Nik Stauskas says he never followed hockey. When asked about Alanis Morissette, he looks downright befuddled.
"I don't even know who that is."
Yes, Stauskas isn't your typical Canadian. That's because he spent his youth in the backyard—not on a frozen pond, but an asphalt court—hoisting three-pointer after three-pointer.
"I've probably taken a million shots in my life. That's pretty much all I'd do when I was a kid, just go outside and shoot. It's something I'm very confident doing," he said, after leading Michigan with 20 points on 6-10 shooting (4-7 3PT) in a 79-72 victory over NC State.
Thanks in large part to the shooting of Stauskas, Michigan was able to cruise for much of the game against a talented Wolfpack squad, weathering a late 10-0 run by the visitors to give the Big Ten its first win in this year's Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
It's a testament to the balance and depth of this year's squad that Trey Burke went scoreless in the first half; taking what the defense gave him, Burke doled out nine first-half assists as the Wolverines built a 43-36 lead. Burke went into attack mode in the second half, notching his first-career double-double with 18 points and 11 assists—he also had zero turnovers, as the team tallied just six total.
The four factors tell much of the story:
|O. Reb %||24.1||33.3|
Michigan had a lights-out offensive performance with stellar shooting, great ball control, and frequent trips to the free-throw line. Glenn Robinson III had a quiet 11 points on 3-5 shooting to go with seven rebounds, while Jordan Morgan and Mitch McGary combined for 14 points while going 6-9 from the field, largely coming on open looks set up by Burke.
The Wolverines struggled to put away an athletic Wolfpack squad, however, as they couldn't protect the defensive glass in the second half—NC State scored ten points off of seven offensive boards in the final stanza. The frontcourt of C.J. Leslie, T.J. Warren, and Richard Howell poured in 46 combined points, taking advantage of the inexperience of Robinson and McGary to create several open looks.
Though the end got a little hairy, this was a game that Michigan largely dominated. Early foul trouble for Howell—who would eventually foul out—and Leslie forced NC State to go to a zone defense, which the Wolverines picked apart with ease. While Tim Hardaway Jr. had an off night from beyond the arc (1-9 3PT), he and Burke both took advantage by getting to the paint for pull-up jumpers—Hardaway finished with 16 points, shooting 6-9 from two-point range.
When Michigan most needed a bucket, leading by just five with 1:38 to play, it was Hardaway who put the game away, finding a lane and banking a shot home from just outside the paint. On a night when Burke went scoreless for nearly 23 minutes and Hardaway shot 7-18—against a top-25 ACC opponent, no less—the Wolverines had a comfortable lead for most of the game and survived a late scare.
For that, they can thank Stauskas—for growing up obsessed with his jump shot, not his wrist shot, even in Ontario.
|WHAT||NC State at Michigan|
|WHERE||Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|WHEN||7:30 PM Eastern, Tuesday|
|LINE||Michigan –11 (Kenpom)|
Right: Mark Gottfried continues Sidney Lowe's tradition of wearing pretty incredible suits.
NC State started off the season ranked #6 in both polls but has tumbled to #18—and #31 in KenPom—after a 20-point loss to Oklahoma State and a two-point win over UNC-Asheville in the last ten days. Despite the early-season struggles, this is one of the most talented teams Michigan will face all year, as the Wolfpack return four starters from a team that gave Kansas a serious scare in last season's Sweet 16.
There's not a lot of depth on the Wolfpack, but they spread the load very evenly among their seven-man rotation—six players average 24-32 minutes and 10.6-14.8 points per game. Every man on the court is a threat to score, though some are more efficient in that regard than others.
The highest-usage guy thus far is lead guard Lorenzo Brown, and that hasn't been a positive: he's boasting an ugly 35.9 eFG% and his 25% assist rate is offset by a 28.3% turnover rate. Brown's a decent slasher with a knack for getting to the line, however, and at 6'5" he's a tough matchup at the point.
Brown is joined in the backcourt by McDonald's All-American freshman Rodney Purvis, a 6'2" scorer who can finish at the rim or hit from the outside (10-17 3PT). With senior three-man Scott Wood (13-29 3PT), NC State has a pair of outside shooting threats that Michigan must watch carefully.
