to play football, not to play trumpet
Note: this diary has changed quite a bit since it was originally posted. The Michigan win over Notre Dame made a huge difference in their final position, as did the WCHA, CCHA, and Hockey East championships.
Saturday's important results
Michigan 4, Notre Dame 2
BC 5, Merrimack 3
Miami 5, Western 2
North Dakota 3, Denver 2 in OT
Air Force won their conference tournament, so they get the autobid and 16th spot.
UNH has dropped to a #4 seed. Since they stay in Manchester as the host school, and the committee does not want intraconference first round matchups, BC would probably be the #1 in St. Louis. Here is how the brackets should look:
16. Air Force
11. Notre Dame
2. North Dakota
10. Western Michigan
3. Boston College
14. Colorado College
This bracket has no intraconference matchups in the first round. It also limits travel as much as possible, and at least gets a team or two that might draw fans in St. Louis. Merrimack gets placed in Manchester to at least have a team other than UNH that will fill those seats. The original location would have been Michigan and Miami in Manchester, with BC and Merrimack in St. Louis. That seems stupid.
The most likely way for this bracket to change is if the committee decides not to put both Denver and North Dakota in the same region. The Michigan-UNO pairing would get switched with the Denver-Western pairing in that case. I don't think they'll do that, however, because it might absolutely kill the attendance in St. Louis. At least Michigan has the fan base to bring people to St. Louis, and Nebraska-Omaha is within driving distance. Denver and Western probably don't draw people to St. Louis. They could also switch Denver and Merrimack, but that would mean a regional in New Hampshire with three "western" teams, and you could have a lot of empty arenas, which the NCAA abhors. Also, there is more bracket integrity with the above setup.
The only way that this bracket could see substantial change is if the committee bumps UNH up to a 3 seed, switching them with UNO. This would be way against their stated principles, but it would allow them to put BC and UNH in the Manchester regional without playing each other, and have Miami host in St. Louis. Michigan would probably get sent to Manchester in that unlikely scenario.
Selection Sunday is tomorrow at 11:30 am on ESPN2, when we'll find out for real. Go Blue!
Ohio offensive lineman Caleb Stacey (6'4", 275 lbs) made a trip up to Ann Arbor on Thursday with his head coach Kurry Commins. The guard was hoping for a Michigan offer and came away with just that. This was the first time for both he and his coach to take a tour of Michigan's facilities, and both were impressed with what they saw. "It was an outstanding trip. First class all the way, first class facilities, and the people I came in contact with were overwhelmingly amazing," said Coach Commins.
The Oak Hills coach wasn't familiar with Ann Arbor, but there were some familiar faces inside Schembechler hall. "I have a really good relationship with Coach Hoke and Coach Smith, and some members of his staff," Coach Commins said. "I had talked to them about Caleb back when they were at San Diego State. When they moved to Michigan we got them Caleb's film immediately and have been in contact ever since."
That relationship that has already been formed between the coaches will definitely help with Michigan's pursuit of Caleb Stacey. "It's definitely going to play into it. We develop relationships with our players the same way Coach Hoke does. The fact that I think so highly of Coach Hoke helps with how Caleb sees him, too," he said. That won't be the only factor into Caleb's recruitment, but it definitely helps to speed up the relationship forming process.
Caleb reflected those sentiments of his coach and saw what his head coach had told him of the Michigan staff. "[Coach Commins] speaks very highly of Coach Hoke. They both preach the same thing about becoming a better person, and being better in the classroom," said Caleb. "I took Coach Commins word on who they were up there and it was exactly that."
Since it was their first time on campus, Stacey and his coach made sure to check out all aspects of Ann Arbor. "We drove around campus and got a feel for it. It was a good day to go up since it's St. Patrick's day, all the students were outside hanging out," said Stacey. "I got to see the strength coach and basically learn about the tradition at Michigan."
As it usually is, the Big House was a main feature of the visit and it was something that stuck out for Caleb from his trip. "The stadium speaks for itself. I got to go in to the biggest stadium in the country. It's breathtaking to imagine yourself playing in there in front of that many people," he said.
