Just so we're all on the same page, this llama (via) is dressed as Batman, because Horford is transferring from a team that graduates Jordan Morgan for reasons of playing time. Farewell, and good luck, Al Llama Batman Sartre Horford; our time together was too short to understand each other, but I shall ne'er forget the awesome.
Let's start with that because things are about to get even weirder and less relevant (e.g. Michigan's spring game). But first: VICTORS:
|User||Day 3 Points||Prize|
|rgfmich||177.25||Design an MGoShirt|
If you're like "what?" that was the final standings among MGoBloggers in the Draftstreet 40k TourneyDraftstreet 40k Tourney a few weeks ago. Thank to our fantasy partners again for sponsoring the Day 1 and Sweet 16 liveblogs and everything; if anybody else wants to see how much fun it can be to give me money, jump in on the 100k MLB tourney for $22, or place in the top 5 of one of the $1 satellite leagues to win an entry.
It's a bit early for early returns, no? The Diarist of the Week™ (sorry I've been lapsing on that) is alum96 for his double feature (offense, defense) that looked at the various Übermenschen from Hoke's first uber-class as they enter their junior and redshirt sophomore season. I chart:
|Kalis||5*, Hutchinson 2.0||Not that||Pipkins||5* Hoke impersonator||
|Magnusson||4* Schofield 2.0||On track||Henry||3* Afterthought||A gem|
|Braden||High 3*, Wisc OT||On track||Wormley||High 3* DL||On track|
|Bars||High 3* project||Too soon||Strobel||Low 4* lolOSU||Too soon|
|Funchess||3* receivy TE||Great WR||Godin||3* local DL||Useful|
|Chesson||High 3* skinny||On track||Ross||High 4* prodigy||On track?|
|Darboh||Low 4* possWR||On track||RJS||4* hitter||On track|
|A.J.Williams||3* blocky TE||Not-good||Bolden||High 4* natural||On track?|
|Houma||3* runnyblocky||On track||Ringer||3* might be Foote||Wasn't|
|D. Johnson||Low 3* local||Gem?/inj.||Gant||3* S/LB tweener||Too soon|
|NORFLEET||4* god of Smurfs||Hi.||Wilson||4* Jamar Adams 2.0||On track|
|[No Quarterback]||Richardson||4* Cass mite||Cassmite|
|Clark||3* Shazorite||On track|
That's actually way better than I thought. Injuries set back some of them, and half of those who don't look like they'll turn out to be Big Ten-caliber players have been getting a lot of playing time regardlesss. More amazing, only Kaleb Ringer is gone.
Speaking of Morgan:
David Merritt is doing a signing event with J-Mo this afternoon at his store on South U.
Basketball diaries/etc.: Padog is now into the better-than-Indiana part of his worst-to-first conference preview of next year's Big Ten basketball teams, with Penn State, and Minnesota. Final stats on the shooty 2013-'14 season by LSA.
[Jump for a board of great relevance]
O! that a man might know
The end of this day's business, ere it come;
On the morrow we shall be bath'd in sunlight and spring football, but today, my friends, is an opportunity nearly as great and many times as wet. For this eve shall mark the inaugural Go Blue Bowl, whence a crapload of Michigan football alumni shalt descend upon the institution of secondary education known as Pioneer High School and forthwith become as volunteer coaches.
Here's yon latest roster (by graduation year) and what these noble knights hath been doing these years hence which I know what of offhand:
|Yes, Donovan, I'm getting to those.|
- Marcus Ray, BTN and WTKA analyst
- Ron Bellamy, head football coach West Bloomfield
- Dave Pearson, (don't know; I'll ask)
- Bennie Joppru, who calls himself "NFL bust, major weirdo creep" on twitter
- Cato June, head coach of Anacostia in D.C.
