Either this post will be very useful or completely useless by Feb 4th. Hopefully useful.
Sleuthing around the internets here is some stuff I found on this potential flip out of New Mexico.
Ht: 6'6"ish Wt: 235ish
- Rivals: #4 Pro Style QB, #108 overall
- Harbaugh: Yes please
- 247: #16 Pro Style QB, NR overall
- ESPN: #9 Pro Style QB, #118 overall
- Scout: #19 Overall QB, #278 overall
- 247 Composite, #8 Pro Style QB, #175 overall
As we all know, Rivals has the most knowledgeable New Mexican scouting... ESPN is pretty sharp in N.M. as well. But Harbaugh above all.
Offer list P5 programs: Texas (obv), Bama, Louisville, Maryland, Nebraska, Northwestern, Oklahoma State (he's a man, he's 47!), Oregon State, TCU, Tennessee. [some sites show Baylor and PSU - others do not]
Charlie Strong had been recruiting him since his time at Louisville. He has been a Texas commit since May 2014. re: Alabama offer as one story I read noted it is difficult to tell what is real from Alabama in terms of "commitable" as they offered 10 QBs in this class alone (and 183 offers in total).
Generic local TV station report
(I believe S.C. did an analysis on him so if you read this please repaste somewhere in comments)
Overall theme from these stories is consistent - raw tools galore, more than enough arm, quite raw, has fixable mechanical issues, surprising athleticism for size, a good basketball player so should have "good feet", not "speedy" (40 times are probably 5 out of 5 fakes) but mobile enough to get out of trouble, well spoken, throws off back foot too much, no clue on ability to read defenses / progression because he hasn't really needed to do it in a very simple offense, not surrounded by much talent at all in HS. Interception rate is very low but so is completion rate.
---> Comments from his obviously biased HS coach:
Dodson said Gentry can easily sling the ball 70 yards. And while Gentry hasn't been timed in the 40-yard dash lately, he would likely run in the low 4.6 range, Dodson said. (editor's note - read that with a lot of salt)
"The thing that sticks out about Zach is that he is probably going to be a better college player than he is in high school," Dodson said. "Being (so tall) he was a little bit of a late developer. His motor skills had to catch up with his body because he grew so fast. He's 230 pounds right now. He'll be 240 next year. He's an athlete, a very good basketball player. I don't think he's reached as far as where he's going to get as far as his arm strength."
His growth and size has caused some body isues:
Gentry's height has caused him some issues, according to Dodson. He arrived as a freshman at 6-4 and then hit a growth spurt later that year. That spurt was partially to blame for a chunk of bone getting displaced from his knee, Dodson said.
"He actually had a part of his kneecap that came off in between his freshman and sophomore year that they had to surgically put back on because he was growing so fast," Dodson said. "That set him back three months." Then his ligament pulled away from his growth plate in his throwing arm (right) during his first 7-on-7 tournament. "So he's had all kinds of issues because of him growing so fast," Dodson said.
---> Some dude with a Michigan blog - I think he goes by Magneto around these parts - had this to say in a 2015 QB roundup back in January 2014:
Gentry is a tall quarterback with a well developed frame, so he probably won't get significantly bigger. He runs mostly a shotgun/pistol spread offense. He has a strong arm but throws a very catchable ball, and he has a high release when he sets his feet in the pocket. His straight line speed is good for a guy his size, but he lacks lateral quickness and agility. He may be tough to bring down because of his size, but he could improve his pocket awareness - he seems to throw the ball on time or get flushed out of the pocket, instead of sliding around or moving up in the pocket. I would also like to see him attack the line of scrimmage more when he rolls out, so he can get more on the football, but that's a pretty easy thing to coach up.
[note opposing player's helmet...]
---> SB Nation's Barking Carnival has a great overview [May 2014]
Gentry is a long strider who eats up ground once he gets going and he has a reasonable amount of niftiness despite his height. Some recruiting services claim a 4.7 40, which isn't unrealistic, but he's not going to be confused with Jamelle Holloway in small space.
