DON'T START THE PARTY WITHOUT ME pic.twitter.com/19ak6vyOJi
— Joe (@joefedewa) March 9, 2017
HAPPY BIRTHDAY. It's Mark Dantonio's birthday, on this fine March 9th. 3/9, truly the one and only day Mark Dantonio has entered this world. Also Notre Dame went 4-8.
Mom was right. Remember the bizarre end to Malik McDowell's recruitment, which more or less ended with his unhappy mother pounding a shoe on the table demanding that he go to Michigan because he needed to do some growing up and Ann Arbor was the best place for that? Point, mom:
Allow us to explain how a 6-foot-6, 295-pound prime athlete with long arms and big hands who runs a 4.85 40 is on the “losers” list. Said one team: “Worst interview we did.” Added another: “Awful interview. Awful.” What concerns scouts most is that for all his tremendous upside — watch him destroy Michigan, for instance — McDowell’s production and tape don’t always match up. Scouts feel like he takes plays off too often. And when they asked him about that, he got defensive. They also asked him about his attitude and work ethic, which were concerns. Many of those questions remain unanswered.
Rumors were swirling around McDowell all season; the unceremonious end to his MSU career would seem to confirm most of them. MSU has a culture problem, and a lot of it traces back to the back-bends they did to get McDowell and then keep him in the program.
This should not be construed as a general assertion that all moms are right all the time, because no baby needs a sleep sack that makes him look like Roald freakin' Amundsen. We heat this house for a reason! It's to keep the people warm! I digress!
Rather stark way to put this. Hockey pairwise risers and fallers this year:
— Todd Milewski (@ToddMilewski) March 9, 2017
It's bad man.
Meanwhile, Red confirmed the story that had been out there about his return to the Michigan Daily:
He intended to retire last year, which he planned at the beginning of that season. But with a new athletic director in Warde Manuel, Berenson opted to stay to aid Manuel’s transition.
“He didn’t wanna go through hiring a coach — he hadn’t even moved into his house yet,” Berenson said. “And our team played well and I thought they were responding well, so the reasons to stay were those things.
“We’ll revisit all this at the end of the year, but I’m trying not to worry about it right now. It’s just a matter of when — whether it’s this year or next year."
I've mentioned this before: Red could have said "hire Mel, I'm going to go buy a boat, goodbye." That would have helped avoid this season that's going nowhere and not even building to anything. It also may indicate that Michigan's search will be more open than I thought it would be.
This is interesting because there are a couple of guys who look like really good coaches out there:
- UML's Norm Bazin just won Hockey East (again) and will take the previously moribund Rivermen to the tournament for the fourth time in his five years.
- Providence coach Nate Leaman will take the Friars to the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight year; prior to his arrival their last bid was in 2001.
- Denver's Jim Montgomery has been excellent in his four years with the Pioneers. Denver is a historical power and may be able to hang on to Montgomery, but if his salary is in the same range as the rest of the NCHC it's around 250k. Wisconsin just doubled that for Tony Granato. If Michigan's serious they can point the money cannon at just about anybody.
Or they could hire a conference commissioner, I guess.
All praise Maverick Morgan. John Gasaway:
Once upon a time the Illini beat the Wolverines easily in Champaign, and afterward one of the victorious orange-bedecked men branded UM as “white collar.” Since that moment Beilein’s team has outscored its Big Ten opponents by 0.13 points per possession. The Michigan staff should hire that guy.
Michigan's been the best team in the league since. Purdue finished the conference season at +0.12.
Etc.: Now is the time of year when people go to minor conference basketball tourneys and report back with excellent prose. Firing Tom Crean would be weird. Also: not that weird. BYCTOM on the Northwestern pass thing. 24/7 on Eli Brooks and Isaiah Livers.
