Mason NEEDS this, Pistons, after all you've put him through
Tales from Last Night
Last night went much better for Michigan than did Monday. The relevant results for the Wolverines:
- Purdue beat Illinois 75-67. As a fellow bubble team, we wanted Illinois to lose.
- Oklahoma State beat Baylor 71-60. Since both are bubble teams, either one losing was nice. You still want both to lose their next game.
- Florida beat Alabama 78-51. Alabama was a fellow bubble team, but this huge loss might damage their resume beyond repair, unless they have a huge run in the SEC tournament.
- Gardner-Webb lost to Coastal Carolina 72-83. We wanted Gardner-Webb- a past Michigan opponent - to win, but this result was expected, so it's no killer.
- Bowling Green lost to Kent State 57-63. See above.
- Missouri lost to Nebraska, 58-69. We wanted Missouri to knock Nebraska off the bubble for good.
- Ohio State crushed Penn State 82-61. There was a lot of debate in the comments of yesterday's post over who we actually wanted to win, and reached a vague consensus that Ohio State was probably more favorable for Michigan. Yayz.
- Virginia Tech lost to Boston College 61-76. We wanted VT to knock Boston College off the bubble, but they may have played their own way out of the tournament by getting bludgeoned at home with a bid on the line.
None of these were killers, to say the least, but Kansas State is solidly in the tournament at this point.
The Matrix was updated juuust before last night's games, so the above results aren't taken into account. I'll note them in the "Change" column.
Per the Bracket Matrix:
|Bids||Bubble In||Bubble Out||Change|
|Big East||11||Marq (10)|
|SEC||6||Tenn (9), UGa (10), Bama (12)||Bama lost to Florida by 700 points.|
|Big Ten||6||Ill (10), MSU (11), Mich (12)||Minn, PSU||Illinois lost to Purdue, Penn State was crushed by OSU.|
|ACC||5||BC (12), VT (10), FSU (9)||Clem, Mary||BC pasted VT.|
|Big 12||5||KSU (8)||Neb, Bay, Colo, OkSt||OK State beat Baylor, Nebraska beat Mizzou.|
|Pac-10||3||Wash (9), UCLA (8)||USC, Washington St.|
|Atlantic 10||3||Richmond (11)||Dayton|
|Mountain West||3||UNLV (7)||Colo St||UNLV up from 8. Now likely solid.|
|West Coast||2||Zaga (12), St Mary's (11)|
|Colonial||2||Old Domin (8)||VCU|
|CUSA||2||Memphis (11), UAB (12)||USM, UTEP, Marsh, UCF||Jamie Mac covers the league on the JCB.|
|WAC||1||Utah State (9)|
|Horizon||1||Butler (12)||Cleve St, UW-Mil|
|Summit||1||1-bid Oakland (13)|
|Ivy||1||1-bid Princeton (13)||Harvard|
When the Matrix is next updated (before tonight's games - how inconvenient), I think it will look a liiiittle bit better for Michigan.
Wednesday is a HUGE night for college basketball, so there are going to be tons of games to watch (and the next couple days might not be frontpage-worthy). You're rooting against bubble-ish teams, though things get more complicated when a past Michigan opponent is involved.
[Ed-M: I'm throwing in a few results and smileys while waiting for certain people to finish packing, 'cause "girl's gotta have options"]
Iowa @ Michigan State (6:30, BTN). Pull for the Spartans to not embarrass themselves against Iowa (again). They're a fringe RPI top-50 team, and Michigan has the chance to get a season sweep on Saturday.
North Carolina @ Florida State (7:00, ESPN). You want North Carolina to smear Florida State's innards all over the gym. The 'Noles are a solid bubble team that can be knocked down.
Maryland @ Miami YTM (7:00, ESPNU). Maryland is on the wrong side of the bubble, and this game could end their tournament dreams.
Miami YTM 80-66: Terps go derp
Memphis @ East Carolina (7:00). Pull for the Pirates to get the upset. Memphis is a bubble team, whereas ECU has no chance to make the field without winning the league.
ECU 68-57 YAAARRR
SMU @ Central Florida (7:00). Central Florida is vaguely on the bubble, and this loss would knock them off for good.
St. Louis @ Dayton (7:00). The Flyers are near the bubble, and this loss would knock them out for good.
