mesmerism! presidential assassinations! circuses on fire!
wit1/24/2013 – Michigan 68, Purdue 53 – 17-1, 5-1 Big Ten
Probably not many more of these for games not against Penn State, but I don't have any narrative for this one so let's just talk about stuff that happened.
Photos. Via Eric Upchurch:
It catches up in the end. The story of the first half was the normally deficient Boiler three-point shooting checking in at 54%, which was good enough to stake them to a one-point lead. In the second half they went 0-9 to finish almost exactly on their season average of 31.6%, and honestly it should have been worse what with DJ Byrd hitting one from 35 feet and banking in another. (As always, Death To Backboards.)
By the end of the game everything had averaged out to… averages and Michigan just about hit the Vegas line and Kenpom's prediction of a 17-point margin. If Ronnie Johnson hitting a three is the difference I'll live with it.
MY MAN RONNIE. That one make on three attempts pushed him to 14% on the year.
Purdue is kind of fun to watch. So you've got Ronnie Johnson's three-point futility plus his tendency to crash full-bore into opponents for charges that are so obvious the refs don't even get excited about them. Then you've got DJ Byrd hucking it up from anywhere, making a few and hilariously missing more. All other Purdue perimeter players are more or less versions of those two guys. The Johnsonbot named Terone adds a dash of circus shot to the stew.
The end result is balls flying all over the place. More than once last night I thought GO HOME PURDUE, YOU ARE DRUNK. This makes them significantly more entertaining than, say, Penn State or Nebraska. Nebraska does have Andre Almedia, I guess.
Does Michigan need to foul more? I think they might. There was a possession relatively late on which Burke extended pressure and harassed one of the many Boiler Johnsons into a near-turnover twice, and then Mitch McGary overplayed a passing lane to finally turn Purdue over. I'd like that to be a more frequent occurrence even if it comes at the cost of some additional fouls.
I can immediately think of some good counter-arguments:
- Michigan plays its starters a ton and there is a serious dropoff to the bench so foul trouble is to be avoided at all costs.
- Playing defense like that tires you out, bench thing again.
- Michigan likes games of HORSE.
But but but boy do I want this team to get out in transition and getting aggressive on defense seems to have some potentially large payoffs. Their transition numbers are nuts, in the 96th percentile nationally as of a few games ago according to Synergy and UMHoops. Anything they can do to push the pace is going to benefit them.
They only forced 12 turnovers in this one, limiting those opportunities. Their man to man seems a lot more passive than many teams'. This game in particular seemed to invite aggression: the Boilers have a very good eFG% defense and can't shoot free throws.
Specifically, I hope Caris LeVert can beast up over the next couple months. He's not going to foul out and if he gives up a couple of over-aggressive fouls on the perimeter it's not likely to end up hurting Michigan since they so rarely find themselves giving up the bonus. Stauskas, too—that man is still in the top ten nationally at avoiding fouls.
THEORY. It may be that Michigan's second-half surge is partially built on a lack of fouls in the first half? If they go into the locker room with everyone clean maybe they sit down and are like "okay guys now time to get aggressive"? I'll check the numbers on this to see if there's anything to it.
If I had to guess I'd say no. It feels more like Michigan's offense takes off right after halftime. But I'll check.
Throw out the rebounding record books when you play the Purdue Boilermakers. For the record, Michigan still won the battle on the boards against a team that looks damn good at that bit right now—22nd OREB, 64th DREB. They grabbed 12 of 30 opportunities; Purdue got 11 of 34.
And it was hard to be mad about many of Purdue's offensive boards anyway. Their misses were often so wild that attempting to get position was a futile project often ending with a ball heading directly at your head with hockey-puck speed. I hope no one on the team was in 'Nam. If anyone was they're having a seriously bad day today.
I definitely shouldn't mention this. Tim Hardaway was 3/5 from deep today, bringing his three point shooting in league play to a Stauskas-like 15/29.
Trey Burke yawn yawn. Save for an uncharacteristically poor night from three (0 of 4), Trey was himself: 6/10 inside the arc with 4 FTAs, 8 assists, one turnover. Oddity: he blocked two shots.
Burke has surged into the KPOY lead now, passing Russ Smith and Mason Plumlee. Smith may have a case—he's putting up 36% of Louisville shots and has a huge steal percentage—but is hurt by inefficient shooting; Plumlee's presence is largely due to a huge DREB rate that seems to exist because no one else on the Blue Devils even tries.
There's a team adjustment in the kPOY that probably explains much of the movement. Louisville and Duke have had a rough past couple weeks; as their teams fall back to the pack their numbers go down.
it was a fumbly kind of game for big guys (Upchurch)
Blank-headed center regains third head. With Morgan and McGary having some struggles early, Jon Horford saw eight minutes for his first extended playing time in a while. His impact was not enormous—three rebounds, 1/2 from the floor—but it's nice to have him available.
