alternate headline: man does job
(Apologies if this belongs elsewhere, but I haven't seen this analysis done yet).
At 11-3, with a half-game lead on Staee and four games remaining, Michigan is obviously in the driver's seat for the B1G basketball title. Using the game predictions from KenPom's site, I've done a quick probability analysis to see what the odds are that there's a banner to be hung.
First, Michigan's expected record, along with a percent chance:
(I used two significant figures, since there were two in the KenPom data; obviously, they won't add to exactly 100%).
Here's Staee's expected record:
|10-8 or worse||12%|
|10-8 or worse||2.4%|
|10-8 or worse||23%|
|10-8 or worse||68%|
Put it all together, and you get the following possibilities (all chances here are conditional -- e.g., each line should add up to 100% within the limits of rounding and significant figures):
|Record||Outright Title||Shared Title||No Title|
|11-7||< 0.01%||0.20%||> 99%|
When you factor in the chances that Michigan achieves each of these records (from the first table), and add it all up, and there is a 75% chance of an outright title, a 19% chance of a shared title, and a 6% chance of being bannerless. (Coincidentally, I coded up a simulation using the same KenPom percentages, ran it 100 times, and got at least a share of the title exactly 94 times).
Long story short, even with a single loss, the odds are still in our favor to win the title outright, since KenPom doesn't think Staee is likely to run the table, and 2-2 down the stretch is likely to be enough to secure a share of the title. Like many of you, I never would have predicted this in December.
ca-thar-sis (noun): the purging of emotions, or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
The question of whether or not John Beilein and the Michigan basketball program has reached parity with Tom Izzo’s Spartan program has been answered. It’s not a matter of opinion anymore. It’s not subject to the vagaries of partisan fandom that cloud objectivity.
Six of Eight. Six. Of. Eight.
That’s science folks. Pure, simple, unassailable statistics; and it is so, so sweet. As Beilein has built his program from tournament bubble team to conference title contender to conference champion and finally Final Four program, the measurement of Beilein’s Michigan to Izzo’s Spartans has been the theme in local media, with the narrative typically being, “Michigan’s closing the gap, but MSU is still the dominant program”. After Sunday, that narrative is blown to smithereens. Any media talking head trying to advance the notion that Tom Izzo still has the edge over John Beilein is just trolling for internet clicks. Check the math guys.
Six of Eight.
The 21stcentury up to this point has been tough for Michigan fans. We’ve all had to suffer a slow, agonizing decline in many of our beloved sports teams. To add insult to injury, this decline coincided with the rise of the internet and social media, almost as if Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook just so our rivals could chip away at the prestige of our beloved Michigan. Nowhere has this been more pronounced than in basketball, where we not only saw our once proud program fall in the volcanic morass of NCAA sanctions and probation, but saw our hated rival rise in its wake. It chafed our collective ego to see Tom Izzo elevated by the Dick Vitale’s of the world to the status of Big 10 John Wooden, all the while ignoring the subtle fact that the Spartan’s rise correlated almost directly with Michigan’s fall. And while we as Michigan fans suspected that the Spartan’s emperor may have no clothes, such insight was met by derision by the Spartan faithful as sour grapes, boosted by massive winning streaks over half a decade.
Today that narrative is tossed on its head. Heading into Sunday, Spartan fans conviction that Izzo would right the ship in this game was absolute. It was what he and the Spartans had always done in the past. MSU would come into Crisler and beat Michigan and claim the drivers seat to the conference championship and send Wolverine Nation home disappointed, again; because Coach Izzo is the real deal and John Beilein is a just a pretender who runs a gimmick system. News flash to all those self-assured doubters in East Lansing. John Beilein can scout talent. John Beilein can recruit talent. John Beilein can develop talent. John Beilein can game plan, and John Beilein can coach. And he does it as well as, if not better than your false idol.
