fair point that
|Alliance, OH – 6'1", 180|
|Scout||5*, #4 S, #39 overall, #2 OH|
|Rivals||4*, #12 S, #109 overall, #4 OH|
|ESPN||4*, #10 ATH, #93 overall, #4 OH|
|24/7||4*, #11 S, #80 overall, #4 OH|
|Other Suitors||Ohio State, Notre Dame|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||Urban Meyer is still on him hard. Army AA. Early enrollee.|
Senior highlights can be found on hudl. They're mostly offense. Also they are impressive.
If there's one thing extensive googling of Dymonte Thomas assures you of, it's that at this very moment there is an Ohio State fan posting speculation about Dymonte Thomas opting out of his LOI to a twenty-page thread. Someone else will respond to him by pointing out Thomas is already on campus and never actually signed a LOI, and the original poster will respond "yeah, but…" and spin out his reasons for optimism in re: Dymonte Thomas. This is less speculation than dead statistical certainty.
This is kind of strange for a guy that liked Michigan so much he pulled the trigger right after the Denard After Dentist ND game, ie going on two years ago, and never gave any indication of wavering. Or at least it would for any other fanbase.
In any case, Michigan fans have been patiently waiting for and OSU fans derangedly pining for Thomas because he is an Electric Athlete. I do recommend those hudl highlights linked above, which consist mostly of Thomas putting the jets on at running back and leaving chasers yards in the dust. Despite missing most of three games he put up 1,270 yards at 7.3 a pop, largely by doing this:
What He Does Has the capability to score a touchdown anytime he touches the football. Five of Thomas’ touchdown runs went for 50 or more yards. His one TD catch was for 57 yards.
There's one where he decides to split the safeties and the safeties find out their angles have been calibrated so badly that neither gets within five yards of the kid. I expected at least one of 'em to take their helmet off, quit football forever, and fade away as he walks out of the stadium, but the clip doesn't extend long enough for me to test that hypothesis.
That's the kind of thing that gets this kind of quote deployed:
“He has given the program so much and carries himself the right way at all times on and off the field. I’ve heard so many other coaches and even college coaches say he’s one of the most electrifying athletes they’ve ever seen on a football field.” — Ed Miley
Did we mention that Thomas started as a freshman, was also a wrestler and picked up MLB draft interest? Guys like Thomas are the reason recruiting sites had to invent the "athlete" position. Merely seeing him on the other team causes fever dreams about maybe coaching that kid:
1, Dymonte Thomas, Marlington RB-LB-S
Strengths: Just about everything. He’s a great football player. He’s very explosive on both sides of the ball. He’s very aggressive. He has a nose for the football and he’s a great kid, too… When you play Marlington, you worry about taking Dymonte away on the perimeter and you take your chances inside, which wasn't a good option last year.
Weaknesses: I don’t know of any. If we had him, I often thought where would he play, and it’d be any number of positions. He does it all well and he’s such a great tackler.
— Opposing coach
More capital-A Athlete takes:
- Allen Trieu: "college-ready build already … one of his best assets is his speed … simply an excellent athlete."
- Bill Greene: "combines speed, quickness, and great athletic ability with the love of contact … should end his high school career as one of the greatest all-around athletes in Stark County's storied history."
- Coach Ed Miley: “I’ve seen big guys, physical players. I’ve seen kids that can run. He is a combination of size and speed. I know he’s 6-1, 190, 200, but he plays much bigger than that. He is very explosive.”
- Josh Helmholdt: "The first thing to know about Thomas is that he is fast… extremely fast."
And perhaps most remarkably, ESPN's evaluation of him does not state "he is more quick than fast" or "lacks a top gear," which damn near every evaluation of a non-lineman will throw in there at some point even if you are pretty damn fast. Instead($):
Thomas is a physically impressive looking athlete and overall football player. … Plays a hybrid type role … He is quick to read and react and flashes very good closing burst when he locates the football. Gets through the trash with good lateral agility. He plays the position fast and pursues with a high motor and little wasted motion to the ball. Has the range to make plays in all three levels of the defense and is a true ball-hawk. He closes hard and with impressive pop. Runs through and is a hitter who will force turnovers and bring an intimidating presence to the position. … has the size, athleticism and ball skills to develop as a coverage guy along with very good make-up speed.
