanjay Lumpkin, who they play starter's minutes
For some reason, the result is a massively unbalanced version of the team they were last year. Northwestern is 11th(!!!) in defensive efficiency on Kenpom for no discernable reason whatsoever. They have plummeted to 320th on offense. Their games are incredibly watchable for unwatchable games, because you're always trying to unravel the mystery of why the Wildcats are elite on defense. It makes no sense. No sense at all. Here's John Gasaway trying to figure it out.
Meanwhile, Northwestern is a half-game out of a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament and that gets BIG TENNNN, right? I think that's a BIG TENNNN.
By the way. Michigan shot 63% from two against the Wildcats and averaged 1.21 points per possession, and Alex Olah—Gasaway's best guess as to why NW is playing so much better D—was on the court for 30 minutes.
Recruiting battles past. OSU has a couple of guys on their team that Michigan pursued, and it's interesting to see their development. Or lack thereof, as the case may be.
Michigan stopped recruiting Amadeo Della Valle so they could go after Caris LeVert, who was right under OSU's nose. OSU grabs ADV; Michigan gets LeVert. In year two, Della Valle is a very poor man's LeVert: a skinny shooting guard with some ability to drive, but one who's only getting 30% of OSU's minutes as they struggle to generate anything on offense. LeVert generates a lot of assists; ADV is generating few. Hell, LeVert has replaced about 95% of Tim Hardaway's production a year after Michigan was trying to redshirt him.
The context of the team is important, but it seems like that Michigan made the right choice on that one.
The other guy on the OSU roster Michigan was involved with is Amir Williams, OSU's mercurial center. Williams has oven mitts for hands and gets pulled on the regular despite OSU's near total lack of post players to replace him with; he has seemingly not improved one whit from the absentminded freshman I remember from two years ago. Michigan was never really a consideration for Williams, but it's kind of amazing that OSU would probably trade him for Jordan Morgan without blinking.
Either way. In yesterday's post on Northwestern's prospective union I mentioned that the NLRB had flipped back and forth on the issue of student-employees being able to organize based on assertions from a 2006 paper. In that paper the most recent ruling had gone against the students trying to organize. Well, that has again flipped:
“There’s case law for the NLRB involving teaching assistants which supports their position,” Baum said. “There have been different decisions both ways. What they’re saying is that this really is a form of litigation to bring about change because they’re asking for something very similar.”
In December 2013, the American Arbitration Association announced that graduate teaching and research assistants at New York University had officially unionized. The group is the only graduate assistants’ union at a private university in the U.S.
Demonstrating the volatility of the NLRB, graduate assistants at NYU were granted the ability to negotiate a union contract and both improved health benefits and increased stipends in 2000. But in 2005 the ruling was switched following a case involving Brown graduate assistants in which the NLRB ruled that graduate assistants are students, not employees, and therefore cannot unionize.
The recent overturn of the 2005 ruling, though, is an encouraging sign for the newly formed CAPA.
One gets the sense that the NLRB tends to blow whichever way the White House does. In CAPA's case there seems to be no way to put the cat back in the bag if Northwestern does indeed get certified, so now is as good a time to strike as any.
Typical. FERPA means whatever Universities want it to mean, so the university says they will not release any details about Brendan Gibbons. This is in line with the university's general stance on releasing information—don't do it, because we have to cover our ass. Suspicious in most cases, here it verges on appalling given the fact that FERPA specifically states this:
The text of FERPA notes that the law shouldn’t “be construed to prohibit an institution of postsecondary education from disclosing the final results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by such institution against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of any crime of violence … or a nonforcible sex offense, if the institution determines as a result of that disciplinary proceeding that the student committed a violation of the institution’s rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense.”
With lurid conspiracy theories flying back and forth, everyone would be better off if Michigan came forth and showed everyone exactly what happened to expel a student four years after the incident that got him expelled transpired. This is not an athletic department thing, but rather a larger pattern of CYA secrecy that's beneath the university. Or at least should be.
