Pop quiz: why we done lost? Answers are bandied about.
The Morgan question. Hashed and rehashed.
The inexplicable Dick Vitale. Calling something awesome is a stupid catch phrase. Raftery doodles the word "onions" and this makes him superior.
Football recruiting! Boring at this juncture but boring in a good way. Our discussion touches on Kyle Bosch, Wyatt Shallman, Damario Jones, and Malik McDowell amongst others.
Talking Big Ten with Jamiemac. Jamie has a rough ride as we ask him which team he sided with on Saturday, and he punts. Front-running accusations are leveled! A duel may result. Also we talk the top of the Big Ten, the conference race,
The usual links:
2/2/2013 – Michigan 73, Indiana 81 – 20-2, 7-2 Big Ten
Midway through the second half, Michigan popped into a 1-3-1 zone for a possession. I did not like this. I immediately thought "you can't run this defense with Jordan Hulls on the floor," and Indiana duly tossed the ball around the perimeter until Hulls was presented with an open three-pointer. He knocked it down. The 1-3-1 did not reappear.
Hulls didn't do much other than that. Unfortunately for Michigan, two of the other things he did were bury two more open threes; he missed only once. This is what you expect from Jordan Hulls, and it's why he's out there trying to check dudes a half-foot taller than him on defense.
To beat a team with a guy who shoots like that playing next to a sticky-fingered nightmare of a defender, the man Hulls is checking has to at least keep pace with the guy. Nik Stauskas didn't. He, too, is the sort of player that sends you to your toes when he's left wide open in transition, the sort of shooter that can create a buzz in an arena before the ball has even left his hand. He, too, had four good looks from three before the game had been decided. He missed all of them. (Hulls fouled him on a fifth.) The fourth miss was incredible, deflating, infuriating. This is not what is expected.
In a game where just about everything else did go as expected, that seems like the difference between a rock-'em-sock-'em affair ending at the buzzer and the marginally exciting contest that instead unfolded: Michigan's best shooter did not hit when presented with excellent looks.
And they were excellent. I'm not sure if Michigan came out with a concerted plan to emphasize the Hulls-Stauskas matchup or if Stauskas improvising based on his belief that Hulls couldn't check him; either way Michigan came out of the gate attacking that guy, and for naught. Stauskas drove for marginally-contested layups, and missed. He was found for marginally- or un-contested threes and missed. Michigan launched itself into desperation mode with two minutes left down nine, down exactly the same number of points Hulls had tossed in from behind the arc and Stauskas hadn't.
This is not to pile on Stauskas, who played about as well as he could up until the moment he let a shot go. This was not the Ohio State game, when he could not move towards the basket and found himself hacked out of the offense, reduced to jacking up deep, contested threes out of frustration.
When Stauskas made contact with Hulls he was largely quieted—along with the zone three two of his other looks came in transition. Stauskas didn't turn the ball over and had a couple assists. I can't recall any frustration shots launched. Afterwards, Beilein revealed Stauskas had missed practice the day before with the flu. Independent random trials can be a bitch even when you're healthy.
But there it is. While Glenn Robinson sputtered to two points and contributed little else in 40 minutes, his presence in the game always feels light. He largely cleans up other people's misses or throws down their assists. His absence or presence is something felt less viscerally than thinking TAKE THAT at maximum brain volume and seeing something betray Nik Stauskas's swag.
So it goes. Sometimes the damn thing won't go in the basket. The only thing to do is keep shooting.
Protip: stop falling behind by lots in tough road games. Against OSU, Michigan's offense came out discombobulated and staked the opponent to a 21-point lead. In this one, Michigan's defense couldn't make a rotation or stop the ball in the first ten minutes and staked the opponent to a 15-point lead.
Protip: once you have fallen behind by lots in a tough road game and come storming back, DO NOT TIE THE GAME. When this happened in Columbus Michigan started jacking up bad shots and was on the wrong end of a decisive 6-0 run. In Bloomington they managed to tie the game just a few minutes into the second half, and then suffered an 11-0 run.
Clearly a mandate must go out indicating that it's threes only if you have fallen behind by lots only to claw back and find yourself down two in a tough road game. No more ties. No more.