When ESPN does not note you are not as fast as an NFL player, you are fast. QED.
The catch, such that it is, is that Thomas has not shown an ability to play safety yet. Marlington used him as a weakside linebacker. Thus many of the scouting reports on him mention an uncertainty about whether he has the coverage technique to get the stars his athleticism suggests he should. No one pounded on this more frequently than Josh Helmholdt, who declared three different times that he didn't want to "get too bullish on his ranking until we were able to more thoroughly assess his coverage skills" despite also joining the "extraordinary athlete" chorus. The big reveal($) after Thomas played safety at the Army All-American game:
…Dymonte Thomas was the prospect I felt had the most to prove at the all-star games because we had not seen him in coverage yet. Thomas started out with a rough first day of practices at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and his lack of experience in coverage was evident. But as the week progressed Thomas adjusted well, and by the Army Bowl he was in on a lot of plays and was able to show off his speed. At the end of the day, where we had Thomas ranked going into the Army Bowl was pretty accurate.
In one week he went from incapable to in on a lot of plays, so they ranked him correctly. Seems a little stubborn there.
Similar notes of concern come from Scout's Scott Kennedy, who lists "coverage awareness" as a weakness and says "coverage awareness and technique will come with experience on defense," which is the nice way to put it. Scout is the most bullish of the four sites, FWIW, probably because this is the good bit of their eval:
Change of Direction
…plays both sides of the ball with aggression. He attacks the defenders when he's running the ball, and he punishes ball carriers on defense. A strong safety type, Thomas has good acceleration and balance. He's good enough on offense to stay at running back similar to Matt Elam (UF) at the same stage.
ESPN notes that "he is not asked to defend a lot in space and man-to-man coverage skills are an area that will need some refinement" and says that he's not much for flipping the proverbial hips at this juncture.
Of course, Thomas has already been on campus for a semester. In that time he seems to have locked down the starting nickel spot. Michigan has been making do with small cover-oriented guys like Courtney Avery there ever since Thomas Gordon was needed deeper. As a result the nickel package has very rarely featured anything except coverage from the nickelback and has been limited to passing downs only. In modern football that is a bit of a problem. See Jake Ryan lining up over triple WR formations to murder screens. It works, but it would be nice to murder screens and have Jake Ryan rushing the passer.
Thomas brings a different skill package and can be deployed on nominal running downs. especially against the spread. Steve Wiltfong:
“He has a chance to be special at Michigan. …physically ready to go. He has the size and speed you’re looking for at the safety position. He can come down and play near the line of scrimmage and he can also cover and deliver the smack to ball carriers. He can force turnovers with his physical size of play. He is a fantastic get for Michigan there.”
His coach is talking about Thomas as a safety here but is even more so laying out the blueprint for a hybrid nickel defender:
"His advantage will be the time he has played linebacker in the box for us, because unlike a lot of high school defensive backs, Dymonte is used to the physical contact and loves it. He is used to coming up and thumping people, and he can close on the ball."
Greg Mattison declared him "definitely physically ready" and talked up his coachability:
“He’s very fast and he’s a young man that it’s not too big for him. He comes in everyday and you correct him, he doesn’t go in the tank. He immediately says, ‘ok what do I have to do?’ Very seldom does he do it wrong again.”
…“Based on the spring you’re going to see a guy that’s headed in the right direction to be there quite a bit this fall,” said Mattison.
“He’s a guy that, this summer, again, if he continues to do what he’s doing -- but we’ve been very happy with him.”
Thomas's attitude, cited just above, is another asset. I always perk up when I hear a kid's dad was in the military; Dymonte's dad is a former Marine who put his kids through "boot camp"($) if they slacked off. Thomas was also more than fine with splitting carries with eventual Tennessee recruit Alden Hill:
"Look, Dymonte is a one in a million type of player," Miley stated Friday. "We've had Division-I recruits here the past few years in Zach Higgins (Michigan State) and Alden Hill (Tennessee), but there's nobody like Dymonte. He has started for four years now for me, and I love the kid. Dymonte has never met a stranger, and he's the most personable kid on the team, yet he's a team player first."