- Andy Mignery, WTKA radio personality
- Chris Perry, a non-MGoBlog reader
- Brandon Williams, director of Go Blue Then and Now
- Earnest Shazor, working in health care
- Roy Manning, University of Michigan Athletic Director and CEO and Future-Creating Chief Visionary Officer Dave Brandon Who Has a Six Pack Cornerbacks Coach at the University of Michigan
- Marlin Jackson, director of the Fight for Life Foundation
- Jerome Jackson, sometime MGoBlog reader
- Steve Breaston, NFL free agent
- Tim Massaquoi, college counselor and clinical psychologist
- Jason Avant, NFL free agent
- Donovan Warren, NFL free agent who's been trying to start up a new youth football league
- Jordan Kovacs, NFL safety for Miami
- Mike Schofield, NFL draft prospect; and
- Jeremy Gallon, pint-sized NFL draft prospect.
Also on hand this evening: precipitation. Yes, we're playing anyway.
There's one spot left on the alumni teams. The event is to help launch the same three Fight for Life Foundation programs in Ann Arbor and environs that have helped so many disadvantaged kids get back on track in Indianapolis.
Diaries as Soliloquy:
To foul, or not follow, that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to put
their 50-percent free throw shooters on the line
and in so doing, give ourselves a chance to respond,
Or to take Caris LeVert's arm
against a three point attempt of troubles
And by opposing end them?
O mighty Izzo! Dost thy teams lie so low'?
Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils,
accomplished with talent of so little measure?
I know not, gentlemen, what you intend,
Who else must be let blood, who else's recruits were of such rank:
If I myself, there is no honor so fit
As State's death hour.
You three, Sheehey, Fischer, and Vonleh,
Have sworn for four years' term to live with me
My fellow-scholars, and to keep those statutes
That are recorded in this schedule here:
Your oaths are pass'd; and yet to transfer/NBA exits you subscribe your names,
That his own hand may strike his honour down.
Hark. a program in miniature.
Best of the Board
BETCHA CAN'T HIT BETSA
The latest in softball is freshman phenom Megan Betsa threw a no-hitter. Your move, Wagner. Also: WTH, athletic department who scheduled the baseball and softball games at the same time as the Spring Game?
Ghost of BCook's Ethics (?) started an interesting discussion topic: Michigan basketball recruits who didn't live up to the hype. Other than a handful of obvious guys there aren't all that many on the ground. I submit Amadou Ba. Not a hyped prospect, really, but it was cool to have a big man from Africa. He played just 43 minutes in his career behind Courtney Sims, Graham Brown, and Chrus Hunter. Just think of monster slams where we could yell "BAAAAAAAH!"
ETC. Next Beckmann (seriously asking, is it not obviously Karsch?)? An HTTV for Penn State fans. Just offer in-state Drew Brees already! Show up early for the spring game to see the Schembechler museum, or stop by tonight to see a giant statue of the man who most defined the Michigan
we know today they're now systematically replacing with monuments and such.
Your Moment of Zen:
Sometimes an opponent's last-second, contested three-pointer goes in. Other times…
Site note: Be here for the Liveblog tonight. Mods to your stations at 6:45; we'll get started at 7.
I'll make this one quick.
Things to know about basketball
1. The defense has maybe taken a small step forward, and other observations about how basketball is like pro wrestling, from who else?
2. Michigan's offensive deviation isn't very large says LSA; they generally manage to keep their pace and score with relatively stable frequency. Score one against "defense wins championships because it's more consistent."
4. Purdue and Rutgers are not going to be good at it next year. Padog has begun a preview series for next year's conference teams, starting from the bottom. Northwestern is probably next followed by Penn State, but I'm looking forward to an Indiana preview sooner rather than later.
Best of the Board
QB BATTLE: THIS IS KNOWN
For those not still hitting snooze on football right now, BlueMooner went to the private dinner last week with Nussmeier and came back with generalities that amount to Gardner/Morris/Speight are who we thought they were. Also this:
Audience members posed questions about the comparison of recruiting in the SEC versus the B1G; Coach Saban compared to Hoke; and his intent to stay at UM over the long haul. He adroitly dodged those with a splendid sense of humor. The crowd was really enthusiastic about Coach Nussmeier in control of our offense.
