Mike Lantry, 1972
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BASKETBALL. This is Henri The Otter Of Ennui's brother, Hank The Otter Of Swank. He's trying to eat a crocodile.
He has been watching Michigan basketball and is feeling rather metal. \m/
Don't drink? Grantland's Andrew Sharp profiles Nik Stauskas, and, uh…
Shooter. Shooter shooter shooter shooter shooter shooter. His ballhandling has made him a more complete scorer this year, but let’s not kid ourselves. That Wayne song was all about Stauskas.
This feels like meme backlash. Yes, Stauskas is nasty whenever provided an opportunity to launch, and sometimes even when not provided one.
But he has an almost 50/50 split between twos and threes and Michigan's highest FT rate by a wide margin. Shooter-shooter-shooter shooters have profiles more like Zak Irvin's 1:3 ratio of twos to threes and 21 FTAs on the season. Oh, and they're not top ten in the Big Ten in assists.
So… no, Andrew Sharp. No.
But kinda yeah. HAHAHAHA
The main problem with this chart is it doesn't seem to give full credit to the shot right before the half, which was launched from Botswana.
Down goes a guy considerably worse than Frazier! Nevermind that business about Michigan's relative immobility as a three. After Duke and Syracuse losses to Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, respectively, the door is wide open for Michigan to move up to a 2. Also helping is Nebrasketball, which moved into the top 50 in RPI with a win over Indiana. That provides Michigan a couple extra wins in that overvalued category.
Michigan's still definitively behind three teams (Florida, Wichita, Arizona) but they've got a shot at everyone else. They are behind another five or six outfits and thus can't hit that 1 spot without a miracle, but two is at least a 50/50 proposition with Duke ceding advantage with a horrible loss.
In RPI terms the relative equality in record is because of an easier schedule. Duke is 4-4 against RPI top 50; Michigan is 8-5, 10-5 as long as Nebraska sticks. Duke also has one additional bad loss after tonight and zero road pedigree. Michigan is 7-2 on the road in the Big Ten. Beat an Indiana team that may be without Noah Vonleh and has definitely exited the bubble picture and I'm guessing a semifinal exit in the BTT will be good enough for a two.
Foot… ball? SB Nation takes an in-depth look at what Doug Nussmeier will do differently than Al Borges. This passage reinforces just how bonkers Michigan's approach was last year:
For example, the Michigan offense involved six primary run schemes: power, iso, draw, horn (a tackle lead play), inside zone, and outside zone. It's worth noting here, just for comparison, that NFL run-game guru Alex Gibbs believes that a ground attack should be built almost entirely on just inside and outside zone.
"Horn" was a little-used counter on which Michigan's tackles struggled to execute because of a lack of experience. The tackles struggled to execute. You know, the good, veteran dudes.
The run game will likely be built around inside zone and remain committed to the concept from week to week. Whereas Borges would build a million different constraints and play calls around multiple different run and pass schemes, Nussmeier will run inside zone in multiple ways, from multiple formations, and with different constraints built off of it to counter defensive responses. At Alabama, players would rep inside zone against every single defensive look that might come up, ensuring it could be called against any opponent.
Brutal. Tom Seeberg, father of Lizzie, speaks on his daughter's death. After issues here this is compelling:
"I think the context of revealing his name maybe adds to maybe why we certainly accused Notre Dame of conducting a superficial investigation," Seeberg said Tuesday on WGWG-FM 87.7. "But maybe it adds context to why they might conduct a superficial investigation. In a he-said-she-said matter, you can quickly gather forensic evidence to try to determine what happened there, or you can let it linger like they did. Let evidence spoil."
Please read the whole item; it's a fair piece for one that comes from father of deceased person who may or may not have been assaulted by a Notre Dame football player. It may have taken a while, but at least Michigan took what action was available to it—ex post facto or not—in its situation. Some of the things Seeberg's father states apparently sans emotion are crippling.
This is the point where it's really easy to fall into either THEY ARE TERRIBLE homerism or I AM OUTRAGED signaling; I'm not trying to do either and the Chicago Tribune does a terrific job of not doing so either while still allowing the to-date mysterious story from the Seebergs to come forth.