Zak Irvin, in practice gear, had one of his best all-around games. [Paul Sherman]
While the harrowing details of yesterday's plane accident were still being released, Michigan played Illinois wearing their practice jerseys. Their normal gear sat in the cargo hold of a crashed plane in Willow Run. Tipoff was delayed by under a half-hour to accommodate the Wolverines arriving at the Verizon Center at 10:40 am for what was originally set to be a noon game.
Once the game started, however, the unusual uniforms were the only sign the Wolverines were less than 24 hours removed from skidding off a runway. Fresh off an early morning flight, Michigan jumped out to a 15-4 lead against Illinois and spent much of the duration ahead by double digits, ending the Illini's NCAA tournament hopes (and quite possibly John Groce's employment hopes) while earning a quarterfinal matchup with top-seeded Purdue. John Beilein also broke Johnny Orr's school record with his 210th victory at Michigan.
Zak Irvin had his shot going early, netting 12 of his 18 points in the first half. That inital run held strong as Michigan made 5-of-11 threes in the half and forced nine Illinois turnovers on the other end. The defense was every bit as impressive as the offense. Timely weak-side double-teams from the baseline caught the Illini off-guard time and again, and the Wolverines used that element of surprise to convert turnovers into easy points.
Michigan didn't look ready to play a game. Looks can be deceiving. [Sherman]
Tracy Abrams was almost singlehandedly responsible for keeping Illinois within striking distance at halftime due to a personal ten-point run late in the first, and he kept his offense going in the second, finishing with a game-high 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting. But Michigan shut down everyone else; no other Illini scored in double figures. Irvin locked down second-team all-conference forward Malcolm Hill, who mustered only four points while going 1-for-8 from the field.
That strong defensive effort gave Michigan the breathing room it needed when their outside shooting suddenly went cold. The Wolverines went only 4-for-14 from beyond the arc in the second half, missing nine in a row at one point. Lethal finishing helped, too; M finished the game a stellar 21-for-31 on two-pointers.
Much of that was driven, as usual, by Derrick Walton. The first-team All-B1G snub played at the remarkable level he has for the last couple months, scoring 19 points, dishing out five assists, and pulling down four rebounds while continually pushing the tempo to catch the Illini defense out of position. Muhammad-Ali Adbur-Rahkman looked ready to replicate last year's Big Ten Tournament breakout with 17 points, three assists, and three steals. DJ Wilson had a quiet yet efficient 11 points. Illinois was content to focus on limiting Moe Wagner, who only scored six points but had a huge impact on the other end, coming away with five steals and committing just three fouls.
Maverick Morgan finished with four points, three rebounds, and five turnovers while his "white collar" quote hung above Michigan's lockers.
This team is anything but that now. After a frightening, hectic, and ultimately triumphant 24 hours, they finally have a little time to regroup before facing Purdue at noon tomorrow. The Wolverines are the last team the Boilermakers want to face right now.
mgoliveblog interface 2.0
Our Tourney Sponsor: Basketball postseason happens to correspond exactly with the period when the housing market picks back up. If you’re buying or refinancing this can be a problem, because you want to be researching 8-seeds for your bracket, not going back and forth with an underwriter about which documents you need to get the loan they’re trying to get processed without having to shift attention from researching 8-seeds.
We will keep telling you to use HomeSure Lending, for all the reasons you read this site. As we and so many readers have attested, Matt will make the process easy, knows all the tricks, and keeps a small shop that deals with multiple lenders, so he can charge way less than the loan mills and get you approved faster. He can do Michigan, Florida, or Ohio now, and recently opened an office in Ann Arbor.
New features this week: New version that will hopefully keep the morons and haters out of your consciousness. Sorry, it cannot actually keep Shon Morris’s voice off of your stream—Tuesday. You can also pin comments to the top and twitter feeds, though I’m trying to figure out how.
The yellow/ orange bar is your mana.
Sending messages costs mana.
Messages cost more, the more active chat is.
The red dudes on the side bar are lives remaining.
If you break the Board Rules, you lose a life. Lose three lives and you have to insert a quarter into your monitor. No no keep trying it, it’ll go in. As always, the Liveblog Chaos Mitigation Post is The Law.