You are welcome to read this as "Nussmeier wants to be a head coach someday" and "the SEC cheats more in recruiting." This too is known.
ATTENTION WAL-MART SHOPPERS
There are 394 items on walmart.com licensed from Michigan Wolverines and 369 for Michigan State Spartans. This should be a thing.
This is more of a link but Bacon addressed "Walmart Wolverines" on his blog this week. If you are an alumnus who has a problem with non-alumni rooting for your alma mater then you should read it.
My sense is that is next to none of you, and "Walverines" is a thing mostly generated by Sparties who don't like how people who didn't get into MSU bring up Michigan's marginal academic superiority. So Bacon is addressing the wrong crowd; on the other hand I'm not sure I want to advocate speaking sense to Spartans, because that totally works.
THE END OF COLLEGE SPORTS AND EVERYTHING
The CAPA decision touched off heated debate on the board, so heated that a second thread was warranted to exclude the money part that the Northwestern players aren't talking about. The debate came down to "better helmets and covering medical expenses down the road for athletes is good" versus "but schools that pretend to be D-I won't be able to live that way."
Congrats are due to Justin Dickens, the guy who granted Heiko that interview with Borges and oversaw a dramatic shift in how bloggers are treated relative to other football media. He's not only an MGoBlog reader; he's now Director of Football Operations. This site's had a lot of criticism for Fort Schembechler but I have zero for Justin, who was given the impossible job of keeping both Dave Brandon and Brian Cook happy, and who despite that always made protecting the players his highest priority. I expect he'll succeed; I'm more anxious about who will succeed him.
Your Moment of Zen:
jonvalk's Wallpaperpalooza (1/4)
Things in the Past. There were some great diaries that would have been required reading if this was yesterday. Paps previewed Wofford (this you saw on the front page), Erik_in_Dayton tackled the history of 15 seeds upsetting two seeds; it's happened seven times since 1991. That may be more fun to visit now that the danger is passed, if only to relive 2012 Duke.
The game was played only 55 miles from Duke’s campus, but it was also the site of the first round game for UNC. Tar Heel fans gladly joined in rooting for the Mountain Hawks.
Oh man, Duke. That was two years ago. Is it still acceptable to laugh about it?
It is considered acceptable to still laugh about this game.
Speaking of way-back, remember the Big Ten Tournament? LSA has stats on that.
Meanwhile MGoBlueline put a ton of effort into reintroducing the hockey team for the Big Ten Tourney and then who-knows in the plinko playoff system. But those guys lost to Penn State in double-OT (finishing 2-3 on the year against the hockey equivalent of our lacrosse team) and will need to be lucky to earn a tourney bid. There were plenty of things to go wrong, including really bad turnovers and the now-requisite game-winner that almost went in but didn't.
The hockey guys (Brian, Center Ice and Blueline) will cover the most unsurprising upset ever in more detail, but there was one thing that infuriated me all game, and that was Penn State's defensemen were pinching despite being rather bad backwards skaters, and only a few times did Michigan challenge this by speeding through the neutral zone. When they did move up-ice with any kind of urgency in the 3rd period, DeBlois and Nieves split defenders and got off great scoring opportunities.
Since we're now left watching tourneys and hoping the unworthy don't steal autobids, here's a handy graphic of the tournaments.
Things in the Future or Never. Interesting, quickly consumed diary by saveferris looks at the history of 1-4 seeds in the NCAA tournament. Survey says:
I just stole his lede here, so I'll tell you that there's a Burke gif at the top if you take the link. My guess is the closer seeds are to each other the more this will look like 50-50, i.e. the reason two-seeds won just 4 of 12 Finals games since 1985 is only 12 two-seeds have made the Finals.
|The other Sierra (soph. OF Sierra Lawrence) has a .462 OBP going into Big Ten play.|
And Softball. I could probably say this about the softball team most years, but I really really mean it this year: pay attention because they're on a new level of awesome fun awesome. They've carried a 19-6 record so far through an epic brutal schedule. South Bend Wolverine provided the update as the team is (finally) going into Big Ten play.