Outside of the stadium it was the people and coaches that made the biggest impact on Caleb. "The tradition up there is great. I definitely felt the tradition from the coaches. They all preach Michigan and that was something that I was really looking for," said Caleb. "The way they have produced offensive linemen and now they're going to let the linemen up front go after it, it really gives you goose bumps."
The visit was described as a great trip by both Caleb and his coach, but he's not ready to name any leaders. Their was also no clear top school going into this process, but Caleb did say this was a big offer for him. "I talked to my coach a few days ago and he asked me what would be an offer that I would really want and I said Michigan so this was pretty big," said Caleb. Stacey plans on taking a trip to West Virginia next and then potentially will come up with a top school list to narrow things down from there. This visit definitely helped Michigan move themselves into position with Stacey.
Though Michigan opened the season at home with a resounding win over Florida, the true home season starts this weekend, as the Wolverines start a string of seven consecutive home games over four weeks. Before getting into those details, let's pick up where last we left the team.
Going undefeated over Spring Break is more the norm than the exception for the Michigan Lacrosse team, but that doesn't mean this year's trip out West was without drama.
Road Trip Recap
Though the University of Oregon has started the season a very disappointing 2-5, they managed to give Michigan a run for their money in Los Angeles a couple weeks back. The Wolverines trailed throughout most of regulation, but managed to stage a comeback to force overtime. In the second OT session, senior Chad Carroll scored the golden goal for Michigan to wrap up a 9-8 win.
The Wolverines atoned for the close call against UO by easily dispatching an overmatched Loyola Marymount squad 12-2 in a true road game. In a low-scoring game, there weren't many offensive standouts, but sophomore Thomas Paras finished with two goals and an assist. This game could have been a much bigger blowout, but the teams were playing slowly on a beaten-up field.
Michigan closed out their spring break trip with a visit to Chapman, one of their biggest rivals in recent years. Though Michigan struggled mightily on faceoffs (which had been a strength through the previous three years of dominance), they were able to make up for it by playing mistake-free ball. The Panthers couldn't reciprocate, and the Wolverines emerged with an 11-8 victory.
After a week back in school, the team traveled to Athens, Ohio on Saturday to open up conference play against Ohio University. The Bobcats are new to the MCLA, but sloppy play from the Wolverines prevented them from getting a blowout victory. Trevor Yealy did manage to score 6 goals in the 15-5 win.
Michigan's home slate gets off to a very tough start as traditional rival BYU will try their luck in Oosterbaan Fieldhouse (Friday at 7PM). The Cougars have started the season 7-0, including an impressive 11-7 win over #6 Colorado this weekend.
Many of the familiar faces from BYU over the past couple years are no longer around. Midfielder Elliott Grow and LSM Britton Cone (1st-Team All-Americans last year) have graduated, leaving junior midfielder Andrew Harding (3rd-Team) to be the face of the Cougars.
A much more in-depth preview of BYU can be found here.
The Panthers started their season by playing several non-MCLA-D1 teams, but have started getting into a more traditional schedule. They kicked off the conference slate with an 11-1 victory over fellow CCLA East squad Toledo to take the early lead for the Division title (Michigan caught up with the victory over Ohio). They traveled to Florida a couple weekends ago, falling 9-22 to Central Florida before rebounding with a 10-8 victory over South Florida.
Pitt is led offensively by sophomore attack Tyler Novotny, who is averaging 4 points per game (almost exclusively with goals, not assists). Pitt's Matthew Pham has fared well on faceoffs, winning nearly 66% of them so far this season, so it could be interesting to see how Michigan's relatively-inexperienced players fare against him.
Again, a more detailed preview can be found here.
In the old haloscan days, when THE KNOWLEDGE exploded on to the scene and quickly rose to become the greatest poster on this very blog (which he still is and will continue to be for ever), one man rose up to the level of becoming a friend of THE KNOWLEDGE
he was THE MICHIGAN MAN
While THE KNOWLEDGE is the greatest exponent of revealing the future, THE MICHIGAN MAN was very good in accurately diagnosing the truths hidden behind the masks of cheaters
He shouted from the rooftops (typed a lot in caps) about the fraud that Jim Tressel was (or, in his vernacular, Tre$$eLLLLL)
but no one on these very pages gave him much credence, perhaps because they did not like his style, or because they are too dumb.
no one except THE KNOWLEDGE
THE KNOWLEDGE assured THE MICHIGAN MAN that he understood and encouraged him to start his own blog
people didn't believe THE MICHIGAN MAN then, but who's laughing now?
the case is similar with the doubters of THE KNOWLEDGE - although these people are lower in number, and border on the lunatic
in a previous post, THE KNOWLEDGE had clearly revealed that Urban Meyer will soon be replacing Tressel as the coach at OSU. as usual, a lot of cynics didn't believe it
now, the talk everywhere is that Tressel will be replaced by Meyer
who's laughing now?
