Note: I'm thinking about doing these for just televised games. They may expand to other sports if I find the time.
- UM @ MSU
- Wednesday October 21
- TV: BigTenNetwork (BTN GameFinder)
The volleyball team makes it two televised matches in a week with this special midweek conference game against Michigan State at 7pm tonight. The game will be televised live on the BTN as the two teams play for the "State Pride Flag," the volleyball version of the Paul Bunyan–Governor of Michigan Trophy.
The State Pride Flag has been passed back and forth by the winners of the Michigan/Michigan State regular season series since its inception in 1990. The flag was flown over the state capital building on September 18,1990 to commemorate the rivalry. The flag is a normal State Of Michigan flag with the motto "Tuebor," meaning "I will defend," across the bottom.
Michigan, while trailing in the all-time series 32-45 (MSU claims it's 31-46-1?), also trails 18-22 since the inception of the State Pride Flag. Despite this record, Michigan has managed to supposedly win 11 of the 19 season series. Michigan has swept twice and been swept 4 times, the other 13 years have been splits. I'm not certain how tie breaker rules work.
This game has been moved to the Breslin Center as East Lansing expects a large crowd. This is the second straight year that the game at Michigan State will be played in the larger arena. Michigan lost there last year, and the Spartans do own a perfect 4-0 record all time in Breslin. We'll see on TV just how loud the Spartans can make it. Knowing their hatred of all Michigan teams ranked higher than they are, my bet is pretty loud.
As far as this year's Spartan team, they come in at 14-6 (2-2 BigTen) with a ranking of 33rd (other's receiving votes) in this week's AVCA rankings and own a #18 RPI. They own a 2-1 record against ranked opponents, beating then #12 USC and then #12 Illinois; they were swept at home by #1 Penn State in their last game.
Michigan State is lead in kills by junior right-side/outside hitter Megan Schatzle. Megan is the younger sister of former MSU All-American outside hitter Ashley Schatzle, but she's not nearly as dominant as Ashley was. Megan will predominately play the right side, but she gets plenty of sets as she leads the team with 3.13 kills per set.
MSU will split outside hitting between sophomore Becca Zlabis and redshirt sophomore Jenilee Rathje. They average 2.73 and 2.53 kills per game respectively, which is pretty low for BigTen standards.
The lack of hitting is made up in their block. MB Vanessa King is averaging 1.03 per game while her alternate, Mischelle Nelson is averaging 0.97. As a team, they average 2.4 blocks per set, which happens to be exactly what our opponents average against us.
The key to this game, much like against Penn State, will be playing a clean service game. Michigan needs to put the pressure on the Spartans with our solid serves. We need to limit the errors and keep a level head.
The other matchup to watch is how we block Schazle. Normally, you would use a combination of your middle blocker and right side hitter against an outside hitter, leaving your outside hitter with help from the middle blocker against their right side. Juliana isn't a huge blocking threat (she's definitely a great offensive player and pretty good passer as well), so we're going to need a solid performance from Rood and Fletcher to help support that side.
|Serve Errors||207||Service Errors||151||MSU|
|Serve Recep (SR)%||.944||Serve Recep (SR)%||.945||PUSH|
|Pass Errors||17||Pass Errors||29||UM|
|AVG Oppo RPI||69.75||AVG Oppo RPI||82.7||Slightly UM|
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
On the announcement of Bill Martin’s retirement as Athletic Director ... "Bill's commitment and positive support for our program's transition since the day I arrived has been remarkable. The persistent dedication he has continued to show in getting our new Player Development Center off the ground has taken a tremendous effort and we are very appreciative for that. We are saddened with his announcement today, however we are truly happy he has reached this point in his life. He has accomplished so much in Ann Arbor, at the University of Michigan and throughout his career, we know he will enjoy this much deserved time with his family."
Senior Athletic Director and Former Head Football Coach Lloyd Carr
In 2000 when Bill Martin became the athletic director at Michigan, we were well behind our peers from a facilities standpoint. Today, we are at the forefront and the monumental changes that Bill and his team have orchestrated have positioned Michigan Athletics in excellent position for decades to come.
The athletic campus is not Bill’s only legacy but it will be an enduring legacy. Every coach and student-athlete who compete here in the future and all Michigan fans will benefit from Bill Martin’s vision and hard work. Personally, I have much admiration for the dramatic improvements at Michigan Stadium and the efforts in pushing forward on the Al Glick Field House. I join the many in expressing our appreciation and gratitude.
Additional Background Information on U-M team accomplishments during Martin’s tenure:
Since 2000-01, Martin’s first full academic year as director of athletics, through 2008-09, Michigan teams won 72 conference regular-season or tournament championships, with a high of 11 titles in 2003-04 and eight apiece in 2004-05 and 2007-08. The Wolverines recorded 35 top-five national finishes during that same span, highlighted by eight top-fives in 2003-04.
During Martin’s tenure, U-M claimed two national championships, with field hockey in 2001 earning the school’s first national title in a women’s team sport and softball winning the 2005 NCAA Women’s College World Series.
In case you need it, here’s the breakdown ...
