The Penn State student section is rocking. pic.twitter.com/gZuYDPnhbf
— Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) January 7, 2015
Michigan and Penn State both entered tonight's game coming off ugly losses in which their respective offenses disappeared. The Bryce Jordan Center crowd was anything but raucous. Both teams' lone offensive creators battled foul trouble throughout.
Surprise! This game was ugly.
The Wolverines overcame 15 turnovers to pull away late thanks to six straight points from Caris LeVert, who led the team with 18 points on 6/8 shooting, and a couple critical buckets from Zak Irvin, who added 17 and a game-high nine boards.
Derrick Walton once again struggled from the field, going just 2/7, though he went 7/7 from the line and made a big impact on the boards; he still didn't look close to healthy, having one seemingly open driving layup blocked when he wasn't able to cover ground and lift like he does at 100%. Michigan got just enough secondary scoring from Ricky Doyle and Aubrey Dawkins, who chipped in eight points apiece, to make up for Walton's scoring struggles and an 0-fer from Spike Albrecht, who started in place of Kam Chatman.
After getting crushed on the boards in the first half, Michigan evened out the rebounding battle in the second, and a late switch to the 1-3-1 zone gave Penn State fits as they were unable to keep pace. While DJ Newbill scored 20 points, he got no help from the PSU frontcourt, and the Nittany Lion offense stalled when Newbill—who often plays wire-to-wire—had to sit six minutes due to foul trouble. A surprising 16-point performance from backup John Johnson wasn't enough to overcome the frontcourt no-show, especially that of forward Brandon Taylor, who went just 1/10 from the field.
The bright spot for Michigan was their shooting—they went 9/15 from beyond the arc, and some nifty second half work from LeVert, Irvin, and Doyle managed to drag their two-point percentage up to 50% after it languished well below that for most of the game.
It wasn't pretty, but a road win is a road win, and this Michigan team will certainly take it.
Michigan (8-6, 1-1 B1G) at
Penn State (12-3, 0-2)
Bryce Jordan Center,
University Park, Pennsylvania
|WHEN||7 pm ET, Tuesday|
|LINE||Penn State -3 (KenPom)|
PBP: Kevin Kugler
Analyst: Stephen Bardo
Right: Portrait of a head coach losing to Rutgers. (via)
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. %Min and %Poss figure are from this season now—yes, there will be a fair amount of noise in these numbers for a while. 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.
|G||33||Shep Garner||Fr.||6'1, 185||66||19||No|
|Good shooter, mostly sticks to outside. AST:TO fits FR PG archetype.|
|G||2||DJ Newbill||Sr.||6'4, 210||92||29||No|
|The lynchpin. Impressive efficiency despite astronomical minutes and usage.|
|G||13||Geno Thorpe||So.||6'3, 180||54||22||Yes|
|Decent finisher, gets to line often, not a good jump shooter.|
|F||10||Brandon Taylor||Jr.||6'6, 225||71||22||Kinda|
|Solid def. rebounder and shot-blocker. Very inefficient offensively.|
|C||32||Jordan Dickerson||Jr.||7'1, 245||37||11||Very|
|Solid rebounder, blocks lots of shots. Tiny usage. Foul- and turnover-prone.|
|F||43||Ross Travis||Sr.||6'7, 235||62||15||Yes|
|Excellent rebounder on both ends having atrocious year offensively.|
|G||1||John Johnson||Sr.||6'1, 185||50||18||Kinda|
|Bouncing back from awful 13-14 by getting to line a ton.|
|F||5||Donovon Jack||Jr.||6'9, 210||39||16||Yes|
|Solid rebounder on both ends, decent finisher, very foul-prone.|
Penn State nearly worked their way through a nonconference slate of tomato cans unscathed, even knocking off #37 George Washington at home in the only game they played against a top-100 opponent. They did, however, trip up in a neutral site tourney game against a mediocre Charlotte squad. Know that feel, bros.
