I did not make this headline up
Merry Christmas, MGoBloggers! Here’s something to keep the basketball fanatic in you warm and cozy until the Wolverines demolish the Chippewas on the 29th.
Living in Brooklyn, I’ve had the good fortune to watch Michigan handle Pitt, K-State and West Virginia in person this year. All three games Michigan looked composed and took care of business emphatically. Even when trailing Pitt by eight in the first half, it never felt like the game was getting away.
Coincidentally, the last time I saw Michigan play a basketball game in person? April 5th, 1993.
For me there is no question, this year’s squad is as fun to watch as the Fab Five was.
First, below is a breakdown of this year’s schedule and difficulty by game. What I’ve done is a Nate Silver style of measuring a team’s rank by averaging their current KenPom and RPI ranking then we can make eyeball adjustments for how tough a game will be based on home or away. I included Michigan on the chart just for comparisons sake. Feel free to print it out and pencil it in the rest of the way.
Despite playing a non-conference schedule that featured wins against five teams from power-conferences, the bulk of Michigan’s difficult games lie ahead. I can say with a reasonable degree of confidence that the B1G regular season championship will be won or lost against the cadre of nearly indistinguishably ranked teams Illinois, MSU, and Ohio.
RPI and KenPom disagree a lot on the caliber of team Pitt is. When Cincinnati comes calling on New Year’s Eve we’ll learn a lot more. There is an undeniable dropoff in competition level going from Pittsburgh
Conference play can be penciled in with nine should-wins and likely-wins to go along with four or five lean-win and toss-up. You could make an argument that @Indiana or @OSU is lean-loss but beyond that it’s a stretch. The fact that you cannot point to a game remaining on the schedule and say “guaranteed loss” should be all you need to know about where expectations are.
That said, Iowa is highly rated and flying under the radar, and we should hope that Michigan doesn’t suffer its annual inexplicable loss to the Hawkeyes.
Interestingly, a number one rating could be on the line January 13th when the pride of Columbus returns home to take on the Buckeyes given that Duke travels away from home to play NC State the day prior.
Comparisons to 2011-12 Michigan Team
Michigan’s NCSoS was #187 last year according to KenPom and #192 this year so against a very similarly grading set of opponents Michigan is vastly outperforming what they did a year ago.
Last season Michigan broke 1.2PPP five times all year. Michigan already has seven games at or above through twelve games this season.
* 2012-13: 1.23ppp (3rd)
* 2011-12 (non-conference): 1.10ppp
* 2011-12 1.07ppp (60th)
Michigan 2012-13 36.9% 69th
Michigan 2011-12 28.0% 285th
It’s as if Zack Novak grew six inches and doubled his motor.
3Pt% (Thank you Nik Stauskas)
Michigan 2012-13 41.1% 7th
Michigan 2011-12 35.0% 135th
Things Michigan Lead The Conference In 2011 (First or Second):
- 3-Pt Baskets Attempted
Things Michigan Leads The Conference in 2012 (First or Second):
- Win %
- Field Goals Made
- Free Throw %
- 3-Pt FG %
- Effective FG %
- Defensive Rebound %
- Assist To Turnover Ratio
- Turnovers Per Game
- Fouls Per Game
To review, these stats all demonstrate a meteoric rise in nearly all major offensive categories. It's just plain filthy.
It is the responsibility of John Beilein, Trey Burke, and Tim Hardaway Jr. to keep the team focused night in and night out and to not overlook any game on the schedule. It is our job as overzealous bloggers and sports fans to do what they cannot. Sorry, pet peeve.
Read the following two statements. Afterwards, select which should be spoken by Michigan’s Mens Basketball Head Coach and which is appropriate only to be posted on a Michigan sports fan blog post.
Statement #1: Central Michigan has a tremendous basketball team with a lot of talent. They play with a lot of poise and can give you a lot of different looks that our guys are going to have to be careful with. We have to be patient and play within ourselves and continue to go out every night and work to be the best basketball team we can be and let the rankings fall where they may at the end of the year.
Statement #2: Iowa looks like it could be a sleeper but that game’s at home so we’re looking at 16-0 going into Columbus to play for Michigan’s best start in school history which, like, awesome. A win in that game and then you start to play connect-the-dots on how does Michigan win the B1G regular season title and see if the Wolverines can’t hold onto a #1 seed going into the tourney.
