"Coach Mattison told me what the Ravens were about, what he thought," Beyer said. "He definitely encouraged me. I hold his opinion in high regard."
The Wall Street Journal has done their blindfold brackets feature again this year. For the uninitiated, it's an interesting interactive bracket where you pick each game based on a description of each team and its strengths and weaknesses, theoretically removing biases that you may have about the school or conference.
For what it's worth, I got a Final Four of Florida, Arizona, Iowa State, and Louisville, with Florida beating Louisville in the title game. It's not hard to figure out who Michigan is from the description; I had them losing to Louisville in the Elite 8.
I know there is a St. Patrick's Day pos-bang thread right below this, but because St. Patrick's Day stopped registering with me like 10 years ago, and because "Hmm, I forgot about North Carolina, they worked State over pretty good earlier this year" or "UMass has to be pretty good to get a 6 seed, I wonder if they can give Duke a game" do not warrant their own thread, perhaps this can be the one size fits all tourney talk open thread. Partake if you please.
**Please don't crucify for any redundancy or prematurity of speaking about our 2014/2015 basketball lineup.
Adam Silver is attempting to get rid of the "One and Done" and force players to play at least 2 years of pre-NBA basketball starting next season. This means that all incoming 2014 freshman will not be able to make the jump after one year and theoretically freeze the 2015 draft projections after the 2014 declarations are made. This could be big for us. Why hop into this loaded draft when next year you stand the strong possibility of doubling or in some cases tripling your stock?
Stauskas is a 15-20 range player in 2014. Solidly in the first round but could slide if he gets showed up in the Draft workouts...which could happen. Stauskas would likely be a top 10 pick or better next season with all of the over-hyped players coming out this year. Stauskas could use another year of strength and conditioning and add some more tools to his game. ( He was beat up a bit today) I would like to see him put more effort into the defensive side of the game. More strength and explosion would assist in that area. His year 3 leap could be scary good! Stauskas could be the next Reggie Miller/Chris Mullin with some more refinement. I think his confidence level in a 3rd year of College basketball would make him nearly unguardable and a sure fire impact prospect in the 2015 NBA season.
Verdict: Good enough to go....and probably will....but if he stayed.....he could be simply off the charts in 2015.
GR3 is a puzzling talent. He is silky smooth and crazy athletic. He has solid range shooting the basketball and is a willing defender. On the hoof...he has serious NBA potential. You just never know what your going to get from Glen. He is very unpredictable and doesn't always seem thoroughly engaged. I think Glen could vault himself from his current 2nd round grade into the top 10 with a MoNsTeR off-season. He could genuinely make himself millions by coming back to Ann Arbor and working his tail off this next season. I really hope that he gets genuine advice and makes the right decision. Glen has as much potential as anyone in the entire B1G conference but he needs another year and particular attention to basketball IQ details.
Verdict: Skilled enough to get drafted on potential. Simply needs more time and refinement and a year of being a #1 scoring option.
McGary is my favorite Wolverine since Webber. He is an absolute worker with tremendous talent. McGary is currently not projected to be drafted. McGary could be a Top 5 pick in 2015. He is simply that good when healthy. After re-watching our 2013 Tourney Run....I was floored by McGary above all else. He has an unparalled motor and excellent mid-range shooting ability. McGary plays very physical and is exactly the type of player that Michigan needs and could flourish with. McGary is a legitimate 6ft10 and 250lbs. McGary has deceptive athleticism and appears to be a cross of Tyler Handsborough and Kevin Love (minus the 3pt range). I'm not sure if there is a ceiling on this kid to be honest. He is a big time talent that works his ass off on the court. If healthy he will be a pre-season All-American next year again. Mitch simply stands too much to lose in leaving early this season when a potentially watered down 2015 Draft could score him literally millions more than this 2014 Draft. Definitely think he should and will stay one more year.
Verdict: Mitch is a beast and simply needs to get his health in order before making the leap. He risks too much financially by sacrificing his Top 5/10 draft stock next Season to leave this season as a possible second rounder.
Levert is a year away from NBA consideration but might also round into a 1st rounder with another year of improvement.
Verdict: Caris might make Thad Matta the biggest dumb dumb in coaching before he leaves Michigan. Next year might be his last if he adds weight and strength. Still not physical enough for the league.
Could Michigan dominate the 2015 NBA draft with 3 or 4 First Rounders? Abso-effin'-Lutely!
1. Nik Stauskas is a Student/Athlete at The University of Michigan.
2. Michigan has a battle-tested team with a tremendous amount of positive momentum surrounding the program.
3. Michigan has Belein. Belein is a top 10 coach.
4. Michigan will likely face DoOk in the round of 16. (barring an upset obviously) Who would you rather knock off? We owe them one....for Darius.
5. This team has and will continue to defy odds and surprise.......as a 2 seed!
6. State plays Cincinnati next Saturday. I predict the analysts won't like that result. Virginia is also a more athletic version of Wisconsin and is a tough matchup for State.
