Michigan did many, many great things against Northwestern, and they will be given their proper due in a moment. But first, let's marvel at the worst inbounds attempt in the history of basketball:
What the heck happened here? Let's go to the diagram, which may or may not be taken straight from Bill Carmody's clipboard:
You know, if there weren't boundaries around the court or rules against using random rich dudes as a sixth player, this just might have worked. Worth a shot, anyway.
[For the rest of the Northwestern gifs, including Nik Stauskas declaring
sexy himself back and Trey Burke And1-ing Alex Marcotullio, hit THE JUMP.]
GRIII: "I see what you did there." Sobocop: "I THOUGHT THIS GUY WAS JUST A SHOOTER"
One shooting metric to rule them all.
I was reading through your post from today about the game last night (solid effort, can't wait for Saturday!) and I came across the part where you summarized Trey's statline, part of which was that he had 18 points on 11 shots. Is there a place that tracks "points-per-shot" (Kenpom maybe?), and do you think this is a worthwhile metric when tracking offensive efficiency of an individual player? I know the tempo-free stats usually look at eFG% as a major indicator of offensive prowess, but was wondering if points/shot would something akin to this for an individual player.
Thanks for your thoughts!
I just use points per shot as a quick-and-dirty evaluation method when I'm putting together a post because it gets the job done when we're running sanity checks on opinions from our eyeballs. As an out-and-out metric it falls short since it doesn't put free throws in the divisor properly—going 0-2 at the line doesn't hurt you. If you're reaching for an actual stat you can do better.
For a catch-all stat that encapsulates how many points a player acquires per shot attempt, I like True Shooting Percentage, which rolls FTAs into eFG% and spits out a number that's easy to interpret. Trey Burke is at 59%, which means that he is scoring at a rate equal to a hypothetical player who takes nothing but two-pointers and hits 59% of them. Easy.
For Michigan, there's little difference between eFG% and TS%—Burke is 175th in one, 189th in the other, etc—because they so rarely get to the line. Teams at the other end of that scale can see players with much larger differences. Iowa demonstrates this amply. Roy Devyn Marble's eFG% is 46% and his TS% is 53%—a major difference. FTA-generating machine Aaron White is around 200th in eFG% and around 100th in TS%. From an individual perspective, the latter is a more accurate picture of what happens when Aaron White tries to score.
The four factors everyone uses separate free throws from eFG%, so when you look at those as a unit you do see the impact of FTs. If you wanted to you could cram those factors down into a TS% factor and the other two factors into a Possession Advantage factor, but looking at four bar graphs seems to be okay for people.
Announcer meme overuse.
The announcers constantly having to tell us that Stauskas is more than just a shooter reminds me of last year's over used statement (story?), that Trey Burke played with Sullinger in HS. Seriously, they told us that every freaking game. So my question is, which one is worse?
I'm going to have to go with Burke. First, that was mentioned every game, whereas the Stauskas thing only gets mentioned in games where he has a take to the hole, which only happens MOST games. Second, at least the Stauskas thing is mentioned in context, as in, he just proved he was more than just a shooter which prompted the comment. The Burke/Sullinger mention was almost exclusively brought up out of the blue, and had nothing to do with anything happening in the game. It was as if the announcing team made note to make sure they mentioned it at a certain minute marker in the game because nothing plausibly could have brought it to mind otherwise.
P.S. If it had kept going, Dan Dakich's mention of that thing about Spike's dad would easily have been the worst. Luckily, he only told us that Spike's dad was the former best biddy basketball player in the world during Michigan's first four games.
These are different classes of announcing crutch. The Burke thing—which is still happening—is the equivalent of Tom Zbikowski Is A Boxer, a biographical detail that will be crammed in every game to hook casual viewers. The Stauskas thing is a generally applicable sentiment that can be applied to anyone who takes a lot of threes but has decided to venture within the line.
