With Indiana out of the way, Michigan has now reached a certain point in their season. Every game is The Most Important Game Of The Season until it's over, at which point it just makes the next one The New Most Important Game Of The Season. So, what will it take to make the NCAA Tournament? Let's look at the numbers in comparison to the last two Michigan teams.
|Conf Strength (Kenpom)||5th||4th||1st|
|Big Ten Tourney Teams||7||5||???|
This team has a lot more in common with the 10-seed of 2009 than the squad that didn't even make the NIT last season, but it's still a bit worse. With a 3-2 close to the regular season (no small feat), the numbers should be approximately equal to the Tournament squad, though the Big Ten is much tougher this year than it has been in either of the past two seasons. However, the 2009 team had signature non-conference wins against UCLA (a 6-seed) and Duke (a 2-seed). This year's team has beaten Clemson, Harvard, and Oakland. All three are likely to make the tournament - assuming Harvard exacts revenge on Princeton for their only Ivy League loss - but not as top seeds.
Let's look at some teams from last year that 1) had similar profiles to 201-11 Michigan, and 2) made the tournament. For the purposes of this exercise, only at-large teams from strong conferences are relevant. I've plucked a couple comparable teams from last year's tourney field. For the most part, these were the lowest-seeded teams from their respective conferences.
|2010 NCAA Tournament|
|Conf Strength (Kenpom)||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th|
|Conf Tourney Teams||6||7||8||5||4|
A couple notes:
- Georgia Tech was terrible in conference, but had good Kenpom and RPI numbers (they got into the tourney over 10-6 ACC Virginia Tech because the Hokies played a terrible non-conference schedule).
- MIssouri was by far the strongest team to Kenpom. They also had the fewest losses. However, they were one of only two teams to lose in the first round of their conference tournament.
- Louisville is the other first-round loser in their conference tournament. Their strength of schedule and decent finish in the Big East (a 16-team conference) got them in.
- Minnesota is probably the most comparable to Michigan this year. They have the most losses of any of these teams, but played their way into the tournament by reaching the Big 10 final.
- Florida played in the weakest conference of any of these teams, with the worst Kenpom and RPI numbers (taking strength of schedule into account). However, a winning record - and committee guilt about only three SEC teams getting in - helped them make the tournament.
Though they don't want to admit it--Tim Hardaway's epic coachspeak: "Make sure we take it one game at a time. The next game is the most important game."--the players are aware of the opportunity in front of them. The question becomes whether they'll rise to the challenge, as they did two years ago. or fold under the pressure. Here are a few other player quotes about looking to the Tournament:
- Stu Douglass, on whether the team has the tournament in the back of their minds: "We've said it out loud in the locker room. There's no hiding from it."
- Darius Morris, on the team's change after the MSU game: "From there on, we knew what kind of intensity we need to have."
- Darius Morris, on whether the team has talked about making the tournament: "You've gotta visualize your success before it can happen."
- Zack Novak, on watching other Big Ten games on TV: "If I'm watching, I kinda just watch as a fan... I think you usually know what team you need to win to help you out a little bit."
It seems like the team is determined to keep the NCAA Tournament run in the corner of their eye, but in order to achieve it, is focused on the old coaching cliche of "one game at a time."
What does it Mean?
If Michigan goes 3-2 over their final five games - as we'll see, that's no guarantee - their numbers should be comparable to their tournament team of a couple years ago, or Minnesota last year. However, they're doing it in a much stronger Big Ten. It's Kenpom's #1 conference; the past two years it was 5th and 4th. Reaching .500 in conference should land them around 6th, and going 1-1 in the Big Ten Tournament would likely be good enough to get into the tournament unless other results break against them, especially since there are three additional slots this year.
|Ohio State||24-1 (11-1)||1||3|
|Michigan State||14-10 (6-6)||48||48|
|Penn State||13-11 (6-7)||52||70|
That means your rooting interests are as follows:
- You want Michigan to win out (obviously). If they go better than 3-2 in their final five, I think they're a lock. Kempom predicts a win only in the season finale against Michigan State. He gives Michigan less than 25% chance of going 9-9 or better in conference (3-2 or better over the final 5 games).
- Cheer for all of Michigan's non-conference opponents. Bowling Green has a chance to win the MAC, Syracuse can win the Big East, UTEP can win Conference USA, Clemson can win the ACC(!), Harvard should win the Ivy League, and Oakland should win the Summit League. You want very badly for all of this to happen.
- In the Big Ten, cheer against the teams in Michigan's tier (see handy graphic at right), so the Wolverines finish as high in the standings as possible. This means pull against Illinois, Michigan State, and Minnesota. Penn State probably doesn't have a chance to make the tournament unless they win the Big Ten Tournament, but you still don't want them to finish ahead of Michigan.
- Also in the Big Ten, cheer against Purdue and Illinois, since those are the teams Michigan played once. When they play each other (as they did yesterday and will again on March 1st), you want Purdue to win, because of the above point.
Notes, items, and errata. You know, things bold at the beginning of them from the Indiana game and etc.
2/12/2011 – Michigan 73, Indiana 69 – 16-10, 6-7 Big Ten
At the moment Michigan is a drunken Popeye of a basketball team: prone to stumbling around aimlessly for long periods of time but in possession of giant, windmilling fists that smash things into bits when they hit. They landed heavy blows against Indiana, then ran out of spinach and almost hurled the win back up.