Walton profiled. Derrick Walton on The Journey, which remains a disappointingly but understandably whitewashed version of life in the Big Ten:
Damn if they don't get some remarkable video, though. That shot through Trey Burke to Beilein against Kansas… damn.
Well then, do something about it. Mark Cuban's NCAA rant has been disassembled various places, and deservedly. Cuban asserts that the one-and-done rule is somehow the NCAA's deal, and things go downhill from there. He also asserts that people would be better off if the D-League was a real alternative, which it won't ever be because the NBA would rather take the marketing bonanza that is the NCAA tournament and apply it instead of trying to make the Fort Wayne Mad Antz relevant nationally.
There is a solution here. It's easy, actually: the NBA moves to an NHL-style draft where any relevant player is automatically inserted at 18. This preserves their eligibility. The NBA then allows teams to sign draftees but forces them to guarantee contracts one year longer than their eligibility would last (IE, signing a guy out of HS: five year contract, freshman 4 years, etc) except in the case of graduating seniors, who are owed nothing.
If there's a five-round draft, say, that
- increases NCAA popularity as NBA fans check out their prospects,
- reduces bad NBA contracts for unready or plain overrated prospects,
- encourages the NBA to sign guys when they're ready and only then,
- allows LeBron-type prospects to immediately hit the NBA like they deserve to.
That is a vast improvement on the current system and 1000% more fun than anything Mark Cuban's come up with.
Here's an interesting metric. Bill Connelly has a novel stat: solo tackle rate for offenses. The teams at the top of this ranking correspond closely to spreads: Kansas State, Texas Tech, Arizona State, Baylor, Indiana. Michigan was middle of the pack; MSU and ND towards the bottom. Meaningful? No idea.
Etc.: Nebraska is one win over Wisconsin from punching their NCAA dance ticket. Viva Nebrasketball! Everything you need to know about that one incredible Iowa cheerleader. His name is Oz! Jim Delany is just the worst. Football is faster than ever now, for a given version of "now" that includes 1968.
Michigan is included as part of a scouting report series on "second-tier" contenders; nothing in it you don't already know except that Michigan apparently struggles against teams that push tempo. Um?
Because it's always the right idea to mess with a good thing, Michigan (among several other Adidas schools) unveiled special uniformz for the postseason. They're not terrible, though I'd prefer "MICHIGAN" across the chest; they're also completely unnecessary and way worse than, say, the throwbacks they wore against Penn State last year.
Jargon-laced press release ahoy. (Emphasis is mine, because holy jargon.)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team and adidas unveiled today (Thursday, March 6) the Made in March Uniform System for the 2014 basketball postseason. The collection was created to provide the Wolverines with adidas' most advanced uniform system and basketball apparel technology so they can take on the challenges and intense play of March.
To evoke team unity and spirit, Made in March uniforms feature the Wolverines team name across the chest, while the school's "Go Blue" rally cry is printed on the inside collar of each jersey.
Made in March uniforms feature a functional perforated print pattern along the leg of the stretch woven short to enhance breathability and ventilation, keeping players cool as the clock winds down. Adidas' quick-drying jersey technology found in current NBA uniforms along with ClimaCool zones on the chest, back and side move heat and moisture away from the body to keep the jersey light and dry as players sweat.
The Made in March Uniform System debuts on-court beginning with conference tournament play.
You can purchase these if you'd like; since I don't want to encourage this behavior, you'll have to find the link elsewhere.
The good news: at least we're not Baylor.
Let's enumerate the wonderful things about this GIF:
- The Orange Crush is very bad at casting spells, judging by the two dudes right behind Nik Stauskas.
- Stauskas staring down 6'11" Nnanna Egwu for a couple seconds, going "yeah, I got this," and coldly hitting a three in his face.
- Derrick Walton meandering back on defense as soon as he sees Stauskas is going to shoot.
- Andrew Dakich beginning his roll the dice flourish while the ball is still mid-flight.
- Andrew Dakich, period.
- Exasperated Orange Crush girl throwing up her WTF hands at the very end.
