"What (Michigan coaches) told me is that they're focusing on point guards right now, but if anything opens up, they'll definitely come back on and recruit me as hard as they were," said Towns
Since there are only three of these today I'm not going to bother with the screencap/lightbox thing—if you need to stop the animation for the sake of bandwith, hit 'escape'.
Pretty nice play by the team's second-best freshman/"weak spot".
[Hit the jump for Burke's throwdown, panda.]
Highlights from Arkansas:
Meta stuff: Still working out the kinks on this feature. There shouldn't be 30-second ads in the future (just 15-second ones). The plan is we'll get to pick certain highlights to be included, and that these will be available as soon as a few hours after each game. Also working on not having such an ugly branding banner on the top there.
Also taking suggestions for what we should call it and what else we can do with it. We don't really have time to do entire video UFRs but maybe video picture pages or something? What're you interested i?
|WHAT||Arkansas at Michigan|
|WHERE||Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|WHEN||Noon Eastern, Saturday|
|LINE||Michigan –19(!) (Kenpom)|
Last year's game at Arkansas was something of a nightmare, as the Razorbacks pressed like madmen, hit their first 11 shots from the field, and held on for a two-point victory as Trey Burke's attempted game-winner rimmed out. In the aftermath, I called the game "about as bad as it gets from a fan perspective," and I stand by that statement.
This year, the result projects to be a little different. Arkansas will still bring their "40 Minutes of Hell" full-court press and look to push the pace, of course. As you're well aware, however, this isn't last year's Michigan team, and this game takes place in Ann Arbor, not Fayetteville. Meanwhile, Arkansas has struggled to a 4-3 start, albeit against a difficult schedule. KenPom gives Michigan a 93% chance of winning, which, like, woah.
Sophomore guard B.J. Young runs the show for Arkansas and leads the team in both points (19.5/game) and assists (3.7). He's the one player who can really create his own shot off the dribble—74% of his field goals come at the rim, and only 26% of those are assisted, according to Hoop-Math—and while he's only 3-21 from three this year, he was a 41.3% shooter from beyond the arc last season. Young is also remarkably adept at holding onto the basketball, sitting at 11th in the country in turnover rate.
Due to their frenetic pace, a large cast of characters will rotate into the lineup for Arkansas around Young, whose 62.5% of available minutes played leads the team. Joining Young in the starting backcourt are 6'2" junior Mardracus Wade and 6'5" sophomore Rashad Madden. Despite his size, Wade gets most of his shots around the basket and draws a lot of fouls (4.8 per 40 min.), while Madden is in the same mold but with fewer trips to the line—both have issues with turnovers.
6'3" guards Rickey Scott and Anthlon Bell get a fair amount of minutes; both have had terrible shooting seasons but take care of the basketball far better than Wade and Madden. 5'10" freshman DeQuavious "Dee" Wagner earned a start in their game against Oklahoma on Tuesday, but only played six minutes; he's a bit player currently boasting an extraordinary assist rate (32.7%) and good outside shooting (4-9 from three) in a pretty small sample.
6'7" junior power forward Marshawn Powell is the team's biggest threat outside of Young, shooting 52.5% from two and 43.8% from three this year while drawing a ton of fouls. He'll line up next to Hunter Mickelson, the 6'10" starting center, and 6'7" reserve Coty Clarke, who actually plays more minutes than Mickelson. Mickelson is by far the team's best shot blocker but is surprisingly absent on the offensive boards (3.7 OReb%), while Clarke is the best rebounder for the Razorbacks on both ends of the floor.
A couple freshmen—6'8" forward Jacorey Williams and 6'5" wing Michael Qualls—will rotate in as well; again, Arkansas goes deep so they can turn games into a 40-minute track meet on hardwood.
Arkansas's best victory came on Tuesday, a three-point home win over KenPom's #82 squad, Oklahoma. Their other three wins also came at home, versus #304 Sam Houston State (by only three—yikes), #346 Longwood, and #333 Florida A&M. They lost neutral-site games to #144 Arizona State and #9 Wisconsin in the Las Vegas Invitational and suffered a nine-point home defeat at the hands of #5 Syracuse.
