...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
Iowa: not very good. BHGP on the Hawkeye depth chart at guard and RB:
IOWA FOOTBALL TAKES ON MICHIGAN SATURDAY (/GROAN).Here's the two-deeps. Conor Boffeli is your left guard this week. Jordan Walsh, Austin Blythe, Nolan MacMillan and Boffeli have all had a turn playing turnstile there since Brandon Scherff and Andrew Donnal left the Penn State game due to injury. Neither Mark Weisman nor Brad Rogers are listed at running back or fullback.
Last week, Damon Bullock got to play an Iowan version of Poor Damn Toussaint, rushing for 1.9 yards a carry against Purdue, the #85 rushing D in the country. Iowa is not good. FWIW, the game was off the board yesterday but has now been set at Michigan –20. Iowa is not good.
YAHHHHHHHHHH / Bryan Fuller
Basketball: possibly very good. I took in my first non-tiny-stream version of Michigan basketball last night*, and this happened:
"I probably should've dunked it," the Michigan freshman forward joked. "I missed a little tip-in, I was kind of upset about that."
It was awful. I'm so depressed.
The Wolverines' freshman forward showed off every facet of his game, and his potential, scoring 21 points on 8 of 9 shooting. He went 3-for-3 from behind the 3-point line, he finished off alley-oop dunks and even grabbed six rebounds.
Oh right that part well you guys just aren't demanding enough excellence. It is only by doing so on the internet that excellence can be achieved.
But seriously folks. !!!
Let us take a brief moment to consider Jordan Morgan, who continues to lose weight and get more athletic. He uses this additional athleticism to be incredibly annoying. Here is a screen in your face. Here is a hedge of your screen that puts you in the corner six feet from the three point line. Also it comes with free batting at the ball. He is going to rotate back now and not block your shot but just make it so that when you jump you're bouncing off him a little. And then he will run the floor.
Morgan's still undersized and may still be foul-prone against better competition, but this year Michigan can turn to Mitch McGary and Jon Horford when that happens instead of a badly miscast Evan Smotrycz, so I don't even care that much except Morgan does seem a step or two better than those guys because of the aforementioned embodiment of the most annoying noise in the world.
Big guys have a tendency to make that senior step up—Chris Young, Pete Vignier, Graham Brown—that makes them loveable lunch-bucket little-coaching-squee machines, and Morgan is in that year even if he's a junior thanks to the redshirt. There's a reason he's starting.
He'll probably see his minutes reduced against teams that can put out a post guy who can simply outhuge him; other than that it's going to be hard to get him off the floor.
- Vogrich > Stauskas at the moment because of defense, Stauskas > anyone in terms of three point shooting ever. Totally not getting ahead of myself based on three games.
- The defense started off a little ugly, but after it was 26-25 ten minutes in the Jags scored only 29 more points in the final 30 minutes. It doesn't seem like it will be a strength, though. That's the tangible thing Michigan will miss without Novak/Douglass.
- Jon Horford thunderdunk + Tim Hardaway thunderdunk + GRIII alley-oop festival == John Beilein looking at his team, thinking about the dudes he coached at Cansisius and wondering if it's even the same sport.
- Not a huge fan of the two post setup. If you're going to do that one of them has to be able to operate out of the high post or shoot—not necessarily threes, but midrange jumpers—and I'm not sure Michigan's posts are prepared to do that yet. McGary might be a high post guy in time. They'll probably run it 10 minutes a game or so.
- McGary's blown layup thing definitely looked like a guy used to having more up than he currently has. Looks like he'll have time to round into shape.
- Fact: Spike Albrecht is better than half of the guys Amaker recruited.
- Hardaway took no threes. In fact, there were exactly two shots all game that irritated me, one a long contested heat check Burke three, the other a long Hardaway two with 20 seconds on the shot clock. Two is kind of an amazing low number.
*[Defensive defense of self: It's hard for me to carve out the time to go to Crisler early in the week because I am working so hard for you, reader, and hockey versus MSU against BBball versus Slippery Rock is no contest.]
The vexer is now the vexee! Or maybe vice-versa. I'm vexed.
Will Campbell wrapping up vexing career by playing his best football
Commence the Rodriguez rabbling!
"It's been bumpy, it's been up and down," Campbell said. "I wish I was under this coaching staff all four years, but I wasn't, so the opportunities they gave me I just tried to capitalize on.
"I'm not saying that (the previous staff held me back). I was just lazy and young, and didn't realize the opportunities in front of me."
You could have had a stuffed animal rubbed on your face, man. That was the opportunity you missed in favor of eating cheeseburgers and playing video games. Verdict: good call.
Format set, mostly. The people who made the playoff thing got together to hammer out some playoff details. They are:
- A 12-year contract featuring a bucket of money delivered by ESPN.
- The Rose, Sugar, and Orange Bowl all have set lineups, with the Orange featuring the ACC champ versus the highest ranked SEC/Big Ten/Notre Dame entity that did not make the playoff or the Rose/Sugar.
- The highest ranked team from a minor conference—Big East now included—gets an auto bid to an "access" bowl. In years when the Rose/Sugar/Orange are all out of the semifinal business that means there is essentially one slot up for grabs.
- It's unclear what happens when the Rose hosts a semi and the Fiesta/Cotton/Peach bowls are acquiring teams. When the Rose/Sugar are hosting semis they will not allow the Big Ten or SEC champ to be in the Orange Bowl to make the Fiesta/Cotton/Peach setups more attractive in a long term TV contract.
- There is another bucket of money coming for the title game.
More documents, more facepalming for the NCAA. Get The Picture has been all over every document released as part of the Ed O'Bannon case's discovery process, and here's the latest palm-to-forehead moment:
Davis then writes: "Here's my concern -- Eil [sic] is a current player on the Ole Miss team. Is using his actual number and attributes (height, race, etc.) too close to reality thereby using Eli's likeness (if not his name) and causing an eligibility issue?"
Another NCAA staffer, Melissa Caito, wrote in response: "Pls be cautious as you move through this -- any more 'watering down' of the video games will likely move the manufacturers to cease operations with us."
I'm not a lawyer, but that seems bad.
Another document made public Monday by the plaintiffs lawyers showed the results of an NCAA commercialism and licensing survey in which 12 of 150 responding Division I schools said they "engage in the sale of licensed products bearing a current student-athlete's individual likeness."
This was 2004 to 2006. I wonder what constitutes "likeness" here—it's possible some schools admit that putting 16 on a jersey and selling it is enough, while others are like "16, never heard of him, who's named 16 lol nobody."
Etc.: MGoUser hops on reddit to ask if people actually show up at other schools. Burke is now 20, also scoring and assisting. Billy Taylor documentary is FRIDAY FRIDAY FRIDAY. Even the most reasonable minds have to wonder about whether there is some conspiracy at Penn State. Oh… against Penn State? Oh. Safety blitzin'.
A smile crept across John Beilein's face as he pantomimed Trey Burke turning and flipping the ball underhand with "just the right spin" to Tim Hardaway Jr., who buried one of his five three-pointers (that part, unfortunately, not pantomimed by Beilein).