- The Illini fans in the far corner whose will to move/exist has been completely destroyed.
This GIF, by my highly scientific ratings, comes in at #6 for the Illinois game. You're gonna want to hit the jump and watch the rest.
[JUMP and make Tracy Abrams bail the heck out]
As usual, click the links/stills to open each GIF in a lightbox, and don't forget to vote for your favorite at the end of the post.
Cheerleading is repetitive (this GIF covers 45[!] seconds, so it opens in a new tab). Stauskas starts the trolling early. Derrick Walton drive and kick to Caris LeVert. Walton and-one. Yesyesnononononononoooalright. ZAK IRVIN DRIVE AND KICK ASSIST THIS IS NOT A DRILL. John Beilein won't allow TV Teddy to be unjustly offended. GroceFace. Spike loses musical chairs. BENCH MOB BUCKET.
SPECIAL INCLUSION: MattaFace/SMHBuckeye
A serendipitous request from friend of the blog Jane Coaston. This loop couldn't be more perfect—the fan on the left is forever shaking/rubbing his head in disgust, while Thad Matta is in an eternal state of gum-smacking disbelief.
10. Fantastic Finishes
I did my best to capture the exact moment Caris LeVert shoots in each one of these GIFs. It's like he spent the game trying to one-up his own degree of difficulty.
As you should always do when Michigan does something well on the same end of court as their bench, keep an eye on Dakich in both the above GIF and the following:
My man in charge of the fold-out chairs was on point.
9. Bing, Bang, Boom
As this play unfolded, my Twitter timeline filled with praise for (1) Stauskas's ridiculous entry pass into a small window out of a double team, (2) Horford's nearly as impressive kickout from the baseline, and (3) the universe, which determined that even Michigan's iffiest outside shooter (among players that actually attempt threes) would have it going that night. This is the basketball equivalent of a flawless 3-on-2 rush in hockey.
8. He Bought The Fake
Or: Tracy Abrams Hilarious Failed Shot Contest, Part I
7. The Townshend
A relatively elaborate celebration from Dakich, naturally beginning while the ball is still in the air. The Pete Townshend windmill flourish at the end kills me.
6. Hex Fail
A zoomed-in view of the GIF at the top of the post gives a better look at the failed spellcasters, how close Egwu came to blocking the shot, and some bonus Illini fan ennui at the end. Full GIF below:
This isn't the last you'll see of Dakich, who nearly got his own post today. (Yes, there's going to be a Best of Dakich post after the season. The people have spoken.)
5. Illinois Fandom
Missed dunks are always funny. They're even better when the crowd reaction encapsulates the state of the game and just being an Illinois fan in general. ENHANCE:
Foam Finger Guy is wonderful, of course. Don't miss out on the woman two rows above him posing for an Edvard Munch painting, then transitioning seamlessly into a full double facepalm. Also, way to sneak in and pad those rebounding stats, Spike. Crafty move.
Poor Tracy Abrams played this about as well as anyone could; as a reward, he ends up on a poster—that is, if the poster has a wide enough angle to show just how hard he bailed out.
This part probably wasn't necessary, but damn if it wasn't appreciated anyway:
3. Moonwalk It In
Great wraparound pass by Spike, left corner Stauskas three is automatic, and Dakich steals the show once again. Yes, he's already moonwalking(-ish) when the ball reaches its apex. Then Stauskas turns to troll the entire student section.
Zoomed slow-mo of Stauskas and the Orange Crush features a Marcus Hall wannabe and a fan turning his distraction attempt into a demonstration of the human reproductive process.
2. 16 Shots, 14 Swishes, 48 Points, 33 MB, 452 Frames
Three-point supercut GIF opens in a new tab because it has to. I posted this in the comments of yesterday's mini GIFs post, and it comes in handy here:
If GIFs take a really long time to load for you, there are browser extensions that will delay playback until each GIF is fully loaded.
Chrome: GIF Delayer
Firefox: GIF Delayer
There's also the Chrome extension GIF Scrubber, which lets you have movie-like control over playback. That one is a lot of fun to play around with.
Using GIF Scrubber to turn this montage up to ludicrous speed comes with my full recommendation.
