fair point that
With rumors of a varsity announcement running rampant, it's easy to forget that there's still an actual season going on. When last we saw the Michigan Lacrosse team on these pages, they had successfully completed a California road trip, and were preparing to kick off a long homestand. Since that time, they have won 9 consecutive games and wrapped up their third undefeated regular season in the past four years.
Let's take a look at those results weekend-by-weekend...
BYU came to Ann Arbor as a top-5 team, but Michigan ran them off the field despite a mediocre performance. Chad Carroll and Joey Hrusovsky each had a 4-point game, while Trevor Yealy scored 3 goals himself. The following night, Michigan took on an overmatched Pittsburgh squad, and walked away with the easy 20-1 victory.
Boston College was the first team all year to come into Oosterbaan Fieldhouse and not back down, even when Michigan built up a lead. Brian Greiner solidified his starting position on faceoffs as Edward Ernst struggled on draws, and Michigan played a very sloppy game, which allowed the Eagles to stay in it. I sat near the UCSB team at the BC game, and they were chirping quite a bit about how they were going to get an easy win the following night... so imagine their surprise when they were blasted into a fine red mist in a 21-0 beatdown. Maybe Michigan was sending a message, or maybe their second and third lines are just that much better than the Gauchos. Either way, Trevor Yealy scored 6 goals to become Michigan's all-time leading scorer, and this game was over seemingly as soon as it started.
The following weekend, #1 welcomed the #2 and #3 teams in the land into Oosterbaan Fieldhouse, but managed to emerge unscathed. Colorado State was the first victim, as Michigan showed why they're so tough to beat at home. They rode the Rams into tons of turnovers, and got the easy win. It wasn't such easy going the following night, as the Wolverines built up a 9-3 lead on Arizona State, but the Sun Devils refused to give up, and managed to get the final margin to 2 goals. Attackman Eric Nelson and goalkeeper Dylan Westfall played excellently, but not well enough to earn the win.
The Wolverine offense was a well-oiled machine the following weekend, as they scored .609 points per possession (.400 is a very good performance) and easily dispatched of a Missouri team that never stood a chance. The Tiger offense was surprisingly effective itself, but they were no match for Chad Carroll, who put in 8 goals and an assist all by himself.
Like the BC and Arizona State games, Michigan managed to build up a couple leads, but the opponent didn't wilt under the pressure, and made some runs of their own. It was a rainy night in Birmingham, and both squads made their share of sloppy plays. The Spartans couldn't put the ball on net, and that was ultimately their downfall against their most hated rival.
The Wolverines finally played a true road game after several weeks at home and one at a neutral site, but it was business as usual in dispatching first-year MCLA program Toledo. Plenty of backups got a chance to play in this game (which was played in the Glass Bowl), and the outcome was never in doubt.
Michigan has a weekend off from competition, and they'll return to action on May 7th at the conference Tournament in Saline. They'll face a Directional Michigan (most likely Central) in the first round, before taking on the winner of Michigan State and Pittsburgh (most likely the Spartans) in the final on Sunday.
Assuming they win the conference tournament - and even if they don't - they're all-but-guaranteed to be the #1 overall seed in the National Tournament, which starts May 17th in Denver. They'll seek their unprecedented 4th consecutive championship, and then we can start worrying about whether or not they'll play varsity lacrosse next season.
For all the day-to-day details on the team, you can check out my lacrosse blog at GreatLaxState.com.