Michigan hit the century mark for the first time since 2007 in a 100-62 beatdown of Slippery Rock in the season opener, and it was Beilein's stars who led the way. Hardaway played one of his most complete games as a Wolverine, scoring 25 points on 8-10 shooting (5-5 from three) and adding ten rebounds, three assists, and a steal. Burke overcame a shaky first half to pour in 21 points of his own (9-17 FGs) and dish out eight assists; after turning the ball over four times in the first half, he had just one in the second stanza and finished on a 6-7 shooting tear.
Burke wasn't the only Wolverine to struggle out of the gate, as Michigan trailed 15-14 just over six minutes into the game before back-to-back threes by Burke and Hardaway—naturally—began to break the game open. They wouldn't completely pull away until a 10-0 run in the opening minutes of the second half, which featured eight points from Hardaway, including an emphatic one-handed dunk off a feed from Glenn Robinson III and back-to-back threes sandwiched around a missed free throw.
While the freshmen weren't filling the tin like they did in exhibition play—combining for 28 points, 11 of those coming in the game's final four minutes—they found ways to contribute. Robinson scored ten points on 5-7 shooting and picked up his rebounding efforts, pulling in eight total (six defensive) in 32 minutes. Mitch McGary pulled down nine rebounds—five offensive, though three came on one possession when he couldn't lay the ball in—in just 12 minutes while chipping in nine points; he also had three fouls, the big reason why he didn't play more. Nik Stauskas only attempted two field goals, hitting one, but got to the line to shoot a pair twice with some aggressive drives to the basket. Spike Albrecht was just 1-5 from the field, but he handed out two assists and didn't turn the ball over.
After missing the exhibition season with a knee injury, Jon Horford played better than the stats would indicate in eight key minutes after McGary and Jordan Morgan both found themselves in early foul trouble. On his first possession of the game, he rebounded a Morgan miss, hit the putback, and drew a foul, then drew a charge on the very next play. Later in the first half, he deftly slipped a pass to a cutting Robinson for an easy layup. While Horford was still limited—not by injury, but by his gas tank after missing the last two weeks—he appeared to have all of his pre-injury athleticism.
The depth is there for this team in a way that it hasn't been under John Beilein. Last year, there was no Horford to step in for Morgan, and certainly no McGary to add a second big man to the lineup. When Burke was off, like he was in the first half, there wasn't an Albrecht there to give him a chance to sit down and regroup, like he did nine minutes into tonight's game. And to have Robinson as a third scoring option, well, let's just call that an upgrade, and that's no slight to Zack Novak or Stu Douglass.
But tonight, the story was Hardaway and Burke. The two had a synergy tonight, Burke knowing just where to give it to Hardaway, Hardaway knowing just where and when to attack, that could take this team from good to great. And yes, at least tonight, there was even just the right spin on the ball.
This game happened, like, two weeks ago, so apologies in advance for revisiting something that could not be less timely, but I had all these charts and stuff that took a really long time to fill out. This is the first of what I expect will be many forms of a basketball UFR, so suggestions are not only welcome, but encouraged. I'll be doing these with regularity come Big Ten season, and now that I have a basic template, they'll come down the pipe much faster than this one.
An explanation of my methodology is probably in order. The play-by-play breakdown is relatively simple—it's broken up by possession, one point can be earned or lost on each possession (lots of half-points are assigned, but I like this method since you want to average at least—technically a bit above—one point per possession), and I tell you the offensive set (more on that later) and defense (either man or type of zone, plus whether or not they pressed). FB == fast break. OOB == set from an inbounds play. I am not a basketball coach, and the last time I played competitively was in middle school, so corrections on terminology and the like would be much appreciated. Points do not coincide with made or missed baskets, but instead are awarded on the basis of creating shot opportunities—for instance, a pick to free a man, a cut to get open, or a nice pass may merit half-points, and creating a bucket on an isolation will earn a full point.
Shots are charted separately, and are broken down into three categories: dunk/layup, two-point shots, and three-point shots. They are further categorized by the level of contest from the defense—either no contest, late contest, or heavy contest—which, according to a tidbit from a BTN announcer, passed on to me by Brian, is how John Beilein charts shots.
Offensive Set Notes: Michigan starts nearly every possession, as you'll see in the chart, with a 2-1-2 set. It looks like this:
Douglass is the point guard here, and the man in the middle is always the center (in this case, Smotrycz). One wing starts up top, opposite the point guard (Vogrich) while the other is down by the baseline (Hardaway) across from the four (Novak). From here, Beilein has a seemingly infinite number of plays. On occasion, Michigan starts in a slight variant of this, which for lack of a better term (or lack of basketball knowledge) I called a 2-1-1-1:
As you can see, the shooting guard (Douglass) has moved from the wing over to the top of the key, right in front of the center. This opens up the outside of the court a bit more and allows for some interesting double screens in the middle. For something completely different, here's Michigan running a 1-4 high, where everything starts outside the arc:
We'll see if the distribution—almost entirely 2-1-2 in this game—changes at all when Michigan plays a defense that does something besides man. I have Memphis down for one zone press, and on every other possession they were in man-to-man. Josh Pastner isn't much into this whole "X's and O's" thing, and would much rather you leave him alone and let him continue recruiting McDonald's All-Americans.
Here goes (something that is probably) nothing...
