I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
The 2013 National Runner-Up Wolverines open up the 13-14 season with the mighty River Hawks of UMass Lowell November 8 inside the friendly confines of our beautiful Crisler Center..
Does anyone else hear Rhapsody in Blue when they use this entrance? Must just be me. Luv u Dave.
The Hawks are making their Division 1 debut representing the America East Conference. Their new coach Pat Duquette has spent most of his career as an assistant under Al Skinner at Boston College, with a recent stint as assistant coach at Northeastern. Duquette recently made waves when he told incoming freshman recruits Jack Sullivan and Tyler Gibson(recruited by former coach Greg Herenda) that "there was no chance of us playing, and that it'd be in our best interest to leave and find somewhere else to go."
Michigan enters the season facing one major question: How do you replace 33 points, 9 assists and two 38% 3 point shooters(Trey and Tim)?
The easy answer comes from the 51 points, 17 rebounds, 13 assists and 7 steals Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin bring to the table. Those are high school statistics though. For a guesstimate on how their statistics might drop, lets look at what happened to Trey and Tim’s statistics in their freshman year.
In Trey’s senior year of high school, he averaged 23 points. That dropped to 15 his freshman year at Michigan, or 35%. Trey’s assists dropped by two(29%) and his rebounding actually improved a bit.
For Tim, his points dropped from 32!?! As a high school senior to 14(57%), his assists dropped by two(50%), and his rebounds dropped by 3(43%). Obviously I am ignoring things like strength of schedule, available minutes and recruiting rankings(which yeah, we’re talking about 3stars vs 5 stars) but the moral of the story is that College Basketball is hard. If we’re going to be fair(keeping Walton’s drop proportionalish to Trey’s and Irvin’s to Hardaway) we should probably expect:
6-1 PG Derrick Walton might drop from 26 to 17points(that still feels like a lot for a freshman) 5 rebounds(no way he doesn’t drop down from 8 rebounds at 6ft1) His assists will drop from 10 to maybe 7.
6-6 SG Zak Irvin
might drop from 25 to 11points(yes, that feels low for his recruiting rank) his assists might drop from 3 and change to oneish, and his rebounds might drop from 9 to 5ish(maybe not? Lets err on the side of caution).
That’s probably optimistic on Walton and pessimistic on Irvin(Upton-melting National Championship game aside, I think there will be more minutes for Walton at point guard), but it averages out to 28 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists. That feels right-ish(albeit quick and dirty guesstimation), and really isn’t all that far off from the 33 points and 9 assists we’re trying to replace.
Projecting McGary’s minutes up a tad, we’re looking at 13ish points and 11ish rebounds(up from 8 and 6). Doing the same for Stauskas projects to 13 and 4, GRIII to 13 and 6…Spike(who shot 55% from downtown last year!) and/or Caris(If rumors of his development are true) could easily average double digits…I don’t think it’ll be that difficult to make up those 5ish points. I suspect that Morgan’s minutes will drop some, but if Mitch or GRIII get dinged, I don’t imagine there would be a lot of drop off there. What we’re going to have is a bunch of guys averaging 13ish who are all capable of going off on any given night. But who is going to step up and give us the Trey Burke consistency? Whole lotta candidates, no guarantees.
I’m calling defense a wash. I don’t know that Walton and Irvin are going to be the defenders that Burke and Hardaway were(honestly reports of their defense are a mixed bag) but second year guys like Nik and Spike are only going to improve in this area.
I scoured the internets for interesting facts about the River Hawks, and came up with exactly one: They test baseball bats for MLB. There you are. I do not suggest looking up stats on your own, as their goriverhawks.com sports server seems by all indications to be an Apple II on a 34k modem. You will be treated to several minutes of what appears to be lovely blue boat wake while each screen loads(if it ever does). Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Umass Lowell returns 11 or 12 of 14 players, and 4 of 5 starters from a team that went 15-13 representing the Northeast 10 last year. They didn’t play anyone. Their only loss of note was 6-6 senior forward Matt Welch’s 13pts(9 of them 3pointers at 43%) and 7rebounds. Welch was the only player to throw more up from deep than star player Akeem Williams.
They held opponents to 75.6 points(44%), outscoring them by a blistering .7 points a game. The River Hawks shot a surprisingly respectable 37% from downtown(about 7 makes/game) and held opponents to 35% from deep. Opponents outrebounded them by 3/game last year, which frankly doesn’t bode well for them going up against Mitch McGary and Jordan Morgan.
