EAST LANSING - An unknown assailant spray-painted a block M, similar to the logo of the University of Michigan, on the brick base of Sparty early this morning.
The vandalism occurred between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., MSU Police Sgt. Randy Holton said. The paint was to be removed the campus grounds crew.
I love "unknown assailant," like Sparty is going to need counseling about this or something.
Oh, and, yes, the picture above is a fake. Look at the tree. For some reason an RCMB denizen put it together; maybe he's getting his bow on.
A snake! Awesome work by MATW:
(What the dickens is this? Surely you've seen Badger Badger Badger, no?)
An oldie. WolverineHistorian has put up Michigan-Michigan State 1979:
Audio by Ufer.
Beilein items. More quotes about practice:
"After the fifth or sixth practice, when I knew this is what it's going to be, I had to get over thinking so much and just play ball and just do what he says," said Sims, a sophomore forward. "It's a learning process. Anytime (a coach) transfers from another school and you have young guys who did not have much experience, they've never seen an offense like this before and were never taught the fundamentals leading up to the offense, it's going to be a tough thing."
Manny Harris says "he doesn't give you a chance to slack off," something that would prompt another useless anti-Amaker tirade if it came from a non-freshman.
People are calling:
Since being hired in April to replace Amaker, though, Beilein has learned that coaching at Michigan is not like being at West Virginia or the five smaller schools he has led.
"I've been sitting at home and have had some of the best juniors in the country call me," Beilein said earlier this week in his office. "We haven't had too many of those situations in the past."
Jim Calhoun is effusive:
"There's nothing I can compare to trying to prepare for his offense. It was the hardest thing we ever had to defend because they truly took advantage of you," said UConn coach Jim Calhoun, who faced Beilein annually in the Big East. "As much as you think that you're just going to be able to play, John does something in a very quiet, unassuming way. He creates confidence in his players, and they run their system impeccably. They can adjust in the midst of games, and they play enough different defenses [to keep you honest]."
Okay, so Jim Carty responded to the Friday "Les Miles sux" post and didn't even make any uncomplimentary comparisons about my appearance. I feel heelish; well played. But I still think Miles is a tremendous long shot for a hypothetically available Michigan job. Carty offers up the hiring of John Beilein as evidence that the Michigan of the 70s and 80s and even the early 90s no longer exists:
Here's but one example: When it was first suggested Michigan hire John Beilein to replace Tommy Amaker, the overwhelming opinion among old guard in-state media, and old guard fans, was that Michigan would never approach a coach with a huge buyout, let alone a coach with no Michigan ties and a track record for job hopping.
Time and time again, I was told I didn't know Michigan when I pushed Beilein for the job.
This is not a valid comparison. One: people who said that Michigan would never pay John Beilein's huge buyout were right. Michigan contributed not a dime to it; Beilein and his magic lawyer later got the amount knocked down considerably. Two: Tommy Amaker had no Michigan ties when he was hired and no other candidate suggested or seriously rumored had any. There are precious few Michigan ties around the coaching ranks aside from a couple of NBA assistants. Three: Beilein's job hopping wasn't out of line for any coach working his way up the prestige latter.
The attributes Beilein brings to the job are pure old-school Michigan: an innocuous, genteel public persona. A reputation for cleanliness beyond compare. A focus on fundamentals, execution, and outworking the opponent. The only thing even slightly new school about Beilein is the size of his contract, and Michigan's unwillingness to pay a market rate has been overblown by the media -- primarily Terry Foster -- from day one. Amaker had a market contract when he signed and would have kept pace with his coaching peers if he had achieved any success. His 900k buyout was a "deferred compensation" account he was getting either way. Beilein reinforces the existing stereotypes of Michigan's priorities. They would like to win, yes, but only in a certain way.
Hiring Miles would be a virtual 180 from the Beilein hire, the equivalent of grabbing John Calipari or Bob Huggins. Each has experienced a lot of success with highly recruited athletes; each has been dogged with unproven but persistent rumors about the sort of programs they run; each maintains a sketchy public persona. The problem with Miles isn't that he dropped the f-bomb at an alumni function, it's that he followed that up with intemperate comments about USC and is further whining in the press about how tough the SEC is and how that justifies LSU's candy nonconference scheduling. Maybe the Jerry Springer crowd (w00t cultural references ten years out of date, Simmons has nothing on me) digs his combative style, but dollars to donuts the Michigan athletic department sees it as unprincipled and undignified, especially after last year's Urban Meyer campaigning. Hiring him would be a major departure for the athletic department; the Beilein hire only reinforces that.
This concludes my speculation on the motives and thought processes of others. Personal opinon follows.
Should Miles be given a shot?