FRAMES OF THE GAME: I DON'T HEAR YOU
U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
[Nik Stauskas invades, patriotism dies.]
Cold. As. Ice.
RPI Effect Only Teams
If you care, Michigan played the following teams: UMass-Lowell (10-18), Houston Baptist (6-23), South Carolina State (9-19), Coppin State (10-19), Long Beach State (13-15), and Charlotte (15-13). But while I don’t want to say these games didn’t MATTER, they didn’t, you know, matter. Except the Charlotte game, because blerg. Michigan’s fate will be determines by larger narratives. Not many people are going to hammer too hard on RPI when you’re talking the difference between a 2 seed and a 3 seed. So, let us move along.
Big Sorts of Teams
Iowa State (22-7, 10-7 Big 12)
This week: Lost @ Kansas State (80-73); Lost @ Baylor (74-61)
Michigan probably moved ahead of Iowa State for good by virtue of Iowa State’s rough week. Bracketmatrix has them as the last 3 seed, it’s unlikely a home win over bubble team Oklahoma State (side note: how did THAT happen?) would get them past Michigan.
Florida State (18-11, 9-8 ACC)
This week: Beat Georgia Tech (81-71); Won @ Boston College (74-70)
Florida State met two necessary conditions for an NCAA bid this week. Losing to either of those teams would’ve probably been the end of things for the Seminoles. The good news is that Syracuse also seems very beatable, so it’s possible for Florida State to close strong. The problem is that now a win over Syracuse wouldn’t bring the cache it would have two or three weeks ago, so they might still need to do some work in the conference tourney.
From a Michigan standpoint, though, FSU doesn’t really matter all that much anymore. No one cares about your 6th best win, and pretty much Michigan's entire seeding case rests in its conference schedule. So if you’d really like to see some more #Nebrasketball, you might be hoping they drop their last couple of games to clear some room at the bubble.
#4 Dook (23-7, 12-5 ACC)
This week: Lost @ Wake Forest (YTWF) (82-72)
This was a gift on a number of fronts. Duke’s loss potentially leaves some wiggle room for Michigan to move up to a 2-seed. Also, Duke’s loss was a loss for Duke, which is a win for Not Duke. We are Not Duke. So, let’s compare the two teams right now:
|Record||KenPom||Losses (KP ranks)||Best wins (KP)||Is Duke?|
|MICHIGAN||22-7||10||1, 8, 11, 12, 28, 69, 182||11, 12, 13, 17, 17||No|
|DUKE||23-7||8||1, 6, 14, 23, 51, 92, 113||2, 10, 14, 15, 25||Yes|
I dunno, that’s close.
#3 Arizona (28-2, 15-2 PAC 12)
This week: Beat Stanford (79-66), Beat Arizona State (74-69)
It's hard to blame Arizona for a less-than-dominant performance against ASU. They'd clinched pretty much everything there was to clinch (PAC 12 title, #1 seed in the PAC 12 tourney, likely #1 seed, helped RichRod kill the 10 second rule), and sometimes it's hard to get up for games that don't much matter.
One potential cause for concern is depth. Arizona is really only rolling about 6 guys deep, which is working fine for them now, but if they run up against a team that draws a lot of fouls, it could be an issue. But no, Michigan isn't one of those teams.
Stanford (18-11, 9-8 PAC 12)
This week: Lost to Arizona (79-66); Lost to Colorado (59-56)
According to Bill Walton (who called the Stanford/Colorado game), Stanford's loss is a lot like the Punic War if it was fought by Muppets; you're not sure where they got the weapons, but you can't expect them to be back in time for lunch.
I'm not sure exactly what he meant by that, but Stanford's bid is in real trouble. Bracketmatrix had them as a 10-seed before the loss to the Buffs, so they still have some work to do. And not that it matters, but it would be nice for Michigan to have at least ONE win over a tournament team from its non-conference schedule.
[AFTER THE JUMP: Michigan, and all the teams that finished behind Michigan because Michigan finished ahead of everyone who isn't Michigan]In Which I Rank the B1G According to KenPom
1) Michigan (22-7, 14-3 B1G)
This Week: Beat Minnesota (66-56); Beat Illinois with what appeared to be a folding chair
Thing: SAY “WHAT” AGAIN, EH? I DARE YOU.