RPI Effect Only Teams:
UMass-Lowell (5-14) Beat Maine, but lost to New Hampshire. I’m assuming this was hockey. Houston Baptist (4-12) had a rough Bayou-centric week, losing home games to New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana. At this point, you probably aren’t even reading this section because who cares. But I’m still writing. South Carolina State (7-13) beat Norfolk State, but lost to Hampton. I’m tempted to call this section “a tree falling on a blog when a 402 error knocks out the servers.” Coppin State (7-13) lost to North Carolina Central, but beat North Carolina A&T, and are a middle-of-the-pack MEAC team, which is probably best-case scenario.
Long Beach State (7-12) beat Cal State Northridge. Purple monkey dishwasher. Holy Cross (11-9) is on a four game winning streak, beating Lafayette and Navy. Inflammable and flammable mean the same thing. Charlotte (12-7) lost to Louisiana Tech and Rice, though given the last week, Michigan’s loss to the 49ers has shifted from “resume anchor” toward “amusing anomaly indicating the unpredictable nature of sports.” Resume. Résumé. Ah, better. Vive Napoleon! Allons enfants de la patrie, le jour de gloire est arrivé.
Big Sorts of Teams
#16 Iowa State (15-4, 3-4 Big 12)
This week: Beat Kansas State (81-75); Lost to Kansas (92-81)
Somehow, the bracket gurus still have Iowa State as a 4-seed. You figure it out.
Florida State (13-6, 4-2 ACC)
This week: Lost to Duke (Many-Few); Lost @ NC State (74-70)
Yikes, this week. Florida State has fought its way down to the bubble. For some reason, they have been terrible on the defensive glass; they’re dead last in the ACC, losing 40.8% of rebounds to their conference opponents. I wonder if this will come into play against…
#23 Dook (17-4, 6-2 ACC)
This week: Splattered Florida State (78-56); Beat Pitt (80-65)
Duke is hitting on all cylinders, beating KenPom’s #13 and #22 teams by a combined 37 points, with the 15 point win over #13 Pitt coming on the road. In possibly the most amazing stat I have seen all year, Duke grabbed 27 OFFENSIVE rebounds (to FSU’s 24 TOTAL rebounds). That is an OR% of 61.4%. A Duke miss was way more likely to end in Duke hands than in Seminole hands. And FSU, as I have been reminding you weekly, is huge. Jabari Parker had 10 offensive boards. That is how you beat a quality opponent by 22 despite shooting 10-39 (25.6%) from INSIDE the arc. Mind: bottled.
#1 Arizona (21-0, 8-0 PAC 12)
This week: Beat Colorado (69-57); Beat Utah (65-56); Beat Stanford (60-57)
Arizona is going to walk away with the PAC 12, and could probably sleepwalk into a 1-seed. So nothing has changed.
Stanford (13-7, 4-4 PAC 12)
This week: Lost to UCLA (91-74); Beat USC (79-71 OT); Lost to Arizona (60-57)
Stanford is riiiiiiiight on the bubble right now, and a win over Arizona would have been worth an incredible amount to the committee. They’ve still got a shot, but their golden ticket may have just escaped.
[The Big Ten after the Jump]
The Michigan coaches have been on the road, checking in on recruits from all corners of the country. Multiple offers have gone out over the past couple of weeks and two of the latest are to tight ends Hale Hentges and Chris Clark.
Name: Hale Hentges
Position: Tight End
Ht/Wt: 6'5" / 230 lbs.
Location: Helias High School – Jefferson City, MO
Offers: Arkansas, Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Tennessee, Wisconsin
Ranking: ★★★★ .9175 (247 Composite)
Hentges is one of the more coveted tight end recruits in the 2015 class according to his offer list (most of the Big Ten, Oklahoma, FSU, some SEC schools), and is a 4-star recruit according to the 247 Composite. Hale’s offensive coordinator is his father Chris, and I was able to catch up with him once I learned of the offer. Hale has a basketball game tonight so I plan on getting his opinion a little later on.
Hale tweeted about the Michigan offer and his father explains how it happened.
Evidently Coach Hoke and Coach Nussmeier said that they were looking at tight end tape this weekend and they put in some tape from a lot of tight ends around the country and they really liked Hale’s. They discussed it and came to a consensus that they’d like to offer him. Coach Hecklinski was the one who actually notified us of the offer so that was very exciting.
