a terrible blight on our fine country
'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.
Today's recruiting roundup covers new offers in both the '13 and '14 classes, the updated Rivals rankings, and more.
Found: Goal Line Back, Destroyer Of Worlds
If you like to watch enormous people destroy things, you'll very much enjoy Maurice Hurst Jr.'s senior highlight tape:
About the only thing that's missing is him beating a block in a fashion other than bull rush. When your bull rush works like this, though, there's not much reason to switch things up at the high school level:
When you're done marveling at MASS DESTRUCTION, check out the "block" by the fullback
Also, if Hurst is never used as a goal-line back at Michigan, I'll be a very sad panda.
247 released senior highlights of Jake Butt this week, as well—he did impressive work on offense this season, lining up both as a traditional tight end and split out wide.
[Hit THE JUMP for a roundup of Michigan's latest offers, the updated 2013 Rivals rankings, and more.]
Say hi to McFarlin
Greetings from Bolivia!
Kevin is in Bolivia, and he wanted to add something to the blog's many ways to say "you are going to Bolivia." This our community.
Stoudamire and Korver. I know I broke the rule that white players have to be compared to white players.
What’s the ceiling for Stauskas?
I had hoped coming in that he could turn into our version of Jon Diebler but if you look at his early numbers, they compare pretty favorably to Diebler’s senior season, especially on a per minute basis.
I’m sure there is some regression this year but coming it’s also not crazy to expect some year to year improvement. Can we expect him to be a 20ppg scorer by his junior year? Should we be worried about him leaving early??
We of course don't know yet after just eight games, only three of which came against tourney-type competition. But I think you're both right and wrong that it's higher than Diebler. The wrong part: Diebler was literally the most efficient offensive player in the country as a senior and he wasn't far off his junior year. Stauskas can't really do better than 50% from three long term, unless he is literally the greatest shooter in the history of college basketball.
The right part: a large part of that stemmed from Diebler's role in the offense as Guy Who Sits In Corner And Rains In Threes Generated By Sullinger Guy. His usage and %shots dipped significantly in his final year, and he took about 80% of his shots from long range. Stauskas is currently at just over 50% and has a free throw rate that ranks.
We've just seen him start running the pick and roll productively, attacking the basket productively, and displaying a crossover Tim Hardaway Jr. envies. Stauskas has shown the potential to generate shots, not just take them. (This doesn't show up in the stats yet, it is an eye thing at the moment.) He's also just a freshman, one playing with Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. Once those guys are in the NBA, his usage should rocket upward, not decline.
Statistically, the guy's long term future may be more like Salim Stoudamire, who did this in 2005 for the Arizona outfit that lost to the Williams/Brown/Head Illinois team in OT for the right to go to the Final Four:
Salim Stoudamire 2005
That's 91% from the line, 50% from 2, and 50% from three with a nearly-even split between shots inside the arc+FTs and threes with a high usage rate.
That was good enough to see him go at the top of the second round as a senior, but Stoudamire is 6'1", not 6'6". Also I'd guess Stauskas would have a better assist rate just based on what we've seen so far.
Other bigtime snipers in the Kenpom age are not particularly good fits just because they often come from small schools on which they were far and away the best option, so they take up huge percentages of their teams shots and subsequently fire at a lower percentage. Stephen Curry put up over 30% of his team's shots in his three years and was the #1 guy in usage as a senior with a whopping 38%; he shot "just" 39% from three as a result. Same thing with Jimmer Fredette and JJ Redick.
The exception is Kyle Korver.
Kyle Korver 2003
Again around 90% from the line, 44% from inside the arc, and 48% from three, but with reasonable shooting rates and a good assist output. At 6'7", Korver is also the closest comparison in terms of height.
That's about the ceiling since Stauskas is going to spend his career with guys like Burke and Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin and GRIII and so forth and so on. Pretty nice ceiling.