Thing They Are Like:
2) Wisconsin (25-5, 13-5 B1G)
This week: Beat Penn State (71-66); Beat Purdue (76-70)
Thing: The purpose of this column is typically to point out amusing or interesting tidbits about Michigan’s opponents. But I just spent like 20 minutes looking through their game stats, individual stats, team stats, KenPom numbers, and pretty much anything else I could find, and you know what? There isn’t a single interesting thing about Wisconsin, and there isn’t a single amusing thing about Wisconsin.
Other thing: Amusing or no, Wisconsin has established itself along with Michigan as the best Big Ten teams. They’re looking at a 2-seed, and they probably deserve it. Bastards.
Thing They Are Like: Golfing with an 86 year old man. He plays slow, he doesn’t wow you with any part of his game, but he puts the ball in the fairway, and damned if he didn’t get you by five strokes at the end of the round. Also he smells funny.
3) Iowa (25-5, 12-5 B1G)
This week: Lost to Indiana (93-86); Beat Purdue (83-76)
Thing: Iowa has taken a decidedly more ehfuggit approach to defense in the last couple of weeks. They gave up 79 to Wisconsin, 95 to Minnesota, 93 to Indiana, and 76 to Purdue. They would have given up more to Purdue if Ronnie Johnson hadn’t turned into a reverse Hungry Hungry Hippo with 7 mostly brutal turnovers. Brian pointed out last week that this trend is largely the result of Iowa desperately trying to get out and run, but either way the results haven’t been pretty.
Other Thing: Iowa gave up 30 points to Will Sheehey, who in his 700 previous games over his first 26 seasons had never cracked 22 points in a game.
Thing They Are Like: Wait, Iowa is still a thing?
4) Ohio State (22-8, 9-8 B1G)
This week: Lost @ Penn State (65-63); Lost @ Indiana (72-64)
Thing: Woof. Ohio State was swept by Penn State for the first time since 1998, and followed it up by getting handled easily by a Vonleh-less Indiana squad. Aaron Craft was more aggressive offensively than he has been in some time on Sunday, but shot just 2-11 from the field. As a team, the Buckeyes had 14 turnovers against the Hoosiers, and had just 5 assists on 25 field goals. Ohio State as a team went 0-11 from deep against the Hoosiers, and missed 14 dunks or layups. So, if you can’t shoot from close, and you can’t shoot from far, and you can’t pass to other people to do those things…
Other Thing: How close was this team to not making the NCAA tournament? They played exactly one solid stretch of basketball lasting a full four days, notching road wins at Wisconsin and Iowa at the beginning of February. Outside of that, they don’t have a single top-50 win. Had they played a real non-conference slate (a la Michigan or Wisconsin), it’s really not hard to draw up a scenario in which Ohio State is playing for its tournament life on Sunday against Michigan State.
Thing They Are Like:
5) Michigan State (22-7, 11-5 B1G)
This week: Lost to Illinois (53-46)
Thing: Quando dio vuole castigarci ci manda quello che desideriamo.
Translation: welcome back, Branden Dawson.
Other Thing: Michigan State is out of the Big Ten title chase (because HEY MICHIGAN WON THE OUTRIGHT TITLE), but they have plenty to play for. They still haven’t locked up a first round bye in the BTT, and their NCAA seeding is a questionable proposition. Also, they might want to figure out what in the Sam Hill they are doing on the basketball court, and how they can be less bad at those things.
Thing They Are Like: A thing that was once very proud, but has since experienced a precipitous and rapid descent. Someone once told me that those two events tend to unfold together, and in that order.