I guess he might warrant an interview; I would be disappointed if he was the guy. I assume that LSU and Okie State are the sorts of places that will overlook a lot in the hopes of winning some games, and while Michigan isn't Stanford they do have some standards. If Miles' advantages lie mostly in his willingness to be sketchier than the average bear then he is of little use to Michigan.
Personally, I believe that they do. Okie State was like a slightly better version of Minnesota when Miles was there, and his consecutive two loss seasons at LSU are fairly impressive but are built on a Saban-collected gold mine of talent. While Carty's right that dismissing those results out of hand is excessive, I am disturbed by the widely held opinion amongst SEC fans that Miles is the stupidest coach in the conference. Even LSU fans seem kind of unimpressed.
LSU seems to be a ramshackle train of enormous talent that implodes on a regular basis because it is lax, undisiciplined, and plain dumb. Take Miles away from the ridiculously fertile recruiting grounds of Louisiana and slap his hand when he tries to import guys who can't spell "cat" in three tries and visions of Michigan State dance in front of my eyes. My personal preference is for either a proven tactical expert like Jeff Tedford or someone who will just recruit his ass off. What, exactly, is Les Miles good at? He must be good at something, but I don't know what it is.
Big Ten fretwork. A helpful commenter pointed out an interesting thread on the Big Ten Network taking place at USCHO. There are conflicting accounts about how well channel availability is going. One guy claims to be an insider...
Had a meeting with Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman last night.
...and says things are going swimmingly...
You'll be surprised as to how widespread the network is going to be. Their affiliate sales are going really well, and MANY cable systems are picking up the channel. With over 4 million Big Ten alumni in the country, there is an actual demand for this channel.
though they're on the down low at the moment:
And to answer your questions...
1. None have announced, MANY have agreed. (Thank Fox for pre-existing distribution channels and relationships)
2. Most likely digital for the time being, with a possibility of Big Ten markets having it on basic. (for example, digital in New York City and basic in Lafayette, Indiana)
Unfortunately, someone called up the Big Ten Network and got cold water thrown on them:
I had a long talk with a person at the BTN yesterday. She even went as far as to get some more information and call me back.
None of what I heard was very good. I can't have a dish where I live -- her answer was go to a sports bar when you want to watch something! I have over $5000 invested in my TV system and I am supposed to go to a smoky sports bar
I have been told by TW of SC that they have no interest in putting the BTN on its service.
She told me that a non league football game might be on ESPN Game Plan, but it would have to be an away game for the BT team. She said that ABC will still do splint regional broadcasts and the BT game SHOULD be on ESPN or the Duce. However the Big 12 just got an agreement with ESPN to show football on Saturday nights. Same deal for basketball as it pertains to Full court.
... She inferred to me that TW really has no interest in the BTN unless it is in the BT "footprint"
TW = Time Warner. SC = ??? Southern California? South Carolina?
The initial thought in my head is that the guy who's meeting with the network president gets told a lot of cheerful things to keep morale up that may or may not be true. Given the struggles ESPNU, CSTV, and the NFL Network have had I can't imagine a regional sports network with little in the way of compelling programming (wooo Indiana-Minnesota!) demanding 50% more than the freakin' NFL is going to get anywhere. The only question is how viciously the network plays hardball and how badly out of market fans get jacked up. Michigan is unlikely to be affected since even their games against conference dregs usually end up somewhere on the ABC sports hydra; State, on the other hand...
Public opinion, if the internet is any indication, is quickly turning against the BTN. When it was announced I had a chat with Orson about it; in said chat Orson put on his Oliver Stone hat and envisioned the Big Ten cutting off national access to Big Ten sports in favor of a regional ghetto high in the 200s no one gets or watches. I haughtily dismissed his concerns as far fetched. No one would be that stupid, right? Well, we are talking about a conference whose commissioner thought it a good idea to call SEC teams unscrupulous puppy killers in public after his two premiere teams had just been waxed unmercifully. So, yeah. The Big Ten might be that stupid. All I know is that if I am wandering into a sports bar this year to watch anything other than hockey, the conference has gotten too big for its britches and Jim Delaney should be shot into the sun.
Three three three. Beilein must have had a press conference or something, because a week after the proposed change in the three point line became public knowledge the Ann Arbor News, Free Press, Detroit News, and Daily all have articles on it. The News breaks out a useful graphic:
I've been in favor of moving the line back for a long time. See this post from last February:
A quick glance at Big Ten Wonk's statistics reveals that over a third (34.3%) of all shots launched in the Big Ten are (high-variance, probably ill-chosen) threes. By comparison, fewer than 20% of shots in the NBA are three-pointers. No doubt there are a multitude of reasons for this--lack of dudes like Lebron or Kobe who can drive with impunity, the tendency of college teams to pack the lane--but foremost among them is the three point line, which is almost close enough to make any two-point shot a bad one. Let's leave the kiddie line in high schools and obsolete the term "NBA three." Please.
