...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
There's going to be quite a bit of info in this weekly update because we're back to square one. Offers are being passed out, new names are starting to surface, junior days and combines are happening, and everyone's meeting everyone else. Rather than me listing all the offers that are out right now, I'll just point you to Magnus over at Touch the Banner and his offer board.
This weekend is what was the "Michigan Showcase" camp and is now "Best of the Midwest." Either way it's in Ann Arbor and will host some of the top kids in the Midwest--like the name suggests. Coaches can't attend the camp but Michigan will take the opportunity to show a few kids around before or after.
6'2", 205 lbs.
Plant City, Florida
Coney was offered by the previous staff, and had an 'incident' that lead to his dismissal from his high school team. Despite those facts Coney says he has heard from the new Michigan staff and the incident is nothing to worry about.
The (Michigan) coach said he looked at my film over 40 times, and he liked what he saw. He said they would love for me to get up there and see the program, and that I pass the eye test. I'm up to 210-pounds now. I got into a small altercation with one of my teammates, and the seniors said they didn't want me on the team so they kicked me off for last year. I'll be back on the team this year though.
I have to take what these kids say as their word, and this is what Bennie is reporting. He says that Michigan is in his current top five along with FSU, Notre Dame, Auburn, and LSU.
We'll see if they pursue him heavily; there are plenty of quarterbacks in the Midwest and California.
6'3", 265 lbs.
Kuhar is a big defensive tackle who also happens to be a wrestling champion. Michigan was Greg's first Big Ten offer, which was exciting for him and his family.
Any Big Ten school is amazing, playing in that atmosphere would be awesome. My parents were really excited, my dad loves Michigan. Being from Ohio I like Ohio State, but I'm really just a fan of college football in general. I always watch Big Ten football and root for them.
Kuhar currently holds offers from Michigan and Toledo, but that list will probably expand soon. Whenever Michigan decides to set a date for junior days, look for most of the midwest kids, including Greg, to make it up to Ann Arbor.
6'3", 210 lbs.
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
I reported that Biegel received a Michigan offer last week and has the Wolverines in his top three with Wisconsin and BYU. Wisconsin is his leader for now, but there's room for that to change.
I was thinking about committing after my junior season, this past season but I decided not to. Wisconsin took five linebackers and lost the coach that was recruiting me, so I want to take it slow and look around now.
I want to look at other schools, and it's funny Coach Matty [Mattison] actually recruited my dad out of high school. Coach told me he didn't want this to be like what happened with my dad [who went to BYU]. Coach is pretty well known in this area, and he's a funny guy.
I don't think I have to keep repeating how many good things I've heard about Greg Mattison anymore. It's just a given that everyone loves him, and somehow has been recruited by him.
Wisconsin still has a slight edge right now, but what happened with the linebackers and the coaches I think really affected Vince. Both his dad and uncle played for the Cougars, but I'm not sure if that will be enough to get him out of the Midwest. You can watch his junior film here.
6'4", 210 lbs.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Ron Thompson also received an offer last week, and it was a big one for the instate junior. Thompson is a big fan of Michigan, and was hoping to hear from them. Thompson's coach Avante Mitchell filled me in on what happened and what's next.
Ron talked to Coach Jackson, and he was very matter of fact with Ron. He said, "We've seen your film, and you're the type of ball player we want at Michigan. You have the right ball skills, agility, and you're the type of player we want to be a Michigan man." Ron was very professional on the phone, but you could tell he wanted to jump out of his skin. He's a big Michigan fan.
Besides being a fan of Michigan, Ron has a few other connections to Ann Arbor.
We actually coached Devin Gardner for a long time, I've been coaching him since he was little. Ron had the chance to meet Devin last year at a 7 on 7, so that was a big deal for him. Ron's a good kid, he deserves this attention, he busts his butt every day. We told him to enjoy the moment, go through the process and once he's to the point where he knows then go ahead and make it.
Thompson will also try to make it up to Ann Arbor for a visit soon. I'm not sure how long he plans on letting his recruitment play out, but it's safe to say that Michigan is in good position for Thompson.
PA LB Deaysean Rippy (6'2", 200 lbs): Rippy should be one of the top linebackers in the country, and had this to say about his recruitment so far.
