at least it's not just us?
Frank Martin is not known for being a good guy.
He is a nightmare with the media. He verbally abuses his players on the sidelines on a game by game basis. He left Kansas State, the program he built from the ground up, for an extra half million dollars a year. If that sounds familiar to Mountaineer fans, this is where the similarities end. The Miami(YTM) high school program where Martin cut his teeth committed, “The most egregious violations in state history.” When coaches talk about shady dealings and back-room exchanges of goods and services, they don’t talk about John Calipari. The conversation starts with Frank Martin, Michael Beasley and Bill Walker. And yet Martin has always managed to avoid prosecution.
Regardless of means (and its best not to look too close) Martin built a great program at Kansas State. Last year they went 22-11, 10-8 in conference, and advanced to the round of 32 in the tournament. Then karma intervened.
It turns out that Jamar Samuels, KState’s best post player, would be ineligible to play in the Syracuse game because of moneys he received from a former coach.(Martin would later admit that he gives money to former players all the time, throwing both himself and his former players under the bus.) Sure it was only 10 points and 7 rebounds they needed to replace…But it didn’t help, and Syracuse went on to curb stomp them 75-59.
Within days, Martin was on a plane to South Carolina, and Bruce Webber was on a plane to Kansas State. Bruce Webber on the other hand, IS known for being a nice guy.
He may not be hailed as the greatest coach, and yeah he does sound like he just got kicked in the nads, but he is known for doing pretty well with other people’s recruits. And he inherited a hell of a team. Senior big man Jamar Samuels was the only loss of note from last year’s team.
6’7”big man Thomas Gipson has stepped into his place.
Gipson’s scoring and rebounding have improved by a couple(9pts and 6 boards) while his shooting percentage has dropped a bit.
[AFTER THE JUMP: Wildcats ho.]
Important game for Michigan tonight, taking on Bowling Green at Yost before a short Thanksgiving break. No score half way through the 1st.
Notre Dame comes in at #1 with Alabama, Georgia and Florida taking the 2-3-4 spots.
The puck is about to drop at Yost, with Michigan set to take on Notre Dame. It's the Yost Rededication ceremony tonight, with plenty of alumni in attendance. So far Turco, Johnson, and Knuble have been spotted with many more arriving.
Yes, it is early to start obsessing about a game nearly a week away. No, I cannot help myself.
The city of Pittsburgh is an industrial blight on the beautiful rolling hills of Pennsylvania. Last year, the team wasn't much prettier.
Pittsburgh Coach Jamie Dixon is a defense and rebounding kind of guy. A Tom Izzo kind of coach, if you will. Last year Pittsburgh wasn't all that great at defense and rebounding. They went 5-13 in the Big East, and missed the tournament.
Thing is, they didn't give up. They Janestowned it.
Those poor mudders accepted an invite to the lowly CBI, and the extra practice time that went with it. And a funny thing happened while they were preparing and playing meaningless games. They got better. They went on to beat a couple of pretty decent teams in Butler and Washington State on the way to a CBI championship. Which...yeah. It wasn't a glorious road, but they took it.
This year their leading scorer Ashton Gibbs is gone, but if you can believe it the Panthers are playing better basketball. Much of that improvement is centered around Tray Woodall, who missed most of last season with abdominal injuries.
Tray Woodall has picked up much of the scoring load, and in the last two games the Panthers outrebounded their opponents 71-40, and held their opponents to an average of 52 points. Their games are a little slower, averaging 10-15 fewer possessions than Michigan. Mudder basketball is back.
Aside from tough man defense and rebounding, there is one fantastic player to worry about. As 5'th year senior PG Tray Woodall goes, so go the Panthers. His matchup with Burke will be a fantastic one. They're both the total package-shooter, slasher, passer defender. Its going to be fun.
The Panthers start another point guard, this one 4* freshman James Robinson, primarily so that Woodall can focus more on scoring and less on getting the ball up the court. To this point Robinson really hasn't shot the ball much or accumulated a lot of assists. On rare occasions when he has looked for his shot he has been pretty effective...but this is Woodall's show.
6'9" F/C Dante Taylor is the Panther's best rebounder, pulling down 10 boards or so a game. Last year Taylor was the primary center, but this year he is losing minutes to
7' 5* freshman center Steve Adams of New Zealand. Adams is a shot blocker and a fair rebounder, but at this point in his development he scores most of his points by way of put-backs. They're not running a lot of plays for him(again, Woodall's show).
6'5" Jr. wing Lamar Patterson, 6'9" Jr Forward Talib Zanna, and 6'6" Jr Forward J.J. Moore provide supplimental scoring punch, all depending on who has the hot hand.
Michigan's coaches will be treated to a familiar face on Wednesday...
That's right, former Michigan recruit Trey Zeigler. Way back in 2010 Zeigler shunned Beilein's dream of starting an entire squad made up of guys named "Trey" in order to spend another year with his old man at CMU. (Just for old time's sake, take a walk down memory lane with me...http://mgoblog.com/content/hello-tim-hardaway-jr Yes...that was you lamenting taking Hardaway when Zeigler was still out there...you know what they say about hindsight). Not surprisingly, the guy still shoots 50% from the charity stripe. (Ernie had 18 years to fix his set shot, you think a couple more at CMU were going to make a difference?)