New Years Resolutions (a.k.a. Michigan will win the B1G / go to the Final Four if…)
In order of importance…
5. Caris LaVert realizes his upside as a lockdown defender and can be a solid contributor on offense. To me this is the biggest unknown remaining for Michigan this year. He is a lanky guard who, at a glance, has the potential to be an impact player. The ten minutes of playing time per game may not seem like much but when you consider that it’s either him or a struggling Vogrich or an Akunne (see: NC State) you begin to realize just how important his role is for every game and why after that N.C. State Beilein burned his redshirt.
4. Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to clean the defensive glass all year long. Hardaway has found where he shines, using a size advantage at the guard position to dominate defensive rebounds. The equation from there is simple – grab the rebound and then out-athlete the other team down the floor in transition. He has always been twice the player when focused and he has maintained it in laser-like fashion through the non-conference slate. Not being called upon to carry the load scoring or creating on the offensive end actually enables him to do both better. Hoping for a streaky Hardaway to get hot from three is a recipe for losses when the random number generator doesn’t fall kindly. What he’s done so far looks to be very much repeatable.
3. Mitch McGary continues to average 1 point and 1 rebound per two minutes of playing time and avoids foul trouble to see his minutes rise into the 25 minute per game range. When he is on, he seems to be involved in every play on both ends of the floor. The amount of upside potential that he can reach by March (avoiding fouls and getting into “playoff” conditioning form) will be tantamount to any legitimate Final Four run. There will be at least one key game where Michigan will need McGary to take over.
2. Nik Stauskas shoots north of 50% and close to an unworldly ~60% from downtown. The Maple Leaf Mamba’s scoring will be the difference-maker in a handful of very competitive games this year. Almost as important is the effect his scoring has on players like Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. – defenses are faced with a catch-22: sag off of Stauskas or defend him close, giving Michigan’s backcourt room to drive.
1. Trey Burke stays healthy, rested, and focused. There is no understating the team will go as far as Burke takes them. It was true last year and anyone watching saw him run out of steam after playing all fourty-five minutes of a B1G conference tournament game versus Minnesota. In Michigan’s final two losses following that the team averaged 0.93 PPP and Burke shot 6 of 26 (2-16 3PT). This year, all signs are pointing to Burke feeling fresher and his body responding better to the rigors and the pacing of the season. The B1G conference play is sure to challenge that, but he has more scoring options to distribute to.
This team is fun to watch and at the holiday break is empirically at better odds to reach a Final Four than any Michigan team in decades. Catch them in action if you can because you never know when, as fans, we'll have this chance again.
See you in 2013.
See you in Atlanta.
Since Desmond became a Michigan Football Legend at last year's UTL, I have been thinking about how future players would be deemed worthy of Legend status. I turned to the College Football Hall of Fame for insight on their criteria for election into the Hall. My thought was that this would give us a good size group to choose from given that we already have 30 players elected. This is the first criteria:
All of the current Legends qualify under this criteria except for Ford (I think we can give Presidents a pass on this one).
Here is the list of First Team All-Americans:
|1||Paul Goebel, Anthony Carter, Derrick Alexander, David Terrell, Braylon Edwards|
|2||Jack Blott, Charles Woodson|
|3||Tripp Welborne, Marlin Jackson|
|4||Jim Harbaugh, Marquise Walker|
|6||Harry Kipke, Dave Brown|
|11||Francis Wistert, Albert Wistert, Alvin Wistert|
|17||Ted Petoskey, Larry Foote|
|19||Robert Brown, Remy Hamilton|
|24||Jack Clancy, Butch Woolfolk|
|25||Tom Edwards, Tom Curtis, Ernest Shazor|
|27||Benny Friedman, Charles Bernard|
|30||Harry Hawkins, Brad Cochran|
|35||Thom Darden, Don Dufek|
|37||Jim Smith, Erick Anderson, Jarrett Irons|
|40||Ron Johnson, Ron Simpkins|
|41||Randy Logan, Rob Lytle|
|45||William Daley, Pete Elliott|
|49||Robert Chappuis, Richard Volk|
|50||Otto Pommerening, David Molk|
|60||Mark Donahue, Mark Messner|
|65||Reggie McKenzie, Kurt Becker|
|67||Mervin Pregulman, John Vitale|
|69||Tom Dixon, Matt Elliott, Jon Runyan|
|72||Allen Wahl, Dan Dierdorf, Walt Downing, Ed Muransky, John Elliott|
|75||William Yearby, William Paris, Greg Skrepenak, David Baas|
|76||Stefan Humphries, Steve Hutchinson|
|77||Arthur Walker, Paul Seymour, Jon Jansen, Jake Long, Taylor Lewan|
|86||Robert Westfall, John Anderson|
|87||Edward Frutig, Ronald Kramer|
|88||Elmer Madar, Jim Mandich|
|96||Calvin O'Neal, William Carr|
Obviously this list is plenty long enough for multiple lifetimes of Michigan Football Legends Ceremonies, but using this criteria, can you really keep Michigan's All-Time leading rusher (Mike Hart) from getting a patch? I guess the real question is how do we separate a great player from a Michigan Legend?
