The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
There was a column in the Chicago Tribune on the game between Michigan and Illinois yesterday. The article really is more about Illinois' failings and failures than about Michigan. But it gave a lot of credit to Michigan and to Beilein. Here are a few snippets (it is paywalled, I believe.)
The Wolverines moved the ball beautifully, the way Beilein teams typically do. While Illinois too often resembled a team in an AAU tournament, Michigan meshed as all five players worked as one.
Unfortunately, it took most of the season, but Beilein really has the team playing well together.
To Groce, the game got away from Illinois during one five-point Michigan possession with 3 minutes, 2 seconds left in the first half, created by freshman Leron Black's loss of composure.
Black made his biggest impact by drawing a technical protesting a foul with the Wolverines leading 29-21. After Michigan guard Spike Albrecht made both free throws, he hit a deep 3-pointer nearly from his hometown of Crown Point, Ind. Illinois never recovered.
"My assistant says, 'That's a hard shot,' and I say, 'No, that's karma,' " Groce said. "Don't get the technical foul. We've got to be more poised than that. They had more energy than we had, which was disappointing."
That speaks to Spike, and to how the team is coached. I don't think I've seen a single Michigan player with that kind of lack of discipline.
Michigan, missing two key players, used an eight-man rotation. But Wolverines coach John Beilein didn't win his eighth straight Big Ten tournament opener because he lacks the ability to adjust.
We all know this, but I consider this year an incredible coaching job by John Beilein.
I'm hoping that one or two potential recruits see what is happening, and choose to commit to Michigan as a result.
EDIT: Original title was Michigan certain 9-seed in BTT after Wiscy beats Minny, but I didn't notice Northwestern one game behind us also at 6-11. Derp
Of course, Indiana and Illinois are out of reach.
Michigan will be seeded above Minnesota since
- After the loss to Wisc tonight, Minn can at best tie us
- We beat Minny in the only meeting this yr
To grab the 9th seed from us, NW needs
- to win @Iowa
- for Michigan to lose at home to Rutgers
- for Ohio State to lose at home to Wiscy
Let's go through the tiebreakers
- Results (Mich 1, NW 1; Mich 1, Minn 0; NW 1, Minn 0)
- In case it's a three way tie, Minny drops out here
Records against individual teams in order of standings
- Group tied teams together as single group
- Sudden death, first advantage found wins
- No wins for either Mich/NW vs Wiscy
- No wins for either Mich/NW vs MD
Wins against the four tied 11-6 teams
- MSU (no wins for either)
- Purdue (no wins for either)
- OSU (Mich 1-1, NW 0-1)
Iowa (Mich 0-1, NW 2-0)
- Note both Iowa & OSU
- lose to NW & Wiscy
- this weekend
- by definition of the scenario
Consequence (NW 9th Seed, Mich 10th)
- Group OSU & Iowa together
- Results (Mich 1-2, NW 2-1)
So the likelihood has increased (derp) that we will be the 9th seed in the Big Ten Tournament and will start play on the 2nd day on Thursday, March 12 against either Indiana (if Illinois wins @Purdue & Indiana loses at home vs MSU) or Illinois (the other three combinations of Indiana/Illinois wins/losses).
With its win tonight, Wiscy clinches the Big Ten regular season title and will be seeded first. The winner of the 8/9 game plays the 1-seed on the third day of the tournament in the quarterfinals. Thus, should we win our opening game, we likely will be facing Wisconsin in our second game.
2014-15 Big Ten STANDINGS
|#23 Ohio State||11-6||4||22-8|
Who would you rather face in the opener?
As some of you know, I’m joining MGoBlog to provide various types of basketball coverage, now that we’re a #basketballschool and all that. A brief introduction: I’m an Honors LSA Senior majoring in English (hopefully with a creative writing sub-concentration), I grew up making weekly pilgrimages from the Grand Rapids area to Ann Arbor on Fall Saturdays with my parents—both of whom graduated from the B School before Ross slapped his name on it—and younger brother—an Honors LSA sophomore (who is also named Brian Cook). I am not related to the proprietor of this site, as far as he and I know. We were a football family, but I fell in love with Michigan Hoops in 2009-2010 with Manny, Peedi, Coach B, and the gang. I’ve learned to love the NBA recently as well, but regret that I missed the glory years of my Detroit Pistons. I’m a Lions masochist, I complain about the Tigers’ managing and bullpen all summer, and I recently committed to Everton as my new EPL team (because Tim Howard’s a national hero). It’s a little up in the air as of right now, but Ace and I will sort out who covers what during hoops season. As for non-sports things: I’m a proud native Michigander and spend my summers living on Barlow Lake—Heaven on Earth, as far as I’m considered—I run as quickly as Terrance Taylor and am addicted to Bruegger’s on North U (these things may be related), and if anybody wants to hire me to a full-time job after school, PLEASE DO. If you see me on campus, say hi. I’ll be the tall, skinny-fat guy with curly black hair and light blue headphones.
Follow me on Twitter ( @alexcook616 )
(Freshmen and incoming transfers are not included. They’re very difficult to accurately contextualize with returning players and they’ll be covered next week.)
* * *
For the Big Ten Player Comparisons, I created an algorithm that spits out the most similar statistical profiles for a given player’s. There are 20 unweighted categories—most of which are advanced metrics—but shooting and rebounding are well-accounted for. The database consists of 750 players from the 2008-2014 seasons. This post is already absurdly long, so I’ll have to explain it further at some other time. This system will probably be used pretty extensively.
