1 hour and 17 minutes
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starts at 1:00
Higdon is better than Weber. That unstoppable offset draw. Braden at left tackle. Speight puts himself back on the Rudock trajectory. A wild Wheatley touchdown appears.
starts at 22:15
Eh, it was the usual. Hurst bellyrub and the likeability factor, Glasgow running a quarterback out of bounds for no gain. Nitpicks: Metellus suspectedon the Turner catch over Gedeon, Winovich blamed for that one long run, and random chance finally answering a prayer blamed for the TD.
3. Fifteen minutes of giggling over Ohio State
starts at 36:44
This was an upset, but lol: Ohio State has a loss—kick six part of an uncharacteristic special teams meltdown. Barrett shut down as a runner.
4. Talking Big Ten With Jamie Mac
starts at 52:38
Perry Hills: no picks! Funniest part of MSU-Maryland? Eastern Michigan is ahead of Michigan State in S&P+ rankings. Iowa could backdoor cover that 7-win threshold this year with a bowl win. Wisconsin appears to be legit; Nebraska hasn’t really paid anyone. Clayton Thorson: unstoppable throw god 2.0; Austin Carr could have something to do with that. Lagow took the chaos out of chaosteam; their right tackle is a problem spot. Rutgers-Minnesota was an even game. Commissioning Rivalry Trophy for Rutgers-MSU.
- “I Want to Go Back to Michigan”—UM Marching Band
- “I Want to Go Back to Michigan”—Judy Garland
- “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”
- “Across 110th Street”
THE USUAL LINKS
THIS MONTH IN MGOBLOG HISTORY:
Happy 10-year anniversary, Anthony. Anthony? You can get up now. Seriously you guys just scored or something I think.
I LIKE YOUR DISTRIBUTION
The conference win probabilities in Ecky Pting’s mid-season B1G Expectations say Michigan is likely to make it to The Game undefeated and has a 37% chance of winning out. Also it’ll be an uphill battle for one adjacent rival to make a bowl according to S&P:
State’s expected conference wins is now at 2.7, meaning if they’re a little bit lucky they’ll finish this season 5-7. Everybody in the B1G West is mediocre except Illinois leans pretty bad and Purdue is awful.
PATRICK SEES RED, DAVID SEES BLUE
BlueBarron is Patrick Barron, whose photography was first featured in HTTV Hockey-Hoops several years back when he was on the Daily, and who’s now part of our staff. He went to Rutgers and wrote a photo journal capturing the electric atmosphere of a night game in Piscataway:
Okay surely they looked more excited AFTER the game started.
See? There are two dudes behind the field goal who even have their arms in the air.
Also David Nasternack, who’s our do-everything behind the scenes guy, wrote up the first hockey game.
As Brian mentioned in his game column after Rutgers, the last time a team got beat as badly as Rutgers by Michigan, it was 1939, and the University of Chicago (HINT HINT) shut down its football team shortly after. The grandson of 1939 Michigan player Fred Olds wrote a diary about his grandpa’s team and how the OP became a fan. Those pre-War teams do still get together, though there are very few of them left.
MGrowOld has continued his own historical series, the badly titled “Forgotten Blue”, about Michigan greats that nobody has forgotten. The latest was mono-paw pitcher Jim Abbott. Fellow pitching great Jennie Ritter was before that. Rudy Tomjanovich was before that. Who’s that?
And finally on Wisconsin week we were treated to a trip down Badger Memory Lane, which was quite pleasant thankyouverymuch until 2005 ruined everything.
EARLY SPEIGHT vs EARLY RUDOCK
Blue Indy earned undying MGoRespect for coming up with a statistical comparison of Speight’s first half versus Rudock’s last year. Remember when we thought Rudock was miserable, and that put a hard cap on how good the year could go? It’d be nice to have some way to compare those. I thought to take Indy’s stats and chart against opponent pass defense:
Good pass defenses are on the left
The big differences came early: even if UCF ends up much worse than they look to S&P+ right now, that game and the Hawaii one were more efficient than any Speight played in the first half of last year. Rudock got two really bad pass defenses and was middling; Speight blew his away. The rest are non-opponent-dependent meh performances.
