things go poorly
CCLA Conference Tournament
Michigan will participate in its conference tournament this weekend, trying to take home their fourth consecutive championship. The field is as follows:
Michigan and Buffalo are the top two seeds, by virtue of winning the North and South Divisions, respectively. Michigan State and
Eastern Central Michigan also make the field from the North Division, and Miami (That Hockey Miami) joins Pitt from the South Division. Eastern Michigan earned the third North Division slot, but was disqualified because they be cheatin', yo. Central Michigan takes the spot instead.
In the first round, Michigan State and Miami are the favorites to advance. In the semi-finals, the Spartans should probably take down Buffalo, but that was the case last year as well, and it didn't turn out that way. Michigan should win the whole thing, regardless of which teams they face.
The CCLA auto-bid is up for grabs, but there are also MCLA At-Large implications. Michigan State has the chance to add two wins, and wash the taste of a three-game losing streak out of their mouths. That would help their bid to the national field. No other team (outside of Michigan, who is in regardless of outcome) will crack the MCLA field without winning the conference.
After Friday's first-round games, I'll keep updated review/previews going in the Diary section. For now, I'll briefly preview Miami, Michigan's likely semifinal opponent (see a brief preview of Central and a Recap of their game against Michigan for more on the Chippewas.
The RedHawks have gone 8-3 on the year, 3-1 in the CCLA South. Their losses have come to Missouri (7-9), Indiana (5-8), and Buffalo (5-7). They played a non-divisional game against Eastern Michigan earlier this spring, beating their Round 1 opponent by a comfortable 15-9 Margin.
Their All-Conference performers include Joe McLaughlin (2nd Team Midfield), Alex Manners (2nd Team Faceoff Specialist), Tyler Wallace (3rd Team Midfield), Brooke Slowinski (3rd Team Defense), Josh Ebel (Honorable Mention Short Stick Defensive Midfield), and Daniel Culp (Honorable Mention Goalie). McLaughlin, only a freshman, has done the majority of the team's scoring, with 22 goals and 10 assists.
Michigan's first game, against Miami or Eastern, will take place Saturday at 4PM at Saline High School's main (East) field. Full preview of Michigan's opponent after it is determined.
All-Conference Teams, MCLA Bracketology, and more after the jump!
The CCLA released their all-conference lists on Monday, and they're full of Wolverines:
- Attack Trevor Yealy
- Attack Kevin Zorovich
- Midfield Anthony Hrusovsky
- Defense Harry Freid
- Faceoff Specialist David Reinhard
- Long-Stick Midfield Matt Asperheim
- Short Stick Defensive Midfield Jordan Kirshner
- Attack Thomas Paras
- Midfield David Rogers
- Midfield Svet Tintchev
- Defense Austin Swaney
- Goalie Mark Stone
- Defense Justin Burgin
- Attack Josh Ein
- Attack Clark McIntyre
- Midfield Jamison Goldberg
- Short Stick Defensive Midfield Michael Bartomioli
Michigan composes seven of the thirteen first-team honorees (Michigan State has four, and Buffalo has two. Those are the only teams represented), and 17 of the 59 total players honored. Making this more impressive is the fact that a number of Michigan players were injured for significant portions of the year (David Rogers, Clark McIntyre, and Michael Bartomioli all missed multiple games), and several more were suspended for one game.
The players who made the first team are likely to gain consideration for All-American honors. Among them, Trevor Yealy is a lock for the First Team, and is in the running for Player of the Year honors.
A couple conference tournaments took place last weekend, which helped settle the MCLA Tournament field a bit. We now know the Automatic Qualifiers from the SELC (Florida, previously a bubble team) and LSA (Texas State, the only team from their conference who will make it).
Last 2 In: Florida State, Michigan State
First 2 Out: UC-Santa Barbara, Loyola Marymount
Out From Last Time: Texas, UC Santa Barbara, Virginia Tech.
I'm waffling on whether Florida State or Virginia Tech (or both, or neither) should be in the field. They were similarly-ranked heading into the SELC Tournament, and Florida State lost in the first round, whereas the Hokies made it to the final. I still like Florida State's overall schedule a bit more.
Other than that, nothing was too tough. Michigan State probably needs to paste Pitt and Buffalo to feel really safe in the tournament. There's still quite a bit of variability with all the auto-bids (except two) still up in the air. If I can get around to it before the official bracket comes out, I'll hopefully have another Bracketology post early next week.
Inside Lacrosse gives their take on a bubble watch.
DT Mickey Johnson, out of Covington, LA received an offer yesterday. Fred Jackson was in Johnson's school, and extended the offer. Mickey wasn't able to speak with coach Jackson, because of NCAA rules, but he told me he noticed a "big ring" on his finger, that caught his attention.