Protip: just predict what Kenpom predicts. Twice this year arrogant predictor guys at this very website have arrogantly deviated from the Great Book Of Kenpom and predicted road victories, first myself for the OSU game and then Ace for Saturday. Kenpom was off by a total of three points in these games. Yea, and it was wroth.
Halftime adjustments check: no. Michigan clawed back to even after five minutes, but then suffered the aforementioned run.
The Morgan question. Was his absence a major problem? The two minutes on a gimpy ankle he got seems to indicate the answer is yes, as does Indiana shooting 59% from 2. McGary's box score says no: 5/7 from the floor, 3 OREB, 4 DREB, an assist, 0 TO, two blocks, two steals, and a Wes Unseld hockey assist not recorded. Horford added a couple buckets, blocks and turnovers in ten minutes.
In the aftermath I've seen various folk complain about McGary overhelping and thus setting up Cody Zeller's three tip dunks, but if Oladipo is screaming at the basket that seems McGary has a bad choice either way. By helping McGary forced tougher shots and misses on those, at least. If he's not there and Oladipo throws down a rim-rattling dunk, um… well, that's not good either. It seems like the problem there is on the initial drive and McGary is picking the lesser of two evils.
Because this is an attempt to quantify the defensive prowess of an individual player, we of course have wildly differing metrics here. Some low-sample-size Synergy data from UMHoops suggests that Morgan is by far the better defender. That is in direct conflict with some low-sample-size data Ace assembled that suggests Michigan is a crap-ton better with McGary on the floor.
I don't know, man. Keep "road game at Indiana" in perspective here: despite giving up 1.17 PPP, Michigan's defensive ranking on Kenpom actually moved up slightly after the game. If Indiana shot too well from two they also got up far fewer shots than Michigan thanks in large part to McGary, and without the intentional fouls at the end of the game that PPP rate drops to 1.10. It's complicated.
One spot at which Morgan may have helped: the four. Michigan hasn't taken Glenn Robinson off the floor since Morgan got hurt, and in this game he wasn't doing anything to justify 40 minutes. Morgan would have brought extra rebounding and been better able to hold up against Christian Watford on the block; Robinson would probably have been more effective if he knew he was going to get some rest here and there.
Speaking of the overhelping bit. I think we can put the Tim Hardaway Jr lockdown defender meme to rest. Oladipo roared into the paint with frequency against him, hitting 5/9 from two and IIRC having two of those misses thundered back into the basket by Zeller since he'd drawn two guys.
Hardaway's better than last year; in no way, shape, or form does he approach the level of an impact perimeter defender like, say, that Oladipo guy.
Hardaway was an effective shooter in this one, largely when Oladipo switched off onto Burke.
Oblig. Burke check. Hoo boy he put up a lot of shots: 24 in total. We should remove the rushed heaves at the end of the game to get a better picture of what he did when quality was more important than quantity. This slices out four 3PA, one of which went down, and two generous assists on similarly rushed heaves by Hardaway and Stauskas.
Those excised, Burke:
- 5/12 from 2
- 3/8 from 3
- 3/4 from the line
- 6 A, 3 TO, 2 steals, 2 OREB(!)
- 22 points on 20 shots
Burke was tasked with a good number of Oh God Oh Jesus Oh God late-clock possessions as Indiana's defense came to play; he had difficulty with Oladipo, as you might expect. His numbers would have been less extreme and likely less inefficient if Stauskas had been healthy and accurate. As it was more and more of the offense devolved onto him.
He carried Michigan when they had to be carried. To exceed a point per shot against a top-tier defense while sucking up 40% of Michigan's possessions is remarkable.
Oblig. ref check. Fouls were even before Michigan went into game extension mode. There was a 15 to 7 FTA disparity for Indiana that seems mostly attributable to random chance. Two goofy calls stood out: the Oladipo continuation bucket and a blocking foul assigned to Hardaway that was a textbook charge—one, in fact, that Hardaway repeated moments later, getting the call.
Rebounding check. Michigan lost the battle on the boards thanks in no small part to those Zeller slams. It was close—29% to 34%—though, far less of a factor than IU doubling up Michigan when it came to turnovers.
The bright side! This may put a damper on GRIII to NBA worries?
