This podcast was recorded at Human Element, the Ann Arbor-based team of software developers and designers who are currently (perhaps literally if the site seems slow right this second) deep in their Kerrytown nerd cave, entrusted with the top-down redesign of this very site.
We Couldn’t Have One Without the Other
We get to make audio content because we can afford the studio time and equipment to make it happen, and that is thanks in large part to our longest and greatest supporters, Rishi and Ryan, proprietors of UGP, Moe's, and the Bo Store.
All or our sponsors are people just as embedded in the MGocommunity and whom we know personally. Homesure Lending, Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Ann Arbor Elder Law, Deo Bookkeeping, Michigan Law Grad, Defensive Drivers Group, and Peak Wealth Management.
1. Michigan after Maverick: Big Ten Tourney Recap Part 1
starts against 0:55
How far these players have come. We back up to the streak (and a couple of weird things on the road) before to set up the culmination of Maverick Morgan’s white collar comeuppance, followed by out-x’s and o’s-ing the Big Ten’s best guy to talk to about X’s and O’s.
2. Michigan after Maverick Part 2 and Gaming the RPI
starts at 20:45
Second half of Minnesota everyone’s legs die, Derrick Walton puts the team on his back. Announcers have to learn to appreciate Walton shots. Praise for announcers AND for referees—I’m warning you now in case you get here and start to wonder if this really is the MGoPodcast you’re listening to.
3. NCAA Tourney Preview
starts at 37:10
Not a good draw—Oklahoma State was seeded way—however Beilein might be the exact kind of coach that Cowboy shtick doesn’t work against. If they’re hitting from 30 feet or Michigan’s not hitting their open threes, it’s tip your cap time. Louisville is some big scary blocky dudes who don’t score enough to be terrifying. Kansas is the 1 seed you want in your region.
4. Gimmicky Top 5: Great moments in 2016-'17 M Hoops
starts at 1:05:15
HUEL (Human Element to any HUEL marketing managers out there) co-founder Jason Magee sat in to reminisce our favorite moments. Jason, not Ace or Brian, remembered the one that David and I were going to pantomime in the studio if they didn’t get to it.
- "Danger Zone"—Kenny Loggins
- “Playin’ With the Boys”—Kenny Loggins
- “Take My Breath Away”—Berlin
- “Across 110th Street”
THE USUAL LINKS
MGoBlog’s Tournament Sponsor is HomeSure Lending. NMLS 1161358.
March Madness is wonderful. Millions of people across the country will fill out a bracket, predicting winners for each game, hoping that they’ll be the one to pick the right upsets, and trust the right teams to make it to the Final 4. Of course, no amount of research is any guarantee of success, and part of the fun is the insane randomness that determines the course of these next few weeks. Still, becoming acquainted with the participants is key to making informed bracket choices, and I’ll be writing up a few posts with that in mind.
In order to sort out which teams are better or worse than where they’re seeded, I took the list of teams sorted by the committee 1-66, and I compared it to a composite computer ranking of tournament teams based on the average of Ken Pomeroy, Jeff Sagarin, and Bart Torvik’s metrics. I then calculated the difference between where a team should theoretically be ranked given their strength according to that composite ranking and where they actually wound up.
This is the resulting bracket:
The seven most overseeded teams (which are clustered in just two regions) are
- West #6 Maryland
- West #2 Arizona
- South #5 Minnesota
- South #4 Butler
- South #7 Dayton
- South #10 Seton Hall
- West #3 Florida St.
They’ll be discussed after the jump.
Tourney sponsor reminder: HomeSure Lending is that. NMLS 1161358.
This began as a tool I made to fill out my brackets, then a few years ago I shared it and it became a thing. Much of the data are from Kenpom, though this year I also included ThePowerRank.com’s rankings, which Ed determines by expected margin of victory over an average opponent. Both he and Kenpom wound up pretty close, but it’s a bit more data when you’re deciding things like which should-be-a-6-seed do I choose in this 7-10 matchup? Alex Cook will have a thing later today that shows which teams got screwed the most in this year’s rather whacky seeding. Spoiler: Maryland and Minnesota shouldn’t be over the BTT championship participants.