The vaunted River Hawks offense depends heavily on do it all senior combo guard #11 5-10 Akeem Williams(I think he's third from the left holding a basketball as if it were wet paper mache). He scores 20 points/game averaging 35 minutes. Williams shoots 46% from the floor and 40% from deep. He also leads the team in assists and turnovers at around 3 each per game.
NE-10 Baby. All day every day.
He’s pretty good, and will be hellachallenge for whoever has the misfortune of drawing him on defense.
Fortunately there is some drop-off after that. #22 6-5 senior swingman Antonio Bivins adds 16 points and 7 rebounds shooting 55% from the field...which would be pretty good…if it wasn’t against the mighty mighty Northeast 10.
#32 5-10 Junior Guard Chad Holley kicks in 11 points 3 assists and 3 turnovers. He can play the point when they want Williams to focus on scoring…which…who else is gonna do it?
#14 5-9 Graduate Student Greg DeSantis may or may not have elegibility left(it’s a bit of a challenge to get current information). He played 18 minutes and scored 6ish.
Honestly it looks like they kinda brought everybody else into the games in kind of a peewee baseball everybody participates manner
Which sans Walter Matthau rarely seems to work out.
Prediction based on presumed sanity, logic and order in the Universe:
They’ve really just got the one or two Division 1 players. . They lost half of their 3pt production to graduation. They got outrebounded by the Northeast 10, a conference that…Let’s be honest, you’re pretty much giving me the benefit of the doubt that it’s not fictional. If it doesn’t get ugly early I’ll be pretty disappointed.
Michigan 105, UMass Lowell 64
Side note...Can you believe Beiein was rooming with Frank Martin while coaching at the World University Games? Yes, this Frank Martin http://mgoblog.com/diaries/hoops-preview-kansas-state Th
Actual link: http://www.umhoops.com/2013/07/25/john-beilein-learns-new-tricks-at-world-university-games/ They must have done it on a dare(like rooming poor Tim with Appling at the US Under 19's) To be a fly on the wall...
Brunson, a 6-foot-2 point guard, is a five-star prospect and ranked as the top point guard in his class and #20 overall according to ESPN.com. Brunson received the offer while on an unofficial visit to Michigan on Saturday.
*embed fail, highlights below*
In the wake of today's 2013-2014 B1G Men's Basketball schedule release and the dislike that came with it, I thought of a new way to formulate a conference schedule. I tried to keep it balanced where the high-level teams play more high-level teams and the low-level teams play more low-level teams so there's no repeat of Wisconsin's/Ohio State's favorable one-offs.
I introduce to you tier scheduling. Taking the final standings of last year, I broke up teams into four three-team tiers, Tiers 1, 2, 3, and 4 obviously.
Now, once these teams are in tiers, it's time to set up which tiers will play the other tiers how many times. It is cumbersome to explain it in words so I will just show what I have in my spreadsheet
There might be a better way to balance this out, but I feel this does a decent job making sure good teams play more good teams with the occasional bad team and vice versa.
So what would this mean for Michigan this year? Here's a hypothetical schedule based on their tier 2 standing
When it came to the one-offs I picked teams with less of a recent history with Michigan so that's why they play Indiana once out of tier 1 but OSU and MSU twice, then Minnesota and Purdue once out of tier 3 but Illinois twice, etc.
I did this somewhat hastily so if there's any apparent flaws please point them out but I think I have everything squared away.
Obviously this kind of scheduling is too late because 1. 2013-2014 schedule is already done and 2. this is the final year of having 12 teams. But this was a fun "What If?" scenario I wanted to share.
Michigan basketball banquet tonight at Crisler.
From the twitterz:
Matt Shepard ( Matt Shepard @ShepMatt) with Trey Burke's Player of the Year trophy haul and the NCAA South Regional Championship trophy:
Bill Buntin Most Valuable Player Award - Trey Burke
Rudy Tomjanovich Most Improved Player Award - Tim Hardaway Jr.
Sixth Man of the Year - Mitch McGary
Thad Garner Leadership Award - Corey Person
Travis Conlan Sportsmanship Award - Jon Horford
Wayman Britt Outstanding Defensive Player Award: Jordan Morgan
Iron Man Award - Glenn Robinson III. Didn't miss one of the 109 practices this season.
Steve Grote Hustle Award: Mitch McGary
Gary Grant award for most assists: Trey Burke
Loy Vaught Rebounding Award: Mitch McGary
Free Throw Shooting Award: Nik Stauskas
Academic Achievement: Jordan Morgan (Industrial & Operations Engineering), Josh Bartelstein (Sport Management), Matt Vogrich (Business)
Project Yam nominees, also known as Slam Dunk of the Year - #1 goes to Tim Hardaway's Tomahawk in the Champ Game
Those of you who were lucky enough to attend, please share your stories here.