This Week in This Week In Stop Asking For Post Touches: the beginning of the first half for Michigan, in which Jordan Morgan ended up taking on AJ Hammons directly and went 0-3. Morgan and McGary did have one nice one-on-one bucket apiece against Hammons; overall their efficiency was significantly lower than the rest of the offense.
Another oddity: Michigan's three posts saw a total of 43 minutes and picked up no fouls. This was because…
Holy pants was AJ Hammons awful. I've been talking him up based on watching some Purdue and seeing some nice things in the box score; in this game he was total non-entity. In 24 minutes he had 2 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 turnovers. While I wasn't enamored with Michigan's center play in this one, they have to get some credit for that.
That over and back call. A couple folks pushed back on twitter when I broke out the traditional "lol big ten refs" for the over-and-back on Stauskas, but I am sure I'm right on this. For over-and-back to be in play the entire ball and the entirety of the player's body have to cross the halfcourt line. By the time Stauskas caught up to the ball Byrd had poked out it had already started crossing the halfcourt stripe. This was obvious on TV but not to the ref, since said ref was well behind the play.
In any case, he clearly did not regain control of the ball until he'd entered the backcourt, in which case the tip indicated by the ref closest to the play was still the determining factor. That call was mystifying.
Yes, I can find things to complain about even when Michigan is the #2 FTA/FGA team in the nation. It's a skill, what can I say?
Second-half adjustment watch. This one was even coming out of the locker room, with both teams picking up five points in the first five minutes. Then Michigan went away with a 14-2 run in the next five. You can add that to the bin or not; your discretion.
On deck: huge swing game. I dislike this Illinois game coming up. Michigan should win, but this is an Illinois team that beat OSU's head in at Assembly (Not That Assembly) and could at any moment heat up on their many, many three-pointers. They'll be desperate for another marquee win that can cover up blemishes like "losers to Purdue and Northwestern" when tourney time comes around; I can see things going very well or very badly.
There's a cap on how well Illinois can do when they can't grab a rebound to save their lives; I am still wary of a team at the bottom of three-point percentage rankings on both offense and defense. That could turn around and bite you. Ask Gonzaga, on the wrong end of an 11/26 night from the Illini.
Kenpom has Michigan by eight and with a 77% chance of winning—feels a little more random than that to me.
OK, I lied. These aren't really Gardner highlights as much as they are Gardner/Gallon/Roundtree/Denard highlights or Offensive Highlights In Which Gardner Touches The Ball. I wanted to split up the highlights so they wouldn't be as long as last year's. If you think it's too short, that's probably because I couldn't include the Nebraska game after Denard got injured, the second half at OSU or the Big Ten Championship.
A ho-hum home win versus Purdue doesn't quite register on the official Muppet meter, even if the No. 1 team lost on Wednesday and we're the No. 2. And we can't all be celebratin' an ultimately meaningless ranking that hasn't been posted yet. So I propose a compromise:
Finding a marquee road win on its dwindling schedule was imperative for Purdue's fading tournament hopes, and for much of last night you could tell the Boilermakers were stiffing it. Then Glenn dropped the family stone…
Soundtrack | Ace
Two epic gif dunks in two weeks and we've got ourselves a new Robinson to love. A top ranking may be academic from here with Duke falling to Miami, but just in case you don't trust the coaches to do right, Mmmm Hmmm has tracked the poll movement among B1G title contenders this season. He did the same with football earlier this week, and giving him the Diarist of the Week honors for it so he doesn't have to ask the mods to bump things anymore.
LSAClassof2000 has his own metric for comparing the top teams in the conference based whether you're above or below average on 18 stats he can pull from box scores. When he's done it looks thus (click embiggemates):
The things we're below average in are the usual things; the lack of an elite defender has Michigan last in the conference in blocks with only Penn State, Nebraska, and--oh okay--Indiana in the neighborhood. For what it's worth THE_KNOWLEDGE says we'll play Ohio State in the Big Ten tourney.
A Michigan Man will coach the 49'ers. Brian on Wednesday bumped the diary by stephenrjking pleading for people to forgive Harbaugh his academic comments in '07 because, like, we're blood. I'm whatever; the thing I don't like is when people say they're mad at Harbaugh because he was "disloyal." If there's something that makes Michigan different it's not that we stand by each other, in fact I can't think of any other family among major college programs that's as ready to criticize itself (we're still biased). We're not the school with a "Sacred Brotherhood" that you violate by complying with NCAA investigators and tell the truth.
Jim's crimes were the same as Snyder/Rosenberg's—being mostly inaccurate in his criticism, and being motivated by spite and personal gain—although to a far smaller degree. Harbaugh doesn't care about your grudge anymore than he cares that he currently employs four (Boone, Whitner, Grant and Ginn) Buckeyes who could be exempli gratias for how little our rivals care about educating players to do something besides football or work at a car dealership. He said the thing because he was competing for the same kids attracted by Michigan's academic/athletic combo pitch while being hamstrung by Northwestern-level requirements we don't meet.