While Gentry doesn't project to a traditional run threat in the college game, he'll be very capable of pulling the ball down and making a defense pay if they ignore containment - sometimes even big yardage if the sea parts properly. Gentry is hardly a statue and certainly athletic enough to throw capably on the move, run bootlegs, bring diversity to play action etc.
A high base on a 6-6 frame means elusiveness from a static set in the pocket won't be a primary strength and his change of direction and ability to shake a pass rush will rely more on developing lower body strength to ignore glancing blows, stepping up into the pocket and showing good feel with his eyes downfield.
Gentry is a star 20ppg/10rpg player on the El Dorado basketball team. I like good QB basketball players as competence in the game suggests decent feet, body control and coordination that translates well to the intangibles of football.
Gentry is raw (really? A high school junior?) but he throws fairly effortlessly - even without consistent coaching, optimal mechanics and the benefit of a college S&C program. He flicks the ball out with decent accuracy and anticipation and his motion and release is quite workable. A 6-6 throwing platform with long arms isn't going to have problems getting the ball out with velocity - the question is how quickly and to where? Given that he recorded a 73 yard test-for-distance throw at the Louisville camp before his junior year, I think we can check the arm strength box.
His high school statistics are actually pretty poor (though he doesn't turn it over), but the personnel around him aren't brimming with talent. Basically, Gentry is a one man gang on a bad team playing El Paso equivalent football. A better statistical senior year might reassure me a tad, but dude can't pick his teammates.
Arm strength is fantastic but once it meets my minimum requirements, accuracy and anticipation are far more valuable.
Gigantic with room to grow. Currently 6-6, 230, he can reasonably be expected to fill out to 245-250 and Moorer and Watson will need to actively monitor how he fills out his frame so that he doesn't lose dexterity in the pocket. His size will offer value in goal line and short yardage situations.
I have no idea how Gentry sees the game - most of his high school throws were short and intermediate routes to marginal receivers, but his interviews reveal a mature, thoughtful personality and the intense interest from Alabama, Tennessee and our own Shawn Watson suggest camp interactions that demonstrated a coachable nature and quick improvements under tutelage. He didn't go from New Mexico State level offers to Alabama in a few weeks just because of his frame.
Admittedly, Gentry is not my preferred style of college QB (give me Vince Young over Peyton Manning in the college game), but given the right time and development, it's not hard to imagine the Longhorns could create their own version of Brock Osweiler/Erik Ainge/Nick Foles/Joe Flacco (insert your own preferred tall guy QB). With the right weapons around him and a Wickline OL, that's pretty damn good.
While height is a boon to QBs in seeing the field and long arms (particularly a long ulna to upper arm ratio) allow an effortless javelin effect on deep balls, the college game rewards improvisation over execution and accuracy over cannon arms. If given the right pieces and the expected growth in all facets, Gentry could flourish.
[a man among pudgy boys]
---> Son of a Coach Scouting Report:
El Dorado High quarterback Zach Gentry is about to join that exclusive club of ridiculously tall quarterbacks in college football. He’s got tantalizing potential, but needs some refinement to his mechanics before he can approach reaching it.
Any questions someone might have about his size limiting his movement are answered as soon as you see him run. For such a massive player at his position, Gentry is great athlete. He has good mobility and very good speed.
Gentry is dangerous runner with the ball in his hands. One would think he has the size to run over people, but he’s actually very elusive and can run away from defenders. He’s an unexpected dual-threat.
When he’s balanced and has his feet set, he throws a really nice and accurate ball. The issue with Gentry is that his mechanics are inconsistent. He doesn’t show a “wow” arm, but it’s mostly because he is throwing with all arm far too often. Sometimes he’ll float the ball when throwing out routes, which is something you don’t expect with a player of his size. He throws off his back foot far too often and there is a noticeable difference when he steps into his throws. If he can clean up his mechanics, he’s got potential to have a special arm.