"Cumong man" of the game. Indiana hit 88% of their free throws and didn't miss once in their last 14 tries. This is not conducive to exciting finish, Indiana. I am dissapoint.
The oddity of having a really good basketball team. You get punished by having Dick Vitale assigned to your games. I've always experienced him as an annoying presence on Duke broadcasts I'm not going to watch more than a few minutes of; this year I've finally been exposed to 40 minutes of the guy repeatedly.
I am not enjoying this experience. Take it away, Wikipedia:
He is known for catchphrases such as "baby"
The worst part is that when Vitale finally retires—he's 73—the ESPN executives who have not ordered him to do middle school games at 3 AM on ESPN3 will slide a howler monkey into his place and hope no one notices.
I wonder how Duke fans must feel about the guy. Sure, he's basically an extension of your university but even when he's yelling inanities in favor of your team, they are still inanities detracting from the important thing you are trying to pay attention to. And he is omnipresent. I don't think I could deal, man. We should have asked Jamiemac—who admitted no rooting interest in Saturday's game!—about that when we were quizzing him about the Yankees' chances this year in the podcast.
Anyway, in most other sports ascending to the big time level is a reward. Gary Thorne does the NCAA hockey tournament, and Sean McDonough will do your college football games. People bag on Musberger but I like him, and there's no comparison between Vitale and Herbstreit. Big NBA games get you Marv Albert.
I guess Tim McCarver and Jim Nantz do loom, but what this is all about is WHERE'S GUS JOHNSON, STRING?
HUH? WHERE IS GUS? STRING!
It's strange to me that I love Raftery and Gus Johnson so much and find Vitale so detestable. All three bring buckets of enthusiasm and get criticized for it by haters. I am only in that group for the last guy. Maybe it's because "baby" is not a catch phrase, it is a useless appendage, where as "onions" is delightful and Gus Johnson makes lip-curling noises.
Does anyone like Vitale? Stand and be heard. I want to know if he appeals to anyone. We should do announcer approval ratings.
…will start an hour before the game so you can have a little Q & A time with our guest hosts, Brandon Williams and Ronald Bellamy, who are here on behalf of our sponsor. Bellamy (RonaldBellamy19) coaches football at West Bloomfield High School; Williams (bwilliams12) is executive director of Go Blue Then and Now, and also advises various athlete foundations.
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Before you Enter:
Read the Liveblog Chaos Mitigation Post.
|WHAT||Michigan at Indiana|
|WHERE||Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana|
|WHEN||9:00 PM Eastern, Saturday|
|LINE||Indiana –6 (Kenpom)|
Right: Victor Oladipo is terrifying, frankly.
One team stands between Michigan and sole control of the Big Ten, not to mention a likely perch atop both national polls. That team, of course, is Indiana, whose lone losses have come in overtime against Butler (neutral-site) and at home in a textbook Wisconsin slugfest.
Indiana's national player of the year candidate is seven-foot center Cody Zeller, an offensive force thanks to deft touch around the basket (69% on FGs at the rim, per hoop-math), decent mid-range shooting, one of the highest drawn foul rates in the country (7.0/40 min.[!]), and stellar offensive rebounding. He's also a very good defensive rebounder who provides a solid shot-blocking presence. He'll be a huge test for a Michigan team that should be without Jordan Morgan, their best on-ball defender among their big men.
Indiana's other national player of the year candidate is 6'5" wing Victor Oladipo, a brutally efficient shooter—making 69% of his twos and 18-of-34 threes—who hits the offensive glass nearly as frequently as Zeller. Oh, and he's also one of the best defenders in the nation at any position, boasting the #12 steal rate in the country along with his fair share of blocks. The big question for this game is who Oladipo will guard. Will Crean match him up with Trey Burke, in an effort to stymie Michigan's pick-and-roll game like Ohio State did with Aaron Craft? Or does that create too many other matchup issues, leading Crean to put him on Tim Hardaway Jr. or even Nik Stauskas? That largely depends upon what they do with...
