"Coach Mattison told me what the Ravens were about, what he thought," Beyer said. "He definitely encouraged me. I hold his opinion in high regard."
As suggested by this and every other site that ventured to offer an opinion about who Michigan's next athletic director would be, the new head man is current (and soon to be former) Domino's CEO Dave Brandon. Angelique Chengelis has the scoop:
Dave Brandon, the chairman and CEO of Domino's Pizza and a former Michigan football player and university Regent, has agreed to a five-year contract to become Michigan's new athletic director and is expected to be introduced to the department staff Tuesday morning, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.
Brandon, 57, has deep ties to the university and also to Michigan business and politics and has long been considered the front-runner to replace athletic director Bill Martin.
Ladies and gentlemen, the new guy:
It's late so no full analysis right now other than "nice hair." Between Brandon and Greg Robinson, we've got a regular Just For Men commercial going on over here. Daddy, you should really start dating again.
Something to address the foremost question in your mind—"what does this mean for Rich Rodriguez?"—is appropriate, however. When a couple of tipsters indicated that Brandon was a more likely candidate than I suggested in my first stab at the candidate list I related the tipster's take on Brandon's opinion of the head coach:
The tinfoil-hat wing of the internet that's suggested Brandon is a part of the shadowy anti-RR cabal hypothetically headed by Lloyd Carr could not be more wrong. Brandon was a key supporter of Rodriguez's candidacy. He and RR have dinner regularly. 3-9 engenders some frustration, but one of the items cited was Rodriguez getting "too friendly with the media".
This is not someone who has anything but the program's best interests in mind.
At the point I posted that no one else was suggesting that Brandon was a clear front-runner and most assumed, as I had, that Brandon's other desires would preclude a serious run at the job: the likelihood the above is quality information is very high. Brandon will give Rodriguez a fair shake at turning things around.
A quick take: Brandon is a default, safe choice. That probably sounds like damning with faint praise to an outsider, but Michigan fans will take the safe choice 100 times out of 100 at the moment. He was a regent. He's worked with Bill Martin and Mary Sue Coleman on the stadium renovations. He's a serious business-type person who should continue Bill Martin's legacy of financial stability, and he was a walk-on on the football team so he could better about the stadium atmosphere issues—in all revenue sports—I've expressed some discontent about.
There are some differences between running a major corporation and a major athletic department but there are just as many differences between running Oregon State or Arkansas and running Michigan; I'm perfectly content with the hire. This won't be another Goss. The only downside I can see is that Brandon's familiarity with the people in the department might make him loathe to clean out a bunch of people who have committed error after error—Marcus Witherspoon, practice log fiascoes, compliance issues, possibly Adrian Witty—in the last couple years.
So Brendan Morrison and some friends are starting up a website that's particularly relevant right now since most of you are probably carrying a bunch of resolutions ("stop fumbling," "go to bowl game," "stop making everyone very sad indeed") around this January. They'd like MGoBlog readers to be pilot members of the site and politely asked for a little time. Here it is:
I have a good friend who graduated from UM with me in 1997. He had been climbing the corporate ladder since then but at some point decided he’d had enough. He started a project to improve the areas of his life that he saw going haywire – not having the time or energy to stay fit, or to contribute anything meaningful in his work life, to the community or the environment. Essentially he wanted to find balance and increase his effort in these areas.
Since he's also kind of a tracking freak he started working on a way to quantify progress in all these areas and that's what the website is. He's working on the assumption that there are people in a similar position who'd be interested in benefiting from the tracking tools on the website. He also sees the “empowurment” you get from recording and measuring your effort as a way of tackling a lot of the bigger problems America faces – getting in shape, helping the planet, and just finding more of a work/life balance in general.
Net, the goal of the website is to make the world a better place, but in an entirely non-commercial (it's free), non L. Ron Hubbard kind of way. My take is that it's like crossfit for your entire life, not just the physical fitness part of it.
I’ve been following the project since the beginning and have been a test user for a while now. I believe in the concept and wanted to do something to help. We’ve gotten to a point where the site needs more e-pinions and thought it would be cool to tap the mgoblog community for input.