If there's an exceptionalism to Michigan—the school and the sports—it's a focus on being exceptional over whether we appear to be so. That's what distinguished Bo from Paterno, it's what distinguished Carr from Tressel, and it's what made Hoke a great choice for Michigan's head coach in 2011.
Rutgers and Maryland Explained? Using a database published by USA Today, woomba found valuations for the pieces the Big Ten recently plucked in the current media environment by manually adding "Rights/Licensing" to "Other". Maryland ($22 million) was still just No. 6 among Big East and ACC teams in this metric, and Rutgers ($14.5 million) was 12th. For reference, Nebraska was at $35.8 million the year before they joined the Big Ten.
Things of interest not related to killing the conference to gamble on an outdated TV model: Michigan leads the nation in licensing but our "Other" is a relatively pedestrian $6 million (Ohio State's was a ludicrous $20.6 million last year but other schools at the top were all around $10 to $11 million). I'm almost sure this difference is in-stadium advertising but don't tell Brandon (I'm sure he already knows and that this grates him endlessly). The football ticket shakedown and replacing the coach raised contributions from $12 million in 2010 to almost $28 million last year. Ohio State's contributions dropped by almost $10 million after Tatgate.
Best of the Board
WELCOME TO THE NEW AGE?
A 2012 highlights/2013 hype video by MGomaha. All of the highlights and none of the "crap" Brady. If all of these are so good it'll be a pleasant offseason. Still nowhere close to a Better Son or Daughter or the Weapon of Choice/Dilithium spring reels.
STARS DON'T MEAN YOU'LL PLAY IN THE SUPERBOWL…
They just wink very suggestively. Discussion on Hinton's Superbowl starters by recruiting stars article linked. One thing I noticed was that most of the guys he listed as "N/A" because they were before the Rivals database were major, major recruits. Frank Gore, Randy Moss, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Anguan Boldin, Terrell Suggs and Bryant McKinnie were all among the top 10 high school players in their years (Moss and Boldin of all time). Carlos Rogers and Justin Smith were Superprep All-Americans, which is the equivalent of being a Top-50 player. Jonathan Goodwin you could call a 3- or 4-star; he had all the offers but went to a MAC school so he could play right away.
If you call the other "N/A" guys unranked you end up with a Superbowl roster made up of roughly a quarter each of five-stars, four-stars, three-stars, and lower. Some readers saw that and came away with "See it doesn't matter what you're ranked out of high school because half of the guys in the Superbowl weren't blue chips." This is because these readers don't know how math works.
Rivals this year lists 34 players who are 5 stars, and had 250 players get 4 stars or higher, and gave at least 3 stars to 1,650. That's out of 8,171 high school players profiled. So let's compare percents shall we?
|Rating||2013 Recruits||SB Starters|
|2 or less||76.33%||22.6%|
If stars didn't matter these two columns ought to be apportioned the same. Yes it's too small a sample size to scream correlation, but that's a very suggestive wink.
Your Moment of Zen:
Via mgovideo - Apparently he and I share an internal playlist.
EDIT: The title of this article was changed after posting because apparently it was causing Creed-related seizures. Please note that the title to the Sly & The Family Stone song where they say "Boom Shakalaka" is "I Want to Take You Higher." There is no reason to have any other song come to your head when you hear those words.
For 25 minutes, it had all the makings of an upset.
Purdue entered Crisler Center as a 16.5-point underdog despite winning their last three games handily, while the home favorites had to shake off the rust from a weeklong layoff. Michigan looked listless offensively and lost defensively as the Boilermakers built a one-point halftime lead on the strength of seven first-half three-pointers.
For the first five minutes of the second half, it was more of the same—Michigan and Purdue trading baskets as the home crowd's consternation grew. Then Glenn Robinson III, playing against his father's alma mater—not to mention a school that couldn't find a scholarship for the in-state high school star—drilled a three from the corner. After baskets by Nik Stauskas and Trey Burke, he bookended a 10-0 Wolverine run with a three from the same spot.
From that point forward, Michigan put it in cruise control, especially after Stauskas exterminated a last-gasp 6-0 Purdue run with a three of his own. The Wolverines, tested mightily on their home court by the team that ruined last season's Senior Day, had managed to survive.
Robinson finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, but unlike previous games those points didn't come quietly. Before sparking the second-half run, Robinson jolted a sleepy crowd to their feet with a huge one-handed slam over DJ Byrd late in the first half after beating two defenders to the baseline. Robinson denied having any extra motivation against Purdue after the game, but his actions said otherwise.
Trey Burke didn't knock down any of his four three-point attempts; otherwise, he was his usual All-American-caliber self, hitting 6-of-10 twos en route to 15 points and a 8:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Purdue attempted to pin Burke to the sideline when Michigan ran the pick-and-roll, but Michigan adjusted, often flipping the pick* to free up their point guard.