"Everybody was worried about his stats last year but him," Miley added. "How many five-star recruits play scout-team tailback, to give the first defense a better look? Dymonte does. He will do whatever it takes to make himself and the team better. He will finish his career with over 5,000 yards rushing and 400 tackles. The 5,000 yards rushing will be amazing because he has split carries with Hill, who ended up with 4,973 yards. Imagine if Dymonte had the carries that Alden had the past few years? What would that yardage total look like? He will end up over 5,000 yards rushing as the second option most of his career. And he's the best defensive player in Stark County history, in my opinion."
It may take some time for Thomas to become a refined engine of death. It looks like it'll take less than the skeptics above predicted what with the instant starting job.
" Michigan will probably use him as a kickoff returner too, and Mattison said he could help out on offense."
I guess there are worse things to hear about a commit:
…came up in run support very well Tuesday and even when he struggled with guys like [Derrick] Green, he came back as physical as ever.
Hey, we got that kid too! /self high five
Why Stevie Brown? I know that probably made you break out in hives, but think about good late Stevie Brown: the kind of athlete who can pop a lead blocker and get out to the edge, who blitzes with speed and brings a load, who can cover underneath and down the seam. Who plays a hybrid LB/DB role. That's what Thomas is now, both as a high school linebacker and possibly—probably—Michigan's starting nickelback this fall.
Meanwhile, Brown finally figured out that whole safety thing en route to eight interceptions and a New York Giants interception return yardage record; Thomas has the same NFL-level athleticism and questions about his ability to translate that into reliable deep safety play. As a recruit, Brown was in the same range as Thomas; Dymonte's probably an inch or two taller. This comparison is a tight one.
Guru Reliability: Moderate-plus. Heavily scouted, Army guy, but positional questions and this review comes after we got a lot more information about the kid at Michigan's spring practice.
Variance: Moderate. Obviously brings all the athleticism you could want to the position and should be an okay starter at the very least.
Ceiling: Vast. Ripped a starting job away from a senior in no time flat, would be competitive in a race with Denard.
General Excitement Level: Just under vast. Smart kid with great personality and military dad should mean he scrapes his high ceiling; still, whenever you're projecting…
Projection: Um, seems to have already taken over the starting nickel position?
Down the road, Thomas may get a shot at replacing Thomas Gordon next year. In an ideal world I think he sticks at nickel for his career, operating as a frequently-deployed spread antidote and triple threat (rush the passer, defend the run, cover) in a system where he is as much of a starter as anyone else on the team. Michigan will of course cross-train the guy at deep safety to give them added flexibility and injury insurance. Like Gordon he may get dragged deeper because Michigan needs him, but that'll depend on Delano Hill, Jeremy Clark, and Jarrod Wilson… unless Thomas is just too good to ever take off the field, which you can't discount.
Also, I will not be surprised if Thomas ends up being the primary kick returner at some point. He has the raw Stonum-like speed to be a vertical threat there.
Sparty Gonna No.
A list of things that people believe will make them more successful than a football scholarship to Michigan State University:
1. A football scholarship to the University of Michigan (obvs)
2. A football scholarship to Northwestern University
3. A music career with dese skillz:
(Heads up: video contains explicit lyrics and imagery, and really bad rap):
Mark Hollis did say yesterday that they're trying to make the Big Ten more hip, but then MSU admitted they dropped him weeks ago when the first blunt hit the YouTubes. Which is probably correct but doesn't make MSU's receiver recruiting any less hilarious.
Some Stuff the Other People Already Posted
I post once per week, and Brian posts daily, so sometimes he gets to the good stuff first. Now, I could put in the effort to go find other stuff. But I am exceedingly lazy, so we’ll all just pretend that he didn’t already post this stuff, and we will laugh at it anew. Good? Good.
With this week’s announcement of Marvin Robinson’s transfer, Michigan lost the quintessential OMG Shirtless player. M-Rob was the patriarch of the movement [Tyrece Butler is its godfather], and his loss will be deeply felt. But when Angry Michigan OMG Shirtless Hating God closes a door, He opens a window into some crazy stuff. Behold what AMOMGSHG has given us:
Maybe this is a response to the Abercrombie and Fitch CEO saying he didn’t want… uh… larger people wearing their clothing. Maybe they just honestly forgot to wear shirts that day. But I like to think that they were assuring the apprehensive Michigan faithful that the shirtless tradition would continue, albeit in a much more MANBALL fashion.
