a terrible blight on our fine country
I thought this would be fun for a Monday morning... In Bill Simmons's "The Book of Basketball" he spends what was probably my favorite chapter on "The Wine Cellar" team. The premise is "If aliens come to earth with a time machine and demand to play basketball for the sake of the world, who do you pick?" The time machine is because you don't just pick Michael Jordan - you have to decide which vintage (like wine) of Mike you pick (Simmons took 1992 MJ over 96 MJ). The game is taking place today - meaning 2014 NCAA rules like the 3 point line length are in play.
With that theory in place, who makes your Wine Cellar Team? Does 2013 Trey Burke start over 1992 Jalen Rose? Does Tournament McGary get one of your 12 roster spots? Does Cazzie's game translate with a shot clock, 3 pointer, and 7 footers? 91 or 92 CWebb? Simmons's team was quite versitile, able to go big or small, run a press, have a lockdown 5 for defense, and able to score lots of ways.
Build your starting 5 (or full roster of 12) and defend your picks/years.
I just spoke with Coles father. He was very excited about the McGary news. He expressed that he feels bad for McGary and that "unfortunate situation" but he is excited for Cole to get that offer. He spoke with coach Jordan for about an hour last night and coach Jordan told him what we all assumed which is that with McGary out, Cole will have an offer regardless of what Aubrey Dawkins decides (it appears Cole was in line for an offer anyway if Dawkins committed to Dayton).
I told him that Cole seems like the prototypical John Belien player and he told me that Coach Jordan said Cole is what the coaching staff looks for and calls "80/40 guys." That's 80 percent from the line and 40 from 3. Coles dad expressed how it's hard not to get excited just seeing that block M with all the tradition behind it.
Coles dad said that they have only been in contact with coach Jordan and haven't heard from Belien directly yet but they understood that was because they were still not sure if Cole was getting an offer until very recently. As we know, Michigan told him they only offer in person but he will get his offer when he visits which he will now be scheduling.
There are a few other tidbits about each school and coach that I am not sure he would be ok with me sharing so I will keep those to myself but I would not expect him to commit until he has taken all 4 visits.
This part is pure speculation but after talking to Coles dad, I would say Michigan is a slight favorite once they offer.
Also, Roger is going with Cole on his visits so the updates will be sparse since he will only be at work a handful of days for the next couple of weeks.
I said this in a comment below but I thought it should go here as well. Cole does not have any interest in aquiring a waiver to play immediately. He wants to take the year to get in the wieght room and put on weight/increase his vertical, etc. Coach Sanderson is a big reason why he is interested in Michigan and I did a good deal of talking up the strength and conditioning program to Coles dad.
I'll also add that Coles dad seems really excited about the prospect of Cole going to Michigan and I think I can say with some confidence that if it were up to him, Cole would definitely end up there.
I mentioned in the last Cole Huff thread that I work with his father at a High School in Inglewood. He stands outside my classroom between each class period and we talk basketball so I have a fairly good relationship for aquiring inside info in this case. I just spoke with him an gathered some valuable intel.
Cole "won" his appeal to Nevada's blocked schools. They unblocked 5 schools: Pepperdine, San Diego State, UCLA, USC and I think Santa Barbara. Cole is not interested in USC because he does not like their coaches (there was a situation with one of their assistants when Cole was a senior in high school that has soured him to that staff). The only one of those schools that he is really interested in is UCLA. He is still waiting to hear from them. His former AAU coach told him on Saturday that UCLA wanted to do an in home visit today or tomorrow but he has not heard anything since. IF UCLA offers, they will be the favorite.
The current favorite is Iowa. Cole and his dad are planning a visit and have very strong interest. Creighton has been pushing hard and he likes them as well but they seem to be behind Iowa.
