Coaches' timeouts are worse. Basketball teams should get one, full stop.
Amateur Barwis Porn. MGoBoard denizens are ahead of the curve on this, but Jeremy Gallon has a number of videos up that document parts of his Michigan official visit, and they're pretty cool. Here's the legendary "you can't do this" Barwis pushup we've heard so much about:
Not that you didn't know this already. Michael Spath talked to Red about the ficky-ficking against Ohio State on Saturday:
He also took about five minutes to rip the hell out of the replay system and the CCHA officials. He's very aware of what the two games (ND and OSU) could end up costing his team in the long run. But while he wants to see wholesale changes to the replay system he doesn't know that it will change because enough programs (ones that don't get TV often) probably wouldn't benefit from introducing new technology.
The other main topic of Red's press conference was the availability of Mark Mitera. Michigan's captain appears to be a go this weekend:
"I'm expecting that he'll play this weekend, but we're going to go day-to-day now that we're down to the last week," Berenson said after practice. "I'm looking at it as if he'll play. Gonna put him in a defensive rotation (Tuesday), and we'll see how he looks as the week goes on."
Also, Brian Lebler was injured Saturday—it's a shoulder thing—but is practicing and is day-to-day for the Ferris series.
A pairwise note. the Hoover Street Rag caught something I didn't when I surveyed the situation:
Miami has a better record, but since they haven't reached the 10-win threshold (when the head-to-head series is taken out) it isn't counted. This weekend, they play OSU. A team under consideration. If they sweep, they win the category and the comparison, even if we sweep Ferris State.
Michigan would have an opportunity to take the comparison back by doing better than Miami in the CCHA tournament, as unless Michigan and Miami are upset they're schedule to meet in the semifinal.
Er, really? The topic of a ninth Big Ten game will not die:
"That was a discussion that may move forward," Alvarez said. "We've discussed nine games. That will be something we'll probably take to the coaches."
The ADs are aware that 9 X 11 = 99 and 99 can't be divided by two; one team would only play eight Big Ten games. This would be absolute chaos if one of those teams was locked into the Big Ten title race, though. If one team is 8-0 and the other is 9-0, who's the champ? If one team is 8-1 and the other is 7-1, who's the champ? I just can't see that working out.
My best effort to a workable system: All league schedules are set just like they are now with the exception of one particular week. This week is kept clear until the previous season ends. The last place team in the league gets matched with a pre-arranged MAC opponent. They probably wouldn't mind, as they would have an easier path to bowl eligibility.
At this point you have ten teams in two groups:
- 2 teams not scheduled to play the last-place team.
- 8 teams with the last place team on the schedule.
The group of two have one and only one available option for their ninth game and get matched up with that option. The other six (or eight) teams get randomly matched up with one of the two teams they miss, with an emphasis on 1) variety and 2) fairly balancing home and away. I don't think it would work out exactly right every year, but the differences would be pretty small.
You are then hoping there are no worst-to-first miracle seasons, or you're putting in some sort of emergency championship game in the event that happens, or you're actually counting this MAC game in the conference standings, or you're just fine with making a mockery of the championship. I'd love to see a ninth conference game—I'd love to see anything other than Wisconsin-Cal Poly, really—but it just doesn't work.
Mitera not ready. Mark Mitera has returned to full practices with the team but Berenson says he won't play this weekend against Ohio State:
He’s (been) a partial practice player. Now, we need to get him into the whole mix and see him fall down, get hit and realize he’s fine. He needs confidence so he can be himself. If he can’t be himself, then he’s not going to help the team.
Berenson seemed to think a return against Ferris State was probable, though:
“We’re going to day-to-day, week-to-week with him,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said, mentioning in passing that Mitera would probably be back by the end of the season.
That Daily post also contains a quote downplaying Chris Summers' potential return to forward. Which, like, good, because scratching a fourth-liner instead of Pateryn or Llewellyn doesn't seem worth the uncertainty of moving your best defender to a third-line forward spot.