Sunday is not some isolated moment in the history of this rivalry. It’s the culmination that has been four years in the making. While Beilein has been recruiting players the caliber of Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III, Izzo has been striking out on blue chippers like Jabari Parker. While Beilein has been developing players like Trey Burke into NPOY and NBA Rookie of the Year, Izzo is making excuses for players who have not quite reached the potential that their recruiting hype promised like Keith Appling. Beilein pulls hockey sticks out of the hands of Canadians and turns them into All-American death-dealers; Izzo teaches his players to slap the floor like lower primates to...to what? Prove that they're the alpha males?
Today the internet is abuzz with Spartans who are struggling to deal with their new reality as the 2ndbest basketball program in the state of Michigan. They will challenge the verity of Michigan’s preeminence with the impotent standard of matching Izzo’s Final Four total or winning the National Championship before respect is paid. But that’s not what this article is about. It’s about six of eight, and the inconvenient truth that while John Beilein may not match Tom Izzo’s record in the NCAA Tournament, he has passed MSU, and if he has done that, then maybe Izzo's house wasn’t built out of bricks after all.
Six of Eight. Catharsis, ladies and gentlemen. It’s been a long time coming. Smile and exhale.
So this is going to be a bit abbreviated and focus only on MSU and the rest of the conference slate because, well, you know that Wiscy, Iowa, etc. happened and I like to save my salt for fresher wounds. Also, the WWE Network goes live Monday and there is a PPV on Sunday, so I’m marshalling my energy. You’ve been warned.
Best: All Three Phases
I remember very little from Chem 100 other than the fact things (intentionally) blew up occasionally, that the lecture hall had more students than my HS, and that most substances can exist in one of three states at any given time – solid, fluid, and gas.* Depending on both internal and external factors, a substance can vacillate between any of these states, with many a tome written and award earned from the study of these changes and the ensuing results. Because one of the most driving forces in human growth and evolution is this drive to figure out not only where you are, but how you got there; how what I’m holding in my hand or watching in the stars “happened” and what it means.
Michigan has beaten MSU 6 out of the last 8 meetings between the schools, with MSU not winning in Ann Arbor since early 2010, otherwise known as Heartbreak or, as I said to no one in particular sitting on my couch in the Bronx, “MF’ing Sims was held. What a bunch of shit!” I think talk of tides turning and rivalries renewed are best left to Dick Vitale under the influence of the vapors wafting off Mike Krzyzewski’s essence as he passes the announcer’s table, but the Michigan that had beaten MSU 3 times (!) total between 1998 and 2010 has become nothing more than an ever-receding Dark Ages, where dragons reside and guys throw lobs up 49.
When the Aneurysm of Leadership led to UM’s first win at the Breslin since Harrison Ford kicked terrorists of planes and then followed it up with another win in Ann Arbor as certain PGs were instructed to vacate the premises quickly, it was easy to dismiss those victories as coming against a pretty mediocre MSU team that made it into the tournament on the strength of reputation and a couple of nice wins earlier in the year. Still, it was a young team that seemed to finally be fitting into the system Beilein envisioned when he left West Virginia; good (if streaky) shooters with enough playmakers to keep keep defenders on their toes and away from the perimeter. There was something in the ether circulating through Ann Arbor, a whiff of possibility.
The next four games in the rivalry followed predictably; both teams held serve at home, with MSU winning pretty convincingly while UM scored their two victories with a combined margin of victory of 2 points. But while the margins were different, the results were what you expected when two equal-ish teams meet up, with MSU the bully inside while UM tried to win on the wings. Those molecules of competitiveness and equality that everyone sensed in 2011 took on a more tangible form, whether it be more consistent recruiting successes or increased tournament bids; UM wasn’t on MSU’s level quite yet, but there was a fluidity with which the teams competed against each other, and for lack of a better word the “tide” was to UM’s back.