57 conference championships
12 conference tournament titles
3 conference regular-season dual-meet titles (wrestling)
Expected Points - Offense
|Off||G||Expected Points||Actual Points||Diff||Drives|
Michigan and Penn State both dominate the points vs expected metric. What is interesting is the huge gap in drives per game. Michigan's pace is worth 2.5 more drives per game than Penn State's.
Expected Points - Defense
|Def||G||Expected Points||Actual Points||Diff||Drives|
Penn State, aided by their weak schedule, dominates expected points defense, and ranks second only to Alabama nationally at nearly -13 points per game. The drives/game theme holds here as Michigan's defense is facing over 2.5 more drives per game than Penn State's defense is facing.
Offense - Season+
The Big 10's rep as a poor offensive conference continues to hold for this year. I will get into it more below with the conference rankings, but Penn State's +6 barely cracks the top 20 nationally. Michigan comes in at a solid #2, driven completely from the conference's #1 rated rush offense.
Defense - Season+
Here is where you see Penn State's expected points rank knocked down, but still strong. When adjusting for competition, Iowa's defense is 2 points better than anyone else in the conference and Michigan sicks back in the middle of the conference. The pass defense is in a virtual tie with PSU for third at +4 per game but the real struggle is in the rush defense, over -2 points per game and 10th in the conference with only Illinois being worse.
ST - All - Per Game
A couple of the ST categories I am still working on getting them index correctly, but the delta's and ranks are good. Michigan is very good in Kick (1st), KR (3rd) and Punt (1st), and bad in KO (9th), PR (9th).
Team - Turnovers
|Team||Fum Lost||Int Thrown||Fum Forced||Passes Int||Total|
Here is a new chart for this week. Shows which teams have seen the most value gain or loss from turnover plays. Even after the Buckeye's meltdown at Purdue last weekend, the Buckeye's are still +30 on the season (and Purdue is -28). Michigan is a down a little over a TD (-8) due to turnovers on the season but Penn State is even worse, coming in at -13, both due largely to a gap on fumbles lost vs fumbles recovered.
Big 10 drops down to 6th in the overall conference rankings. They are the only BCS conference that grades out below zero in either offense or defense with a -.3 per game per team on offense.
For each player, Brian assigns a plus/minus total, and thus, an opportunity for a simple visualization of each player's performance over the course of the year. Ignored for now: the pressure/coverage/tackling metrics. Just player performance, pure and simple.
So, you think this calls for a ... hmm ... graph?
A little explanation. Each game's defensive per-player ratings are shown. For a particular game (say, "Eastern"), each player's plus/minus is shown as a simple bar graph. Blue (to the right) shows a player's positive rating for the game, and Yellow (to the left) shows their negative rating. A single red dot shows the "net" rating for a player for a particular game (i.e., plus - minus); you want these to be right of the center axis! Per Brian's charts (Western, Notre Dame, Eastern, Indiana, MSU, Iowa), the players are grouped into three sets: Defensive Line, Linebackers, and Defensive Backs. Finally, within each grouping, players are ordered by the total number of positive plays they have made on the year (somewhat arbitrarily).
I'm not going to do much/any analysis of the data, but some obvious things do stand out. First (no surprise), Graham is a beast. That MSU performance is ridiculous! Second, the D-Line is a strength of the D and seemingly getting better, which bodes well. Third, linebacker play: ouch. But nice to see Ezeh with a net positive (red dot to the right) in the Iowa game; Stevie Brown has also done reasonably. Finally, D-backs: also some ouch, particularly against ND and Indiana (Cissoko unfortunately a big part of that). Now if we could just get Williams to shore up a bit...
Anyhow, that's it. Not too fancy, but I think a nice way to look at Brian's overall player grading. Now I'm sure you want to give some ... feedback?
(you fill this part in, or not)
After doing just one of these (MSU), took a break because work/family/school/life in general got in the way. But, seeing how this is kind of a big game, here are the notes on JoePa's press conference. No mention of brains, sadly.
On Forcier: Impressed by what Forcier has accomplished thus far as a freshman, although PSU didn't recruit him (no interest in the Lions). Says Forcier reminds him of Tebow with qualities like leadership and confidence, but with more finesse than power.
On injuries: Ako Poti will start at RT. Backup Nerraw McCormack, is "not 100%" this week.
Stephfon Green (RB) has a hurt ankle. Says it's "loose" and that he's a "maybe" for Saturday. Says not having Green would be a "big loss." Will probably go with Brandon Beachum and maybe Brent Carter to spell Royster.
On the M defense: Aggressive, a lot of different blitzes, but that has allowed opportunities for big plays.
On the M offense: Knows they have to stay disciplined when facing Michigan and all their different looks/formations. Forcier is tough because he "moves around a lot." Also mentions that they "stuck the other kid in there" against Iowa who "made the one mistake when he overthrew the kid..." Tough to prepare for two quarterbacks, but it's a fact of life. Robinson can really run, Forcier is more of a throw-first guy who can scramble and is "clever, very, very clever." But both kids can throw.
