"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Remember the last time Michigan was this good? Remember the last time there was a class of freshmen who arrived to dominate college basketball? Remember how fun they were to watch, and how much fun they had playing? This team isn't at all like that team. But then what was?
How this works again:
- Wednesdays I put up a winnable prize that consists of a desirable good.
- You guess the final scores of this weekend's designated game (football or hoops, depending on the season), and put it in the comments. First person to post a particular score has it.
- If you got it right, we contact you. If not, go to (5)
- The desirable good arrives at the address you give us.
- Non-winners can acquire the same desirable good by trading currency for it.
About Last Week:
GRIII had 17, Burke had 16 and seven assists, Hardaway had 14 with nine rebounds, Jordan Morgan recorded the double-double and Stauskus finished the all-double-digit-starter-a-thon with 12. User mm92 took home the prize despite overestimating the Hogs' scoring output by 1 point.
This Week's Game:
West Virginia didn't believe us when we assured them that their staff will indeed be leaving with them this time, so this Saturday Michigan will be meeting them in Brooklyn on neutral territory. Hipster disguises recommended for all.
And on the Line…
Best if worn with long shorts, black socks, and swagger.
Fine print: One entry per user. First user to choose a set of scores wins, determined by the timestamp of your entry (for my ease I prefer if you don't post it as a reply to another person's score--if you do it won't help or hurt you). Deadline for entries is 24 hours before the start of the game. MGoEmployees and Moderators exempt from winning. We did not invent the algorithm. The algorithm consistently finds Jesus. The algorithm killed Jeeves. The algorithm is banned in China. The algorithm is from Jersey. Rutgers is from Jersey. Holy shit guys Rutgers is in the Big Ten. BIG TENNNNN! The algorithm constantly finds Jesus.This is not the algorithm. This is close.
Jason Avant, you are Jason Avant. Be Jason Avant for us.
"I liked having him around." –everybody
Biannual obvious thing. PSDs go up 75-100 bucks for everyone, effectively raising ticket prices 10-15 bucks depending on the number of home games in any particular year.
At least as more and more of the ticket money gets shifted to annual donations not dependent on beating up small teams the financial window to bring in real opponents goes up. And Stubhub remains a ruthless final word as to pricing. I'm shining it as fast as I can over here, you guys.
Ominously included in the press release is something about Yost:
With the renovations to Yost Ice Arena, the athletic department has expanded offerings for fans interested in premium seats for ice hockey. In addition to the upper level club, the newest offerings are 14 Champions Boxes on the west side and Ice Level Seating in three of the four corners of the rink. There is no PSD for bleacher seating in Yost.
I have been able to walk in and get seats on the blue line twice in the past five years and Michigan has put their miserable early-season schedule up on deal sites the last two, so I don't think the threat is severe. But you never know.
Meanwhile. Attendance is down somewhat across college football, though the Big Ten remains largely immune. As always, announced numbers are thin fictions anyway. Here is a picture of the Orange Bowl as per contractual agreement.
Draft bits. Denard's stock will depend on how well he catches—surprise—and could be a second-rounder, while Lewan is in the same place he's been most of the year:
"It's Eric Fisher or Lewan to be the second tackle off the board," Kiper said. "In the Ohio State game, (Lewan) was beaten that one time, but overall he's been pretty solid this year, got better as the year went along."
Fisher goes to CMU, BTW. Michigan's other prospects are late-round sorts. I'd guess that Kenny Demens has the best shot.
Do it. Er, not that. The seven Big East basketball-only schools have finally had enough with the ever-shifting crap fountain that has been the Big East since expansion got underway seriously and are considering a splinter league with these folks and probably a few others:
The group of 7 schools includes: Marquette, St. John’s, Providence, Georgetown, Villanova, DePaul and Seton Hall. Those schools are concerned about the defection of the core of the Big East basketball conference–Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville and Notre Dame as well as the expansion of the conference in football to 12 teams and the inclusion of schools such as Central Florida, Memphis, SMU, Houston and Temple in basketball.
Or, like, all of the others:
The Atlantic 10 has discussed the possibility of a 21-team basketball league in the event that the changing conference landscape makes high-profile Big East schools available, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com Tuesday.
I guess you could play a 20-game round robin and have a real league champion, but that's just weird. Not as weird as 14 team football conferences, but weird. If I was a Catholic School in this window I'd jump at the prospect of being the A-10 part two, adding Xavier and a couple others to form a solid, stable league instead of messing about with Tulane. The attraction of the Big East exited with the latest round of expansion. But money, etc.