As far as the other two questions: it's really hard to be a 20 PPG scorer unless you've got a usage rate in the Redick/Fredette/Curry range and I don't think Stauskas will have to be that guy, so no, and it doesn't seem like any of these snipers save Curry was coveted by the NBA early. Korver and Stoudamire were second round picks; Fredette and Redick went at the tail end of the lottery after four-year careers; Curry was the seventh pick after three years. NBA teams are going to want to see if Stauskas can carry a team and get to the rim before they spend a high draft pick on him, so I'd bet on three or four years.
to tie all the coaching changes together, any chance Scott Loeffler ends up back at michigan in some sort of QB coach capacity?
No. Borges doesn't want to work with a QB coach after he didn't like it in his two years at SDSU, and for whatever reason I've heard that Loeffler is not likely to return in any capacity under Hoke.
Besides, who's leaving to make room? These guys are pretty tight-knit. I would expect the only coaching changes Michigan deals with in the near future are because of retirements from Jackson and Mattison, and there's going to be a war for Jackson's spot between Wheatley and Hart, amongst others.
I know one of the negatives of the conference expansion you've personally taken umbrage with is the potential damage that could result from the excess money generated in the years to come by the Big Ten Network and its competitors. They'll run out of things to build, as you say. Corruption is always just around the corner.
Is there some rule against directing profits back to the university, or the endowments of the schools? I seem to remember Bill Martin always gave a million or so back to M at the end of the fiscal year. What would be wrong with that model? Doesn't the athletic department exist for the benefit of the university?
Secondly, and most people will probably not agree with me on this point, but couldn't the breadwinners of the conference more fully share their good fortune with the poorer members? After all, we wouldn't be Michigan if we didn't beat up on Minnesota year after year. Doesn't their participation in the Little Brown Jug count somewhat financially? I'm no socialist, but the better we all do in the B1G, the better for M.
Class of 2004
Athletic departments are rarely profitable because they don't have to be, and the will expand to fill the available money. Whether it's by adding sports, building new facilities, or increasing the amount of money coaches get paid, there will always be too much money being spent to have any meaningful impact on the rest of the university. We're talking about a few million dollars of surplus; the University of Michigan's 2012-2013 budget projects an operating revenue of six billion dollars.
I mean, on the other side of the coin campuses like Rutgers slap a surcharge on their students of a couple hundred dollars. Compare that to tuition costs. Right: it does not compare.
As far as helping the less fortunate, what's left to share? Every school in the league gets an equal cut of all bowl and TV revenue, even nonconference games. Even the gate revenues are shared to some extent. If any Big Ten team getting a conference cut of 22 million dollars can't stay afloat, they do not deserve to be afloat.
The excessive revenue sharing is actually a problem, IMO: since there is little financial incentive provided by having a more attractive television product, the gate is the thing. Thus many boring games against not good teams.
Prior to Brady's arrival, M always seemed to have backs capable of breaking tackles at the LOS or at least pushing the pile forward for an extra 3-4 yards. Even under the finesse regime of RR, Minor Rage could break through tackles and get extra yardage. In Brady's tenure, when the backs don't have a gaping hole, they are either stopped cold at the LOS or bounce once or twice before being stopped cold. Size does not seem to be an issue since both Fitz and Rawls are way bigger than Mike Hart who was always able to advance the pile a few yards.
Do you think this is an issue with talent, are they being coached differently than before, or is it somehow an OL issue? Hard to understand since Fred Jackson has been the lone constant over these periods.
Wolverine in Savannah
A combination of talent and OL and possibly some decline in Jackson.
There is a point at which any coach gets too old and cracks start appearing in the foundation as they age. This is clearest with head coaches (SMILE) but it happens with everyone in all walks of life. I'd imagine it's particularly acute in jobs like football that will suck up any and all available time if you let it, which you have to until you're old and institutional like Jackson. Jackson's probably approaching that point where he's a tree that sometimes remembers he's a football coach.
And then there's the talent. Denard has some talent and just set a Michigan record for yards per attempt. It is possible to run long distances still. Rawls and Smith and to a lesser extent Toussaint—who did have a nifty 2011—have never shown similar capabilities. The stable at running back is legitimately thin.