Enter the liveblog here: http://kibitz.io/#/b1g
Michigan (20-11, 10-8 B1G) vs
Illinois (18-13, 8-10)
A Mostly Empty Arena
Updated tipoff: 12:20 pm ET
Michigan -6 (KenPom)
Michigan -6.5 (Vegas)
PBP: Kevin Kugler
Analyst: Jon Crispin
Right: Michigan's co-MVP turns away as DJ Wilson celebrates his authoritative dunk. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]
Michigan enters the Big Ten Tournament in a good spot. They're one of the hottest teams in the conference and have moved into the "lock" section on pretty much any bracket you can find; after fighting their way off the bubble, they're playing for seeding.
At the moment, Michigan is a nine-seed on most brackets, and they'd probably need a deep run in the conference tournament to have a shot at avoiding an 8/9 game—the winner of which, of course, gets a one-seed in the second round. That's the bad news. The good news, according to ESPN's John Gasaway, is Michigan fits the profile of a giant killer:
Beilein's men finished conference play with easily the best offense in the league, and the UM defense looked much better once opponents stopped making well over half of their 3-point attempts. Derrick Walton Jr. is far and away the best point guard that no one ever brings up as one of the nation's best point guards, and Michigan loves to torment opposing defenses by stretching the floor with five legitimate 3-point shooting threats. The Wolverines would be the underdog in a round-of-32 game against Villanova, Kansas, North Carolina or Gonzaga, but this group could definitely keep things interesting.
While Michigan would like to avoid those teams, they've got a better than than most at springing a major upset.
UPDATE: Michigan's team plane was involved in an accident caused by the extreme high winds in the area. Everyone, thankfully, is fine. Statement from SID Tom Wywrot:
The Michigan men's basketball team plane was involved in an accident Wednesday afternoon. After attempting to take off in high winds, takeoff was aborted and, after strong braking, the plane slide off runway. The plane sustained extensive damage but everyone on board was safely evacuated and is safe. The team is making alternate travel plans.
Let's hope they make it to DC without any further incident. Driving isn't much of an option given the early tipoff tomorrow.
UPDATE 2: More on the travel situation:
That was crazy,glad everyone is ok! Coach B's leadership was great, he helped everyone off the plane as they slid down the emergency slide. pic.twitter.com/sDWz6DWEoE
— Jon Sanderson (@CampSanderson) March 8, 2017
The option of Michigan busing to Washington D.C. is not being considered at this time.
— Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) March 8, 2017
Big Ten waiting on Michigan's official finalized travel plans to make any decision per ESPN.
— Dylan Burkhardt (@umhoops) March 8, 2017
Spoke with Big Ten officials. There's no procedure in place for moving games or rescheduling, should it have to come to that. New territory.
— Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) March 8, 2017
For those asking. I can confirm that Austin Hatch, who remains a part of the Michigan program, was not on the plane today. He was in class.
— Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) March 8, 2017
I'll keep this post updated.
UPDATE 3: The team will take an early flight to DC and play the game as scheduled.
Here is a travel update for #GoBlue
We can't wait to get to D.C. on Thursday and compete for Michigan! pic.twitter.com/HqZYiEoM7b
— Michigan Basketball (@umichbball) March 9, 2017
UPDATE 4: Michigan didn't arrive at the arena until 10:40 am and the Big Ten somehow didn't have a contingency plan in place. After some negotiation, the game will tip off at 12:20 pm. Thanks, Delany.
THE LAST TIME
The first matchup between these two teams was the debacle in Champaign that prompted Illini center Maverick Morgan to describe Michigan's program as "white collar."
The second matchup went a bit different:
Michigan won 66-57 in a game that wasn't as close as that score would indicate. DJ Wilson led the way with 19 points, six offensive rebounds, and five assists; he also scored 19 in the game at Illinois. Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin both had double-digit point totals, while a more motivated defense held the Illini to 0.86 PPP.