Ratings. Here are all of the ratings for college football on networks. Michigan by weekend:
- Alabama: 4.8, #1 (#2: GT-VT on Monday, 2.8)
- Air Force: was a split with USC-Syracuse that averaged 3.3, also #1 but that's not quite fair.
- UMass: N/A
- Notre Dame: 4.0, #1 (#2: Clemson-FSU drew a 2.9 at the same time on ABC)
- Purdue: N/A
- Illinois: Michigan was in a 3-way window that averaged 3.1 on ABC and picked up 0.7 via reverse mirroring. So no idea. LSU-South Carolina did 3.7 and Stanford-ND 3.3.
- Michigan State: N/A
- Nebraska: 1.2, an ESPN2 way off ND-Oklahoma on ABC, a 5.2, and also off ESPN games MSU-Alabama (2.1) and OSU-PSU(2.3) despite the latter game being essentially a nonentity.
- Minnesota: N/A
- Northwestern: a 1.8 on ESPN in the noon window.
- Iowa: also a 1.8 on ESPN in the noon window.
- OSU: 5.8, noon ABC, #5 game of the year. Let's move it to October or make it a meaningless prelude to a rematch. Erosion, baby.
That Nebraska number is shockingly low. The Huskers drew a 2.8 for a game against Oklahoma, a 2.7 for their first game against Wisconsin, and a 3.1 against OSU. I guess ND-Oklahoma sucked everyone away.
Well yeah. GRIII has been playing at the four for Michigan, obviating preseason concerns about a potentially awkward fit between Michigan's personnel and the offense John Beilein has run in the past.
I don't think that preseason meme was a good one. Since arriving at Michigan, Beilein has ditched the 1-3-1 and an entire coaching staff and incorporated a ton of ball screens into an offense previously devoid of them. If it was a good idea, Beilein would probably do it. Playing two posts has not really been a good idea when you've got a 6'6" guy who can get up and shoot threes at the four, so he hasn't done it. Instead it's Izzo trying to shoehorn Nix and Payne into the same lineups before throwing in the towel on it.
Speaking of the 1-3-1. It doesn't really exist. Seth Davis is catching on you guys:
SI.com: Is it me, or are you not using the 1-3-1 zone as much as you used to?
JB: We've done it in spots, but we haven't done it at length for a while. We used it in the NCAA tournament and that was all people wanted to talk about. One of my assistants calls it Big Foot. Everybody talks about it, but nobody sees it anymore.
But conversation about it will not die thanks to quotes like this:
It's either you use it as a gimmick a couple times, or you either learn it," Beilein said. "We're not trying to be a gimmick team.
"We're trying to learn it."
Baumgardner highlights another portion of that presser in re: Caris LeVert:
"(When we saw that [a turnover] on film), we smiled," Beilein said. "It seems (LeVert's) his arms go forever. His quickness just adds to that. ... You remember in the past even when it was effective, mostly ineffective, Stu Douglass would be (out front) but he's not really long. Zack Novak would be out there.
"When Manny (Harris) played the one year he was more comfortable on the wing. (The front spot) is the most important position. We feel between Nik (Stauskas, at 6-foot-6) and Caris, those two guys are long enough and have the energy to do that."
They're not really there yet despite the success against Pitt—the 1-3-1 has resulted in a lot of open looks and dunks despite the addition of the proverbial length. It's been worth a spin to see; the answer is "not yet."
Andy Glockner sees warning signs in Michigan's defense to date:
Defensively, there's some room for concern, though. Michigan currently is living off a totally unsustainable combination of defensive rebounding rate (currently No. 4 in Division I at 77 percent) and not putting opponents on the line (No. 3 in free throw rate). Even with that combo, the Wolverines are "only" 25th in the country in overall adjusted defensive efficiency. In laymen's terms, that means they're not stopping people all that well on initial shot attempts.
Those numbers will come down a bit, sure, but Michigan outrebounded (in a tempo-free sense) OREB powerhouses Pitt (21st) and KState (5th) already this year. A decline to last year's poor conference DREB does not seem to be in the cards. I do agree that a defense without much shot blocking or forced turnovers has a ceiling on it that is considerably below Michigan's lights-out offense.
Batten down the hatches. Michigan gets to play the GLI without Trouba or Merrill. How do you feel about that, Red?
Losing Jacob Trouba for the GLI is a good problem to have says Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson
“We’ve taken a firm stance as a program that we support the World Juniors program,” Berenson said. “On the flipside, we miss them during the GLI. That’s a big hole on our team, but I’m not going to hold a kid back.”
Not the way the headline implied.