The start to Big Ten play hasn't been so kind. They predictably got blasted at Wisconsin in their conference opener before less predictably losing by four at Rutgers on Saturday. Coach Pat Chambers had a tough time explaining away the latter:
"Coming to New Jersey, for us, is a challenge, because we've got a lot of Philly kids and a lot of New Jersey kids. Got a lot of people in the stands. I hope that wasn't the reason our energy was low."
So, a border rivalry is a plausible reason for low energy?
"But I just think Rutgers' energy was that high. I thought they came out and played with a lot of fire."
For the record, school was not in session at RU and the baseline student section was largely barren except for the band. It was by no means an intimidating atmosphere.
Sometimes coaches would be better served to throw up their hands and say "college basketball is weird," because that's the damn truth.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
IT'S OVER [Bryan Fuller]
OMG HIRE SOMEONE. Noted failure Jim Harbaugh has yet to assemble his staff and has even seen a few dudes stay where they are once their schools belly up with big-ass raises and titles like King Of East Besserabia, and people are starting to notice. The always on point Football Scoop:
Missed on 1st choice for OC, DC, Strength Coordinator & lead recruiter http://t.co/B0i286um9f It ain’t over yet; but “everyone he wants”?
— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) January 5, 2015
Srs. Get this jackwagon out of here so we can go after Joe Moglia, that's what I say.
Sources: Michigan “struggling” to find their next head coach http://t.co/nFGYtk4rfF
— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) December 2, 2014
(Also Bacon immediately said WHOOPS after his Harbaugh Big Game Hunter tweet, because he then read twitter. Protip: always read twitter before twittering.
Roussel is frosty after Bacon twitter-broke the hire to the point where he'll ignore the fact that Durkin was heavily rumored for weeks before Lance Anderson's name ever came up and that speculation about Greg Roman was extremely weak. But whatever. Guy was outstandingly wrong for a solid month.)
HIRE THAT GUY IN FACT. After weeks and weeks of Wheatley-related rumors, there is finally a concrete indicator that it's happening from Angelique:
…word is former Michigan running back Tyrone Wheatley, most recently an assistant with the Bills, is expected in Ann Arbor this week to discuss the opening.
Sam Webb confirmed. Need some sort of Ty Wheatley in a hat taking a sled through Canada gif for this.
Wheatley is of course in limbo after Doug Marrone quit the Bills. Marrone's interviewing with the Jets, and I find it hard to believe that he's not locked in there. You do not walk away from an NFL head coach job without something in your pocket. (This is why you shouldn't get all hyped up about Jim Mora interviewing there and perhaps knocking some recruits to Ann Arbor by leaving.) Would he take Wheatley with him? Would it matter? I don't know, but there's not much uncertainty at Michigan and about as much money these days.
WITHER THAT OTHER GUY. Angelique also has details on what's going down with Fred Jackson: he filed benefit paperwork because his contract is up but hopes to continue coaching. I don't think that'll be at Michigan if he does continue.
THE OTHER OBVIOUS S&C GUY. People have been talking about Kevin Tolbert, an assistant S&C coach with the 49ers who was with Harbaugh at Stanford and worked under Mike Gittleson at Michigan from 2001 to '07 before that, since Harbaugh started happening, and he's supposed to be in town today as well.
Tolbert's a Navy alum who started at fullback for three years and has evidently impressed Harbaugh enough for him to have him around wherever he goes. Missing on Shannon Turley is a disappointment but he'll probably be fine—Harbaugh don't play around with guys who aren't hypercompetitive. Hopefully he's no longer a High Intensity Training advocate, if only to save us from people on message boards muttering darkly about the stone-age training Michigan is using. I don't think it'll be much of an issue with Tolbert's last eight years in the cutting edge Stanford and 49ers programs.
I'm not entirely sure but the internet seems to think that Tolbert was also this guy back in the day:
So… okay. There is also a painting by Sandra Gittleson of a Kevin Tolbert-looking guy lifting that anvil.