As far as what kind of test users he’s looking for (his words):
Those looking to increase their effort levels.
Those wanting to “get better” and/or find more balance in their lives.
Those searching for more happiness and less emo.
People who aren't about smugness.
Tracking types who enjoy tracking things.
Anyway, the site is sure to have plenty of bugs, issues and functional flaws which should be good target fodder for the more critical segment of the mgo readership – all the better. The website can be found at www.empowur.com.
- Brendan Morrison
Less emo sounds excellent. Empowur is the site.
The last couple items I covered before heading out into the holiday season hell for leather were Jay Hopson's departure and some happy vibes going down in the recruitment of CA S Sean Parker. I popped by head back up to post a UV last week. Other than that, I've been silent.
So. Things! That are wringing the life out of me!
Hockey is killing me. I was in Chicago for the opening night of the GLI and the thing wasn't on TV and that turned out to be a fantastic thing for yrs truly because Michigan outshot RPI 46-13(!!!) and lost 4-3. If I had actually seen that transpire I would have died. My spleen would have burst out of my stomach and ran for Mexico trailing intestine and whatnot behind it, and I would have looked down in horror at what was going down only to find it considerably more pleasant than the on-ice action. This apparently happened:
With Michigan trailing by only one goal, Hogan looked like he had a routine save to his glove side that most likely would have left the Wolverines down just one heading into the final period.
But when the puck slipped off of Hogan’s glove and into the net, Berenson made the only decision he could to save his team’s chance at a third-straight GLI Championship.
Michigan managed to rebound the next night and beat an atrocious Michigan Tech team to split the weekend but the RPI loss is the just about the last dagger in Michigan's at-large tourney hopes. Losing to a bleah ECAC team is bad enough—it will kill Michigan's record against common opponents, a Pairwise* factor, against good ECAC teams like Yale that play limited nonconference schedules—but as a special bonus Michigan missed the opportunity to play a good Michigan State team and instead got Tech, #49 of 58 in RPI and 3-16 on the season.
Michigan is now 29th in RPI, down a spot from before the GLI. Sioux Sports shows that if Michigan wins 14 of its remaining 17 games they'd end up somewhere around 10th to 13th in RPI. Upshot: if they managed to do that they'd likely be on the good side of the bubble when conference tournaments rolled around and would have a fighting chance at picking up an at-large bid if they make the Joe and split there.
So… no problem. Just win at an 82% clip when you're at 50% on the season, can't score no matter how many shots you take, and just saw your goalie pulled for a smurfy walk-on who gave up a soft game-losing goal in the four shots he faced.
A more realistic goal is to scrape into fourth place in the CCHA to get a first-round bye in the CCHA playoffs and hope to win them. Short of a time machine that drops sophomore year Al Montoya, Mike Comrie, and Jack Johnson onto the roster, Michigan can't get to the tournament in any other way.
*(The way the hockey tournament is selected is something else called the Pairwise. It compares the top 25 teams in RPI against each other in various categories—RPI, record against common opponents, record against teams under consideration, and head to head. At this point the PWR is so heavily based on RPI that with a few exceptions teams will be within one or two spots of their RPI rank at season's end.)
Basketball: also killing me. So they actually beat Ohio State the other day in a testament to the power of home court in the Big Ten, but AnnArbor.com theorizes that "a confident Michigan basketball team inspires expectations again" and I think they're nuts.
I might have this conversation on WTKA again this afternoon, but a week in which you split against meh Big Ten teams—and Ohio State is meh without Evan Turner—is not making progress towards your goals. Unlike last year, when a strong nonconference run put M in a spot where all they had to do was hold serve, this team has to cut a fiery swath through the Big Ten if they want a bid. Losing to the second-worst team in the Big Ten according to Kenpom is not exactly doing that.
It is nice to win something against Ohio State, though. Or anyone at all, in anything.