They did choke it back down and this is the Year of Comprehensive Youth and Understanding Fans, so okay. To paraphrase Chad Henne, wins are good but… uh… we love perfect, being better.
The dip. The queasy feeling you've had at about the five minute mark of the last two games in graph format. First Northwestern:
And then Indiana:
Michigan was coming from so far ahead in the IU game that the steady erosion of their lead didn't show up much in the win probabilities until that part right at the end where Indiana had it to a one-possession game with Morris heading to the line.
Does this mean much? I'm not sure. All basketball teams go through stretches where they seem terrible, and Michigan's are a bit longer than most because of the youth and lack of depth at key positions. I'm with Beilein when he says the free throw issues are just a weird thing that shouldn't repeat, and if Michigan makes a reasonable number down the stretch we're talking about the slight annoyance of letting a 22 point lead get whittled down to ten.
On the other hand, Michigan had big second half leads against MSU and Iowa* they let get whittled down and led OSU by six a few minutes into second half before getting a run in their face. Even excluding the latter, in four of the last six games they've suffered dips of varying severity in the last ten minutes.
*[Okay, Iowa's a little bit of a stretch but what happened in that game would have been what happened in the IU game if Michigan could have hit a free throw.]
Tourney chances. Tim will cover this in detail later today. In brief: by holding serve these last two games Michigan's more than doubled their shot in Kenpom's view, going from 10% to ~25%. You can think that's a bit pessimistic since the team is young and therefore should be improving more rapidly than older teams if you're so inclined.
Hardaway killswitch still engaged. So Tom Crean says Hardaway "punked" his team, which means Hardaway had forcible prison sex with them. This is true (26 points on 9 of 11 shooting) and also something elderly white guys probably shouldn't be saying for the same reason they shouldn't show up at 50 Cent shows wearing bandanas. Still, dang, dang, dang:
In the last five games, Hardaway has averaged 18 points, 4.2 rebounds, shot 55.2 percent (32 of 58) from the floor and 50 percent (17 of 34) from the 3-point line.
The Hardaway vs Harris post suggested Hardaway's TO rate, eFG%, and efficiency would go up as he reduced his bad shots and drove to the hoop more. It didn't suggest it would happen right now, in buckets. The recent tear has popped Hardaway's 3PT% from 30% to 34% and his 2PT% up a couple points, too.
Hardaway's going to come down to earth before the end of the year. I repeat this so I will not be disappointed when it happens. In the meantime I'm tapping my fingers waiting for Kenpom to update its individual stats, because I think there's a good chance that Hardaway's offensive rating* will at least temporarily match the ~106 Harris put up in his last two years. [Update: Kenpom updates; Hardaway's up to 105.9 with the same Shot%.]
Again, that's not to say he's a better player since his usage will drop and it's pretty easy to have a massive ORtg when all you're doing is throwing down dunks other people generated for you—see Brent Petway, 2006. In the context of the team, having a high-but-not-monster usage freshman equaling the previous star's efficiency should mean the ceiling the next couple years is higher than it was the last couple—possibly much higher.
*[Got a couple questions about what the hell that was. It's… um… complicated. So complicated that most people won't even try to show your the formula because of its insane complexity. The closest thing to an explanation I found is here. It's a way of wrapping all of a player's offensive stats into a single number that should correspond to number of points produced per 100 possessions used. It seems to work pretty well as a proxy for being good at stuff, with the caveat that the number is heavily dependent on usage.]
Suddenly B-52s. Michigan's epic run of three-point bombing continued with an 8 of 15 performance against Indiana; they poured in seven of ten attempts after halftime. Why is this happening? Candidate reasons:
- Actual in-season improvement as shooters.
- A reduction in bad threes taken after winging it around the perimeter for 30 seconds.
- An increase in wide open threes generated by the team's increased penetration.
- A reversion to the mean.
- A reduction in threes attempted by poor shooters.
All of these have some impact but I think #2 and #3 are the main reasons. Amakerian possessions spent 30 feet from the basket have been reduced to a few here and there—usually when Morris is getting his two minutes per game on the bench. Michigan broke out of its slump by bombing MSU (10 of 21) and Iowa (14 of 28) into oblivion. After watching that OSU came out with a gameplan to limit three-point attempts at all costs. This worked to an extent but Michigan has adapted—even thrived—as opponents focus on limiting threes until they figure they have to limit Morris and Morgan, at which point they give up a bunch of threes:
Those are three game moving averages so they lag slightly but the trend is clear. Michigan starts off taking a lot of threes and hitting a decent number, take even more and make way too few. They double down, taking a billion threes and hitting a bunch of them, at which point opponents are like "uh oh" and start limiting their opportunities but not their success.
There's a bit of a chicken and egg thing going on here—Michigan beat MSU thanks to a number of contested threes, and while Iowa wasn't as good defensively that two-game blitz seems to have convinced the rest of the league to keep on the shooters, at least insofar as they can.
Epic wallpaper. You must have it.
Five key plays feature Hardaway, three pointers, turnovers, and FT misery. UMHoops scouts potential 2011 PF target Larry Nance, Jr. and recaps the Indiana game. Wojo on the NCAA question. Mets Maize also tackles Indiana happenings. Epically long Darius Morris profile from AnnArbor.com.
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.