I’ve been waiting for this series to come up with some good ones before throwing them all out there.
Unfortunately Rutgers players mostly look like Rutgers, all Wisconsin players look the same, and Penn State players…we’re not going there.
REDSHIRTS REMAINING: Redshirt tracker is down to Peters, Walker, Spanellis, Ron Johnson, and Quinn Nordin. Keep your eyes out going forward for some of the burned shirts who might yet get a medshirt if they didn’t see the field against Penn State or after. Candidates include Davis, Nate Johnson, Eubanks, Dwumfour, Uche, Kemp, Gil, and Mbem-Bosse.
Your Moment of Zen:
Remember kids, if your team is full of super humans, game theory doesn't really matter. pic.twitter.com/dQNxqxjhcw
— Red Lee (@BDJargon) October 7, 2016
Courtesy of Red Lee.
- Brown played a lot of the game in a dime-ish package with three down linemen—looked like Michigan practicing against Ohio State. Odd fronts, Taco at LB depth.
- Josh Metellus might be a find; Devin Bush Sr. is angry he wasn’t more recruited. Devin Asiasi almost certainly is.
- DL salivation: Taco is into the backfield before you can say Ta. Finally seeing Mone too. Mo Hurst is basically back; for Godin to start over him is wow-ish. Both holding up to double teams well.
- What’s up with State? Last year they were more like a lucky 8-4 team that now lost Burbridge and Cook. MSU/Northwestern has M00N potential. Ohio State vs Wisconsin looks like flipside of Michigan vs. Wisconsin.
- Peppers Heisman diagnosis: excellent arc block plus Rutgers is bad plus Denard vibe. If he can singlehandedly beat Ohio State and build 1200 houses there’s a chance.
THE USUAL LINKS
Kind of a big deal. PG recruit Xavier Simpson won the Ohio Mr. Basketball award after averaging 27 points and 6 assists a game. You may remember that one Trey Burke won Mr. Basketball in Ohio, an award that comes with some heft. Recent winners include Luke Kennard, Burke, Jared Sullinger, William Buford, Jon Diebler, OJ Mayo, and someone named Lebron.
Both Beilein and Simpson welcome the Burke comparison:
"With me going to Michigan and seeing the success they had with [Burke]. What I'm hearing, from out of high school no one ever thought he would go to the NBA. And Michigan put the ball in his hand and helped him make the right decisions and get better as a player. That prepared him for the next level, so hopefully they can do that for me."
Simpson is a much higher rated recruit than Burke was, but I think we'll take Trey 2.0.
Let's stop doing the dumb RPI thing. College basketball RPI is broken. Broken things can be exploited, and the Pac-12 did that so successfully that they got a bunch of ridiculous seeds in this year's NCAA tournament. Those teams all bombed out of the tournament save Oregon, which got a one-seed everyone thought MSU had on lock. Ask the Spartans if that mattered, assuming you can keep a straight face while doing so. (You cannot.)
This was not an accident. In both men's and women's basketball the Pac-12 has made a concerted effort to game the RPI. It started with the Washington women's coach, and the league is so proud of it they've put up articles it on pac-12.com itself:
Neighbors’ work developing a mathematical picture of success for the Pac-12 inspired conference coaches to change the way their programs scheduled in the non-conference seasons and has strengthened the conference from top to bottom.
“It’s one of the most productive things we’ve done,” Close said. “The best part about this story is Mike’s selflessness, but also the coaches putting the conference above themselves.” …
“He came in with this huge packet, with color-coded graphs. The message was, ‘Everybody needs to get eight or nine wins (in the non-conference) and you need to play the best teams you can beat’,” Close said. “Everyone was brainstorming. Everybody understood this has to be bigger than just your team. We have to help each other.”
