fair point that
Previously: Hoops Preview Podcast, MGoRadio 1.6 (wsg John Gasaway), Point Guards (Walton, Spike), Wings Part I (LeVert, Dawkins, Irvin), Wings Part II (MAAR, Chatman, Robinson, Wagner), Bigs (Doyle, Donnal, Wilson), Hoopsageddon.
NORTHERN MICHIGAN PREVIEW
|WHAT||Michigan vs. Northern Michigan|
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|WHEN||7 pm ET, Friday|
|LINE||No line (100% WP on KenPom)|
BTN Plus (online stream only, $)
BTN will replay it at 11:30 pm Sunday
Right: Willy the Wildcat could use some time at Camp Sanderson. (via)
Before getting to this season's story, there's a game tonight that should look quite a bit like last week's exhibition. Like Le Moyne, Northern Michigan is a D-II team, and not a particularly good one at that—the Wildcats went 9-19 last season and were picked dead last by some margin in the preseason GLIAC coaches poll.
The Wildcats boast a couple solid outside shooters in guards Jordan Perez and Marcus Hall, but the lineup shouldn't pose much of a threat to Michigan. NMU has one player on the roster taller than 6'7", and he's a 6'10", 200-pound freshman. KenPom gives Michigan a 100% win probability.
On the Wolverines side of things, Zak Irvin will sit out this game because of his back injury; John Beilein said yesterday that while he's healthy he's not back in game shape. Spike Albrecht is still limited from his offseason hip surgeries and will play only spot minutes. The main focus of Michigan fans will be how the rotation shapes up:
- Will Kam Chatman or DJ Wilson look like the superior option at the four?
- Is Mark Donnal really the starting center or is this just like last year?
- Will Moritz Wagner get time, therefore burning his redshirt? Or will Wilson see some time at the five?
- How will MAAR find his way onto the court with Duncan Robinson providing such a quality scoring option off the bench?
Those questions won't all be answered in full tonight, but we should have more of an idea of how this team will look.
[Hit THE JUMP for THE STORY, which is really a health update with a hopefully-not-awkward tie-in to this year's basketball team.]
We'll get to the important thing but first wow this UFR Visualization tool by grozzy is useful. For example here's how much of an outlier Desmond Morgan's game vs Minnesota was:
Small request: the numbers always get thrown off by how many plays are in a game. I wonder if the visualizer could adjust for that by making it points per charted play.
Okay the important thing:
Yes, MGoReaders, a plurality of you have correct taste in cereal. For the record, the entire MGoStaff voted for Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Not only did they perfectly pull off the miniaturization of Angelo's specialty, but they knew to add just the right amount of cinnamon to make the post-cereal milk-slurp experience the BEST.
Also apparently a minority of you are colorblind and can't tell who won from the above chart because everything looks like blue or green. And a minority of that minority blamed me instead of the OP for that. Hey it ain't my fault you (probably) lack red cones a thing our primate ancestors developed pretty late in the story to be able to spot berries. My grandpa had that; they put him in the lead plane in WWII because tank camouflage didn't work on him.
[Hit THE JUMP to learn what happens if Michigan wins out and you call Keith Jackson]
|WHAT||Michigan at Indiana|
|WHEN||3:30 PM Eastern
November 14th, 2015
|THE LINE||Michigan –13|
|PARKING||Get yer OSU parking now|
|WEATHER||sunny, mid 50s
0% chance of rain
Professor Chaos via Patrick Barron.
Parking note sponsored by Park 'n' Party, which is your fancy same-place-all-the-time tailgate headquarters. They tell me they're now expanding into catering and equipment so they can accommodate all levels of commitment. They also say that if you wait you will not get parking and then you will
wander the earth doomed for all time have to explain this to your spouse. Seriously, they sold out for MSU and OSU is on the way.