Chris also talked about how being the father and the offensive coordinator gives him a unique opportunity to be very involved in his son’s recruitment.
Once the coaches find out that I’m on staff it does make it convenient for the recruitment to go forward. Phil Pitts is the head coach and he’s very involved in the recruiting process as well.
With a change at offensive coordinator and two very solid tight ends on the roster already it will be interesting to see how involved the tight ends will be in Coach Nuss’s system and Chris had some insight to that as well.
The tight end is a position that the coaches really want to focus on in the 2015 recruiting class, they need to get two. They said they were looking for the best in the country and based on what they’ve seen they believe that Hale fits into that category.
The elder Hentges talked to me about how excited he and his son both were to have this Michigan offer moving forward. He spoke of Michigan’s proud tradition and rich academic and athletic history and said with a humbled laugh that the Michigan offer has definitely piqued their interest. Michigan is one of the schools Hale definitely plans to visit in the spring so that he can begin to narrow his list down to schools that fit the character and culture he will comfortable at.
Chris also spoke about the schematic fit that could best utilize Hale’s skillset which includes a toughness and ability to play with his hand in the dirt as well as the versatility and athleticism to play in the slot or out wide. Having guys like Devin Funchess and Jake Butt on the field should certainly catch the eyes of both father and son in that regard.
Chris seemed to be quite informed as it pertained to scheme which you’d expect but he was also pretty knowledgeable when it came to Michigan in general.
I’m aware that Coach Hoke has just finished his 3rd year. We follow football all across the country and we aren’t just SEC or Big 12 fans, we’re just football fans. We know of Michigan because of the big rivalry game every year with Ohio State. Ohio State is another school that’s already offered and we got their perspective on the Michigan/Ohio State rivalry and it will be really interesting to get Michigan’s take on it. We know that Michigan has an awful lot to offer academically and athletically and we are just intrigued, I think that’s the best way to put it.
With a very impressive offer list already Michigan has it’s work cut out for them but Hale’s father seemed very sincere when he mentioned the interest and intrigue involving the Wolverines. They plan to visit Ann Arbor and if they do I’d say Michigan has as good a shot as any to be a major factor in Hale’s recruitment.
Name: Chris Clark
Position: Tight End
Ht/Wt: 6'6" / 243 lbs.
Location: Avon Old Farms School – Avon, CT
Offers: Arizona State, Arkansas, Boston College, Georgia, Indiana, Miami, Michigan, NC State, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, South Florida, Syracuse, Temple, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wake Forest
Ranking: ★★★ .8800 (247 Composite)
A little over a month ago I posted a Names To Watch article on Chris Clark and today he was offered by Michigan. Clark, while not quite as highly rated as Hentges, boasts an offer list just as impressive with schools from all over the country (Ohio State and Georgia among them) extending scholarships to the big tight end. Clark spoke highly of the Wolverines before and now that he has an offer it appears that Michigan will definitely factor in to his recruitment.
Clark didn’t hide the fact that he was pumped about his Michigan offer, tweeting the news with a pretty indicative hashtag.
Got offered by the university of Michigan #dreamcometrue
— Chris Clark (@Clark8Chris) January 29, 2014
I had to ask him about that along with how the offer came about and just his reaction about the whole thing.
I’m really excited about it, it definitely was a dream come true. Coach Ferrigno checked in at my school today and told my coach that I had been offered by Michigan. He made it a point to say that at Michigan they offer the best players in the country and they didn’t want to let me slip away without showing how much they want me there. He said that Michigan plans to use the tight end in mismatches as much as possible whether it be in-line or in the slot which is cool.
Clark made mention of Michigan’s current tight ends and the talent level that’s already on the roster.
Michigan is intriguing to me because they have great tight ends right now. I love to compete though. I love to show that I’m better than the guy in front of me. There are a bunch of reasons why I like Michigan, just in terms of the competition, of what every day in practice would be like, it’s awesome. At a place like Michigan you can never take a day off because there will be guys in front of you and behind you that are so talented.