|20:00 1H||0-0||FB||FB||Hardaway||FT (1/2)|
|Morgan (+0.5) wins the opening tip and knocks it right to Hardaway. Hardaway (+0.5, dunk/layup, late contest, foul) sees an opening, crosses over Joe Jackson, and drives to the bucket, where he's fouled by a late-arriving Tarik Black.|
|The offense is stagnant for 15 seconds, with Morgan setting an off-ball pick for Smotrycz that is ignored and Hardaway posting up his defender without great position (Team -0.5). Hardaway sees Burke has the ball one-on-one, clears out to the corner (+0.5) and Burke drives to the bucket, spins past Jackson, and hits a running floater in the lane (+1, 2 pt., no contest, make).|
|18:58||3-2||1-4 High||Man||Novak||3-pt Make|
|Novak grabs a defensive board and charges hard up the court, but Memphis gets back. He hands off to Burke at the top of the key, where Morgan (+0.5) sets a screen that Burke takes. As Burke scrapes over the top of the screen to the left, Novak loops behind him and takes a handoff from Burke, while three Memphis defenders are caught up with Burke. Morgan dives into the lane, where he's open but with help coming, and Novak pulls up and drains a three just before a recovering defender can get a hand in his face (+0.5, 3 pt., late contest, make).|
|Burke starts the offense from well beyond the three point line, dribbles to his right, and passes to Smotrycz, who had flashed from the baseline to the FT line extended next to the sideline. Memphis's Wesley Witherspoon plays him tight, trapping him without room to dribble. Smotrycz tries to clear Witherspoon out, but brings the ball down too low and has it slapped away right to a Tiger defender (-1, forced TO).|
|Burke starts down the left side and gives to Morgan, who has flashed out to the three point line. He swings it to Smotrycz (+0.5) on the right, who moves back towards Morgan—now setting a pick—before hitting Hardaway on a textbook backdoor cut (+0.5). Hardaway goes up for the dunk but is blocked from behind on a spectacular defensive effort (dunk/layup, heavy, block).|
|Burke attempts a one-man fast break, but has the ball knocked out of bounds on the baseline. Burke inbounds with Michigan lined up in a box, Morgan and Smotrycz in line with Burke, Novak and Hardaway on the other side of the lane. Novak curls around a double screen by Smot and Morgan before diving to the basket. Hardaway follows Novak, beating his man, gets the inbounds pass from Burke, and drains a corner jumper from just inside the line (+0.5, Team +0.5, 2 pt., no contest, make).|
|This one is too easy. Burke dribbles up the court, goes to his left as Novak vacates to the top of the key, and Hardaway takes a quick jab-step towards midcourt before cutting along the baseline (+0.5). Burke hits him perfectly in stride (+0.5) and Hardaway hits the layup (dunk/layup, no contest, make).|
|Morgan comes up from the FT line to the top of the key and gets the pass from Burke, but he's come out so far that he's nearly standing on the midcourt logo (which is annoyingly large, but not THAT large). Witherspoon slaps the ball away and starts a fast break for Memphis (Morgan -1, forced TO).|
|16:14||10-6||2-1-2||Man FC Press||Burke||2-pt Make|
|Horford in for Morgan. Novak breaks the press from Memphis and eventually gives it back out to Burke, who's 28 feet away from the bucket on the left side. Horford comes over and sets a pick that does little (-0.5). Burke fights his way right around Jackson, however, and finds space in the middle of the lane to hit a short floater (+1.5, 2 pt, no contest, make). This is just Burke being a superior athlete, as he received little help.|
|15:34||12-9||2-1-2||Man FC Press||Smotrycz||Layup Make|
|Burke breaks the press down the right sideline and gives to Horford at the top of the key, who passes to Smotrycz on the right elbow outside the 3-point line. Burke clears out to the left corner, and Smotrycz makes a quick crossover to his right, getting a step and taking it all the way to the bucket for a tough layup (+1, dunk/layup, heavy contest, make). Not pretty, but effective.|
|Hardaway pushes the pace off a long defensive rebound, beats everyone up the court, and draws a shooting foul (+1, dunk/layup, late contest, foul).|
|Douglass in for Smotrycz. Hardaway again going fast up the court after a rebound. The entire team is beyond the three point line as Hardaway dribbles to the top of the key, but Horford has the presence of mind to set a quick screen (+0.5) which gives Hardaway just enough space to get off a long two, which drops (+0.5, 2 pt., heavy contest, make). Probably an ill-advised shot with 29 seconds on the shot clock, but Hardaway is feeling it and he hits it, so he gets the half-point.|
|Burke swings it to Novak at the top of the key. Novak starts driving to the left and Hardaway makes a hard V-cut to clear himself a little bit of space at the three-point line. Novak gives it to him, and Hardaway chucks up a three with a hand right in his grill—it misses with nobody in position for a rebound (-1, 3 pt., heavy contest, miss).|
|Smotrycz in for Horford. Burke gives to Novak on the right elbow, who passes to Smotrycz at the top of the key. Douglass (+0.5) sets a pick for a cutting Novak as Smotrycz swings it to Hardaway, who finds a wide-open Novak (+0.5, dunk/layup, no contest, make) for an easy layup.|
|Burke hands off to Novak, who swings it to Douglass at the top of the key. Smotrycz sets a screen for Hardaway in the lane, then pops out to the three point line, where Douglass gives it to him. Smotrycz pumps and then drives, where he's doubled with Hardaway now open under the basket. Instead of passing, Smotrycz pumps, tries to draw a foul, and nearly misses everything as his five-foot leaner ricochets off the underside of the backboard (-1, 2 pt., heavy contest, miss). Memphis gets the board. Smot really forced that one.|
|Akunne in for Burke. Instead of giving the offense a chance to set up off a missed Memphis FT, Hardaway drives into the left corner, where he picks up his dribble and is trapped by a double team (-0.5). He does find a cutting Smotrycz under the basket, but Memphis rotates nicely and Smotrycz (-0.5, forced TO) is stripped clean as he tries to go up for a layup. Might be a little harsh on Smot here, as Hardaway didn't put him in a great position and he did make a nice cut, but he's gotta be more secure with the ball.|
|Michigan works the ball around the perimeter, Amaker-style, until a Hardaway pass to an open Smotrycz is tipped OOB on the sideline with 8 seconds on the shot clock. Media timeout. Vogrich in for Hardaway. Akunne gets the inbounds, gives it to Smotrycz and gets it back immediately, and is stripped along the sideline as the shot clock expires (forced TO). Akunne -0.5 for not getting a shot off, Team -0.5 for putting him in that position in the first place.|
|10:55||20-19||1-4 High||Man||Douglass||3-pt Make|
|After Michigan swings the ball around the perimeter for a while, Novak (+0.5) sets a screen in the paint to open up Horford, who flashes to the top of the key while Douglass holds the ball on the right. Douglass gives to Horford, then cuts back around him, and Horford (+0.5) hands it back off and screens Stu's man. Douglass buries a wide open three (3 pt., no contest, make).|
|Nobody is really moving without the ball, so Douglass (+0.5) drives to the basket with 16 seconds left on the shot clock. He's well-defended, but the defense collapses on him, so he kicks it out to an open Novak in the corner. Novak can't sink the shot, and Horford commits a foul for going over the back trying for the board (Team -0.5, 3 pt., no contest, miss).|
|9:30||23-21||-||2-2-1 FC Press/2-3 Zone||Douglass||3-pt Miss|
|Lineup is now Burke, Douglass, Vogrich, Christian, McLimans. Yeah. Michigan breaks the press rather easily and Vogrich (+0.5) makes a nice skip pass to Colton Christian in the corner. Christian immediately kicks it out to Burke (+0.5), who finds a wide-open Douglass up top for a three. It clangs out and the rebound goes OOB off Christian (3 pt., late contest, miss).|