Neither really bothers me. "Not just a shooter" means Stauskas has just thrown something down or looped in for a layup, and I am probably typing something about blouses or pancakes into twitter. I have good feelings associated with its utterance. The Burke thing is just background noise.
So, no one is more sick of conference expansion talk as I am. I'm 100% with you that it's bent our tradition over a dumpster and I agree it's foolish to base major long-term decisions on a dying profit model.
Here's the thing though, does the fact that the current profit model is dying really matter. I mean, we're moving (slowly) to a system where you pay only for the channels you want instead of being extorted for a bunch of channels you'd never watch. So, under this new business model, although it may be less overall money than under the old system, wouldn't they still get more subscribers to be B1G network if they add more schools? There's not a single UNC fan who would pay $5 a month or whatever for the B1G network, but if they were added them, you'd get more subscribers than you would normally. I mean there's the chance that you weaken the brand that you lose more subscribers than you gain, but I don't think that's a serious concern.
TL; DR - It's about the money, and won't expansion bring more regardless of whether the old model is dying or not?
Expansion brings more money but it also brings more mouths to feed. From the perspective of a school in the league it only makes sense to add a team that is at least on par with you in terms of being able to bring fans and eyeballs. Penn State and Nebraska brought those numbers; Rutgers and Maryland likely do not.
The Big Ten can expand to acquire more subscribers but in a world where cable is a niche product to enjoy live sports, the amount of money you're getting is proportional to the number of fans shelling out. Right now it's proportional to population, which makes Rutgers seem like a good idea. Later maybe not so much.
People think things that make them feel better.
Brian, I have this constant argument with a Spartan at work...He says that Michigan's recruiting rankings are always high because when Michigan lands a recruit, the recruit gets a bump in ranking. According to him, this is because a large number of Michigan fans pay recruiting sites for memberships so the sites keep Michigan fans happy by giving them a higher ranking than other schools with lower memberships. He also says that MSU's coaches are just better at recruiting than the sites so that is why they do better than their rankings. Any thoughts on how to prove / disprove his theory?
It will not matter since from the sounds of this conversation your co-worker thinks Mike Valenti is a gentleman scholar and will find some other way to wheedle himself positive feelings until such time as his team is crushed under the boot of history.
HOWEVA, you could just point out that literally every four-star member of Michigan's recruiting class fell in the most recent Rivals update except Jourdan Lewis, who hopped up sixteen spots. This is pretty much inevitable: unless you're moving up, you're moving down as more and more players are discovered. This dude will wave his face around in a disturbing fashion and ignore this data.
As for the thing about MSU's coaches, yeah, recruiting ratings are not infallible and there will be teams that deviate above and below when touted guys bust and low-rated ones break out. MSU's gotten massive outperformance from its defense recently, and maybe they can sustain that in the same way Wisconsin can sustain its running game.
They'll be trudging uphill when it comes to Michigan and Ohio State. State fans love to point out Michigan's class rankings versus their performance over the last half-decade and say "see, nothing there." Taken over larger samples, though, recruiting does correlate with success. Michigan's fade was largely a lack of retention and coaching ranging from lackadaisical to awful. If MSU fans are counting on those two items to sustain them going forward they're in for a rude surprise.
Brandon said the athletic department catfished several athletes to teach them the dangers of social networking. Very interesting.
— Kyle Rowland (@KyleRowland) February 1, 2013
[10:31 AM] Wow Experience: a/s/l
[10:32 AM] Brian: um
[10:32 AM] Wow Experience: i am a hot girl
[10:32 AM] Brian: I see
[10:32 AM] Wow Experience: i would like to be your girlfriend
[10:32 AM] Brian: I'm married.
[10:33 AM] Wow Experience: but I have cancer.
[10:33 AM] Brian: This had better not be Dave Brandon again.
[10:33 AM] Wow Experience: no i am a girl
[10:34 AM] Brian: I'm not even a student at Michigan anymore, let alone a student-athlete.