THE KNOWLEDGE will laugh even more and bask in glory when this becomes official in the next several months
THE KNOWLEDGE shall soar
and leave every doubter in a trail of dust
- Michigan will defeat Duke
- But lose to SDSU in Elite Eight
Championship in basketball and football in 2012
This weekend is one of the first big visit weekends for the Michigan coaches. I've confirmed a number of big prospects so far, and as usual this list will continue to change as we get closer to the weekend.
- Visiting Today - Ohio OL Caleb Stacey (6'4", 275 lbs): No offer yet, but hoping to get one soon. ***Michigan offered Caleb on his visit.
- Ohio OL Kyle Dodson (6'6", 315 lbs): Michigan has made a lot of ground up with Dodson. He's very interested in Michigan.
- Mass LB Camren Williams (6'2", 215 lbs): Making his decision in June so this visit will be big for Michigan.
- Mass ATH Armani Reeves (5'11", 185 lbs): Teammate of Camren Williams, very excited about the visit.
- Michigan LB Royce Jenkins-Stone (6'2", 215 lbs): This is good for Michigan to get Royce back on campus. He's seen his recruitment take off offer-wise and Michigan needs to solidify their position.
- Michigan LB James Ross (6'0", 210 lbs): Same deal with Royce, this is great for Michigan to get James back up on campus.
- Michigan DB Terry Richardson (5'9", 160 lbs): Michigan has a lot of work to do with Terry so any type of visit is a good one.
- Michigan OL/DL Kelby Latta (6'4", 295 lbs): Michigan's new coaches have sparked some serious interest from Latta. Before the hire he was very high on Wisconsin, but the new coaches are giving Michigan a chance.
- Ohio DE Pharaoh Brown (6'6", 260 lbs): It will be good to get Brown on campus this early. There's limited spots in Ohio State's class for defensive ends and Brown could end up being a key prospect down the road.
- Michigan OL Ben Braden (6'7", 285 lbs): I reported earlier in the week that Braden had made a trip up to Michigan this past Sunday, and he was offered on that trip. Braden may be coming up this weekend, or it could be next weekend as well.
- Illinois DT Vontrell Williams (6'2", 265 lbs): No offer yet, but hoping to get one.
- Ohio TE AJ Williams (6'6", 260 lbs): Williams has tried to schedule a visit for the past two weekends, but it looks like the 26th will end up the date he'll make it in.
I was there.
The almost-perfect long weekend in the middle of the last semester of our senior year. Yeah, it was a little too expensive (even though we drove). Yeah, it made finishing our classes a little tougher (but who works much in their last semester of undergrad anyhow?). And it was a chance to see something special, a potential national championship. I had watched the last one on TV (and will never forget how clutch Rumeal was, hitting those two free throws). I had celebrated on South U. (as a high schooler) with the masses, but desperately wanted to see this one in person.
They held a lottery to see who got tickets. Can you imagine, not enough tickets to go see the the Final Four down in Louisiana? We won. I don't remember how many people applied, and I sure was hoping that senior status counted for something extra. But we won. And so, we went.
Welcome to New Orleans!
I was only worried about one game: Kentucky. Everybody thought they were the team to beat. And they were. A beast of a team. Led by Jamal Mashburn, they finished the season ranked #2 in the country (behind #1 Indiana, whom #9 Kansas later bounced to sneak into the Final Four); Michigan was #3, North Carolina #4. The closest (at the time) to all four #1 teams making it. How I still wonder about what would have happened had Indiana beaten Kansas...
Bobby K: Too Angry To Win
But I was there.