But what solidified a return of a true “rivalry” between the two schools has been the two games this year. UM no longer has Burke, everyone’s POY and one of the best players in UM history, or Tim Hardaway Jr., the erstwhile freshmen who dropped a 10 and 8 in that first win and who looks like a solid NBA pro. No, MSU is supposedly the team full of stars, the standard bearer for the conference, and UM the team in transition. And yet, in both games this year, UM has won going away. They’ve won even when some stars aren’t firing on all cylinders on the court while others sit in street clothes off it, and they’ve won with The Butterfly, the Thief, and Blouses leading the way. So it isn’t so much that the rivalry has “changed” because MSU and UM will always want to beat each other badly; it’s that UM has been under the crucible these past years and emerged as hardened and strong a team as one could have hoped for. They won’t win every game against MSU, but all but the most delusional Spartans know that UM isn’t going anywhere.
* And yes, I know about the triple point of water and that there are a number of non-standard states. It’s a sports blog; let me run with it.
Best: The Elimination Chamber
In WWF/E parlance, the “Road to Wrestlemania” begins at the Royal Rumble (which took place several weeks ago) and culminates in April in the Superdome. And smack dab in the middle of that road this year is Elimination Chamber, so titled after the eponymous steel-cage-and-pod that serves as the main event. This event serves two masters; one, to help keep certain stars and stories tread water and remain relevant, such as Drax, er Dave Bautista taking on a “Mexican Aristocrat” named Alberto Del Rio prior to challenging for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania XXX. That type of plate spinning is standard issue for the non-Big 4 PPVs, but can still be infuriating if the payoff isn’t worth the hassle.
The second duty of these stop-gaps events is to end one narrative and/or introduce a new one that will help shape the coming weeks. While there are a couple of matches booked in this vein (for example, the corporate-controlled, SWAT-looking “Hounds of Justice” The Shield taking on the Wyatt Family, best described as deranged hillbillies [one with creepy sheep mask] led by a hulking Max Cady-type), the Elimination Chamber main event stands to be the origin from which most major storylines will emanate from heading into Wrestlemania. 6 performers will battle in the cage for the WWE title and a date with Mr. Bautista, and it is a veritable murderer’s row of the biggest names in the company, including champion Randy Orton, Jort Hogan and WWE mega-star John Cena, and Daniel Bryan, Indy darling whose simple “Yes” chant has permeated the sports world.
The premise behind the Chamber is simple; two wrestlers start the match, and at intervals thereafter another competitor is “released” from his pod into the match until all 6 wrestlers have been in the match. The man standing at the end is the champion. While there may be temporary alliances and the old adage of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” undoubtedly holds true, in the end everyone is looking out for himself. It’s fun to watch and, from storytelling and continuity perspectives, gives ample opportunities for feuds to end (or at least enter hibernation) and new ones to begin organically.
To say this conference season has created strange bedfellows is an understatement. Two weeks ago, UM fans found themselves urging Wisconsin to hold on against MSU; a week later, Wisconsin left Crisler with a resounding victory and fans cursing the bridge that birthed Bo Ryan. Similarly, MSU now finds itself needing IU to win at Crisler to end the year to realistically give them a chance at a partial conference crown.
Without a true round robin conference slate, these plenary rooting interests are common; scheduling seemingly handed Wisconsin a conference crown before tipoff, and now MSU has to close out the season with two ranked teams will be playing for seeding while UM has to protect against spoilers.
And yet, for all of the tiebreakers and conference prognostications based on a handful of remaining games, what will likely decide the 2013-2014 B1G conference crown will be these two games between UM and MSU. UM has swept the season series and will now (hopefully) enjoy raising a banner to start next year. They now control their destiny, which would be pretty awesome given how the season started.
Worst: The Damn Injuries
How Tom, you do know that when Dawson is back you’ll have your starting lineup in place…
LSAClassof2000 originally linked to it, but I thought it was apropos.
Still a valiant effort by Michigan State given all of their injuries. Plus, their injuries. And then you add in their injuries. Pure grit. — Tony Gerdeman (@GerdOzone) February 23, 2014
I get that memes are typically overblown events that people latch onto for mirth and humor. And around these parts, no greater tale of woe has emerged for ridicule than MSU’s continuous lamenting of “injuries” to stars that range from the understandable (Adrien Payne’s various maladies) to questionable (Keith Appling’s “unusable” wrist) all the way to laughable (Dawson Leadership Fisting** his way to hand surgery).