Stauskas and Tim Hardaway did their part, especially from outside, combining for 25 points and 5-for-9 three-point shooting. However, Stauskas struggled guarding Byrd, who hit some NBA-distance threes in scoring 11 first-half points. In the second half, John Beilein gave Hardaway the task of shutting down the Purdue sharpshooter; Byrd failed to score in the game's final stanza, and the Boilermakers as a team went 0-for-9 from beyond the arc in the second half.
It wasn't the prettiest win for Michigan, but John Beilein—who was just 3-7 against Matt Painter's Purdue teams entering the game—was happy nonetheless with the effort. At halftime, he challenged his team to show more mental toughness.
"They responded really well. Really well," Beilein said, with a hint of a smile creeping across his face.
*having the screener set up on one side, then "flip" over to the other side of the defender
|WHAT||Purdue at Michigan|
|WHERE||Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|WHEN||7:00 PM Eastern, Thursday|
|LINE||Michigan –17 (Kenpom)|
Purdue came to Ann Arbor for last year's Senior Night and spoiled Michigan's chances at an outright Big Ten title. While this Michigan outfit has markedly improved from last year's version, the Boilermakers have gone in the opposite direction without Robbie Hummel, Lewis Jackson, and Ryne Smith.
6'2" guard Terone Johnson, Purdue's leading scorer, takes over 27% of the team's shots when he's on the floor, and they aren't all good ones: according to hoop-math, 52% of his shots are two-point jumpers, of which he makes just 33%. He's a decent finisher around the basket and can knock down threes (35.2%), but shot selection is obviously an issue, one exacerbated on a team lacking viable shot creators. His overall efficiency is salvaged somewhat by a healthy number of assists and a low turnover rate, at least.
Freshman starting point guard Ronnie Johnson has much the same statistical profile as older brother Terone—right down to 52% of his shots being two-point jumpers, of which he makes 33%—except with a high turnover rate. Oh, and he's shooting 3-for-26 on three-pointers this year. Efficient, he is not.
Rounding out the starting backcourt is 6'5" guard Raphael Davis, though he's only playing about 35% of the team's minutes. Davis is one of the team's most effective shooters, hitting 56% of his twos and going 5-for-13 from downtown, and he's also a solid defensive rebounder. For some reason, he doesn't play more—I'm guessing because he also struggles with turnovers.
6'5" senior DJ Byrd is listed as a guard/forward but spends nearly all his time on the perimeter—70% of his shots come from beyond the arc. After hitting 43% of his threes last year, Byrd is down to 36.5% this season as defenses are able to devote far more attention to him. He's not much of a rebounder on either end despite playing the four at times.
Seven-footer AJ Hammons has quietly put together one of the best freshman campaigns in the conference, averaging a hair over ten points in 23 minutes per game while doing solid board work on both ends. He's very effective around the basket, where he hits 75% of his shots, but like the Johnson brothers often settles for too many two-point jumpers—those comprise 56% of his shots, and he's hitting them at a 35% rate. On the defensive end, Hammons is a very good shot-blocker and a major reason why Purdue boasts the conference's best two-point defense (39.3 2P% allowed).
6'3" sixth man Anthony Johnson is not related to the two starters of the same name, but he joins the low-efficiency party anyway, connecting on 42.7% of his twos and 24.2% of his threes. Forwards Jacob Lawson, Donnie Hale, and Travis Carroll provide good size off the bench (all are in the 6'8"-6'9" range). Lawson is a stellar defensive rebounder and decent finisher around the hoop. Carroll doesn't hit the defensive boards hard but rebounds well on offense and has started the season 15-for-21 from the field. Hale doesn't rebound at all and has hit 27 of his 69 shots this year, so naturally he gets more minutes than Carroll and is a higher-usage player than Lawson.
The Boilermakers went just 7-6 in non-conference play, with their lone KP100 win coming on the road against #65 Clemson. Other games against KP100 teams didn't go so well, with losses to Bucknell and Xavier at home and Villanova and Notre Dame at neutral sites. They also lost at Eastern Michigan, a team Michigan destroyed to the tune of 39 points.
Purdue does have a 3-2 record in the Big Ten, including a seven-point win at home over Illinois, but wins over Penn State and Nebraska are nothing to write home about. Michigan State crushed them by 23 at Breslin, while Ohio State pulled away late at Purdue for a ten-point margin.
Four factors, now conference-only (small sample, yes, but numbers are equally skewed by various cupcakes on the non-conference schedule):
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||45.4 (8)||16.3 (4)||35.6 (3)||30.4 (8)|
|Defense||43.7 (3)||15.7 (12)||32.5 (8)||24.8 (2)|
Offensively, Purdue doesn't shoot the rock well, but they manage a just-below-average offense thanks to offensive rebounding and not turning the ball over. They're hitting their threes in Big Ten play (37.7%) but the numbers inside the arc are ugly (42.6%) and they've been terrible from the line (54.4 FT%(!)).