Gentry has some mechanical issues he needs to work out so a pro-style scheme where he plays under center may take him awhile to master with the drops he’ll have to routinely do. I think his best fit is in a spread offense that allows him to run as well as throw.
Gentry’s potential is truly awesome. He has physical traits that are special and others just don’t possess. If he can improve the things he needs to work on, he could end up being a very high quality starting quarterback at the college level. If he doesn’t, he may end up being another Logan Thomas.
---> Burnt Orange story:
On film, Gentry is a good athlete at the position for a pro-style passer, running for 617 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior with reported 4.68 40 speed, though he looks closer to the verified 5.02 40 that star California quarterback Josh Rosen registered at a Nike event.
Whatever his actual testing speed, Gentry is certainly not a pocket-pound passer despite his designation and has some make-you-miss ability in the open field. His height can also make the speed that he does have a little bit more deceptive, as he covers quite a bit of ground with each stride. In college, his mobility will be an asset in making off-schedule plays with his arm moving outside the pocket and moving the pocket on designed rollouts and bootlegs more so than running the zone read series.
And Eldorado moved the pocket quite a bit in 2013, utilizing Gentry's athleticism and probably covering up some deficiencies on the offensive line as well. On the run, Gentry shows of his above-average pure arm strength moving in either direction, doing a nice job of clearing his hips to throw while moving to his left.
The arm talent of Gentry is perhaps more apparent at times than it should be, as he can resort to throwing off his back foot. When given a clean pocket, however, his footwork is adequate and he's able to make a range of throws, from darts into small windows to the type of touch passes that every quarterback has to make, whether a fade route into the end zone or a lofted pass over an underneath defender.
There's a bit of the gunslinger in Gentry, but he only threw three interceptions in 286 passes as a junior, an interception rate of 1.04% that is incredibly low. It was also a significant improvement from his sophomore year, when he sat at a still-impressive 2.12% interception rate. However, this completion percentage of 55% could be a cause for concern if he ends up missing open receivers once he gets to Texas -- similar accuracy problems for Wood out of high school eventually sunk his Texas career before it ever really started.
He can drop his arm slot at times, but otherwise his mechanics are without major flaws in his throwing motion.
[This guy is our coach. Still hard to believe some days.]
In my first public posting, I chose a diary in order to avoid a public execution on the message board. I've lurked on this blog for years and yet I still have a burning question that can only be answered by the likes of this board.
When I was young and growing up in southwest Ohio, I was surrounded by sameness. Red shirts promoting the block "O" clouded my peripheral vision wherever I went. It still does. Yet, occasionally, those ever-so-sweet maize and blue colors would pop up in the hallways at school. I liked that. Even before I understood what football, or any other sport for that matter, meant to the general population. So, in an effort to distinguish myself from the crowd, I unknowingly picked up the most proverbial, unholy of things to break from the school of fish swimming in one linear direction of fandom. I picked up my first hat with the honorary block "M".
It was the first of many. Winged helmet shirts and the "Suckeye" comments shortly ensued. It wasn't some stroke of generic, story-like love that led me to dream of being on campus in Ann Arbor. It was a love that built over time. I enjoyed the arguments at school about who'd win The Game. About who had better players, colors, and stadiums. I enjoyed watching every game I could. Win or lose, my increasing love for the team became unwavering and eventually spread to my passion playing the game myself. I could waste more of your time explaining my fondest memories while witnessing countless telivised games. But eventually it was those memories that built a foundation I could justify my passion on. My dream was to play football or even basketball for the Wolverines. High school came and went, proving I was too small and un-athletic to do so. So I dreamed of the next best thing:
Life in the student section. Studying in the acadimic prowess that is the University.
However, a troubled childhood and otherwise poor circumstances made my second best dream a very improbable one to come true. I'm not usually prone to excuses but a big dose of life has stymied my attempt to fulfill my passion. And yet, my empty passion still holds true. I love the University of Michigan. It's an almost strange obsession, having never gone to school there. I have no alumni in my family. In fact, no one in my family has ever furthered their education. I am another factory working descendent in the long list of blue color Americans with the same last name.