** DO NOT SEARCH FOR THAT TERM WHILE AT WORK!!!!
One could chalk up this disdain to fandom if Izzo and his charges brought up the lost players once or twice within the context of a press conference; so far this conference slate, every loss has been accompanied with the reminder that this team isn’t playing at full strength and that people may be “shut down” for stretches to recover. MSU hit a school record 17 3 pointers against Purdue, including 6 by Gary Harris. In their losses to Nebraska and UM, they hit 14 total out of 47, with Harris going 5 of 20. Apparently, those wrists, shoulders, and ankles were fine on Thursday but that long bus ride between East Lansing and Ann Arbor jostled all the bones out of sorts again.
Reenactment of MSU’s mid-week “team bonding” event
And yes, it does appear that Keith Appling is legitimately hurt, though perhaps playing him 38 minutes against Georgetown following 40 minutes against Iowa didn’t help. But what drives fans crazy isn’t that MSU is (rightfully) noting they have injuries; it is the damn repetitiveness of the refrain to cover up fundamental flaws with the Spartans and undermine legitimate wins by other programs. MSU could very well come around in the tournament and make a run; we’ve all seen it before. But at some point, you’d hope that the people being paid to cover sports for a living would ask for some other reason why the Spartans keep losing games they lead going into the second half.
Also, stop smacking the court with your hands if your f’ing wrists hurt.
Best: Everyone’s a Banana!
Once it became clear that Mitch McGary would be lost for the season, most fans expected Nik Stauskas to take the lead offensively for this team but there were legitimate concerns about who would provide that second level of scoring, the “second banana” if you will. Based on NBA hype, GRIII seemed the obvious choice, but he’s struggled all year with getting his shot and hasn’t “taken over” games the way many had hoped. The freshmen (Irvin and Walton) showed flashes, but neither set the world on fire and had maddening stretches. Morford are a lot of things, but offensive playmakers are not one of them. And Caris Lavert, while certainly capable of scoring flourishes, was still an unknown quantity who could keep UM faintly in a game against Duke but then score 1 point in 30 minutes against Stanford.
I said in the last recap that one of the “problems” (I use that word very loosely) with last year’s offense was Trey Burke’s ball domination as he facilitated the offense. It worked 99% of the time, but it also highlighted the part of basketball I hate the most: the hero ball/one-on-one style that started to take over during the later years of Jordan’s first NBA run and became almost unbearable in the mid-2000’s when Wade, Pierce, or Bryant would either hold the ball for 23 seconds before jacking up a three or slamming into a guy as they drive into the lane and pray for a foul or a bank-in. Burke was never this cavalier, but the team relied so heavily on him to be the point person that if he had an off night the team was typically in trouble, and he was encouraged to shoot his way out of it.
Since the first gauntlet, the offense has been less explosive overall, but you are seeing a unit that can Swiss army a team to death if given enough time. If Stauskas isn’t able to get open outside the arch, he and Walton are still able to drive and find shooters outside or bigs cutting to the rim. Irvin has been better in conference shooting the ball, and Spike has his microwave minutes that can turn the second unit into a force. And perhaps most impressively, Caris Lavert has emerged as the heir apparent to Tim Hardaway’s lack of conscious, unafraid to take “bad” shots when they need to be made while not shying away from contact inside. The team looks like one of those incredibly dangerous mid-majors (with perhaps a higher-than-average ceiling) that are so hard to defend because there isn’t a “star” that drives the whole production. They still have issues defensively that won’t be fixed this year, but this team should be able to hang with anyone as long as a couple of guys are on their game.