I'm still open to everybody. I was offered by Michigan when Coach Rod was there, but the new staff has been in contact. I'll try to make it up there for a visit, maybe for a practice.
MO DT Ondre Pipkins (6'3", 325 lbs): Pipkins is originally from Saginaw/Rochester and only recently moved to Missouri. He said he's hoping to hear from Michigan.
I was actually both a Michigan and MSU fan. I know Lamarr Woodley, Charles Rogers and Jason Richardson so I can't really choose one side. Alabama, Missouri, Michigan, MSU, Iowa, Oregon, and Auburn would be awesome for me.
MI DB Leviticus Payne (5'9", 175 lbs): Payne has been hearing from Michigan. One of his coaches told me that Michigan is close to offering. Here's more from our conversation:
Leviticus is an excellent student athlete, a really nice kid to have around. He's been a consistent worker in the classroom and athletically. He's the hardest working kid we've been around. I know a lot of places want him for defense, but I think he has good enough ball skills for offense too.
- California TE Taylor McNamara was offered last week. He filled me in on where he's at here.
- Ohio DE Ifeadi Odenigbo placed fifth overall in the Cleveland Nike combine. There were also a few other notable recruits at the same event, which we talked about on the board. Ifeadi is supposed to meet with the Ohio State coaches sometime soon, but maintains they are not his dream school. Stanford, Ohio State, and Michigan seem to be near the top.
- Ohio OL Benny McGowan (6'4", 290 lbs.) is a name to keep an eye on. He was the first ever offensive lineman to score over 100 at a Nike combine. He also happens to be a Michigan fan, and will be reaching out to the Michigan coaches. His top five so far is Michigan, Northwestern, Cincy, Notre Dame, and Bowling Green.
- Maryland WR Stefon Diggs, a teammate of current Wolverine Blake Countess, is another name to watch. His coach tells me to keep an eye on DE Roderick Chungong, RB Wes Brown, DE Ryan Watson, and OL Mike Madaras in the 2012 class from Our Lady of Good Counsel as well.
- Another teammate of a current recruit to watch is DB/RB Brandon Watkins (5'10", 195 lbs), who plays with Leviticus Payne. Watkins missed five games last year due to injury, but his coach thinks he's a gamer.
- Glenville DB De'Van Bogard (5'11", 172 lbs) could be close to receiving a Michigan offer. Unfortunately he's probably about to get an offer from Ohio State too. He's an OSU lean.
- Ohio QB Maty Mauk was offered by Michigan last week, and told me about his feelings towards the Wolverines here.
- Pennsylvania DE Noah Spence will be one of the most sought after defensive line recruits for 2012. His coach told me how Michigan will factor in to his recruitment.
- Missouri LB Michael Scherer (6'4", 229 lbs) plans on coming to Michigan for an unofficial visit in March after a 7 on 7 tournament.
- Ohio QB Tyler O'Connor (6'3", 202 lbs) has been hearing from Michigan, and could see an offer soon.
After Tate Forcier left the program the new Michigan coaches were left scrambling to find a late addition to the 2011 class. They found a diamond in the rough with Texas QB Russell Bellomy, and patched the hole. While they picked up Bellomy, the Michigan coaches look for a quarter back in every class. Maty Mauk (6'2", 185 lbs/Kenton, Ohio) was the latest to receive an offer from the Wolverines. Here's what he had to say.
TOM: I guess the main question right now is if Michigan has offered you yet?
MATY: Yes, they offered me yesterday (Thursday). The offensive line coach has been the one recruiting me from Michigan.
TOM: So is that five offers now?
MATY: Six, Illinois just offered too. [Mauk's offers: Bowling Green, Michigan, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, and Missouri]
TOM: I know your brother was at Cincinnati when Brian Kelly was there, so you almost have two separate connections now with Cincinnati and Notre Dame. Are they the two that are at the top right now?
MATY: I'm wide open right now, so everyone (including Michigan) has a good chance.
TOM: Spring ball is going to start to pick up soon and you're not too far from Ann Arbor, are you going to make it up to Michigan any time soon?
MATY: Yeah, I'm going to go up to Michigan sometime in the next couple weeks.
TOM: What do you want to experience on the visit, or what about Michigan is interesting to you?
MATY: The stadium and the tradition they have is great. The offense is going to be a force, and just to meet the coaches.