The Kentucky game went to overtime, Webber was a monster throughout. Look at his stat sheet: 27 points, 13 rebounds, 39 minutes of playing time. Yes, others had great games too (Howard, Jackson, Rose), but without Webber, the run would have ended. I saw a lot of Kentucky fans crying after the game. One shook my hand and offered up a weak but heartfelt "good luck"; I'll always think fondly of that small, silly moment. What luck did I need? I was just watching. Kentucky fans, man, kentucky fans.
One Kentucky Fan We Can All Get Behind
So we celebrated. A great night out on the town, as only the town that hosts Mardi Gras can deliver. And the knowledge that we had one more game, a winnable game against a good (but not great) team.
Mardi Gras Girls: No, We Didn't Meet Them
And I was there.
The team didn't seem to have their legs that infamous Monday night against UNC. I think Kentucky took a lot out of them. Watching UNC breeze by a lousy Kansas team on Saturday, I was convinced we had the tougher road, and during the last game it showed.
Don't Worry Sir, We'll Lose Easily
But those five guys (and yes, the others, too) had something, a toughness, a resilience. We managed to pull ahead with five minutes left. Someone told me one of those stupid stats which make you feel good but only in a false-bravado kind of way: Michigan hadn't lost a game that year when they were up with five minutes left. My friends and I exchanged high fives. We're going to win!
We Exchanged High Fives
But somehow they couldn't keep a guy in Donald Williams' face, and he kept making shots. Why was Jalen on him? I thought King would have been a better choice, more athletic, if shorter. But there was Williams again, making twos, making threes, and suddenly we were down.
F---ing Donald Williams (Looking Old Now)
I was there, and I remember when Webber traveled.
The whole place screamed "walk!" but somehow they didn't call it. Later, I felt thankful for the refs: they didn't want to decide the game on a stupid play like that. They just wanted to see it play out. But Webber walked, and then started dribbling like crazy up the court.
Fisher: What I Would Have Looked Like, Had We Had One More TO
Most of us were screaming "Time out!" How many goddamned basketball games have you watched where there are about 100 timeouts at the end, play moving glacially forward, the last 30 seconds taking 20 minutes? How can a team actually run out of time outs? I bet you Fisher thought about that for a long time after. If they'd just had one more timeout ...
Pelinka: Open For A Three?
Pelinka was open. The UNC guys were running around, crazy, double-teaming (turned out to be a good decision, huh?), and if Webber had just swung the ball to someone, anyone, I bet it would have made its way to Pelinka in the corner. You know, the guy who makes threes. For years, I would wake up in the night, and think about "what if Pelinka had gotten it in the corner?" Thankfully, that went away. Sport fans, we're nuts.
I was there, when all the fans looked at one another, confused.
What happened? Then some guy two rows in front of me, in that f---ing monster of a building where there wasn't much of a scoreboard anywhere near the court for players to see, said simply: "They don't have any more timeouts. That's a technical foul. We're going to lose." Our section, crazy with noise moments ago, jumping with the certainty that our guys were going to pull it out, fell slowly quiet. The UNC fans started to figure it out too; they all started to go nuts, as did their players on the bench. I still can't figure out the Dean Smith voodoo, his two championships not remembered for his team's greatness, but for the other team's failure in the clutch. For this reason, I still harbor an irrational hatred of Dean Smith.
The Dean's Voo-doo Victim #1: Fred Brown
Watching the brilliant documentary on the Fab Five the other day brought this flood of memories back. And what memories they were, and are. I've enjoyed the current season immensely, as Beilein and Co. have built up a team that is easy and fun to root for. But for two seasons in what seems like another lifetime, we had something more than that, something so rare and special that it is hard to believe it was Michigan basketball. We had rock stars for a basketball team. We cheered them on when they won, and we wept with them when they lost. We loved them, and so we wept.
It was a long drive home.
A Long Drive Home
As for the memories I have, well, scandals, banner-removals, or any other "official" process can't touch them. A memory of my own youth, a memory of a time where five kids made national headlines simply by being who they were, a memory filled with many joyous headlines, and finished with an unforgettable exclamation point, perhaps an appropriately tragic ending.
I graduated, I moved out of the state, but I will always have those memories.
You see, I was there.