Worst: Keeping it Close
This is more a complaint directed at the Wisconsin, Iowa, and IU games than anything else, but this team simply cannot afford to have long stretches of poor shooting. They aren’t good enough defensively to keep pace with teams during those stretches, and while they usually don’t beat themselves (only 3 TOs this game), they went around 4 minutes without scoring a basket in the first half, allowing MSU to grab an 11 point lead while shooting 59% from the field. True, this wasn’t Wisconsin bad, or even MSU last year bad, but this team has a habit recently of letting teams mount first-half leads and then clawing after them. It worked this game because MSU cooled down significantly in the 2nd half (thanks in large part to Beilein calling for the 1-3-1 zone) while UM was able to make a bit of a run, but you can only go to that well so many times before it is dry. I know this sounds obvious, but I feel like a loss in these next 4 games will come from UM either allowing a team to shoot lights-out without responding properly, or slogging through a bad shooting night themselves.
I noticed this both during the 1st half of this game as well as a couple of the recent losses: people stating that prolonged dry spells were due to a “lack of leadership” by guys on the team. Now, I’m an avowed enemy of “feelingsball” and cliches, so I’m already not a fan of these digital diatribes. But what particularly irks me is the insanity of it; it is one thing to complain about WR loafing his route or not getting back on defense in transition, but it’s another thing to blame physics on a guy not “caring.” Unless Nik Stauskas is checking his WhatsApp messages and hitting on college girls while standing in the corner, missing shots have far more to do with random-ish chance and the vagaries of putting a ball through a cylinder from 20+ feet away than anything else someone might overhear at a bathhouse filled with Merril Hoge, Dickie V, and Herm Edwards.
Best: This Is The End
As has been noted numerous other places, the season isn’t over by a long shot; UM still has 4 games to play, and MSU, Iowa, and Wisconsin are all within varying spitting distances of the conference crown. Lose a game to Minnesota or IU and you are back to rooting for upsets elsewhere. But this MSU game should be the last “major” hurdle for the team, and at 11-3 they are also rounding into form a bit despite some setbacks. I probably won’t be back with another one of these columns until the regular season and BTN tourney are done, so hopefully this isn’t a jinx. But I’m looking forward to watching the next couple of games and know that I’m probably watching at least a share of the conference title for the 2nd time in 3 years.
I was going to post this in the thread below, but I thought it would be better as a new forum topic (or maybe a diary I guess?) since I witnessed the whole situation and so there will be less rampant speculation.
I got to the stadium around 2:30am with my tent, and was turned away by the security guard. Went home, slept for a couple of hours, got back at 5:30. There was a line forming at the bus stop at the corner where you can go up to the big house or towards Crisler. I was about 30th in line.
At about 6:45, the people at the front of the line (now about 100 strong) started walking up towards Crisler, meaning to get the line going over there. Some people towards the back started running and then basically everyone was. We lined up at the gate where they generally let people in. The security guard came up to check us out but didn't really say anything to us about moving or leaving.
Maybe 10 minutes later, one of the Maize Rage leaders (not sure who) came up and started talking to the security guard. Apparently it was a big issue that we had lined up at the gate at 6:50 rather than 7. Long story short, she started a new line (at about 7:15) down in the parking lot without really making it clear that it was happening to the people at the front of the original line. This started a new stampede, mostly from the back of the line (now about 200-300 strong).
The people at the front of the line (me included), once this had happened and it looked like they were getting kicked out of the bleachers despite arriving earlier than the people in the other line, pretty much decided that they were staying put. A few security guys tried to get us to move and then they called the cops. The officers told us that if we didn't move, they would get a bus with 20 officers and arrest all of us. Some went to the other line (now of about 500 people) and about 100 stayed put.
Eventually (looking to avoid the PR issue) they convinced us to move to the parking lot. Associate Athletic Director Rob Rademacher took us inside the football visitor locker room (119 people total) and told us that they were going to reserve the front 12-13 rows of Section 130 for us as a compromise. He also took all of our names and uniquenames and presumably will be emailing us to get feedback on this situation. We then (a few hours later) were taken through the facility and the tunnel, and up to the section. The seats weren't quite as good as the bleachers, but it turned out pretty well and the game was obviously amazing.
My personal takeaway: the Maize Rage leader was put in a tough situation, and made a really bad kneejerk decision rather than figuring it out with the people that had lined up early. She then couldn't really backtrack from it without pissing off some group of students or another. The Associate AD was really awesome and made a good compromise from a bad situation.