He doesn't have a favorite list yet, but he said he definitely likes Michigan. "The fact that they were a powerhouse before, and have a good chance of getting back there is great," said Johnson.
Johnson has over 26 offers now, and said that he might have to use an official visit if he wants to see Michigan in person. "If my dad isn't home, then I would probably use an official. If he's home, then I think we'd be able to make the drive," Mickey told me.
Weighing in at 6-foot-1, and 310 pounds, Johnson is a big defensive tackle prospect, and would fit nicely into what Michigan is looking for. Here are some impressive videos for you to look at.....before you watch them I should tell you that he owns the state record for bench pressing 450 lbs, and can also squat 700 lbs. Proceed to the videos.
Inspired by a tweet from Chris Brown a.k.a smartfootball on this interesting but largely meaningless article from Rivals I decided to put together a post on offensive balance. This is going in place of my normal Monday post and I should be back in a week or so with Brian’s requested special teams primer.
Game Theory and Play Calling
Game theory suggests that teams will adjust their choices so that the average value of each choice (run or pass) will be equal. We also know that not all coaches are rational decision makers and there are likely very few who understand what game theory is. That is where nerds like myself come it to explain on blogs and help them understand.
The thinking goes like this: a team is really good at running the ball and really bad at passing the ball, but they are perfectly “balanced,” half their plays are rushes and half are passes. Since there is more value on a running play than a passing play, it doesn’t make sense to be calling so many pass plays, so the first adjustment happens and this team starts calling more rushes to take advantage of their more efficient running game. At some point, the defense responds to the new strategy and begins to stack against the run which of course makes success in the passing game easier. If the offense is playing optimal strategy, their final mix will be one that garners the same value for each play, regardless of whether it is a run or a pass, even if the distribution of plays is not 50/50.
This is how every team in the country fared on a per down basis in both rush and pass. The diagonal line represents balanced results on a per play basis. Teams on the top right are balanced and successful, teams on the bottom left are balanced and unsuccessful. Teams to the left of the line (Northwestern, Iowa, Michigan St, Notre Dame, Penn St, Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota) should pass the ball more to become more optimal where teams below the line (Michigan, Ohio St and Illinois) have the opportunity to run the ball more to become more optimal. Purdue sits right at the intersection of all lines, balanced and mediocre. Most of the teams in the Big 10 where within reach of balance with the notable exceptions of Michigan St and Notre Dame, two teams that couldn’t get their rushing outputs to match their passing success. Time for another chart.
In this chart you can see how balance in calls does not necessarily equal balance in output. In fact, some of the least balanced play callers, on both ends of the spectrum no less, produced the most balanced results in output. Teams who rushed over 80% of the time like Georgia Tech, Navy and Army got almost the same value from passes as they did form rushes. On the other end, pass happy squads like Texas Tech, Kansas and Houston saw similar production on a per play basis from their running games as they did from their passing games. These teams are still running or passing teams, but their play calling balance has found an equilibrium where they are maximizing their total points by finding balance, even if they are calling a lot more of one type of play than another.
You can see that Michigan St and Notre Dame are both outliers in their respective deviations in success between run and pass, despite being towards the middle (especially MSU) when it comes to run pass selection.
This data does not include games for any team versus non D1 opponents (Baby Seal U). Only plays when the lead is 2 TDs or less or if the game is still in the first half are counted. Points per play uses my expected points model and is adjusted based on opponents played. Interceptions are included in this analysis but fumbles, fumble returns and interception returns are not. Including fumbles pushes the balance to passing as fumbles are more likely to occur on running plays than pass plays. Most of that difference is negated if you include returns as interceptions are much more likely to be returned than fumbles and the total value of interception returns is nearly equal to the difference between fumbles on running plays versus passing plays. The net of it all is that excluding fumbles and returns does not materially affect any of the data above.
[Ed: Also on the site: Barry Larkin's press conference.]
For Ohio State week, We get to have a bit more "vicious" in the vicious electronic questioning. Not only is Chris Webb, of Buckeye State Baseball and the BuckeyeNine, one of the bloggers who has been around for a while, but he's also one who I keep up with on a near daily basis during the season. So the familiarity breeds comfort with making fun of him and the Buckeyes in such a public space.
So without further adieu, let's get to the Q&A:
Describe your season in 3 sentences.
Rocky but expected. It's better to be 3 words than 3 sentences. Was told if you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything. Whoops that is 3 sentences after all.
Plead the fifth.
Yeah, I'm sure losing to a pair of teams with a total of ZERO scholarship athletes has to be rough. So glad Ohio State could show us that.