TOM: Taking visits this early, is this the start of the process for you or do you want to get things done pretty quickly?
MATY: No, I'll probably take my time with everything; I think I'm going to wait. I'm hearing from the schools that have offered and Arkansas, Auburn, Louisville, Penn State, Kentucky, Iowa, LSU, and a few others nationally.
[We'll always cheer for you, oh Var-si-ty!]
You're back! After a bumpy ride following the Great Burn All of 2011, the diarists of MGoBlog have crawled out from whatever rocks, firewalls, and corporate office policies they were under and returned to populating the area right about THERE---->
with a new crop of 200+ word thoughts. Miracle Planet was right: no matter what you do to the Earth, life will always find a way to survive, repopulate, and thrive again. On the other hand one extinction-level event per billion years is plenty kthx.
In celebration of the return of you, I'm going to give you a break from me and head right into the diaries. Save your "tl;dr"s for next week, 'cause it's a biggun'.
Michigan Men's Football (Varsity)
He works for TomVH. He knows the minds of 2012 recruits before they do. He was front-paged twice in successive weeks, and is your Diarist of the Week. Meet (you've met him already) JC3, who provided a fantastic two-part rundown of 2012 prospects.
QBs: Gunner Kiel (IN – pictured right), Rob Gregory (IL)
RBs: William Mahone (OH), Juwan Lewis (MI)
WRs: Aaron Burbridge (MI), Amara Darboh (IA), Stefon Diggs (MD)
TEs: Sam Grant (OH)
Ath: Drake Johnson
OL: Jordan Diamond, Kelby Latta (MI), JJ Denman (PA), Jake Meador (IN), Caleb Stacey (OH), and Ben Bradem (MI)
S's: Bam Bradley (OH), Deshaun Hall (OH)
LBs: Royce Jenkins-Stone (MI), Laron Taylor (MI)
DTs: Vincent Valentine (IL), Danny O'Brien (MI), Matthew Godin (MI)
DEs: Evan Winston (MI), Tom Strobel (OH), Chris Wormley (OH)
If you missed the articles, get your 2012 stalker on now and hit those up. Also: use the comments below to pick your favorite name from above. I can't decide between a quarterback named Gunner and a safety named Bam. Can I have them both?
Also in things you must read if you're a Michigan football fan already thinking about 2012 is umhero's awesome "Roster Balance and the 2012 Class." This hero broke down the dispersion of talent (by eligibility) on the current M roster and compared it with an ideal 85-man breakdown, showing very clearly where our recruiting needs and soft spots are. A sample:
Yes, not kidding, that awesome…like that-screen-you-always-have-to-keep-checking-when-you're-doing-offseason-recruiting-in-EA-Sports-NCAA-Football-[One-Year-in-the-Future] awesome (or at least you did when it was 55 men –signed, guy who keeps going back to 2004 whenever the latest gets too frustrating).
In more general football discussion, the oversigning issue that's now old news at this blog is generating more traction in the news that's not this blog, and in the diaries section, which is this blog reflected. The one to read is JeepinBen's explanation of the difference between a Medical Redshirt and a Medical Exemption. The other one is Zone Left's proposal to stop oversigning by…um…letting kids transfer? You know what: let him explain.
Football etc.: The_Knowledge stopped by to look back in time at The Process, which depending on how far into the future he's from, could mean he's looking back into history, or looking back into a less distant future, or look into the present. One thing's for certain: in the future, people really don't know shit about early 21st century Michigan football.
Michigan Men's Basketball (Varsity)
Beating the Spartans during their Year of Infinite Pain if Spartans Felt Pain felt really damn good. Continuing to beat Big Ten teams since is making the Crisler bandwagoners like me (apologies to any long-sufferers I'm crowding) jump back on board for the ride. Of course, it's hard not to be a cagers junkie once the MGoDiarists have at it. For example, I must now watch basketball because I know things about PORPAG:
A cursory glance shows what Brian alluded to in the front page post, Darius Morris is the sixth most valuable player offensively in the Big Ten, behind Wisconsin's excellent Jordan Taylor, a future top-5 pick, and three seniors. Another glance shows that Tim Hardaway Jr. is the third-most valuable freshman according to PORPAG, behind Sullinger and Wisconsin's role player, Josh Gasser (this statistic loves the Badgers, they have the 1st, 2nd, 14th, 25th, 34th, and 39th best PORPAG players, part of this is probably due to the slow deliberate pace at which they play, and the fact that everyone's non-conference schedule is included in this compilation of this stat, so a team like Wisconsin would be given an advantage over a team like MSU. Still, Wisconsin's numbers are impressive here, near miss against Iowa notwithstanding).