Strong interior defense has been a constant for the Boilermakers, as their impressive 2P% against has held steady from non-conference to conference play. Big Ten opponents have caught fire from outside, but Purdue actually allows the second-fewest attempts in the conference, so that is likely a fluke.
Don't give Byrd open looks. The only way I see Michigan losing this game is if Purdue catches fire from downtown, and Byrd is their best outside shooter. He's seen his shooting percentage plummet (albeit from "ridiculous" to merely "quite good") now that defenses don't have to worry about Robbie Hummel and Ryne Smith lighting them up from the outside; if Michigan devotes the same level of attention as Purdue's previous opponents, they should be able to limit his output.
Forego post touches. Brian has covered in detail why Michigan doesn't need to try and establish their post players as back-to-the-basket scoring threats, and with Hammons patrolling the paint this isn't the game to try and do that, anyway. Expect the centers to spend much of the night setting picks as the Wolverines try to draw Hammons away from the basket—if they can get a few ticky-tack fouls on him, that's a bonus.
Cede the jumper to anyone named Johnson. The numbers speak for themselves. Michigan should be able to get their transition game going given the volume of jump shots that Purdue usually misses. Terone Johnson pulling up from 18 feet, as he is wont to do, is about as likely to result in a Michigan basket going the other way as it is one for Purdue.
Get Stauskas going again. Just for my own sanity, it'd be nice to see Mr. Swag crack 50% from downtown after struggling in the last couple games.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 17.
I'll stick to KenPom here with that kind of a margin. As stated above, Purdue's proclivity for taking—and missing—the worst shot in basketball should spark more than a couple fast break opportunities. If Michigan can find a way to score inside the arc—and we're talking about the nation's best offense by a decent margin here—they should be able to run away with this one.
As much as I would love to say I have a good feeling about this game (and I kind of do), realistically it is hard to see us winning this. Maybe later on in West Lafayette if everything goes right Purdue can stun them, but we're asking a team that is still very young to go into Ann Arbor and knock off one of the best teams in the country. I think it only happens if Hammons stays out of foul trouble while delivering a 20-10-5 game, Davis or TJ also has a big game, and Purdue hassles them into an uncharacteristically bad game.
BoilerTMill predicts a 15-point Michigan win despite the admitted optimism.
come back so I can mute you
WANT. Ace points out that this is a thing that exists:
The technology exists to remove commentary from live sporting events via your home sound system.
There's only one downside.
You may have to move to England to get the sound system as the Sony BDV-N7100W hits UK stores in May and contains technology initially developed by NASA. The new state of the art home system is able to differentiate commentary from background noise and remove the announcers' voices to allow you to enjoy the ambient atmosphere of the stadium with its "football mode"...
"Sony says that its speakers are able to recognise what is the natural ambient sound of a sporting event, and what is somebody nattering on top. …
The benefit is that fans can watch sport as if they're at the game, and not sitting next to a relentlessly unimpressive summariser with a booklet of cliches."
Goodbye, Craig James. Dick Vitale. Etc.
Meanwhile, I am off to patent a system that turns all color commentary into Dan Dakich hitting on Doris Burke. I'll see you from my space palace on Moon II.
Erp? As I type this Miami is housing Duke and Michigan is ticketed for #1 in the polls as long as they hold serve against Purdue. That's one thing. But being the odds-on favorite in Vegas?
VegasInsider.com moved Michigan to a 5-1 favorite to win the NCAA tournament on Tuesday, the best odds of anyone in America at the moment.
I feel that this is irrational exuberance. Surely, like, Florida or something.
Derrick Walton: pretty pretty good. Via UMHoops:
He seems a lot like a guy named Trey Burke, except he never misses shots.
You did what? The NCAA just announced they were going to investigate their investigation of Miami because of… stuff. This bit I didn't understand:
Former NCAA enforcement staff members worked with the criminal defense attorney for Nevin Shapiro to improperly obtain information for the purposes of the NCAA investigation through a bankruptcy proceeding that did not involve the NCAA.
As it does not have subpoena power, the NCAA does not have the authority to compel testimony through procedures outside of its enforcement program. Through bankruptcy proceedings, enforcement staff gained information for the investigation that would not have been accessible otherwise.
If this seems like whatever, as it did to me, the problem is that people not named Nevin Shapiro who have not signed off on this are suddenly getting asked questions under oath about things that are not laws.
This has served as another opportunity for people to shout that there's little reason for the rules the NCAA is enforcing here to exist. They just push activity under the table and hurt organizations who try to stop it. Wetzel:
Whatever. At the end of the day it's a rich person sending money to a young – often poor – person. We are supposed to be outraged by this? This is how the country works, this is how the force of a capitalistic economy will always make it work. Only the NCAA thinks it can stop it.
