The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
*For an explanation of NCAA scoring matches, see Appendix A.
Big Ten play is still over a month away, but plenty has already happened in the 2011-2012 Michigan men's tennis season. Following Saturday's 5-2 win over #32 LSU, the #28 Wolverines are 4-2 on the year. The two 4-3 losses on the year so far were tough matchups against top ranked #10 Duke and #21 Texas Tech.
The last time we saw the Wolverines in action vs. LSU at the Varsity Tennis Center Saturday last, the Wolverines gave up their first doubles point of the year. No. 3 court Petrone/Zhu (both freshmen) fell 3-8, while on No. 2 court, Buzzi/Franks (sophomores) gamely played on after dropping the break, falling 6-8. King/Bernstein (Jr/Soph) rolled 8-3 on No. 1 court. LSU's players served up many lobs on the doubles courts, testing Michigan's deployment of both men beyond the baseline at times.
In singles Michigan players won all but one of their matches. On court 2 Bernstein won a grueling three-set decision, 7-6, 3-6, 7-6. King(1), Petrone(3), and Zhu(4) won their matches easily in two sets. On court 5 Franks had to stay focused at the end but also prevailed in two, 6-4, 7-5.
Implications for Big Ten play and NCAA Championships
In the Big Ten it's all about the fight for second, and Michigan is as competitive as any team in the league. As much as it pains me to say it, this Michigan team will probably not have what it takes to defeat the Ohio State buzzsaw. #3 Ohio is loaded top to bottom like always and will probably overpower Michigan's young team. Even with the somewhat more seasoned teams of a few years back, scoring one or even two points on Ohio represented a fantastic effort on the part of Michigan's players. King, the #6-rated singles player in the nation, defeated two of Ohio's starters at the October Midwest Regional, clipping #2 Blaz Rolo 7-5, 7-5, and #5 Chase Buchanan 5-7, 6-0, 6-3.
Even with King holding down court 1, the rest of the team is very young. King is the only upperclassman on the team. The style of the team has adjusted somewhat with its youth. Power serving is no longer the preferred style of half of the starters, since no one has a dominant or consistent enough power serve. King has the best serve by far on the team. Unfortunately Bernstein and Buzzi have trouble avoiding double faults and hitting their serves at angles designed to force the defenders into difficult shots. True freshmen are playing scored singles matches. The good news is that everyone comes back next year with more experience and weight training. For the moment it's very much a quick-oriented team, much more so than the Maravic-esque long volleys of yesteryear. A smaller team is more vulnerable to being pushed around the court by tall power tennis players. Fortunately LSU did not have the right kind of roster to beat this team. In fact some of their players were serving up multiple double faults even in doubles play.
Michigan will get some nice wins and drop some close calls on the road while looking to extend their six-year NCAA Championships streak. 13-11 qualified the team in 2010-11. Penciling in likely wins covers Hawaii, MSU(terrible), @Minnesota(lost to LSU 4-0), Purdue, Nebraska, Iowa at 10-2. Michigan would need only 3 more wins to match its record from last year. With some decent breaks Michigan can qualify for the NCAA championships for the seventh year.
Appendix A: NCAA Scoring Matches, Odds and Ends
In NCAA men's college tennis serving, there is no such thing as a "let". If the ball hits the net and then falls in the service box, it counts as a legal serve and must be returned. For the most part this inexplicable rule keeps a few net-kissed top-spin shots in bounds but there are occasional inadvertant drop shot "serves" created that amount to free points for the server. So it goes.
Scoring matches (regular season)
Begin with three doubles courts. Each plays a single set to 8 winning by 2 or tiebreaker at 8-8. Whichever school wins 2 out of the 3 doubles matches gets one match point. After a 20-minute break the 6 singles matches begin. Each singles match is worth one match point for the team. Whichever team scores 4 points first wins the match, although 7-0 routs are not uncommon.
Singles matches can be two sets long, two sets with a super-tiebreaker if the game goes to three sets after the outcome of the match has been decided, or three sets if the outcome of the match has not been decided. The sets are played to 6, win by 2, tiebreak at 6-6.
Scoring matches (Tournament)
Same basic structure as regular season scoring matches. However, when two courts from the same team win in doubles, doubles play is over on the spot. This can sometimes cut the third game short. Singles matches are played until one team scores 4 points, at which point all singles matches remaining are called off. The idea is to help preserve the health of the players with an extended four- or five-day tournament schedule.
