Thursday 3:35pm ET
Notes: Michigan is 101-45 all time.
Iowa is 1-0 in the tourney (not
Michigan will open up their portion of the Big Ten Baseball Tournament Thursday against Iowa. The winner advances to the semi-finals of the championship round, the loser falls into a pit of despair also known as the loser's bracket.
Iowa owns a 2-1 record against the Wolverines, but they've already thrown their ace Jarred Hippen in order to get to this game. Michigan comes in fully rested and with all its pitchers at Rich Maloney's disposal.
A brief review of the regular season meeting and some thoughts on the tournament after the jump.
Ohio sophomore Myles Hilliard has already started to garner attention from college coaches. Recently hired head coach, Sean Williams, has been around the block, and says Hilliard is one of the best he's coached. "Myles is a walking warrior. He's already 6-foot-6, and 240-pounds. He wears an 18 1/2 size shoe; his parents haven't been able to buy him shoes at the store for the past two years," Williams said.
Hilliard has been playing both left tackle and defensive tackle for Bedford, but Coach Williams says he's best suited for the left tackle spot at the next level. "With his long arms, his quick feet, and the punch he has, he'll be best for the offensive side. He's versatile enough for both, but we're only going to play him in situations on defense. I don't want him to be a jack of al trades, and a master of none. If he can master that tackle spot, he'll be more valuable to a college program," said Williams.
When comparing Myles to other players, Williams gave a comparison to a former Bedford player, recently drafted to the NFL. "Rodger Saffold played at Bedford, and then Indiana, and I think Myles has a chance to be better than Rodger. Myles has longer arms, and he's a little bit faster than Rodger. I was shocked at how well he can move at his size."
Since I can't find any film on Myles, here's film of Rodger Saffold, for Indiana, going against Brandon Graham:
Some of the schools and coaches already showing interest in Hilliard have been Toledo, Wisconsin, and former Michigan player Tyrone Wheatley, from Syracuse. "When Coach Wheatley came down, he was in awe of what Myles could do. He was shocked," Williams told me. One of the teams that sticks out to Myles at this point, happens to be Michigan.
Coach Williams actually at one point said Myles reminds him, up to this point, of former Wolverine Pierre Woods. "He is actually hoping that Pierre will be at one of the camps he's going to. He really wants to meet him," said Williams. "Myles loves Rich Rodriguez, and loves the style of offense they play, even back to West Virginia. Michigan is a school that he talks about a lot. At the National Underclassmen Combine, Myles was talking to some of the high school coaches that were from Michigan about the University of Michigan."
Hilliard will be in Toledo on June 5th, to attend their big man camp, and both he and Coach Williams will try to get up to Michigan's summer camp, as well.
Extra - Here's a video of Myles talking to a local station about a concussion he suffered recently.
I'm not too exercised about the ugly loss last night because the US was fiddling around with players and resting sevenish starters. The main takeaway is that the US has no choice put to put Spector or Bocanegra at left back, likely Bocanegra because Cherundolo was pretty awful, still rusty after an injury-laden season.
Stuart Holden. Excellent performance until he got tired late and started lofting moonballs on his set piece services. The De Jong tackle appears to have robbed him of the ability to go 90 right now. Will it be better after a couple weeks of intense training? Hard to say.
That's the only thing preventing me from advocating that Holden should start and the US should push Dempsey up top. Holden has pace, poise on the ball, and a beautiful stroke on free kicks and crosses. He seems much more involved in the game than the occasionally indifferent Dempsey—yes I know he had more yardage covered than almost anyone in the Confed Cup—and starting him removes the difficult choice of what mildly frightening striker to put on the field. On the other hand…
Brian Ching. Ching specializes in the pass before the really interesting pass. It was not a coincidence that the US got zero shots, on net or not, in the first half other than the Edu cleanup of Cech's biffed clearance attempt. As soon as Ching came in he started winning balls, making clever, ball-keeping backpasses, and using his vision to set up attacking plays. He successful set teammates up with a couple of back-heels. He won the corner that Gomez eventually put in the net. He set up Gomez with another golden opportunity, and sprung a half-dozen other attacking moves. There was no contest on the night: Ching was by far the USA's top forward. With Donovan and Dempsey on the wings his lack of scoring is all right: if he sets up Dempsey for an 18-yard bomb that's fine by me.
Right now I might even take him over Altidore. I know this makes me insane, but Ching produces when he's not scoring in a way that no other USA forward does and Altidore is not scoring.
UPDATE: Ching not in 23? WTF?