Ekpe Udoh: yes, killing me. Udoh is the Ryan Mallett of Michigan basketball. He's 7th in the nation in blocks and Baylor's most-used player (82% of available minutes) on an 11-1 team that's beaten Xavier, Arizona State, and South Carolina. He transferred because a new coach came in and he didn't like his style, leaving Michigan utterly deficient at something important (passing, interior defense) and being touted as a potential first-round pick.
Assistant coach search: not killing me. Stealth mode. I haven't heard or read one word about who Michigan is looking at to replace the departed Hopson, whether it's in the newspaper or a premium message board or my inbox. Michigan might be busy recruiting or, you know, having a "holiday" with the weird people who live with the coaches and insist that something other than football is an "activity" that can be "undertaken." It'll be interesting to see who gets picked up, and it looks like the announcement is going to be of the variety where Some Guy gets picked up and I scramble to google him to find out who he is.
Michigan 73, Ohio State 64. Michigan 7-6 (1-1 Big Ten)
Michigan's schizophrenic season took yet another turn tonight as the Wolverines knocked off the #15 Ohio State Buckeyes in Crisler Arena. The Buckeyes' Jon Diebler started the game hot, and it seemed like we were doomed to watch yet another opponent shoot out the lights. However, it was Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims who stole the show. Michigan's big two scored 52 of their team's 73 points, with Manny adding 5 assists and Peedi pulling down 9 boards. Freshman shooting guard Matt Vogrich also led the team in offensive rebounding(!) and had a key block in the paint(!!).
Michigan isn't in any position to look at this as just another win, but perhaps the upset isn't as big as it seems. Despite Michigan's early-season woes and Ohio State's lofty ranking, the Buckeyes were actually an underdog according to Vegas. Michigan's inconsistencies from game to game have obscured how good the Wolverines actually are, and the low points will have to be smoothed out if there's to be any expectation of a postseason visit.
For now, it's nice to be able to bask in the glow of victory for a change, especially when that victory comes over the Buckeyes.
- Man, Crisler was rocking in the second half. That's easily the loudest I've heard it since the Duke game last year. Me likey. The sound system was busted, however.
- LLP was very quiet. I guess it doesn't matter since Manny and DeShawn were basically all the offense the team needed for a win, but to continue winning games, Laval needs to contribute.
- No sign of Jordan Morgan or Blake McLimans. I guess they'll continue on a redshirt track, despite the losses of Eric Puls and Ben Cronin.
- Manny was much more authoritative on his drives today. He was willing to go to his left, which he hasn't done much this year. He also had a thunderous dunk that brought the house down.
- Vogrich moved positions, he's now backing up Manny Harris at the 3 guard spot.
- To slow down Diebler during his hot start, Beilein had Stu Douglass guard him. I wouldn't have thought of Stu as a big defensive stopper, but that just goes to show what I know.
- Maybe Michigan was hesitant to start their New Year Run before the calendar changed...
"It only takes one game to start your momentum rolling." DeShawn Sims.
"It was just an overall good effort by the whole team. I was the recipient of a lot of passes from a lot of people today, and that's pretty much what got us ahead today." DeShawn Sims, on his offensive output.
"I don't know what it is, we're just getting down to the basics a little bit." Stu Douglas, on the team's overall effort.
"I was just trying to be a spark... It's Ohio State, so it's hard not to bring energy in this game... Everybody probably thinks I'm 7-foot if they just look at my stats in this game." Matt Vogrich, on his surprising performance.
"Coach has really been stressing that to me... that defense is gonna win games. Right now, that's what my focus is." Darius Morris.
"It's Michigan-Ohio State. That's one of the reasons you come to Michigan, to play Ohio State." Zack Novak.
"I wish we'd shown some of that patience at Indiana and Kansas." John Beilein, on the team running its offense.
"Both are terrific basketball players... We weren't able to them at the times that we needed to." Ohio State coach Thad Matta, on Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims.
"It's Big Ten play. You've got 9 at home, and you've gotta take care of your home court." Thad Matta.