IF NOT MORTON, THEN THIS GUY? This gentleman is also an old-time Harbaugh associate:
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 6, 2015
Before taking the SJSU job two years ago, Dougherty had been the WR coach at Washington for four years and QB coach under Harbaugh at USD before that—Harbaugh in fact inherited him. He'd probably just be coming as a position coach if he did end up here, but these days that's a major pay bump. Dougherty made under 200k last year and would probably be looking at a 50% raise even if he was just a plain old WR coach. He's very accessible.
FWIW, San Jose State was miserable this year, but that is nearly always the case. In 2013 the Spartans were 30th in FEI as they nearly scraped a bowl; their QB graduated and that was it for acceptable offense in San Jose. In his lone year with the passing game coordinator title at Washington the Huskies were 13th in FEI, 38th in S&P passing.
UPDATED GUESSOCHART. As it currently stands:
|OC||Tim Drevno||lock||DC||DJ Durkin||lock|
|RB||Ty Wheatley||probable||LB||Greg Mattison||lock|
|WR||John Morton||maybe||OLB/DE||Roy Manning||probable|
|OL||Bill Bendenbaugh||none||DB||Greg Jackson||maybe|
OTHERS: Mike Hart (RB), Jimmie Dougherty (WR).
Bendenbaugh is Oklahoma's OL coach; Sam brought him up as a possibility a little bit ago. With Oklahoma in the midst of staff turmoil he may jump over. This configuration currently has four guys on each side of the ball with Harbaugh being Harbaugh and a wildcard for TE/ST or possibly a CB/S secondary split. With Marrow out of the picture there's a spot for some guy to come in and recruit his ass off.
Bosch on the right with Mason Cole and Jack Miller.
Bosch started on and off as a true freshman as Michigan struggled to put their 2013 line together, then competed for a starting job last spring. He dropped off the radar in favor of a lineup with Jack Miller at center and Graham Glasgow and Erik Magnuson at guard, played one snap in the opener, and then went on a medical/personal/mental health leave for the remainder of the season.
He's back on campus now but is apparently going to light out for greener pastures with Michigan returning its entire starting five and Magnuson. Michigan still has two redshirt sophomore guards in David Dawson and Dan Samuelson, so Bosch's departure doesn't create any alarming gaps in the OL progression. It does increase the urgency for Michigan to find two or three capable prospects before signing day.
DIRECTORY STALKING IS THE NEW REAL ESTATE STALKING (WHICH WAS THE NEW FLIGHT AWARE). A couple of gentlemen with names matching prospective assistant coaches and no marker to indicate they're students, alumni, or faculty have popped up in the UMich directory: Tim Drevno and DJ Durkin. John Morton is also being kicked around, but if you log in it shows he's not that John Morton. It would be a bit of coincidence if the first two gentlemen were not football coaches, though. Not gospel, Bayesian estimate move, etc.
Fred Jackson, meanwhile, is listed as a retiree, disappointing many who had hoped he would be retained as Michigan's Director Of Reasonable Comparisons. Oh, and Brian Cole and Alex Malzone are on the thing now.
Remember when bloggers were the only people scouring the directory? Now who's in the basement? I don't even have a basement.
GALLON DOCUMENTARY. A full half hour:
Returning starters: we got 'em. Phil Steele compiles returning starters in the Big Ten:
Michigan has a 17th coming back in Desmond Morgan as well. Find a QB and some guys who can rush the passer and you're in business.
OUT AND FRUSTRATED. John Chavis left LSU for a DC spot at Texas A&M, and the reason is the same reason it's tough to watch LSU play most of the time:
The sources said the contract negotiations, the Aggies offered $340,000 more annually, were a non-issue in his decision to leave LSU and that Chavis simply felt it was time to go.