Appendix B: Chart? Chart! Standings as of February 7, 2012.
As you probably know from the repeated forum posts, Beilein is in a close race with Ohio's coach Matta for the ESPN Inspiration is Contagious Award (vote now). I clicked over there today to vote for Beilein as much as I did to vote against Ohio. But then I saw that the winner recieves $100,000 for their charity, and Beilein's charity is the St. Louis Center... which brought back some powerful memories from the Fab Five era and my first job working at St. Louis. Please read my story (and first diary) below.
Back when I was an undergrad in the early 90's, I worked at St. Louis Center, a home for mentally/emotionally/physically disabled youth and adults. Probably around 1/2 of the kids had gone through some abuse and as wards of the state, were placed in St. Louis. Some of the stories that some of these kids went though would blow your mind. Two decades later, these boys and some of their stories are still prominent in my mind.
I took the upper youth home (middle school / high school) on field trips every weekend. We went to Crisler a few times for women's basketball games. We'd watch the game, and then afterwards, would help clean the arena and UM would pay St. Louis Center for our work. (our work was slow and low quality, but they would always hire us none-the-less).
One Saturday, as we finished our work and were walking back into the players tunnel, the men's team came out of the tunnel for their practice.
You have to understand what my boys looked like - some looked as disabled as you could imagine; some didn't know how to interact socially; many wore braces or helments, etc. For some people, for various reasons, it is hard to face people like this - even harder to connect with them in any real sense.
As you can imagine, as the players came out of the tunnel, my boys put up their hands to give them a high five sort of tunnel. They were so stoked! Back at the home, we would always watch UM basketball and the boys were well aware of the Fab Five. My boys called out their names as they passed...
Both Ray Jackson and Juwan said hello, politiely. Jimmy King looked terribly uncomfortable, but he smiled and said "Hi", and tried to act normally. I appreciated it becuase I could tell he was trying. But Jalen Rose and Chris Webber stopped and talked - for a long while.
I probably had at least 10 kids with me, and each asked them at least one question, often awkward and hard to decipher questions. Jalen and Chris laughed and talked with the boys. One kid asked Chris to dunk for him. Chris immediately ran onto the court and threw down one of his left-handed power dunks. Then he jogged back to our group and celebrated like they just won the game. He then promised that he'd dunk for real in the next game just for those kids.
Watching that next UMBB game back at St. Louis Center, you can probably imagine the excitement when Webber had his first dunk. All the boys really believed that dunk was for them. Why? Because Webber (and Jalen) were so real with the boys.
Weber and Rose saw through their disabilities; they saw through the wall that makes most people much more comfortable by just turning away. They treated the boys as real boys, as real people. It meant the world to my boys at the Center and was probably the highlight of their year.
Later, as Chris Webber went through all the scandals and problems for UM, I never could judge him harshly. I still won't. It might be illogical to give him a pass for those things simply b/c of that one day with my boys from St. Louis Center, but that's how I see it. I feel like I saw something in Webber that is hard to see from most people, let alone stars.
Webber was enjoying his time helping other people. He was doing it for the boys, yes, but he was doing it for himself also because he truly loved making people happy. That, I believe, says a lot about who he is. More than the money he took and the reasons why. In my mind, Webber will always be that guy could see the humanity in others and loved making them happy.
anyway, that's my story....
It's great to see UM basketball's connection with St. Louis Center is still active, and likely even stronger. Go Blue, Go Beilein, and you GO VOTE!
SUPER BOWL XLVI
(Click the image to view full size)
If you're at all like Tom Blockham, the Super Bowl was easy enough to watch,
because either way a Michigan Man was going to get himself a ring. The hard
part was explaining to your co-workers that your collegiate loyalty is
more important than any professional franchise.
All apologies to Zoltan Mesko and David Baas for
not giving them props in the strip as well.
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs every Tuesday here at MGoBlog, and at least every
Thursday on its official home page. Also, don't forget to check out our newest feature,
Friday Roughs, a spontaneous low-end comic based on current Michigan events, available on Twitter and Facebook every Friday.
