"It's not about last year or who's here or who's isn't here," says your head coach. "It's about getting out here and competing and seeing who is here, and that's where we're gonna go."
Catcher/7th hitter Lauren Sweet is hitting .364 in the NCAA tourney. [mogblue]
College softball's biggest problem as a sport is that the offense/defense balance that's so important to compelling athletic competition is tipped too far by a great pitcher. Florida State has one of the best, Lacey Waldrop, who came into the super-regional series (IE the semifinals) with a "you're breaking the sport!" ERA of 0.90. Michigan was fresh from a grueling regional in Arizona and a late flight, and would have to face Waldrop and the 53-6 Seminoles on their home field.
Michigan won 17-3 in a mercy. Haylie Wagner didn't look very sharp either, but this time it was Megan Betsa's turn to bail her out, entering in the 2nd and allowing just 4 of the remaining 18 batters to reach base and stranding all of them. Michigan's own player of the year candidate, shortstop Sierra Romero, had two hits; the other Sierra (Lawrence) and Lauren Sweet both had three. The best-of-three series continues this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. on ESPNU; if FSU wins that the rubber match will be right after. Read South Bend Wolverine's super-regional series preview before entering.
Of the rest of the recent diaries, I highly recommend L'Carpetron Dookmarriot's* look at other possible D1 programs that could take up lacrosse. MGoChippewa asked what would have happened if Alex Legion, hoops 4-star who decommitted when Amaker was replaced, had stuck around. My guess is the scenario would include him transferring a year later when Manny Harris refused to give him the ball. The Padog basketball previews continue with Michigan, MSU, OSU, Nebraska.
*To Mr. Dookmariot I recommend the old blog of the K&P writer who made up your name.
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|Nope, this doesn't save the 2013 season.|
WHEN YOU WISH UPON DENARD
Imagine a world in which Denard, who clearly needed a redshirt, got a redshirt and could return in 2013. In that world…the offensive line would still be terrible, and Borges still wouldn't have known how to use him.
So imagine a world in which Chad Henne, who probably could have used a redshirt, got a redshirt while Matt Gutierrez started. In that world Henne… probably loses his redshirt when Clayton Richard chooses baseball mid-season, and then in 2006 he's trying to beat out a senior three-year starter in Gutierrez and probably doesn't. Does he even stick around, or does Henne transfer to Penn State or something?
So imagine a world in which Antonio Bass wasn't hurt and 2008 rolls around and there's this fifth year senior around who maybe moved back to quarterback because Mario and Arrington and Mathews had WR handled, and Rodriguez finds him and they lock eyes…
This thread could get fun.
|The University of Michigan Athletic Office is proud to announce the Mort Plotnick Department of Photoshopping.|
GOOD NEWS(!)…ABOUT MICHIGAN(!)…FOOTBALL(!)
1484 put together a list of recent tweety-nuggets from Lorenz/Tremendous/Aquaman concerning some big time recruits:
- 5* CB Kendall Sheffield would like to visit
- 4* DE Kyree Campbell was waiting on an offer, already set a visit
- 5* CB Iman Marshall is friends with Canteen, very likely to plan an official
- 4* Grant Newsome likely deciding between Michigan and PSU
- 5* 2016 OL Liam Eichenberg has set a return date for another Michigan visit
- Michigan is still a factor for 5* DE Jashon Cornell
Michigan recruiting in May: still awesome.
EVEN A BLIND MAN CAN DO IT
Tulane has a long snapper who's legally blind (can't see out one, can barely see out the other). This is very impressive for the kid, Aaron Golub. Having the gumption to say "you know what, adversity, you can go screw because I want to play football," and then doing that successfully is a lesson to everyone to stop complaining about their comparatively weak shit. On the other hand, this is the absolutely worst time to call long snapper "arguably the most underappreciated position on the football field." I mean…
By the way, the most underappreciated position on the football field is center. You're right smack in the middle of every play, you're responsible for knowing your play and the opponent's play, you have to be able to snap the ball to various depths, you're typically lined up against a 300-pound monster you can't start blocking until you're done snapping, and you're going to end more plays than anybody as the last dude in the pile.