7. Michigan will not see a "Bruiser" in the MidWest unless we draw Louisville. We also owe Louisville one.
8. The MidWest is loaded....but there isn't a team that we cannot beat. Duke and Wichita don't have a style mismatch in their favor. We can run with both and neither are elite defensively.
9. This tournament will provide even more experience for our young club and IF we avoid a mass Sophomore exodus....we will be a top 10 team with 2 years of terrific tournament experience next season.
10. We just spent the past 3 days playing 3 outstanding defensive teams and ground out 2 of 3 victories. Our kids are ready for this challenge.
Bring on the PrEdiCtiOns. I've got Michigan losing to Arizona in the Final Four.
Yet I dont see a team that really scares me. Texas and Arizona State seem to be average teams that our guys can beat with talent. I know people will quickly point to the the Duke game in December, but this UM team is a lot different. Stauskas cant be shut down by 1 guy anymore and Walton, Irvin, and Morgan/Horford have played a lot better since then. Plus, Duke has really struggled outside of Cameron. I think UM will get back to the E8. I have Louisville and WSU in the S16 on the other side of the bracket, I think Louisville wins that. Louisville doesnt look scary to me, but I think they are a slight favorite. In my bracket I have Louisville winning and going to the Final Four. I hope I'm wrong about that. What do you guys think?
[EDIT: Normally, I don't dabble in making decisions about diary-worthy stuff, but I definitely think this is worthy - LSA]
Wofford – A First-hand preview - I didnt realize how much I wrote until I was done... If this should be a Diary or something, I am so, so, sorry.
I made the drive from Atlanta up to Charlotte for a Davidson game about a month or so ago. We chose the Wofford game, as they seemed to be one of the more competitive teams in the conference, and were close enough to the end of the schedule that Davidson would be playing with something on the line. I had signed to play athletics at Davidson back in November (humble-brag alert!), but had not attended any athletic events, as my recruiting trip was on a Friday-Saturday when the football team was out of town. So we wanted to go see a game to get the feel of the campus on a big weekend, and watch some good basketball. It was a great time, Davidson ended up prevailing in what was a low scoring affair, 59-49. At the time I would have thought that Davidson would be playing Michigan in a hypothetical tournament game, not Wofford. But that is not how it all worked out, as Davidson was bounced by Western Carolina in the semifinals of their conference tournament.
Here are some general facts to know about Wofford:
Name: Wofford College
Type of School: Private, Liberal Arts
Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina. About 45 minutes east of Greenville.
Size: 1,600 students (approximately)
Conference: Southern Conference (from here on referred to as the SoCon)
Wofford has a very nice, tree-filled campus, and is very academically challenging. I visited there, and was very impressed with the nice, small campus feel, and the mix of old and new buildings. They have a great student body, and a spirited and devoted alumni base.
Athletically, Wofford has been very competitive in the major sports within their conference, and nationally, especially within the last few years. Their football team is always a tough game in the SoCon (the conference that produced Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, who are now going FBS), and won conference championships in 2003, 2007, and 2010.
Their best sport is by far baseball, where they have put a good deal of players in the MLB.
Wofford was never good in basketball until very recent. In the ’09-’10 season, they won the SoCon, and made the NCAA tournament for the first time. They got a 13 seed, and almost knocked off Wisconsin, losing 49-53. The next year, in the ’10-’11 season, they made the tournament once again, this time losing by 10 to BYU. This year will mark their third appearance all time.
The game: To truly understand the Davidson-Wofford game, a little background is needed. Wofford came into that game (at Davidson) having won 9 straight games, all of them in-conference. It must be noted that the SoCon was particularly horrid this year, with 3 or 4 decent teams, and then just a bunch of horrid teams for those 4 decent ones to feast on. Davidson entered that game equally hot, having won 12 of their last 13 games (the lone loss being in OT against Elon). This game also held conference championship impliactions.
The atmosphere was pretty hyped up, as this was one of the best home games of the year for Davidson. Davidson has a small lineup this year – they run a 4 guard lineup, and their starters are by height: 6-7, 6-7, 6-6, 6-4, and 5-11, with nobody with any significant height on the bench. They have a bunch of 3 shooting stretch 3.5 types. The only exception is senior De’Mon Brooks. At 6’7”, 230lbs, De’Mon won the SoCon player of the year award. He absolutely dominated inside all year, and the Wofford game was no exception.
