Brian: I don't know what those words mean in proximity to each other.
Seth: It comes from fanfiction but whatever, here old person:
This Week’s Obsession: Play Rivalry Yente
Brian: I don't understand that either. Is this like season two of the Wire? Am I going to find a bunch of dead Purdues in a shipping container?
Seth: Everything is like season 2 of the Wire.
David: I took it as "who would be a fun rivalry for Michigan".
Seth: No. Take any two teams.
Brian: Please explain my goal here as if I was not a preteen.
Choose any two schools and make them rivals.
David: Ok, well, I didn't know that...so, I have "Louisville and Michigan".
Brian: Can I say Michigan and Notre Dame?
Seth: Yes. Except we're playing each other again And I thought you wanted The Situation Trophy.
Brian: Well, clearly The Situation Trophy is the greatest and best idea I'll ever have and Rutgers-MSU promises to be highly competitive going forward, so yes, MSU-Rutgers is a rivalry in fact and not hypothesis. Which group of shirtless meatheads can slather themselves in the most AXE or BOD or SCREW THE SUBTLETY WE'RE JUST CALLING IT PENIS brand smelly bits? TUNE IN SATURDAY TO FIND OUT!
|By Wolverine Devotee|
Michigan and Notre Dame. Seriously, though. In multiple sports. They're joining Big Ten hockey so that's fine on that front, but it's inexplicable that Michigan doesn't regularly play ND in basketball. In general the lack of consistent nonconference opponents in basketball mystifies me. Every year they play some random platter of opponents, many of them horrible. It's a bad setup.
Seth: Michigan State and Central Michigan have been casually dating each other since the early '90s but it's time they take the leap. I have relatives who went to the game in Mount Pleasant who compare it still to the greatest sports events they've ever been to. Granted they don't get out much, but provincial entertainment is the point of having football rivalries between proximal ag schools in the middle of Corn Belt states.
Central Michigan has always been a third wheel in the directional Michigan circuit, however they fit a profile and command a region more like Iowa State than their MAC kin. They deserve more.
Michigan State meanwhile will always have that one decade when they're competitive with Michigan per century, but lack a rival to look down upon for the other 90 years. The lack of symmetry puts the onus on Spartan fans to carry far too much hate, and makes fandom of MSU a mostly bitter experience even in good times. Having their own Michigan State nearby could deflect some of that attention so they don't have to keep embarrassing themselves with the word "scUM".
Like the state if it didn't have Detroit, Michigan State without Michigan would feel like Iowa, which managed to be a most pleasant experience to travel to this year despite That. A serious annual rivalry with CMU might help the Spartans feel more like you're supposed to feel about your college football team.
They can have shirts that say "Middle Brother."
I totally didn’t design this in 2012 and try to get UGP to sell it.
Add that the winner of each game gets to host the next one to make it unique and cool (and to justify the proper imbalance), and everybody profits.
[After THE JUMP: this gets way more basketball than I intended.]
Peoples-Jones sets a date
5* MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones will announce Thursday evening on ESPN. There has been a Rashan Gary-esque recruiting panic... wait just a sec...
There. Anyway, Gary-esque recruiting panic based on a rumor that DPJ was down to OSU and FSU posted literally during his official visit to Michigan. A last-second in-home from OSU only amped up the fainting couch wing of Michigan fandom further.
Nobody seems to buy this. Steve Lorenz, Steve Wiltfong, Allen Trieu, Sam Webb, and Bill Greene all believe it will be Michigan. Even the gentleman who posted the thing didn't believe it, which sort of defeats the purpose of being an information gatekeeper.
It is worth noting that DPJ, like Harris, doesn't talk to people much or at all and thus most of these assertions are less than iron-clad. I mentioned this last week: this is not a recruitment where anyone is sure what will happen because the recruit is so quiet, and in those circumstances you can have the proverbial shocker. It would still be a shock.
Obligatory Najee Harris section
Nobody knows. The end.
[After the JUMP: a real Najee Harris section! That is no more informative than the first one!]
MAAR probably gets a pass for not contesting this one.