If you're still reading, you now know a little about me. Though I still wish to attend school in my favorite city in the world, right now is not exactly realistic. I'm not sure it ever will be. So my question is:
Is "my kind" heavily looked down upon by the alumni? Am I the infamous "Wal-Mart Wolverine"?
I must admit, I expect I know what the answer is. But it is a question worth asking. Whatever the reaction I get from this will not deter my fandom. Nothing ever will.
I never felt I was worthy of posting on this blog because of these questions of mine (hence the lurking for a few years). But I am truly intrigued by the responses I may or may not get. Thank you for taking the time to read my first diary post. This long entry may not be written well either, but shit, no post-high school education may do that to you.
I am hoping to turn this into a regular series of posts including a recap post earlier in the week. I just hope to make this into something college hockey fans on this site can turn to and be updated and slightly informed on what is going on around the country. In the preview posts I will list out all games involving the pairwise top 20, B1G games, and Michigan Opponents (past and future).
Lets try this out:
Friday, January 23 (all rankings are Pairwise ranks as of 1/22 and all times in EST)
5:00 #5 Minnesota-Duluth vs #38 Bemidji State
7:00 #29 Ohio State @ #41 Michigan State
7:00 #27 Northern Michigan @ #22 Penn State
7:00 #50 Air Force @ #58 American International
7:00 #26 Alaska @ #11 Michigan Tech
7:00 #8 Boston University @ #12 Vermont
7:00 #36 New Hampshire @ #49 Maine
7:00 #36 Dartmouth @ #16 Colgate
7:00 #7 Harvard @ #30 Cornell
7:00 #10 Yale @ #23 St. Lawrence
7:00 #50 Massachusetts @ #16 Merrimack
7:00 #53 Lake Superior @ #3 Bowling Green
7:15 #14 Providence @ #9 UMass-Lowell
7:30 #12 Denver @ #6 Miami
8:00 #1 Minnesota State vs #19 Minnesota
8:00 #42 Colorado College @ #4 North Dakota
9:00 #15 Michigan @ #54 Wisconsin
- Penn State steps out of conference play to host a top 30 opponent at Pegula with the chance to help out their conference members RPI marginally.
- UMass-Lowell (a top 10 team Michigan beat on the road earlier this season) has a chance to knock off a top15 opponent at home.
- Ohio State travels to East Lansing in a matchup of middle of the road B1G teams.
- Michigan travels out to Madison and NEEDS to sweep all 6 points to keep their at-large bid hopes alive if they were to falter at the B1G Tournament. Wisconsin goaltender Joel Rumpel will provide a tough test for Michigan's high powered offense but the key to this series is Michigan playing solid defense.
- Huge Tournament taking place in St. Paul Minnesota. It is known as the North Star College Cup and features 3 teams in the top 20 of the Pairwise rankings heading into the weekend. For Michigan fans we should be rooting for Minnesota to win the tournament for the 2nd consecutive year (just started last year) and the first step to do that is beating the #1 team in the nation Friday night. The setup is just like the GLI in that you play one game and then the losers play in a 3rd place game and the winners meet up in a championship game; so it is possible Minnesota could pick up 2 Top 5 wins this weekend which would be a help for not only their resume but help Michigan's too.