6) Minnesota (18-12, 7-10 B1G)
This Week: Lost @ Michigan (66-56)
Thing: No one knows how many more wins Minnesota needs to secure an NCAA berth, but they sure as hell have to beat Penn State on Sunday. That would get them to 19-12 (8-10), and a win in the Big Ten Tournament gets them to 20 wins. Lose to Penn State, though, and they’ll need at least two wins in the BTT, and they are a combined 2-6 against their potential quarterfinal opponents (Michigan, MSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska), and their best win away from the Barn this year was at #89 Richmond, so who wants odds.
|And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for these meddling/levitating kids [Upchurch]|
Other Thing: Minnesota has taken over the cellar in terms of defensive efficiency in conference play.
Thing They Are Like: The villain in a Scooby Doo episode. At the end, they pull the mask off Richard Pitino and… “TUBBY SMITH"???”
7) Nebraska (18-11, 10-7 B1G)
This week: Beat Northwestern (54-47); Won @ Indiana (70-60)
Thing: Nebrasketball lives! By knocking off Indiana, Nebraska keeps their NCAA hopes very much alive. The issue is that despite having 10 wins in conference, their schedule was… friendly. Their single plays were Wisconsin, MSU, Iowa, and Minnesota, and they lost both matchups with Michigan. They also didn’t beat anyone of note in the non-conference schedule. Bottom line is that they probably need at least one more win.
Thing they are like: The bearer of the hopes and dreams of thousands of loyal Americans who crave more Nebrasketball.
HENRI LINE OF ENNUI
8) Indiana (17-13, 7-10 B1G)
This week: Beat Ohio State (82-74); Lost to Nebraska (70-60)
Other Thing: Nah, let’s focus on the first Thing for a while.
Actual Other Thing: Yogi Ferrell shot 1-10 from deep against Nebraska. If he's gonna do that agaist Michigan, or if Vonleh doesn't play, Indiana could be in trouble. If both happen... oh, god, I've pooped myself.
Thing They Are Like:
9) Illinois (17-13, 6-11 B1G)
This week: Beat Michigan State (53-46); Lost to Michigan (OMG-WTF)
Thing that will be a Thing all year: Illinois was ranked two months ago.
This is usually a point made to point out how much Illinois has collapsed this year, but it also underlines the point that Illinois was theoretically dangerous. They won three in a row over three potential NCAA tournament teams, holding each of them under 50 points. They had the #15 defense in the country.
This is the team Michigan just smashed into tiny, tiny pieces. Beilein uber alles.
Other Thing: Counterfactuals are fun.
Thing They Are Like: Ash. Very, very fine ash.
10) Penn State (14-15, 5-11 B1G)
This week: Beat Ohio State (65-63); Lost to Wisconsin (71-66)
Thing: This was never going to be a good year for Penn State, and it hasn’t been a good year for Penn State. But by sweeping Ohio State they secured their bright spot for the season and got the chance to rush the court, so good for them. They also avenged their football team a little bit.
They ALMOST found a way to knock off Wisconsin on Sunday, which would have given them the mythical “momentum heading into the off-season” that isn’t really a thing, but they came up a few points short because they kept leaving Josh Gasser and Ben Brust open.
Thing They Are Like: A school that really, really doesn't understand what a "right to privacy" means.
11) Purdue (15-15, 5-11 B1G)
This week: Lost @ Iowa (83-76); Lost @ Wisconsin
Thing: Hey, look Purdue gave two other top-tied Big Ten teams a decent contest. Good for them. I don't ever want to see them again.
Other Thing: GO AWAY TERONE JOHNSON. YOU GRADUATED 6 YEARS AGO.
Thing They Are Like: A bad team that somehow plays Michigan closely every time out. Sorry, there isn't much of a metaphor there. I just don't like thinking about Purdue.
12) Northwestern (12-17, 5-11 B1G)
This week: Lost @ Nebraska (54-47)
Thing: Alas, Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage has fully turned back into a Sanjay Lumpkin. They’ve lost six straight games, and with only Penn State and Purdue left on the schedule, they are pretty much out of chances for any more memorable wins. There’s always the chance they catch lightning in a bottle in the BTT, but if they’re still playing basketball on Friday I’ll be surprised.