At least the next two (after Harmon) are pretty easy in my opinion. Anthony Carter (three time first team All America) and Charles Woodson (Heisman). The hard part will be trying to find someone to wear those numbers, given what Hoke has already said about them being special. It should be fun.
I dug into the Rivals 100 for the years 2010 - 2013 today, originally to try and see if there were any State by state or Regional trends by position. I was inspired to check some data on the well worn "elite"-skill-player-recruiting-meme that popped up again in the Treadwell thread. While it may not be breaking news to everyone else, I thought I'd dump some data here in case others want to check it out.
Rivals 100 by Position:
|DUAL (Threat QB)||5||2||2||2.25|
Rivals 5 Stars by Position:
|Count of Location||Column Labels|
|Row Labels||2010||2011||2012||2013||Grand Total|
|# OF RECRUITS (ACTUAL)|
|TX, MO, KS||55||25||4||4||11||9||-|
|# OF RECRUITS (ACTUAL minus PROJECTED BY % of Total)|
|TX, MO, KS||-||6||(4)||(2)||(1)||2||(2)|
Footnotes: "Skill" - RB, APB, WR, TE, ATH. APB - All Purpose Back
While we all know the Southeast has a major advantage in recruiting ratings (some say this reflects not just talent but also bias), what surprised me was the positional breakdowns. Perhaps some of this is small sample size, but some bullets:
- The Southeast has a significantly higher % of the DBs than any other position. Given they have 153 out of 400 total recruits, you would expect them to have about 23 DBs of the 59. They actually had 33, 10 more than that! This is felt in the Midwest and Texas, where elite DBs are more scarce.
- A tiny sample, but the West Coast has been more successful at getting QBs elite status on Rivals.
- The Midwest is significantly overrepresented in Offensive Lineman recruits, with LBs also making a strong showing.
- The Coastal Region (MD, VA, NC) also has strong LBs.
- Texas jumps out for its offensive Skill players
- There's no discernable deviation from trend on DLinemen, the SEC meme is probably more depth related due to different roster management techniques
- One minor thing I thought was weird was the state of Georgia (not charted) produced 11 DL but only 1 OL in the last 4 years. However once the data is summed up to the regional level, the trend disappears.
- Neither Nebraska nor Oklahoma (the states) have a single recruit over the last four years that is in the Rivals Top 100. Not to say they can't have #101 every year, but the CFB playoff analogy is if you're not in the top 8, you probably can't claim to be number 1.
And now for some top recruiters by position group:
Rivals 100 RB/APB Commits (2010-2013 Total)
Remember these are not all 4 star, only rivals top 100
|Top Programs||4 Star||5 Star||Total|
(Michigan has one 4 Star, Justice Hayes)
Rivals 100 WR Commits, does not include listed as ATH (2010-2013 Total)
|Top Programs||4 Star||5 Star||Total|
(Michigan has zero)
Rivals 100 OL Commits (2010-2013 Total)
|Top Programs||4 Star||5 Star||Total|
(FWIW Alabama is way down the list with one 4 star and one 5 star.)
in this post, THE KNOWLEDGE shall reveal the result of the bowl game with the USC gamecocks
many is the number of folks who expect Michigan to lose, especially with JTF dismissed
these people don't know the most important fact about the game - the fact that THE KNOWLEDGE shall be in attendance
as THE KNOWLEDGE has pointed out many months ago on these very pages, Michigan has a perfect record in the presence of THE KNOWLEDGE
the current record stands at 19-0
for people that understand THE KNOWLEDGE, this is hardly a surprise. they know that THE KNOWLEDGE will not go to a game that Michigan is slated to lose
thus, the mere fact that THE KNOWLEDGE will attend the bowl game means that Michigan will emerge victorious
the greatest game report ever written (on this blog or elsewhere) was 5 years ago when THE KNOWLEDGE attended his last bowl game
that report was titled: "Capital One Bowl Report: How THE KNOWLEDGE soared over a sea of surrounding gators"
THE KNOWLEDGE shall provide a game report for the upcoming game as well. the title of this report shall be: "Outback Bowl Report: How THE KNOWLEDGE soared over a field of crawling cocks"
while most NFL scouts are eagerly anticipating the Lewan Vs Clowney matchup, spurrier will put clowney on the other side of the line inasmuch as he knows Lewan will own clowney
this will end up being a benefit for both sides
another mistake that people make is assuming that this game will be a defensive struggle
it will not be
THE KNOWLEDGE hereby introduces a one-time bowl game edition of THE CHALLENGE
predict the score of the game to be awarded the title: co-soarer of THE KNOWLEDGE
THE KNOWLEDGE has already provided the pointers for the game to make the prediction easier
(Click the image to view full size)
That Pam... what a card.