Others who were there, let me know if you had a different experience.
Before you read this I want you to stare at the picture below for at least five seconds. I’m not kidding. Five seconds. You’re going to need it to peruse a sweep that felt so close but yet was so, so far from being anything but two Minnesota wins.
Image via cardmine.co.uk
#10 Michigan at #2 Minnesota
Friday, February 14th, 2014
UM 0 Minnesota 1 05:29 EV
Kloos from Condon & Parenteau
DiGiuseppe tries to make a play along the boards, but Minnesota retains possession of the puck. Condon sees Kloos coming through the neutral zone with speed and passes it up to him.
As Condon reaches the blueline he has two options; drive the middle of the zone and try to split the defenders or skate to the outside. Credit where credit’s due, Michigan’s defenders have this 2-on-2 under control positionally. They force Condon to the outside.
It looks to me like Downing gets faked into thinking that Condon is about to take a shot and drops to a knee to block it. Condon sees this and walks around Downing, who can only stretch his stick out in a vain attempt at poke checking the puck away.
Racine is relatively square to the shooter yet still gets beat farside. This scoring chance starts because of a blown defensive play, but it’s completed on an average shot that Racine misses.
UM 0 Minnesota 2 01:19 EV
Fasching from Warning & Rau
So much of this game comes down to timing. Pinching down for a big hit away from the puck usually doesn’t end well, but doing so against Minnesota’s track team of forwards just isn’t the time to do so. This hit leaves Clare behind the play and gives Minnesota an easy opportunity to enter the neutral zone with speed.
Fasching has a breakaway; after he swims through the D there’s no way either defender will catch him
Racine doesn’t want to get beat over his glove or blocker, so he doesn’t butterfly until Fasching’s practically in front of the crease. This leaves his five hole open, and that’s precisely where Fasching tucks the puck (though that’s not what he meant to do; if you look at the replay he clearly intended to make another move before the puck just rolls off his stick). Clare’s timing was off, Racine’s timing was off, everybody in blue’s timing was off and look where the puck ends up.
UM 1 Minnesota 2 09:45 PPG
Copp from Compher & Bennett
Compher has the puck at the point and looks like he’s going to pass to the right faceoff circle until he doesn’t. Instead he backhands an insanely beautiful pass to Copp.
Copp one-times the puck farside. Thanks to a nice little netfront screen Wilcox isn’t ready for the puck, and Michigan gets on the board.
UM 1 Minnesota 3 09:51 EV
Michigan wins the faceoff, and the puck rolls back to Downing. Pretty innocuous start to a play.
Downing tries to make a D-to-D pass but fans on it. This is a problem because, like, look.
Cammarata has too much speed to be caught by either defenseman. He skates it in and scores five hole on Racine which ughhhhhh recurrent theme I don’t like.
UM 1 Minnesota 4 17:29 PPG
Ambroz from Warning & Marshall
There’s potential for this to have played out differently if Copp doesn’t move his stick. At the onset of the play he has his stick inside his body in an attempt to cut off a pass to the slot. He quickly swings it outside to dissuade the puck handler from passing to the point, but this opens up the shot into the slot. Warning takes what he’s given and this is tipped in front by Ambroz.
UM 2 Minnesota 4 18:35 PPG
Compher from Copp & Bennett
A really nice outlet pass from Bennett gets the puck to Copp in the neutral zone. The defender squares up to Copp near the blueline. Copp sees Compher a step ahead but holds up his pass as he gains entry to the offensive zone. The defender steps towards Copp, and once he’s sure that the defender has committed he passes across to Compher.
Just look at how much room Compher has to make a move. The only defender in front of him is plying centerfield and has to come across the slot to attempt to check Compher, but there’s no way that’s going to happen before Compher shoots. He releases the puck and beats the goaltender high; like, pop the water bottle up high.
UM 3 Minnesota 4 02:47 EV
Hyman gathers the puck from a scrum in the corner and turns it toward the goal. He has one defender standing between him and the goaltender.