That's the_white_tiger pouring through basketball sabermetrics and coming back to say we're good at basketball.
Another reason to watch this team: unlike the Ellerbe squads that coincided with my Michigan years, this team is really likeable, from honest and intellectual Coach Beilein to a bunch of names matching my 1992 Donruss cards, to Shoot More On The Run You Cocaine Zombie (third reason: can't let such an awesome mnemonic by antoo go to waste). If PORPAG ain't your bag, Michigania (you're thinking: does he know Dan Glasser?) has a the Cliffs Notes of how this team came together.
Michigan Dancing (March Sport)
Just kidding, it's still hoops. Yes, when the wins start coming, we start thinking maybe possibly there could be a spot for us among the
32, 65, 68, 2.6 million squads invited to the NCAA Tournament. Or even the NIT. Both were out of reach at the start of the year, but you know, we won some games, so we can wonder…
What will it take to make the Dance?
Um, chart guy?
No. Well, yes, I'm normally the bolded subconscious of the main page who asks for charts at the end of bad UFRs, but this time I was just telling you the name of 2012's article.
That's what I'm trying to find out.
That's the name of his diary.
2012: What will it take to make the Dance?
Who's talking about the dance in 2012?
Aw, forget it…chart?
As of now the first two are taken care of, but those were the easiest. From here, hoops needs to win 3/5 out of @Ill, @Iowa, Wisconsin, @Minn, MSU. Kenpom has us favored in only one of those games, that being Michigan State's season-ending visit to Crisler (and MSU is in a statistical trough right now that's probably not sustainable). Signs point to this simply being basketball's version of the week after we beat Purdue last year, with Wisconsin and Ohio State on the horizon. But hope springs eternal.
If you'd rather skip to the end of the story, Blazefire has provided a glimpse into the Headlines of the Future. Let's hope his future has more accurate accounts of contemporary Michigan athletics than that of The_Knowledge.
Michigan Women's Softball (Varsity)
Looking for a Michigan sport that won't make you drink and do nasty things to your head? Want a pastime where Michigan just dominates, reloads, and dominates again, all while showing such exuberance and joy in their sport? Is Misopogon trying to screw with you with all of these rhetorical questions just so he can say "broomball" or something when there's two softball pictures above?
But man you're still going to love our softball team, as only South Bend Wolverine can bring it to you.
Last year, Dorian Shaw lead the way for Michigan in the home-run department, going deep 21 times. One of those shots broke the letter A on the now-rechristened "lumni Field" scoreboard. And while Nemitz was the senior pitcher on staff, Taylor led the way for much of the year, going 26-4 with an ERA of 1.44. The highlight of her year came in April when, on the 10th she tossed 5 perfect innings as Michigan mercy-ruled Minnesota 9-0. Not two weeks later, Taylor was on the mount again, and once again was perfect through 5, as UM mercy-ruled PSU 8-0.
All you need to know is Michigan mercy-ruled 19 games last year out of 57 played. Let me rephrase: a full third of the Softball team's games ended with the Wolverines winning by so much so early the other team cried uncle (actually, it's a rule, but still!). The girls also beat Ohio State in football, shut out the Packers in Green Bay, and brokered an intergalactic peace treaty with Zoltan's space empire. Taylor and slugger Dorian Shaw are both pre-season player of the year candidates, and either is likely to beat out Denard for the Heisman.
The ladies won their first two games of this season – the first in a mercy – this weekend.
Michigan Men's Ice Hockey (Varsity)
Unfortunately nobody wrote a diary about the hockey guys. But then no other Michigan sport, varsity or otherwise, swept Ohio this weekend. This was utterly necessary. Also: mmmm beating Ohio State at things: this be a wonderful Valentine's gift, si Caporusso?
Two wins against Ohio State in two nights – thanks, Louie, it's just what I wanted!
Michigan Men's Aerial Flyovers (Club?)