St. Louis 69-51
UAB v. Southern Miss (7:00). Both are bubble teams, but I say root against UAB, since they're the ones currently considered "in." Trading spots would slightly weaken Conference USA on the whole.
Richmond @ St. Joseph's (7:00). Root with all your might against Richmond. They're a bubble team currently in the tournament, but losing to a terrible St. Joe's would change that in a hurry.
Colorado @ Iowa State (7:30, ESPN3). Iowa State can undo what Texas did, and get the Buffaloes off the bubble.
Iowa State 95-90
LSU @ Georgia (8:00, ESPN3). More SEC carnage plz.
Cincinnati @ Marquette (8:00, ESPN3). Get these Golden Eagles off my bubble. If the Big East gets 11 freakin' teams into the tournament, I will do something drastic like be mildly upset.
Minnesota @ Northwestern (8:30, BTN). Michigan has a series split with each of these teams, but since Minnesota is on the bubble, I think you want them to lose and seal the deal. The way they've been playing lately, it's likely to happen. I guess you could theoretically want them to claw back into the RPI top-50 as well. I'm mostly indifferent on this one.
Clemson @ Duke (9:00, ESPN). Though they're a fellow bubble team, I think you want Clemson to win this game. They're behind Michigan in the pecking order, and the Wolverines have a big road win over them. More Michigan opponents in the tourney == better Michigan resume.
Duke is up 10 with under a minute to go as I post this.
Utah @ Colorado State (9:00). A double whammy: Utah can knock Colorado State off the bubble for once and for all, and improve Michigan's strength of schedule.
Colorado State is up 15 with 1:08 to go.
Marshall v. UTEP (9:05). Both are bubble teams, but UTEP is a past Michigan opponent.
Need to write all of that down? Some games are obviously more important than others. In the Clemson/Duke game, for instance, you could make an argument that you want either team to win (much like last night's PSU/OSU contest), so you can be happy no matter who emerges victorious.
As far as likelihood that all of these results come through the way we want? Well, Kenpom's odds have it at slightly better than 3.6x10-8. That includes our serious underdogs as well (even Clemson, who we're not even sure if we want to win), but in all the Kenpom favorite is "our team" in seven of the fifteen games.
The 2012 Recruiting Board lives here in its current primitive state. Updates coming soon.
The Harrison Three
Farmington Hills Harrison's trio of WR Aaron Burbridge, DE Mario Ojemudia, and TE Devin Funchess got some press in last week's Detroit News recruiting column by Sam Webb. First, the skill breakdowns by Harrison's coach. On Burbridge (pictured at right):
"He has tremendous explosion and acceleration," stated Herrington. "He is one of those kids that has two gears. He can go out for a pass and it looks like it is overthrown, then suddenly he explodes on the ball. He is a very tough kid, a good blocker, and has great hands. He still has a ways to go in learning all his routes, but he can catch the ball just off his shoe tops, or he can go up and get it if it is way over his head like he did in the state finals."
"As far as his game, he has got to get some size. He's about 215-218. If he gets up to college and he gets up to 245, he'll just be amazing. He could be a hybrid. We've never played him (standing) up, but he's fast and he could play an outside linebacker. I think he is better down, but he's always wanted to play up as a linebacker, so we'll see."
"He is going to be a great prospect when he puts on weight. He can be a tight end, an H-back, a split end. He has big hands. I'm not sure what he's going to run the 40 in, but I think he could be around 4.6 or 4.7."
And the recruiting news:
The Spartans have a strong connection with Harrison thanks to decades of mining some of the school's most notable talent. They've placed Burbridge and Ojemudia high on their list of priorities, and the feeling is definitely mutual... The Wolverines' chances with Funchess seem more promising, but he stops short of naming them his favorite.
There is much more in the article, including quotes from the players, so be sure to check it out. In another article, Ojemudia didn't hesitate to name Michigan State his leader. He said Michigan has a lot of work to do if they want to catch up with the Spartans.
All Aboard the Offer Train!
NJ QB/Ath Devin Fuller was offered by Michigan last week ($, info in header). He's more Denard Robinson than Chad Henne, so it's possible the staff is looking at him on defense - though he told Tom he'll get a shot at QB.