...6'0" shooting guard Jordan Hulls, one of the most efficient offensive players in the country thanks to his dead-eye outside shooting (48.1% from three, where he takes 64% of his shots). His lethal shot adds much the same dimension to Indiana's offense that Stauskas's does for Michigan—never, ever help off of Hulls—but on the other end of the floor he's something of a liability. Indiana has three options defensively thanks to his shortcomings, which guarantee he won't match up with Burke: (1) play Oladipo on Burke and hope Hulls can hold his own against Stauskas, (2) go to a 2-3 zone, which they've done to middling success before and could go south in a hurry against Michigan's shooters, or (3) bite the bullet and lessen his minutes in favor of his more defensively proficient backups.
6'9" power forward Christian Watford isn't the most complete player, but he does a few things very well—namely, shoot threes (48%), get to the line, and hit the defensive boards. Watford drives Indiana fans a little crazy, however, because he's prone to inconsistency, hasn't developed an offensive game inside the arc (42% from two), and isn't a great defender. He'll be an interesting matchup for Glenn Robinson III—if Watford loses track of GRIII on the defensive end, there could be fireworks.
Freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell is living up to his five-star hype, though the numbers may not suggest as much. While he isn't a great shooter and has been prone to freshman mistakes (including seven turnovers in the last two games), he runs the offense well and plays very solid defense, especially for a freshman. Ferrell isn't afraid to step up in big moments, either—if the game is on the line, expect the ball to at least start in his hands.
Like Michigan, Indiana doesn't use their bench too often, nor do they go very deep. 6'7" wing Will Sheehy is the only bench player to crack 40% of IU's available minutes (he's at 54%). Sheehy is a solid shooter both inside and outside the arc and gives Crean the option to go with a bigger lineup. 6'4" wing Remy Abell is in much the same mold. The Hoosiers will rarely go beyond the seven players above, especially in a game of this magnitude.
Indiana has eight wins against KP100 opponents but are somewhat lacking in the signature win department: their nine-point home win over Minnesota is looking less impressive by the day, while their best road win came at Iowa (they did beat #26 Georgetown in overtime at a neutral site). Their two losses, covered above, were upsets but by no means embarrassing ones.
Four factors, conference play only:
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||53.3 (2)||19.9 (10)||39.2 (2)||52.1 (1)|
|Defense||44.3 (3)||22.0 (1)||32.8 (8)||27.9 (5)|
This may be the ultimate "something has to give" game. On offense, Indiana does two things extremely well outside of shooting the basketball: rebound and draw fouls. Michigan is #12 nationally in defensive rebounding and the best team in the country at keeping opponents off the free-throw line.
On the other end, Indiana's forte is forcing turnovers, a huge key for getting their offense going. What does Michigan do better than any team in the conference? Not turn the ball over, naturally. The team that is able to play their game is going to win, plain and simple.
Get Hulls off the court. While Sheehy and Abel are solid players, Hulls adds a completely different dimension to Indiana's offense by forcing defenses to respect his outside shot and being able to create that shot off the dribble—he's More Than Just A Spot-Up Shooter™, which is what makes him so dangerous. Indiana is going to have to hide him defensively, however, so if Michigan can identify that matchup and exploit it until Indiana is forced to choose between getting firebombed and taking one of their main offensive weapons off the court, that's a huge advantage for Michigan. If Hulls ends up on Stauskas, which is what I expect, I bet you'll see Stuaskas in a lot of pick-and-roll situation, where he's lethal even when he doesn't have a six-inch size advantage.
Stay out of foul trouble up front. This was a key for Horford and McGary against Northwestern and they combined for just four fouls, but the Wildcats aren't familiar with the concept of a post presence, let alone one as dangerous as Cody Zeller. This is not the game for Michigan to try and survive with Max Bielfeldt playing 15-20 minutes.
Stay aggressive, guards. That said, Michigan would like to find a way to get some easy points in transition, and they've been able to do that lately with Trey Burke being far more aggressive defensively. Burke's going against a freshman point guard who's been prone to turnovers, so I'd love to see him continue to attack the ball and try to fluster Ferrell into mistakes. The team that can hold onto the ball while getting out in transition should win this game, so along those lines...
Hold onto the damn ball. Self-explanatory.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT
THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES RIGHTEOUS VICTORY
Michigan by 1
With all due respect to KenPom, Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, the voodoo of Assembly Hall, and everything else favoring Indiana, I have to go with Michigan for one simple reason: the matchups. When Indiana has the ball, Michigan at least knows which of their starters is going to match up with each of Indiana's: Burke on Farrell, Stauskas on Hulls, Hardaway on Oladipo, Robinson on Watford, Horford/McGary on Zeller. Whether they'll be greatly effective is another issue, but at least the matchups make sense.