Chavis' frustrations reached a crescendo this season when LSU finished first in the SEC in total defense, No. 8 in the nation and second in scoring defense. LSU was 11th in total offense and last in passing offense in the SEC, resulting in an 8-5 record, tied for the worst in coach Les Miles' 10 seasons.
In the past four seasons, Chavis' LSU defenses finished no worse than No. 15.
"(Chavis) threw his hands up and felt he'd done all he could do," one source said. "They made zero progress offensively and it became a sore point, not that he was pointing fingers, but it led to some uncomfortable feelings.
LSU has a lot of returning starters, but I would not be surprised if this was the beginning of the Les Miles death spiral. Better in Baton Rouge than here.
THE NEW OC. Nick Baumgardner tracks down old Tim Drevno charges and asks them about Michigan's new man:
"When you're going through a coach Drevno individual period, you're going to be tough, or you're going to be looking to transfer," says Ben Muth, a former offensive tackle at Stanford during the early part of the Harbaugh era. "You're going to bang heads and there aren't a lot of blocking dummies used. You're going up against other guys, guys who get the hell beat out of them early in their careers.
"It's live. It's intense. And you're going to hit people with him."
Even if Michigan hires a separate OL coach expect Drevno to be heavily involved. Stanford split its coaching between interior line and OT/TE… I would expect something similar.
CHAIT ON HARBAUGH. On his return:
From Harbaugh’s standpoint, if you think of college football as nothing more than a business, it is an act of professional irrationality. The only possible way to make sense of his choice is to consider the possibility that he actually believes what he said in 2004: that he believes he did not merely provide free labor in return for skill development but belonged to a community; that this community stands in his mind for something larger than the self-interest of its component parts; that all this talk about turning boys into men is not just hokum.
UH-OH. Dish announces a small package of channels they'll sell over the internet for twenty bucks. Two of those channels: ESPN and ESPN2. I've been complaining about the shortsightedness of adding Rutgers and Maryland for a lot of reasons, most of them much more important than the amount of money the league makes.
But since the amount of money the league makes is the only possible argument in favor of the expansion, I do take pains to point out that the era of stealing a dollar from New Jersey grannies who don't even know what Rutgers is was always an ephemeral one. Once the cable monopoly shatters in the face of the internet, the only people paying for your content are the people interested, and the fanbases of Maryland and Rutgers are not going to carry the freight. For a momentary bump in revenue the Big Ten galloped towards the nonsense that is a 14-team collegiate conference, but Jim Delany will be retired by then so he DGAF.
WE CAN ACCESS ABOUT ONE OF THESE GUYS. Texas may be in the market for a grad QB after Tyrone Swoopes fell flat this year. Barking Carnival runs down their options, many of whom are JUCOs Michigan isn't likely to acquire. They do mention Kevin Hogan as well:
While he hasn't yet announced formally for transfer, the Stanford graduate clashed withDavid Shaw over his conservative offense and had the unenviable task of replacingAndrew Luck - arguably the most gifted QB walking the planet. The rumor mill is running hard and fast that he wants out and would like a show case for his wares. While imperfect - and possessing a slow release that Shaun Watson could help him with - Hogan is a proven competitor with good athletic ability and a live arm. He has 48 touchdowns to 21 career interceptions, won a Rose Bowl, started 30+ games and has a career QB rating around 145. Yet people treat him as if he's chopped liver. He's not. He's also a sneaky running threat who isn't afraid of contact. He's an upgrade and wouldn't be particularly terrified taking a snap from under center in South Bend next year. He's roughly comparable to a sophomore David Ash, but with veteran experience. That's a significant upgrade from Swoopes. He could help us. Now forward him this post immediately and get the illegal contacts started.
FAREWELL. Lake The Posts is closing effective January 15th. Always sad when one of the originals hangs it up.
ETC.: If you were vaguely worried that Lavall Jordan would end up at Butler after their coach had to take medical leave, the Bulldogs have taken the interim title off of Chris Holtmann. Stephon Diggs heads to the draft. MVictors has entertaining Harbaugh/Yost trivia and old-timey player intros. Dylan Larkin had an awesome WJC.