About this time of year I start seriously breaking down the various possibilities in the PWR rankings that choose and seed the tournament field; this will be coming up later in the week. To whet your math-dork appetite, however, the Hoover Street Rag talks about the various components of the PWR and how very unstable they are. (One clarification: Miami's TUC record is actually 6-4-2, but head to head games are excluded from that category in each individual comparison, leaving Miami at 4-2-2 for the purposes of its Michigan comparison. Michigan has a slim edge that doesn't count until Miami takes on Ohio State in the final week of the regular season.)
The upshot: Michigan's put itself in a good spot but has in no way separated itself from a pack of chasing teams. A season-ending stumble and Michigan will probably find itself a two seed. Also, next weekend you're pulling for Ohio State.
(Trivial side note: Michigan is one of only two teams in the NCAA without a tie. The other is Princeton, an Ivy school that plays a restricted schedule.)
Bad decision delayed. The NCAA's potentially disastrous implementation of a "regionalization" scheme that would see teams funneled into the nearest available regional with little regard to seeding has been delayed at least a year:
The Championships/Sports Management Cabinet is voting this week on whether to make regionalization of brackets something that is mandated across most NCAA sports. If they do, Cady said it wouldn't take hold until next year.
But even then, because of the cooperation the committee received on delaying it until next year, Cady is optimistic that the more drastic regionalization proposals will not be passed, and instead hockey will be allowed its compromise proposal.
"I feel very good they did listen to us," Cady said. "I think we can make significant improvements to cut costs, and still keep the integrity alive with such a small bracket."
The NCAA's "compromise" is to seed the field as they've done before but move teams around based on their geographical location as long as they don't cause first-round intra-conference matchups. How bad is this? It depends heavily on how geographically diverse the seeding bands are. If every 2-seed is in the West it doesn't matter. Here's a look at what that proposal would do to this week's pairwise. Here's a comparison of brackets. The left one is under the current rules; the right one is under the revised ones.
|4||15||Air Force*||4||15||Air Force*|
|3||12||North Dakota||3||12||North Dakota|
|1||4||Notre Dame||1||4||Notre Dame|
Well, that's an anti-climax. As you can see, in this bracket there are no changes. However, this is a hugely restricted bracket since three hosts are in and most of the potential moves butt up against intra-conference matchup problems. For instance, Vermont would normally be swapped into Bridgeport or Manchester under the new rules but can't be sent because UNH is hosting as a three seed in Manchester—intra-conference matchup—and Yale is hosting as a three in Bridgeport. North Dakota can't move to either of the West regionals because that would cause an intra-conference ECAC matchup. Similarly, it works out such that neither of the top two seeds, who have earned the right to face the weak auto-bid teams, gets robbed of that opportunity.
But if Minnesota moves up to a three seed you could easily see Air Force shipped to Minneapolis to play the #4 overall seed. If the hosting restrictions weren't so, uh, restrictive, you could see a lot of swapping going on and a segregation akin to that one tournament they had a few years ago where all the eastern teams played in the East regionals and all the western ones played in the West regionals, which was terrible.
This is an NCAA-wide cost savings mechanism, but the hockey tournament is one of the few that actually makes money, and it should be left alone. If the NCAA is really going to push it they should abolish that idiotic St. Louis regional coming up, which is going to be abandoned, and should really consider awarding the #1 seeds home regionals, which would make more money and provide greater protection to top seeds.
(HT: 60 Minutes.)
I'm just going to pretend his name has an I in it. Michigan's got a few open scholarships they might hand out if the right player gets the right test score, and one of those is SC ATH Larry Raper. We should know about Raper today:
Michigan coaches told Larry Raper that they will have a decision tomorrow. They are deciding whether or not to offer him. He told me, as well as others, that he will commit if offered.
Raper was a Clemson commitment until the Bowden firing, at which point the Tigers decided they didn't want him. He looked unlikely to qualify until his most recent test score, which explains why he's still out there and why his offers are currently Toledo and South Carolina State. Raper quote:
“Some in-state people swung and missed again,'' he said.
The most intriguing current situation for Raper is Michigan, which reportedly still has some scholarships available for next season.
“The thing with Michigan has been going on now for about two weeks,'' Norman said. “We've had conversations as late as last Thursday. To my knowledge, they have not tendered an offer. But they told me they do have scholarship money left.''