|Burke tries to get a quick break off a Memphis miss and Vogrich is fouled driving the baseline. Hardaway checks in for Douglass. With Burke inbounding from the baseline, Hardaway (+0.5) comes from under the basket to set a screen for Christian, who dives to the basket and takes the feed from Burke. He goes up and hits the layup with a hand in his face (+0.5, dunk/layup, heavy contest, make.)|
|7:31||25-23||2-1-2||Man FC Press||Hardaway||TO|
|Again, Burke has no trouble breaking the press. The ball eventually is worked around to McClimans at the top of the key. He passes to Hardaway on the wing and goes to set a screen, but Hardaway chooses to spin away from the screen and into two defenders, getting stripped in the process and turning it over (-1, foi'mrced TO).|
|Hardaway once again finds himself with the ball on the left side, and again drives hard to the left side of the basket. He pulls up from around 12 feet and tries a jumper, but he's well-defended by his man and McLimans's man rotates over and blocks the shot (-1, 2 pt., heavy contest, block). Athletic play by the defender to block it, but also a bad force with 18 seconds on the shot clock.|
|6:36||25-25||2-1-2||Man||Christian||OReb, 3-pt Miss|
|Burke chucks up a deep three after going too far around a pick from McLimans (Burke -1, 3 pt., no contest, miss) but Christian makes a great effort under the boards to tap the ball to himself and haul in the rebound (+1). He manages to fend off three defenders to keep the ball and backs out to the three-point line, where he passes to an open Vogrich out of a double team (+1). Vogrich misses (3 pt., no contest, miss). Fantastic effort from Christian, however.|
|Michigan comes out of a timeout with Burke, Vogrich, Douglass, Novak, and Smotrycz. ESPN cuts back from the break as Vogrich gets the ball on the left sideline, played tight by his man. He clears the ball through and drives it straight to the bucket, getting his body between himself and the defender and going up strong for a layup (+1, dunk/layup, heavy contest, make).|
|Smotrycz sets a pick for Burke up top and rolls open towards the basket, but Burke ignores him, tries to drive it himself, and then commits a palming violation as he attempts to pass to an open Douglass in the corner (-1, unforced TO). A full minus for missing the open man and then committing the turnover, though I had no idea they still called carries at any level of basketball.|
|Novak starts the breakout after a defensive rebound, and Michigan has numbers. Novak gives to Burke, who makes the right choice to pass to an open Douglass on the elbow. Douglass draws the defense and finds Vogrich under the basket; he's fouled. After resetting the offense off the inbounds, Novak takes the ball from the left wing and tries to drive to the free throw line off a Smotrycz screen. Smot's man switches and steals the ball from Novak (-1, forced TO).|
|Douglass receives a skip pass on the right side from Vogrich, then makes a sloppy bounce pass to Burke, who's just a few feet away from him. Burke gets a hand on it, but the ball goes OOB. Douglass -1, unforced TO.|
|3:24||27-29||1-4 High||Man||Burke||3-pt Miss|
|Burke dribbles to the elbow and spins away from a Smotrycz pick, choosing to drive under the basket, leaving his feet as the defense collapses (-0.5). He's bailed out by finding an open Douglass for three, but there's still no need to jump. Douglass misses (3 pt., no contest, miss), and Smotrycz (-0.5) gets hit with an offensive foul for blatantly shoving the guy boxing him out in the back.|
|3:02||27-31||2-1-2||Man FC Press||Douglass||3-pt Make|
|Hardaway in for Vogrich. Hardaway gets the ball on the wing and Smotrycz comes over for a pick-and-roll. Smot (+0.5) draws two defenders as he dives to the basket, and Douglass rotates to the top of the key, where Hardaway (+0.5) finds him for a wide open look. This time, Stu knocks it down (3 pt., no contest, make).|
|Smotrycz grabs a defensive board and immediately runs out on the break, as two Memphis players are caught under the M basket (+0.5). Unfortunately, a guard catches up to him and knocks the ball away as Smot falls to the ground (-1), but Burke is in the right place, grabs the loose ball, and takes it to the hoop, where he's fouled while attempting a short pull-up J (+0.5, 2-pt, heavy contest, foul).|
|Douglass skies for a long defensive rebound and Burke immediately takes off downcourt, beating both Memphis guards down the floor. Stu (+0.5) lobs a beautiful pass that hits Burke in stride, and he goes in for a nice reverse layup without needing to put the ball on the floor (+0.5, dunk/layup, no contest, make).|
|Hardaway launches a pass the length of the court to Novak, who dribbles to the FT line, waits, then tosses it to Burke, who cut to the corner. Burke makes a nice touch pass (+0.5) to Hardaway, who found space for an open three, but he misses (+0.5, 3 pt., no contest, miss). Memphis knocks the rebound OOB, with Smotrycz there putting up a good fight. On the inbounds, Douglass gets the pass after going around a double pick, then finds Burke—the inbounder—wide open for a 10-footer after drawing three defenders (Douglass +0.5, Team +0.5, 2-pt, no contest, make).|
|Hardaway gets the defensive board and takes off along with Burke and Douglass against three scrambling Memphis defenders. He stops on a dime, nearly traveling but losing his man in the process, and rattles in an 18-foot pull-up jumper (+1, 2 pt., no contest, make). End of 1H, 37-31 Michigan.|
|19:47 2H||37-33||2-1-2||Man||Morgan||OReb, Layup Make|
|Starters back in. Burke gets himself trapped out near halfcourt with 10 seconds on the shot clock (-0.5), but spins and finds Smotrycz at the FT line. Smot drives and tries a spinning hook shot with the clock about to expire, but it rims out (+0.5, 2-pt., heavy contest, miss). Nobody blocks out Morgan, however, who grabs the rebound and lays it in for two (+1, dunk/layup, no contest, make). Nice job of Smotrycz to draw the defense when the offense had been stagnant, and good positioning by Morgan.|
|After an off-the-ball foul on Memphis, Burke inbounds from under the basket. Michigan again aligns in a box, and Novak splits through the two bigs (Morgan & Smot) while Hardaway pops out to the three-point line. Burke inbounds to Hardaway, who swings it to Smotrycz, who finds Burke open in the corner for a three, which he misses (Team +1, 3 pt., late contest, miss).|
|After a few passes, Smotrycz gets the ball on the right wing. On the left side of the lane, Novak sets a screen for Hardaway, then pops out to the top of the key as both Memphis defenders follow THJ. Smotrycz finds Novak all alone for three, and he buries it (+1, 3 pt., no contest, make).|
|17:46||42-36||-||Man FC Press||Smotrycz||2-pt Make|
|Horford in for Morgan. Memphis presses after a made FT. Burke (+0.5) breaks it himself, streaking down the right side, sees a double coming, and passes to Smotrycz, whose man stepped out on Burke. Smot pump fakes and steps past a closing Memphis defender—a nice move—and pulls up for an easy 12-footer (+0.5, 2-pt., no contest, make).|
|17:18||44-36||2-1-2||Man FC Press||Burke||3-pt Miss|
|Michigan inbounds with 22 on the shot clock after Smotrycz drives and has the ball knocked OOB. Burke gives it to Novak under the basket, but he can't go up with it and has to take it out. Ball is passed around the perimeter for too long, and finally Burke has to chuck up a desparation three from 30+ feet as the shot clock is about to expire. It misses badly (Team -1, 3 pt., no contest, miss).|
|16:16||44-38||2-1-2||Man FC Press||Horford||FT (2/2)|
|Burke again runs right past the Memphis press—not sure why they're still doing it—gets to the lane, and dishes it off to Horford under the basket (Burke +0.5). Horford goes up for the layup and is fouled (+0.5, dunk/layup, heavy contest, foul). Nice job of diving to the basket by Horford, and great penetration by Burke to set it up.|
|Douglass in for Smotrycz. Hardaway runs off a Memphis miss, finds Burke, who tries a running floater that comes up short (2 pt., late contest, miss). Horford (+1) snags the offensive rebound in traffic, dribbles once, sees nothing is there, and kicks it out to Hardaway, who passes to an open Novak for a look at a three. Clang (3 pt., late contest, miss).|