On the other end, Indiana has a huge problem, and that problem is slowing down the Burke/Hardaway/Stauskas triumvirate when two of their starting guards are each 6'0" tall—a freshman and a defensive liability, respectively. I don't think Indiana will be able to stay in a zone, not against Michigan's shooters, and that means either living with a terrible matchup (likely Hulls on Stauskas) or benching one of their best offensive weapons.
In a game with two teams this good, even at Indiana, I think that's enough to swing the result in favor of the good guys.
Crimson and Crodcast. I appear on CrimsonCast talking about the game. I'm not very audible early, unfortunately.
FRAN! I ALREADY TOLD YOU THE MORTGAGE RATE WILL ADJUST IN FIVE YEARS HOW HARD IS THIS TO UNDERSTAND
GET OUT OF MY BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANK
(Iowa beat Penn State too narrowly for McCaffery's taste.)
Glory grasped. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl champs, man.
It doesn't get any better than this you guys.
Statistical indications. Dylan's hookup with Synergy Sports makes me all jealous and stuff, because he can tell you that Indiana's not real good at defending the pick and roll:
The Hoosiers rank in just the16th percentile nationally while defending pick and roll ball handlers. Michigan happens to have one of the best ball screen offenses in the country including the two best ball screen scorers in the league. …
For comparison, Ohio State – who stifled Michigan’s ball screen offense – surrenders just .56 PPP to screen and roll ball handlers (89th percentile) and .82 PPP to roll men (77th percentile).
There's still something that seems strange with those number since it seems impossible that allowing 0.84 points a possession on anything is, like, bad, but the percentiles are the percentiles. When it comes to the pick and roll, Indiana finds themselves squarely between Northwestern and Penn State:
Not where you want to be. Also note that Michigan's the best team in the league at defending the pick and roll what with their hard hedging.
Anyway, Burke and Stauskas's proficiency with the P&R will hopefully force Indiana to do things they don't want to—like play zone—or lead to lots of that scoring stuff.
Dylan also brings up a salient point from last year: Crean put Christian Watford on Burke, like, a lot. Given the relative success Illinois had at holding Burke's numbers down by switching Nnanna Egwu onto him in the pick and roll we might see something similar, at least until Mitch McGary rebounding against Yogi Ferrell becomes a bit of an issue.
More indications of how this is probably going to go. Barry Alvarez is on record that he would like to see Wisconsin play Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska yearly in the Rhombus of Hate. Add that to the pile of evidence suggesting the Big Ten will tear up the Where Is Wisconsin and Why Is Wisconsin Here divisions for the conference's brief stop at 14 teams.
Speaking of The Big Ten, Too model:
“Based on the last three years I’ve been in this business, you’d be crazy not to think about it," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said. "But it’s hard to model anything because you don’t know what to model. The minute you get yourself convinced that you’re going to go from 14 to 16, for all you know you’re going to 18, and a lot of people think the ultimate landing place is 20. Who knows?"
I guess it's a better ideal than this bit.
Gene Smith's still pushing for ten conference games, BTW.
Frieder: still mad. Bill Frieder's been making the rounds this week and seems to have a little bit of bitterness left over from his matchups at Assembly Hall back in the day:
"The hostility of that crowd and everything else you have to go against at Indiana (is tough)," he said. "You usually won't get good officiating at Indiana, you usually get a bad call or something bad with the administration along the sideline. There's something to do with the shot clock or the clock not starting on time.
"You'll have everything going against you, so you'll have to play extremely well to win the game. ... When you play Indiana at Indiana and they're a top five team, you're going to be the underdog, no matter where you're ranked."
If the second half goes anything like Illinois's against MSU last night I won't stop twitching for weeks.
Etc.: MSU guard Travis Trice apparently fine after nasty hit to head last night. More on the "catfishing" story, which I stopped caring about a lot faster than everyone else. Everyone's in a tizzy about whether in fact the term was used. Indiana-Michigan previews from Inside the Hall and the Crimson Quarry. Also UMHoops.