Thing They Are Like:
Hey, Look, it’s March
Wisconsin (#2), Michigan (#2-3), Michigan State (#4), Iowa (#7), Ohio State (#7)
Cruisin’ on Fumes
I Want To Believe
Nebraska (Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight on the bubble; last 4 in/first 4 out)
If They Hit the Womp Rat-Sized Thermal Exhaust Vent
Lovely Parting Gifts:
Illinois, Purdue, Penn State, Northwestern
Your rooting interests are simple: you don’t really have any. Michigan is the outright champion. The rest of this is just gravy, so feel free to choose your preferred flavor of gravy. My only recommendations are to root for Purdue to finish at #10 or #11 in the conference to keep them the everloving hell out of Michigan’s side of the BTT draw, and to root against Wisconsin so Michigan might pass them on the S-curve.
Penn State @ Northwestern, 7:00, ESPNU
Iowa @ Michigan State, 9:00, ESPN
Rewatch the Michigan/Illinois game on your DVR
Indiana @ Michigan, 6:00, ESPN
Illinois @ Iowa, 8:30, BTN
Northwestern @ Purdue, 12:00, BTN
Michigan State @ Ohio State, 4:30, CBS
Penn State @ Minnesota, 5:15, BTN
Wisconsin @ Nebraska, 7:30, BTN
DVR of the Michigan/Michigan State games
DVR of the Kansas Sweet 16 game
The Americans on FX is a pretty good show.
A couple GIFs to tide you over until tomorrow. First, a new entry in the Andrew Dakich Celebration Pantheon:
Also keep an eye on Stauskas, busy trolling the entire Illinois student section, and if you're of legal age you're allowed to look at the Orange Crush and their variety of inappropriate hand gestures.
The second GIF requires a jump, because it contains every Michigan three-point make from the game. Yes, all 16 of them.
452 frames of rain:
Rims hit: two (three if you want to double-count the Stauskas rattler). That's patently unfair.
[Ed-Ace: BUMP. GIFs coming either late this afternoon or tomorrow, depending on whether this three-point supercut breaks Photoshop.]
Rooting against this guy shouldn't be too hard.
Last night was a great night of basketball, not only because of Michigan's win, but because a number of well-established teams lost. Tuesday night was just a microcosm of what has been seen in the past 7-10 days as about a dozen ranked teams lost (and some more than once). For example, Creighton, Syracuse, Iowa State, Ciny and St. Louis have all lost two straight games. MSU fell to Illinois while Kansas and Louisville lost games as well.
The rash of losses by top teams has placed Michigan firmly on the 3-seed line, with an outside shot at a 2-seed. According to the Bracket Matrix, Michigan is the second 3-seed behind Virginia. With Duke, Wisconsin, Villanova and Syracuse as twos and Kansas, Florida, Arizona and Wichita State as the one seeds.
Of course, there's still a lot of basketball to be played and if this frantic, unpredictable nature of college basketball continues its course over then next week and a half, anything can happen. Let's recap the top seeds and how they have performed overall and in recent games to see who/what we should hope for down the stretch.
One Seeds (these teams aren't going anywhere)
Wichita State - 31-0. Not going anywhere.
Florida - 28-2 and 17-0 in SEC. Not going anywhere.
Arizona -27-2 and conference champs. Could slip to a 2-seed if they lose final two games and tournament opener. Highly unlikely. Not going anywhere.
Kansas - Dropped a game against Oklahoma State this past week. And while they have a favorable schedule against Texas Tech and West Virginia. Anything can happen. At 22-7, Kansas is ranked No. 8 in the nation. They are however, 2nd in RPI compared to Michigan at 13. I'm no Ken Pomeroy, but I think Michigan would need a bit of help or luck to pass Kansas in the brackets.
What to root for: Kansas to lose any and all remaining games. Unless they play Iowa State, which we will visit later in the article.
Two Seeds (longshots to drop, but it could happen)
Syracuse - Lost two more games in their last two outings including last night's game versus lowly Georgia Tech. Syracuse only has four losses on the season but have quickly played themselves out of the 1-seed. Currently without Jerami Grant, Syracuse is at risk of losing against Florida State this weekend. Additionally, two of Syracuse's losses are against bottom ACC teams Boston College and Georgia Tech which are as bad or worse as Michigan's losses to Charlotte and Indiana. Syracuse is currently ranked No. 7 in the nation, but will likely drop when the polls are re-released on Monday.