|Not sure what to call this, but instead of their normal 2-1-2, Burke starts in the center of the court and Douglass, instead of starting even with him on the opposite wing, stands right in front of Horford in the middle (pictured up top). Burke spends the entire shot clock dribbling around, missing an open Douglass early in the possession, and has to dish out to Stu for a deep three as the shot clock is about to run out (Burke -1, 3 pt., heavy contest, miss).|
|Douglass has the ball up high on the right side. Novak begins a curl cut towards the basket that ends up turning into a sort of awkward pick for Burke (+0.5? Sure. GRIT.) Douglass passes to Burke, who banks in a long two (+0.5, 2 pt., late contest, make). Not a pretty shot on this particular occasion, but Burke gets great elevation on his jumper.|
|Novak gets a defensive board and pushes the pace, passing it up to Douglass, who's standing about 28 feet from the basket. Douglass turns and... fires up a three. Huh? (-1, 3 pt., no contest, miss). Yes, Douglass is open here, but it's not hard to get open 28-footers at any point in the shot clock, and Michigan had Memphis scrambling to get back. Turrible shot selection, Kenny. Turrible.|
|Akunne and Smotrycz in for Burke and Novak. After passing around the perimeter for a while, Horford comes up and sets a pick Hardaway (+0.5), who finds Horford open on the roll for an easy layup (+0.5, dunk/layup, no contest, make).|
|12:34||50-41||1-4 High||Man||Akunne||3-pt Make|
|Douglass (+0.5) pushes the pace off a Memphis miss, gives it to Hardaway at the top of the key, and THJ swings it to an open Akunne on the wing. Eso buries the three (+0.5, 3 pt., no contest, make). Half-points to Douglass for recognizing that Memphis wasn't getting back quickly and Akunne for finding the open area, but this was mostly a defensive bust by the Tigers, who had two men collapsing down on Horford in the paint.|
|12:11||53-42||2-1-1-1||Man FC Press||Hardaway||FT (2/2)|
|Novak in for Smotrycz. After a kick-ball violation on Memphis, Douglass inbounds. Hardaway sets a screen for Akunne, then pops out to the three point line, where Douglass inbounds to him. Hardaway dribbles to the FT line, pulls up, and gets fouled as he shoots a jumper (+1, 2 pt., late contest, foul).|
|11:38||55-44||3-2||Man FC Press||Douglass||3-pt Miss|
|Morgan and Burke in for Horford and Akunne. Morgan starts the set down on the baseline instead of the center's normal spot in the middle of the lane. With time running low on the clock, Douglass drives to the right, is stopped, spins, and somehow hits an open Vogrich in the corner with a skip pass (+0.5). Vogrich can't connect (Team -0.5, 3 pt., no contest, miss). Ugly possession—with 10 seconds left on the shot clock, all five M players were outside the three-point line.|
|10:50||55-46||2-1-2||Man 3/4 Press||Morgan||Layup Make|
|After the ball cycles around the perimeter for a while, Burke calls for a Morgan pick with ten seconds on the clock. He drives to the left, beats his man, and wraps a pass around a defender to Morgan, who has crashed to the basket (Burke +0.5). Morgan collects it, goes up strong, and makes a tough lay-in with a defender right in his face (+0.5, dunk/layup, heavy contest, make).|
|Vogrich and McLimans in for Douglass and Morgan. Burke, as usual, breaks the press as Memphis backs off a bit and goes into man. Hardaway gets the ball on the wing and Burke curls to the basket. He's open, but Hardaway doesn't give. Instead, he tries to pass to McLimans on a backdoor cut, but the pass is easily cut off. -1 Hardaway, unforced TO.|
|Michigan can't find an open cutter or a lane to the basket, and cycles the ball around the perimeter. Novak swings it to Hardaway in the corner and he tries a quick three, but he's well-defended and the shot is blocked (Hardaway -0.5, Team -0.5, 3 pt., heavy contest, block).|
|Burke turns on the jets on the fast break, spins around a defender at midcourt, then has the ball knocked from behind right through a defender's legs to Hardaway for a layup (+0.5 Burke, +0.5 Hardaway, dunk/layup, no contest, make). That was totally unintentional, but I'm feeling generous and that move at halfcourt was pretty sweet, plus it's tough to give THJ a full point for having the ball roll right to him under the basket.|
|Douglass in for Burke. Michigan gets a fresh clock after Tarik Black fouls Smotrycz on a halfhearted drive to the basket. After resetting up top, Douglass tries multiple times to get to the basket, is stymied, and settles for a 12-foot fallaway with a hand in his grill (-1, 2 pt., heavy contest, miss).|
|Hardaway goes on a one-man break, jump-stopping between three defenders and airballing his pullup jumper from the paint (-1, 2 pt., heavy contest, miss). Douglass grabs the airball and kicks it out to an open Novak, who pump-fakes a three, steps up, and can't hit from just inside the arc (2 pt., late contest, miss).|
|7:02||59-47||2-1-2||Man FC Press||Novak||FT (2/2)|
|Burke in for McLimans. Novak takes the ball from the wing and dribbles around Smotrycz to the top of the key, where he hits a back-cutting Hardaway (+0.5) with a great bounce pass (+0.5). THJ goes up for a dunk and is fouled (dunk/layup, late contest, foul).|
|6:28||61-47||-||Man FC Press||Smotrycz||TO|
|Memphis is in a weak full-court press, but Smotrycz—the inbounder—doesn't have a man on him, so he curls back around and sets a pick (+0.5) for Burke, who's able to drive all the way to the basket (+0.5). Smot does a great job of trailing and finds himself wide open in the lane, and Burke puts a pass right on the money that goes right through Smot's hands and OOB (-1, unforced TO). Oops.|
|5:50||61-49||2-1-2||Man FC Press||Hardaway||Layup Make|
|Hardaway takes the ball on the wing and passes to Smotrycz, who swings it over to Novak as Hardaway makes a hard backdoor cut. Novak (+0.5) finds THJ, who spins off his man—who overplayed the pass—and goes up for a layup before the defense can fully rotate. Money (+0.5, dunk/layup, late contest, make).|
|5:12||63-51||-||Man FC Press||Hardaway||TO|
|Hardaway gets the inbounds after a made FT, beats the press down the left side, then tries to stop, turn, and pass back to Douglass as a double comes. He's falling over as he does this and Memphis steals easily (-1, unforced TO).|
|4:55||63-54||4 Corners||Man FC Press||Burke||Layup Make|
|Memphis again presses, and Michigan goes into the old four corners. Burke just beats his man off the dribble and goes right up the middle for a layup (+1, dunk/layup, late contest, make). He's gonna be good, that one.|
|Morgan has the ball at the top of the key and Burke (+0.5) comes open on a curl cut around a Hardaway (+0.5) screen. He takes it right at the basket, but 3 defenders collapse and Burke is stuck in no man's land when he jumps, giving it away when he tries to kick it out to Smotrycz. -1 Burke, unforced TO. Think he could've taken the shot if he went up strong, but he made a mistake in leaving his feet without knowing where he was going with the ball. Last two possessions are a good reminder of what it's like to have a talented freshman PG.|
|4:10||65-56||OOB||Man FC Press||Hardaway||FT (2/2)|
|Memphis comes out of a timeout in the press again, but immediately fouls Hardaway when he gets the inbounds pass. Michigan is in the double bonus. Derp.|
|3:56||67-56||2-1-2||Man 3/4 Press||Smotrycz||3-pt Make|
|Douglass dribbles around for a really long time without anything opening up, which I guess is understandable considering Michigan is trying to kill clock now. He nearly gets stuck in the paint, but just before the shot clock is going to expire he finds Smotrycz, who nails a dagger with a hand in his face (+1, 3 pt., heavy contest, make). End of charting, because this is remarkably time-consuming and the game is essentially over at this point.|
So, are you going to do the alter-ego thing too, Ace?
You know, I hadn't really thought about it, but it is a really easy way to transition between...