He pulls the puck around the defender and then has to deal with a poke check from the goalie.
Hyman somehow avoids the poke check and snaps a shot past the outstretched Wilcox.
This goal was what Mike Hart would look like if he was a goal.
Photo via mgoblog. Fuller? Upchurch?
UM 3 Minnesota 5 15:21 EV
Guertler from Reilly & Lettieri
What at first looks like an incredible defensive play turns into a big mistake and the final nail in Michigan’s coffin. Tyler Motte is without his stick and tries to Kirk-Maltby-circa-2002 this one out of the zone. I have captured here the exact moment that Brian screamed “JUST HAND PASS IT!!!!!”
Minnesota regains possession and passes the puck down low, where Minnesota is already in behind the defense.
Credit Reilly with an incredible move behind the net. He spins and dishes the puck to the slot, where Guertler is waiting to one-time it. Racine is guarding the post because he thought that Reilly was going to shoot, so he’s out of position to stop the shot from Guertler.
Saturday, February 15th, 2014
UM 1 Minnesota 0 01:31 EV
Sinelli from Hyman & Nieves
Nieves moves the puck to Hyman, who enters the offensive zone and is outmanned. He waits for Sinelli, dropping a pass back to him.
Sinelli takes a shot from high in the offensive zone and scores. That’s about the extent of the analysis I can provide for this goal. Hockey, man.
UM 1 Minnesota 1 17:46 EV
Warning from Rau & Fasching
Minnesota chips the puck in and gains possession again in Michigan’s defensive zone. Minnesota has a 2-on-1, with the skater getting behind the defense.
The netfront defender for Michigan does a good job of using his stick to take away the passing lane. This forces the shot, but having a skater behind the D comes in to play in the next frame.
Warning is able to (barely) get a stick on the shot, redirecting it past Racine. There’s no way Racine can stop a deflection this close to the net.
UM 1 Minnesota 2 02:53 EV
Reilly from Guertler & Lettieri
Minnesota chips it out of their own zone and then…this.
Well, at least the pass was well defended. The slap shot, however, was not. It hits the top corner above Racine’s glove.
UM 1 Minnesota 3 15:20 EV
Condon from Lettieri
Bennett tries reverse the puck to Downing, but the puck hits the boards and just dies. There’s no one in front of him, so he should have just tried to rim it out.
Minnesota swoops in and retrieves the puck. This draws the attention of the two defensemen, as well as the nearest forward. Minnesota starts their cycle.
There are three Michigan players bunched in the corner, and a Minnesota player who’s about to take a pass and skate freely into the crease. 3MichDbehindplay+1MinnOpen≠Good.
Condon’s shot deflects off of Selman’s stick and goes in high on Racine.
UM 1 Minnesota 4 08:37 PPG
Fasching from Rau & Boyd
It’s a power play goal against. It happens somewhere in the circled area after the first two shots were stopped. It is largely irrelevant.
Matt Hinton has annually done the yeoman’s work showing year after year showing how recruiting rankings matter. Brian linked to this year’s edition already and it’s worth taking a look at. Building off of that idea, I wanted to look at which teams and coaches were the biggest over and under achievers in the business.
Every recruit gets a numerical rating from 0 (anonymous MAC recruit) to 99 (consensus #1 rated recruit) based on all available recruiting services.
Each player on the roster is given an adjustment factor based on how old they are. 75% reduction for first year players up to a 60% bump for upperclassmen.
This generates a total point value for each roster based on attrition, age/experience and recruiting rankings. The top teams since 2003 are dominated by Pete Carroll era USC. His 2005-09 teams take up 5 of the top 7 spots along with 2006 LSU and 2006 Miami.
Each game since 2003 is then compared against each team’s roster rating and the final score. The resulting best fit is 0.007 * (Home Team’s Roster Rating – Road Team’s Roster Rating)+4 –> Final margin. The R squared is .17.
There is obviously a lot of variance that goes into every game but there is no doubt that there is a strong correlation between recruiting success and team success. Today we’ll take a look at the teams and coaches that have maximized and wasted their talents the most.