What's the chances of Alex Wimmers making me post pictures of otters on Friday? We're not going to be no-hit again are we? [Ed: con't after the jump.]
Hello everyone, Six Zero here with a brand new segment on MGoBlog:
SIX QUESTIONS WITH TOMVH
That’s right—Inspired by the official site’s “Two Minute Drill” series and TomVH’s
famous Q&A segments with potential recruits, I’m here to bring you a new weekly
feature highlighting some of the more famous personalities here at MGoBlog.
Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll get to know some
of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light on their definition
of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.
And so, without further ado, I give you the first ever MGoProfile, with none other
than the one and only TomVH! We caught up with him for this exclusive interview:
1. TomVH—our very own go-to guy when it comes to recruiting. Hello! How did you discover MGoBlog?
I was on the internet one day, and I thought to myself, "I wonder if someone out there can make reading about Michigan sports… http://splicd.com/SnolmuFgW7w/8/9 ...and boom, there was MGoBlog, my idea...er, Brian's idea.
I think I found MGoBlog the way most people have. Through word of mouth, and an abnormal obsession with sports.
2. Your contributions are easily some of the most popular posts on the blog. What is the one thing you'd like us to know about your work with the recruits?
I'm not sure if there's anything that is important to know. A lot of people ask me how/why I got into this. This all really started because I took a well paying job out of college that I eventually hated, and realized that money wasn't going to keep me interested, or happy.
Growing up, I always thought that sports could be a job, and somewhere along the way, got away from that. I took a step back, and put together a plan that could get me towards a specific goal that I wanted. I thought about what niche I would be able to fit in that would play into my strengths, and this seemed to be a good place to start. I'm sure everyone can tell that I'm not as gifted with the pen (or keyboard) as Brian, Tim, and a lot of the MGoCommunity.
I know that I'll probably never win a Pulitzer prize, which is why I focus on other areas to move closer to my goal. I'm not going to try to be something that I'm not. I've built some really good contacts, and have had some exciting conversations about potential opportunities in my future, so I'm headed in the right direction.
I’m sure you are. Do you have any favorite stories about players who have since committed to Michigan?
There's not really one story in particular that sticks out. I think, in general, it's pretty cool to have someone call you and say, "I committed to Michigan, I can't wait! Go Blue!" Not so much that they're saying it, but to know that they're living out a dream, and are genuinely excited to be playing for Michigan is neat to be a part of.
3. What's one of your favorite hobbies outside of Michigan (or college) football?
I love golf. I grew up on a golf course, and that's always been my sanctuary; the place that I can get away. Besides that, I obviously enjoy watching sports.
4. Don’t we all. What else makes TomVH tick? Describe the perfect meal.
That's pretty hard, because I love food. It would probably be easier to describe a day of eating food that I've been craving lately. Breakfast - An order of basically everything at the Dinner Bell in Mt. Pleasant. (I actually think this closed, not sure). Lunch - The medium sized steak and cheese with pizza sauce from Penn Station, and fries, with a cool 24 oz bottle of Faygo Red Pop. Dinner - Tortellini and Chicken a la creme from Kruse and Muer, along with the bread, of course. Polish that off with a piece of Bumpy cake from around the 90's, before they sold out. I might be in a coma after that day, but I would be satisfied.
5. Wow… I think went up one Adidas Replica Jersey size just reading that. Speaking of the maize and blue, can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?
I'm a Michigan fan because of my Dad. I can remember when I was 6 years old, my Aunt handed me a cup of water, and the cup happened to be a Michigan State cup. I looked at it, looked at my Dad, then to my Aunt, and gave the cup back.
Through him, I learned about Michigan sports. He was really the one that took me to games, and taught me sports in general.
One of my most memorable Michigan sporting events was sitting court side at a Michigan basketball game that was held at the Palace. Chris Webber dunked right next to us, and looked over in our general direction and smiled. Since I was young, I naturally thought he smiled at me.
6. Very cool story. With that being said, who's your all-time favorite Wolverine?
Tyrone Wheatley is my favorite Wolverine. I'm younger, so he was who I always watched as a kid, and tried to imitate when playing with friends. I actually had the chance to talk to him on the phone recently, and we exchange texts every now and then, which is unreal.
So there you have it. We’ll try to run this feature every week, at least until the start of the 2010 season. Each time we’ll highlight another of MGoBlog’s celebrated posters and ask them six tantalizing questions about themselves and their love for the Maize and Blue. Tell us what you think, who you’d like to see profiled, or even a question
you’d like to hear answered by a specific MGoBlogger. See you next week!