The Tool The Tool The Tool:
To use this you:
- Follow this link to make a copy of the spreadsheet.
- Select the two teams you want to compare.
The site will be pulled from Team 1, fyi, so if you pull a match that doesn’t exist you’ll still get the distance each team will have to travel to their real site.
Thanks also go to the guy who wrote a google script to pull drive times with a formula.
Your correspondent took in Oklahoma State's games against Kansas, @ Baylor, and West Virginia to get a feel for Michigan's first-round matchup in the tournament. These were all Okie State losses against very good teams, the first two competitive. The last not so much. None of those teams is remotely like Michigan—Kansas is super athletic, wild at times, and up-tempo, Baylor is super athletic and runs a bizarre 4-out zone in front of a seven-foot shotblocker, and West Virginia is a ruthless pressing turnover machine—but there was a limited selection on the tubes. Also Big Twelve basketball is apparently Big Twelve football just like Big Ten basketball is Big Ten football.
Evans defines Oklahoma State's style
THE FASTER AND THE FURIOUSER. Watching Oklahoma State's recent game against Kansas was a jarring experience after the Big Ten Championship game. "Methodical" is probably the best descriptor for the latter; in comparison the Big 12 game was like watching an And-One mixtape.
Oklahoma State is fast. PG Juwan Evans is fast. The color guy doing their game against Baylor early in the year repeatedly stated that Brad Underwood, the Cowboys' coach, wants his guys to get a shot up in the first seven seconds of the shot clock. They've taken this to heart. Their #87 tempo on Kenpom will feel like a jet airplane to Michigan fans, but that doesn't quite encompass it.
27% of their shots are classified by hoop-math as "transition"—ie, within the first ten seconds of the shot clock. That's a full 50% more than Michigan (18%) and 24th nationally. A lot of the teams in front of them are very bad low majors trying anything to disguise their halfcourt offenses; the only more transition-oriented teams in the tournament are Creighton, UCLA, Kentucky, and Arkansas.
Okie State is going to try to play this game at light speed.
This is a good matchup against a good team, numbers edition. Okie State is a very good ten seed according to Kenpom, and that's reason for consternation. The way they play and Michigan's previous outings against turnover-dependent Ds and transition-dependent Os should give you confidence. Some data:
- As you might expect from a team that rarely turns the ball over and largely abandons the offensive glass, Michigan's transition D is good relative to their halfcourt D. They provide very few opportunities (18% of opponent shots). Their transition eFG defense of 53% is barely worse than halfcourt (51%). Meanwhile Okie State's transition is often forced; they're only middling at converting transition opportunities.
- By contrast, when Michigan does push the ball they are lethal at 64% eFG. That's 11th nationally. Unlike Michigan, Oklahoma State has made many sacrifices on defense to make their offense so good. They crash the glass, sometimes in inexplicable situations, leading to a relatively large number of transition opportunities ceded (23%) at an efficient conversion rate (57%). Their turnover acquisition is often of the chancy variety, leading to broken rotations and open threes. They were 9th of 10 in league play at preventing threes from being launched.
- Michigan is significantly better in eFG terms in every situation—transition, half-court, late-clock, and putback—without even considering turnovers. In that department Okie State is middling on offense and very good on D; Michigan is superb on O and—surprise!—good on D.
The main worry is that Michigan gets in one of those games where the opposition rebounds half their misses. The Cowboys crush the offensive boards (#6 nationally). That will make up for a projected turnover deficit, and probably then some. Still, without an anomalous shooting performance Michigan should expect to win this game if they can acquire—or even approach—shot parity.
there is a 95% chance this was assisted or a putback
Good news, personnel department. Okie State has no post-up game. Starting C Mitchell Solomon takes some elbow jumpers and will get shots at the rim when he's provided the ball off pick-and-roll action and on putbacks. He's not going to threaten Michigan with foul trouble and incessant four foot jumpers like Isaac Haas. He doesn't create his own shots.