This worked, as the Pac-12's evidently mediocre teams got seeds they did not deserve. Meanwhile, a 15-3 Big Ten champion got a five-seed, and Michigan was relegated to a play-in game largely because the Big Ten didn't put anyone in the 50-100 range of the RPI. Some of this is the Rutgers effect. (Thanks, Delany.) Rutgers was a mandatory anchor on every schedule in the league. But some of it is the fact that the league is playing far too many voluntary games against Rutgers equivalents.
I complain about this just about every year. Four years ago I put a post together titled "How To Schedule In College Basketball" after a selection controversy between Drexel and Iona. What leapt out at me was Michigan's nonconference SOS. It was objectively much tougher than either of those teams but when it came to numbers it was barely better than Drexel's miserable schedule and far worse than Iona's mediocre one.
This is because Michigan fills out the bottom of their schedule with the very dregs of college basketball. Jason Lisk:
Then, you look at the non-conference. Michigan played Xavier, NC State, Texas, Connecticut, and SMU. That’s more top quality games then most programs played. But, from December 12 to December 23, they also played Delaware State, Northern Kentucky, Youngstown State, and Bryant. They won them by an average of 40 points. Each of those teams is at 275 or below in the RPI. Those teams are collectively 28-90 against Division I teams, and play against other low level teams (that whole opponent’s opponent’s record thing).
That’s killing Michigan.
If you just took out two of those games, and replace them with home games against mid-level MAC teams like Eastern Michigan and Toledo, the RPI goes from 66 to 55. With just that change alone. Heck, even if they lost one of those games (and they would be heavy favorites at home), the RPI actually goes up slightly. That defies logic.
For years I'd assumed this was a Dave Brandon thing. Towson is cheaper than Richmond, end of story. After Brandon's departure it's clear that John Beilein is the guy lining up Delaware State (#348 in Kenpom) and Bryant (#345) because he doesn't want the slightest chance at a loss.
This hurts Michigan and the Big Ten because the chance Michigan loses to the #200 team is also negligible. For example, per Kenpom Michigan had a ~94% chance to beat then-#203 Minnesota when the teams played at Crisler in January. Despite the very small gulf in likely outcome between a game against a bad team and an awful one, the RPI assigns very different values to those games.
The committee does attempt to see through these flaws, but everything is framed by RPI. Your RPI. Your record against the top 50 and top 100 in RPI. Conference RPI. Gaming the system clearly works; Michigan is doing the exact opposite of that. It just about cost Michigan a bid this year. It's well past time for the school and the league to figure that out and exploit it.
Precisely, good sir. Harbaugh on Sankey's Think Of The Children campaign:
“I thought it was fake outrage. I thought it wasn’t really real,” Harbaugh told Mike & Mike when asked his reaction to their reaction. “The moral high ground of the sanctity of spring break, that’s what people chose to use as their moral stance? I thought it was fake. I thought it was fake outrage.”
January February Middle Tennessee April. Pat Forde in the aftermath of MSU getting Giddy Potts'd:
Here’s what might also have played a part in Middle Tennessee’s calm reaction to shocking the world: the Blue Raiders knew they were no 15 seed. That was a joke, and part of a major choke.
By Michigan State, yes. But also by the NCAA tournament selection committee.
All hail MTSU, which put Murfreesboro, Tenn., on the map Friday. Its 90-81 upset of the Spartans is one of eight all-time victories for a No. 15 seed over a No. 2 seed – but Middle Tennessee never should have been a 15.
That’s on the committee.
The facts that Forde marshals for his argument are ridiculous. One: the winner of CUSA has never been seeded that low. CUSA used to have Memphis in it. This version of the CUSA had zero top-100 Kenpom teams. Forde cites the fact that CUSA was the #21 league at that very site without considering the fact that teams are not leagues. MTSU was not even the best 15 seed per Kenpom—that would be Cal State Bakersfield. The only teams in the tournament rated lower than MTSU above the 15 line were a couple of 14s.