It does not sound like Michigan has acctually given commitable offers to Cole or Byron Wesly just yet. Cole's dad told me that Belien is only really interested in the two of them if McGary decided to leave and the coaching staff is still waiting on that decision (from the sound of it the Mitch is still genuinely undecided). It was somewhat unclear if Huff and Wesley were only interested in Michigan if McGary left or if Michigan was only interested in them in McGary's gone. Either way, those two are only in the fold if McGary is not. I realize that that doesn't really make sense since they would have to sit out a year and McGary is likely gone after next year either way, but that is the information I was given. Maybe with MAAR's commitment they don't have the scholarship to offer but I was under the impression that they still had one spot open.
I will try to gather more information and clear up some of the ambiguities in the post after the next class period ends.
Kenpom has done some analysis of end-game and in-game coaching ability and identifies Steve Fisher as possibly the best. Beilein also rates highly.
UM Hoops transcribed today's press conference of Beilein, GR3, Nik, and J-Mo.
Pretty good stuff here (LINK)
From our senior leader:
Q. Jordan, how much do you embrace, kind of like Texas, when you hear the other team has a big physical advantage especially up front?
JORDAN MORGAN: Well, I mean it’s kind of just like it’s a challenge. They’re obviously very good down, like down low, and they’ve got a lot of size and great rebounders. That’s kind of just what this is all about, is stepping up and trying to face those challenges, succeed or not.
It’s just an opportunity to prove yourself as a player and as a team.
Earlier today I wrote a diary which looked at how John Beilein has performed as a coach when his team gets 4-7 days of rest. Now I look at how John Beilein has performed as a coach in the tournament when compared to other coaches and the norm.
As many pundits such Nate Silver have pointed out, John Beilein is the best at outperforming his seed level. This was evident last year and back in his Richmond days when the No. 15 Spiders took down a No. 2 seed. But what does that actually look like?
John Beilein is 9-4 in the NCAA Tournament while at Michigan and he was 5-2 at West Virginia. He went 1-1 at Richmond bringing his combined tournament record to 15-7 or a .681 win percentage. Of course, some of those losses were with a stacked deck. Can anyone blame Richmond for losing a second round game in 1998? Can anyone blame John Beilein for losing to Duke on a missed floater, or losing to Louisville after last year's run?
By adjusting for what the expected outcomes are, John Beilein is solid in the NCAA tournament when favored to win or in a close matchup. He is also .500 when expected to lose. Yes. On the biggest stage, coach B is .500 when his team is expected to lose! Amazing.
Let's start at how I came to this conclusion
Richmond: 1-1 in games where he was expected to lose (15 seed).
West Virginia: 2-0 in games he was expected to win (vs. Northwestern State, Southern Illinois) and 1-0 in toss up games (his No. 8 seed vs. No. 9 Providence) and 2-2 in games where his team was the clear underdog.
Michigan: 4-1 when expected to win (the loss being against Ohio) and 2-0 in toss up games (Clemson, Tennessee). He is also 3-3 in games where his teams were expected to lose such as games vs. Oklahoma, Duke, Kansas, Syracuse, Florida and Louisville. In fact that may be generous as many expected Michigan to fold against VCU last year. That could have been considered a tossup.
Spanning his three schools, coach B is 6-1 in games he was expected to win, 3-0 in tossup games and 6-6 where his team was an underdog. Based on Ken Pom rankings, you can make the case that this is a tossup game. Based on the seeds, you can say No. 11 Tennessee is a clear underdog. But even if you classify Michigan as the underdog, remember, coach Beilein is 6-6 in the NCAA Tournament in games he is supposed to lose with wins over top seeds and blue blood programs.
No matter how much love is given to Tennesee's big men or their tournament play as of late, Beilein has beaten better teams with far less. And for that, you have to feel pretty excited about his tournament odds.
By the way, his .681 win percentage is just slightly south of Izzo's .688 conference game winning percentage. And if you are wondering what the best percentage is in the tournament? Well, that belongs to coach K. He's right around .750.