Remaining Games Chart:
Since the last time I've modified the chart a bit so instead of a non-sensical number average, "Difficulty" is now on a log scale of 1 to 10 of the KenPom/RPI average weighted by site of game.
|23||#South Dakota St.||5||103||75||71-56|
Well, Here We Are
Not surprisingly, the most difficult game by the numbers comes last. Michigan displaced the previous #1 KenPom team convincingly and is rewarded by playing the new #1 for the championship.
The good news is that these rankings and statistics are a formality at this point. The game is a one-off, winner-take-all, who is hot on the right night, who gets the 50/50 call, who can make the shots. Michigan has been in every single game this season except for one and the circumstances leading up to that game are not what we have here tonight.
NCAA Tourney Run vs B1G Gauntlet
If you laid out Michigan’s tournament games from the Sweet 16 to the Championship you would see before you, at least according to KenPom, an unrivaled task of difficulty – four consecutive top 10 opponents, with lots of travel and not much time to prepare.
Michigan, incredibly, has already run an equally challenging gauntlet earlier this year. There are no advanced statistics that can measure what kind of benefit of experience a team takes away from playing the top four teams consecutively (three on the road) in a nine day span; but it is safe to say that these are the kinds of things that either make you or break you. Regardless of outcome Monday night the answer is already clear.
February 2nd – 12th
March 29th – April 8th
As painful as it was to watch, can you draw up a tougher cluster of regular season games with which to teach and prepare this extremely young Michigan team?
- Without Burke, could Michigan have rallied vs Kansas?
- Without Hardaway pouring in 21 points on 5 of 7 three point shooting in a fifteen point victory, does Michigan have what it takes to beat South Dakota St?
- Without Stauskas firebombing Florida, do the Gators keep it close and have a shot to win?
- Without Robinson III's offensive efficiency and offensive rebounding does Michigan sputter in any of its tournament matchups, particularly Syracuse or SDSt?
- Without McGary becoming a world beater, doesn't Michigan suffer an inevitable "Wisconsin"-style loss to Syracuse or get blown out by Kansas or get upset by VCU?
- Without Albrecht becoming the most eligible bachelor and putting together a tournament highlight reel all his own, does Burke get worn down to the point Michigan exits early?
- Without LeVert making two critical three pointers and playing a terrific defensive game, does Michigan have what it takes to outlast Syracuse?
- Without Jordan Morgan "getting stops", does Michigan make it to the Championship game?
The best part of this run has been every rotation player has made plays crucial to the success of the whole team. As much as I thought the team's success would be utterly reliant on Trey Burke's performance, as went he so would the team's fate. Now vs Kansas this was true. But against South Dakota St and Syracuse in particular this was very much not the case. As a whole, the team has exceeded wildest expectations.
The Path To 32:
At Christmas I had seen this team play three games out in New York, I knew they were special. Now to climb to the top of the mountain we can throw out all the numbers, forget all the statistics, take our own time-out and appreciate how awesome this team is. The most difficult game of the season is the last. There is no tomorrow, but there is no fear.
(Photo from UMHoops)
Jalen Rose spoke to Mike and Mike on the radio this morning and said that 4 of the 5 members of the Fab 5 will be in attendance so far. Webber is the only wild card. Jalen pointed out that Webber lives in Atlanta and works for CBS sports so it would be very easy for him to be there.
Mike Greenberg also asked Jalen if Webber doesn't want to come because he doesn't want to talk about his Michigan career. Jalen said that should not be the case because Webber is a member of the media now and also because his life has not really been adversely affected by it. He is very succcesful and has nothing to lose at this point according to Jalen
In the tourney we have beaten, in this order, kenpom's:
- #103 S. Dakota St.
- #16 VCU (more like #35 taking out that Akron JV game)
- #9 Kansas
- #2 Florida
- #8 Syracuse
Not to mention before the tournament we played:
- #3 Indiana twice
- #6 OSU twice
- #10 MSU twice
- #11 Pitt
- #13 Wisconsin twice
- #20 Minnesota
- #23 Iowa
That's fifteen games against the kenpom top 25.
Louisville in the tourney (also in order):
- #221 NC A&T
- #31 Colorado St.
- #29 Oregon
- #7 Duke
- #17 Wichita St.
Before the tourney:
- #7 Duke
- #23 Mizzou
- #8 Syracuse thrice
- #11 Pitt
- #13 Georgetown
That's twelve games against kenpom top 25.
In the tourney, our avg. and median opponent kenpom ranks are 27.6 and 9, respectively; Louisville, 61 and 29.
Before the tourney, our avg. and median top 25 opponent kenpom ranks are 10.7 and 10; Louisville 11.1 and 8 (Syracuse 3 games out of 7 will do that).
Yet, b/c all the games are factored in, kenpom has our strength of schedule at #8; Louisville, #12. I guess we had a lot more easy nights in November and December, because the above suggests our schedule was a helluva lot tougher.
What really stands out is when you stack our pre-tourney top 25/tourney aggregate schedules side-by-side and sorted by rank:
I didn't see this posted, so here we go. Looks like the sec cleans house with the free stuff. B1G is very conservative. http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2013/03/11/Colleges/NCAA-gifts.aspx
Take it easy on me this is my 1st post.