What to root for: Syracuse to lose out, or lose against FSU and perform poorly in conference tournament.
Duke - The Blue Devils have been on auto pilot most of the season with no back to back losses or particularly troublesome stretches. RPI is 7, SOS is 9. They would need to lose to Wake Forest and North Carolina to lose their standing as a solid two seed. Of course, one of those teams, North Carolina, is on the 4-line.
What to Root For: Duke to either beat North Carolina to get them off of Michigan's heals, or for Duke to lose out. It is never a bad idea to root against Duke.
Villanova - No recent upsets or losses. All three losses are against top 25 teams. Two regular season games left (against Georgetown and Xavier). And like Duke, probably not a legitimate candidate to move too far south.
What to Root For: Villanova to lose out. Like Duke, Kansas and Syracuse, that's the only way they will drop far.
Wisconsin - Top non-conference RPI. Fifth overall when factoring in conference games. Two conference games remaining versus Purdue and Nebraska.
What to Root For - Wisconsin losing games is always fun so lets root for them to lose out. In reality, the Badgers need to lose one regular season game and their first tournament game.
Three Seeds (Michigan needs to pass Virginia and a 2-seed to move up)
Virginia - Haven't lost in nearly two months and only one regular season game left (against Maryland). They are close to Michigan and Michigan needs to pass them and one more team to reach that two line.
What to Root for: Maryland to beat Virginia on Sunday and for Virginia to lose early in conference tournament. Since they are closest to Michigan seed-wise, maybe even one loss and perfection by the Wolverines could spring Michigan to the top 3-seed. Still, Michigan needs to pass two teams to earn that 2-seed.
Iowa State - Top 10 in RPI, but now below Michigan in polls after back to back losses to Kansas State and Baylor. Still on the 3-seed line according to Bracket Matrix but behind Michigan.
What to root for: Iowa State to lose to Oklahoma State to give Michigan some wiggle room. Also, root for the Cyclones to not run the table in the B12 tournament. They could pass Michigan if they outplay the Wolverines between now and selection Sunday.
Creighton - 11th in RPI but fading hard in the polls after back to back losses to Xavier and Georgetown. Bracket Matrix has them as a three seed but below Michigan.
What to root for: A loss to Providence in regular season finale or an unconvincing tournament run in the Big East Tournament.
Four Seeds (Don't Get Jumped)
North Carolina - They play Duke in their conference finale and with a win, could finish second in the ACC. A strong performance in the conference tournament could push them to the 3-line.
What to root for: North Carolina not getting to that 3-line.
Michigan State - They are a hot pile of garbage right now but get to play Iowa and OSU, plus the B10 tourney. What if they go 4-1, or even win damn conference tournament? If that happens, I will punch a desk. Let's not think about that happening. Seriously, if Michigan can't win the conference tourney, they sure as hell don't want MSU or Wisconsin winning it. Standard complaints about OSU apply, but if you are a Michigan fan, you would rather have the Buckeyes or any other team win over Wisconsin and MSU.
What to Root For: More excuses out of East Lansing.
Cincinnati - Lost two in a row to UConn and Memphis, but can still win their conference. Could also get quality win over Louisville in conference tournament.
What To Root For - Cincinnati to lose another game. Or not win their conference title. Louisville is on the 5-line so Michigan fans really don't want them to run the table either. Let's just root for Southern Methodist to win the conference title. *(Craig James Killed A Hooker.)
San Diego State - Hi Steve Fisher! The Aztecs have two games left. One versus 21st ranked New Mexico. Likely not enough to get them jumping up spots.
What to Root For - You root for Steve Fisher, because he's Steve Fisher god dammit. He's a nice man!
Conclusion: Michigan is all but certainly a 3-seed, but crazy things can happen. A bad run by a few others could spell a 2-seed for Michigan. Conversly, losing to Indiana and dropping the first round of the B10 tourney could leave Michigan susceptible to losing the 3-seed. Of course, 2-3 of the following: ISU, Creighton, MSU, NC would have to right the ship.