The goal of the NCAA is to create the illusion of amateurism because it allows the NCAA to avoid paying taxes – billions and billions of dollars in taxes. Which means billions and billion in taxes have to come from somewhere else – like the rest of us.
I'm down with this. I'm not down with crapping on Mark Emmert constantly, since he inherited this crap and is understandably focused on bigger things than any individual investigation. He just hacked out 25 pages from the rulebook, he added multi-year scholarships, he tried to get the cost-of-living increase through before being shot down by Indiana State, and next year they're going to have a knock-down, drag-out fight about agents and transfer rules and whatnot. All of that is due in no small part to the fact that anyone under 60 with a platform is tearing the NCAA apart on amateurism issues, and this is good.
Crapping on Emmert himself seems counterproductive. The guy is ramming reform down a thousand-headed-hydra throat collective as fast as he can. The root of all NCAA evil is the precious idea that the playing field can be level—and Emmert's working group just inserted language into the bylaws specifically repudiating that. Yeah, enforcement's screwed up. Emmert's busy with more important things.
Pretty good. From Luke Winn's latest power rankings:
Winn also mentions that Michigan's leap in offensive efficiency is ninth in the country, which is all the more impressive because Michigan is coming from a place of strength (22nd last year) and most of the other teams on that list are coming around from awful—the best 2012 offense on the list other than M is Butler, 223rd last year. The rest are 284th or worse.
Show us the game! Here's an early candidate for rant of the year at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician. It is dropping the bomb on the guy producing Syracuse's nail-biting win over Cincinnati:
2.5 -- And here we come to ESPN's coup de grace. Their fucking Starchild shot of the whole broadcast. With an incredibly important front-end one-and-one foul shot in a 2-point game, this is the camera angle ESPN goes with from the time Brandon Triche recieves the ball from the official all the way through as he shoots, misses it, Cincinnati rebounds it, and then calls time out:
I always want to watch important plays from the worst seat in the house! In fact, it's why I usually watch games on TV instead of heading to the arena...because you can just never get those worst-seat-in-the-house tickets.
Any live shot that is not the traditional sideline view is fist-clenchingly bad. You are not Stanley Kubrick, director guy. Just push the button.
Grraaagh. There's always a chance Penn State loses a game 19-16; outside of that Michigan State's 49-47 win over Wisconsin is assured of being the ugliest game of the year in the Big Ten. Consider this sentence:
This one was a double shutout until Wisconsin hit a 3 four minutes into the game.
And then this one:
A layup by Dawson with 6:58 to go to give MSU a 47-43 lead would be MSU's last field goal of the game.
They scored two points in the final seven minutes! And won! Wisconsin shot 30% from 2 and 3 and 39% from the line, and lost by two!
Neither of these teams will play a game this bad again this year, so prepare to be frustrated when they score in the, like, 50s.
File under Everyone Hates Wisconsin. Possessions in Wisconsin's Big Ten games so far: 59, 57, 59, 59, 64 (Iowa), 55. Prepare for a grim, grim game. Given Wisconsin's free-throw shooting woes—61% on the season, 331st, and 52% in Big Ten play—Michigan's low-foul ways might actually work against them in this one.
If they find themselves down, hack-an-Evans should be a real option. He's 33 of 84 from the line (39%) and a team with Michigan's offense should be more inclined to exchange points at the line for extra possessions than normal.
Denard at WR. As you might expect, he's inexperienced.
Gilmore said Robinson has some tangible and intangible qualities that should allow him to make up ground quickly. "The language I'm talking right now to him is foreign," Gilmore said. "It's Chinese. But the one thing I appreciate, he's asking questions." On Monday and Tuesday, Robinson stuck close to Gilmore when he wasn't taking reps. When Robinson saw something he either didn't understand or wanted to clarify, he asked Gilmore. "He's very coachable," Gilmore said. "He's a very humble kid. He asks some great questions. Not good questions. Great questions." That willingness to learn combined with Robinson's superior athleticism should help him close the gap with more experienced receivers. "Because of the athleticism he possesses, it will be a shorter learning curve than most," Gilmore said. "Once again, the God-given ability will take over. He's just got to get the reps."
But we want to visit the empty cathedrals of college football. Talkin' up neutral sites is one Gene Smith:
Big Ten athletic directors have a lot of decisions to make for the future, including the possibility of playing nine or even 10 conference home games per season starting in 2014. If the league does go that route, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith has an idea.
"I would like to see more neutral sites in those scenarios," Smith told ESPN.com. "We've got a great stadium in Chicago, one in Detroit, one in Indianapolis, and now we have the East Coast. So I can see more neutral sites for conference games."