He's included on the board, but I didn't mention him in last week's update: PA RB Greg Garmon received a Michigan offer last week ($, info in header).
WI RB Vonte Jackson has picked up a Michigan offer ($, info in header). He had teammates sign with Wisconsin and Michigan State last year.
NC TE/OL Mark Harrell holds a Michigan offer. He plans to visit Michigan soon, and claims to be wide open.
CO TE Evan Baylis was offered by Michigan.
PA OL JJ Denman picked up a Michigan offer ($, info in header). He's a 2-way player in high school, but colleges are only talking to him about offensive line. Notre Dame leads ($, info in header) for Denman.
Though he's an Ohio State commit, OH OL Kyle Kalis picked up a Michigan offer last week. He told Tom he's firm with the Buckeyes, but is willing to visit Ann Arbor with his teammates (TE Sam Grant, OL Tyler Orlosky, and DT Greg Kuhar) should the opportunity arise.
NC OL Brock Stadnik has received a Michigan offer.
Michigan has added an offer ($, info in header) for SC DT Martin Aiken.
NY DT Jarron Jones has a Michigan offer ($, info in header).
MD DT Ryan Watson picked up a Michigan offer ($). He's a former teammate of 2011 CB Commit Blake Countess.
TX DE Devonte Fields has picked up a Michigan offer.
MA LB Camren Williams has a Michigan offer ($, info in header).
TX LB Jeremiah Tshimanga talked to Tom about receiving a Michigan offer, and whether he'll make a trip to Ann Arbor this weekend. Tshimanga plans to be an early enrollee.
TX LB Peter Jinkens wasn't expecting a Texas offer, so he was open to plenty of schools. HOWEVA, a Texas offer ended Jinkens's recruitment.
Elsewhere in potential package deals, Irish Sports Daily employs a record number of one-sentence paragraphs to cover the recruitment of MI LBs James Ross, Royce Jenkins Stone, and Laron Taylor, and CB Terry Richardson:
“When we were little, we wanted to play together, but we know how difficult that may be,” said Ross. “If it works out, it does and that would be great, but we probably won’t make our decisions based off what somebody else does.”
It's possible that OH QB Maty Mauk will commit to Notre Dame - as soon as he can get on campus.
CA WR Bryce Treggs holds a Michigan offer, but he doesn't mention the Wolverines and seems to be close to a decision. Cal and Notre Dame are the leaders.
According to Rivals, CA TE Taylor McNamara was close to committing to Ohio State early in the process, but now plans to wait before making a decision. Miami (YTM) and USC are also near the top for him.
IN TE Pierre Aka wants to major in nuclear engineering and has a top 4 of Stanford, Michigan, Northwestern, and Penn State. Though he doesn't hold any offers, he's in contact with Michigan's staff.
IL OL Dan Voltz has made his first cut, and the lucky schools are Auburn, Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, and Northwestern. He seems to be really high on Notre Dame following a visit to South Bend. Voltz's junior highlight:
OH OL Taylor Decker received his Michigan offer a while back, and will visit Ann Arbor soon ($, info in header). He also received an offer from Notre Dame, his favorite ($, info in header). Now that the Irish are an option, they may be hard to beat.
FL OL John Theus is leaning toward mostly SEC and ACC schools.
Michigan is in the hunt for WA OL Zach Banner. His coach:
"Michigan is back in with Hoke, going back to the big road graders," Miller said. "Getting the offer from Michigan last week was really exciting for Zach."
The 6-9 behemoth is one of the country's top linemen.
UMGoBlog's Sean O'Connell talked with OH OL Kyle Dodson, who says he grew up a Buckeye fan, but that he's "very interested" in Michigan.
It's not exactly news, but MLive's Kyle Warber expands on Tennesee's lead for MI DT Danny O'Brien:
"I love everything about Tennessee," O'Brien said. "The playing time they have to offer is outstanding. I think they are also on the rise in the SEC and in the nation. If I went to another top school I would probably have to sit for a year. Also, the atmosphere of an SEC team is awesome. I have been to the Big House and everything, and it's great, but it didn't compare to the atmosphere of an SEC game."
His recruiter under the previous staff was Flint-area expert Fred Jackson, and he also had a relationship with Chris Singletary. Both are still around, and O'Brien's family has its share of Michigan fans, so the Wolverines have a chance to swing him. For what it's worth, Rivals says Michigan "may be gaining steam" ($, info in header).