Looks like the line opened at Michigan +3.5 and has moved overnight to Michigan +4 (Moneyline is Michigan +155/+165 depending on the sites).
Kenpom has Louisville, at a 5pt favorite.
ESPN pickcenter has some data up as well... with Michigan an underdog according to several of their statistical models.
Michigan is 20-16-1 vs. the Spread this year... Michigan is 5-0 vs. the Spread so far in the NCAA Tournament.
To orient yourselves: I have no memories of the Fab Five. In fact, my earliest memories of Michigan Basketball were late in my high school years as Tommy Amaker took over. I graduated from high school in 2003, the second year of Amaker’s run as Michigan basketball head coach. I graduated from UM in December of 2007 and continued in grad school at UM.
My last year in the Maize Rage was the 2009-10 season. I fell in love with Michigan basketball because of the Maize Rage during a time when it was comprised of a fraction of the students it is today. In that time, I truly feel as though I’ve had a front row seat to something special. I have seen the essence of college athletics rebuild a program from the very bottom. This is intended to honor those who never got to a Final Four themselves, but played a major role in getting Michigan back to where they are today.
2003-04: NIT Champions
Lester Abram, Chris Hunter, Bernard Robinson
Wow, what Michigan Men.
Bernard Robinson Jr sits at 23rd all-time in games played for the University of Michigan, 210, starting in 104 of them (15th all-time). Given the unfortunate off-the-court troubles of Bernard, it might be tough to commend him. Yet, his contribution cannot be denied. Bernard was drafted late in the second round by the Charlotte Bobcats and had a short NBA career before moving on to Europe. Thanks, Bernard.
2004-05: The First Amaker Collapse
A season that saw Michigan lose their do-it-all guy in Robinson, but nobody else, failed to find any kind of rhythm, ultimately finishing 13-18. If there’s anything worth pointing to in the 04-05 season, it was the coming out party of team MVP Dion Harris.
One of the original “H-Bomb” recipients, Harris led the team with 444 points on the year, out-dueling second place Courtney Sims by well over 100 points. In a team full of verterans, it was the sophomore Harris that shined. Harris would finish his career in the top ten in games played, top-15 in scoring, and second all-time in 3-pt field goals made. A pure college scorer, Dion Harris was the first Mr. Basketball in Michigan to go to U-M since the Ed Martin scandal and was a key component in the turnaround. Thanks, Dion.
2005-06: So… Close
I will take this memory with me to the grave. Michigan hosting #8 Illinois. All-Everything point guard Dee Brown coming into Crisler and Michigan looking for the upset. That night, with Illinois fans filling the upper level, Daniel Horton poured in 33 on the lauded Dee Brown and Michigan topped the Illini. It was late February. Michigan was 18-7 in a very good Big Ten and had just taken a top-10 scalp; we were going dancing and rushing Crisler’s court. What followed that year will probably be the lasting memory of the Tommy Amaker era. Michigan would finish the season by losing to a top-15 OSU on the road, an average Indiana squad on senior night (or day as it were) in Ann Arbor, and a 5-11 Minnesota team in the first round on the Big Ten tournament. No dancing, no NCAA streak broken.
However, this season is very special to me. The players on the UM team I initially fell in love with were all seniors: Graham Brown, Sherrod Harrell, Daniel Horton, Chris Hunter.
Graham Brown ranks 25th all-time in games played and 11th all-time in starts. Additionally, he ranks in the top-25 all time in rebounds. Of course, these lofty achievements pale in comparison to his standings in bone-crunching screens (1st all-time) and nickname awesomeness (2nd all-time; Hambone). Thanks, Graham.
Sherrod Harrell probably flies under the radar the most of this group. He snuck into the 100-game club, however, finishing his career on that milestone. He was a co-captain with Brown and Lester Abraham. Thanks, Sherrod.
On the court, Daniel Horton provided some amazing moments, as described above. Like Robinson (though moreso), off the court, there were some troubles. I thought about leaving Robinson and Horton out of this, but instead will just focus on nights like the Dee Brown destruction and choose to remember the good while not ignoring the bad. Thank you, Daniel, for an amazing night in February of 2006.
Like Sherrod Harrell, Chris Hunter is easily overlooked by some. However, Chris was vital during the Amaker years. Hunter is also a member of the 100-games played club, checking in at 105. He also makes an interesting appearance in the record book as one of only a few players to be perfect from the line with atleast 10 attempts in a game (vs. South Florida). He was one of those glue guys that held a team together. Thanks, Chris.
