Hard to see Nik and Coach B not winning Player and Coach of the Year in the B1G, respectively. With us likely to have a 2-game margin of victory in the final standings, I don't think voters could rationalize any other candidates.
POTY: Who if not Nik now, who has clearly overcome that mid-season mini-slump. Last night's game felt like a coronation for him. Harris is the best player on Staee and has had some good games (his 31 against us stands out to me), but given how Staee has plummeted, no way he wins. Sconie is a two-headed horse; Dekker and Kaminsky are both very good, but neither is really all that better than the other, so they sort of cancel each other out. Petteway at UNL has had a great year but is he really going to overtake Nik? Of course, I leave off Craft, who clearly is the best player in the country, according to Dan Dakich.
COTY: Only Tim Miles at UNL would seem to have any kind of possible claim to this title. But with us blowing out the field, given all we've lost, clearly Coach B is going to win this award.*
* Although it remains true that Izzo, without a doubt, did the best coaching job in the conference this year. Have you seen the injuries they've had to overcome? At various points this season, they had in their starting lineup: (1) their women's team; (2) three walk-ons, a student manager, and a cheerleader, (3) Max Bullough -- unaided by dietary supplements; and (4) his unborn great-grandchild. In fact, of his 14 scholarship players, he's had 23 scholarship players hospitalized this season -- yes, even players who don't play for him. And yet, they have overcome all of that! Amazing job, Izzo, just... you aren't going to win.
Okay, now that we've won the regular season outright...does this change your strategy vs. IU?
NCAA Tournament seeding is the only thing that is hurt by a loss and there isn't a huge difference beween a 2 and a 3 seed.
However, a chance to pay IU back from last year. A chance to beat Crean. And just the fact that these are 18-22 years olds and "how much rest do they really need?" are all valid points.
What are your thoughts? Discuss.
My thought, treat it like any other game...with one caveat. If you have ANYONE who's banged up. You sit him. But screw the "trying to avoid injury factor." You can always get hurt or injured so I don't let that change my thinking. However, for someone like Morgan who's a little banged up. I may lean on Horford for 28 minutes and Bielfeldt for 12.
I will be the first to admit that I've been as critical about Nik Stauskas as anyone. I questioned his ability to combat athletic on ball defense. I questioned his short area quickness and his consistency. I also cringed watching him defend other elite wings. Nik Stauskas is not a finished product....but I'll be damned if he is not the Player of The Year in the B1G. This kid has shown such tremendous growth in just a year's time. He has transformed from a corner shooter to a playmaking offensive machine. Nik Stauskas has answered the bell and his contributions this season have spearheaded the best conference run in recent Michigan History.
I'd like to bounce some ideas off of my fellow Michigan enthusiasts of which I'm referring to as the Stauskas Effect. There are several chain reaction events that I have identified and have attributed to the development of Nik Stauskas's game. These are opinions and this post is meant to spark positive conversation so please chime in!
The Stauskas Effect:
1. Led to the Pressure-Less development of Caris Levert in a sort of Robin-like role to Nik's Batman. Caris has been able to ease into the #2 scorer role without the pressure of the opposition's top defender. This will be huge next season as Caris may be a #1 option.
2. Nik's development has also lessened the pressure to rush Zak Irvin into the fold which likely makes Zak a 3-4 year player all while allowing Zak to have substantial contributions this season. I see a lot of Nik in Zak and I believe that Zak is in for a huge jump next season. Caris Levert's assertion offensively and GR3+ The Beast hopefully returning will still render Zak a 3rd or 4th scoring option....which means hes sticks around a few years :) This also means that DJ Wilson and Kameron Chatman will have time to develop behind Irvin and Walton which will allow for seemless changing of the guards leadership wise over the next 4 years of Michigan Basketball. This is truly huge and does NOT happen if Nik doesn't morph into the POY candidate that he is. His development has added years onto Zak.....GR3...Walton .and likely Chatman's career.
3. Nik's 1v1 ability has also lessened the pressure of Derrick Walton's development due to Nik's ability to create and the rate in which we give Nik the rock at the top of the key. Walton has been able to play off of Nik and hasn't had to face the oppostion's best defenders as a result. This has allowed Walton to avoid being thrown into the fire so to speak and will pay dividends down the road. (Spike is also due much credit for easing Walton in)
4. The Internationa (Stauskas)l Effect. Nik is Canadian...duh. It's one thing to claim that your a world wide recruting program. It's another to take an underrated kid from Canada and develop him to Stardom in the Nation's toughest conference. Belein has done just that. Somewhere there is an underrated Canadian...or Australian...or British kid with a world of talent just waiting to be tapped into. He will be approached by a few universities that will promise the world. When Michigan comes calling....he will have a real life example to follow and believe in. Canada is an untapped gold mine that is just waiting to flourish. Nik has opened the flood gates for future Canadian athletes in Ann Arbor amongst other nations.