CA DT Aziz Shittu talked to Rivals last week about his Michigan offer:
The more offers Shittu receives the more he’s thinking about delaying his decision but he still could end it if the right situation suits him. “If Michigan ends up being in my top five or my top seven, whatever I make when I make it, if I can’t get out there on an unofficial visit then I’ll definitely take an official visit to see what’s up there,” Shittu said.
He had been considering an early commitment to Stanford, so waiting on a decision is a good thing for the Wolverines. The Cardinal are his favorite ($, info in header).
OH DE Ifeadi Odenigbo attended junior days at Notre Dame and Ohio State over the weekend. He picked up an offer from Notre Dame while he was in South Bend.
OH DE Tom Strobel was also in Columbus, and picked up an Ohio State offer of his own. His quotes seem fairly gushing:
"It was an amazing experience and Coach Tressel is such a great person. It was so nice to sit down with him and just talk. Not even about football, but about my family and Mentor and school and everything. It was a really good day. This has all been very humbling. I am fortunate to be in this position and to get the kind of attention I have received."
He claims that the Buckeyes do not lead, but it certainly sounds like they have an edge. He plans to decide before his senior season.
OH DE Adolphus Washington plans to announce a decision at the Under Armour All-American game.
GA DE Jordan Watkins has been blowing up lately, with offers from the likes of LSU, Florida, and Georgia, but he's still looking forward to hearing from Michigan. He's going to try to make a visit sometime, and says the Wolverines were "definitely a front runner" at the beginning of his recruiting process.
FL S Deon Bush wants to take a Michigan visit ($, info in header).
The Spring 2011 football roster has been posted on the mother ship. I don't know how I missed this before, but it includes a 2009 walk-on RB named "Jihad" (joking about this can't possibly end well). He is for real. He is the Next Barry Sanders (HS video) He's from Detroit Southeastern, so we can guess walking on at M wasn't his HS coach's idea.
Other information to be gleaned from the roster isn't as entertaining, but might be useful. Some of it already seems outdated so I won't trouble you too long, but since the roster was down for a month and then reappeared with changes and Greg Brown listed, I figured it was legit enough to play with.
NOTE: I removed my section on player weights. Apparently the Athletic Dept. just posted a bunch of freshman weights instead of, you know, the actual size of our players. No: the football team didn't shrink. I am profoundly sorry.
Things of special note that could mean everything or nothing:
- Mike Williams is on the roster.
- Furman is a redshirt freshman (I thought I saw him in at some point but don't quote me on that). He's listed as a safety.
- Other erstwhile SAMwise Spinners of SLBiness listed as safeties: both Gordons, Carvin J, M-Rob.
- Gardner is listed as a true sophomore. Don't panic yet.
- Slot receiver is still separate on roster from WR. Odoms, 'Tree, Grady, T-Rob, Dileo and Gallon listed there.
- New walk-ons: QB Steve Wilson (Jr*), RB Jihad Rasheed (Fr*), OL Joey Burzynski (Fr*), TE Mike Kwiatkowski (Jr*), S Charlie Zeller (So*)
- Greg Brown is listed as a cornerback (not a safety). He will wear #35
- Steve Watson is listed as a DE still, and Will Campbell's still on there as an OL. Trust that this is outdated info.
- Walk-on # changes: slot receiver Jordan Barpal from 10 to 35, DT Alex Schwab from 68 to 60
- Tom Pomarico still exists, will be Long Snapper again. Isn't he 30 by now?
- Ricardo Miller is a WR (not a TE) and wearing No. 80 instead of 82. Hey guys, remember when that other guy who wore 80 switched to…
- 1 is open.
Tales from Last Night
All the games in which Michigan had a semi-serious rooting interest last night went the wrong way (though most of those results were expected):
- Notre Dame beat Villanova 93-72.
- Florida Gulf Coast beat USC Upstate 81-65.
- Bethune-Cookman beat NC Central 73-60.
- Kansas State beat Texas 75-70. The Longhorns have singlehandedly choked their way into getting Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas State onto the bubble.
- Gonzaga beat Cal State-Bakersfield 96-49.
None of these were killers, to say the least, but Kansas State is solidly in the tournament at this point.
