BIG TEN TOURANMENT STUFF: THOSE THREE GAMES
You can’t really get a whole lot out of three games in the conference tournament that you probably didn’t figure out during the course of the regular season, but for those interested, I thought at least a brief mention of the statistics from those games might be in order. I don’t think I will get terribly comprehensive because, well, Big Ten Tournament basically, but my hope is that you at least know some of the numbers from the tournament.
The four factors in those three games (I know, averages…..sample size…three games….season…grumble grumble):
Average eFG% - being a pretty good 3-point team saves you on this statistic typically, but we only bested our opponents by a slim margin. Michigan averaged 52.77% and those we played averaged 52.11%
OREB% - we’ve talked about this one a lot this year, and it didn’t improve much in the conference tournament. We don’t get a lot of offensive rebounds, it seems. Our offensive rebound percentage, as is typical for this team, lagged behind at 24.78%, compared to 35.62% for our opponents
Free Throw Rate – playing a typically clean game helps us keep this low whereas we enjoy more opportunities at the line on average, and that was the case in the Big Ten Tournament. Our free throw rate was 33.99%, whereas our opponents managed 24.57%
Turnover Rate – this battle was more or less a draw in those three games with the slight nod going to the teams we played actually. Our TOV% was 14.55% and our opponents averaged 14.22%. That’s despite having fewer total turnovers, but also one or two fewer possessions in a couple games.
We also averaged 1.13 for an assist / turnover ratio, which again – sample size – but it is significantly below the conference season average of 1.68, and indeed, our average points per possession, which typically sits around 1.20 or so, was 1.10 in the tournament.
In graphic form (we are the blue line, of course):
I currently live in Germany, but will be travelling to Paris on Saturday afternoon. I was wondering if anyone has had any experience there trying to watch sports, and if anyone would have any suggestions of where I might best be able to partake in some tourney watching/beer drinking there. Also, if there will be anyone else in Paris this weekend, I would not be opposed to an Mgoblog gathering should our beloved Wolverines make it to Saturday's matchups. Thanks in advance for any help.
Iowa Head Coach Fran McCaffery is dealing with a tough situation:
Not only do his Hawkeyes square off with Tennessee in the NCAA tournament in Dayton, Ohio, McCaffery’s 13-year old son Patrick will have surgery to remove a thyroid tumor just hours before tip off.
Here's hoping Iowa kicks a## in the first game and his son kick's that tumor's a##.
It's that time again fellas! As much as it stung to watch Sparty suddenly morph into what they were SUPPOSED to be all year at our expense....there were a few promising signs that were on display last Sunday and also throughout the last several games.
1. Morgan/Horford battled physically. This will be huge in a potential matchup with Texas and if we advance...Louisville. We lost a title game because we were outfought in the second half. (Amongst awful calls) I think this year our bigs will be up to the challenge physically. Hell even Beifeldt battled physically in the first half...simply limited athletically. This physicality will be huge if we are to make a run.
2. Derrick Walton seemed very engaged and confident in the early going against Staee. He also sliced them in East Lansing. Derrick has showed some serious tenacity in some of our biggest games this season. @Staee @Nebraska and @Ohio. I doubt that this kid will be shook when the bright lights come on this weekend! I can't overstate the value of PG play in the NCAA Tourney and between his growth and Spike's consistent play we are in good shape in this regard. Spike is also criminally underrated and could start for quite a few D1 programs.
3. Stauskas Consistency. Yes he shot poorly from the field....but lets be honest here...he was absolutley mauled from the opening tip. That type of play will not be allowed in the NCAA tourney and opposing guards will simply foul out if they play him like that. Nik has really hit a nice level of consistency and we have him CONFIDENT and playing at a very high level going into the Tourney. THis is HUGE. I truly believe that if we had a CONFIDENT and effective Nik Stauskas last April....we would have won a ring. He was in over his head in the FInal Four and he played in a shell. This season he is a different man and we will need him to be. I think Nik is in for a Statement Tournament.
4. The ability to win close games. As frustrating as it is to watch our leads evaporate....it might be equally impressive to watch this team close out wins. Against Purdue.....Minnesota.....Illinois and Ohio we closed out hotly contested ball games and made MONSTER plays to get the W. One could argue that it shouldn't have been that close but winning close games is an artform and one that we will assuredly have to employ if this tourney run is to be successful. Michigan will be very dangerous in any close ball game regardless of who it is. Seasoned and battled tested.
5. Fight. This team simply has it. We were getting eviscerated in West Lafayette and clawed and scratched our way to a W. We were also getting smacked by Indiana at home and clawed back into. This past Sunday we were being dominated by Staee and showed tremendous heart getting the lead down to 8 points in a game that we were second class citizens to the refs and simply not on par with our competition. In short....this Michigan Basketball Team is never out of a game. SParty would have beaten most anybody they played last Sunday and that's a credit to them. I did find some positive in how we battled them to the finish. That was not for nothing. If you look closely at that first half we controlled the first 5 minutes until unjust foul trouble was descended upon us. If Morgan and Horford don't pick up those cheap fouls.....we are even at the half and it's a whole different ball game. I simply love how Horford and Morgan physically battled Payne in the first half and it's a shame what the refs did to them for competing.
*I think that the body of work and ups and downs of a rigorous season will pay dividends. This team has played @Ohio...@Staee...@Wisky....@Duke....@ISU and battled No. 1 seed Arizona. There isn't a team in the Midwest region that we cannot beat and I think our program would be all smiles to see DOOK or those damn Red Birds during this upcoming run. I think the country is viewing us as a Pretender in this Tourney and I think a lot of people will be surprised how this team performs in the next couple of weeks. Go Blue!!!
Hope you all enjoy
The only thing in sports fandom sweeter than winning it all is exacting delicious revenge in the process. Thus, my bracket has Michigan executing a satisfying and demon-exorcising “Revenge Run” to the title:
- Wofford – their head coach played PG for Beilein, and now dares coach against him in the NCAA tournament? Traitor!!
- Texas – 2005 Rose Bowl
- Duke – 2011, round of 32 (among many other things)
- Louisville – 2013 final
- Arizona – December 14, 2013 in AA (after UM led by 11 in 2nd half)
- MSU – beat us in the BTT final this year, then their fans talked about it as if we hadn’t beaten them 2X this year, won the B10 reg season title by 3 games, and gone 6-3 vs their seniors
(OK, the Wofford one is kind of weak, but...best I could do on short notice)
I know what you're thinking. "Rationality vs wish fulfillment," "Kenpom this, RPI that," BLAH BLAH BLAH.
SCIENCE tells us that the brackets will work themselves out at each successive step to allow for Maximum Revenge Extraction for Michigan - and we all know that SCIENCE CANNOT LIE.
As a wise businessman once said: “Today I settle all family business…”
Buckle up for the sweetest and most satisfying edition of March Madness ever...