The four factors for Arkansas paint a rather extreme picture:
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||48.1 (171)||14.4 (1)||32.4 (160)||42.2 (74)|
|Defense||52.3 (277)||24.3 (53)||34.3 (233)||41.4 (246)|
The offense never turns the ball over and gets to the line frequently; they're an average shooting and offensive rebounding unit. The defense, well, it's turnover or death for the Razorbacks.
Other state of note: Arkansas is having a very tough year shooting the three (28.8%) but are solidly above average both inside the arc (50.0%) and at the line (72.8%). Their adjusted tempo is 12th in the country, naturally, in extreme contrast to Michigan (327th).
Hold onto the damn ball. I have other things, but the game pretty much entirely comes down to this. Michigan actually did a solid job of not turning the ball over against Arkansas last year after the opening blitzkrieg; unfortunately, there was the opening blitzkrieg. There are more guys to handle the ball this year than just Trey Burke, and in the comforts of Crisler that bodes well for Michigan. If the Wolverines don't cough up the ball against the press, it's tough to find a way that they lose this game.
Play your game. One of the cardinal sins when playing against an up-tempo press team is to get out of your offense and try to match their tempo. Despite running out on the break more often than in years past, Michigan is by no means an up-tempo squad. With Burke, Stauskas, Hardaway, and Albrecht, the Wolverines shouldn't be overwhelmed by the press. The key is, once they get the ball upcourt, to slow it down and run the offense. If Arkansas isn't forcing turnovers, they have a pretty awful defense; they'd like nothing more than for Michigan to throw gratuitous skip passes and alley-oops when they break across half court.
Keep Arkansas off the line. The Razorback offense largely relies on drawing fouls to generate points, especially if their outside shots aren't falling. Michigan is currently third in the country at keeping opponents off the free-throw line. This should be advantage, Michigan. If it is, it's going to take a herculean effort from Young just to keep Arkansas competitive.
Keep doing what you've been doing. I mean, yeah.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 19
'Tis the Season. So I meant to take a picture of this but you guys filled filled a poor woman's entire office (as in the computer is on top of an Amazon box) with gift donations for Adopt a Shelter, which is tomorrow. I still need some volunteers if you're free in the morning and wanna help throw a Christmas party for homeless kids.
I also inadvertently opened the flood gates for good causes going on this holiday season.
- Athletic Angels: This is Barwis (eeeeeeee)'s foundation that is doing something similar to the above but is donation-based, providing a catered dinner, clothes, and some toys for impoverished kids in metro Detroit. Their party is next Thursday. Video of the 2010 event.
- Merit: David Merritt stopped by to plug his new venture that's kinda like those feel-good shoes everybody has nowadays, where they make fashionable clothing and 20% of every purchase goes toward a scholarship via the Jalen Rose thing.
- Big House Big Heart: Brandon responded in AA.com about the Big House Big Heart Champions for Charity run he nixed, explaining he'd rather the university run it than a for-profit organization. People in this thread say the profit is small but I don't know where those #s are coming from; the greatest evidence that Brandon is just being a grinch is the event's director is all like "if they want it they can have it and we'll do all the work anyway; it's for charity!"
- People for Hoops Information Against Starving Dylans: UMHoops did their annual drive to keep them viable and made their it. I miss the old hardwood look but love everything else they've done with that place. Now about that photo above…
Bacari calls them his motivating shoulders. There's one floppy-haired coach's head that's still unused next to (director of basketball operations) Travis Conlan on the far right and FabFiver is taking suggestions; I vote S&C coach Jon Sanderson.
Yeeeeah. This man is going to kill me. Just like our dominating Big Ten team is going to murderate a puny SEC team, says ClearEyesFullHart in his Arkansas preview. BIG TEN! That's it for the cagers in the diaries, now back to the world where our conference has five 'N's.