Ditto his backups. Seven-foot freshman Lucas N'Guessan has fallen entirely out of the rotation, so the backup 5 is 6'7" Cameron McGriff. This is not a team that is likely to get Michigan in the post foul trouble that's their bugaboo. They may in fact be more vulnerable to it than Michigan: Solomon averages a whopping 7.7 fouls per 40. For comparison, perpetually foul-beset Mo Wagner is at 4.5. Solomon is the main motive force behind those OREBs and a hypothetical absence will hurt the Cowboys on both ends despite his peripheral role in the first-shot offense.
Bad news, personnel department. Point guard Jawun Evans is fast as hell and can seemingly get in the lane against anyone.
Michigan's had trouble with gentlemen of his description for years. Derrick Walton's been awesome but I don't think Evans is a good matchup for him on D, especially in open court situations.
Forte looks like a walk-on until he hits a 35 footer
This could be a game where you see a lot of Xavier Simpson and Michigan's two-PG lineup. Okie State's SG, Phil Forte, is listed at 5'11" and is more or less Spike Albrecht after a power mushroom. Against Baylor he took and hit insanely deep threes twice, and then got himself a three just behind the arc after successfully shot-faking from about 30 feet. He's got Jimmer Fredette range. He's hitting 43% on the year from 3. He's a 95% FT shooter. You're going to take one look at the dude and think "scrub"; nope. He is Not Just A Shooter. And he's also a world-class shooter. He takes trash shots and makes them.
Since the only other backcourt player to get appreciable time is PG-of-the-future Brandon Averette, Michigan's going to have a size advantage and quickness deficit whenever X isn't on the floor.
Good news for people who love bad news. The flip side of that is there's no way Okie State can switch everything. This was the Big Ten's response to Wilson and Wagner's dual takeoffs and intermittently frustrating down the stretch. The Cowboys are going to have two guys on the court a foot shorter than Wilson and Wagner at all times and are going to have to play it straight up, or bank on their 7.7-fouls-per-40 center to check Walton while their mini-me guards try to box out.
Expect junk zones. Early in the year Okie State was picking up point guards at half-court in a half-press. That slowly evaporated over the course of the season as it got torched and the Cowboys settled back into mostly man to man; under duress they will switch to a 3-2 zone and perhaps other exotics. If Michigan runs out to a quick lead chances are high that they see an extended zone of some sort.
Irvin's D is going to get a test. "Defensive stopper Zak Irvin" is suddenly a thing and hoo boy does he have an acid test here. 6'6" wing Jeffrey Carroll lights up Kenpom leaderboards; he's a high-usage, high-efficiency wing who has been super accurate (80/59/43 shooting) and does not turn the ball over. He's a handful. Closeouts will be key: he's had all of two unassisted threes this year. He's not going to rise up on you.
All you have to do to eke a smile out of him is pitch a 46-shot shutout and stay four years it’s really not that hard [James Coller]
Friday, March 10, 2017
Michigan 3, #11 Penn State 2
UM 0 PSU 1 EV 19:59 Assists: Sucese & Biro
Lockwood carries the puck into the offensive zone with 15 seconds to go in the period and I distinctly remember looking at the clock and thinking that the period was as good as done. Something in the darker, loathing, confrontational part of my brain perked up at this sunny optimism and immediately reminded me that you’d think so but, like, this season…
Stupid accurate darker, loathing, confrontational part of my brain.
Sucese gets the puck deep and shoots from a bad angle, and with no one in front of the net to deflect it the puck goes through the slot and hits the boards on the opposite side of the rink.
Myllari sees the puck bounce off the boards, does a nice job reading the angle of the bounce, and gets himself all wound up for a one-timer. It’s worth noting that Lavigne sees where the puck is headed and gets across the crease in time to do something; at this point he’s still standing.
Sanchez gets in position to block the shot, sliding out of the way just as the puck passes him. Proof positive that luck plays a bigger part in hockey than most of us would like to admit. It seems like Lavigne had a hard time tracking the flight of the puck as Sanchez passed in front of him. Otherwise he would have eschewed the butterfly in favor of standing, as you don’t have to worry about a rebound off the chest protector when the puck’s released with one second left.
[After THE JUMP: more weird goals, Nagelvoort’s unreal, bork bork bork]