This also has the makings of a great ‘positive self-image’ campaign:
It doesn’t matter if you’re a little pasty white. Or if you’re carrying a few extra pounds around the midsection. Or if you don’t have what would be considered a “neck” by traditional standards. Or if you make questionable fashion and facial hair choices. As long as you can pancake a sumbitch or two, you are beautiful.
[One side note: Brian referred to this incident as “AmBearcrombie and Bearfitch.” I humbly submit “ManBearCrombie” as an alternate nickname. ]
Elsewhere in wonderfully poachable Twitter-related news, Greg Mattison sat in a truck.
[After the jump]
Michigan gets a commit and content is a little slow today, so recruiting rankings hit the front page. Plenty of movement this week with Big Ten schools picking up commitments in each of the last eight days. Changes since last rankings:
5-1-13: Rutgers picks up Pete Mokwuah.
5-2-13: Illinois picks up Chayce Crouch.
5-3-13: Penn State picks up Daquan Worley. Northwestern picks up Tommy Doles.
5-6-13: Nothwestern picks up Dareian Watkins.
5-8-13: Nebraska picks up Jason Hall.
5-9-13: Northwestern picks up Auston Anderson. Maryland picks up Johnathan Thomas.
5-10-13: Penn State picks up Marcus Allen and Jared Wangler.
5-11-13: Michigan picks up Lawrence Marshall.
5-12-13: Ohio State picks up Lonnie Johnson.
5-13-13: Michigan State picks up Matt Sokol.
5-14-13: Northwestern picks up Justin Jackson.
5-15-13: Michigan State picks up Chris Frey.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|247 Comp. Rank (Ovr)||School||# Commits||5*||4*||3*||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||24/7 Avg||ESPN Avg||Avg Avg^|
|2 (12)||Ohio State||8||0||5||3||3.38||3.63||3.88||3.50||3.59|
|3 (14)||Penn State||9||0||3||6||3.00||3.33||3.33||2.89||3.14|
|6 (23)||Michigan State||8||0||0||7||3.17||3.33||3.50||3.00||3.25|
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as two-star players.
On to the full data after the jump.
Hey kids. I've been wandering around trying to figure out what's going on with Michigan basketball recruiting, so I figure it's time to start posting about it on the site. Guidelines:
- This will be a once-a-week feature through summer that will either get picked up by someone else or dropped during football season for obvious reasons.
- We will deign to cover 2015 kids just as much as 2014 kids since Beilein Offer Day is in a month and it's a lot easier to project basketball players a year or two out.
You are not prepared to know the destination of Trevon
Trevon Bluiett is playing very well on the AAU circuit and planning on an official cut to… well, some number of schools. His dad (also his AAU coach) is zen about this:
“I think he has an idea,” said Reynardo Bluiett, who is also Trevon’s AAU coach for Spiece Indy Heat. “I don’t ask him because I’m not prepared to know. He’s got an idea.”
He plans a decision before his senior year starts; popular opinion holds Butler the leader with Michigan and Indiana still strong candidates. Blueitt was one of the top performers at Spiece…
Trevon Bluiett, shooting guard (Spiece 17U)
Bluiett continued to play where he left off the past two weekends on the Nike EYBL circuit. The thick-bodied shooting guard is a physical wing that plays with pace and patience. He lets the game come to him. Bluiett is a great perimeter shooter off the bounce and in the catch and shoot. The junior has a quick release and good form. Bluiett also is solid off the bounce getting in the lane and getting to the charity stripe. The highly touted wing finished with 21 points.
…and seems to be a good fit for Beilein's offense. Here is an indeterminate quote from Bluiett himself:
"They've been texting me constantly, three, four times a week," Bluiett told ChicagoHoops.com recently. "Out of them, I have the best relationship with (Michigan assistant) LaVall Jordan.
"It's good to talk with him now and then."
If we meditate on this we may find enlightenment.
Trevon plus Kevon equals unstoppable power
Kevon Looney was the topic of Sam Webb's weekly Detnews article. Looney is wide open at the moment:
"It's still wide open," Parrish said of Looney's recruitment. "You have Duke, Florida, Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Marquette, Georgetown, Stanford; and he's a real educational kid, so Stanford and schools like that are going after him as well. It's still wide open for him. He hasn't cut his list yet."
Michigan didn't just pop up on Looney's list because Michigan was tardy recruiting him, they popped up because now they seem like a valid place for a top-ten player to go.