Etc.: Consensus: Taylor Lewan adds AP All-American status to those of Walter Camp, Athlon, ESPN, and CBS. Cincinnati's unsuccessful scramble to exit the Big East. Practices are intense man. Jay Bilas says Trey Burke is the top point guard in the country, does not mention anything about how Michigan should have kept Tommy Amaker. Volleyball makes the final four.
|WHAT||Binghamton at Michigan|
|WHERE||Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|WHEN||7 PM Eastern, Tuesday|
|LINE||Michigan –37 (Kenpom)|
Right: Thundercats hoooooo
Yes, you read that correctly: KenPom has Michigan at a 37-point favorite (with a 99.7% win probability). The good news for Binghamton is that would actually cover the 38-point Vegas spread, the largest in Divison I so far this year.
Binghamton—a program cratered by scandal—is not good; in fact, they're 344th, third-from-last, on KenPom. Their lone wins in a 2-8 season have come against #252 St. Peter's and Division III Marywood; only one of their losses has come to a team ranked higher than #230. KenPom doesn't have them favored to win a game for the rest of the season. They have an 8% chance of beating Stony Brook. At home.
Of the players who account for at least 16% of the team's possessions when on the floor (KenPom "role player" status), none has an offensive rating higher than 93.5. As a team, they score 0.84 points per possession while allowing 1.09. This, obviously, is god-awful.
The Bearcats do feature one starter—forward Taylor Johnson—who's hit 6-of-11 twos and 13-of-24 threes this year. Naturally, he's by far their lowest-usage regular. Guard Jimmy Gray, who's shot nearly twice as many threes as any other player, is connecting at a 26.7% clip.
Prepare for a massacre.
Covered above. Is bad.
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||43.9 (294)||23.5 (283)||26.3 (304)||45.0 (44)|
|Defense||51.1 (257)||17.2 (306)||27.7 (40)||32.9 (116)|
Don't play the worst game of your collective lives. Full stop.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by all of the points
All missed shots are not created equal.
That's the premise of this article by Grantland's Kirk Goldsberry, who examines the work of the NBA's foremost volume shooter, Kobe Bryant, and comes up with a very interesting new statistic. The background [emphasis mine]:
[J]ust like shot outcomes, rebounding outcomes also depend on who is shooting, where they are shooting from, the stratagems of each team, the rebounding abilities of each player, and the precise spatial configuration of the 10 players on the court; as a result, there is a less apparent tenet of basketball: All missed shots are not created equal, and their DNA is inherently dependent upon their ancestral events — some missed shots are good for the defensive team, and some benefit the offense, as many misses actually extend offensive possessions with the proverbial "fresh 24."
Goldsberry coins the name "Kobe Pass" for any shot that is rebounded by the offense—an individual statistic for the shooter, as offensive rebounds is obviously a stat that exists. This leads to the "Kobe Assist":
In fact, league-wide, 34 percent of the time Kobe passes results in points right away because the recipient of the Kobe Pass, a.k.a. the offensive rebounder, frequently scores immediately after acquiring the basketball. In such cases, I define the Kobe Assist as an achievement credited to a player or a team missing a basket that in a way leads directly to the kind of field goal generally referred to as a put-back, tip-in, or follow.
In case you haven't caught on, Kobe Bryant is the master of the Kobe Assist, putting up the best numbers even before the Lakers brought in rebounding force Dwight Howard (having Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum helped, of course).
While Kobe Assists depend in no small part on a player's supporting cast—the guys going up for the rebound, especially—there is still an art to their creation. Much of this has to do with where on the floor a player takes his shot; as a general rule, the closer to the basket a shot originates, the more likely an offensive rebound will occur:
There is one notable exception: three-pointers are rebounded at a lightly higher clip than long twos. This is an NBA chart, so the stats for college may be slightly different, but the point remains that long twos are the worst shots in basketball—often a waste of possession not only because of their low-percentage nature and lack of the upside of a potential extra point, but also because they're usually the last shot of a possession.
[Hit THE JUMP to see the best Wolverines at producing Kobe Assists as well as a new advanced metric, adj. points per shot]
Yesterday Jordan Kovacs casually tossed off something about helping out Dennis Norfleet—or dennisnorfleet, whichever—and other young safeties with minutiae, and then there's a clip of a 5'6" guy wearing 26 tackling someone else:
I hate this for lots of reasons.