This, of course, was the genesis of Michigan's midseason turnaround.
Derrick Walton Jr. was asked yesterday if, in hindsight, Michigan got the boost it needed from Maverick Morgan's "white collar" comment: pic.twitter.com/YhAQj3t9Eq
— Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) March 8, 2017
I would not be against Michigan fans chanting "MVP" when Morgan touches the ball.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.
|G||3||Te'Jon Lucas||Fr.||6'0, 170||42||18||95||Not Really|
Became starter in late Jan for defense. Pass-first PG, rarely shoots, TO-prone.
First matchup: 23 mins, 5 pts (1/1 2p, 1/1 3p), 1 reb, 8 ast, 1 to, 1 stl
Second matchup: 15 mins, 8 pts (1/1 2p, 1/1 3p), 1 to, 1 stl
|G||13||Tracy Abrams||Gr.||6'2, 185||64||19||106||No|
Robbie Hummel, Guard Edition. Learned how to shoot while hurt, somehow.
First matchup: 24 mins, 4 pts (1/2 2p, 0/1 3p), 2 reb, 3 ast, 1 to, 1 stl
Second matchup: 23 mins, 2 pts (1/3 2p, 0/2 3p), 2 reb, 3 ast, 3 to
|G||21||Malcolm Hill||Sr.||6'6, 225||84||26||114||No|
High-usage and efficient, versatile scorer. Draws a ton of fouls.
First matchup: 32 mins, 15 pts (3/5 2p, 1/3 3p, 6/7 ft), 4 reb, 2 ast, 1 to
Second matchup: 32 mins, 16 pts (5/8 2p, 0/2 3p), 2 reb (1 off), 7 ast, 2 stl
|F||12||Leron Black||So.||6'7, 220||44||23||101||Very|
Excellent rebounder on both ends. Decent finisher who gets to line.
First matchup: 17 mins, 10 pts (5/9 2p, 0/1 3p), 5 reb (1 off)
Second matchup: 13 mins, 4 pts (2/2 2p), 4 reb (2 off), 1 to
|C||22||Maverick Morgan||Sr.||6'10, 245||63||21||105||Very|
Good finisher and shot-blocker, not much of a rebounder. Elite motivator.
First matchup: 29 mins, 16 pts (8/9 2p), 1 reb, 4 ast, 3 to, 1 blk, 1 stl
Second matchup: 22 mins, 6 pts (3/5 2p), 2 reb (1 off), 1 ast, 3 to, 1 blk
|G||5||Jalen Coleman-Lands||So.||6'3, 190||61||17||98||Not At All|
Just A Shooter™ made 43% of 3P in B1G play.
First matchup: 31 mins, 12 pts (0/3 2p, 4/5 3p), 3 reb, 4 ast, 2 to
Second matchup: 20 mins, 2 pts (1/3 2p, 0/1 3p), 1 reb (1 off), 1 stl
|F||43||Michael Finke||So.||6'10, 230||49||17||109||Not At All|
Stretch four with career 52/38/62 shooting splits. Good offensive rebounder.
First matchup: 12 mins, 10 pts (2/2 2p, 2/2 3p), 3 reb (1 off)
Second matchup: 13 mins, 4 pts (1/1 3p), 3 reb
|F||2||Kipper Nichols||Fr.||6'6, 225||21||19||101||Not At All|
Crushed M on boards in first matchup, earned way into 8-man rotation.
First matchup: 19 mins, 13 pts (5/8 2p, 1/1 3p), 8 reb (5 off)
Second matchup: 17 mins, 4 pts (2/5 2p, 0/2 3p), 3 reb, 2 to
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
[Bryan Fuller – MGoBlog]
With the unfortunate news that Derrick Walton didn’t make First-Team All-Conference, I decided that I should jot down some thoughts on the best players in the Big Ten this season. While I leaned on a lot of data to justify these picks, I also have probably watched way more Big Ten basketball than the average person should, so I’m pretty well acquainted with the impact and style of these respective players. Instead of naming All-Big Ten “teams” – which inherently places a huge gap between the fifth- and sixth-best players in the league – I’ll rank the top ten.