The Matrix hasn't been updated since last night's results, so consider it a day-ish behind. The information isn't changing quickly enough for that to be a huge hindrance to our purposes.
Per the Bracket Matrix:
|Bids||Bubble In||Bubble Out||Change|
|Big East||11||Marq (10)||None.|
|SEC||6||Tenn (9), UGa (10), Bama (12)||None.|
|Big Ten||6||Ill (10), MSU (11), Mich (12)||Minn, PSU||MSU down from 10, Mich in, Minn out.|
|ACC||5||BC (12), VT (10), FSU (9)||Clem, Mary||Seeds reshuffled.|
|Big 12||5||KSU (8)||Neb, Bay, Colo, OkSt||KSU up from 9.|
|Pac-10||3||Wash (9), UCLA (8)||USC, Washington St.||Washington down from 8.|
|Atlantic 10||3||Richmond (11)||Dayton||Duquesne gone.|
|Mountain West||3||UNLV (8)||Colo St||None.|
|West Coast||2||Zaga (12), St Mary's (11)||None.|
|Colonial||2||Old Domin (8)||VCU||None.|
|CUSA||2||Memphis (11), UAB (12)||USM, UTEP, Marsh, UCF||None.|
|WAC||1||Utah State (9)|
|Horizon||1||Butler (12)||Cleve St, UW-Mil|
|Summit||1||1-bid Oakland (13)|
|Ivy||1||1-bid Princeton (13)||Harvard||Princeton in, Harvard out.|
I've excised all of the conferences that are going to have 1 bid no matter what, because they won't affect our bubble watch (unless a past Michigan opponent goes on a crazy run and wins the conference tourney, of course).
As always, your general principle is to root against all teams on the bubble, whether they're in the tournament for now, or just barely on the outside. Things get a little more complicated when Michigan's past opponents are involved.
- Illinois @ Purdue (7:00 ESPN). Since Michigan played each of these teams only once, I think you want Purdue to win. The Wolverines are fighting with Illinois for a bubble spot.
- Baylor @ Oklahoma State (7:00 ESPN2). Both of these teams are on the outside of the Big 12 bubble. I think you want Baylor to win, since they're more likely to lose their final game to Texas (well, with the way Texas is playing, who knows?) than Oklahoma state is to lose to Oklahoma.
- Alabama @ Florida (7:00 ESPNU). You want Florida to win. They are solidly in the tournament, whereas Alabama is a hardly-deserving bubble team. This could knock them out.
- Gardner-Webb @ Coastal Carolina (7:00 Gametracker). Gardner-Webb is a past Michigan opponent. They're facing Big South 1-seed Coastal Carolina in the first round of the conference tournament. An upset here would be nice, since this is a 1-bid conference either way.
- Kent State @ Bowling Green (7:30 ESPN3). Bowling Green is a past opponent. Kent State currently leads the MAC, but it is a 1-bid league either way.
- Missouri @ Nebraska (8:00 ESPN3). Missouri is solidly in the tournament, whereas Nebraska is barely on the bubble. This would definitely knock the Huskers out for good.
- Ohio State @ Penn State (9:00 BTN). I'm torn on this game. With a sweep of the Nittany Lions under our belt, you want them to be a top-50 RPI team. On the other hand, that means they strengthen their bubble position, harming Michigan. I still think a tiebreaker of 2-0 head-to-head between UM and PSU would swing things in Michigan's way. I'll say watch this game closely, but no clear rooting interest.
- Boston College @ Virginia Tech (9:00 ESPNU). This is another game that you could go either way on. One team will knock the other onto the wrong side of the bubble for the time being. I'll say you want BC to lose, since they have a near-automatic win (against Wake Forest at home) up next. You'll be rooting HARD for Clemson to beat Virginia Tech on Saturday.
Get your rootin' shoes on. Hopefully, it'll go better than last night. It should, as you want Kenpom's favored team to win 4 of the 7 games in which there's a clear rooting interest - he also favors Ohio State to knock Penn State down the pecking order, for what it's worth. Last night, we were pulling almost exclusively for underdogs (and a crappy Texas team).
Everywhere you go. A reader sends along this BBC news piece on goings-on in Libya featuring this guy at prayer:
CCHA champs and rid of Qaddafi in the same week*—everything's coming up Milhouse!