The chance Dennis Norfleet becomes a good safety seems minimal. There's being small, and there's being Norfleet small. Bob Sanders is the go-to-comparison here and yes okay there has been one Norfleet-sized safety in the last ten years of college football who has been really good. I can think of plenty of mini-me running backs who have been somewhere between okay and great. Garrett Wolfe, Brian Calhoun, and Jacquizz Rodgers pop immediately to mind, a guy like Vincent Smith has provided Michigan value.
There would seem to be no need to make this move unless safety depth next year is just terrifying. With Gordon/Wilson the presumed starters, the very idea they'd need to move a kid like Norfleet to D says bad things about replacing Kovacs, or that neither Furman or Robinson is viable even as a backup.
Nickel corner? There's even less of a need there. Avery returns, Delonte Holowell is locked into nickel-or-nothing, and Terry Richardson is also a nickel sort. That they'd even try this seems to indicate a need in the secondary that can only be explained by attrition or inability to play.
We're really going to make this move before even trying the guy as a change of pace/third down back? He's clearly not needed to play S for the bowl game, but he may be needed to run the ball since Rawls isn't really getting it done and Norfleet—a guy who Hoke was pushing to get on the field on offense early this year—is just going to go by the wayside to not play safety? WTF?
I mean, if we're trying to win a bowl game here Norfleet has a much better chance of helping that cause on offense than the sideline watching Kovacs and Gordon play safety.
Hoke mentioned something about burning Drake Johnson's redshirt, which he probably won't actually do, but he has put it on the table:
He offered the proposal when asked about his running backs, who will take the field Jan. 1 against South Carolina in the Outback Bowl without starter Fitz Toussaint. Sophomore Thomas Rawls, redshirt freshman Justice Hayes and senior Vincent Smith are expected to be in the rotation.
That indicates Hoke would like to see true freshman Drake Johnson get some time against the Gamecocks. Johnson, who starred at nearby Ann Arbor Pioneer High School, is redshirting this year.
"Maybe," Hoke said. "We like what Drake's done to this point."
So instead of trying out the guy that Michigan thought was good enough to play on kickoffs they're thinking about burning a redshirt for a guy who only got an EMU offer before Fred Jackson swooped in.
This could mean Norfleet isn't good at running the ball to the point where it's not even worth trying him over Rawls. I find that hard to believe after watching his high school tape, but it is a hit on any expectations you may have for the kid as a runner. The nonsensical-seeming position switch is the first step on the road to obscurity.
But more likely it means he's not good at running through unblocked guys and that he might never get a shot running behind an offensive line that could get him some cracks.
Hopefully this is dismissed as a crazy bet Fred Jackson lost by Saturday.
going 12-0 is a often a recipe for this, but especially this year
With the pre-bowl season officially under wraps for 2012, it’s time for my annual review of teams whose record most greatly deviated from what it “should" have been.
To (attempt and fail to) avoid confusion, here is how I define Luck for this exercise.
What I Am Measuring
Luck can mean a lot of things but for this, I am comparing a team’s actual wins this year versus taking their opponent adjusted performance and re-simulating the season with the exact same schedule. Two teams who play a tightly contested game are roughly the same on that Saturday. Over a long horizon these wins and losses tend to even out but over a 12 game season there will always be teams whose final records don’t quite match how they played throughout the year.
What I Am Not Measuring
I am not looking at any preseason expectations. I am not looking at how each team did versus the recruits on their team. Those two would look at over-achieving teams of 2012 more than lucky. I am not going back to individual games or plays to look at if one or two games would have been different. I am also not looking at injuries on personnel changes throughout the year.
Think of this exercise as a sort of Pythagorean Wins for College Football. A lucky season is a great one to have for a fan, because no matter what the expected value is, the end result is all that matters in looking back. But like Pythagorean Wins, “Luck” is a great starting point for looking ahead. There are a lot of different ways to get to the same record. Last year Texas A&M had the most unlucky season in the country and was nearly 4 games below their performance. Kevin Sumlin did a great job this year and having the Heisman Trophy winner certainly helped, but Sumlin’s team was in a much better position than their prior year’s record would have indicated.
Teams with great records are rarely unlucky and vice versa. The formula is [Actual Wins] – [Simulated Wins]. If you win most all of your actual games there is very little room for your simulated wins to be higher. It’s more a factor of math than destiny.
Coach Hoke’s alma mater was 2012’s luckiest team. Ball State was simulated to win 6.4 games this year but pulled out a 9-3 record. Beyond that, three of the four teams following Ball State are of high interest to Wolverine fans.
|Team||Actual Wins||Simulated Wins|
Michigan’s two biggest rivals and bowl opponent all crack the top 5. As noted above, Ohio St and Notre Dame were easy candidates for this list with perfect seasons, but their perfect seasons were the luckiest undefeated seasons in the seven years I have been measuring the luck factor, and by a considerable margin.