This is a response to the MGoBlog Survey Results diary posted about two weeks ago. I found some of the results surprising, specifically the respondents' reported demographics compared to YouTube Insight demographics of people who watch my uploads. The people who watch my videos are significantly older and more likely to be female than the people who took the survey. Since a large proportion of my views come from embeds on this site, I hypothesized at the time that the survey results were telling us more about the type of people who would take the time to fill out a survey than the blog's actual audience. Having no data to back that up, I replied with a wise crack about mgovideo stealing mgoblog's women and forgot about the subject for two weeks. Yesterday, I started using Quantcast for mgovideo and noticed that mgoblog does too. You can view mgoblog's site summary here: http://www.quantcast.com/mgoblog.com
The survey's first question was "What best describes your gender?" 96% of the survey's participants answered Male. The Quantcast data paints a radically different picture:
The survey's next question was "What best describes your age?" 53% answered 20-30 years. The Quantcast data on the other hand is enough for the blog's audience to be categorized as Older:
The next question was "What is your current state of residence." 50% answered Michigan. Quantcast says only 35.58% of the site's unique visitors are from Michigan.
The survey didn't ask about race but according to Quantcast, mgoblog has a significant number of African American visitors (12%) and almost no Asians (1%) or Hispanics (1%). Compared to U-M's undergraduate demographics (5.8% African American, 12.1% Asian American, 4.1% Hispanic American [source: Wikipedia]), this adds to the evidence already presented that mgoblog's visitors are not mostly current or recently graduated students.
The rest of the survey's questions are related to mgopoints which do not exist and are thus not tracked by Quantcast. The most interesting part of the Quantcast data to me personally was that only 5% of the site's visitors are responsible for 58% of the site's visits. In other words, on a typical day when mgoblog gets 30,000 visits, a core group of just 1,500 users that Quantcast appropriately refers to as addicts is responsible for almost 17,500 of those visits.
While it seems at times that everyone on the board is an addict (c'mon, you know 10 visits would be a light day for you), 95% of the blog's visitors are more casual users. I guess that's why the board is always unanimous about Haloscan being the glory days of mgocommenting and yet there have never been more than about 6 guys on the WLA's UniScorn thing.
I should say that I have no idea how valid Quantcast's data is (younger people may be more likely to block their script with an add-on/extension for example), but the data suggests that there may be some misconceptions about the blog and its audience.
Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Hoke
Since it’s the offseason and there’s not much going on, I thought I’d take a look at last season’s team production, offensively and defensively. All the data is from either NCAA.org or ESPN’s drive charts, except for the Air Force and New Mexico games, where I had to extrapolate the drive data from the box score. That’s what’s known as foreshadowing. Offensive and defensive stats are broken out individually, to try to handle those phases of the game on their own.
All Spreadsheeted-up and no place to go
I started out planning to show that the offensive effectiveness remained somewhat consistent through the season, and that only the number of drives per game decreased into the meat of the Big Ten season caused the downturn in scoring. The data did not support that. The number of drives did vary between UConn’s 8 and the Illinois 19-drive trackmeet. But the numbers did not coincide with strength of opponent, final score, or much of anything. You need look no further than the Wisconsin game vs. the OSU game for proof. Against Wisconsin we scored 28 points on 10 drives, compared to 7 points on 12 drives against OSU. The chart doesn’t show any correlation between drives and points:
|Opponent||Yards||Drives||Pts.||YPD||PPD||D-Yds||D-Drvs||D-Pts||D-YPD||D-PPD||Net YPD||Net PPD|
So I need to look a little deeper, namely at typical markers of yard and points. The basic idea is straightforward: good yards per drive equals good “effectiveness” and good points per drive equals good “finishing.” First up: YPD. Offensively, YPD varies from unstoppable against weak competition (UConn, BG, and UMass) to not-very-good against MSU, the other MSU and OSU. Defense, on the other hand, was great in the rain against Purdue, better-than-average against ND and Illinois (per drive, remember), and shelled by MSU, the other MSU and Wisconsin. This should not be news.
Alright, so now we know we couldn’t stop anyone. How about scoring, PPD? Because we’re dealing with a smaller range, I think the data is clearer. Offensively, after throwing out the Bowling Green anomaly (seriously, 6 points per drive?), most of the games turned out be between 2 and 3 PPD, with OSU being a lowly 0.5. Defense tells the rest of the story. The season started out well enough, holding ND to 1.4 PPD, but the number crept up from there, 3 PPD to Indiana, up to 4 PPD to PSU and Wisconsin. Even Tressel-ball managed to score almost 3 PPD. And that chart just looks worse and worse as the season goes on. This is also the point where I get to mention 4-for-14 on field goals and lament.