And there is an OL aspect to this as well. When you're trying to dodge or tackle a guy downfield usually you've got some steam and/or some space. You have neither in the backfield, and neither when two guys are converging on you, or one guy is totally unblocked. It's a lot easier to power through a guy standing still or still dealing with a block or coming from an outside angle because he had to. When they're a train running on the same track as you, things get bad.
All of the above! Hopefully two of the three things get fixed soon.
Some games are just games. When there are just games we just write the bullets. Don't forget Ace's instant recap.
12/4/2012 – Michigan 73, Western Michigan 41 – 8-0
So Michigan gets 7 and 9 points from Robinson and Hardaway as both shoot 3 of 10 from the floor and they win by 32. The new normal: better than the old normal. That was offset by a monster night from Trey Burke: 20 points on 11 shots, 7 assists, no turnovers, three steals. And onward.
Pick your sloppy point. Michigan is still working through long sections during which they look pretty sloppy, which probably shouldn't be a surprise with two or three freshmen on the court at all times. In this game it was early; in the previous two the rough patch was down the stretch. The net effect was about the same adjusted for level of competition.
To some extent that is basketball, but if they can just smooth out a couple of the rough patches by March…
/picks up paper bag
Tempo still slow, slow, slow. Michigan is 324th in tempo. I don't get it. It seems like Michigan is pushing the ball as much as makes sense for them to do. The Daily has an article headlined "Transition becomes Michigan's best option on offense" and I thought that was reasonable. A couple times in this game I thought Hardaway was going into two or three players when pulling it out and setting up the half-court offense was a better idea. And yet Michigan's tempo has barely budged. They're up under a possession a game from last year.
All I've got is this: Michigan takes care of the ball so well (13th in TO%) and doesn't force a whole lot of turnovers, leading to fewer short possessions that tend to lead to yet more short possessions when an open-court turnover turns into a fast break.
Supporting evidence: Beilein's teams at West Virginia forced a ton of turnovers and were a bit faster, ranked in the 270s and 280s instead of the 320s as Michigan's last four teams have been. Beilein's fastest team since 2003 was his first one at Michigan; that outfit had a lot of TOs, at least relative to Beilein averages.
It should be noted that the differences here are not huge: Michigan is about four and a half possessions away from the national average.
Big shooting: more spread out but more of it. A game like the WMU game stands out because Michigan's bigs were collectively 9/11 from the floor and took zero jumpshots to get there. Most of their efforts were throwing it down off the pick and roll, with a coast-to-coast Morgan steal and layup thrown in for good measure.
Anyway: though the bigs' collective usage is never going to approach the 2010-11 version of Morgan, Morgan only played 60% of Michigan's minutes that year. He got up 225 shots, which he made at a 63% clip. This year Morgan and McGary are collectively getting 87% of Michigan's minutes and are collectively 43/66.
Since there are two of them the lower usage is made up for by more efficient minutes. Michigan played 35 games two years ago. If they get the same number this year those two bigs shooting 64% will have gotten up 289 attempts. Michigan keeps sucking bad attempts out of the offense.
Given that, what is the weak spot on Michigan's offense? Is it GRIII? I think it is. GRIII would have been the best or second-best player on almost every Michigan team since the Fab Five exited, and he's the perimeter-ish guy on the floor who has low usage and isn't Stauskas. His ORtg is 126, which is near the top 100. In this game I got a little annoyed at him because of context.
/breathes into paper bag
Speaking of context. Trey Burke, who has been only okay shooting so far this year, was 8 of 11 and scored 20. I wrote that sentence and then looked it up to check. Burke twos are going in at an excellent 57% clip, which places him… fifth on the team.
/paper bag no longer works
Stauskas crazy stats watch. After missing two of four free throws he's down to an almost-human 89%, but going 3/4 from behind the line pushes his 3PT% on the year to 64%(!!!) and keeps that efficiency off the charts: 2nd in true shooting, 3rd in eFG, 3rd in ORtg. He picked up four assists in this one, too, including a couple of those pick and roll jams.