And I'm not just saying that because I'm getting epic amounts of crap from Ace in our Draftageddon email thread right now. Really.
ETC. Way OT but an EPA administrator (Steve L.) once told me when I worked for an environmental trade pub that bionic photosynthesis is humanity's best hope for cheap, clean energy. According to him, you take sunlight, water, carbon dioxide, and readily available surface minerals, and the waste product is oxygen. There's a long way to go but the University of Michigan (and Pitt) may have done just that.
Your Moment of Zen:
Speaking of inspiring feats, Brock Mealer can now stand…
…on one leg.
I've got this dresser I'm painting to go with our bedroom furniture. A few weekends ago I got one coat on it. Then it rained and ruined half the second coat. So I took it out there again but it started to rain on and off and I had to hide it under the garage overhang. Every day I check to see if there will be six good hours of sunlight somewhere to stick the last coat on it, and every time there's a dollop of drizzle here, a sprinkle there, and at least one good pour per day.
It is as hopeless and infuriating as being a Michigan fan. I know we can't complain too hard because there are places like West Lafayette where it just rains all the time, or Champaign where the weatherman predicts sun so you'll be outside when the softball-sized hail comes.
Your April shower was Urban Meyer coming to piss on your attempt to add a grad-year transfer to the OL, and now May flowers with a boatload of puritan crap.
I'm still livid. For a second there it looked like at least one of Michigan's major sports was going to be sustainably great, so of course that's when the most insane decision yet by an organization best known for blithering stupid decisions knocks basketball from a likely 1-seed to something way less than that. McGary's mad too, but the NBA's not a terrible fallback plan. Michigan got screwed the most.
The last guy I could find to get the one-year ban was a role player at UNLV who lost his 5th year to it in 2010. We've been scouring Google to turn up polls and quotes to give you some idea of how ubiquitous pot-smoking is among college athletes. The NCAA's own study came back at 1 in 5:
I'm suddenly liking lacrosse more
So how is it, even if the draconian rule only applies to the playoffs, that the merciless league can only manage to tag one guy every four years? There's a synthetic version that regular pot-smoking athletes will use during the season to beat the tests. So when they do catch a guy with good ol'fashioned THC in his system, it's usually only because he's a total amateur. No pun intended.
Whence the leapers?
I know Jones is 10, but I keep getting Dukes (83) and York (81) confused.
The 2012 receiver class had a pair of high 4-star types with similar I-saved-my-family-from-a-terrible-place-in-Africa stories. The 2014 class had the guy who rewrote the in-state record books and what already looks like a gem in Freddy Canteen. Lost in the narrative have been the three large-and-leapy 2013 guys. What do we expect from C'sonte, Jaron and Da'Mario? That's a good question.
This year I expect depth. In addition to Gallon we also graduated Dileo and Jackson and Reynolds. If Nussmeier indeed goes 3-wide a lot more as we hope, then at least one of them ought to figure on the two-deep in 2014.
Jones is more "slot-like", i.e. thin, though he's not at all short. I think his upside is Roy Roundtree, and so long as they leave him in the slot that'll be just fine. Dukes and York represent a specific type of receiver who can simply muscle past the type of legal-unless-they-call-it press coverage en vogue these days, and simply out-leap the 5'8 buggers who won't have any trouble staying with them. They're development projects: it takes years to perfect off-the-snap and route techniques to make this work. Unfortunately, Michigan only bothered to get a redshirt on Dukes last year, which, given Mathlete's finding that receiver experience is a big deal, is infuriating. Mo Ways is in this vein too, FWIW.
Etc. Hoops previews of Illinois, Maryland, and…Iowa? Hmm. Prediction for the remainder: Michigan (we should be below Iowa), Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin. Photos from the Go Blue Bowl. The 2013-'14 cagers' contributions to the season's gifs. Lacrosse potentially could go green…I mean more green.
[After the jump: why 2014 offense isn't 2011 defense, I enter the ranks of MGoBloggers who rant about Brandon]
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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