I regret responding to this with "that's easy enough":
I went back through the UCLA game and charted each three-point attempt by both teams save for the last couple minutes of garbage time. The no-late-heavy shot contest system is relatively self-explanatory and looks at how well the defender guarded the shot attempt. Heavy contest shots, especially from beyond the arc, are bad ideas; late contest is enough of an opening to get a good look but isn't completely wide open; no contest is wide the hell open.
When breaking it down by halves, the story of the game emerges:
|No Contest||Late Contest||Heavy Contest|
|Michigan (1st Half)||3/4||7/10||2/2|
|Michigan (2nd Half)||0/1||2/6||0/1|
|UCLA (1st Half)||5/6||5/6||0/2|
|UCLA (2nd Half)||3/3||3/4||0/2|
I expected a bit more NBA Jam (i.e. drilling heavily contested shots) in UCLA's first-half results; instead, I saw a series of errors that led to good looks, and those errors got way worse in the second half. Meanwhile, Michigan's offense stopped generating easy looks beyond the arc in the second half at the same time they cooled off on tougher shots.
[Hit THE JUMP for blood, oh god, so much blood.]
Why did Peppers seem to disappoint on offense this season in the big games? Lack of creativity? Poor execution on his part, maybe from limited reps? OL play? Cosmic misfortune?
There are many reasons.
- Defenses tended to absurdly over-focus on him when he entered the game. This resulted in a bunch of plays where his presence as a decoy created huge chunks for guys not named Peppers.
- Michigan's read option package was basic. Teams started scrape exchanging against it and Michigan did not have a response to it. This resulted in a number of plays that looked like bad reads but were in fact RPS minuses. It probably would have been more effective to just single-wing, or use Peppers as a tailback.
- He got some bad edge blocking from tight ends.
- Cosmic misfortune always plays a role.
In retrospect the QB package should have been dumped midseason, probably after Illinois shut it down, and Michigan should have moved on to something else. They've been good at doing this so far under Harbaugh—fullback traps fell out of the offense this year—but not so here.
The Pepcat package featured something every high schooler is relentlessly drilled on these days: defending a crazy athlete QB. Michigan is not a spread option team. They are strictly dilettantes in that department. So you had a primitive attempt at spread option going up against the last ten years of defensive advancements against it. That is ceased working after a shock and awe period isn't a surprise.
Peters chatter, QB competition
daddy needs a new Andrew Luck [Fuller]
There never seemed to be much insider chatter floating around this year about how Peters was performing in practice. Obviously last year the big chatter was that, O'Korn was out performing Rudock. Question 1.) Do we know anything about how he performed this fall in practice?
Secondly, I for one was pleasantly surprised with Speight's performance this year and I believe exceeded what many's expectations were for him.
That being said -
Question 2.) Do you anticipate any serious competition next year between a Redshirt Peters and Speight for the starting gig?
After a productive spring, Peters chatter went to zero in fall camp. You shouldn't read anything into that, though. O'Korn got talked up last year because Rudock was so bad early and there was nobody else to talk about except Shane Morris, who was not a viable target for chatter after last year's Minnesota game.
Michigan had determined it was going to redshirt Peters, he got put on the scout team, and Speight played well enough that backup talk was restricted to a few off weeks. O'Korn's existence, meanwhile, kept what backup chatter existed focused on him until Indiana.
I do expect a serious QB competition this offseason. By "serious" I mean "there is at least a 20% chance someone not named Speight is the starting QB." Brandon Peters is extremely good and should eat up ground quickly since he was not one of those QB guru guys. Speight had a good sophomore season but remains someone else's QB that Harbaugh is making do with, and we saw him switch horses midstream in San Francisco. Speight's weak performance against Iowa and turnovers against OSU leave the door open for a challenger.
I'd be surprised if Peters passed Speight. I would not be shocked.
[After the JUMP: blueshirting, sartorial discussion, why do anything really I mean seriously]
fair enough, Lonzo Ball
Michigan made 12 first-half three-pointers, only five short of the school record for an entire game. The Wolverines rebounded four of their ten missed shots in the half. They held a turbo-charged UCLA squad to two fast-break points.