So I'm happy about the change, though I'm less happy than I would be if we hadn't just hired a coach who loves to shoot the three. Beilein was tacitly against the change when asked:
"I'm an if it's not broken, don't fix it type of guy," Beilein said. "But most of my contemporaries felt this was a good move, and it wasn't a battle that I needed to win. ... We can adapt -- there is no question about it."
Many of Beilein's drills already involve shooting from a variety of distances, so the likely change may not be a major disruption. He also insisted Wednesday that the perception that his team relies primarily on the three-pointer is overblown.
"Absolutely," he said. "We've had games where we didn't shoot that many threes and we drove the ball and back-doored and scored most of our baskets inside -- far more baskets inside the arc.
"We mix it up pretty much. We try and do what the best way to win would be."
Though I am so totally in love with him, this is spin. It's clear the college three-point line was broken. When over a third of your shots are threes, something's wrong. Also, though Beilein attempts to downplay the importance of the three in his offense, Kenpom calls him a liar. (Perhaps this is not fair to Kenpom. Fine: reality calls him a liar.)
The last two years approximately half of West Virginia's field goal attempts have been threes. Michigan will be hurt more than most other teams by the change; Beilein will either have to adapt his styl
e to take fewer or live with lower percentages. I think there's evidence he's willing to do the former. In discussions of the 1-3-1 zone he's implied strongly that he's not married to any one particular style of play. As a guy who's dragged himself up through the coaching ranks he's had to be flexible and innovative; one way to do this was to attack a failing in the rules by jacking up all sorts of threes. If that's less broken he'll exploit it less.
To be fair, Beilein does have a point about the sorts of threes his team takes: many aren't exactly toes on the line. He has his kids practice from the NBA line and in the game many of the shots from the outside are from the outside, a foot or three behind the existing line. The Daily:
Beilein said he didn't think the new line would make much of a difference anyway, even when first implemented. He said many players already shoot from the new distance, and some even shoot better from farther out because they have a better follow through on those shots.
Beilein already uses the NBA 3-point line in practices to help ensure his players don't get locked into shooting from only a few spots. And he said he would gradually adjust to using the new distance, but won't worry about it until after next season.
Bottom line: expect a negative effect but I don't think it will be pronounced.
Light posting today.
I'll take "more players with W" for 600. Woodson yesterday, Wheatley today. What happened to the electric speed in the NFL? One of the perpetual mysteries.
Pay that lawyer! How on earth did John Beilein squeeze out of 40% of his buyout? The wording on the contract seemed clear enough to me, though it didn't specify a payment schedule: 500k per year remaining on the contract. Somehow, Beilein managed to hack that down:
As a result, Beilein, now at Michigan, will have to pay only $1.5 million over the next five years.
"After very productive discussions with Bob Fitzsimmons ... we are pleased to have finalized the details related to Coach Beilein's departure from the university," Dorer said in the media release.
"Obviously, from the fact we reached an agreement, both parties wanted to move on and amicably resolve any issues."
Beilein will pay installments of $300,000 over the next five years to the West Virginia University Foundation. The first installment is due in April 2008 and the final one in April 2012, WVU said.
...and since he doesn't have to start paying until next year and has spread it out over five years, the present value of the money he has to pay out is something even lower than the 1.5 million. Plus, the fact that the money is specifically being donated to the "West Virginia University Foundation" makes one think that it may be classified as a tax-deductible donation. That's some good law-talking right there.
Oh, snap. I'm terribly sorry about that bolded section header. I am, truly. Anyway, graduating long snapper Turner Booth is probably going to get an NFL job because he's awesome at it:
A dozen or so NFL teams have expressed an interest, Booth said. ESPN's draft guide rates Booth as the top long snapper available. And his agent, who represents three of the league's long snappers, said his client has what it takes.
"I saw him snap this year and last year and thought he did an excellent job,'' said Kevin Gold, Booth's Harrisburg, Pa.-based agent. "He's also got the size NFL teams like.''
This can only mean that Michigan will dominate long snapper recruiting for the forseeable future. Watch out, USC!
I am writing this extremely coherent and awesome text message to you. No more hilarious abbreviations when discussing text messaging, which has been officially officially banned for, like, the sixth time. Coaches, naturally, are displeased...
Most coaches have expressed dismay over the loss of text messaging. The American Football Coaches Association beseeched the Division I Board to delay action and find a compromise. The AFCA didn't know the game already had been decided.
...and those who converse with them regularly are jumping aboard. Ivan Maisel:
So score one for the Luddites. The NCAA may have become an old man at the beach, bucket in hand, intent on holding back the tide of technology that has washed over modern life. Said [UF OC Dan] Mullen, "I have had a couple of recruits ask, 'How are we going to communicate?'"