Michigan ended the season slightly lucky with 8 wins versus an expected 7.6 based on their total season performance.
Of the teams that finished the year with 2 or fewer losses, Florida State is the only team to finished at least 0.5 games unlucky, thanks to their upset to NC State and an otherwise weak ACC schedule. Their loss to the Wolfpack was the 7th most unlikely outcome of the season based on the simulation but the most likely outcome based on Seminole history. Of the Top 10 biggest upsets looking back, five happened in Week 1 and all by road teams (Youngstown over Pitt, McNeese St over Middle Tennessee, Tennessee-Martin over Memphis, Ohio over Penn St and Iowa over Northern Illinois). Only three of the top 10 happened after the second week of the season with
UMass topping Western Michigan and Florida Atlantic over Western Kentucky joined the NC St upset. The Ohio-Penn St game was an interesting one because people acted like it was at the beginning of the season even though it really wasn’t at the time. By the end of the season Ohio had tailspinned and Penn St turned out to be a much better team.
The unlucky list features some of the same teams from the biggest upsets above
|Team||Actual Wins||Simulated Wins|
Michigan State was a few spots down, as they finished nearly 2 games below their simulated totals, falling on the wrong side a few too many 16-13 totals.
Is This Luck Repeatable?
Almost certainly not. The scatter plot of current year versus prior year luck:
There are a lot of teams in each of those quadrants, each season is its own animal. Notre Dame’s was nearly 2 games above simulated this year but was –5.5 over the last three. Those who remember Northwestern as the team continually defying expectations. The Wildcats continued this year and are one of only two teams (Rice) who have had above average luck for all seven years. With Wake Forest right behind them I began started to draft a “smart schools are more lucky” section until I looked at the rest of the all-time top 10 and saw Middle Tennessee, Kentucky, Auburn and Ball State all on the list.
When you look at the spread of lucky years by
Count of teams by number of lucky seasons from 2006-2012
The twin peaks could mean there is a lucky and unlucky group, each normally distributed. It could also just a be bump in the data or it could be part of the fact that wins by program is somewhat consistent and luck is slanted if you are at one end of the spectrum. My biggest conclusion is that most of it is truly luck but that there is the possibility that teams like Northwestern or coaches like Les Miles have a true ability to consistently win more than they should but also that statistically, teams like that are bound to turn up even if its truly random.
Hokepoints of the Yushityu 2007 Mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-To-Install-Upgrade For Infernatron/InterLace TP Systems For Home, Office Or Mobile (sic)
We're just a few days away from the start of bowl season, which means I get make my annual appeal against subsidized hell. But first a short message from Billy…
Tired of being an unwitting accomplice to some company's branding campaign every time you mention a bowl? Are you constantly struggling to get readers and listeners to know which the hell game you're talking about? Then let me tell you about the latest in idea-exchanging technology from MGoBlog: THE COMMUNICATION COLLECTION™.
Using our one-of-a-kind, industry-leading, low-fat, blogger-approved line of sponsor-free bowl names and logos, you too will be able to immediately convey accurate information to other humans. Using special shared experiences technology and our copyrighted, non-ambiguous terminology, our scientific logos and bowl names are precisely calibrated to provide you with information-sharing vehicles that are recognizable, representative, and syllabically economical. Just look at our happy customers:
- : "I told my friend I'm thinking of attending the 'Citrus Bowl' this year and he knew exactly what I meant! Thanks, MGOBLOG!"
- : "My readers kept asking why I'm so excited over some fast food joint. Then I switched to MGOBLOG's Peach Bowl logo; now they all immediately register that I'm talking about a crazy-off between Dabo and Les Miles!"
- : "People at my office thought I was going around saying a crappy buffalo wings chain will be a 'real defensive snoozer.' But as soon as I showed them MGOBLOG's 'Copper Bowl' logo our shared experiences helped me convey I was really talking about MSU-TCU in Arizona!"
See for yourself what your friends are buzzing about (click on each logo to get at the full-sized, sponsor-free versions):
I'm not against branding. We do plenty of it, and I plan to do more. Sponsoring a nice thing so people can have it for free is one of the most polite ways folks have yet found to introduce themselves to customers. Marketing is subject to the same rules of propriety as all other intra-species communication. Polite: Your banner over the entrance to the guest lecture you're sponsoring. Impolite: making the lecturer interrupt his spiel to talk about the fantastic deals you're currently offering. Polite: Leaving your business card on the restaurant's bulletin board. Impolite: Renaming all the meats in the sandwiches after your products. Also impolite: naming your kid "Need School Supplies? Call 1-800-555-PENS and We'll Deliver!" so that every time the teacher does roll call you're drumming up business.