So what does any of this say? I’d like to be able to adjust some of those values for strength of opponent, so that the 27 points against Iowa’s #7-ranked defense look a little more in line, but I can’t decide on a formula to adjust expected versus actual points. Someone wake up the Mathlete for me, if you don’t mind.
I think that all I can say at this point is that the defense was bad across the board last season, and performed worse against good opposition. The offense was at-best inconsistent, ranging from good to average from game-to-game. With a team consisting of mostly true sophomores at skill positions, I don't that should come as a big surprise.
Coming tomorrow: the same analysis for SDSU's season, and comparisons to what Michigan did.
More Michigan commits, and we're back on the front page. Action since last rankings:
4-22-11 Michigan gains commitments from AJ Williams and Devin Funchess.
4-23-11 Wisconsin gains commitment from Vince Biegel. Minnesota loses commitment from Nick Rallis.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Watchlist||Scout Avg||ESPN Watchlist||24/7 Avg|
As I said, it looks pretty incomplete. I'm considering switching all rankings to 5-star scale, instead of using the RR ratings for rivals, and the numeric ratings for ESPN (which I did last year). I also might add 24/7 Sports' rankings to the chart.
|#1 Ohio State - 5 Commits|
The greatest number of commits, and the only team with multiple 5-stars.
|#2 Notre Dame - 5 Commits|
Irish had a pretty big weekend with a couple commits.
|#3 Penn State - 6 Commits|
Nittany Lions start strong after having a poor beginning to the 2011 recruiting class. Jarron Jones is listed as a soft commit.
|#4 Michigan - 6 Commits|
A pair of linemen and a pair of linebackers for Brady Hoke's first full class.
|#5 Wisconsin - 3 Commits|
Badgers have an excellent offensive lineman and a nondescript runner to start the class of 2012.
|#6 Northwestern - 2 Commits|
A couple commits for Northwestern.
|#7 Minnesota - 4 Commits|
I'll be the first to admit I may be underrating the Gophers' class to date. We'll see what happens when some of the other sites have rated their prospects.
|#8 Nebraska - 1 Commit|
Ho-hum to start the class for the Huskers.
|#9 Iowa - 1 Commit|
An offensive lineman kicks off Iowa's class.
|#9 Illinois - 1 Commit|
Unrated WR starts Illinois's class.
|#9 Purdue - 1 Commit|
In-state commit for the Boilers.
Indiana and Michigan State are tied for last with 0 commits.
[I wrote this a while back for a blog ran by some friends and myself. That blog seems to be losing some momentum, so I thought I would bring this post over here. Unfortunately, now there is even more to be said about the matter with Darius' potential looming draft entrance. Oh well, Enjoy.]
Coach Hoke and his staff have been very active on the recruiting trail this year and even though we've still got ten months until signing day our top prospects for the class are taking shape. I thought since many of us follow this pretty closely we might, as a group, be able to effectively handicap the candidates for the remaining spots.
It seems to me we have the following positions to fill:
QB - 1
RB - 1
FB - 0 to 1
WR - 1 to 2
TE - Devin Funchess, A.J. Williams, and 0 to 1 more
OL - Ben Braden, Caleb Stacey, and 2 to 4 more
DE - 2 to 3
DT - 2 to 3
LB - Kaleb Ringer, Royce Jenkins-Stone, and 0 to 2 more
CB - 1 to 2
S - 1 to 2
With this in mind, I've created a poll where the amateur recruiting experts on this board can vote for their best guesses. Maybe collectively we can identify our next class.
If you choose other in the poll, please identify your other player in the comments section.