Florida must be recruiting the best and brightest if they can't figure out how to scroll down to "Urban Meyer" and push the green button on their phone. Recruits have always been able to voluntarily initiate conversations -- why do you think so many text are dead period CALL ME NOWs? -- and the NCAA isn't changing that, they're just preventing the unchecked spread of irritating behavior. College head coaches have proven time and again that without regulation they are psycho hose beasts...
...with no use for decorum. (French!) No one is hurt by the text messaging ban. Recruits will no longer be reminded to go to school. They will still communicate with the universities that are recruiting them whenever they want. Coaches can stop getting carpal tunnel texting inanities and
spend some time with the family review more film. I guess Verizon is pissed, but whatever.
The Ann Arbor News reports that Beilein has settled on one member of his staff:
Two weeks after leaving for an assistant coach's position with Illinois State, Mike Jackson is back with the Michigan men's basketball team.
Jackson resigned Monday at Illinois State and will be the first member of new Michigan coach John Beilein's staff.
Jackson was supposed to be the member of the staff closest to Legion and Harris, so this can't hurt with their re-recruitment.
Re-recruiting. With Beilein in as coach there are two major items on the Michigan agenda before the season: hiring assistant coaches and trying to keep the recruiting class intact. Beilein has implied in his numerous -- four appearances yesterday, Rome today -- radio appearances and press conferences that while most of his staff would be coming from West Virginia, there was at least one spot he was earmarking for someone with local recruiting ties.
An interesting name that a couple commenters have brought up is former Arkansas assistant Oronde Taliaferro. Taliaferro played at Detroit Mumford and Wayne State, coached Detroit Central for four years, and was hired by Heath, then at Kent State. Heath may want him on his staff at South Florida, but if he wants a more prominent job and a bigger paycheck Michigan could probably tempt him. Nathan Fenno floats Taliaferro and Amaker assistant Mike Jackson, who just took a job at Illinois State, in an Ann Arbor News article today. There's also been purely internet-based speculation about bringing in a Fab Fiver. Jalen Rose is probably not an option just yet, but Jimmy King has been hanging around the program in recent weeks. Maybe he's looking for a job?
On the recruiting front, the News got this quote from Legion's mom:
"Al talked with him (Beilein) for an hour on Wednesday," Williams said. " When you have a ballplayer like Al, it's not about him. What's important are the players you have around him."
I have no idea how to parse that quote or what it means. But there you go. It is good that they talked for "about an hour" yesterday and are meeting in person today. There's been a lot of chatter that Legion isunlikely to stay on board, but at least he's giving Michigan a shot. Meanwhile, a brief, dubiously-sourced panic spread on Michigan message boards about an imminent Manny Harris decommit to Tennessee. That hasn't transpired. Harris took in Michigan's first practice under Beilein and was reportedly going to meet with him again today or tomorrow. Kelvin Grady remains on vacation in Mexico.
Meanwhile, at least three WVU players are getting R-U-N-N-O-F-T by new 'Eer head coach Bob "Satan" Huggins. The Charleston Gazette pulls no punches:
But according to a source at Kansas State Thursday night, Huggins had already contacted one of his other signed recruits, North Carolina shooting guard Dominique Sutton, and told him that three West Virginia players were going to transfer and that there would be room for Sutton, Beasley and perhaps more.
It should be interesting to see not only whom it is that plans to transfer, but also whether they've been told they plan to transfer yet.
Zing! If Legion or another recruit defects and there's a WVU player out there Beilein likes he might end up here. (Sidenote: I was all set to have a lasting fondness for the WVU basketball team and then they had to go and hire the bar-none most loathsome coach in all sports. Yuck.)
About supermega recruits. They're often cited as a reason that the Beilein hire is a bad idea: he's not going to reel in Oden and Conley and etc. But let's compare Team A and Team B side by side. 1-5 is the starting five and 6 and 7 are the first players off the bench.
|Team A||Team B|
|Player 1||4*, #31||4*, #28|
|Player 2||4*, #36||4*, #36|
|Player 3||4*, #75||4*, #71|
|Player 6||4*, #45||4*, #31|
The teams are nearly identical. If you want to give one team a slight edge in recruiting it's team B, which happens to be this year's Michigan team. (Somewhat shocking: Lester Abram was an unranked 3-star.) Team A?
More sale! Note to anyone contemplating a "Jimmy Clausen is an Emu" baseball jersey purchase...
Be advised that entering the code "FASTBALL" in the designated savings field will result in 21% being hacked off its price.
Speaking of Jimmy King and four other guys (warning! dangerously high Stuart Scott levels!)...
For the love of God. Don't click here. I'm mortified.