I find myself strangely unoffended by this because it seems like Smith is talking about moving games from Rutgers and Maryland to somewhere other than Rutgers and Maryland. And… yeah, I don't care. No one's ever going to move a Michigan home game away from Ann Arbor, so I don't care. I do have a problem with Penn State essentially buying an Indiana home game and moving it to Philly, as that upsets competitive balance. Moving a Rutgers game to the Meadowlands doesn't, so I don't care.
I probably should care, but I've already done my YOU BLEW IT UP YOU MANIACS bit and am now settling in to my new reality in the dystopian future I thought couldn't happen to us. Vat-grown protein for all.
Etc.: Denard's getting mixed reviews as a wide receiver at the Senior Bowl. Ain't no gentlemen 'round here. Mitch McGary profiled and profiled. Devin Booker scores points in front of Michigan coaches. Irvin, Kennard also score points. Mark Donnal scouted. Winning by lots is good. Purdue braces for impact. ADIDAS SCREWED UP 1928.
Today's recruiting roundup covers the final 2013 Rivals250, a pair of new 2015 (yes, 2015) offers, a possible 2014 QB offer, and more.
Derrick Green Day Countdown
The top running back in the country decides between Michigan, Auburn, and Tennessee on Saturday at 4 pm. Let the anticipation build:
HURRY UP, WEEKEND.
Final 2013 Rivals250: Trending Down
The final 2013 recruiting rankings haven't been kind to Michigan's class, and the last of the four services to roll out their final update—Rivals—is no exception. Eleven Wolverine commits are in the updated Rivals250, but none are ranked above #70 (Henry Poggi) and all but Jourdan Lewis fell in the rankings:
- Henry Poggi dropped from #68 to #70
- Shane Morris dropped from #27 to #81
- Patrick Kugler dropped from #79 to #82
- Kyle Bosch dropped from #99 to #104
- Dymonte Thomas dropped from #107 to #109
- Mike McCray dropped from #88 to #115
- Jourdan Lewis rose from #147 to #131
- Chris Fox dropped from #123 to #142
- Jake Butt dropped from #141 to #144
- Taco Charlton dropped from #231 to #237
- Ross Douglas dropped from #238 to #241
- Logan Tuley-Tillman dropped off the list from #245
Derrick Green remains the top running back on the board and moved up to #8 overall, which hopefully will be relevant—he would be Michigan's highest-ranked commit on Rivals since Ryan Mallett in 2007.
It's clear that Shane Morris's uneven performance at the Under Armour Bowl—in both practice and the actual game—was a big hit to his recruiting stock, especially in the wake of a mono-shortened senior season. Only Scout has kept him as a five-star, while he's no longer the highest-ranked Michigan commit on the other three sites, which rank him #81, #81, and #127 overall.
I think the drop across the board for Morris is justified. I've seen him in person several times at this point and he definitely has five-star potential, but there were certain aspects of his game—accuracy and decision-making, most prominently—that needed improvement after his junior year. Morris was unable to show strides in that regard while missing most of his senior season, however, and when it came time to prove himself on the camp and All-American circuit he couldn't shake his inconsistency.
He's still got great potential—I've never seen a high school quarterback with that level of arm strength—and being a top-100 recruit doesn't make you chopped liver. It just didn't make sense for the recruiting sites to keep him above prospects who've been able to show off much more in their senior seasons.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on two new 2015 offers, Michigan's 2014 QB situation, and more.]
There is a special fondness for one’s earliest sports memories. They form the backdrop of experience against which all future events are contextualized.
My earliest datable memory is Kirk Gibson hitting a home run in the bottom of the 8th inning in Game Five of the 1984 World Series; from that day until his retirement he was my favorite baseball player. I learned to cheer for Isiah Thomas and Gary Grant. I cheered for Yzerman, and accepted that the Lions were always bad. And I rooted for Michigan football, with Jamie Morris and Mark Messner.
And Jim Harbaugh.
He won the Fiesta Bowl. He beat Ohio State with clutch play. He guaranteed a victory in ’86, and then beat Ohio State again.* He led Michigan to a Rose Bowl. To a young boy, he was a hero, everything that the winged helmet was supposed to be about. To everyone at Michigan, he was a Michigan Man.
*Someone recently argued on the board that Harbaugh essentially rode the coattails of Jamie Morris to the win, belittling his role in the game. That’s acceptable logic, if you’re willing to assert that Denard rode the coattails of Junior Hemingway to wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame last season--any takers?
* * * * *
Fast Forward to 2007. I was visiting Michigan from California, where I was attending school. I was enjoying one of the things I really missed about Ann Arbor--walking around the Ann Arbor-Saline Road Meijer after midnight. As I ambled past the U-Scan lanes, I happened to glance at the newspaper display. And there it was, front page.
Jim Harbaugh Criticizes Michigan Academics
“Jim,” I muttered to myself. “You fool. What are you doing?”