Jose Torres. Torres has nowhere near the talent of anyone on Spain, but he's our most Spanish player, if you get what I'm after. He's quiet on the ball, maintains possession, sets other people up in good positions, and never hoofs it aimlessly upfield. Useless defensively and not enough of an impact player to get over that when he's going to be playing on a team that struggles to maintain possession like the US does. I don't see how he has a starting role but he could be a valuable sub… if it weren't for Feilhaber.
DaMarcus Beasley. Healthy, looking like the DMB of old. Defensive ability should make him a useful late-game sub, and a proven USMNT performer who was possibly the team's best player in the last WC.
Herculez Gomez. Gomez managed to score a goal a lot like most of his Puebla tallies: a completely easy chance set up by someone else. So that was good, I guess. He didn't do much of anything else; when he and Ching were sent off on a partial break late he kind of lamely dribbled at a defender and got off a shot that was nowhere near the cage. He also rocketed a chance Ching set up beautifully right at Cech. I think Buddle did more, but it was hard to tell because he was saddled with Eddie Johnson.
Edson Buddle. Wahl's got Buddle on his cuts list but I'd take him over Torres (who, frankly, will not play since Benny Feilhaber duplicates his skillset and is favored by Bradley) or Bedoya. Wahl points out that Gomez scored a ton as a sub, which is nice, but I kind of look at that as a condemnation of his ability to play. I bet this run he's on is mostly fluky. Buddle seemed to do more in the limited opportunities he had and has that chemistry with Donovan. An unmarked header from four feet isn't that impressive, is it?
Maurice Edu. For a ball-winner, didn't seem to win any balls. Points for putting in a goal, but… again, it was from two feet away and largely due to a Cech error. Holden did more to score that goal by putting it in at the back post dangerously than Edu did. Then gave up the Czechs fourth goal on a horrendous misplay while moonlighting at central D.
Brad Guzan. Not like it matters.
Eddie Johnson. Multiple times an unchallenged Johnson jumped for a long ball lofted ahead… and totally missed. No thanks.
Left back Chernobyl. How can their be 14 left backs in MLS worse than Bornstein and Pearce? How is this possible? God. I spent most of the first half groaning at yet another Czech guy burning Bornstein, and then Pearce comes in and is directly beaten on the second and third Czech goals. If Bradley puts either of these guys on the field in the WC I will have a conniption fit. It's not just me: Alexi Lalas gingerly suggested maybe Bornstein was not impressing, which is the ESPN equivalent of advocating he never play for the US again.
Steve Cherundolo. Terrible performance from a guy who has been a mainstay. Gave the ball away time and again. Was badly out of position on the second Czech goal and gave the player who would launch the cross a ton of time and space to make a precise pass.
Sacha Kljestan. Not only did nothing with the ball but lazily expected a clearance on the third Czech goal instead of attempting to mark the guy streaking in front of him. Total waste of a roster spot given the depth in central midfield. Will not be going to SA.
Oguchi Onyewu. I noticed Onyewu being pretty lumbery out there so let's turn to the USA soccer rainman Wahl:
14' 0-0. I remember how players run. Onyewu does not run the same way that he did before the knee injury. Will it matter?
about 2 hours ago via web
Depressingly prescient, that, as the Czechs would equalize shortly before halftime on a cross on which Onyewu was beaten badly on. When he came off the field, his injured leg was immediately wrapped in enough ice to bury Jonathan Bornstein alive, not that I'm advocating anything in particular.
Injury concerns were not assuaged, to say the least. Gooch did have a good recovery when Goodson was beaten in a half-break situation early, at least.
The game times and networks for Michigan's two New England opponents were revealed today, via press release:
Game Time and TV Network Selected for UConn and UMass
PARK RIDGE, Ill. – The University of Michigan Athletic Department, the Big Ten Conference and its television partners announced today (Wednesday, May 26) the starting time and television network for home games against Connecticut and Massachusetts. The announcement was made regarding games played during the first three weeks of the season.
The rededication game of renovated Michigan Stadium will be played at 3:30 p.m. EDT against Connecticut on Sept. 4. The game will be televised regionally by ABC. The remainder of the country that does not get the game on ABC will be able to view it on ESPN2.
The final game time and TV selection announced during the early season was the match-up against Massachusetts. The Wolverines initial appearance on the Big Ten Network will take place against the Minutemen on Sept. 18. The nationally-televised affair will kickoff at noon EDT from the Big House.
This will be the first time that Michigan has faced either school.
The remaining games will be chosen on a six- or 12-day provision per the contract with the networks.
These two games join the Notre Dame, Iowa, and Penn State contests as having announced game times/networks. The game in South Bend will be at 3:30 on NBC, the homecoming contest against Iowa will be a 3:30 kickoff on ABC, and the game at Penn State will be an 8:00 contest, with coverage on ABC and ESPN2 or ESPN.