Stars Don’t Matter (In a Good Way)
Using the above calculated fit, I looked at each true home game since 2003 and compared roster predicted results with actual game scores.
Over the last 11 seasons, the biggest overachieving teams have been:
|Team||Points vs Recruiting|
Not a lot of surprises on the list, five teams that have certainly had success beyond their recruiting profiles. Boise dominates the list with their amazing run of late and little to no major recruiting wins.
Northern Illinois made the list with four different coaches while TCU did it all under Gary Patterson.
Here is how the Big Ten stacks up (Big Ten games only):
|Team||Points vs Recruiting|
Wisconsin has been the clear leader and right behind are Iowa and the Big Ten’s biggest cheerleader for Star’s Don’t Matter, Michigan St. Despite being the Big Ten’s strongest recruiter, OSU has still managed to generate above average results from their talent. Michigan sits at the low end of the spectrum, down over 5 points per game versus talent and ahead of only Indiana and Illinois.
Other conference results from conference games only:
Best: Texas A&M (+13), Missouri (+7), Alabama! (+7)
Worst: Tennessee (-10), Ole Miss (-5)
Best: Missouri (+9), Oklahoma St (+7)
Worst: Kansas (-7), Texas A&M (-6)
Best: Oregon (+13), Oregon St (+9)
Worst: Colorado (-19), UCLA (-6)
Best: Virginia Tech (+11), Georgia Tech (+7)
Worst: Miami (-9), Duke (-5)
Best: West Virginia (+10), Virginia Tech(+9)
Worst: Syracuse (-7), Pitt (-3)
Ranking the Coaches
For some programs the coach and the team are interchangeable but here are how the 2014 Big Ten coaches have done as head coaches at all of their D1 stops since 2003.
|Coach||Team||Points vs Recruiting|
|James Franklin||Penn St||+12.0|
|Urban Meyer||Ohio St||+6.7|
|Mark Dantonio||Michigan St||+4.3|
The East and the West may be highly imbalanced in terms of recruiting profile but they are pretty balanced in what the coaches have done with the talent. James Franklin has the second shortest head coaching tenure on the list, so there are some sample size issues, but James Franklin has so far proven himself to be a significant over achiever with his talent. Coach Hoke sits in in the middle of the back at slightly above average. Hoke’s numbers have progressed at each stop in his career, going from –0.4 at Ball St, +1.0 at San Diego St and +4.9 so far at Michigan.
Lloyd Carr’s five eligible years would have put him towards the bottom of the list at –2.9. Carr presided over some stacked teams and Michigan’s style often meant closer games than the talent would dictate. Of all the disastrous metric for RichRod, this may be the worst. After going +14.5 at West Virginia, his three years at Michigan inverted and were –13.9 versus what the roster would project. In his two years Arizona he has moved toward the middle at +4.3.
Here are your top rated coaches of the last 11 seasons with at least 4 season.
|Coach||Points vs Recruiting||Primary School|
|Chris Petersen||+20||Boise St|
|Kevin Sumlin||+15||Texas A&M/Houston|
|Jimbo Fisher||+11||Florida St|
|Paul Johnson||+10||Georgia Tech/Navy|
|Frank Beamer||+10||Virginia Tech|
Looking Ahead To 2014
I am hoping to have a post up later this offseason about the “secret sauce” for BCS champions, but one thing they all share is a place in the top 10-12 spots of roster success. As noted above, there is lots of variance in the middle, but if you want to play for a championship, you have to have an elite roster. Projecting 2014 rosters is a bit tricky on a large scale, but here are my early projections for roster strength for this coming season.
|Projected Rank||Team||Conference||Coach Rating|
|5||Ohio St||Big Ten||+6.7|
Each of the five auto-qualifying conferences have at least one team on the list and the Pac 12 is the only one with a single entry. Unsurprisingly, the SEC leads the list with five entries.
If you are looking for early title favorites, take the top coaches ratings for the 12 on this list and that leaves Texas, Bama, Ohio St, Auburn and Florida St as the first teams I would look at.