Saturday January 24
4:30 #27 Northern Michigan @ #22 Penn State
5:00 North Star College Cup 3rd Place Game
7:00 #29 Ohio State @ #41 Michigan State
7:00 #9 UMass-Lowell @ #14 Providence
7:00 #26 Alaska @ #11 Michigan Tech
7:00 #50 Air Force @ #58 American International
7:00 #8 Boston University @ #12 Vermont
7:00 #7 Harvard @ #16 Colgate
7:00 #16 Merrimack @ #50 Massachusetts
7:00 #12 Denver @ #6 Miami
7:00 #53 Lake Superior @ #3 Bowling Green
7:30 #39 Rensselaer @ #33 Union
8:00 North Star College Cup Championship Game
8:00 #15 Michigan @ #54 Wisconsin
8:00 #42 Colorado College @ #4 North Dakota
New Key Games:
- UMass-Lowell flips around for the second half of the home and home with #14 Providence and a road win for a team that Michigan beat is helpful
- Air Force travels and faces #58 American International. hey Michigan beat AIT and why not hope they can win a game against a fellow bottom 10 team??
- RPI goes on the road for a one game weekend against a slightly higher ranked Union squad. For Michigan fans it will be a nice gift for RPI to pick up the road win. GO ENGINEERS!
- Hopefully Minnesota is in the championship of the North Star College Cup and facing #5 Minnesota-Duluth. It is important for Minnesota to win at least one game this weekend and to do so they will need to beat a top 5 opponent or Bemidji State (#38) if they meet up in 3rd place game. Obviously Top 5 win(s) for a team Michigan holds a 2-0-0 record against would be a boost for the RPIs of B1G teams (most importantly Michigan).
Tuesday January 27
7:00 #16 Merrimack @ #34 Connecticut
yes. While the RPI difference between Michigan and Merrimack is small the record among common opponents leans Michigan's way which at worst would leave them in a 1-1 tie (1 point for RPI in Merrimack's favor and 1 point for common opponents in Michigan's favor) leaving it impossible for Merrimack to pass Michigan in the Pairwise rankings (they could be tied with Merrimack holding tiebreaker (RPI)). GO UCONN!!
3 things Michigan "needs"
- Penn State defending home ice
- Minnesota going no worse than 1-1
- Michigan 6 point sweep.
link to pairwise rankings http://www.uscho.com/rankings/pairwise-rankings/d-i-men/
We have a nice prior diary that is now a wiki, but due to the table format it is difficult to edit so let's do a post projecting the remaining spots of the class with a bit more detail in terms of serious candidates. Aside from that wiki the MGo Depth Chart helps us project needs, and I did a diary last week on what positions have major needs for 2017 so we can reverse engineer 2015 'croots to fill those holes.
The question of the day is how many spots are truly open - MGo Depth chart says only 6, as long as both Glasgows and Kerridge are given scholarships. I've read comments saying Sam Webb also says this is the #. Of course some "gray" things can be done such as taking 8 commits and then assuming a few guys drop out after seeing the writing on the wall this spring. Grayshirting is another option although more "controversial". So I'll go 6 (floor and most likely) to 8 (ceiling and unlikely) spots.
We'll look at it by position. Please add any intel you may garner from various legit sources and I'll be happy to edit. I am sure some more names will emerge in the coming days.
- Chris Clark - target #1. NSD decision between UCLA and UM. Gut feel says UM despite recent comments about neck and neck with UCLA. UM offense focuses on TE, UCLA does not. UM coaches have developed NFL TEs. Heart was once with UM.
- Matt Snyder - current NEB commit set to visit this weekend. Followed Riley from Oregon State to Nebraska.
- Jake Pickard - current WIS commit.
- (sorta) Ty Wheatley - seems to project more to DE but some feel at 260 lbs he can still be a TE as he grows in the coming years.
Projecting - Chris Clark
- Reagan Williams - Stanford commit visiting this weekend. With Kerridge and Houma both graduating post 2015 and Shallman the only type on roster to fill this roll this position is a need. Looks like he will be visiting for 3 days so serious interest. Can play close to home as he is from Ohio. 50/50 chance perhaps.
Projecting - Reagan Williams. Harbaugh magic works this weekend.
- Mike Weber - former UM commit who could see the competition crowding at OSU. Yes UM will probably get a good back in 2016 as well to provide competition but the entire roster not named Ty Isaac clears out at RB post 2016. Clearer path to playing time here, close to home, etc.