5. The Re-inforcement of "Michigan Swag". Michigan has been known for having players in the past that had a little spice in their game. Players that were better than you and they let you know about it with demonstrative gestures and maybe even a little jaw-jacking. Some purists may not prefer this type of behavior and to each his own. Nik Stauskas has "Swag". He plays with a chip and an extra bounce. He makes being a "Shooter" cool...even though we now know he is much more than just a shooter. Nik is what we used to call on the playground, "a Bad Ass White Boy". I think Nik has taken right where Tim and Trey left off and carried the load as the Michigan Star player. He had a Februrary lull but has really picked it up. I think kids that watch Nik will gravitate to our program because at Michigan you can be a Scholar Athlete of the highest caliber and look damn good doing it. A lot of people not in tune with the 16-22 year old mindframe may disagree....but "Swag" is important especially in recruiting. Nik has it and has made us look damn good this season. Luke Kennard is a name that I would watch going forward....he is the perfect example of a kid that could replicate Nik's game in college. (and not just because he is white)
6. Nik's probable B1G Player of the year award will cement Michigan as a guard/wing hot bed in the Midwest and start to pay even bigger dividends on the recruiting trail. Manny....Darius...Trey....Tim...now Nik in just the past 4 years. We are putting elite NBA talent out year after year and it's going to get noticed. Tim and Trey last year could be looked at as a rare output. Not with Nik following up their departure in as grand a fashion as this. We are approaching Guard U status....at least as far as the Midwest is concerned.
I'll be honest with you...I think Nik Stauskas goes pro. He is a top 20 pick and despite his defensive inability and need for additional strength....he is still a solid 1st round draft pick. Another year could make him a lottery lock and folk hero in Ann Arbor to the Nth degree......but I just don't think we're going to be that lucky.. I'd love to be wrong.
BIG TEN OUTRIGHT CHAMPS!!! WOOHOOO!!!
So, last night (3.3.14) BTN did an hour show on a look at the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee's process for selecting the teams and forming the Final Bracket. They also gave their own full Mock Bracket at the end of the show, of which I was not able to copy and show, but I'm sure it's out in the Deep Web somewhere. I do have notes on their discussions of how they did their overall top 8 teams (of which they had Michigan the last 2 seed!) but I've left that off, for now. If interested, I'll add it. It wasn't that juciy, FWIW.
Here's a run down of my notes and takeaways. Most of this is of course nothing for Headline News (too much Bieber to cover, anyway). However, the show was one of the more in depth looks at this whole process so I figured those who didn't view the show may want a bit more insight into the whole process. The first few topics will be of most interest to the die-hards, as a few of these notions may not be so obvious. The rule changes are what caught my eye the most. Without further adieu...Well almost...Some of this will not be edited and put into perfect sentence structure or done to my best writing ability and is done in a more note-sy/copy-paste way but with the time I had, I did my best.
Rule Changes: How the actual Bracketing is done NOW: Teams who've played only once during the regular season may face one another at the earliest in the Round of 32. The Sweet 16 if teams have played twice, and the Elite 8 if 3 times. Each of these "earliest rounds" are up a round from last year and previous years.
Also, the Top 4 of each conference do not need be split amongst 4 regions unless the teams fall within a 1-4 seed.
This allows much more flexibility in "bracketing" (my made up word) or making up the final bracket. This helps reward teams rather than lowering and swapping seeds, which was done far frequently in years past. This also helps make a more fair/balanced bracket, a major goal for the committee. *10 different teams were changed from thier original seed line last year to compensate for the rules previously in play.
With the addition of the American Conference, 32 automatic bids are now in play, up from 31; ergo, 36 at-large bids are available, down from 37.
The Committee: Ten Members, of different levels from institutions across the country (AD's, Conference Commisioners, School VPs, etc.). When discussing and voting comes up to make the final bracket, an AD can't vote for own team. A Conference Commissioner can't vote for Conference teams. Also, said committe members cannot be there to discuss their own team. When acutally discussing teams, one can answer only factual questions; no discussing their opinions. This keeps bias aside. Ron Wellman, Wake Forest's AD is Chairman. I wasn't quick enough to get the other 9 members, but Mark Holls, Michigan State's AD is on of the other 9 members.