2006-07: The Beginning of the End
Michigan would start the year 11-1 before heading into a matchup with then #1 UCLA. That game was ugly, though it would not be the last time Michigan played the number one overall team. However, carrying a 12-3 record into conference play, it appeared that this could be the year. To close out the year, Michigan hosted #1 OSU during spring break. I remember bring my brother to campus for the game and then the pain of driving home, agonizing over Courtney Sims’ missed dunk that could have tied the game late. Michigan would fall 61-65, finishing the regular season 20-11 and squarely on the bubble. If only that dunk fell, their ticket would have been punched. Alas, it did not. Michigan won the 8-9 game against Minnesota only to run into the buzz saw that was OSU that year. Another year without dancing.
Lester Abrahm was a 5th year senior captain that did everything the right way. In the end he would finish top-25 in games played, games started and 29th all-time in scoring. A true captain and Michigan man. Thanks, Lester.
Courtney Sims was the big man that many thought could have been more. However, looking back on his career it is hard to be very disappointed. Courtney Sims finished his career fifth all-time in games played, seventh all-time in games started, 28th in scoring, 13th in rebounding, and second all-time in blocks. An amazing collegiate career that would only be rivaled by his serve on the tennis courts (Sims was an all-state tennis player in Massachusetts, IIRC). Thanks, Courtney.
Brent Petway, or more appropriately, Air Georgia. The McDonough, GA native was best known for his pre-game one-man dunk contests, appropriately awesome nickname (and one of the best Maize Rage signs on the era), and senior night haircut. If memory serves, he was on the receiving end of a Jerrett Smith (lol) lob pass in that OSU game that was almost a part in what could have been the biggest game of Tommy Amaker’s career. What would have been. Petway is another member of the 100 games played club, finished top 40 all time in rebounds and sixth all-time in blocks. Thanks, Brent.
2007-08: Enter John Beilein
John Beilein’s first season in Ann Arbor will go down as one of the worst in Michigan basketball history. It’s funny writing that now. At the time, it was a grind. Players were mismatched in a system that relied on strengths that simply were not there. However, the biggest victory of that year was not any of the 10 that were won on the court. It was John Beilein convincing both Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims to stay with Michigan, despite the departure of Tommy Amaker.
Ron Coleman, was a senior from just down the road in Romulus that year. The team captain who once was an underclassmen three-point specialist for teams that were on the verge of the NCAA tournament saw his role dramatically altered. In the end it was sad seeing Ron Coleman score just 3 points in his Crisler finale. However, true to form, it was a three-pointer. And in the end, that’s exactly how I’ll remember him. Thanks, Ron.
2008-09: Queme Los Barcos
Why hello NCAA tournament. In what was one of the remarkable turnarounds in Michigan history, John Beilein took the previously 10-24 Michigan Wolverins to the NCAA tournament the next year. It was close, though. A packed Crisler Arena waited and waited. Holding our collective breaths as the selection show neared its end before: Kansas City. 7 seed. Clemson. 10 seed: “out of Ann Arbor.” Eruption, craziness, pure bliss. We’re going dancing. My lasting memory that year will be walking around Kansas City with all kinds of Michigan fans and thinking “wow, I am so lucky.” Michigan would pull off the first round upset before falling to the Oklahoma Blake Griffins.
Of course, the 2009 season was that of the walk-on captain point guards: CJ Lee and David Merritt. They’ll forever go down as fan favorite for their steady, if not spectacular, play on court and their true definition of leadership. Neither CJ Lee nor David Merrit are anywhere to be found in the University of Michigan men’s basketball record book. Let that sink in. Yet, they led the Wolverines to their first NCAA tournament appearance in a decade. Thanks, CJ and David.
2009-10: The Doubts Return
Certainly, losing only two walk-on guards and returning two NBA-prospects should result in continued success, right? Such was not the case for the Wolverines. Michigan won their first three games but would never win three consecutive games again for the rest of the year. It was a year that will be defined by the birth of “Death to Backboards” and Evan Turner’s Big Ten tournament stealing half-court heave. In a season that was all kinds of turbulent, it was no shock that Manny Harris decided to forgo his senior seson…
Manny Harris, despite his incompatibility in Beilein’s system, was a key component in leading Michigan “back.” His and-one to seal the upset of Clemson in the 2009 NCAA tournament will be his lasting legacy, however he made his mark in the record books as well. Harris finished tenth all-time in scoring for the Wolverines as well as in the top 35 in rebounding. Harris would go on to sign undrafted with the Cleveland Cavaliers and have some pretty remarkable games for the Cavs.