NC State's best player so far this year has been freshman four T.J. Warren, a highly regarded recruit who's currently hitting 70.7% of his two-point shots, including a remarkable 91% rate at the rim. Though he's got good size at 6'8", 233, Warren hasn't done much on the boards, and he's shooting a dismal 7-18 at the free-throw line—giving him a good hack when he gets the ball at the rim is not a bad idea at all.
On the inside, the Wolfpack boast a solid two-man rotation in junior C.J. Leslie and senior Richard Howell. Leslie, a viable NBA prospect, was the team's leading scorer last year and has improved greatly at finishing around the rim since his freshman year. Like Warren, his weakness comes at the line, where he shot 60% last year and is a little below that mark so far this season. Howell is the team's big body at 6'8", 261, and he's an excellent rebounder on both ends of the count.
That's about it as far as the rotation goes; freshman point guard Tyler Lewis will see a few minutes—he's attempted all of ten shots and has had some turnover issues.
Sophomore big Thomas de Theay may see spot minutes in the event of foul trouble—he's appeared in three of the team's five games this year. EDIT: de Theay left the program on Monday. So yeah, they're very thin up front.
Along with the aforementioned Ok. State loss and narrow win over UNC-Asheville, NC State has a trio of victories over less-than-formaidable opponents: Miami (OH), Penn State, and UMass.
Here are the four factors numbers from both last and this year:
|Off. 11-12||Off. 12-13||Def. 11-12||Def. 12-13|
|eFG%||50.4 (118)||57.0 (16)||47.1 (85)||44.0 (72)|
|Turnover %||18.7 (81)||19.1 (106)||18.6 (256)||18.6 (259)|
|Off. Reb %||35.8 (45)||31.1 (197)||30.9 (121)||31.7 (149)|
|FTA/FGA||36.3 (174)||43.5 (70)||32.1 (71)||27.4 (46)|
NC State wasn't a lights-out shooting squad last year but they've improved with the additions of Purvis and Warren in a small sample size. The defense is relatively average—none of their players is noted for his efforts on that end—doesn't force a lot of turnovers, and blocks a very low percentage of opponent shots (5.8%).
Most of the Wolfpack's shots come from inside the arc, though they're well above-average connected on both threes and twos; they struggle mightily from the charity stripe, however, hitting just 61.3% there.
Um, keep doing what you've been doing? I mean, right?
Attack the rim. NC State's big man rotation consists of all of two players, essentially—Warren is more in the Glenn Robinson III mold of a relatively skinny finisher who can get by at the four due to superior athleticism. Michigan has gone to the rim far more this season than in years past under Beilein; Tim Hardaway Jr., Robinson, Trey Burke, and even Nik Stauskas can all score off the drive. If Michigan can get Leslie and Howell into foul trouble, the Wolfpack will be forced to go small and inexperienced up front, and should be ripe for the picking defensively.
Use those fouls. This is going to take a long time to get used to saying, but Michigan has plenty of depth up front. NC State's bigs are very efficient at scoring around the rim, but downright bad at earning their points at the free-throw line. If Jordan Morgan, Mitch McGary, and Jon Horford have to resort to delivering a good thwack to Warren or Leslie to prevent a layup, so be it. Michigan should be able to survive foul trouble even if they have to turn to Blake McLimans and Max Bielfeldt for spot duty—both have proven passable in limited stretches this year.
Keep doing what you've been doing. I mean, yeah.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 11
Save these lockers. A few years ago Michigan redid the locker room. Where did the lockers go? Pretty much a warehouse:
We're a demolition company that does contract work for the university. A few years ago we got contracted for the locker room renovation and removed all the lockers. We were selling them for scrap metal and a UM fan almost killed us when he found out! We posted them on ebay and sold about 20 of them at $1000 each at that point.
We're getting busy (doing more UM jobs) and need to clear house on the remaining 20-30 lockers. They are full lockers, and we have working combinations for them as the university gave them to us to make taking them apart easier. We have a "letter of authenticity" which is a portion of our work contract signed by the athletic department asking us to remove them.