 John Kelly (also a potential DB) - Harbaugh is saying very nice things about him and crystall ballz trending our way but UM was late to this game.
MSU andTN seem to be the major competition. Just committed to TN, UM will continue to pursue to NSD.
Projecting - Mike Weber or maybe whichever commits first of the 2 due to limited spots
 Zach Gentry - NM product committed to Texas for a long time has
some foggy smokea raging inferno around him.
- McClane Carter - wasn't much interest in Carter nationally until Jim sniffed around which brought along some other interests. Not sure if this is a scholarship type of guy or someone who you bring in for a year with a chance to earn a scholarship when more open up in year 2.
Projecting - tough one to figure. Not sure if you give Carter a scholarship with a tiny class like this. Maybe he comes with the promise of a 2016 scholarship. Gentry is a long time UT commit, seems unlikely to flip in closing weeks.
- Ryan Davis - super fun HS QB who might not have top flight speed but ridiculous change of direction and vision. Will know better in the coming days if there is anything real here. Would love this guy for punt returns and as a slot WR.
- [Edit] Austin Aaron - Cal commit, some noise early in Harbaugh chase with him ; not hearing much lately.
Projecting - none.
- Nolan Ulizio - lightly ranked OL out of OH, committed to UConn getting some love from Michigan, Kentucky. On paper seems like a no brainer to UM. But if higher rated prospects at other positions are in play he might be told there is no room in the closing days of the signing period. If this class was 16+ spots he'd probably be a close to sure yes.
Projecting - none only due to other commits taking his spot. If those fall thru he seems likely.
- Damon Arnette - SC commit getting the most attention of a host of CB prospects. Was in town this past weekend and was visited by Harbaugh, Durkin, and Mattison at home Wednesday. His HS is a NFL factory so is a key bridge to get into that school.
- Chris Williamson - late riser on recruiting boards out of GA getting interest from UF, UM, NC, Cal and GA. Was at NC last weekend, will be at UM this weekend, then UF the following weekend.
- Will Lockett - UCLA commit who will be in town this weekend
- Jarius Adams - Rutgers commit
- Iman Marshall - obviously a crown jewel but some believe to be a silent commit to USC which of course they deny. Dad did not join him on trip. Sounds like UM did a great job hosting but most likely too little too late and a 2nd/3rd place finish for his services.
Projecting - serious chance for 2 CBs even if we only have 2 slots. Guessing Arnette is 1. Hopefully Williamson is impressed this weekend but still has a visit to UF next weekend.
- Reuben Jones - NEB commit also getting the full court press, will be visiting this weekend. Seems very unlikely he remains at NEB; it looks like a Louisville (where he was last weekend) vs UM battle with MSU trying to poke their nose in there.
- Jalen Bates - ASU commit but not much noise here after some initial excitement. No crystal ballz to UM.
- KLS - sort of been a tease from afar thru the Hoke era, but a UCLA commit and it seems solid.
- Ty Wheatley (more likely here than TE) - dude could play a great game of poker.
Projecting - Reuben Jones if this weekend goes well but Louisville seems very much into it. As with Arnette, Mattison Durkin and Harbaugh all visited in home Wednesday. Wheatley is a tough one - this might be a case of a guy wanting to strike out on his own away from his dad. I have zero inside info but for some reason this feels like a Treadwell McDowell situation. If dad was not coaching I don't think UM would have any chance.
- Roquan Smith - highly ranked GA LB is a major target for UM, who has a chance due to Durkin. Most still think he is headed to GA but this past weekend seemd to do UM a lot of good. The longer his recruiting process goes the better for UM's chances.
Projecting - none.
OFF THE BOARD / UNLIKELY
- Marcus Lewis CB - this seemed like a sure commit post summer BBQ. But his final 3 is Kentucky, Miami (YTM), and WSU (?!).
- Nate Dalton CB - visited in home and at school by Harbaugh Tuesday but more interested in Liberty. Or Bret B at Arkansas.