And for the 15 or so minutes he sees against Michigan, I fully support a hack-a-Trey philosophy. Well...only if they're already in the bonus...
All in all this should be an excellent test for Michigan. Pitt basically plays B1G basketball in the Big East(well, for one more year--next year the Panthers join the ACC). They play tough defense, they rebound your misses...they're mudders. Michigan had better value the basketball. They had better knock down their shots. Because as Bill Self found out recently...If you let a mudder hang around long enough, they may just jump up and bite you in the end.
It took 53 years, but Michigan is finally going to take on Slippery Rock. Their basketball team anyway. On Friday at 8:30, within the friendly confines of the renovated Crisler Center
Your #5 defending B1G Champion Wolverines will tip off against "The Rock". But not before you get a little background on Michigan's quirky relationship with Slippery Rock.
The tradition began in 1959 when University of Michigan public address announcer Steve Filipiak(who had randomely formed an odd fixation as a youth in Indiana) first reported Slippery Rock scores to the Big House crowd. Filipiak announced the score every Saturday until his final season in 1971, but the tradition lived on. Slippery Rock has played two football games at Michigan Stadium, losing to Shippensburg State in 1979 http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=266&dat=19790921&id=VvQrAAAAIBAJ&sjid=-mwFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4220,2854200 and Wayne State in 1981, but they've never faced the Wolverines in football or basketball.
Slippery Rock is picked to finish second in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. The PSAC is the largest conference in Division II sports, and has the distinction of being the only conference composed entirely of schools(16!) in the same state.
Okay, enough background, lets meet the men that make up "The Rock".
Slippery Rock returns four starters from a team that went 17-10 last year. They are:
#1 Devin Taylor Forward 6-6 205 R-Sr. New Castle, Pa. (New Castle LaRoche College) All-PSAC-West performer Taylor led The Rock in scoring (13.5 points per game) and rebounding (9.8 per game) last winter. Taylor finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds in the Rock's first exhibition aganst Navy.
#20 Aubin Reeves Guard 5-10 150 Sr. Waldorf, Md. (Thomas Stone Chesapeake College) Reeves averaged 9.6 points and 3.2 assists per game last year.
#24 Tabari Perry Forward 6-8 200 Jr. Cambridge, Md. (Cambridge-South Dorchester Cecil College) All-PSAC-West performer Perry contributed 9.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game last year. Perry scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed six rebounds Sunday afternoon against Navy.
#30 Luiz Santos Center 6-10 230 Sr. Sao Paulo, Brazil (Avanco Marshalltown Community College) Santos averaged 6.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game last year. Santos had 10 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots against Navy.
The Rock also returns #10 John Bayardelle Guard 6-2 170 Sr. New York, N.Y. (Ramapo Northern Virginia CC). Bayardelle had 14 points against Navy. Last year Bayardelle averaged 7.5 points per game while drawing the toughest defensive assignment each game. I expect he will be checking Burke on Friday.
As you may have noticed, Slippery Rock is kind of like the Iowa State of the PSAC. Athletes rarely start their college career at Slippery rock. This year is no different, as they bring in a talented crop of transfers:
#3 Jermaine Edwards Forward 6-5 210 Sr. Baltimore, Md. (Digital Harbor Barry) Edwards, a former junior-college standout at Cecil College, averaged 8.5 points and 6.3 rebounds last winter at Barry, a member of the Division II Sunshine State Conference
#4 Darious Clark Guard 6-3 210 Sr. Clinton, Md. (Illinois State) Clark averaged 15.1 points and 7.6 assists per game in two junior-college seasons at Cecil College before transferring to Illinois State, where he played in 14 games last winter for the Division I Redbirds, who earned Missouri Valley Conference runner-up honors and earned a berth in the Postseason NIT competition.
#12 Sa'Quan Davis Guard 5-9 165 Jr. Washington, D.C. (Suitland ASA College) Davis averaged 13.7 points and 4.5 assists per game in junior-college competition last winter.
#33 Gerald Brooks Forward 6-5 230 Sr. Pittsburgh, Pa. (Schenley Indiana (Pa.)) Brooks, a three-time All-PSAC-West performer at IUP and the 2007-08 PSAC-West “Rookie of the Year,” averaged a team-high 15.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game as a junior in 2008-09.
Slippery Rock also boasts some homegrown depth players including #44 Daivon Jackson Forward 6-4 270 So. Philadelphia, Pa. (Constitution (Ben Franklin)) who is also a lineman on The Rock football team.
Slippery Rock's only other game came againt Ed DeChellis's Navy team. The Rock went on a 27-9 run over the last 13 minutes of the first half and cruised to a 79-56 decision. The Rock went 29-of-56 (.518) from the field, 5-of-17 (.294) from three-point range and 16-of-26 (.615) from the free throw line, coughing up 16 turnovers in the process. DeChellis was very complimentary of the Rock following his curb stomping, saying, "Slippery Rock is a very, very good basketball team. They have very good, athletic players that can score and shoot the basketball. They are a very experienced, older team that have played a lot of basketball together."
Prediction based on flimsy evidence: I'm going to go with this... followed by this... and then something like this... Bottom line, Slippery rock has a nice team, but Michigan is going to do what they do.