General numbers are going for $800-1000 and the big popular numbers for $1000-1500.
We run major shipments from here all the time and ship them in about 10 days anywhere in the USA via yellow trucking or UPS. We've been charging $200 to ship to a location with a loading dock and $250 to a residential address.
If you're interested, email [email protected].
Orson in Columbus. A must-read:
17. In summary: Ohio Stadium is brutal, gray, loud--yes, loud, by any standard--mean, cold, and constructed out of concrete bearing a few too many visible cracks for you to be totally comfortable seeing in a structure capable of holding over 100,000 people. (The ledge from the upper deck on the east and west sides had me hyperventilating.) There are grim bells, columns, and one jumbotron plastered onto the south endzone. The effect is that of a flatscreen slapped on the wall of a Roman gladiator's quarters, something very modern hanging on a wall bearing the scars of prehistoric combat.
18. Which, in cliche and reality, is totally what Michigan/ Ohio State is. I get that now after seeing it, because this is not about fun, glorious spite, or simple culture-clashes. Robots programmed this rivalry, and its only prime directives on either side is opposition. You may joke about other rivalries claiming to have been at war with Eastasia, but to either side, the war is eternal, and it is the other side that believes in obliteration of the self and will not stop chewing at the borders of the free nation of Oceania.
19. It feels old, and wears its own leather helmet while drinking scotch and staring at a gray sky. It had been a while since I'd been in the Midwest, and the thought initially filled me with a real and arbitrary sorrow. Driving through Columbus, there are all these lost things--cabbies that arrive on time, bland family restaurants with buffets and non-chain restaurant names, bells that ring in buildings ripped from a Wes Anderson movie's backlot--all these things that never existed where I'm from.
Um, okay guys. It's tough to tell which is the more bizarre thing when it comes to the coaches' half of the All Big Ten teams announced yesterday:
- Jake Ryan, honorable mention
- Patrick Omameh, first-team
In past years I've usually given the coaches' list more credence than the media, but putting Omameh on there is a pretty definitive indication that no coach has come within 50 feet of an All Big Ten ballot this year. They should rename it "SID's team," except then people would think of deceased infants and be sad.
Taylor Lewan and Will Hagerup made first teams and won their OL/P of the year awards. To maintain this blog's tradition of ignoring officially sanctioned Big Ten names for things I will tell you that these are the Long-Hutchinson and Zoltan-Zoltan awards, and feel slightly better about everything.
Craig Roh was second team to the SIDs and Ryan did scrape his way to second-team according to the media. Jordan Kovacs was second team to the coaches, but not the media. In his stead: Daimion Stafford!
definitely not discussing Stafford blowing a coverage so badly Bo Pelini had an aneurysm; definitely not something that has come up time and again
Micah Hyde! Johnny Adams! Josh Johnson!
/eyes roll so far back in head they explode
Positive spin! Michigan was third in total defense in the league, a mere four yards behind Wisconsin. Their haul of All-Big Ten players consists of some scattered second-team nods. Meanwhile Ohio State was seventh and had six different defenders lock down first team nods on either the coaches or media lists.
Imagine what might happen when Michigan has talented dudes. Pretty pretty good I bet.
GHOLSTONWATCH. Second team media. Four sacks on the year.
Salty. Collectively, Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett have bombed Hoke/Borges on twitter for the Denard/Devin thing and now they're all laying down the wood on the ABT choices:
That's not even the biggest stunner involving an Ohio State player. Buckeyes linebackerRyan Shazier did not make the first team, falling behind Michigan State's Max Bullough and Wisconsin's Chris Borland (Penn State's Michael Mauti is an understandable lock). There was talk of Shazier for Big Ten defensive player of the year after the way he blazed through the second half of the season. But that looks less likely now. (Unless the coaches want to engage in some serious trolling by naming Miller the offensive player of the year and Shazier defensive player of the year as second-teamers). Also bizarre: the coaches did not select Michigan's Jake Ryan for a first- or second-team spot. Ryan is undoubtedly one of the Big Ten's top four linebackers.