Yes, charts, but you're jumping the gun, alter-ego. We should probably figure out what happened above.
So, um, what happened?
Coaching happened, at least for Michigan. I'm not exactly sure what to call whatever Pastner does. Michigan hit Memphis with a wide variety of screens and cuts that took full advantage of their man defense, and the Tigers apparently don't play zone... ever. Beilein probably felt like he was back pwning NAIA fools again. As for individual player performances...
Wait, now you're jumping the gun. We have a...
|Burke||9.5||5||4.5||Had some freshman mistakes, but overall quite good.|
|Hardaway||10||7||3||Best creator on offense, but forces plays too often.|
|Novak||4||1||3||Tons of half-points, GRIT. What did you expect?|
|Smotrycz||5||5||0||Pretty much as expected. Does a lot of good things, but also makes some glaring errors. Looks uncomfortable handling the ball, especially in the post.|
|Morgan||2.5||1||1.5||Not very active, does good job crashing to basket.|
|Douglass||3||3||0||Guard version of Smotrycz. Lots of positive half-points and inexplicable minus-ones. Still good for at least one absurd three-point attempt per game.|
|Horford||3||.5||2.5||Little post game to speak of, but very active off the ball. Much-improved.|
|Akunne||0.5||0.5||0||He's... useful? That's a bonus.|
|Christian||2.5||0||2.5||One fantastic hustle possession and a layup off a pick. Nice spark off the bench.|
|Vogrich||1.5||0||1.5||Pretty quiet day, but did have a nice driving layup.|
|McLimans||0||0||0||Nothing of note in seven minutes,|
|Team||2||3.5||-1.5||A couple of well-executed plays where there were too many players doing something right to break down credit individually. Also, a few plays of Amaker-ball, which are justifiably minused.|
|TOTAL||43.5||26.5||17||Really have no clue what this means yet.|
This should not come as news to those who have watched Michigan play this year, but Trey Burke is quite good for a freshman, or just period. He was efficient shooting the basketball, took care of the ball outside of a couple bad plays, and didn't try to force the issue too much. In fact, he was better than Tim Hardaway in that regard, though THJ is the one guy on the team who can really create his own shot from anywhere on the floor, so that's understandable.
I was torn about who should start at center after this game, and though Jordan Morgan locked that job down over the last couple weeks, it's still worth noting that Jon Horford is a lot better than he was last year. He hits the boards hard, is a presence inside on defense, and now looks comfortable in the offense, which has opened up opportunities for him to score a few points. Horford is a much more explosive athlete than Morgan, so if he can develop a passable post game, I think he'll eventually overtake Morgan for the starting role. Even if he doesn't, he's a viable big man off the bench, something Michigan didn't really have last year.
Stu and Metrics may drive me insane before the year is out, at least if this game is any indication. Douglass can handle the ball and plays good defense, but he's not hitting his open looks (more on that later) and his shot selection can be highly questionable. He also looks completely out of sorts when he has to take the ball anywhere near the basket, an affliction that also seems to affect Smotrycz, who turned the ball over multiple times because he forgets to hold the ball above his head instead of keeping it low and allowing defenders to knock it away. When I'm looking at the TV and screaming "I WAS TAUGHT NEVER TO DO THAT WHEN I PLAYED REC-ED BALL IN THIRD GRADE," well, it's an issue. On the other hand, Smot does look better when he drives to the basket, and his finishing looks improved, so hopefully this is just him getting acclimated to playing in the post more often.
Sorry, totally ignored myself there. Should we talk about the shooting chart?
Yes, you negligent jerk.
No need to get pissy, self. Shot chart is broken up by the three different levels of shots. NC == no contest. LC == late contest. HC == heavy contest. You probably already figured that out. The (3F) for Hardaway under late contested dunks/layups means he was fouled three times while taking those types of shots, since those attempts are worth noting but obviously can't count against shot attempts.
Again, we'll see what trends emerge as I do more of these, but I was impressed by the number of wide open looks Michigan got in this game. The team actually missed a fair amount of wide open threes, or the score could've been even more lopsided. Also, only one missed dunk/layup on the day, and that came on a great block from behind—everybody finished well around the basket. The only players that could make you go "argh" are Douglass—gotta knock down more of those open looks—and Vogrich, who can't seem to find his shot. Oh, and ESO!
Can I introduce the "Let's go to the tape" section?
Do you do that?
I am well versed in the art of section breaking in 190 languages, dialects, and levels of sanity.
Ga naar de video mijn kleine recensent
This section is going to be shorter than normal, because this is more of a test run and I forgot to cut video in the second half, but here are two plays that stood out. The first is just one of Beilein's plays working like magic, as Novak gets freed up by a pick on the backside of the play and Hardaway hits him perfectly for a layup:
That's just beautiful basketball—as I watched this game in slow motion, focusing on all the off-ball movement involved in Beilein's offense, I gained a huge appreciation both for his coaching and the execution by the players. If you're just looking at the ball when Michigan is on offense, you're missing out.
As for the other video I cut, well, this is just a fantastic pass by Douglass and a great finish by Burke, included because you all need to be as excited about Burke as I am:
While the layup looked easy, Burke's decision to not dribble and cut across the face of the retreating defender—basically cutting him off from any chance at contesting the shot—is a savvy move and very encouraging coming from a freshman. His basketball instincts are ahead of the curve.
Burke and Hardaway, who provided the bulk of the offense. Also Novak, who was deadly from three and did all the usual Gritty McGrittereckstein stuff. Oh, and John Beilein like whoa.
It's tough to call anyone a goat after beating the #8 team in the country, but Douglass can't waste possessions like he did, and also needs to start hitting open threes. That's what he's here for, and it's long past time where we can use the excuse that he's not used to handling backup point guard duties and that's somehow affecting his shot.
This is obviously just an offensive UFR, as I worked on this during Ohio State week and there just wasn't any time to do the defense. In the future, I'm thinking I'll just re-create the shot chart—no need to do a possession-by-possession breakdown for the other team's offense—for the opposing team and break that down further based on what type of defense Michigan played. It'll likely be included with the offense as a general basketball UFR.
Consider this a test run. Please give feedback, especially if something is confusing or you have a correction about basketball coaching stuff that I probably messed up.
Photo from under-construction Crisler Arena. I already covered yesterday's most pressing issue, the potential early NBA entry of Darius Morris. The rest of John Beilein's post-season talk follows. If you're interested in the video, UMHoops has you covered.
Though the expectations for the 2009-10 team didn't pay off, this team has handled some increased expectations, even just over the course of the season. "We focus on just us getting better," rather than worry about expectations. "It's the ones that sort of sit back and rest on their laurels that won't get better."
On the drop-off in 2009-10: "I think most of us were part of that. Whether you're an incoming recruit - they were a part of that - and they know stories about it. So we don't have to talk too much about it, and I don't think we should beat them over the head about it."
Talkin' 'Bout Practice?
The team gets 8 hours of instruction time once the season ends. Yesterday, they did the fourth hour of practice, and the last one in Crisler Arena before the facility is closed until next fall. During those 8 hours, a lot of the time is spent showing the players the offseason practice routine the coaches want them to practice.
The coaches give players a written "shell" practice plan, and also instructional DVDs that demonstrate some of the drills. In terms of individual development, the next 5 months "are an important time for us. What our guys are going to do when the coaches aren't watching anymore." Stu went to a private facility last offseason to work on his game, and the coaches encourage the other players to get private instruction.