So yeah, my real beef is with naming rights that become a barrier to communication. The Rose Bowl doesn't need to remind anybody where it takes place or who's supposed to be in it because years of tradition have made it apparent. Outback Steakhouse annoyed me at first, but over a decade of having the name plus the smart decision to leave out the second half of their name (thus actually being easier to say than "Hall of Fame") allowed it to settle. Plus the Outback is a place on Earth; it is conceivable in the imagination that a bowl might be played amidst the gumnuts and wallabies. Bowls for causes annoy me less if they're nouns (Liberty, Independence) than adjectives (Humanitarian), which in turn is better than sentence fragments (Fight Hunger). Synonyms (Military*/Armed Forces) shouldn't be allowed. I'd prefer if newer bowls include the city name for the first five to ten years (e.g. San Francisco Fight Hunger Bowl). Anyway these are all things people might name an event without obviously having to get paid to do so.
That's where I draw the line. Adding "presented by ___" as part of the name makes it easier to ignore but still as disingenuous as if I changed my blogging handle to "Seth Presented by Iowa Corngrowers Association of America." Calling a young event the "Brelk" or "Breef-o-Ladies" means we'll never figure out where the hell it is. Letting that tire company with a name that sounds like a German salute name a second bowl after themselves when they lost the naming rights to the first is borderline criminal. Even more criminal is allowing a terribly named company to take over a well-established brand. The Copper Bowl can't claim the history of the Copper Bowl if it's no longer called the Copper Bowl. And here's where I bring up how the chicken people want to get rid of peaches:
I am guessing this is what the protests were about earlier this year.
*Since the one in D.C. is newer it should be told to change to something that differentiates it from the Fort Worth bowl. How about "The Great Big U.S.O. Show" since it's the U.S.O. that sponsors it anyway.
Half the bowls need to die. This year's lineup will feature 70 teams in 35 bowl games. For reference, the 71st-best team according to FEI this year is 3-8 Arkansas. Teams much worse than John L. Smith'd Arkansas are in bowl games. East Carolina and Louisiana-Lafayette will have a bowl game for a $500,000 payout provided by the title sponsor, who is a trucking company from Wilmington, Ohio. Somebody will broadcast it, and TV crews will show that one ECU fan dressed like a pirate and a few Cajun fans while studiously avoiding angles that show the 90% of Superdome currently unoccupied. And ultimately many people—especially those schools who'll be shelling out way more than 500k to settle their entourage in bowl-approved New Orleans hotels—will ask "why are we even having this?" And the only answers are "because to somebody this is still profitable," and "we need the practices and the swag and the recruit invitations so we can remain competitive."
No I don't think it'll change anything. If someone was going to have a conversation about diluting the concept it would have been had 20 years ago. I am resigned to a future in which the Enterprise Products Partners Bowl matches the 9th Big Ten team vs. the No. 5 Sun Belt team (you are not sure if I just made that one up just now). A win here is if people on this site and others adopt the non-subsidized logos and terminology.
Tracking what Michigan's opponents are doing.
Winning against Arkansas isn't worth a whole lot but Michigan's opponents did well over the week, seeing them bounce up a spot on RPIforecast and Sagarin. Michigan fell a little on Kenpom, for which you can insert grumbles about MOV capping. Michigan remains second in RPI.
Seed projection is static: a #2, behind projected #1s Duke, Indiana, Florida, and Louisville/Syracuse winner.
you will probably not be surprised to find out that BJ Young shot did not go in
I'm dropping Slippery Rock since their season won't impact how anyone looks at Michigan.
IUPUI continued to be awful, losing to Butler and WKU by 20+.
Filler that's not painful
Cleveland State lost to NC State, but given the committee's emphasis on quality wins that's how we wanted it to work out. Bradley beat GW by four at home, which didn't push their season projections much to the positive. They've got a couple of extremely bad teams before a December 22nd matchup with VT. Western Michigan took some of the shine off Michigan's resounding victory over them by losing to Illinois State by 22, but ISU took Northwestern to OT and Louisville to the wire so we'll give them a pass.
Duquense: W 66-45. North Florida: W, 89-47.
With five straight resounding blowouts against bad teams after their loss to Michigan, Pitt is the Wisconsin of the Big East. The latest spectacular annihilation of an overmatched opponent actually pushed Pitt in front of Michigan in Kenpom.