Lonzo Ball pulled up from just inside the midcourt logo and tied the game at 50 as the half expired. Michigan had played a best-case scenario half and the Bruins matched them shot for shot. UCLA made ten threes themselves in the opening stanza. Only one team was equipped to sustain such a pace.
TJ Leaf, the former Michigan recruit, gave the Bruins the lead on the first possession of the second half, and they never lost it. This spectacular sequence from Ball and center Ike Onigbonu, who filled in more than capably for injured starter Thomas Welsh, stretched the lead to eight:
Alford and Leaf would push it to double digits with back-to-back buckets. Michigan made a couple mini-runs to get as close as five but they never had a shot to tie the game over the last 17:58. As the Wolverines offense sputtered, UCLA's continued to roar; the Bruins connected on 20-for-29 from the field in the second half while Michigan only went 10-for-29.
An impressive performance by Zak Irvin—who had 18 points, five rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and only one turnover—went for naught. Derrick Walton had another quiet performance, going 2-for-7 from the field for nine points with two assists and two turnovers, and if Michigan hoped to keep pace, they needed both their senior leaders to be lights-out tonight. One was, one wasn't. That isn't exactly a surprise to anyone who's followed their careers.
Michigan wasn't good enough to beat UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. That they hung with them for a half was impressive in and of itself, even if the second half left a feeling of demoralization. The Wolverines aren't an elite team this year; we knew that. The Bruins may be one; they've certainly looked the part. If Beilein's squad can keep up their early-season defense—judging that based on tonight is harsh, to say the least—and sprinkle in a little more of tonight's first-half shooting, they just might be a pretty good team themselves. Getting good performances from both their seniors at once would help; thus far, those games have been few and far between.
|WHAT||#27 Michigan (7-2) at #12 UCLA (9-0)|
Los Angeles, California
|WHEN||8 pm ET, Saturday|
|LINE||UCLA -7 (KenPom)|
PBP: Dave Flemming
Analyst: Dan Dakich
Right: UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball can and will score from just about anywhere on the court.
While pulling out a last-minute win against Texas on Tuesday night provided a nice morale boost, it may not do a whole lot for Michigan's tournament resume. The Longhorns, at 4-4, are currently the only Big 12 team without a winning record, and KenPom projects them to finish last in the conference.
A victory at UCLA, on the other hand, would almost assuredly hold up as a signature win. This is Michigan's last chance to tally one more of those in non-conference play; they finish out with Central Arkansas, Maryland Eastern Shore, and Furman before tipping off Big Ten play on New Year's Day at Iowa.
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||2||Lonzo Ball||Fr.||6'6, 190||86||21||134||Not At All|
|Probable top-5 NBA pick next year. Deadeye shooter, excellent finisher and passer.|
|G||20||Bryce Alford||Sr.||6'3, 185||84||17||127||Not At All|
|Very efficient low-usage shooter: 50/42/90 splits this season with a good FT rate.|
|G||10||Isaac Hamilton||Sr.||6'5, 195||77||23||117||Not At All|
|Takes 26% of UCLA's shots when on the floor with 59/45/80 splits. Dang.|
|F||22||TJ Leaf||Fr.||6'10, 225||72||21||135||Not At All|
|Former M recruit is 55-for-77 on twos, 9-for-18 on threes. Decent rebounder and shot-blocker.|
|C||40||Thomas Welsh||Jr.||7'0, 245||64||16||127||Very|
|True seven-footer is top 100 in def. rebound and block rates, makes 57% of FGs.|
|G||3||Aaron Holiday||So.||6'1, 185||64||22||118||No|
|Backup point is a little turnover-prone, but posting 52/53/73 shooting splits with high FT rate.|
|F||14||Gyorgy Goloman||Jr.||6'11, 215||27||20||106||Very|
|Foul-prone backup big rebounds and protects the rim well, 16-for-26 on twos.|
|C||13||Ike Anigbogu||Fr.||6'10, 250||13||20||99||Very|
|Impressive rebound and block rates in very limited minutes, sky-high foul rate.|
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]