Thing to Know 1: Pitching is huge in softball; one great one will put a team in the Top 25. Michigan has three(!) such towers. I'll stop comparing junior Haylie Wagner to Verlander because her 0.93 ERA/13-0 record is more like Walter Johnson. Freshman sensation Megan Betsa has 63 strikeouts in 49 innings. Something's been off with junior Sara Driesenga, who was All-Big Ten both previous seasons, and picked up the slack last year when Wagner was out. If Sara returns to form the pitching is just going to be unfair.
Thing to Know 2: Star shortstop Sierra Romero's looks like Miguel Cabrera at the bat and in the field; in the comments Hail to the Blue points out her glove is fine but her arm's been erratic.
[Jump for Best of the Board]
Bah di-dah di-dah, bah di-dah di-dah, bah di-dah di-dah dah!
Bah di-dah di-dah, bah di-dah di-dah, dah-dah dah-dah-dah-dah [sax]
Michiganman14: It's time to unleash Stauskas.
B-Nut-GoBlue: It's time to seed B1G right.
:It's time for photoshopping and Tom Crean memes tonight!
Jonvalk: Imagine life with Horford, if Morgan chose to go?
Bah di-dah di-dah, bah di-dah di-dah, bah di-dah di-dah dah!
L'Carpetron Dookmariot: It's time lacrosse got started.
MGoBlueline: When will hockey get started?
[Jump: a board full of grouchy old hecklers]
I'm going to skip the user-generated content column, since there wasn't very much of it this week, and talk about the position swaps. The top two diaries at right are new this week.
Something completely different. Brady Hoke attended the Detroit alumni association's annual event yesterday and went on WTKA this morning, leaking out some position changes and player updates, as well as explaining the thinking behind the defensive position coach shakeup. News via nickbob:
Jake Ryan moving to MIKE
Chris Bryant to take medical
Magnuson will miss "most" of spring, will do some individual stuff, surgery went well
Tuley-Tillman had hand surgery
Drake Johnson and Darboh are limited and working their way back
Some other odds and ends related to the D coaching moves
Also Taco Charlton will be moving from WDE to SDE. Let's discuss.
|More Ryan is a good thing. [Fuller]|
Moving Ryan. This, like the coaching changes, is a response to college football going mostly spread. Hoke said that Ohio State effectively neutralized Ryan against the run by spreading out, thus moving him out of the box. Here's your matchups for strongside linebackers on Michigan's 2014 schedule:
- Vs tight end/manball: MSU, Minnesota, PSU*
- Vs slot receiver, spread-to-run: App State, Utah, Ohio State
- Vs slot receiver, spread-to-pass: ND, Miami(NTM), Maryland, Indiana, NW'ern
The * for PSU is because Franklin's offense is a bit of a hybrid; when adapted to Penn State's current roster I'm guessing it ends up a zone-blocked, tight-end-heavy passing offense that moves at warp speed. Northwestern will be a lot more passy with Trevor Siemian instead of Colter. Only two games will heavily feature a SAM taking on tight end blocks.
Upside: anyone who's watched Te'o or Bullough against us in recent years can attest how much of a difference a great middle linebacker can make. The downgrade from Demens to last year's linebackers in deep zone coverage was probably the defense's biggest liability, and Ryan to date has been a plus zone defender.
Downsides: SAM just went from Michigan's strongest position on defense to a huge question mark, since Cam Gordon graduated and Beyer was moved to SDE, leaving just unheralded Spur (i.e. safety)-like object Allen Gant and neophytes.
The obvious thing would be for Beyer to switch back, though Hoke told Sam Webb that isn't happening. Rather James Ross may swap to SAM, and Morgan/Bolden/Gedeon will compete/rotate at WILL and backup MIKE. Weight Watch 2014 just became how big will James Ross be watch. If Ross seizes the position this spring I think things will work out fine, though this has to be a comedown from our hype going into last year. McCray or one of the freshmen could factor in.
The other downside is the most consistent generator of pass rush is no longer on the pass rush.
[Jump: moving Taco, OL damage, coach position switches]