The Panthers don't play anyone of note before the Big East schedule opens on New Year's Eve, at which point we'll find out whether there's any there there. I'm guessing the answer is yes.
Kansas State (7-1)
@ George Washington: W 65-62
K State edged out a game GW team on the road in a game I caught large portions of. They remain large but rely far too much on Angel Rodriguez chucking up circus shots to be a real threat. They'll likely make the tournament and get bounced early. Don't expect much more than a .500-ish Big 12 campaign.
North Carolina State (6-2)
UConn (neutral): W 69-65. Cleveland State: W 80-63.
Edged a game against UConn in the Jimmy V thing and eased past Cleveland State. NC State remains uber-talented and mercurial, capable of doing all sorts of things from NBA power dunks to preposterous turnovers. Hobbit PG still can't play.
The Hogs are coming off a stretch of five straight games against power conference foes, of which they won just one against Oklahoma. They're done playing good teams until the SEC schedule. Kenpom has them at 8-10 in conference and that seems about right after watching their circus shot exhibition last week. They're an NIT outfit.
The Future (Nonconference)
Deniz Kilicli is WVU's highest-usage player, and is shooting 41% from the floor.
Dreck. Binghampton should not be on the schedule; they're coming off a 22-point loss to Bryant. Michigan will eviscerate them tomorrow in a game a bizarrely specific Kenpom gives Michigan a 99.7% chance of winning. Central lost to Charlotte by 12 and actually bumped their rating a little bit.
Filler, not painful. Oh let's move Eastern Michigan here after they beat Purdue, though I think that says more about Purdue than it does EMU. Eastern also got pounded by Syracuse this week.
West Virginia (4-3)
Marshall (neutral court): W 69-59. Virginia Tech: W 68-67.
The Mountaineers got off the deck a little bit last week with wins over Marshall and a previously-undefeated Virginia Tech. I took in the second half of that game as well and came away less than fearful of Michigan's upcoming game with them. WVU can't shoot—they're 310th in 3PT% and 262nd in 2PT%—and generate offense almost exclusively by pounding the offensive boards, which leads to a bevy of fast-break chances the other way when the rebounding guys can't make it work. They look like the NIT team Kenpom projects them to be right now.
The Future (Conference)
NOW WITH WEEKLY COMPARISONS TO OTHER THINGS POWER RANKINGS
LAST WEEK: beat up on Central Connecticut
THING: Indiana is real good. They play Butler on Saturday.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: Cashews. Tasty, curved, and about to get some ineligible foreigners back.
LAST WEEK beat up on WMU and beat Arkansas
THING: I wrote about these guys earlier today.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: Ernest Hemingway. Muscular prose purveyors are shooting enthusiasts.
LAST WEEK: beat up on Long Beach State, held "celebration of perfection against Long Beach State" pep rally no one cared about.
THING: Amadeo Della Valle watch: 13% of OSU minutes, no assists, lots of turnovers, vanishingly few attempts. 10% block percentage! These numbers may have small sample size.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: Sin.
4. Minnesota (10-1)
LAST WEEK: checked to make sure they had not lost to a Dakota team on the gridiron and chanted "just like football" at South Dakota State, annihilated USC.
THING: Oh yeah well we have our own 6'6" guy who occasionally bumps his head on satellites, Gophers. Scary thing about Minnesota so far: Trevor Mbakwe has only played 45% of their minutes.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: like what if you found a species of pogo stick gazelle men hiding in a Papua New Guinea rain forest
LAST WEEK: Beat Gonzaga! By nine! On the road! After falling behind by 11 early! Brandon Paul is a frightening dude and do your remember that Tyler Griffey guy who went off on M last year, well he's shooting 47% on a lot of threes!
THING: Hmmm. John Groce may be okay at this basketball thing. Problem: Nnanna Egwu is terrible. Like, he is an absolutely appalling player. He is seven feet tall and the seventh-best rebounder on his team and he is drawing 6.2 fouls every 40 minutes.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: like what if the pogo stick gazelle men had a basketball team coached by John Beilein
6. Michigan State (8-2)
LAST WEEK: Blew out SWAC team, struggled with Loyola-Chicago before pulling away late.
THING: Nobody on this team can shoot threes except Travis Trice and probably Gary Harris. MSU needs Trice to be a bigger part of the gameplan than he has been so far. Injury limitations don't explain him getting just 20% of MSU minutes while Russell Byrd has acquired 30% and Brandan Kearney 46%.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: An ugly, oversized, defense-oriented, Michigan-obsessed crab. So "any Michigan State sports team."