Quickly. One man's All Big Ten team, with the caveat that I didn't see much of Indiana or Penn State this year:
QB: Taylor Martinez, Nebraska (read too much of Ross Fulton pointing out Braxton Miller errors to give him the nod)
RB: LeVeon Bell, MSU (poor damn LeVeon Bell), Venric Mark, NW
WR: Allen Robinson, PSU, Kenny Bell, NU, Jared Abbrederis, UW
TE: CJ Fiedorowicz, Iowa
DL: John Simon, Johnathan Hankins (OSU), Kawaan Short (PU), Eric Martin (NU)
LB: Jake Ryan (M), Max Bullough (MSU), Ryan Shazier (OSU)
DB: Jordan Kovacs(M), Isaiah Lewis(MSU), Darqueze Dennard (MSU), Bradley Roby(OSU)
Other thing I looked up. Michigan had just 41 punts this year, which was last in the Big Ten by ten. Also despite having the second-best gross average their net was only seventh:
Those punt returns stats aren't that bad despite seeming like they were going to be a disaster at any particular point; looks like the high touchback rate was an issue.
Scottish Premier League this baby. Tom Izzo is concerned [freep] that the Big Ten regular season title is no longer going to be an important thing, as I think everybody is. It was a big, big deal for Michigan to claim a share last year.
Once you get to 14 teams, you're playing everyone once and then missing about half the league the second time around. Schedule imbalances will lessen the importance of the regular season unless you go to 22 or more conference games, which may not be feasible.
Alternative: 19 game conference schedule.
PHASE 1: round robin.
PHASE 2: line is drawn between 7th and 8th teams in the league. Mini-leagues subsequently play round-robin. Rutgers is relegated to the Big East every year.
PROS: Absolutely fair. Winner is undisputed. Makes Big Ten title a huge important deal. Final six games for teams that make upper half would be knock-down drag out brutal free-for-all for league title. Would give top teams impregnable schedule strength. You could televise the schedule draw with Ronaldo and Messi in suits.
CONS: May cost league NCAA bids if the best team in the bottom half can't get any marquee wins in the last six games or the worst team in the top half just gets blitzed. Bottom half is just kind of sadly playing out the string. Uncertainty about final three home games may impact ticket sales negatively. Extremely distant possibility that the 8th best team 13 games in can climb all the way to the top.
In conclusion, anything that amps up the value of the regular season is good. Play For Stuff.
What is this? Folks who cover the USMNT drop lists like this projecting the 23 guys who end up on the next World Cup team. I have appropriated it. Regarding the number of tickets: 22 starters on offense and defense + 2 kickers + nickelback + FLEX TE + fullback.
THIS IS THE Signing Day Update. Certain recruits are added, NFL departures (or returns) are accounted for, and bowl performances are taken into account. Next update is after spring practice.
PACK YOUR BAGS
Jake Long wannabe took second-to-last step to full clone by forgoing sure first-round status in this year's draft to return for senior year. Upside: shut off Clowney in bowl game, gives Michigan second returning starter, was All-American last year. Downside: has reportedly sold his twosie.
The Barbarian is Michigan's best defensive player and a lock for preseason first-team All Big Ten. Can change direction in a flash; consistently shocks opponents with his explosive acceleration.
Schofield came into his own midway through last year. Getting some NFL draft buzz now; shut down a talented SoCar bookend in the bowl. Could move to guard if necessary; idealls remains outside.
Groza semifinalist and hair enthusiast has turned his career around after early struggles. Hit 52-yarder last year en route to record accuracy for Michigan kicker. Likes brunettes and Keystone Light.
Should break out for real after a year to bulk up and work on his routes. Frequently targeted a year ago without effect, will need some outside threats to develop to truly annihilate defenses.
Former Rodriguez slot-dot is Michigan's leading receiver and should be again. Still a somewhat awkward fit as an outside receiver; a threat on end-arounds and screens. Punt return job may be up for grabs.
7. QB Devin Gardner, Jr.* [Last time: 12]
Late-season rankings slide of Shane Morris and solid bowl performance move Gardner from very likely to be Michigan's starter to a holy lock. No true freshman is supplanting him.
Safety attached to notorious six-pack has been a steady performer and a major contributor to Michigan's extreme lack of big plays allowed in the Mattison era.