"We've got a bunch of self-starters, and you just never know how much they're going to improve. I think you saw that with Darius over the summer." It's hard to pinpoint any individual player to make a big step forward in the offseason. It all depends on how hard they work on their own. "I think when Tim Hardaway Jr. goes home and sees Tim Hardaway Sr., they'd be in the gym within hours, because Tim Sr. was in the gym for hours."
"What we're really working on right now is making sure that we have the option to just not go to four guards and play that way." It sounds like they're trying to develop more 4/5 players so that Novak is more free to play the 2 instead of guarding the likes of Bill Cole from Illinois. [Ed: or Trevor Mbakwe.]
"The competition level is gonna be very high, because we're going from 10 scholarship players to could-be 13 scholarship players."
Teams like Butler are good to observe playing in the Final Four, because they show how far a good team concept can take you. "But we're still the University of Michigan, and we love what the large University in a BCS conference can also bring to our recruiting."
There are no specific team goals for next year. Just like every year, they start out wanting to be in the top 6 in the conference (since those are usually the tournament teams), and then to win the Big Ten Championship once you reach that level.
The coaching staff is fielding calls from a lot of interested recruits, with the success on the court. "We feel positive momentum." The Player Development Center and Crisler renovations (pictured at right) are going to be a boost for recruiting, but more importantly for the team's practice. "We can practice any time that we want to, they can practice any time that they want to that fits their schedule in their free time." The new facility also allows the coaches to drill more concepts at once, and film everything, etc.
[Note: Max Bielfeldt wasn't mentioned by Beilein, I assume because they hadn't received his official LOI by yesterday's conference]
The incoming players are given a similar voluntary practice plan to the returning players. "We can only give them... 'these are some of the ways to improve as a player.'" Both Burke and Brundidge are going to enroll in summer term, and be here in June.
Trey Burke - "He truly is a point guard, he truly runs his team. He really has great pace to him, and his quickness is exceptional." He will add quickness to the roster - which Beilein talked about lacking several times this year.
Carlton Brundidge is also a quick player, and excels in ball-screen situations. He played well for a great high school program, "but I'm really looking forward to putting him in the Michigan program as well."
Darius had to play a lot of minutes this year, and adding these two guys will give the team more options to give him some rest. Zack and Stu will also get an opportunity to play a little less and get some rest. They want freshmen who want to compete right away for playing time.
Next Year's Schedule
Playing in the Maui Invitational, they'll have the opportunity to play three high-level opponents, and the ACC/Big Ten Challenge should give a solid opportunity for a home game (though there's a chance they may have to switch and play away).
"Now we're looking at several opportunities to do what we've done in the past with the Kansas, with the UConns, with the UCLAs." There's also an away game at Oakland already planned.
They're trying to line up the guarantee games right now, and trying to fill in to get a good strength of schedule. "I think we have understood what the committee is looking for."
This following item doesn't come from Beilein's conference, but it also relates to next year's schedule: The new 12-team Big Ten will feature seven 2-plays and four 1-plays, with the 1-plays from last year (for Michigan, that's Illinois and Purdue) guaranteed to be 2-plays this upcoming season. There are no protected rivalries, so there's a chance Michigan and Michigan State only play once.
Every recruit ever committed to Michigan. To recap the "Hello" posts if you missed any of them during GMD11:
- Three star OH CB Tamani Carter, a recent Minnesota commit, was offered by Michigan and flipped.
- 3/4 star CB Raymon Taylor, an Indiana decommit, went with Michigan when they offered him the second time around.
- Michigan replaced decommit K Matt Goudis with CA K Matt Wile, an Army All-America participant who doesn't have the rankings but we're talking about kicker rankings here.
- 3/4 star LB Antonio Poole was offered and quickly committed after meeting with Mattison. Touch The Banner also has a take.
- Michigan snake oiled Purdue commit and three star TX QB Russell Bellomy. TTB sees shades of McNown.
In addition, OH TE/LB Frank Clark and CO LB Leilon Willingham have moved into the "expected to commit" category. Clark's from Glenville, of all places.
The names and stars aren't that impressive—the partially shirtless are shirtless in the same way Martavious Odoms was, a four star to one site and a generic three star to the others—but if we're talking about Michigan 2013 is the new Martavious Odoms better than air? Yes. And who doesn't like Odoms, anyway?
Even if this is just a version of Rodriguez's quick strikes upon taking the Michigan job, Hoke and Mattison (and I guess some other guys*) are doing this in about a fourth of the time Rodriguez had to assemble the last eight members of his hybrid class. And they screwed over Purdue in the process, thereby twisting the knife on Danny Hope and blowing up one of the very first Rodriguez The Demon memes: the "gentleman's agreement." Excellent work all around. Hope you play as a redshirt senior, kid.
Now we've got some insight into what the coaches think is lacking on the team: defense. Here is a small child reacting to this not at all obvious revelation.
there's gambling in this establishment?
More than the linebacker avalanche it's Michigan essentially turning down one-time silent WR commits Devin Lucien, one of those borderline four star types, and Hakeem Flowers, a three star with epic offers. Both tried to firm up those commits with the new staff and were politely told "defense or GTFO." They chose the latter. Michigan has a surplus on the outside now but surely one of those guys wouldn't have been overkill, right?
Similarly, this Heitzman kid they picked up from Vandy is a 6'3", 225 pounder who doesn't seem like he's got a high upside as a DE. So everyone assumed he was a tight end, since Michigan was trying hard to acquire one even before the shift to a more MANBALL philosophy. He denies this, saying Michigan isn't even talking about offense. Which is weird because between Roh, Paskorz, and Beyer Michigan seems to have undersized weakside DE covered for a good long while.
*[Seriously, all the commits save the Purdue snake oilin' are on defense, and the only defensive coach other than Mattison is Mark Smith. Smith is a 50-something dude who's afraid of flash photography. While a lot of the guys are linebackers I think "I coached Ray Lewis" is more the pitch than "I was the ILB coach at Indiana State for 22 years."]
Good for Michigan State hockey, good for interesting games against State in the future, still extremely uncertain if they'll get back to where they were under Mason. They've never recruited at the level Michigan has but made up for it with suffocating anti-hockey. Now they're not very good, playing in a dead, half-full building, and trying to compete against the OHL, Michigan, Miami, and Notre Dame. If they hire a real star they'll get back quickly but is Blasi going to leave Miami for MSU? Is George Gwozdecky? I have a hard time seeing MSU splashing the cash for their hockey coach—we'll see.
If it's Danton Cole that's the equivalent of hiring Brady Hoke. He'll be decent but that hire won't put the fear of God in Red or Jeff Jackson. The only name in the TOC thread on this is current assistant Tom Newton, which would be like hiring Mike Debord if Carr had stuck around for the 3-9 year. I'm sure you can dismiss that possibility.
While we're on hockey here's that delightful interlude from the aftermath of the Brown scrum:
Via Michigan Hockey Net.
People started muttering about what it would take for John Beilein to get the axe. It's in the paper and everything. BWS is digging out the wet owl and following that up with the obvious argument about his record.