Turnover Margin and Wins: Is there a Correlation? Analyzing College Football Turnover Margins Since 2006
If you ever read articles from Phil Steele, he has a theory that a team that has forced double digit turnovers in excess of the times they turned the ball over will either equal their win total the following year, or will decrease their wins. As a corollary, a team who has turned the ball over double digit times more than they forced turnovers, will at least equal their win total the following year, or will increase their wins.
If you are like me, you are at least skeptical of this theory. So I went ahead and ran the numbers, going back to the 2006-2007 season. We looked at the team’s win total in 2006, their turnovers in 2006, and their win total in 2007. If the team had net double-digit turnovers, either to the positive or the negative, they came into the population study. Then a comparison was made between whether the team should have improved or at least stayed the same. Note that when looking at win totals for each year, I am only including regular season win totals, so no bowl games or conference championships are included.
If you want to see all of the charts since the 2006-2007 season, visit my website. For sake of brevity, I’m only going to include the 2010-2011 chart here. I’ll cover the 2011-2012 chart in a few weeks.
|Team||Conference||Net||2010 Wins||2011 Wins||Win Difference||Correct?|
|Ohio State||Big Ten||15||11||6||-5||YES|
|Oklahoma State||Big 12||12||10||11||1|
|Middle Tennessee||Sun Belt||-19||6||2||-4|
|New Mexico||Mountain West||-12||1||1||0||YES|
Since the 2006-2007 season up through the 2010-2011 season (five seasons), I reviewed the turnover differential. Here are the results:
58/76 with double-digit turnovers to the positive either won less games or stayed the same (76.3%).
55/64 with double-digit turnovers to the negative either won more games or stayed the same (85.9%).
113/140 total followed trend (80.7%)
In case you were wondering the stats from the 2010-2011 season:
16/18 with double-digit turnovers to the positive either won less games or stayed the same (88.9%).
10/12 with double-digit turnovers to the negative either won more games or stayed the same (83.3%).
26/30 total followed trend (86.7%)
Today we look at special teams play from the weekend Miami series.
We start with a 5-3 powerplay. From right to left, Moffie, Merrill, Treais, Moffatt and Di Giuseppe. Michigan is not set yet, Moffatt is skating through and Di Giuseppe is screening. Moffie takes a one timer that get blocked and come right back to him.
Moffie passes across to Merrill who sends it down to Treais, Miami has picked up Moffatt in front of the net.
Michigan has set up in perfect position, Di Giuseppe is playing backdoor for anything that gets through and Moffatt is covered by a lefty. Since the stick is in his left hand he has no real chance to make a play on the puck, unless he uses his skate.
Unfortunately for Miami, Reichard tries to make a play on the puck and catches it at a bad angle, sending it into his own goal.
Miami special teams were awful this series and this PP was no exception. A Miami skater comes on late and has no idea where he is supposed to be, the two players to the right are mixed up and try to cover the same assignments.
The puck is cycled from the corner boards to the pointman Jon Merrill. The Miami players have confused their alignments and left Luke Moffatt free to screen, even if the save is made no one in red is there for the rebound.
Merrill gets the shot down on the ice and Knapp sees it at the last second, he goes down but Moffatt gets a beautiful tip and sends it over his shoulder.
Michigan gets a very lucky bounce here. The defenseman is thinking the puck is going to be rolled down the boards, but it's chipped up into the air. With the Miami forwards still in the zone Michigan has nothing to lose by trying a rush in the neutral zone, except Miami was playing to agressive and got caught so no one is there.
Notice the direction of his head, he's looking down the goalie. That freezes the defensemen, since he is seeing shot his priority is shot blocking. Except Luke sends a beautiful no-look pass to moffie.
New Lenox (IL) Lincoln-Way West OL Colin McGovern is one of the standouts among a loaded class of offensive linemen in the state of Illinois. The 6'6", 280-pound junior recently picked up a Michigan offer to go along with early offers from Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. McGovern, rated as a four-star tackle to 24/7, has the potential to play either guard or tackle at the collegiate level and displays some very impressive run-blocking ability in his junior film (above). I got the chance to talk to Colin over the weekend and here's the full transcript of the interview:
ACE: First of all, how is everything going with your recruitment, and who do you have offers from?