- Arrington Farrar S - a Stanford decommit who sounded like a natural fit but the last 5 crystal ballz have him headed to ND.
- Drew Lock QB - Missouri commit looks like a no.
- Joe Burrow QB - OSU commit apparently told Jim no.
- Cordell Broadus WR - his dad wants him to go to USC, and other than some nice words before Harbaugh was hired about Harbaugh there doesn't seem to be much connection there.
Auden Tate WR - committed to FSU last summer,
not much smoke anymore. [edit: Harbaugh apparently visited 1/22]
- David Moorman OL - exiled WIS commit seems to want to hear from UM; not sure if there is any smoke there.
[edit again] Joshua McMillon - Alabama commit out of TN who was once sort of high on Michigan during the Hoke period
is set to visit. He cancelled his visit.
My pulled out of rear end class then falls like this
- TE Chris Clark OR non Clark TE
- RB Mike Weber OR RB/ATH John Kelly
- FB Reagan Williams
- CB Damon Arnette
- DE Reuben Jones
- A second CB - too foggy to tell but not Marshall*
RB Mike Weber/ATH John Kelly- edit: Zach Gentry (?)
- (if room) OL Nolan Ulizio
*you probably hold this spot open until the moment LB Roquan Smith says I am going to Georgia.
I am not a subscriber to recruiting services so maybe some are saying DE/TE Ty Wheatley is a sure thing or close to it. So I'd be wrong on that end if true. Yesterday's offer to Jake Pickard - who is also a DE/TE combo makes me wonder.
When it rains, it pours (Upchurch / MGoBlog)
Your Weekly B1G Hoops Column
Table of Contents:
Week III Results
Post-Week III Standings
Team of the Week: Iowa
Player of the Week: D’Angelo Russell
Stat of the Week: Youth and Success
Various B1G Thoughts
Michigan’s Week That Was
IT’S TIME TO PANIC
Week IV Schedule
Some Personal News
1. Week III Results
There weren’t any true upsets this week, as the conference race is starting to take shape. Indiana staved off a challenge from Penn State and notched a nice road win against Illinois (without Rayvonte Rice); Illinois defeated Northwestern in Evanston, Purdue had a miraculous sequence at the end of regulation to win against PSU in Happy Valley, and Iowa failed to choke away a game against rival Minnesota in the Barn – those were the only road wins, none of which could really be considered upsets.
Maryland and Ohio State each had impressive home blowouts, over Michigan St. and Michigan, respectively. Other than that, there wasn’t much of note in terms of on-court results – everything more or less went as expected, to a large extent.
2. Post-Week III Big Ten Standings
Even though Maryland has one more win than Wisconsin (due to scheduling), the Badgers are still the class of the conference from an efficiency standpoint, even though they haven’t faced any legitimate challengers yet. The Terps are a weird team – they have the 9th-best offensive efficiency and best defensive efficiency in conference play.
From there, the race is still indistinct. Iowa finally shook off their late-game demons after squandering a lead at Minnesota, only to win on a late Jarrod Uthoff jumper, and held off Ohio State at home; Indiana still has a negative efficiency margin, remarkably – that blowout loss in East Lansing has overshadowed an otherwise decent start to Big Ten play; Michigan State’s schedule will start to get easier from here on out; Michigan is assuredly out of the race after Caris LeVert’s injury.
One other thing: Poor Damn Minnesota. They have a very disappointing 1-5 record, but the Gophers are only four points worse than their opponents over 100 possessions. I’m not sure if I’m crazy for thinking this, but I don’t think it’s over for them quite yet.
Click on image to enlarge. Data’s starting to fill in a little bit.
3. Team of the Week: Iowa
The moment when Iowa purged its late-game demons (source)
Though Maryland is currently atop the standings and Wisconsin – the clear frontrunner for the conference title – has an excellent efficiency margin, it might be time to seriously consider Iowa as a potential challenger. They’ve rightfully received plenty of attention for their chronic propensity to blow leads in the second half; they’re still one of the better teams in the country, when they’re at their best.