* * * * *
Jim Harbaugh was calling out the academic integrity of Michigan Athletics. He was dropping Bo’s name (after Bo died, something that sat poorly with myself and others) and using it as a cudgel against Michigan. And, by all appearances, he was doing so in an arrogant way to burnish his own program’s reputation.
Nobody in the Michigan camp liked it. Now, I suppose there could be discussion about whether or not he had any legitimate points. Many blogs, including this one, vehemently refuted his accusations and sharply criticized him for making them. I believe it can safely be said that the vast majority of the Michigan family disagreed with both the content and the method of his message.
But this is not about what he said in 2007. This is not about whether or not he wanted to “come home” after Rich Rodriguez left.* I want to address a debate that has bounced around the Michigan family for more than five years now:
Is Jim Harbaugh one of us?
Hey, basketball! We meant to have these the past couple weeks but a slammed Sunday with both men's and women's going at the same time nixed us two weeks ago and it was black death time for me a week ago.
If I sound weird it's because I'm sucking on cough drops the whole time.
All the starters. We're all like "Trey Burke is good" and this is why we get paid the okay bucks.
I accidentally dis Jordan Morgan. Ace calls me out, yo.
Stauskas! Come back to me, 57% shooting.
Various gigglings unbecoming manly men. Sorry.
Talking Big Ten with Jamiemac. We run down the league, and groan expressively about Wisconsin. Then the phone lines go out (srs) and we finish up the contenders discussion ourselves.
Music. "El Scorcho," Weezer, since we are giggling like children anyway.
The usual links:
John Beilein likes to say that the best defensive rebound is one by his point guard. Why? That's the best way to get out in transition. I decided to investigate Beilein's claim—at least as it applies to Michigan—by going through this season's play-by-plays and charting each defensive rebound.
In the (chart?) chart below, I've tracked each defensive rebound as well as any resulting fast break field goal attempts or drawn shooting fouls—a fast break, in this case, being defined as any shot coming within 10 seconds of the defensive rebound, so long as the ball remained in play the whole time. Also in the chart is how often each player gets a fast break assist or made basket off their own defensive rebound. "% Opp" is the percentage of individual defensive rebounds that result in fast break field goal attempts or drawn shooting fouls, and "% Conv" is the percentage of made fast break FGA and shooting fouls drawn.
SPOILER ALERT: Beilein's theory is correct.
|PLAYER||Def. Reb.||FB FGA||FB FGM||Assist||Self Make||FT||% Opp||% Conv|
GOOD PLAYERS ARE GOOD
Trey Burke is far and away the best on the team at turning defensive rebounds into transition opportunties, and the reasons are two-fold. For one, it's Trey Burke—you know, the guy you want running the fast break. Second, as you can see in the video at the top of the post, as a diminutive point guard many of Burke's rebounds come on shots that carom far away from the basket, providing a better chance to turn and run than a rebound in the charge circle.
Burke is also the best at converting his own rebound at the other end, with—surprise!—Tim Hardaway Jr. second in that regard; both have seven made baskets off their own rebounds while Hardaway has one more free throw opportunity... off 34 more defensive boards. Though Burke converts at a higher rate, Hardaway has the highest defensive rebound rate on the team by a non-center, and you can see just how valuable his newfound dedication to that area is to the team.
MCGARY'S OUTLET PASSING
Jordan Morgan (and, in small sample size territory, Jon Horford) has a rate well below the team average when it comes to turning defensive rebounds into transition opportunities, which is understandable: as a center, he's not turning and leading the break, and most of his boards come from right under the basket, where it's hardest to spark a transition opportunity.
That makes McGary's ability to turn 48.1% of his defensive rebounds into fast break chances—a better rate than Hardaway—all the more impressive. The difference, as far as I can tell, is in McGary's outlet passing; he's got surprisingly good court vision, which allows him to turn quickly off a rebound and find his point guard. This is one area where McGary has a decided edge on Morgan, especially since his defensive rebound rate is also higher.
GAP BETWEEN FRESHMEN: NOT THE ONE YOU'D EXPECT
What surprised me most when putting this together was the gap between Nik Stauskas (53.1% Opp) and Glenn Robinson III (32.1%). While Robinson matches up against bigger players, ending up closer to the hoop for rebound opportunities, he's also the more athletic of the two. It's Stauskas, however, who's the only player besides Burke to crack 50% in major minutes—this despite rarely being involved in the play at the other end of the floor.
Perhaps there's a lot of noise in these numbers given the sample size (I'd say yes—I'm mostly ignoring the "% Conv" figure because of this) but that doesn't entirely explain that large a gap. Like with the big men, I believe this has to do with the difference in court vision and passing ability; so far this season, Stauskas has proven himself the more adept passer. Meanwhile, Robinson still seems to be adjusting to the college game; in a year, I'd bet his transition rate will be better than Jordan Morgan's.
[Hit THE JUMP for an update on the Kobe Assist and Adjusted Points Per Shot numbers from last month.]