COLIN: It started off back in December, Northwestern was the first one to offer me. It was kind of slow [for a while]. After that, I was talking with Michigan a lot and it was just a lot of talking with schools, no offers. Then about two weeks ago Tennessee came in, Coach [Sam] Pittman, and he offered me, and from there it just picked up. That was two weeks ago, so within the last two weeks I picked up six more offers, and I got one today from Indiana—you probably haven't seen that yet because I haven't told anyone about it.
ACE: Of the schools that have been in contact with you so far, do you have any early favorites?
COLIN: I'm pretty much neutral on all the schools because I never really grew up a fan of a certain team. I just grew up watching all games. Going into the recruiting process I don't really have a favorite.
ACE: With Michigan, I know they just offered you. Who have you been in contact with the coaching staff and how did you learn about getting the offer?
COLIN: Coach Funk is the only coach that I've been talking with and I actually called him yesterday—he was the one that offered me.
ACE: What are your impressions of Michigan as a school and a program?
COLIN: Well I only caught one game this year and that was the Ohio State game. From what I saw it was a pretty great game—two great football teams going at it and Michigan came out on top. Just from after the game you saw, once they did beat Ohio State, you saw the celebration and all that kind of stuff; all the fans getting into it and all the tradition. Obviously they're the most winningest team in college football history, they have a great educational school—everything's great about Michigan.
ACE: How would you describe your game on the field? What are your main strengths and what are you trying to work on for your senior year and getting to the next level?
COLIN: For being so tall one of my strengths is being able to get and stay low through the whole block—I don't get too high. I need to work on maybe getting a little lower, finishing through the block, and maybe my explosiveness off the ball too.
ACE: The early returns on the offensive line class from the state of Illinois for 2013, there are some really good prospects coming out of there. Have you been in contact with any of the guys like Logan Tuley-Tillman, Ethan Pocic, Kyle Bosch, and Colin Goebel? Do you talk to those guys at all and is there any feeling among you guys of trying to go to the same school?
COLIN: I haven't really talked to them all that much. I have been doing Core 6—I did the Core 6 practice and showcase with Tillman, but I haven't really talked that much with him. Pocic I haven't really had a chance to talk to even though he was at the showcase. I'm really not even that acquainted with the guys, so I wouldn't really be able to say, with either of the two, whether we're out really for ourselves or trying to get together or whatever.
ACE: I was going to ask you about Core 6. What's it like being able to have all these high-caliber high school athletes all together in one place working out? How much does that help your development?
COLIN: Well, I've only been to one, like I said, and then the showcase. As of right now I don't think I'm going to be working with them just because I had prior commitments. I think I'm just going to keep on going with what I'm doing. When I did go to those two things, it was pretty cool having all those other, not only great football players, but recruits there too, because they're going through the same thing and you could relate to them. At the same time they helped me get better when you're practicing with them, too. It seems like a great thing.
ACE: So what are your plans in terms of training over the offseason? Do you have any plans for going to any camps or visiting any schools over the summer?
COLIN: I was planning on visiting a lot of places, I'm not exactly sure what the schedule for that is yet. In terms of workouts, I'm going to be working with [former Northwestern and NFL lineman] Matt Ulrich and Ron Potonic* and just doing my football team lifts during the week.
ACE: In terms of a timeline for your recruitment, do you know when you want to narrow things down and wrap it up?
COLIN: I've been thinking about that and I was planning on hopefully getting committed somewhere before next season starts, but if I don't have my school picked out I'm not going to rush such a big decision.
ACE: What are you looking for in a school when it comes down to decision time?
COLIN: The number one factor for me is the education. If a school doesn't have a good education that's going to be a major turnoff towards a school. It would be great to play in the NFL but honestly you always have to have that backup plan and I'm going to need a good degree. So, I'd say the educational standing of a school and then of course the football program, because if I'm going to go play football at a school I might as well be on a good football team. Those are pretty much it. If I had to pick a third, I'd say maybe playing time or conference, maybe, but they wouldn't be huge deciding factors.
ACE: Going away from football, what's one thing that you want people to know about you that goes outside of the football field?
COLIN: Actually, Allen Trieu from Scout.com just talked with my coach and he wrote an article about what my coach had to say about me. What he was saying is not only am I a hard worker on the field and off the field in the classroom and in the weight room, but he said the number one thing is that I've kept my head on straight and I've stayed humble throughout this whole process. I haven't let it go to my head.
*I believe this means he's training at Winning Edge Athletics in Chicago.