Season surprise emerged into upper-echelon Big Ten nose tackle out of nowhere. Has the physical ability to be an NFL player. Requires your head, sorry, nothing personal.
Filled in admirably for Countess. Avery won't pass him, and it's doubtful any freshman will. Still needs to tighten up his zone coverage but has excellent size and athleticism for the position. Likely to move to boundary corner.
UNLESS SOMETHING STRANGE HAPPENS
Most college-ready OL out of the Midwest in years probably could have—probably should have—started last year. If he does not ascend to starting job will have been beaten out by a classmate, freshman, or walk-on. Not happening; cue Imperial March.
Sticky-fingered Louisiana gnome proved is mettle in 2012. If a pass is physically reachable by him, will be brought in. Feet will motor afterwards. Lacks top gear.
Converted OL Michigan's best bet at inline blocking TE sort; needs to work on his technique in a serious way. Could near 300 pounds after an offseason in the weight room. Fears no fish.
Pressed into service as a started his freshman year before settling into perpetual third-best-corner-on-rosterdom. Will see half of the defensive snaps, covering slots and the like.
Major drop from last time out; was overranked to begin with since Bolden is pushing from behind. Excellent frosh play in bowl game puts job under a bit more threat. Realistically it'll be hard to move out of the MLB spot.
Kugler buzz sees Miller slide a bit as his competition will come in far readier than most to start from day one. Still seems unlikely a guy with a labrum injury can find the strength as a freshman to displace him.
FAIRLY SAFE BET
With Courtney Avery seemingly comfortable in the slot, Countess is likely to reclaim the field corner job he locked down midway through his freshman season… as long as he isn't hampered by lingering effects of his injury.
Early enrollee groomed as the Kovacs heir apparent as soon as he arrived, playing in certain nickel and dime packages as a freshman. Has not appeared on The Price Is Right, that's 'shopped, rookie. Marvin Robinson may challenge.
The only thing keeping Ross so low is classmate Joe Bolden; the two freshmen split snaps with veterans and played well. Ross seemed more instinctive and gets the nod here; had a great day against Northwestern and just needs 20 pounds to be a quality option.
IN A BATTLE
Yep: making the switch here, as Fitzgerald Toussaint now has to deal with not only DeVeon Smith but a 220 pound slab of muscle coming in with as much hype as it is possible to garner. Tailback is an immediate-impact spot.
Beyer has nosed ahead of Frank Clark and Mario Ojemudia since he's a better run defender. Recruiting sites liked him best, too. Likely to split time with the other two contenders here even if given the green light as a starter.
Mountain-sized guard missed 2012 with a broken leg; will return for spring practice. Has to fend off freshmen and walk-ons, mostly. The non-Kalis guard spot will see a lot of intrigue.
Started to rack up meaningful snaps late in the year; will have to fend off challenges from Tom Strobel and possibly Chris Wormley and Jibreel Black, if he's not at three-tech. Injury-enforced retirement of Nate Brink means he's at least going to reprise his role this year.
Nominally in line to replace Will Campbell at starting three-tech but will be pushed hard by trio of redshirt freshmen, and may move out to SDE. May not have the size to start at his current position.
Someone large and leapy will have to pick up where Gardner and Roundtree(?) left off. Darboh did nothing as a freshman but seems likely to move in front of Jerald Robinson and others to claim the other spot outside.
Stephen Hopkins' departure makes Kerridge the leader at fullback when face-smashing is called for; the additions of Khalid Hill and Wyatt Shallman may move Kerridge to the bench for periods of time when Borges wants pass-catchers at the spot. Houma?
Bowl suspension has Will Hagerup on thin ice, thin enough that it seems 50/50 he returns, at best. If Hagerup is out the door, Michigan won't miss much of a beat with Wile, who averaged 48 yards a kick in the bowl game. Picture may be slightly old.
PUSHING FROM BEHIND
QB Shane Morris—hopefully he redshirts.
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint—worst. year. ever.
RB DeVeon Smith—most likely to fit what coaches want at RB spot
RB Dennis Norfleet—MOVE HIM BACK MOVE HIM BACK
OL Erik Magnuson—third option at tackle.