Western largely got the message about Stauskas and was able to limit his attempts to six—eight if you count the free-throw generating events, but one of those was off an offensive rebound. The beneficiaries of that were the bigs.
I'd like to see a little more of the offense run through Stauskas putting it on the floor. A couple of buckets in this game came when he drove, passed it out to the perimeter, and then Hardaway or Burke drove again, passing to a post for an easy layup or and-one. Both are in that highlight reel above. Reason this seems to work so well: you have to close Stauskas out so hard that help defense has to come over really early—on the and-one Stauskas only takes a couple steps—and then when the second guy gets the ball he gets an extra rotation and by that point if you're still effectively covering a post player well that's pretty dang impressive.
Stauskas also had a couple moments on the pick and roll, one a quick-release three, the other a Burke-like bounce pass for a McGary dunk. What I am trying to say is that Stauskas is really good. He could play some spot minutes at the point even.
Defense? It's hard to complain too much when the opposition shoots under 30% but Jim Jackson kept pointing out that Michigan's hard hedging put them in bad positions when opposition players were allowed to make easy passes for a series of layup-type-substances in the first half, and I was like "yeah" and grumbly.
Michigan adjusted shortly thereafter and then Western was close to helpless. I still think there's something just not there with the defense yet. I can't quite put a finger on it. Overall they're probably better because they've got the athleticism to rebound a lot more consistently, so it's got to be a lack of a guy who seems like a really good perimeter defender to harass the opposition's best player.
Horford helps out. No shots from Michigan's third big in ten minutes but five rebounds, one on offense, plus a couple other plays that didn't make it into the box score: he deflected an interior pass that led to a fast break, got a tap-out that led to an offensive rebound that I think gets credited to someone else and D-ed up on a couple of other possessions.
A good night for SOS. NC State came out on top of a nip-and-tuck battle against UConn; Northwestern went to Waco and beat Baylor. The rest of the Big Ten held serve against low-level competition, though Illinois had a scare against 3-6 Western Carolina. Their chances of beating Gonzaga: not great.
Albrecht > McDonalds AA (Detnews)
Speaking of NC State. I watched the second half of that game and still can't get over Tyler Lewis, their hobbit backup PG, being a McDonald's guy. When he came in Ryan Boatright's eyes got wide and he got to the lane for a couple easy buckets before Gottfried yanked Lewis. He's 5'11" and is truly indistinguishable from Albrecht; his one contribution to the offense was missing a tough jumper from around the free throw line after failing to get past Boatright.
Sanity checking the eye test with season stats: a third of NC State minutes, 17% usage, huge TO rate, 5 of 13 on the year from two and 0 of 3 from three. Albrecht is in fact a much better player statistically.
How anyone could look at Lewis versus Stauskas and rank the guy seven inches shorter way above the 6'6" assassin is inexplicable. The hobbit was at Oak Hill and Stauskas is Canadian. End of plausible explanations. I even find that dubious since Stauskas was all over the AAU circuit.
I can't wait for Lewis to be an okay player as an upperclassman and for this section to be used in an article on how he has Overcome The Critics.
Photos. From Bryan Fuller:
ANN ARBOR -- Midway through the first half Tuesday, Michigan fans got a first-hand glimpse at the eccentric personality of freshman big man Mitch McGary.
During a media timeout, McGary was featured during a pre-recorded, university-produced question and answer spot on the arena's large video screen.
But in the process of answering questions like "what's your favorite movie" and "who is your favorite singer," the 6-foot-10, 260-pound power forward broke out into song.
But not just any song, a Justin Bieber song.
Recaps from Holdin' The Rope, the News, and UMHoops. Baumgardner on Burke. Interviews with McGary and Burke. Bielfeldt sprained his ankle in practice, wore a boot on the sideline last night, and will miss a week or two.