[After the Jump, the BIG TENNNN! that was, Meeting South Carolina, and the Best of the Board]
[ED: flight limits available time today but this is probably the best thing ever so yeah.]
Some time ago, Catlab released… well… this.
I have watched it dozens of times, and now I will render judgment on which Big Ten coaches could hypothetically scrape out a living as a call-walrus (callrus?) in a dystopian future like Planet of the Apes, except with walruses.
This is important. I will brook no dissent, commenters.
1. JERRY KILL, MINNESOTA
Already the species' best bet at seducing an intergalactic gopher bent on enslaving earth, Jerry Kill doubles as Walrus Olivia Wilde. Missed his calling as black ops animal kingdom Al Qaeda infiltrator. Ooooh la la.
2. BRET BIELEMA,
I LIKE BIG FACE AND I CANNOT LIE
YOU OTHER WALRII CAN'T DENY
WHEN A BRET WALKS IN WITH AN ITTY BITTY EYE AND THAT ROUND CHIN IN YOUR FACE
I DON'T KNOW
YOU GARRUMP AND ROLL AROUND AND MAYBE TUSK SOMETHING
WHATEVER WALRUSES DO
AND THEN YOU SAY YOU WERE GREAT BABY AND LEAVE TO GO SEDUCE SOME PIGS
I DON'T GET IT EITHER
3. BILL O'BRIEN, PENN STATE
Soulful blue walrus eyes, and a chin-dimple for days.
4. BRADY HOKE, MICHIGAN
Finishes second to Kill in luxurious goiter, but lacks the crazy beady eyes of Bielema. Starting every sentence with "well" a downside in super slo-mo walrusland because it takes him forever to ask for a sandwich, or tell you your tusks are pearlescent in the surf.
5. DANNY HOPE,
The tusky mustache of course, but Hope's rather blocky appearance hurts him when we're talking about a species that is way into bulging curves, I mean I guess it's not like I have a machine I made that allows me to type in any species and get a detailed profile of their proclivities.
Seriously, I don't have one. Who would make something like that.
6. KEVIN WILSON, INDIANA
If such a machine existed—it does not—it would probably say that what Kevin Wilson brings in the curvy department he does not bring in the naughty bad boy department. I mean, a walrus wants a thrill and Kevin Wilson is all hanging out being stable with his two years of service in Bloomington. Eyes naturally wander to the drifters populating the rest of whatever that division is called.
Seriously the machine does not exist.
ACTUAL WALRUS DIVIDING LINE
MARK DANTONIO, MICHIGAN STATE
Would have better luck with marmosets, lemurs, and bible-thumping hypocrites. The machine is just a figment of your imagination.
PAT FITZGERALD, NORTHWESTERN
You're just trying too hard, Fitzgerald.
9. KIRK FERENTZ, IOWA
Not even trying, and it shows, on the field, in commercials, and at the walrus brothel.
10. TIM BECKMAN, ILLINOIS (FOR NOW)
Gives off too much of a skeevy serial killer vibe for any species. Forehead is a phrenology nightmare indicating several extreme proclivities that cannot be repeated lest they summon the Great Old Ones.
11. URBAN MEYER, OHIO STATE
Fact: Urban Meyer is impervious to video transform filters, and has no reflection.
12. BO PELINI, NEBRASKA
The transformation actually increased Bo Pelini's attractiveness to humans, but that doesn't mean either species is chasing that.
IMPORTANT. McGary sings Beiber, endorses Teen Wolf:
IMPORTANT AS WELL. You kind of felt this was on the table when the Big Ten Network put up a survey that asked you whether you knew which division your team was in and you instinctively knew that even if you could figure it out by remembering that Michigan is not in the one mentioned by their fight song, you should put down "no." And then you thought about it and knew everyone else would do the same thing too. So yeah this happened at some conference that is apparently going on today:
Delany says names of Legends and Leaders TBD.
I mean who could question a decision to expand coming from the people who gave us Legends and Leaders? Speaking of:
So I went to a Maryland basketball game last night. They played a MEAC team Kenpom ranked 345th, and played like it. I have seen more people at a basketball game.