[10:34 AM] Wow Experience: I have sad cancer.
[10:34 AM] Brian: Fine, fine. Send me your picture.
[10:34 AM] Wow Experience:
[10:35 AM] Brian: ...
[10:35 AM] Wow Experience: are you feeling the wow in your pants bronco
[10:36 AM] Brian: This is even more distasteful than last time.
[10:36 AM] Wow Experience: I AM NOT REAL BE CAREFUL ON THE INTERNET
[10:36 AM] Brian: what really
[10:36 AM] Wow Experience: YES
[10:36 AM] Brian: then how are you typing
[10:36 AM] Wow Experience: WHOAH
Wallpaper by jonvalk
Multiple well-researched recruiting retrospectives, everything you need to know about being Number 1, and so many memes explained. Buckle in sports fans because this was a week for user comment worthy of being ranked over Kansas. But first, the thing where I give money to i give money to yooooooouuueeee:
IN WHICH VOGRICH AIN'T SO POOR. You have until 11 a.m. tomorrow to register your fantasy team in our Saturday free pool. Winner gets $100, and there's another $200 split among the 2nd through 15th placers. Details are in the Diary. Really it's just you pick eight guys under a salary cap and see who can get the most rebounds, assists, and points. Wings get called guards, which I find appropriate and kind of interesting in a Beilein has changed the game kind of way. This time I tried rolling with a tempo formula and ended up with both parts of the Cody Zeller-Mitch McGary matchup.
Some of the valuations are weird, for example McGary is $7, 476 while…
Did I just put that there because MGoBlog is obsessed with boxscore bagels? Maybe.
IN WHICH WE BELIEVE EYEBALLING IS BETTER THAN MATH. On Tuesday Brian told Big Ten Geeks that if their metrics were coming up "Jordan Morgan is the Big Ten's best defender," the metric is probably wrong. Most people would see a battle of internet sports nerds of this magnitude and just nod on the sideline, but the brave Blue_MQT dove right into that, putting four countable defensive factors (field goal %, turnovers, rebounding and free-throw rate) against defensive efficiency to see which correlate the best. Then he shows pictures to demonstrate the stuff good defense is really made of, and why it doesn't appear in statistics. A million ugly Big Ten forwards with weird names agree.
IN WHICH BRAYLON GIVES OUR RANKING A SCHOLARSHIP. Every time Yeoman does something that takes a lot of work and ends up being super valuable to our interests, the author of this column must decide whether or not to deploy the obvious double-entendre. This week's impressive solo-farming effort yielded the tournament fates of the last 30 top-ranked teams in January. I make pie:
Now keep telling yourself this. Relatedly: LSAClassof2000 charts AP votes for Michigan this year, creates a chart that seems to suggest there's a ranking zero. Blazefire imagines a 2013-'14 without Burke, Hardaway and GRIII; how about we lose only Vogrich, Akune, Bartelstein, McLimans, and Person and repeat as National Champs, did you think about that?? [me choking Blazefire.gif]. No, no, the chart, remember the chart. Anyone else's arm getting tired?
[After the Jump: the final word on the difference between a 4- and 5-star running back. And many memes explained.]
This diary was prompted by the debate from Tuesday between Brian and the Big Ten Geeks regarding the value of defensive rebounding. I read the Big Ten Geeks article that morning and had many of the same thoughts as Brian-I've never been a fan of the stops metric, particularly the way it was being used to compare players. As the debate moved to the value of defensive rebounding percentage, I decided to look through some Kenpom numbers to make a better argument for the importance/insignificance of that particular statistic.
|D-Eff Type||eFG%||TO%||DReb%||FT Rate|
A couple of notes. While I've labeled it as "DReb%", the statistic used was actually Opponent Offensive Rebounding %, hence the positive correlation with Defensive Efficiency (both statistics are "better" for the defense when the number is lower). TO% has a negative correlation because a higher TO% is "better" for the defense, so a high TO% would lead to a lower (read: better) defensive efficiency.