Connecticut doesn’t exactly have the reputation of being a great football state or a place where a lot of talent comes from, so I asked Chris about what it’s like being from Connecticut and how it might factor into his allegiances and recruitment.
Growing up I loved Boston College because my dad went there, he didn’t play for them but he attended BC and actually a lot of my family actually did. That has no influence in my recruitment either, but a lot of people ask me if I’m going to go there because my dad and other family members. I would never make a decision based off of something like that but they were the team I really liked growing up. Obviously everyone knows about Michigan, growing up I always watched them on TV. It’s one of the few programs in college football where you say the name and just think football. Michigan IS college football in some ways, just the fans and how they feel about the team, the stadium, the success that they’ve had. It’s really just the whole package.
Clark’s recruitment has really been picking up lately as he’s added almost a dozen offers since I posted the Name To Watch article on Christmas Eve. There are already a few schools rising to the top, again referencing the #dreamcometrue comment from his tweet about the Michigan offer.
There’s a couple of schools that I would say that for where it’s like, “Wow, that offer is a dream come true.” Georgia is definitely one of them too and so is Ohio State. Some people might have taken that out of context and assumed that Michigan is #1 now, they are definitely one of my favorites, but that statement doesn’t mean that I’m definitely a Michigan guy now. I love Michigan but there are a few other schools that could also make me say that. I would say that Michigan, Ohio State, Georgia, Tennessee, and Miami are the ones that I really like right now.
Clark won’t be able to attend the Junior Day event coming up at Michigan but he did say he already plans on attending a spring practice during his March break. He said visiting Michigan is “a priority and I will definitely attend a spring practice”. In the immediate future he leaves for Athens tomorrow to check out Georgia and will visit Ohio State on March 21st.
After talking with Hale’s father and Chris himself I fully expect Michigan to be in it toward the end with both tight end prospects. Michigan will apparently take two tight ends in the 2015 class with one of them assumed to be Tyrone Wheatley Jr., one of these young men could very realistically be the other. I like both of them on film and honestly am pretty indifferent when it comes to a preference. It seems both will definitely visit Michigan and once that happens a commitment is always a possibility.
Swish. [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]
In the last three games, Michigan earned their status as the team to beat in the Big Ten by sandwiching road wins at Wisconsin and Michigan State around a home victory over Iowa; all three teams ranked in the AP top ten when they played the Wolverines and sit at #6 (Iowa), #8 (MSU), and #14 (Wisconsin) in the latest KenPom rankings. Michigan ranks #7 on KemPom themselves after entering the Kohl Center at #19.
This brilliant three-game stretch also vaulted Nik Stauskas up the NBA Draft boards (from unranked to #14 in Chad Ford's latest rankings[$]), gave him the inside track for Big Ten MVP, and landed him the #8 spot in the KenPom POY standings. Before I get to the video breakdown, here are Stauskas' numbers from the last three games:
- 68 total points (22.7/game) on 10/19 2-pt, 12/24 3-pt, 12/13 FT shooting
- 13 assists to five turnovers, 11 rebounds (one off.), three blocks, three steals
- 28 points generated by assists (includes FTM)
- 96 points generated on 74 possessions used* for a mark of 1.30 points per possession
- Let me state that again: 1.30 POINTS PER POSSESSION
Keep in mind that, while Wisconsin is struggling defensively (#10 in B1G defensive efficiency), Michigan State and Iowa rank first and third in the Big Ten in defensive efficiency. Those numbers are patently ridiculous; just as impressive is the variety of ways Stauskas generated those points. I compiled a video of every point Stauskas produced in the last three games, broken down by how the shot originated. It is highly recommended viewing:
Apologies for the slight audio issues in the Iowa clips.
Stauskas scored in just about every fashion imaginable, regardless of how opponents tried to defend him, and created most of his points himself—only six of his points and two of his assists came off non-transition spot-up opportunities. The "Not Just A Shooter™" meme is a tired one at this point; that doesn't mean it's not fitting.
For further examination of how Stauskas is this outrageously productive, hit the jump.
[JUMP, AS IS TRADITION.]