I am pretty sure I have seen more people at a softball game.
The arena itself is cool, and amongst the few people around me were some old guys who had clearly been getting seats adjacent to each other since the dawn of time. At one point the cheerleaders held up big cardboard cutout credit cards and asked people to wave theirs around for some sort of prize that was probably FREEEE PIZZAAAA, and I marveled at… that.
I came away with an excellent picture of why Maryland's in such dire financial straights and with an unformed joke about how Northwestern should start calling themselves WASHINGTON'S BIG TEN TEAM™ because the position is most certainly open.
Meanwhile, Maryland forms a commission to consider re-adding some of the seven sports they recently dropped.
Mercenaries for… wait what? Yesterday's Bielema-related bombshell was the revelation that Arkansas offered him a whopping 600k extra to move to a school that has never won an SEC title and is probably never going to. Bielema was forced to say the usual things, added in some nonsense about how his first year he lost to Michigan 27-13 because of a bad call, and said this:
"When I began to have more and more success at Wisconsin, I stayed but a lot of my coaches left," he said. "I just wasn't able to compensate them in the way other coaches were. I know I'm hiring the right guys, because everybody keeps taking them from me."
Bielema lost six assistants last year, and he noted that three of them went from salaries around $225,000 per year to over $400,000 annually. He said that hours after the Badgers won the Big Ten title game last Saturday, three of his assistants told him they'd been contacted by other schools and were offered significant raises. He said he wouldn't have been able to match those offers.
"Wisconsin isn't wired to do that at this point," he said. "With what I wanted to accomplish, I needed to have that ability to do that. I've found that here at Arkansas."
If that's true—and I'm skeptical that people fleeing Wisconsin are not actually fleeing Bielema himself—that's another way in which the money is just not a factor. Wisconsin has that, and they are just choosing not to spend it because…? Because they need to build world-class facilities for non-revenue sports? Is that the answer?
That can't actually be the answer. But Wisconsin was the 8 team in revenue as of 2008 and I find it hard to believe they've dipped much what with the BTN. That year they brought in 30 million more than Arkansas. And yet…
Don't give me recruiting budget stuff either. Wisconsin spent 466k less than Arkansas in 2011, which is a big gap but it is also chump change. I don't know what the problem is, but adding more money to the huge and ever-growing money spigot isn't going to fix it. If it would, it already would have.
The problem is cultural: as Bielema said, we don't want to be like the SEC at all. Probably the best thing Brandon has done is pay the assistants the relative chump change that makes them happy.
The least the Big Ten can do for us as they set every tradition they can find on fire is actually spend the money on the stuff fans care about like "keeping that guy who has gone to three straight Rose Bowls."
BIG TENNNNN. Darrell Hazell is introduced as Purdue's next head coach and the world gets a terrifying glimpse into the reality of being a beat reporter in West Lafayette:
if I could summon the energy to do anything it would be obtain the sweet release of death
Darrell Hazell, by the way, is a wild-ass swing at another MAC coach of exceedingly short tenure (two years) who has shown little other than the ability to inherit a team that floats to the top of the MAC talent hierarchy for reasons unknown. And he'll just fly the coop if he works out anyway. Expanding the league does not fix this. Purdue is still Purdue.
But maybe they can be Purdue in another division! Here we go again:
"There are some advantages to 16 (teams) compared to 14," Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis told ESPN on Wednesday. "Fourteen is clumsy. We're not out looking for two teams, but basically we will continue to survey the landscape."
At this point I endorse all Big Ten expansions in an effort to get to the Bargaining Phase post. With 16 we we can chuck the Indiana teams into the other football division and pretend none of this ever happened.
But it's about academics you guys! No, no it is not. It is not about academics in any way whatsoever.
Professors at the meeting alleged that the Athletic Department did not consult the ABIA on the addition of the Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten Conference.
“I happen to think that the implications of expanding the conference ... are significant academic matters, and I was personally very disappointed when I heard it on the radio,” Political Science Prof. Edie Goldenberg, an ABIA member, said.