10.) Nate Mason – Minnesota
Instead of Walton, Minnesota’s Nate Mason was named First-Team All-Big Ten. Mason’s team finished a game ahead of the Wolverines in the conference standings, and he had better counting stats than Walton did (15.5 points and 5.1 assists per game to Walton’s 14.5 and 4.5); Mason was markedly less efficient as he shouldered the load for the Gophers’ inelegant offense. Aside from impressive assist and turnover rates, Mason’s statistical profile isn’t as impressive. Shooting splits of 39 / 39 / 80 (2P% / 3P% / FT%) aren’t bad, but he did hoist more than his fair share of poor mid-range jumpers and drives into too much traffic, which sunk his eFG% to just 44.9.
Mason deserves credit for his role in helping bring together Minnesota’s new players and being the best* player on a team that finished top four in the Big Ten – one that will be headed to the NCAA Tournament. Aside from Northwestern’s historic bid, the Gophers are one of the biggest storylines in the conference: they were 8-23 last season and sit at 23-8 right now. While Mason was one of the better point guards in the league (and made this list instead of Bryant McIntosh, Tai Webster, and others), his middling efficiency prevents him for ranking more highly.
*Shot-blocking menace Reggie Lynch might be better, but plays <2/3rds as much of the time as Mason does, which limits his impact.
9.) Vince Edwards – Purdue
A player that’s often forgotten about because of his gargantuan teammates, Vince Edwards was quietly one of the biggest reasons for Purdue’s success this season. With Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas often rotating at center, Edwards was able to slide from the three to a more natural four spot. It paid dividends; the versatile wing scored 12.3 points per game, led the team in assist rate, and shot 42% from behind the three-point line. Edwards’s impact as a secondary threat on the offensive glass also complemented the big men well.
The Big Ten champs lean most heavily on Swanigan, of course, but Edwards has had a considerable influence. In the Boilermakers’ last game against Northwestern, Edwards scored an efficient 25 points and added 5 rebounds and 4 assists, helping Purdue to a narrow win. While most of the players on this list are forced to create their own shots or generate offense for others, Edwards doesn’t necessarily have those responsibilities. As a consequence, he’s one of the most efficient players in the league, finishing third in offensive rating for players in Big Ten play with a usage rate over 20%.
[rest of the list after the JUMP]
Friday, March 3, 2017
Michigan 5, #5 Minnesota 3
Mich 0 Minn 1 PPG 13:21 Assists: Bristedt & Gates
A deflected pass turns into a loose puck and that in turn becomes an opportunity for Minnesota to cycle the puck in the corner. Warren gets his stick into the passing lane and is a fraction of a second from knocking the pass away. The 2016-17 season is, however, a cruel mistress, so the pass gets through and the Minnesota skaters switch spots.
Gates skates into the circle and turns to open up for a pass as Bristedt loops around at the wall. Luce is watching this and understandably becomes preoccupied with saddling up next to Gates.
Cammarata sees the cycling along the wall and steps away from the crease. Boka had just dumped him to that side of the net two frames earlier and has since watching the cycling along the wall and quickly checked behind him to see if a skater was in position for a cross-ice one-timer. A good check, but one that sees him lose sight of Cammarata.
Bristedt doesn’t lose sight of him; he sees Luce take away Gates while the easier pass to Cammarata at the side of the net simultaneously opens up.
Cammarata reaches as far across as possible upon receipt and flings a shot in before Nagelvoort can get his leg extended.
As Sean Ritchlin said on the broadcast, you’re either going to tuck the puck in far-side before the goalie can push off the post or you’re going to get the goalie to kick it and create a rebound for that backside skater who’s been handing out in the faceoff circle (or the one in the slot).
[Much more after THE JUMP]