Indiana hasn't won a whole lot of Big Ten games but they've given big chunks of the league heart attacks. They were within 30 yards of beating Ohio State, they stuck close to Michigan State for about 55 minutes, they were down 21-20 against Iowa deep into the second half.
They have also lost to Rutgers. Like this.
In addition they own a one-point win over Southern Illinois and a three-point win over Western Kentucky. #CHAOSTEAM is real. #CHAOSTEAM is here.
Run Offense vs Indiana
TJ Simmons is one man against the world
Indiana's defense isn't good at anything; it's worse at defending rushes than passes. In Big Ten games:
- OSU ran for 272 yards on 34 rushes, 8 YPC
- PSU ran for 154 yards on 32 rushes, 4.8 YPC
- Rutgers ran for 210 yards on 40 rushes, 5.3 YPC
- Iowa ran for 234 yards on 44 rushes, 5.3 YPC.
Only MSU, the #12 rushing offense in the league, was even vaguely slowed. Michigan is not in OSU's class but they're right about where Rutgers and Penn State are. S&P+ has Indiana 91st nationally; they have a bad situation where they get mauled off the ball on short yardage (104th nationally) and also give up a ton of big plays (95th).
Problems start with the big guys, who aren't big enough and tend to vacate lanes:
The defensive line is the source of a lot of Indiana's defensive woes. To make up for being a little undersized and mostly unable to beat blocks straight up, they slant often, and Iowa used this against them over and over:
That's the entire defensive line and both inside linebackers stuck on the wrong side of the field a mere moment after the handoff. Akrum Wadley—yet another opposing running back I now covet—had ten free yards, then got an extra bunch with a slick juke on a safety just outside the screen.
Darius Latham is an exception at a full 300 pounds; he has a swell recruiting pedigree but has had some issues staying on the field, missing the opener with a suspension and the OSU and PSU games with injury. He's been on the field for the last few games but has struggled to have much impact since guys can just run where he ain't.
Indiana's guys get very aggressive in an attempt to make up for problems like those above and could be susceptible to the trap plays Michigan has largely put in their back pocket since it was clear opposing teams were spending significant amounts of time prepping for them.
The linebackers are actually pretty good when TJ Simmons, who's the kind of knifing presence Michigan fans hoped James Ross would develop into, is present. He missed the second half of the Iowa game after a (correct) targeting call; he will be back for the full 60 against Michigan since his ejection happened at the tail end of the first half.
And then the safeties:
The safeties, as you'd expect from Indiana's number of big plays allowed, were awful. [Chase] Dutra is aggressive and takes terrible angles to the ball, which is not a good combination. Crawford is slightly more reliable from what I can tell but that may just be because Dutra plays more in the box.
The eye test agrees with the stats: Indiana gets blown off the ball a lot, has some linebackers valiantly trying to mitigate issues, and after them it's a crapshoot.
As far as Michigan's half of this goes, they've scuffled along for the most part. They should be able to beat up the Indiana front; too often this year they've had one or two guys (ballcarriers included) commit play-breaking errors. The overall results are okay—36th in S&P+—but a lack of big play ability, especially from the tailbacks, has held succesfull plays down. Michigan doesn't get stuffed much; they frequently thunk out three yards. It's a work in progress.
Michigan should have success but if they don't hit a big one—and they're not good at that—the numbers will be a bit underwhelming.
KEY MATCHUP: INDIANA LINEBACKERS versus SECOND LEVEL BLOCKS. If the LBs get handled Michigan is going to be sailing.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of Indiana, which is basically what you expect from Indiana every year now]
Hey basketball's on tonight. Like, real basketball that counts. Our draft also counts: whoever wins gets to be the MGoBlogger who feels smarter than the rest of us. Because Brian and Alex squabbled over point guards in the first round, Denzel Valentine slipped to Ace. Because we had a run on power forwards in the 3rd/4th rounds, Zak Irvin and James Blackmon fell to Ace.