Minnesota erased a 17-point second-half deficit and took a two possession lead late in the game, only for some unfortunate missed front-ends and clutch baskets from Jarrod Uthoff to enable Iowa to steal the game late. It’s hard to assess whether Iowa’s late-game struggles over the past two seasons are an inherent problem – the analytically-inclined would be more likely to ascribe simple bad luck as the root cause, but at a certain point, it’s harder to explain away. Regardless, the win over Minnesota is a nice sign. Iowa’s still not exactly a team that exudes reliability, but a 4-1 start is undoubtedly positive.
After this week, they’ve swept Ohio State – remarkably, the Buckeyes are now two games out of first place after three weeks of conference play. Iowa’s win this past weekend showed off their capabilities when they’re playing particularly well: they attacked the basket well and got to the free throw line a lot (and converted there); they forced the Buckeyes into an uncharacteristic 16-42 (38%) from two-point range; they managed to overcome a herculean performance for D’Angelo Russell and a mini-run early in the second half that could have led to another backbreaking comeback against the Hawkeyes.
It’s still a little tough to trust Iowa, but the Hawkeyes have generally been playing good basketball this season – an insane barrage of threes from Michigan State notwithstanding. The Hawkeyes might be a step below Maryland and Wisconsin, but they should receive plenty of attention – they might be the best team behind those two.
Previously – Maryland (Week I), Rutgers (Week II)
[HIT THE JUMP for the rest of the article / lamentations on our bad luck]
This past Monday Brian, Seth and John U Bacon traveled to Cleveland to speak to the Northern Ohio Alumni Association about the coaching change and all things Harbaugh. The event was a sell-out with over 120 people in attendance despite our fair city getting three inches of snow that day. The MGoBlog team + John U were joined by ex -Michigan All American "Big Ed" Muransky and a surprise guest the immortal (and he is immortal if half the stories told about him that night were true) Team Captain Andy Cannavino.
Brian kicked off the program with an excellent summary of what we can expect from the team offensively next year (power, more power and hopelessly confused opponent safety's) as he showed us what Stanford did and why it worked so well. John U Bacon gave his insight on the coaching change and they dynamics that led up to us getting Harbaugh and had the room laughing hysterically with the best Bo impersonation I've ever seen. Ed Muransky & Andy Cannavino told "back in the day" stories that were classic Bo and compared the teams they played on (mucho successful) to last year's (not so much) and gave their insight as to why things turned out the way they did. Seth did an excellent job moderating the panel and keeping both the presentations and questions from the audience moving along.
For me the biggest scoop of the evening was the general revelation on the part of Muransky and I think John U (sorry I don't have this down exactly - by then I was several Dogfish 60's into the evening) that Harbaugh actually DID have a verbal agreement to coach here back in 2011 but a series of screw-ups and missed opportunities led him to taking the 49ers job and that Hoke was somewhat of a desperation "oh shit.....now what do we do" hire.
After the panel was done with their presentations the guys hung around and watched the first half of the National Championship game with everyone. For those of you concerned about potential for problems with the Buckeye faithful - we were in a separate room quite apart from everyone else so all was peaceful on that front.
I know the group down here was thrilled with the presentations and turn-out and wants to make this an annual event - either at the beginning or end of the season. Thanks again guys for making the trip! And lastly I got a chance to meet several of my fellow posters (Magnum PI, Wave and others) which was really fun.
Here are some pictures from the event:
Brian & the panel
Me, Brian, Andy, Big Ed, John, Rick (President of Alumni Association), Leslie (Alumni Association executive who did a ton of work down here for this event amoung others) and Seth
Brian, John U, Me and my better half. FWIW - if you ever get a chance to have a beer with John U Bacon you need to do it. He is one of the nicest, funniest and all around good guys I've ever met.
Me and a guy who doesn't lurk OR post on the blog yet has this license plate. Don't ask me why.....