Considering that the Hoosiers had Yogi Ferrell and Noah Vonleh—the latter was drafted in the lottery of a deep draft—their struggles were perplexing. A stable of uninspiring role players did little to augment the talents of their two stars and their offense was often stagnant and extremely turnover prone. Indiana didn’t shoot the ball well from the field, but the inability to hold onto the ball was crippling—IU finished 330th nationally in turnover rate, easily the last in the Big Ten. Ferrell can be best categorized as a scoring point guard: he’s ball-dominant and often probes the defense with his quickness rather than driving right to the rim, he’s one of the better shooters in the league (40% on a ridiculous 220 attempts, mostly from above the break), and he gets to the free throw line and shoots better than 80% from the stripe over his career. There were a few games that Yogi took over with his scoring ability: 30 points (on just 15 FGA) at Illinois, 27 (including 7 made threes) against Michigan and at Purdue, and 25 and 24 in two games against Wisconsin. With Indiana’s turnover issues and Ferrell’s role as its offensive catalyst, his turnover rate—18.0%—wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t exactly anomalous amongst analogous point guards.
Yogi didn’t have the ball-security of a Jordan Taylor or Drew Neitzel, but it wasn’t bad. Turning the ball over was a collective effort: the entire rotation (aside from Ferrell) had turnover rates of at least 20%. Adding five-star combo guard James Blackmon, Jr. should help out immensely in regard to that issue and it should enable Ferrell to play off-the-ball and distribute a little more this season. Ferrell will likely be the best point guard in the Big Ten and there’s a chance that he could lead the league in scoring.
[After THE JUMP: Caris checks in, others.]
Illinois was a confusing team last year. They were ranked at some point in January and somehow they failed to make the tournament. A defensive team that laid bricks, they could not score consistently enough to be any good. Towards the end of the season Illinois held a couple of really good teams, including Michigan State, to under fifty points. Illinois was a hard to project for this year as they do not lose a whole lot but they do not bring any thing special in either. They lose Jon Ekey and Joseph Bertrand to graduation. This means losing:
This really is not that bad as they return 3 starters and the rest of their bench players. Here is their projected rosters:
# Name HT WT YR POS
24 Rayvonte Rice 6-4 235 RS. SR SF
A bulldog of a player, had some trouble with his shot last year. Undersized for the three but makes up for it with his weight. The starting Small Forward, averaged 15.9 points per game.
32 Nnanna Egwu 6-11 250 SR. C
A very tall man with a very smalll rebounding rate. Uses his jump shot WAY to much. Scored 6.9 points per game last year. The starting Center, could make a huge jump this year.
13 Tracy Abrams 6-2 190 SR. PG
The starting Point Guard, averaged 11 points per game and 3 assists per game last year.
11 Aaron Cosby 6-3 195 SR. SG
The third guy off the bench, played at Seton Hall and had to sit out a year.
3 Ahmad Starks 5-9 170 RS. SR PG
A transfer from Oregon State, will get this year after sitting out last year. Back-up point guard. Probably good for 10 minutes a game.
35 Darius Paul 6-8 220 JR. PF
A good stretch four, a transfer from Western Michigan. Many of you will recognize him as Brandon Paul's brother. The back-up Power Forward.
10 Mike LaTulip 6-1 170 JR. PG
A walk-on that may get minutes in the beginning of the season. The 3rd string Shooting Guard.
31 Austin Colbert 6-9 210 SO. PF
The 3rd Power Forward, could player Center as well. More of a traditional Power Forward.
25 Kendrick Nunn 6-3 180 SO. SG
The starting Shooting Guard, started to really blossom at the end of last year. May be Dakich's new favorite player.
22 Maverick Morgan 6-10 250 SO. C
The back-up Center, will get about 10 minutes a game this year.
21 Malcolm Hill 6-6 210 SO. PF
A smaller type of Power Forward, may get passed up by a freshman later on in the season.
1 Jaylon Tate 6-3 160 SO. PG
The starting Point Guard, will not get many minutes.
Leron Black 6-7 215 FR. SF
A four star that will back up Rice, could start eventually.
Michael Finke 6-9 200 FR. PF
Once he adds weight he could be pretty good. A three star. With all the transfers they have that will be able to play right now, Finke may redshirt.
Projected Starting Lineup
Point Guard: Tracy Abrams
Shooting guard: Kendrick Nunn
Small Forward: Rayvonte RIce
Power Forward: Malcolm Hill
Center: Nnanna Egwu
Michigan plays them at home and away next year.
This Illini team will be very experienced and tough to beat anywhere. If they are shooting well, they will be very tought to beat. I project them to finish 8th in the conference with a record of 9-9 in the conference. The fact that this team will finish like this shows the depth of the B1G next year.
Next up... Maryland
Nothing has been substantiated yet, but there are reports that Illinois has fired co-OC Chris Beatty. Given the tire fire that was Illinois football, it's probably no surprise that someone from that staff was going to be let go.
Edit: As BrownJuggarnaut pointed out in a post below, the story is now confirmed.
Here is a story from the Daily Illini: http://www.dailyillini.com/sports/men_sports/football/article_dcaa024a-578c-11e2-8ab8-001a4bcf6878.html
Key bits from the article include that the Illini were 119 out of 120 NCAA teams in total and scoring offense and that this is their fifth OC change since 2008.