DeShawn Sims battled through incomparable adversity during his time at Michigan, including the death of his brother. In the end, Sims earned his degree and finished as a team captain that was a major component in the end of the tourney streak. Sims finished sixth all time in games played, 16th in scoring, 13th in rebounding and ninth in field goals made. He’ll forever be remembered for his monster 28 point game against Kyle Singler (who had just 15) in the 2008 upset of Duke. Thanks, DeShawn.
2010-2011: Back to the Tourney
Behind a hot shot sophomore point guard and Tim Hardaway Jr. (sound familiar?) Michigan returned to the tourney in 2011. However, it wasn’t easy. Michigan started Big Ten play 1-6 and there were very audible rumblings for John Beilein’s firing as Michigan stared a 1-7 start dead in the face with a trip to East Lansing on the docket. East Lansing, meet Zack Novak: Novak poured in 19 to save the Michigan season. The Wolverines would go onto win 5 of the next 6 Big Ten games with the only loss at #1 OSU. That turn-around led to a more comfortable berth in the tournament: as a 8 seed in Duke’s regional. That week, the Fab Five documentary came out and all Ann Arbor could talk about was “Shocking the World.” Perhaps it wasn’t the world, but the state of Tennessee was shocked when Michigan ended Bruce Pearl’s career as a Volunteer with a 30 point beat down. Onto Duke. Where Michigan shocked…
Darius Morris’ runner that could have shocked the world was long. Perhaps by an inch. And just like that, his stay in Ann Arbor was over. Though only a two year stay, Morris flourished in John Beilein’s 1-3-1. The 6’4” point guard used his length to perfection in the wacky Beilein zone, and Beilein used his oversized point guard to exploit mismatches throughout the year. Darius would go onto the NBA were he’s enjoying a productive career, but not before: notching the third best assist per game season in Michigan basketball history (behind Cary Grant and Trey Burke), breaking the season assist record (later broken by Burke), 7 total 10-plus assist games, and one of only three triple-doubles in the history of Michigan basketball. Thanks, Darius.
2011-12: Big Ten Champions
With the early departure of Darius Morris, Michigan went to freshmen point guard Trey Burke to guide a mix of veterans and youngsters. Michigan would be ranked for the entire season, peaking at #10 late in the Big Ten season. While Burke proved to be an excellent replacement for the departed Morris, it was the season of senior captains Stu Douglass and Zack Novak.
Two barely-recruited, undersized, white boys from Indiana would lead Michigan to its first Big Ten championship in 26 years.
Stu Douglass – in addition to sporting a Spock-like haircut as a freshmen – was a prototypical example of what a player can be under John Beilein. Initially only an outside shooter (and a streaky one at times), Douglass turned into one of the teams most reliable ball handlers and its best off-ball defender by the end of his senior season – a compliment to both Douglass’ hard work and Beilein’s staff’s ability to develop players. Stu Douglass is the all-time leader in games played at the University of Michigan, beating out his partner in crime by two games. Douglass ranks fifth in career 3-pt field goals made and ninth in minutes played. He was the perfect ying to Zack Novak’s yang, providing a cool and calm leadership that led Michigan to that ever-elusive Big Ten championship. His number may not be retired, he may not be as dramatic and outgoing as #0, but he will never be forgotten by this Michigan basketball fan. Thanks, Stu.
Zack Novak started out as an undersized forward who missed a dunk that almost cost Michigan a win to Savannah St (!!!). He finished as a charge-drawing, dunk contest winning, Blake Griffin-checking stud of a glue man. He wore the number 0 for gosh sakes. A Michigan legend made from hard work, passion, and, yes, grit. As mentioned, Zack finished with two fewer games played than Stu, good for third all-time. He also finished third all-time in starts, behind Louis Bullock and Cary Grant. Novak cracked the top 50 all-time scorers and top 25 all-time rebounders. He finished eight 3-pters ahead of Douglass all-time, good for fourth in Michigan history. Zack Novak is the all-time leader in minutes played at the University of Michigan and is the only three-time captain in the history of the program. Simply a remarkable career. Thanks, Zack.
I didn’t plan writing this. It kind of just happened. And wow, 2,500 words later I am glad I did. I’ve always jokingly (but really serious) described myself as one of the few people who likes Michigan basketball more than Michigan football. I can honestly say I am proud of being a fan at the beginning and now enjoy where Beilein has taken us. I am so proud to call all of the above Michigan Men. Some fellow alumni, some not. But all Michigan Men. Writing this brought back so many great memories and I hope someone reading it feels the same way.
None of these players ever got the opportunity to play in the Final Four. But they are all a part of this. They all have contributed to this. Them and many others.
Enjoy tomorrow. It’s the icing on the cake. Win or lose, it has been a remarkable journey.