BONUS: random Mississippi State sweatshirt in different protest. The 2011 Gator Bowl is coming for you, Qadddafi.
*[Michigan hockey guy lives in the liberated east; Qaddafi's still hanging on in the west.]
Vada latest. Vada Murray is home after radiation treatments:
We have never, ever, in our lives felt so scared. We also have never felt so loved. Thank you for the cards, emails, text messages, phone calls & messages on this website; thank you for your continued expressions of love & support. Thank you to the Ann Arbor Police Department for their unwavering love. They give true meaning to the phrase, "Whatever you need, whenever you need it." Thank you for understanding if we don't personally return your message. We both want you to know, we love you back.
Moves. Touch The Banner relates that Rivals relates a couple of position switches: Steve Watson has moved back to tight end and Will Campbell to the defensive line. You're probably thinking "meh" and "duh," but there's an interesting wrinkle:
But unlike Rodriguez and his clunky defensive staff, Campbell will actually be playing the 3-tech defensive tackle position. I can't imagine the conversations in the former defensive staff's meeting rooms. "Well, we've got this 6'5" behemoth with loads of talent, but his one problem is that he can't stay low and get leverage. We just can't figure out what to do with him."
There wasn't a three-tech DT in the 3-3-5 and Campbell wasn't going to play DE, so since he's not so good at NT it's off to offense. I'm not entirely sure this is as much of a slam dunk as TTB does—Campbell has fallen prey to single blocks plenty—but it's at least worth a shot. I'd rather he became an awesome NT but I think it's far more likely he becomes an acceptable three-tech, and either one of those allows Ryan Van Bergen to be the SDE I think Michigan needs him to be if their defensive line is going to be good against the run.
FWIW, Campbell was pretty effective in the goal line set when he could just plow into the backfield. He'll have to do a bit more than get under a guy and drive him back as he falls down if he's going to be an effective player in the other 98 yards of field, though.
Well, yes. It's natural for people to explode when your floppy-haired gritmonster makes two enormous plays that turn a probable loss into a certain win. As the morning's post indicated in the "elsewhere" section, if you don't have a post extolling Zack Novak today you probably don't have a Michigan blog. The Wolverine Blog says "what about the awesome guys?"
Tim Hardaway, Jr. locked up his third straight Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor — no small feat in a conference featuring Jared Sullinger — with a first-half outburst of “en fuego” proportions: four three-pointers in the first five minutes gave Michigan an early cushion that would allow them to weather a big Minnesota run and still enter halftime with a 35-33 lead. Hardaway finished the game leading all scorers with 22 points on 7-11 shooting (5-8 from three) …
It was Michigan’s other difference-maker, Darius Morris, who came through with 11 second-half points — continually finding his way into the paint among Minnesota’s massive front line and finding a way to create baskets — en route to a 17-point, 8-15 shooting, 7-assist performance while committing just one lone turnover.
That's ridiculously efficient and very efficient with ridiculous assist-to-turnover; Morris is also ~60% responsible for Jordan Morgan leading all D-I players in FG% in the last five games. I hesitate when TWB calls Novak a "role player"—Vogrich is a role player—but he's not one of the two lights-out stars that keep Michigan around so Novak can declare winnin' time.
Hardaway's stats are now gross. In his last five games he's made 60% of his threes. Okay, that's a hot streak. It's more than that: since January 9th he's pulled his eFG% up from 42% to 52%. In that stretch of 14 games he's made 48% of his threes. Even if you chuck out the last five games in the other nine he's hit 42%. Over essentially half of Michigan's season—the tough half—Hardaway is hitting half his threes.
30 for 30 on black socks. Jalen Rose tweets this:
That is an ESPN documentary on the Fab Five smack dab in he middle of March. Prepare to be massively conflicted.
God, the Penn State game. That's when it all came crashing down. After a somewhat encouraging performance against Iowa—at least it was encouraging on the ground—Michigan hits the bye week, dumps the mostly 4-3/3-4 sets they'd been using, and comes out in a 3-3-5 that Penn State gashes all day. Before that game PSU couldn't run if you spotted them two guys and three yards, and in the aftermath I blew up. UFR tags included "fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu," "fire coach x," "greg robinson," "i want a staple gun," "i've got a feeling i'm going to punch the black eyed peas," and "idiocracy."