(It’s interesting to see how the Kenpom adjustments to efficiency change the numbers. eFG% and TO% consistently drop when adjusting for competition, while Dreb% and FTRate rise. The smaller deltas for this year makes me believe that this is a result of conference play and the leveling the playing field between teams that played non-conference schedules of varying difficulty, due to the relatively large proportion of non-conference game in the 2013 sample. I digress.)
It is well-known at this point that eFG% is by far the most important factor in defensive efficiency, but I was surprised that DReb% was the second most important factor (I had assumed it would be turnover rate). After seeing these results, I looked at the correlations between the four factors next.
So, there is a weak, but significant (with >340 samples) correlation between eFG% and DReb%. Going back to the correlations with defensive efficiency, I ran a partial correlation between DReb% and adjusted defensive efficiency, controlling for eFG%, which produced a value of…0.41. About the same correlation as TO% (a partial correlation for TO% is almost exactly the same as one without the adjustment, as you’d anticipate based on the low correlation between TO% and eFG%).
It looks like defensive rebounding is at least as important as the non-eFG% factors. What about the effect on the offensive end? Like Brian, I believe that steals should be valued more than other defensive statistics, so I went in assuming that we’d see some sort of correlation between TO% and Offensive Efficiency.
Negative correlations are due to lack of adjustment to defensive ratings for use with offensive efficiency (switching from lower = better to higher = better). However, from this, we can clearly see that defensive rebounding is just as important as any of the other defensive factors when it comes to offense. Michigan’s offense this season has shown this fanbase how defensive rebounding can trigger the break, but it is even more evident when you watch other leagues, where fewer teams put an emphasis on transition defense and sending players back on a change of possession and the game often breaks down into 2-on-2 or 3-on-2 runouts in each direction.
However, after all of this, I still believe that defensive rebounding is overrated as an individual metric. I'm not complaining about Jordan Morgan’s season, but he just isn’t a defensive game-changer in the way of Jeff Withey, Anthony Davis, Fab Melo, Nerlens Noel, or even A.J. Hammons. As has been stated, his high “stops” count is due to both Michigan’s excellent team Dreb% and Morgan's high individual number. His block and steal numbers are very low (his block% is 7th on the team, lower than all other starters, McGary and Horford). I might even argue that his presence has some effect on Michigan’s defensive philosophy and their inability to prevent three-pointers. With Morgan not a threat to alter shots inside, Michigan has to constantly switch on screens in order to prevent easy dribble penetration and 2-on-1 scenarios. They can’t fight over the top of screens to better challenge outside shots.
There was a great example of the effect that a shot-blocker has in the Iowa-Purdue game from Sunday, where Iowa’s players often had Purdue defenders trailing them after screens, but could not drive inside easily due to Hammon’s presence. Unfortunately, there weren't any Youtube highlights for that game, so I had to make due with the Michigan-Purdue game for an example.
First, Morgan sets a good screen for Burke. Hammons did not follow Morgan out to the perimeter, and you can see Ronnie Johnson start to fight through the screen at the top.
Burke is around the screen, but Johnson has followed him, preventing Burke from pulling up for an open three. Hammons is still in the paint, while Morgan is about to roll to the basket.
Finally, Burke has picked up the ball, unable to penetrate past Hammons or shoot over him. Purdue's defensive philosophy has helped remove the threat of a 3 from Michigan's balls-screen offense. Fortunately for Michigan, D.J. Byrd is still afraid of Burke and is about to jump in to help off Stauskas, leaving him open for a soon-to-be-bured 3. Not the best result for my example, but good for Michigan.
Further validating the importance of having a shot-altering presence: Correlation between block rate and defensive efficiency is very high (0.51), largely due to its influence on effective field goal % (correlation of 0.61).