LAST WEEK: Beat up on South Dakota, finally beat Iowa State in anything at all.
THING: This is not a good defensive team, and they can't shoot threes. Going to be a slog for them in the Big Ten.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: Corn. Full of starch until you put the heat on them, when they become distended and unbalanced. Delicious covered in cheese powder.
8. Wisconsin (6-4)
LAST WEEK: Exploited Kenpom's algorithm with a 46 point win over Nebraska-Omaha, got rolled by Marquette 60-50.
THING: GO AWAY
THING THEY ARE LIKE: Boring death. Obviously.
LAST WEEK: Ran out to a huge lead and shockingly won against Baylor, reviving bubble hopes, then lost solidly to Butler, putting bubble hopes back on life support.
THING: Hey, Northwestern fans, at least this means the Wildcats will do better than expected in the Big Ten so they can rip your heart out in March.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: A nation of really depressed otters: Also delicious covered in cheese.
10. Nebraska (6-2)
LAST WEEK: Ran USC out of their building, then got bombed by Creighton.
THING: Nebraska has a guy named Andre Almeida who is listed at 6'11", 314, and has to be 50 pounds heavier than that. He's top 20 in block rate, which is like wow guy how do you even get off the ground.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: A squirrel on a conveyor belt facing away from the woodchipper.
LAST WEEK: Beat a guy named Lamar. Did not beat a guy named Eastern Michigan.
THING: Your Ronnie Johnson three-pointer watch: 9% on 23 attempts. At least they held up the conference's honor in the ACC/Big Ten challenge, unlike Wisconsin.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: A blindfolded man with a machine gun.
12. Penn State (5-4)
LAST WEEK: Got beat by La Salle by 35; beat Army. By eight.
THING: This program has been to the tournament four times since the last time Rutgers went in 1991.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: Rutgers, EXCEPT MUCH BETTER.
Tourney locks sans Illinois-2011-style implosion
projected seeds included
#1 Indiana, #2 Ohio State, #2 MICHIGAN, #4 Minnesota, #5 Illinois, #7 Michigan State
Northwestern Memorial wrong side of the bubble award
Rutgers Memorial what's a bubble award
Penn State, Nebraska, Purdue
Games relevant to your interest that are on the TV and may be worth watching after the first ten minutes.
It's a thin week what with finals going on. Things pick up on Saturday… sort of.
West Virginia at Duquesne, CBS Sports Network, 7 PM
Binghampton at MICHIGAN, BTN, 7 PM
Eastern Michigan at UIC, Comcast Chicago, 1 PM
Indiana vs Butler, CBS, 2PM
Iowa vs Northern Iowa, BTN, 2:30 PM
Purdue vs Notre Dame, 4:30, ESPN2
Nebraska at Oregon, FSN, 5:30
MICHIGAN vs West Virginia, ESPN, 8 PM
Kansas State at Gonzaga (in Seattle), ESPN 2, 9 PM
The rest of the schedule consists of games against low-majors that should be blowouts.
Today's recruiting roundup covers the latest on Derrick Green and Laquon Treadwell (this has been a recorded message), Cameron Hunt getting a little too hype, and more.
The current front page of The Wolverine teases a Mike Farrell video interview with VA RB Derrick Green, and the headline speaks for itself: "Green says Michigan has the edge". Lo and behold, that's exactly what he said($), confirming what most have presumed since Auburn and Tennessee fired their respective head coaches.
Green does, however, say that he's still open to other schools—and says recruiting is "picking up again," so it sounds like new schools are in contact with him—and his recruitment could stretch to signing day. That's a change from his earlier intentions to enroll early, and one that doesn't favor the Wolverines—Green's only visited Michigan, Auburn, and Tennessee, and would obviously be the favorite if he chose without seeing other schools.
Josh Helmholdt catches up with IL WR Laquon Treadwell, who says he still has Ole Miss out in front, followed by Oklahoma, then Oklahoma State and Michigan ($). Treadwell previously took an official to Ole Miss and will take his to Oklahoma this weekend; he hasn't scheduled any further officials but leaves open the possibility for the other two schools in his top four; he's eliminated any other schools from contention.
As you're probably well aware at this point, former Michigan commit Gareon Conley pledged to Ohio State last weekend during his official visit. The Wolverines will obviously keep pursuing Leon McQuay III, and it looks like they've already identified their backup plan for Conley: OH CB Reon Dawson, and Illinois commit who was offered last week.
[Hit THE JUMP for an update on Cameron Hunt, interest in a new '13 prospect, and more.]