OL Ben Braden—rumor is they may give him a shot at guard with Lewan back.
C Blake Bars—if Miller is just too too small.
C Patrick Kugler—the chosen center, but labrum injury hampers.
WR Jehu Chesson—should be ready to go after redshirt in search of bulk.
DE Tom Strobel—oversized end coming off redshirt, should be quality run defender.
NT Ondre Pipkins—get thee to the technique hut, son.
DE/DT Chris Wormley—has the size, has the hype, has the ACL recovery process.
WDE Frank Clark—rotated with Beyer last year.
WDE Mario Ojemudia—seemingly the best bet for an impact pass rusher at the spot.
MLB Joe Bolden—needs weight, but coming off meaningful freshman PT.
SLB Cam Gordon—spots Ryan.
CB Terry Richardson—weight weight weight weight weight
CB Jourdan Lewis—will a Cass corner ever meet the hype?
S Marvin Robinson—not sure if he'll ever be reliable enough to play.
S Josh Furman—ditto
Last Saturday Michigan ran 51 offensive plays. Of those the Big Ten's best rushing quarterback ever participated in 19. Two of the sans-Robinson plays were on the goal line; here's how Michigan fared on the other 49:
|Denard||Plays||Run%||YPA||YPA-Adj.*||1st half*||2nd half*||In box|
Yards per attempt-adjusted (*) means I capped maximum gain or loss on a play at 20 yards so the outliers don't throw off the rest. It's not a quotable statistic but I think it provides a more accurate apples to apples comparison of the offense with Denard under center and without. It shows how Ohio State's defense seemed to have every part of Michigan's offense pretty much shut down except Denard running. Then they shut that down too.
Success rate is a thing they use at Football Outsiders at the start of their S&P+ calculations, and measures how much of the distance needed for a 1st down was achieved given the down. On 1st down you need to get 50% or more, on 2nd down 75% or more, on 3rd down or 4th down 100%. It doesn't account for the time of the game, so running for 8 yards on 1st and 10 from your own 25 with 75 seconds left in the half is considered "success" here. Here's the four quarters by success rating:
|Denard||1st Q||2nd Q||3rd Q||4th Q||Total|
For all the Borges carping from the 2nd half, Michigan's ability to get chunk yards with Denard's legs despite having to double Hankins and the entire world knowing what's coming was some Level 4 Rodriguez 2010 stuff. Then the bad guys did something at halftime to shut it down and it went to 2008 Rodriguez stuff and Denard Robinson's Big Ten career ended with 9 minutes left in the 4th quarter down 2 points.
A lot of folks have taken the "keying" quote to mean Meyer did something by alignment to take away what Michigan was doing until. I don't think this means what you think it means.
[See THE JUMP for a Picture Pages of the Keying]
I'm a little late getting it up, but my annual charity thing is happening again, and again I call upon the charity of MGoReaders to help us throw a party for and give gifts to kids spending the season in a homeless shelter.
Adopt-a-Shelter is a one-day event at two Detroit shelters where we give the clients a Christmas party and allow the parents to "shop" for donated gifts worth $10 to $20.
Activities for the kids include a pizza party, Santa Claus, a teen game room, face-painting, artwork and dancing. Most of the activities are a diversion for the kids while their parents…
Shop in a gift room filled with donated, unwrapped gifts. The parents can each select a certain number of gifts for themselves and their family members (this is why they have to be unwrapped). Anything left over goes to the shelters—every year we have a ton left over, and every year they've managed to give it all away in a few months after we leave.
The sites for the parties will be Booth Evangeline (Amazon Wish List) on Saturday, December 8, and Genesis II House (Amazon Wish List) this Saturday, December 1. Mitch Albom's organization Time to Help is again throwing the larger Booth party, and Mitch will be there; the shelter has about 150 current clients, about half of whom are kids. Genesis House has about 50 women and 17 children; they recently moved to a new building so they're in dire need of a lot of donated furniture, particularly dressers/anything that can be used in lieu of such (students: your old dorm stuff is perfect).
What You Can Do
Help stock the gift room, donate furniture, and volunteer. See the jump for the Details.