So the story goes, Orson of EDSBS, styling himself Earl of Blogville, found a form for requesting a flyover for his son's 1st birthday.
So of course some Michigan fan who has to actually answer such paperwork all the time is going to come along and write a Diary about how he's doing it all wrong. Follow Zone Left, not Orson, if you are serious about getting one of our military's planes to buzz your locale. Please coordinate with me before planning anything…Zone Left, the paperwork should be on its way, along with a million gajillion MGoPoints to cover any expenses.
Michigan Men's Wrestling (Varsity)
…is really good this year we hear. AceUMer has a loooooong diary that breaks down every match. The Wolverines went into this weekend with a lot of promise, but Iowa can scrap, man. The full preview is worth checking out.
Michigan Paintball (Club)
What's awesome is he named the one on the right "Crippleboy.jpg"
I am 100% not kidding. There's a diary (again) this week on our Paintball team. In fact, it's a really long diary: a 1,700 words-long diary. And it's also really interesting, with detailed rundowns of each game from Michigan's latest tournament. Our paintballers even got their own Angry Michigan [Position] Hating God when the "Snake" position claimed both the team's best player, and then subsequently its captain. Can they recover from such devastating blows and fight their way back to win the match that gets them to the Championship round? Nope. They totally lost that game.
Michigan Water Polo
It's on the board.
People, this athletic department is huge! No wonder Brandon didn't have time to interview more than one candidate –ZING!
Michigan Bloggers Etc.
I don't quite know what to make of J.Swift's humor piece where Wiki-Leaks supposedly turns up dirt on The Process in Wyoming and it's…poetry?
I do, however, know what to make of this from-the-board parody of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by MGoBLueForLife. I'm re-naming it "The Wreck of the R.R. Fitzgerald" because 39 people apparently read the name of the post and figured it was an attack on our former coach. It's not – as the 33 people who read it can attest it is a work of brilliant entertainment that captures the fan experience of spending the last three years aboard a high-tech vessel (that did have some flaws) that was wrecked by an indomitable shitstorm. Bonus: I crap on the SEC in the comments.
|WHAT||Michigan v. Indiana|
|WHERE||Ann Arbor, MI|
4:00 PM EST
February 12th, 2011
|THE LINE||Michigan -6.5|
If Michigan wants to make the tournament, this game is a must win. Hell, if they want to make the NIT, it's probably a must-win. Take care of business today, and you can worry about bigger goals later. Enough said.
With a few games under each team's belt, it's finally reasonable to look at the stats. If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy.
|Michigan v. Indiana: National Ranks|
|Category||Michigan Rank||Indiana Rank||Advantage|
|Mich eFG% v. IU Def eFG%||59||117||M|
|Mich Def eFG% v. IU eFG%||179||40||II|
|Mich TO% v. IU Def TO%||25||134||MM|
|Mich Def TO% v. IU TO%||236||178||I|
|Mich OReb% v. IU DReb%||308||118||II|
|Mich DReb% v. IU OReb%||42||135||M|
|Mich FTR v. IU Opp FTR||344||329||I|
|Mich Opp FTR v. IU FTR||61||199||MM|
|Mich AdjO v. IU AdjD||45||91||M|
|Mich AdjD v. IU AdjO||76||56||I|
The Wolverines are having a much better season than the Hoosiers, but the stats are nearly even. Part of that is a tougher schedule for the Wolverines. Though Michigan went down in Bloomington in embarrassing fashion, Indiana has yet to win a game on the road this season.
The Wolverines are playing some of their best ball of the season right now, whereas IU lost to Iowa last week... at home. Two of their most important contributors, Maurice Creek and Christian Watford, are injured and likely to miss today's game.
Pomeroy likes Michigan, 68-63, but I'm a little more optimistic, especially with IU's injury situation. I think Michigan comes away with a 65-53 victory in Crisler.
College football in a nutshell, according to Finebaum callers
Oversigning continues to be a hot topic now that beat writers are aware of the subject and are keeping an eye out for stuff like a half-dozen players evaporating from the Ole Miss roster in the wake of Ole Miss oversigning by twelve:
In the Ole Miss notebook in Wednesday’s Clarion-Ledger, you probably read the lead note about the impending transfer of WR/KR Jesse Grandy. That’s somewhat significant news, considering how valuable he was as a freshman and the depth at wide receiver.