"Michigan was actually the first school his freshman year that started recruiting him," Parrish said. "Coach LaVall Jordan began recruiting him early on, so they're in there. They've been doing a great job with him. We were down at the Final Four that weekend, so he got an opportunity to go and watch the games. Not the championship game, but prior to that, the Final Four games. That always helps because he wants to play on a big stage."
Looney does have Duke, MSU, and Florida already in a top five he'll cut down to in the near future; Sam says "many pundits believe the Blue Devils are leaders in the clubhouse."
Soon to change his name to Devon
Five-star-ish MS SG Devin Booker has acquired offers from every power you can name, though Duke has probably taken itself off the board with a five-star SG commit. The most recent is Kentucky, and yes it is a little irritating that Calipari would offer a kid ranked as low as 27th.
Booker may or may not hit Michigan's camp on June first:
“I’m not sure [if I can make it to camp],” Booker reported. “I think they mentioned it to me. If I’m up there (in Michigan) and have no camp or anything else, I might go.”
Booker's recruitment is going to extend a while:
“I don’t have any timeframe right now, but probably after the summer is when I might actually cut it down of some sort,” Booker said. “And then I’ll go from there.”
Don't expect any news there for a while.
Also In 2014
CA SF Kameron Chatman has confirmed that he'll be at Michigan's camp, whereupon he'll get an offer.
Instate wing AJ Turner is seeing his options expand as he moves into summer, but appears to be a plan B recruit, as Michigan has not offered yet.
Michigan has continued to show interest in Turner, sitting courtside at the Atlanta Spring Classic the weekend before Spiece, still doing thorough evaluations. Any talk of an offer from the Wolverines is tabled at the moment.
“I’ve still been talking to coach Beilein,” said Turner. “Just going through the process right now, he said keep working hard and we’ll see what happens.”
If Bluiett or Booker goes off the board Turner will be one of the prime candidates to grab an offer in response.
2015 offer day for Michigan is about a month away. Instate combo guard Eric Davis($) is a candidate for one of those offers. He's already got an Illinois offer. On Michigan:
“Really I see what they did with Trey Burke, and John Beilein says that I could come in and be the next Trey Burke,” said Davis.
Another candidate is IL PG Hyron Edwards, who has Purdue, Indiana, and Illinois offers and claims MSU is on the docket. Edwards on M:
“The contact is tight,” he said his relationship with the Michigan coaching staff. “It is as tight as it can be right now. Coach (LaVall) Jordan, he is a nice guy. Coach (John) Beilein (too.) The players are great to me. Glenn Robinson III, Spike (Albrecht), Mitch (McGary), we all like this off the court.”
“I watched all of their games actually. I have been to some too. When they played Michigan State and IU, as well.”
He says something similar about State's interest, and has no favorites. He's not looking to make a decision for another year.
BONUS: best typo or best typo?
With all these Big Ten pogroms showing Edwards’ interest, is there a clear cut favorite yet?
Hey man that's football's problem, not basketball.
While I refuse to even mention 2016 football recruits, except when I mention them, basketball is a bit different. Michigan's after the spectacularly-named PG Cassius Winston, who has a couple BCS offers already and looks like he'll be a serious candidate for both Michigan and Michigan State offers in what will be the state's most-talented year in a long time. UMHoops caught up with him:
Despite the fact that he’s just wrapping up his freshman year of high school, Winston has an idea of what he’s looking for in a potential college.
“Point guard dominant,” said Winston. “Where the point guard controls the tempo and the pace and a great coaching staff.”
For its part, Michigan fits the ball.
“I like Michigan. That’s a point guard dominant team with lots of screen and rolls. They support you and they make sure you take care of your books and everything.”
Yes, Michigan fits that bill. It's shaping up to be a rare MSU-M head to head battle:
“I talk to Bacari Alexander a lot and every now and then we talk,” Winston explained. “Probably it’s between Michigan and Michigan State leading my recruitment [right now].”
There is yet another Gordon, his name is Eron, he's a 2016, he's got Indiana and Purdue offers already.