This bit was particularly painful:
|Line||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M1||1||G||Goal line||3-3-5 stack||Run||Dive||?||1|
|Whatever. This isn't even M's to-date successful goal line package. RPS -1.|
That's right: Michigan ran a stack on first and goal from the one. I bring it up because a reader hit up a coaching clinic featuring PSU's Mike McQueary and reports back:
He used Michigan as an example of the importance of finding a few things as a coach that you can connect with your players on re: scheme, rather than trying to run every kind of scheme with minimal understanding (Less is better).
The hardest thing to watch was a near-goal line stand where PSU ran a Fullback draw into a 3-man front and barely needed any blocking to get the TD. He referred to that as "some knuckleheaded goal-line defense".
I still can't believe RR screwed up his defense enough to get fired. I mean, of all the epic fails in the history of epic fails. All they had to be was mediocre in year three. This is painful:
"This clip makes me feel a little sad for Coach Rodriguez. His offense is nearly impossible to gameplan for, but the defense couldn't get it done"
Etc.: The Wolverine Blog rebuts the Rodriguez-attrition meme. I think the truth lies somewhere in between it and the MNB piece. The problem was that Michigan needed to have a run of below-average attrition after late Carr-era departures and didn't get it. Robocop speaks to the city of Detroit: statue yes. Denard Robinson was a clue on Jeopardy.
2/25/2010 – Michigan 3, NMU 2 – 22-9-4, 19-7-1 CCHA
2/26/2010 – Michigan 5, NMU 0 – 23-9-4, 20-7-1 CCHA – Champions
My AP Biology teachers were not very good at anticipating how much minutia an average high school student could write down in 54 minutes. They consistently wrote tests that were ten minutes too long. This compounded itself over the course of a day, so when we showed up for the last hour there was always a class full of frantic scribblers occupying our seats forever. Forced to wait, definitely not making any bus, and unbound by anyone showing up after us, my class would dribble out of the room anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes after the official end of the school day.
Except for me. Pointless memorization was my jam, man. I blew through the tests in a half hour, then waited outside for a friend who would need a ride. I'm sure this privately infuriated my teachers since most of my time in their class was spent asleep. If I'd failed a test or even not done so well they could have swooped in with Life Lessons, maybe even called my mom to describe what a terrible student I was. But as long as I was the only guy finishing their insane tests on time they were powerless.
Michigan has not been a particularly entertaining hockey team this year. They've been gritty and frustrating and occasionally elegant but only from the back end; Hagelin has been fast and Hunwick surprisingly effective. They split with an awful MSU team and didn't look like they even belonged on the same ice as Miami. They blew leads to tie seemingly all of their nonconference games. They didn't score much in the way they were trying to. It's been jarring.
Even this weekend they spent the first 90 minutes asleep. On Friday, Shawn Hunwick and some emergency defending saw them scrape a win they didn't seem to deserve. On Saturday it was looking like they were going to do the same after the first 26 minutes saw 12 shots total, one of them an attempted pass by Hagelin that a Wildcat deflected into his own net. Since I was watching the internet feed on my computer my melodramatic twitter feed features an existential crisis, incredible frustration, and the phrase "awful, awful, awful."
After the existential crisis the previous class shuffled out and Michigan got down to business. There was a humorous scene in which they wrote so fast smoke rose from the paper. When it cleared no one was even mad two goals had been waved off because four others had stood.
What was that? Was that something that's been there all along but isn't unearthed on the regular, or was it just like Michigan starting the Minnesota basketball game off 6 of 6 from three, a statistical fluke? Should we call Michigan's mother to tell on him?
I'm not sure we can. The test is in and it says "A":
No matter how deeply suspicious we are or are not, the test says "A". Michigan may have gotten blown out of Oxford but Miami won four fewer games in the league. On Saturday Notre Dame had three goals disallowed and scored none against Western Michigan. They did not put a knuckling puck through the Bronco goalie with 40 seconds left, then flick one into the top corner with two left. They allowed twelve more goals than Michigan and scored only three more. I'm still not sure how that's true but it is. Last year Michigan finished seventh in the league, and this year they won it.