On the rivalry: There's a problem if "extra motivation" is needed in a game of this importance. Michigan has been playing well and been in every ball game, so need to practice well and play hard.
Doesn't think Michigan is a tough place to play. Cites some key plays from over the years, like the Tony Johnson out-of-bounds call (so THIS is where the fanbase gets it from!) and kicking to Breaston. Goes on to say that Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan are all tough places to play.
On the depth chart: Not sure which CB will start, AJ Wallace or Knowledge Timmons. Wallace played well last week against Minnesota covering Decker.
Now some random, non-game related items:
On being offered the Michigan job in 1968: Direct quote: "Don Canahm and I met...I think it was after the '68 season in Pittsburgh and we talked and he offered me the job when they hired Bo Schembechler. And once a year Don used to write me a letter and say, "Thanks!" "
On kids enrolling early: Doesn't like the practice and thinks it should be banned. Thinks kids should enjoy senior year. Does think it has been helpful to some programs.
On kids staying out of trouble: Some guy asked about kids staying out of trouble and the UConn CB who was stabbed. Says it was tragic, but that football players are no different than any other kids. Sometimes they make bad decisions. Doesn't remember knives from back in his day, just "guys making jack asses out of themselves."
Last week I railed on the Big 10 QBs pretty hard and although the larger issues are still present (highest ranked QB #32 in the nation), last week was a much better week for Big 10 signal callers - Lebron in cleats not included.
Performance of the week: Joey Elliott's performance in knocking of OSU takes the cake for this week. The unadjusted value of his performance was a big fat 0, not good not bad, but when you factor in the shut down nature of OSU's pass defense on the season, that zero turns into a Big 10 leading +13 and the By The Numbers performance of the week.
Player - QB - Season
|Daryll Clark||Penn State||6||4.90||5.55||137.01||234.33||25.40||7.64||61.41%||1.67||1.00|
|Kirk Cousins||Michigan State||5||4.69||6.65||138.99||220.00||21.00||7.91||64.03%||1.20||0.80|
|Terrelle Pryor||Ohio State||7||2.12||2.64||128.43||167.00||68.29||7.35||55.97%||1.43||1.14|
|Keith Nichol||Michigan State||5||0.98||1.71||133.90||100.20||18.40||8.95||51.79%||0.60||0.60|
Daryll Clark (+5) is your newest Big 10 QB leader. Tate sits at 5th (+3).
One Big 10 running back eclipsed the 100 yard mark on the weekend and that was Evan Royster at Penn State. In addition to the yards, his +5 on the day was worth 2 more points than anyone else in the conference provided their team on Saturday. Evan Royster is your By The Numbers, Big 10 Running back of the week.
Player - RB - Season
|Evan Royster||Penn State||6||2.99||3.67||16.83||88.17||0.67||5.24||22.80|
|Larry Caper||Michigan State||6||1.42||1.79||11.50||50.67||1.00||4.41||44.00|
|Brandon Saine||Ohio State||7||0.63||1.28||10.00||54.43||0.00||5.44||23.83|
|Jordan Hall||Ohio State||3||-0.09||0.44||8.33||34.33||0.00||4.12|
|Dan Herron||Ohio State||5||-0.95||-0.22||13.00||44.60||1.00||3.43||17.00|
|Glenn Winston||Michigan State||5||-2.56||-2.06||10.80||36.00||0.40||3.33||6.00|
Carlos Brown (+3) maintains his lead on the conference with Evan Royster and Leshoure from Illinois in the +3 range as well. There is a 1.5 point dropoff from the top 3 to Michigan's second entry, Brandon Minor at #4.
Purdue carries the benefit of taking it to a pass a defense that had gone throughout the season largely unscathed. Keith Smith (+15) not only posted the best WR rating of the week for the Big 10, but the best of all FBS. This despite not actually finding the end zone in his 12 catch 125 yard day. Smith (+15) currently stands as the 5th best WR performance of the year when accounting for competition. Honorable Mention of the week goes to Blair White of MSU who finished second to Smith in the nation with a
+13, 12 catch 186 yards 2 TD performance against a much much weaker Northwestern pass defense.
Player - WR - Season
|Blair White||Michigan State||6||5.72||3.68||6.00||78.83||13.14||0.67||64.33%|
|Derek Moye||Penn State||6||5.32||2.27||4.00||68.00||17.00||0.50||42.72%|
|Devier Posey||Ohio State||7||4.96||1.96||4.29||50.71||11.83||0.57||39.64%|
|D Sanzenbacher||Ohio State||6||3.93||3.22||2.67||54.33||20.38||0.67||81.85%|
|B Cunningham||Michigan State||6||3.92||2.35||4.50||51.83||11.52||0.33||59.89%|
|Keshawn Martin||Michigan State||4||3.48||1.21||1.75||43.00||24.57||0.50||34.73%|
|Graham Zug||Penn State||5||3.23||2.43||4.00||46.60||11.65||0.40||75.15%|
Keith Smith's big weekend pushes him to the top of the overall rankings, as well. He sits over a point higher than Eric Decker of Minnesota.