The Committee will meet this year at the Conrad Hotel, Downtown Indianapolis.
Bracketing process would start at 4:30 on Sunday, 10 years ago. Now, early Sunday/late Saturday, scenarios are taken into account and preparing the bracket is slowly started. Also, things that "don’t make sense" in the final bracket, were very much considered and taken into account. Sometimes it's how it's gotta be.
Each member has a team sheet. Uses RPI…too much probably?! This is an overview of each team at a quick glance. RPI is misunderstood, to say the least. It's a measure of SOS (strength of schedule) and how you did against your schedule. 25% teams own record, 50% opponents record, 25% opponents, opponents records. They know it’s not precise, but it's is a tool. A "How’d you do against top 50?" measuing device. The top 50 generally is where most teams come from, it does make some sense. RPI alone won’t get you in nor keep you out. (Members Select up to 36 teams they "like" before weekend, and go from there.)
The Committee's "General" Schedule: Arrival of members is Tuesday. An initial ballet is handed in and Bubble Team discussion is on Wednesday. Preliminary seeding, the Top 8-16 teams, is done Thursday. Select and seed Friday and Saturday. Release bracket Sunday, derr. (The Final bracket is decided surprisingly late, apparently.)
Myths (Debunked): Jerry Palm says Conference Standings/Records, i.e. "where you finish" matters. See Iowa last year. Maybe Nebraska this year. Conference RPI was taken away a few years ago. He goes on to uses University of Virginaia this year as a basic example: They "only" played the top 4 ACC teams once, so in a way they’re a skewed team.
Mike: Committee sets up preferable bracket. The Pitino's won’t play each other for intrigue and ratings.
"Other Dude": Similar to Mike, CBS/Turner isn’t there with the committee saying "Set these soap opera storylines up!". They don’t know matchups beforehand.
Miscellaneous: 1 seeds are made/picked first. Pairings for National Semifinals are taken into consideration. No.1 overall vs. No.2 overall is how the Bracket is theoretically set up. Overall No. 1 will play overall No. 4 in Final Four, Overall No.2 will play overall No.3 on opposite side of bracket. Closer to home? Mileage from home, what region and cities are available and what the Regional Final city is in, are all taken into consideration. Overall No.1 obviously gets the best/closest Elite 8 game city i.e. Regional Final. Also, I think every seed is "snaked". The Overall No.1 will have also have the weakest No.2 it's bracket, so on and so forth down the line i.e. the "weakest" 4 seed, "weakest" 8 seed etc.).
Like noted above about making a balanced bracket, the Overall No.'s 1v8, 2v7, 3v6, and 4v5 games in each bracket are the ideal. This has not and does not happen because of the "bracketing rules". Again, some of which are changed but some will always inhibit the perfect bracket. Balance across 4 regions is crucial to committee but perfection is near impossible. "Theory vs practice" and "Ideal vs realistic".
Conference Tournaments are a part of the body of work, and "very much taken into effect, but not over-emphasized". Big Ten finishes so late, it's only a half-hour/hour before Tournament Selection deadline. Alternate scenarios are in play, of course to monitor what happens in Conference tournaments and championship games. UConn a few years ago seems to be an example; probably not "In" to begin the Big East Tournament but they won the damn thing but maybe would have gotten in by winning 4 or 5 games in said Tournament, instead they won all 6 (they won NC that year, see: Kemba Walker). Good conferences have good chances to get more HQ wins and build resume throughout their Conference Tournaments...Whoda Thunk it! It matters who you play; a "win" doesn’t automatically help; a team needs to beat a good team for it to stand out.
Bubble Teams: By Saturday they’ve been talked about for 3-4 days. The final few spots available are open through Sunday and Conference Tournaments are watched to help decide these last spots. Exactly how many slots will be left available is not known at this point, so scenarios/alternate selections are planned for so what happens Sunday is almost finalized by Tournaments' end i.e. fill in the blanks with winners/take out losers.
.....Michigan will be the top seed in the B1G Tournament.
We all know that the B1G Championship means more than a B1G Tourney title does, but a B1G Tournament Championship needs to be BACK in Crisler. The banner will never come down.
Conference tournaments can sometimes be a nice springboard into the NCAA Tournament.
The last time Michigan won the B1G Tournament-
I posted this before, but seems timely tonite