Michigan's looking at Raper as a cornerback.
|WHAT||#8 Michigan H&H vs #1 Notre Dame|
|WHERE||Joyce Ice Arena (Friday)/Yost Ice Arena (Saturday)|
|WHEN||8:05 PM Friday, 7:35 PM Saturday|
|THE LINE||Uh… do they have college hockey lines?|
|TELEVISION||Friday on CBS College Sports, Saturday on FSN|
Michigan's currently third in the CCHA by percentages—they trail a few teams on which they have two or even four games in hand—and seventh in the pairwise. Though Notre Dame has all but clinched the regular season CCHA crown, this coming weekend means a great deal for the team.
One: it's Notre Dame. Screw those guys in the ear. Two: this is probably the best team Michigan will play all year. They're 19-3-3, unbeaten in 20, #1 in the polls, and a solid #1 seed in the Pairwise. Three: this is the team that knocked Michigan out of the NCAA tourney. See earlier statement about ears and screwing therein. Four: it's hard to tell exactly what's going to go down with the wacky Pairwise this early, but a sweep here and Michigan—believe it or not—is well-positioned to acquire a #1 seed when the tournament arrives. (For one: it'll be really tough for ND to win the comparison when they're 0-2 against M, pending a potential matchup at the Joe.)
About that sweep, though: the last time Notre Dame lost was October 25th. Miami completed a weekend sweep of 3-2, and since then it's been 17-0-3. Though ND's competition since hasn't been rough—mostly bad CCHA teams with UMD and BC interspersed—any win streak of that length says volumes about a team. Michigan just gacked one away to BGSU, after all. This team is the class of the league and perhaps the nation, and if we're being honest with ourselves a split would be just fine thanks.
The key to their success? They really don't give up that many goals. They've given up more than three just one time the entire season, and that was in the season opener (a 5-2 loss at Denver). They've only given up 3 goals on five occasions. They've held an opponent to 0 or 1 goals on fourteen occasions.
That bodes unwell for a Michigan team that has struggled to score against teams as weak as Northern Michigan, Western Michigan, and Bowling Green. First goal will be even more critical than it usually is.
I assume we'll see Hogan, since the last time Michigan ran up against Notre Dame Billy Sauer went all Nickelback on us. (Side note: that post is on the first page of Google hits for "Nickelback sucks"; I could, if I so chose, declare victory and retire a satisfied man.)
Mitera inches closer. Mitera has hit the ice at Yost with the team. Red would like you to hold your horses, though:
"It’s good, but Mitera’s not ‘back’ back,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “It’s all a matter of getting into full practice, full tempo, full intensity and then full contact. I think he’s fine. It’s just a matter of him and the doctors getting confidence.
“He looks fine and he feels fine, but he’s not in shape.”
The Daily links an earlier article in which Mitera said he was aiming to return for the last weekend of the regular season against Ferris, but the latest info from Mel Pearson projected Mitera to return as early as two weekends from now against Nebraska-Omaha.
Return of the jack. Corey Tropp has returned to his USHL team, although he remains "enrolled" at Michigan State. He plans to return next year, but that's not decided:
The plan right now is we’ll sit down and talk at the end of the season. They have to make a decision and I’ll have to make a decision on what I think’s best for me.
Tropp does not come off well in that interview, BTW. Red said his last bit on this stuff, if you're interested in that. (Hoover Street Rag also has a comprehensive recap of the various and sundry reactions.)
Meanwhile, Steve Kampfer testified in court about that other head trauma and Bruce Kampfer has been banned from "most buildings on Michigan's campus"—I bet he can still go to the FXB! Michigan also plans yet another of their periodic crackdowns on potty-mouthed Michigan students:
On Thursday, an e-mail was sent to U-M students reminding them of the warning printed on the backs of their game tickets, which in part reads that "management reserves the right to eject any person whose conduct management deems disorderly, obnoxious or unbecoming. ... We will eject, without warning, individuals who use profane language and/or make obscene gestures."
While I sympathize with the administration about the issue, (if not in the specific instance that occurred Saturday) the way they go about this is the same half-ass tough guy thing every time. It never works and it won't work this time either. Kicking out a dozen kids doing the penalty box cheer does nothing. Either carrot-and-stick the whole student section—and there should be a "carrot" part—into compliance or give up.
(Kampfer testimony HT: Michigan Hockey Net.)