The first half started out great for Davidson, with a couple of threes bookended around some layups and dunk, and Wofford was forced to call a timeout at the 13:00 mark, down 13-3. The Terriers had no ball movement, and would often get the ball “stuck” on one side of the court without moving it around. They relied almost solely on individual creation by their guard Karl Cochran, as he started off cold from the field. On the defensive end, they left a couple trailing shooters open for good looks, which Davidson capitalized on. Most of the buckets Davidson made early were either off turnovers, in transition, or just off of transition before the Wofford defense could get set. Davidson runs an offense with 4 guards around the perimeter and De’Mon down low, but with hardly any ball screen action from the big, unlike Michigan. After that timeout, Davidson made a few more buckets, and then began to get sloppy, and a lid went on the basket. Wofford did three things with the score at 6-19:
1: They went right at De’Mon Brooks three straight trips down the floor, got him with two fouls, and forced him to the bench
2: They began foregoing offensive rebounds in order to get back in transition, and
3: started running Davidson off the three point line. Davidson doesn’t have superior athletes to drive the paint a lot, and their offense sputtered.
A couple of threes later, and Wofford’s offense was clicking. They channel their offense through three main players: guards Spencer Collins, Karl Cochran, and forward Lee Skinner. These three players played 35, 35, and 36 minutes respectively, which was 10 more than any other player on the team. Those three accounted for 13 of the next 20 points for Wofford, who went on a 20-2 run. Davidson was able to beat the buzzer with a three to keep it tied at the half, 26-26. Davidson had several good looks from the outside, but was unable to knock them down. If the Michigan big men go out or aren’t playing well, our ability to stretch the floor and shoot will be crucial, as Wofford ran both man-to-man, and a 2-3 zone. They ran kind of a sagging man to man that didn’t switch a lot. It was definitely a man defense with some zone elements incorporated. They did not display a tendency to pressure the ball on the way up until late in the game, which is something everyone does.
In the second half, with De’Mon Brooks back in the game, Davidson was able to play their game. The went inside out, throwing it into Brooks, and letting him shoot or kick. He is much better finishing version of Jordan Morgan. I can’t help but think that Mitch could tear this team up if he was healthy, with his distribution skills out of the post position. Davidson started on a 20-10 run over the first 10:00 of play in the second half. Brooks was the key here, registering at least 4 “hockey assists” on passes out of the post.
But with 5:00 to play, Wofford brought it back to a 3 point game, down 45-48. A key block inside by Brooks fueled a Davidson run, and they would hold Wofford to only one point for the next 4:30, with the final score being 59-49. Down the stretch, Wofford turned into a “Karl Cochran go do something while we stand here” team, and after a lot of late shot clock attempts didn’t go in, the game was all but over.
Key Stats and Notes:
· Guards Karl Cochran and Spencer Collins are the guys for Wofford. Wofford’s success goes as those two go.
· Cochran is 6-1, 175, but looks bigger. Collins is an accurate 6-4, 195, but plays most of his game on the perimeter. Cochran, while smaller, is a much better rebounder.
· In this particular contest, Cochran and Collins went a combined 11-29 from the field.
· Karl Cochran had a particularly bad night from three, hitting only 1/8, while Collins hit 3/5.
· Wofford isn’t a particularly big team- the rest of their starting lineup is 6-8, 6-6, and 5-11. Their most used benched players are 6-6, 6-6, 6-2, and 6-3. Not tiny, but no dominating force.
· Davidson’s De’Mon Brooks finished 6-6 from the field, 6-7 from the line, and with 18 pts, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists.
· Wofford shot free throws at a 67% clip (10/15)
· Davidson was able to take 14 threes, and make 6 of them. These were mostly wide open looks.
· Wofford is well coached, doesn’t turn it over or foul a ton, and their coach isn’t afraid to make adjustments.
· Wofford doesn’t have names on the back of their jerseys.
The tips for Michigan:
· Penn State is the closest comparison I can make to Wofford on Michigan’s schedule with two good guards that run the show and not a lot of size and skill on the inside. Granted, Wofford is a worse version of Penn State. A slightly worse version of Penn State that’s won 11 of their last 13 games.
· Morgan, GRIII the keys. GRIII will be matched up against someone he can physically take to the rim and push around a little. Morgan will have to play a role of rebounding and distribution- not looking to score. This is something he can do.
· Put LeVert on Cochran. Let LeVert guard him. Davidson had a slow, Albrecht-esque defender on him, and time and time again had to rely on a double team because he was blowing past the defender. LeVert shouldn’t have an issue.
· Unleash Irvin/Stauskas. Let it rain from deep! Death from above! Let the threes happen! Both of these guys will have plenty of opportunities especially if Michigan is able to
· RUN! Get out in transition! Davidson did that very well until Wofford shut it down, and they are a relatively slow team.
· Finally, let Walton use his speed. I was not impressed by the Wofford point guard, a guy named Eric Garcia. They let Cochran run the show most of the time, but Walton should be able to take Garcia to the hoop and finish/distribute. Also would like to see some of that extended 1-3-1 to harass these guards.
I hope this covered it! I wrote literally everything I could remember. If anyone in the comments has questions about this game or anything else, please ask, and I’ll be happy to respond! I probably missed something. Go Blue!!! (and go Davidson in the NIT. Yaaaay!)