This is all part of the bigger argument that the Big Ten Geeks make in their response to Brian's criticism-that post players/taller players should score higher on defensive metrics. Taller players can more easily influence defensive play away from their man, and playing on the interior puts you in better position for defensive statistics on every possession. Seeing as the objective of a perimeter defender is usually to prevent a single player from scoring/impacting the game, the best argument or evidence for an Oladipo or Craft would be to compare single game statistics vs season numbers for their primary defensive responsibility. They can’t impact the entire opposing offense and accumulate statistics in the same way as a Hammons or Berggren, but that’s a difference between the roles of perimeter defense and interior defense rather than a gap in defensive aptitude. You wouldn't want either of those guys I just mentioned chasing Trey Burke around the perimeter the way Christian Watford did, briefly, in last year's Indiana game. While Watford may have been successful initially, Burke got over the surprise and went on to score 18 points on 9 shots.
In my opinion, the best way to statistically evaluate individual defensive impact would be something similar to what Ace posted on Tuesday, evaluating lineups and considering an individual player’s ability to improve team defensive statistics while they are in the game. Now, this isn’t as fair to players like Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht, who are rarely on the court with four other starters (theoretically the better defenders), but we could make an initial assumption that the other rotation players are all roughly equivalent when analyzing an individual player. It’s also unfair to players like Trey Burke, who might play 90% of the team’s minutes any given night and have a limited sample of largely garbage time minutes against which to compare the impact of their absence. That said, it would provide a better picture of a player’s ability to influence the opponent’s offensive strategy and results.
I am very curious to see the 3PA/FGA ratios and 3P% isolated for Michigan's three centers. Even though the team defensive philosophy remains the same for all three,it would be enlightening if opponents were taking more threes (or lower quality threes) depending on which player was protecting the paint. Ken Pomeroy wrote a blog post this week discussing the Syracuse zone and its (limited) ability to force lower quality three point attempts. Any effect at Michigan would likely be much smaller than that seen at the schools discussed in his post, but would still be worth examining.
So Brian talked to me about potentially posting some front page stuff from time to time, but format, style, content, and side dishes are yet to be set in stone. If anyone has thoughts, I'm all ears. In the meantime, I present some of the relevent happenings on the Twitters from the last week or so. Enjoy.
People Weren't Hypersensitive about Derrick Green or Anything
As you may have heard, Derrick Green is a rather talented running back-type creature from Virginia who held an announcement on Saturday. And with all signs pointing toward Michigan, It would clearly take a lot to shake Michigan fans' collective confidence and get other schools' fans' hopes up.
Imma shock the world tomorrow lol!! You just dont no!!
— D.GREEN #⃣2⃣7⃣ (@BrOoKyLn_boii27) January 25, 2013
Nope, never mind, that'll do it. Faced with two possible interpretations ("everything you have heard from dozens of insiders and paid professionals is wrong," or "I'd like to leave some suspense in this inevitable announcement"), a number of fans told Occam to take a coffee break:
5 star RB Derrick Green says he will shock the world... probably not Michigan then.
— EagleDamnWar (@EagleDamnWar) January 25, 2013
5-star RB Derrick Green says he will shock the world. I think that means he will choose either Tennessee or Auburn
— Auburn Blogger (@AuburnBlogger) January 25, 2013
As you know, Green proceeded to shock the world by doing what everyone pretty much expected him to do. And while Michigan rejoiced with Green's selection, several Auburn and Tennessee fans (and at least one State fan) took things less than in stride. The Big House Report chronicles a few people who should maybe sit the next round out. PROTIP: if you are thinking about taking to social media to wish spinal damage upon someone for choosing a college that displeases you... maybe don't?
Confessions of a Derperous Mind
You know how Bond villains always explain their diabolical plan to 007, thereby ultimately spoiling their chances to pull off the caper? Twitter has become the modern-day real-world slow moving groin laser thingy. A couple of players at Florida International decided to take a recruit to a strip club, and then to tweet that they had taken a recruit to a strip club. What say you, FIU defensive back Demarkus Perkins?