Later in that note, though, there are a couple of other names mentioned: Dele Junaid and Jared Mitchell. Both were scholarship players who are not on this roster that the school distributed Tuesday night, shortly after the news of Grandy’s departure broke.
But here are four more scholarship players from last year who were missing, as we noted early Wednesday afternoon on Twitter: RB Martez Eastland, OL Terrance Hackney, DE Lekenwic Haynes and DL Alan-Michael Thomas.
Hope you enjoyed your year or three in Oxford, but it's off to South Ballsack for you. Enjoy your degree from something that's not technically a community college anymore, unless it is, except you probably won't be getting one anyway. Don't brush the APR on your way out.
Hopefully this keeps up to the point where the SEC has to do something more than obfuscate the problem and actually, you know, does something about it. Here's Mike Slive:
It was two years ago that we took the initiative and put in an SEC rule that 28 was the most you could sign [in one class] and understanding that the rest of the country might not do that. The rest of the country followed suit and copied the SEC rule nationally and made it 28.
The SEC took an "initiative" to implement something far weaker than the Big Ten and Pac 10 had for decades after Houston Nutt signed 37 kids one year. That implementation is a paper tiger, but Slive's waving his PR magic wand because he's a company man. The SEC's done nothing except implement a cosmetic change. Florida going bats about it forced Slive to gesture towards discussion later this year, but at no point will he ever suggest that the SEC is anything but a forward-thinking bastion of nation-leading ethics.
In contrast, the Big Ten actually grasps the issue:
Do those exceptions relate to the rule that allows three over the [scholarship] limit?
CH: Correct. This is the difference between our rule and what the NCAA rule is. If you have 20 scholarship slots available, our rule would allow you to sign 23, where the NCAA is a firm number. We allow oversigning by three in football. Some have used it, not everyone has. On a year-to-year basis, there are fewer than use it than not. And even within those instances, we may be looking at oversigning by two or even one.
Meanwhile, Nick Saban's feeble attempt to justify his massive oversigning was torn to shreds by anyone who wrote about it. (He then had the audacity to complain about players breaking verbal commitments! Alabama is the only school in the state that blacks out scholarship numbers from FOIAed requests!) Moments later we found out we can add Saban to the list of coaches who yoinked scholarships from players after they had moved into the dorm:
So Jones was asked to delay his enrollment until January. He had to move out of the dorm, and he won't be on an athletic scholarship until next semester. He can't practice with the team, work out with the team or travel with the team.
Instead, he'll be a part-time student this semester, taking nine hours, and he'll live in the condo his parents had leased for his older brother to call home and for the family to share on football weekends.
"It's disappointing when you don't really expect it, but we understand it," said Leslie Jones, the mother of Harrison and Barrett. "We have no hard feelings. We're very grateful for the opportunities our sons have."
[Ed-M: Update: there's more to the story - According to the boys' high school coach in the comments below, he's back on scholarship. Also, Saban had a long talk with the family about the grashirt situation, wherein he probably explained...]. This is followed by the quote that always shows up in these stories:
"College football is a business, and you have to treat it as a business."
Yea, and the legions of SEC fans filled the comments to call the reporter a quisling and the player a piece of meat, and other people were depressed because the people Bud Light commercials work on can still operate computers, and people compared the attempted education of poor kids to Wall Street.
|WHAT||Ohio State @ Michigan|
|WHERE||Yost Ice Arena
Ann Arbor, MI
|WHEN||7:35 PM Fri/Sat|
|THE LINE||College hockey lines, junkie?|
Record. 14-13-2, 9-11-2 CCHA. OSU's gone 2-4 the last three weekends, splitting with Notre Dame and Michigan State and getting swept in Alaska. They've got a –5 CCHA goal differential but had a strong effort against (terrible, terrible) nonconference teams. They're +9 for the season.
KRACH is not impressed: it has them 28th, ahead of only BG and Northern Michigan in the CCHA.
Previous meetings. Michigan split in Columbus in early December, losing 3-2 in OT on Friday before winning 2-1. Friday was a sinfully ugly game in which Michigan had the bulk of what chances occurred. On Saturday Michigan bombed Cal Heeter with 48 shots but couldn't break through until the third when Luke Glendening gritted in a goal; Wohlberg punched in the game winner with around five minutes left.