He made it, and Maryland won the game (source)
Your Weekly B1G Hoops Column
Table of Contents:
Week I results
Introducing the Big Ten Schedule Matrix
Team of the week: Maryland
Player of the week: Jarrod Uthoff
Stat of the week: Melo’s free throw parade
Post-Week I Big Ten standings
Michigan’s week that was
Michigan’s week ahead
Week II schedule
1. Week I Results
After the first week of Big Ten play, there’s a little more clarity. Wisconsin dispatched Penn State and Northwestern with ease in what were the two biggest blowouts of the week. Maryland managed a double-overtime win in East Lansing over Michigan State – even if it isn’t a vintage Spartan team, it’s still a very impressive Big Ten debut for UMD – and Iowa came away with a road upset over Ohio State in two of the more notable results of the week.
Elsewhere, Purdue defended its home court with back-to-back wins over Minnesota and Michigan; Penn State lost two on the road (including an ugly game against Rutgers at the RAC – Rutgers had lost a similarly hideous contest earlier in the week to Northwestern) and tripled their loss total on the year in the process; Illinois also lost both games of a tough road swing against Michigan and Ohio State – they let the one in Ann Arbor slip away; Minnesota started their season on a two-game road trip and lost both, to Purdue and Maryland.
At the end of the week, Wisconsin, Maryland, and Purdue are the only teams sitting at 2-0. The newcomers have been the most impressive, as Wisconsin faced weak opponents, and Purdue held serve at home.
2. Introducing the Big Ten Schedule Matrix
Over the weekend, I threw together a handy way to visualize which teams only play an opponent only once this season, when two opponents play each other at a give location, and how a team does at home or on the road, among other things.
As the season progresses, the graphic will become much more informative, but it’s a convenient reference point and will be a weekly fixture in this space.
Click on image to enlarge
3. Team of the week: Maryland
Winning at the Brez isn’t easy; Maryland did it on their first try (source)
With apologies to Wisconsin – who overwhelmed two far inferior opponents and posted the week’s two highest points per possession totals – Maryland deserves this spot after winning in East Lansing and holding off Minnesota at home.
The game against Michigan State was a slog. From the 15-minute mark to the 5-minute mark in the
second first half, the Terrapins outscored the Spartans 4-2, concurrently one of the roughest offensive stretches that either team will see all season; MSU recovered to lead 17-14 at halftime (the aggregate score of the two overtimes – in ten minutes – was 20-18, Maryland).
Aside from that, it was a surprisingly great, back-and-forth game that featured a few amazing plays from Maryland senior Dez Wells, who hit a last-second, game-tying three pointer at the end of regulation and had a beautiful steal and breakaway dunk in the second OT (both highlights in this video). There were enough high-leverage plays near the end of regulation and in both overtimes – enough to make up for the brutal first half and the teams’ combined jump-shooting (0.54 points per shot on 84 attempts) – to make it a good game, in the end.
Dez Wells and Melo Trimble is looking like the conference’s best backcourt: key plays from Wells and nine made free throws from Trimble helped steal the win against Michigan State, and the duo combined for 32 points in the game against Minnesota. Most impressive against the Terrapins was Damonte Dodd: in 20 minutes, the big man scored an efficient nine points, hauled in 12 rebounds, and had 3 blocks. The Terps opened up a 11-2 run to open the second half and pull away from the Gophers on Saturday.
Right now, Maryland looks like Wisconsin’s best challenger. They don’t travel to Madison and they’re currently projected to finish 13-5 in the league by Kenpom’s algorithm (though Wisconsin, incredibly, is projected to finish 16-2). UMD is balanced – 30th offensively, 25th defensively, per KP – and although their defense may regress some due to their untenably outstanding 3-point defense, they’ll be a tough out for anyone in their first year in the Big Ten.
[Hit the JUMP for No. 4-10]