Look, I get it. College guys tend to like women. Recruits tend to like women. Strip clubs have women. And sure, recruiting trips probably involve women more often than not. But DEAR LORD dude.
For a few hours last weekend, Michigan looked like it had FINALLY secured the commitment of 2014 WR Rodney Davis. Davis tweeted (since deleted) that he had committed to Michigan, and exchanged tweets with Michael Ferns and David Dawson. There was only one catch: no one had ever heard of Rodney Davis. Neither Rivals, Scout, 247, nor ESPN had profiles for him. In fact, "one catch" barely overstates the case; Davis only had 8 catches for 118 yards and a TD for his entire junior year. Some folks laughed, some fretted, and some, predictably, hit the roof/bottle. And sure enough, the next day Davis tweeted:
@DreamTeam_RoRo1: Sorry For The Misunderstanding I Was Only On A MLK Trip And Did NOT Commit To University Of Michigan
Yeah, okay. Davis' argument is that when he meant he had committed to play football at Michigan, he really meant that he was spending a day in Ann Arbor. It's like that time you were playing Monopoly, and tried to bump your piece from "In Jail" to "Just Visiting." Or that time you were just "asking that hooker for directions." But who really deserves the blame here: the uncle who claims to have stolen your nose, or the entire fanbase who flips out because "HOLY CRAP, MY NOSE"?
But as strange as the Davis Incident was, it actually trumped in weirdness by Stanley Williams, a 2014 Georgia commit, giving an interview about how well his visit to Notre Dame went... when he didn't actually end up making the visit. It's one thing for a random high school kid to have some kicks by throwing Michigan blog circles into a tizzy over the alleged Snow White of all sleeper commits, but for a relatively highly-regarded recruit to do this is just odd.
I fear we have entered into the Lennay Kekua Era* of social media, in which people don't feel bound by "reality" or "things what had happened." Buckle up, folks, because this is going to get worse before it gets better.
[*PLZ NOTE: The Te'o jokes are approaching the shark with great speed. They've surpassed That's What She Said, and are quickly gaining ground on "Wasssaaaaap." YOLO status might be obtained within the week.]
Ron English Lives on Prey
Former Michigan DC and current EMU head coach Ron English wins the "Succinct Yet awesome Twitter Profile of the Year" award:
I don't know what kind of Angry Bird the Rapacious Bird would be, but I'm guessing the game would be a heck of a lot easier (H/T @Nastinchka)
Attn: Mark Hollis
Kolton Parker (@koltonparker) authored this interesting piece about the Texas legislature attempting to prohibit its universities from requiring its student athletes to submit all their login information to a monitoring service that examines their social media contributions for inappropriate content. Apparently Texas and Texas Tech already require their athletes to submit to the service, which combs Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace (yep, MySpace, because why not) for such risque words as "Xploshun," "Muertoing," and "Bud Lite." Hooligans, I tell you. Ruffians.
There are a couple of problems with this proposal. They can try to prohibit the mandatory use of these services, but after the Freep Incident, we all know the phrase "practice is optional, but so is playing time." Coaches can be very persuasive, even in the absence of official rules. Moreover, I have it on good authority that many schools already have people who spend much of their day examining athlete social media for improper content (albeit primarily in the public domain).
But more to the point, if you think these companies can come up with an algorithm that can track inappropriate content, I scoff. My son is 9 weeks old, and he already knows slang that makes me cock my head. Besides, a tweet doesn't have to have "inappropriate words," to be embarrassing as hell to a University. Follow ur OWN social media policy.
Unrelated Tweet Of The Week
The Dallas Police Department has issued a look-how-many-points bulletin:
Our apologies for the fruit Ninja tweet sent earlier. One of our kids played the game on our iPhone and unknowingly tweeted their score. (@DallasPD) January 28, 2013