Indiana 71 Michigan 65, Michigan 6-6 (0-1 Big Ten)
The Indiana game was the type of contest that makes me not want to even think about Michigan basketball for a couple days, so I did just that. It happened pretty much the way I expected, except a close game at the end broke the way of the Hoosiers, not in favor of Michigan. The Wolverines have still only won 1 game away from home this season, and the 6-6 record means Michigan is almost certain to miss the NCAA tournament, and will struggle to even make the NIT.
Michigan got in foul trouble too early, and was unable to get into a rhythm. DeShawn Sims and Zack Novak both fouled out, and Manny Harris was limited in the first half with foul trouble (though he did manage 30 total minutes in the game). Indiana was allowed to shot the ball very well, and Michigan's defense seemed to regress since the encouraging contest against Kansas.
On the bright side, Zack Novak was able to knock down a couple threes, as was Stu Douglass. Novak started the game on fire then went 1/6 the rest of the way, but seeing the ball go in the hoop at all will aid his confidence. Other than that, it's probably best to forget about this game.
Part 2: The Essentials
|WHAT||Michigan v. Ohio State|
|WHERE||Ann Arbor, MI|
January 3rd, 2009
|THE LINE||Michigan -2(!!!!)*|
|TELEVISION||Big Ten Network|
*Line provided by online sports betting site Sportsbetting.com.
The Buckeyes, like Indiana before them, face Michigan without their best player. Evan Turner is scheduled to return from fractured vertebrae in just a few days, but isn't expected to play tomorrow. The Buckeyes enter this game coming off a shellacking at the hands of Wisconsin on Thursday, only their second loss since Turner went down.
Leading the way in Turner's absence are William Buford, who is the assist leader, David Lighty, who is the best defender, and big outside sniper Jon Diebler, one of the nation's leaders in shooting, with an effective field goal percentage of 66.7%. The Buckeyes don't have one huge guy to scare Michigan fans about size, but they are big at every position. PJ Hill at 6-1 and Jeremie Simmons at 6-2 are the only Buckeyes in heavy rotation under 6-5.
If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy. Also, you'd better hide the women and children before they catch a glimpse of this chart.
|Michigan v. Ohio State: National Ranks|
|Category||Michigan Rank||Ohio State Rank||Advantage|
|Mich eFG% v. OSU Def eFG%||226||60||OO|
|Mich Def eFG% v. OSU eFG%||216||3||OOO|
|Mich TO% v. OSU Def TO%||4||50||M|
|Mich Def TO% v. OSU TO%||56||30||O|
|Mich OReb% v. OSU DReb%||256||70||OO|
|Mich DReb% v. OSU OReb%||244||259||M|
|Mich FTR v. OSU Opp FTR||321||23||OOO|
|Mich Opp FTR v. OSU FTR||25||148||MM|
|Mich AdjO v. OSU AdjD||101||36||O|
|Mich AdjD v. OSU AdjO||103||30||O|
Difference of more than 10 places in the national rankings get a 1-letter advantage, more than 100 gets a 2-letter advantage, more than 200 gets a 3-letter advantage, etc.
HAHA WE WON'T FOUL YOU AND ARE TOTALLY GOING TO WIN. Ohio State has advantages in a vast majority of categories, including the two big boys of overall efficiency. Michigan will have to play well above their season-average level of play in order to get a win. A defensive effort like the one they put in against Kansas will have to be combined with one of the best shooting performances of the year for Michigan to win, unless something bizarre happens.
The Buckeyes can shoot better, defend opponents' shots better, rebound better, and keep opponents of the foul line very well. Unless the Wisconsin game was evidence that they can't compete against similarly-talented competition without Turner (the only teams they beat without him were Presbyterian, Delaware State, and Cleveland State), Michigan is probably in for a tough, tough game.
This looks like one that the Buckeyes lead by single-digit margins almost throughout, and then pull away at the end. If Michigan wants to come away with the victory, keeping the deficit manageable is their best bet.
Starts at 11 on ESPN. Devin Gardner is Michigan's only commit in the game, but prospects Todd Chandler and Torrian Wilson will play as well. Blog gets crackin' about 15 minutes early.