Last Thursday, Mitch McGary sent out a tweet that would change the course of my weekend, and perhaps even my life:
— Mitch McGary (@MitchMcGary4) May 9, 2013
My goodness, did he ever get the hang of it. McGary has actually had this Tumblr account for around six months; until last week, he'd posted three pictures when he first created the page—which is of course titled "WE ON"—and then gone into radio silence during the season. In the five days since that tweet, he has posted 120—I repeat, one hundred and twenty—pictures to his Tumblr, several with one- or two-word captions but mostly just "reblogs" of other people's pictures.
You'd never guess this, but Mitch McGary gets very excited about pretty much everything. Basketball legends? He covers everyone from MJ to Dr. J to Shaq to, er, Chris Anderson. But of course he posts basketball photos. It's everything else that makes McGary's Tumblr the best Tumblr.
Do you like lions? Mitch McGary does. Why? Because they're dream-chasers... with flow.
But McGary isn't a cat speciesist. He loves big cats of all types, especially if they're "chillen" in an SUV or fighting feline bigotry.
Video games? McGary prefers to throw it back, '90s style.
Naturally, Pokemon is his jam—and that extends to fake Pokemon cards of Gucci, the Stage 2 evolution of Gucci Mane. (The actual Gucci Mane has yet to evolve to Stage 3, in which he's immune to the laws of society. Let's hope this never happens.)
And superheroes! Man, they're the best. Especially Batman.
Is an object shiny? If so, it's probably attracted Mitch's attention. Chrome shoes! A gold Game Boy! A gold camera!
BY GAWD, IT'S A GOLD-PLATED POOP THRONE!
There is so much more—Mr. T in a suit! The "coolest tree"! A desert oasis! Virtual waterfall! PARTY DOG!—that I can't even begin to cover in one post. Start on page one, allow McGary's infectious joie de vivre to brighten your day, and try to convince me that a Tumblr has better fit a player's personality. You can't, unless Denard Robinson decides to compile every picture of him smiling into one place. (Please do this, someone. Denard's a bit busy at the moment.)
MORE LIKE AMBEARCROMBIE AND BEARFITCH, AMIRITE. Offensive linemen Kyle Kalis and Erik Magnuson as models of a certain variety:
Slight difference? Naw. Yes I am going to take this opportunity to note that Kalis seems closer to the field than Magnuson solely based on resemblance to Soda Popinski.
You are victorious. Savor your victory. Spencer will eat cheese, and refugees will be settled, and if any of them look like they might have a double-digit block percentage we're sitting pretty well.
Behold the eye lasers of Brady Hoke.
They are looking. Michigan's got a couple scholarships open and Hoke got locked into a luncheon where fans pepper him with questions so the first one everyone goes with is about the backup QB—could be worse, could be the starter. Answer:
"Yeah, we are (still looking)," coach Brady Hoke said Monday before the West Michigan Sports Commission Annual Luncheon at the J.W. Marriott in Grand Rapids. "But, it's one of those things where there's a lot of I's to dot and T's to cross to make sure it's the right fit."
Michigan's got a month and a half before their summer semester starts, and hopefully they'll be able to reel in someone by then.
The double troll. Hoke got a two-for-one in at the same event:
"The Notre Dame game, that rivalry, which they're chickening out of," Hoke said Monday ….
The remark drew thunderous applause from the crowd.
"They're still gonna play Michigan State, they're gonna play Purdue, but they don't want to play Michigan," Hoke continued. "I don't know how they made that decision."
Tell it like it is, man. Kicker JJ McGrath approves.
U MAD? Also on twitter (shut up Bry):
— Jeff Hecklinski (@JeffHecklinski) May 11, 2013
#inthecommunity #intheweightroom #inurbasesteelingurdudes
Um, okay then. I guess if Michigan's going to have a nonconference game at a neutral site New York isn't the worst place:
"The reception we've had in New York every year we've played there has been tremendous," Beilein said. "I think it's the plan to get there often. How often, I don't know.
"Is it every year? Every other year? I don't know. Right now, it'll be two years in a row and there's a tournament down the line we're obligated to as well. We're going to get there often."
I would prefer games on campus in all situations, but it's less of a big deal when you have Arizona and Iowa State coming in. Michigan is generally going to be the defacto home team against anyone they play there.
Regional: acquired. Also: Super Regional. Michigan got knocked out of the Big Ten softball tournament in the semis, a disappointing result for team with a 91% win rate in conference play. Despite that, Michigan did get a seed, specifically the eighth and last. That means that not only does Michigan host an NCAA regional this weekend, but if they advance they will host the super-regional.