If it was about academics, the academics would know about it.
Explaining to do, attempted. Michigan nixed a charity run at the Big House in two steps.
Champions for Charity is a for-profit limited liability company, though Highfield says all of the money a team raises prior to the race goes directly to a charity of the participant’s choice.
"It's just a little mom-and-pop organization," Highfield told AnnArbor.com.
Champions for Charity rented the stadium each previous year for roughly $7,000. Highfield was astonished when the school more than doubled the old rate, charging just under $16,000 for the next annual run.
The next step was just cancelling the thing entirely, because:
Really the decision in the end came down to our external focus," said Ablauf. The department announced last monththat it would begin partnering with the Special Olympics of Michigan for community service efforts. The first event of that partnership is the "Polar Plunge" at Michigan Stadium on Feb. 23, 2013.
That partnership, Ablauf said, has become the department's priority. Ablauf said the run had become "a very challenging event ... to fit into our stadium."
"We have our own private rental program, we're doing stuff with the Special Olympics and we have a lot of things we do now in the stadium," Ablauf offered.
I was waiting to sputter about this until the athletic department had its say, and… that's it? You can't spare the stadium for one day in April and one of the reasons you state for this is because you rent the thing out for profit (and annoy everyone at every football game by constantly repeating that fact)? I'm feeling a sputter comin' on you guys!
Actually, I don't have anything to say on this that I haven't already said a lot. I mean, this is a great thing to have people do from the ol' branding standpoint:
someone had a super idea once and people liked it
The thing had a lot of traction and if there was some problem with the organizational nature of the thing that was not organized as a non-profit it doesn't seem to be that hard to work through the issues. But I'm neither surprised or even disappointed that this happened. It's just how things work these days.
Strong: I was 9-10, and (Jurich) hands me an extension...How do you walk away from someone who trusts and believes in you. …
Strong said his ego had him thinking abt what he coud do in the SEC. "It's not abt that. It's about people and how you affect their lives."
Yes Virginia, there are Bo-like people still around. One of them is Michigan's coach, and that's nice.
Anti-antidote. Mario Cristobal is fired by FIU after one bad year when he turned down opportunities to move up in the world after he took the fledgling program from an 0-12 national joke to a couple bowl games.
STAUSKAS. As always, Canada bails us out of feeling bad. John Gasaway ranks his top 25 freshmen in college basketball and Stauskas comes in third($):
3. Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan Wolverines
Stauskas is merely Michigan's third option on offense, and you may think being rated the No. 3 freshman in the nation is self-evidently disproportionate for a role player. In the abstract I agree wholeheartedly, but exactly how much tribute do we give to a player who has helped his team's offense to the very limit allowed by the sport itself? Stauskas has an offensive rating (152.8) that's in another zip code entirely from what even the amazing likes of Bennett (127.5) and Adams (122.8) have posted. He is a normal carbon-based player in only one facet of the game: Stauskas inside the arc with the clock running is a mere mortal. But if he's at the line (89 percent) or, heaven help the opponent, outside the arc (64 percent), he's Stauskasesque.
His numbers will correct downward from this point forward, but the larger point is that for a second consecutive season John Beliein has a freshman who arrived in Ann Arbor as a lightly regarded recruit and then promptly began stomping on opponents like Mothra.
Stauskas was a little less lightly-regarded than Burke but yeah I mean seriously the hobbit at NC State was a burger guy. Oh right and that GRIII guy comes in ninth, which probably gives Michigan the best recruiting class in the country as of December what with adding in McGary and LeVert and Albrecht.
Etc.: Annual bowl swag update. Here is a tiny fraction of the money in gift cards because we can't give you cash. Tom Izzo goes full Holtz after MSU beats up on a SWAC team. Bielema fallout. More fallout. UMHoops podcast. David Merritt stops by to suggest his Merit fundraiser. Hockey coaches can now call CCHA reffing a joke in public. Gordon Gee is either lying now or lied to Urban Meyer.