This is what it will take for John Beilein to get fired this year: Armageddon. There are enough arrows pointed in the right direction, mostly in the persons of Burke, Brundidge, Robinson, Hardaway, et al, that Michigan will give Beilein the epic length of rope they gave Tommy Amaker. He won't get nailed next year and the team will be considerably better in 11-12, and probably better yet in 12-13, whereupon they'll either be a consistent tourney team or even the smitten Michigan athletic department will have to cut the cord.
Of course, I said this about Rich Rodriguez, too, but John Beilein is the kind of saint Michigan likes to be associated with.
Doctor Saturday embarked on his annual defense of the "recruiting-industrial complex." Every year the numbers are the same: on an individual and team basis recruiting numbers are not fate but not useless. Get The Picture set to highlightin' the bit I was going to highlight because Michigan is Georgia:
Those 13 schools [at the top of the recruiting rankings] alone have consistently produced a majority of the top five in the final polls, half of the top 10, at least half of the teams in the BCS and all of the national champions in the BCS era. (With Auburn’s triumph – thanks mainly to über recruit Cam Newton, the five-star headliner of a top five class last year – only two of the top dozen recruiting powers have failed to win a BCS championship: Georgia and Michigan. [Emphasis added.]
We've had a lot of reasons our recruiting success hasn't translated to the field—at least, not the field in Ann Arbor. Georgia not so much, as they seem around where Carr was in '05—good young second year quarterback on a team that's around .500 with a declining coach that has maybe a kick or two left at the can.
People who don't lift weights found out what "rhabdomyolysis" is thanks to Iowa. I'm on with Orson when he dismisses the "save the children" aspect of the media reaction—the big issue is more effective sickle cell trait screening, not squatting until you pee brown. While Iowa's strength coach should probably be fired it's more stupid than immoral.
But man can Iowa rack up the terrible PR. Kirk Ferentz wasn't even at the press conference, and the university thought it could get away with a bland press release about thirteen kids being in the hospital. Add that to Iowa's seemingly biannual drug explosion, that weird press conference held late last year in which unnamed rumors were debunked without mentioning what they were, the laundry list of Hawkeye arrests, and that sketchy sexual assault cover-up-type-substance and it's a wonder that beautiful square-jawed Kirk Ferentz is still regarded a molder of men. Or maybe it's not.
Was that a question?
All right then.
The meme was blessed by Steele. Remember those depressing charts from the past couple years with returning starters and whatnot? Yeah…
|3||San Jose St||7||11||2||20|
…different story this year. That doesn't even count Troy Woolfolk, though it does count Terrible McFieldgoalkicker. Call it a wash.
Oh, Snape. Michigan soccer associate head coach Paul Snape got the head job at Butler. I'm only mentioning it so I can post… awww. Stupid Google. I can't find the version of this…
That I once saw somewhere that said "Oh, Snape." Also it turns out to be a Harry Potter reference. Stupid Harry Potter and the horrifying things you'll see photoshopped if you attempt to find the slightly modified version of this stupid animated GIF.
Etc.: Thumbs up to the Mountain West for its supreme dickery in moving this year's TCU-Boise game to the blue turf. Mark Smith looks like that all the time, but it's less alarming when he's talking. Hecklinksi, meanwhile, sounds like he's saying "you are feeling very sleepy" no matter what he's saying. It's very soothing.
A few updates from basketball, as I've had a couple chances to watch the team practice this week, and also talk to a few players and coach Beilein. (Images from Michigan Basketball on Facebook).
The team leaves for Europe today, and the rest of their schedule will be as follows:
- Saturday - Practice in Brussels.
- Sunday - Play Ghent at 4pm (local time).
- Monday - Play Charleroi at 7pm.
- Tuesday - Team trip to Paris.
- Wednesday - Tour Brugge in the morning, play Oostand at 8:30pm.
- Thursday - Play Mons at 7pm.
- Friday - Tour Amsterdam
- Saturday - Return to USA.
The Wolverines' administrative assistant, former Wolverine Travis Conlan, was responsible for setting up most of the games. He's recently played for Mons.
Conlan said the competition will be a little bit better than your average Big Ten team. Ghent is one of the worst teams in Belgium, but the other three squads are traditionally at the top of the table. The teams are mostly composed of guys who were the best player at a mid-major school but didn't make it into the NBA.
To follow the team in Europe, log on to MGoBlue.com, where there should be several manager/player diaries daily. If you become a fan of Michigan basketball on Facebook, they're also planning to post flipcam videos as well. Stats and game recaps will be published as well.
As for what they plan to get out of the trip, Beilein said "Just seeing where we are, as far as our conditioning, how tough we are, what we have. To give them a measuring stick and give us a measuring stick."
Prior to scheduling the trip, Beilein also wanted to make the trip the culmination of a for-credit summer class on European history or culture for the players, but everything happened so fast that there wasn't time to establish a curriculum.
Personnel and Tempo
The main lineups from Sunday's scrimmage, in order of appearance, were the following:
Jon Horford was mostly running with the scout team (otherwise composed of walkons), but he and McLimans switched at the very end of the scrimmage. Andy Beilein tweeted earlier that the first lineup listed above, except with Hardaway replacing Vogrich, was "Just a thought." Coach Beilein said yesterday that Vogrich was likely to start in Europe, however.
The most notable thing from the scrimmage was the tempo of the offense. There was a lot of fast break. Darius Morris looked pretty good running it - he looks a lot more confident in all phases of the game. There are some factors pushing the change that won't apply during the season (playing against walkons, playing with a 24-second clock), but when asked about it, Douglass and Novak both mentioned that pushing the tempo is a point of emphasis for the team this entire year. Douglass said, "We're trying to push the tempo throughout the year, the entire year." Novak added, "I mean, that's just an emphasis for the year that we've got."
Blake McLimans needs to improve his conditioning. In a running drill on Sunday, he was unable to finish in the time limit, and he missed a couple fast-break opportunities yesterday because he was slow getting up the court. Morris and Douglass were in the center of the line for sprints, and were far faster than everyone else. Corey Person was next-fastest, for what it's worth.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Evan Smotrycz look like the real deal. Smotrycz seems to be one of the better shooters on the team, but it also able to play in the post quite a bit. Hardaway has a pure stroke and can pull up from a lot of different spots on the floor.
Jon Horford (at right) needs to add some weight, and he's a raw prospect. However, Beilein said "We have some sponges on this team, and I mean that really want to get better. Just watching, for example, Jon Horford today, that's all he wants to do," and it seemed like he had improved a bunch between Sunday and today. Colton Christian wasn't practicing full-court either day, as he re-injured his hamstring. He'll travel to Europe, but it's possible he doesn't see any court time.
For much more on individual players, check out UMHoops.
This is a very young team, with the entire upperclass contingent consisting of two juniors. However, they seem to be developing. Being able to get 10 extra practice days in the summer and actually play some competitive games in the pre-season will hopefully help the young guys be ready to contribute, almost like spring enrollees for football.
The chemistry, camaraderie, and leadership on this team should be an upgrade as well. Though DeShawn Sims and Manny Harris were great players, they weren't the vocal leaders that a young team needs, and on-court chemistry was lacking last season.
Is this an NCAA Tournament team? Probably not. Is it an NIT team? Probably not. But it should be a fun team to watch over the course of the season, as they grow individually and as a collective.