Central Michigan vs Cal kicks things off at 4:30 PM Friday; Michigan hosts Valpo at 7PM. Unlike the Big Ten tourney, NCAA regionals are double-elimination. Valpo is 34-25 and was 11-9 in the Horizon League; they should be a pushover. Cal had a good overall record but was 10-14 in the Pac-12; Michigan mowed CMU down 11-0 in a mercy-rule game about three weeks ago.
Moar replays, fewer charges. The NCAA basketball rules committee didn't do much. They allowed some late-game replays—just what the game needs, more stoppages—and changed the charge rule so that a defender need to be set before an offensive player "starts his upward motion" to pass or shoot to not get called for a block.
I am not a fan. The game's problems stem from a refusal to call obvious fouls, as anyone who's flipped on the NBA playoffs after immersing themselves in this year's Big Ten schedule has been shocked to find out. All that hand-checking? Yeah, gone.
Tightening up the charge rule in that manner just seems unfair to the defender, who can get there in plenty of time and still get nailed because he didn't anticipate that by the time he was getting plowed in the chest the offensive player would put his arms up.
I am vaguely hopeful the proverbial crackdown will be more effective. From Andy Glockner:
The other changes, which really are just a re-emphasis of existing rules on the book, will require officials to consistently and, perhaps exhaustively, crack down on handchecking, armbars, and other techniques used both on a primary ballhandler and on cutters moving through the lane. If the officials do call this regularly, we’ll end up with a lot of fouls and free throws early in the season, and then hopefully teams will adjust and we’ll see better, more free-flowing offense later in the campaign. The off-ball contact in the lane is an especially big problem in the college game, and it will again challenge coaches who teach this as part of their defensive approach to find another way to successfully guard.
If that actually gets called like the NBA, the game is going to get a lot cleaner once we get past the section of time when all games are horrible foul-fests. That would be great for Michigan, which is historically a low-foul team that uses a crapton of cuts.
I AGREE WITH NICK SABAN. I've been agreeing with Dave Brandon lately about things like "how many conference games should we have?" and "should we schedule Virginia Tech," so I may as well just agree with everyone about everything. Here we go:
“I’m for five conferences – everybody playing everybody in those five conferences,” theAlabama coach said Thursday night before speaking at a Crimson Caravan stop. “That’s what I’m for, so it might be 70 teams, and everybody’s got to play ’em. …”
Saban reiterated his desire for the SEC to expand from eight conference games to nine per year for each team.
I… I'm with Napoleon.
Hockey commits. Michigan picked up a commit from OJHL goalie Hayden Lavigne for either next year or the year after. So while the door for Rutledge is hypothetically still open, he's just picked up two competitors for the rest of his career. I don't think he's coming back. Lavigne started 18 games last year, posting a .922 and being named "second team All-Prospect" in his league. He was a third round pick in the most recent USHL draft even though his OJHL team expects him back this year.
The addition of Lavigne signals a sea change in the way Michigan is acquiring goalies. Used to be they'd plug and play a top prospect every 3-4 years. Now they're adding a third contender to the mix, and instead of first-round draft picks they're random guys. This can work. It's clearly not the best way to go about things, but Jeff Jakatis and various Miami goalies have proven that goalies are weird and can come from anywhere.
Michigan also picked up a commit from a USHL defenseman named Cutler Martin. He's a '94 (ie, he'll be 20 when he comes in next year) and has very little internet profile out there. Seems like he'll be a third pairing guy to fill out roster depth.
At what point does something become and out-and-out lie? Here's NBC Irish blogger Keith Arnold claiming "Michigan asked to stop ND series first" because Bill Martin wanted to put in one of the occasional two-year hiatuses that the series has seen since its resurrection. Is this merely dishonest or a flat out lie? I think it's actually the latter, since of course "stopping" the ND series is something you do when you, say, cancel all future games. Michigan never had any intention of doing that.
Etc.: More than you needed to know about the all-time-wins chase from the perspective of a Texas fan. Women's tennis hits the sweet 16, their fourth straight. Men go down to a first-round upset. Soccer brings in the #6 class in the country(!). More things you wouldn't buy on eBay. It's Mott Takeover week at WTKA.