Can he deliver the coup de grace, or does that require, you know, forwards? Also: who are the best/most overlooked basketball players Michigan will have to face in conference this year? Find out in the thrilling penultimate 'geddon of this year's basketball season.
As things stand:
Alex is on the clock.
ALEX: Round 5, Pick 2: Jarrod Uthoff, Wing, Iowa
TEAM: PG: Bronson Koenig (UW), SG: Caris LeVert (UM), SF: Jarrod Uthoff (IA), PF: Malcolm Hill (IL), C: Thomas Bryant (Ind)
A year ago, Iowa won 22 games, finished tied for third in the conference, and advanced to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. Aaron White, the underrated and versatile 3 /4 wing, has graduated; almost everyone else is back (save for Gabe Olaseni)—Adam Woodbury, Mike Gesell, and Anthony Clemmons.
The best of the group is senior wing Jarrod Uthoff. He's 6'9 (and with that size, posts a nice block rate of 6.2) and had a shooting split of 47% / 37% / 74% last season. He might not be able to transition to being the leading scorer because of a possible lack of 2nd scoring options on offense. Still, he'd be a good fit as part of my drafteggedon team -- Uthoff can space the floor and score enough to carry a team for prolonged stretches.
[Hit the JUMP if you dare. Or care]
: ( [Bryan Fuller]
On the roundtable this week:
- Sam enjoyed the "shot yourself in the leg" tweet I sent to Plaxico Burress. I defend Burress a little because I have respect for anyone who cares enough to go on an unhinged twitter rant.
- Craig Ross told us all about the O'Neill crew and we listened but had no power to do anything about it.
- Rutgers! Not good at football.
- Indiana! Not good at defense.
THE USUAL LINKS
Don’t Sweat the Technique
#26 Jourdan Lewis, CB (Detroit, MI)
I needed an excuse to talk about Jourdan Lewis, the first genuine superstar of the Harbaugh era at Michigan. In the gloom after the Michigan State loss, it was evident that Lewis had blossomed into one of college football’s Elite players – he more than held his own against the high-powered tandem of Cook and Burbridge; he set the U-M record for pass breakups in a season after just eight games + one possession against Rutgers; PFF says he’s the best corner in the country.
I have two assumptions moving forward: a) Jim Harbaugh’s University of Michigan will have its share of memorable and / or dominant football players and b) I’ll probably want to write about those guys. So I’ll create a hypothetical “Known Friends and Trusted Agents” canon with my own arbitrary criteria – the HARBAUGH HALL OF HEROISM. Yes, this does seem like more of an offseason exercise for #content that looks at things after they’ve already happened, but we can all agree that Jourdan Lewis is extremely good and will eventually be remembered fondly for his exploits in a winged helmet.
Anyways, without further ado: Lewis is the first to be enshrined into the HHH.
* * *
1. Regardless of how the rest of the season plays out, it’s clear that the 2015 Michigan defense will have been one of the country’s best: currently, S&P and PFF (in the post linked above) rate it as the best in college football; FEI rates it fifth. Through nine games, the Wolverines have allowed opponents to score 107 points (11.9 ppg, the fewest in college football) – remove the kick return touchdown from Rutgers and the Bounce of Satan against Michigan State (as plays that should count against the special teams unit) and the defense itself has conceded just 93 (10.3 ppg). The 2006 Michigan defense was dominant through most of the season and – even though they got lit up by OSU and USC to end their season, U-M still had one of the top-tier defenses that year. Even though we still have four (or, God willing, five) games left on the schedule, Brady Hoke and Greg Mattison’s grimy goons up front and the No Fly Zone secondary that migrated east on 96 and south on 23 are anchoring an Elite defense. Somewhere, somebody smart will promote D.J. Durkin to his first head coaching job and it will be richly deserved.
[After the jump: Cass Tech, the OMG Pick-6 vs. NU, Burbridge vs. Lewis]