Tomorrow will see my official (aka final) "Christmas" strip, and then the Blockhams will go on hiatus until after the Outback Bowl. Thanks for a crazy year, my friends.
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs (typically) every Wednesday here at MGoBlog,
and at least every Thursday on its official home page. Also, don't forget to
check out Friday Roughs, a spontaneous low-end comic based on trending
Michigan events, available on Twitter and Facebook every Friday.
“MUSINGS ON THE COMMUNITY OF MGoBlog"
Several threads and occurrences in the last several months here started to get me thinking about just how advanced a cyber-community MGoBlog actually is ,and this seemed even semi-appropriate with the holidays now upon us to reflect a little bit on what we collectively bring to this place.
Some may disagree, but to me, this place has both preserved its initial intent as being a premiere source for information and discussion of Michigan athletics, but it seems as if it has evolved into something far more than that. It is a combination of various items, I believe, ranging from the general parameters of the site to things as simple (or complex, depending on your view) as the sort of people we generally are as fans of the University of Michigan.
It is a virtual space, but a well-developed one. Our usernames are associated with particular styles of commentary, certain opinions and even specialty content. Whether it is karma or the soon-to-be returned voting system, our perceived credibility is judged on a daily basis. Indeed, being one of the most visible Michigan fan sites if not the most visible, the system of feedback is vital to maintaining the quality of the site and its content by showing newcomers to the community what the shared expectations tend to be.
Sometimes, we miss the mark, sometimes we hit upon something humorous or insightful, but in watching comments attain ratings, you gain visibility into community norms, some of which Brian laid out in the beginning, but many of which have developed above and beyond the basic tenets of the site. Some of them are humorous, but some are not - Muppets, for example, after a big victory are humorous and deserved, but someone posting a link to one of Bleacher Report’s slide shows is not.
It is a moderated space, so in a sense, it is a governed one, both through site moderation and the community at large. As if you were speaking at work, you don’t necessarily have the right to say whatever without consequence, and this alone strengthens the sense of community around here. We do an excellent job of looking out for one another, but this is a group also unafraid to let people know in some fashion when lines (both external and internal to the blog) have been crossed, either deliberately or by definition as in the odd Kate Upton GIF. To safeguard against this, we can see posts and threads labeled as “NSFW”, for example, or indeed, when things get ugly, threads or posts are locked and/or deleted. People may quibble about the amount of moderation, but it is undeniable that without it, this would not be a close-knit group.
We’ve donated to and even taken on the causes of other site members, some of which include former players at Michigan, which I think is one of the most apparent pieces of evidence that ours is a fairly advanced community as cyber-cultures go. We’re also a connected group with some influence on affairs in the physical world and group with diverse areas of expertise, so when we aren’t talking plays and strategy, we sometimes find ourselves helping people in this community accomplish real world things or resolve real world issues. To me, that is evidence that we collectively care about each other’s well-being, so there are shared values that have arisen from this thing called MGoBlog.
The core element, of course, is our devotion to University Of Michigan athletics as well as to the school itself. Whether we are alums or not, students there or not, it is the one institution which has, above others, made the deepest impression on all of us. The Wolverines are that team (whether it is football, basketball, hockey and so on through the varsity sports) to which we feel the deepest connection. Deep enough, as a matter of fact, that many of us digest almost every single bit of minutia, as evidenced by threads on travel itineraries for the team and posts obviously made while in line at the Spring Auction. From this center, through the years, a viable community – albeit virtual – has sprung, in my opinion.
Indeed, all this is why I come here, not just to be part of a group that shares my obsession with sports and the University Of Michigan, but to be part of the community that has developed around it.