That leaves the following games as mysteries:
- Bowling Green (a lock to be on BTN)
- @ Indiana (probably BTN as well, maybe ESPN2)
- Michigan State
- Illinois (another likely BTN game, depending on the teams' seasons)
- @ Purdue (ditto above)
- @ Ohio State (it will be on ABC, the only question is whether it will be noon or 3:30)
Following media day at the Big Ten Baseball Tournament, the conference unveiled their All-Big Ten selections.
Michigan claims one first teamer in junior outfielder Ryan LaMarre. Ryan finished his season hitting .409 with 5 homers and 8 doubles in 132 at bats. His .659 slugging percentage easily led the Wolverines. LaMarre didn't get a unanimous selection, possibly hindered by his early season absence.
For the full list of honors, follow the jump:
[Editor's note: Tom's put out a torrent of content about this weekend's BBQ at the Big House. Other items in you may be interested in:
- MD DT Darian Cooper didn't name any leaders following the trip but did say Michigan helped themselves: "They weren't trying to hype anything, and I really liked that. We just got to sit back and talk about life and not all football, which was great."
- FL RB Demetrius Hart did not make it in due to the expense of two trips to Michigan back-to-back. "Nothing has changed" as far as the Harts' opinion of M.
- Michigan has offered three additional kids in Ohio: DE Austin Traylor, TE Nick Vannett, and C Ryan Kelly. Traylor says he will visit; the interest levels of the other guys is unknown. Vannett is reputed an OSU lock.
Now on with this particular show.]
One of the prospects in attendance at this past weekend's BBQ was McKeesport linebacker Branden Jackson. Branden is a 6-foot-5, 220-pound middle linebacker for his team who runs a 4.5-4.6 forty. Here's what he had to say about the trip, and his versatility.
TOM: What did you know about Michigan before this trip? Why did you have interest?
BRANDEN: I just knew that Michigan was always good. They have a good track record, a huge alumni base, and they have those nice helmets. I liked some of the players growing up, and I also knew they had the biggest stadium, but that was about it.
TOM: So what were you expecting out of this kind of visit?
BRANDEN: I was really just expecting to get a feel for the school, the players, and the environment. I wanted to see if I could fit in, and I got exactly that. Exactly what I thought I would.
TOM: What about the environment, or atmosphere, stood out to you?
BRANDEN: The campus was really nice. I knew it would be, but it was really nice. Once I got around some of the players, too, I knew I wouldn't be left out. Everyone was just real nice, and made you feel comfortable. They weren't hyping anything, they were just being real about what they go through. I hung out with Tate Forcier, and Roy Roundtree a little bit. Roy's hilarious, he was cracking jokes the whole time. I talked a little with Stephen Hopkins, too. It was good to hear from someone that just committed, and just got up there.
TOM: Did you get to have as much fun with any of the coaches?
BRANDEN: Yeah, coach Gib [Gibson]. Since I met him, he's been real cool. He's always been down to earth with me, and he's in to modern things, too. He's not too old school, and I like that. I actually talked to the defensive coordinator, too. He was a little older, so I didn't know how much we'd have in common, but he was real cool, too. I was surprised, he knew a lot about some modern things.
TOM: What was the conversation like between the coaches?
BRANDEN: We were just talking about the things I'd get out of Michigan. The education, how big the alumni base is, and how that can help with jobs. We talked about the defense, and if I came there, I would play outside linebacker. They like quick, aggressive, and athletic linebackers. We also talked about how the head coach wants to offer kids that will add to the family atmosphere, and help create a bigger family, which was cool.
TOM: Does the outside linebacker spot fit you? Are you comfortable with that?
BRANDEN: I'm 6-foot-5, and 220-pounds, but if you look at me, I don't look like I weigh that much. I have really good speed, and I feel like I'm smaller for the middle spot, so the outside is probably better for me. I actually used to play safety, but we were short on linebackers, so I had to play in the middle. I'm aggressive, though. I like to come off the edge, even though I'm in the middle, I cover tight ends all the time in our defense. I'm pretty versatile; I could really be anywhere on the field. The last time I ran the forty was around a year ago, and it was a 4.5 something.
TOM: I know you wanted your teammate, Delvon Simmons, to come with you, too. He didn't make it?
BRANDEN: No, he couldn't make it, but I'm going to tell him everything about it. He'll definitely want to come back up with me in the summer. We talk about going to the same school all the time. I say if it happens, it happens, but he says it's definitely going to happen. I don't really know yet. It's too early for me to narrow things down, until I take more visits. Michigan is definitely up there, but there's no list, yet.