Both games were low on quality chances and featured plenty of aimless play between the blue lines.
Dangermen. OSU's middle of the pack in scoring at 32nd. Their top guys are linemates and seniors John Albert (11-20-31) and Sergio Somma (15-11-26); junior Danny Dries has 13-11-24 but did the bulk of his damage against OSU's weak nonconference schedule. There are three more guys with seven or eight goals and then it collapses—OSU has no scoring depth.
They also get nothing from their defensemen. Shane Sims is the only D with more than one goal and the only guy who seems like he might be generating scoring chances with his passing. The rest of the corps have the scattered assists you'd expect from guys who happen to be on the ice when other people do stuff.
Heeter. Also ugly uniforms.
Defense and goalie and whatnot. Junior and guy named like he lives in a van down by the river Cal Heeter has played all but 22 minutes this season. He's been good. He's got a .920 save percentage despite facing almost 30 shots a game. That puts him in a four way tie for 20th nationally (72 goalies are ranked) with Shawn Hunwick and a couple other guys.
As mentioned, the defense is comprised of simple defensive guys save Sims, an Islanders draftee. None stand out statistically and I don't remember anything useful from the first series. They do seem to be good. Michigan struggled to generate anything earlier and while that was also the case last weekend that OSU series still stands as the ugliest and least exciting of the year.
Special teams. Your power plays per game:
|PP For / G||4.7||4.3|
|PP Ag / G||4.3||4.7|
More evidence the OSU D is pretty good at being boring, solid defenders can be found in that power plays against number. 4.3 is low, and the OSU D corps does not take a ton of penalties that generate power play opportunities. OSU's maintained their PP advantage through the conference season, so that's not an artifact of the nonconference schedule. Meanwhile, after the dumb penalty orgy over the weekend Michigan exactly inverts OSU's numbers.
Michigan (17.7%, 32nd) has a slight advantage on the PP against OSU (16.9%, 37th) but is slightly worse killing penalties at 80.7 percent (39th) to OSU's 81.5 (35th). Yes, Michigan's specialty units are both in the thirties.
Michigan Vs Those Guys
Attempt to stay awake through both games. It's going to be tough. There's going to be all this luxurious ice out there and it will be easy to forget about the puck and just lay down for a nice nap. While it's unlikely anything actually happens while you're getting a bit of shut-eye, if it happens in the offensive zone you'll have to deal with offsides and whatnot.
Hunwick non-reprise. Michigan lost that OT game largely because Hunwick gave up a terrible goal on a shot taken from the half-boards on a a harmless rush. He's been very good every since.
Maybe the line blender will work. Red revamped his lines for the first time in over a year, placing Caporusso with Hagelin and creating a new second line of Wohlberg, Treais, and Moffatt that should/could/might wake up Rust, Lynch, and other forwards who are scoring less frequently than Scooter Vaughn and three of Michigan's defensemen. Rust and Lynch can go out there to shut down OSU's secondary scoring, leaving the line that hypothetically could score to eat up OSU's exceedingly weak bottom six.
The Big Picture
Michigan is hovering around the 3/4 borderline after three straight losses and needs to pick it up if it expects to reach Joe Louis Arena with an at-large bid already in its pocket. Falling down the standings has created a huge mess of teams that are relevant to Michigan's PWR ranking and makes it hard to pick out specific events that you're rooting for this weekend other than "root for everyone in front of and directly behind Michigan to lose (unless Michigan played them)." That means anyone good in the CCHA, Merrimack, Union, Dartmouth, and Colorado College are your enemies.
As for Michigan itself, they're 12th in RPI and will maintain that if they go 4-2 down the stretch. Ohio State at home is probably their second-easiest series—Northern's goal differential is awful—and after the ugliness the last two weeks a sweep would go a long way towards calming fears about breaking the tourney streak. A win and a tie would be fine, a split disappointing. Anything worse is time to head for the lifeboats.
The Wall Street Journal declares college hockey arenas "the cathedrals of sports" and gives Yost the nod for best crowd. Caporusso is now e-famous. Yost Built previews OSU and adds a little bit more information to what we know about 2013 commit JT Compher:
USHR had him ranked as the #4 forward at the Select 15 camp this past July: "Aggressive and good-sized, with a sense of the game and anticipation. Competitive, too. Blocks shots."