Now we come to the knee-buckling section of the schedule. Last year Michigan reached this point down their starting goalie, playing a first-round series for the first time in forever and staring down the barrel of Michigan State, Miami, and someone else if they were going to extend their tourney streak. They did, and then they were robbed of a Frozen Four bid in one of the program's all-time classic games. They died like Vikings, turning their league D into a B.
This year they've got a much easier road. They've guaranteed themselves an at large and won't face either of the CCHA's other elite teams until the final. Hold serve and you're one game away from a one seed and a friendly bracket.
I don't know what to think. Maybe the subtler qualities really do exist and this series of narrow victories is just what happens when you're a really good defensive team that lacks magic midgets. I've never deeply cared about a team like this. Maybe this is what life is like when you've got six good to great defenders and Scooter Vaughn is vying to be your second-leading scorer. Or maybe the Miami series was a dark preview of what will happen whenever Michigan meets an elite opponent.
I'll know in the next month. They've got an A so far, but the only thing that matters in this class is the final. This is not fair. It is, however, college hockey.
The usual extreme detail from mfan_in_ohio.
Somewhat briefer: for a moment on Friday night Michigan had fallen to tenth despite their win against NMU, but when the dust cleared from the weekend Michigan moved up into a tie for fourth(!) despite losing OSU's record and gaining MSU's in their TUC category. Then a butterfly flapped its wings, sending MSU below .500 RPI. Voila:
Bracketology stuff usually has Michigan playing RPI/CC in the first round and getting the winner of Union/UMD in the second if they get there. Stop the season right now. I want to get off.
How did this happen?
Merrimack blew up. The lead people including myself thought was unassailable evaporated in a single weekend as meh Maine (14-10-6 before the weekend) swept. I think we PWR watchers underestimate how quickly teams high up in the RPI can backslide if they get swept. Merrimack has terrible Providence this weekend and can only lose ground—sweeping leaves their RPI basically where it is now.
WCHA teams did too. UMD only got one point out of their weekend with CC, and UNO split with Denver—the exact result Michigan wanted.
CCHA playoffs rooting guide:
- In the first round you want Alaska over MSU, NMU over BGSU, and OSU over LSSU. NMU [M: 2-0 against them] can approach the cutoff with a sweep and OSU [3-1] can get over the hump with one. MSU [2-2] is thousandths away from the cutoff and if they don't lose things could get ugly. OTOH, this might not be so bad. Unless BGSU pulls a massive upset MSU would then play Michigan in the second round. Michigan could put them right back under .500. Even if they didn't the record would then be 4-2, which whatever.
- Second round assuming no upsets: Michigan, obvs, over OSU or LSSU. NMU over Miami, as that would make them a TUC. Ferris-WMU doesn't really matter since it appears the Bulldogs are locked in as a TUC, and neither would ND-Alaska.
- At the Joe it probably won't matter as long as Michigan wins.
The most important other thing: Die, Denver. You die and go to hell. Also, pull hard for UNH against BC this weekend.
Non-Bullets Of Silverware
Wat. If you were one of the dedicated few ripping the NMU radio guy a new one on twitter as you watched the B2E feed you might have wondered what the hell Michigan players were doing after the game, unless you were also one of the many who played NHL 94 incessantly. Michigan Hockey Net digs up a junior team doing the same thing. I'm impressed guys who were about three when '94 came out have even heard of it.
Feed BTW. It probably wasn't worth seven bucks if we're talking about a random midseason series. With the title on the line, though, I shelled out both nights and was relatively impressed. Negatives: the quality is not super high and you aren't getting replays. Positive: the feed was very smooth. I missed maybe a minute of game time total to internet hiccups.
The quality wasn't good enough for me to be able to say much about specific players, however. It was tough for me to figure out who was who most of the time.
One exception. Hunwick bounced back huge on Friday night after a disappointing series against Western. He stole that game. On Saturday he had very little to do, so points to the team defense there.
Highlights. HT to Michigan Hockey Net for digging up highlights from Friday and Saturday. Friday:
That post from MHN has a bunch of other stuff including Andrew Cogliano fighting someone much bigger than him.
“You’re instincts take over on a play like that,” Burlon said after Friday’s game. “(Hunwick) was the goalie on that one, but then, I’ve got to play goalie. You do anything for the team to get the win and that was just one of those plays.”
Yost Built hasn't updated. Frowns.