MTSU was off by a seed line at most, which they promptly demonstrated by getting hamblasted by Syracuse.
Well, yeah. Kyle Connor left Penn State in a state of disbelief:
"I’m a firm believer that Kyle Connor is the best player I’ve ever played against and I even told him that in the handshake line,” Goodwin told reporters after the game. …
“[Connor] does everything very, very quickly,” Guy Gadowsky told reporters. “It’s amazing how he just gets himself into such an offensive advantageous position. I think it’s just what you can’t really explain that just makes him so darn good.”
After a few years of struggle against PSU, Michigan put the hammer down in 2016. They scored at least six goals in each of the five games, culminating in 7-1, 6-1, and 6-2 demolitions.
I mean I guess I'm not surprised. No idea if CBC News has the inside scoop on Kyle Connor but I'm not exactly expecting him back next year, and neither are they:
The focus on him is certainly justified and if Connor decides to leave school once his season wraps up (no decision has been made in this regard, though it would be a shock if he chose to stay at Michigan), signs with the Jets and eventually settles into the NHL game at the level that's expected of him, then let the good times roll.
I would assume that comes from the Jets' camp and indicates they intend and expect to sign him. I always think NHL teams are shortsighted to do this because the CBA accelerates free agency for players under 20; grabbing a kid at 19 is removing a year of team control at 27. But nobody seems to care for whatever reason.
Hockey incoming. NTDP forward Will Lockwood draws notice from NHL draft expert Kyle Woodlief, who names him a rising prospect:
Will Lockwood (U.S. NTDP U-18) — Showed lots of speed and was buzzing all over the offensive zone at last month’s Five Nations tournament, where he was one of the best U.S. forwards.
Lockwood is one of seven scholarship skaters* Chris Heisenberg shows as committed to Michigan next year; they are scheduled to lose two guys to graduation. Even if Connor, Werenski, and Downing** are all signing there's quite a logjam. Michigan has eight D this year and is set to carry nine next year even minus Werenski and Downing; they'll add an extra forward as well.
*[F Lukas Samuelsson is also listed but Michigan did not acknowledge him when they announced their incoming class. Generally that means the player is a PWO.]
**[Ben Clymer and Random Verb Guy were talking about Werenski and Downing like they were both out the door to the NHL after this year. Werenski we all expect to go; Downing hasn't been talked about much. I'm guessing they got word from someone or another and were impolite enough to repeatedly reference it on the broadcast because they can't talk about gritty grit heart for literally the entire thing.]
Etc.: More satellite camps: Dallas and Waco are on the table, with the Waco event a stop at Baylor's camp. That company that runs the summer soccer friendlies briefly listed Chelsea versus Real Madrid at Michigan Stadium on July 30th; it's since been changed to TBA. Harbaugh clinic notes.
WELL MICHIGAN STATE LOST TO MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE. THAT WAS FUNNY.
[clears throat] and now on to the evening games:
7. Wisconsin – 10. Pitt (6:50, TNT)
In one of the better games of the day, Wisconsin takes on Pittsburgh in Greg Gard’s first game as the head coach of the Badgers. UW had been playing extremely well until the Big Ten Tournament, where they dropped a surprising L against Nebraska. Wisconsin is the type of team that can grind it out against Pitt: Nigel Hayes, Vitto Brown, and Ethan Happ are a powerful front line, and all three can score from multiple places on the floor. Wisconsin’s calling card is still its impressive defense – the Badgers actually have allowed a very high % on opponents’ three-pointers, which would suggest that their defensive efficiency is weighed down by that randomness. It’s still kind of hard to get a grasp on Wisconsin because of their iffy guard play, but they should play better than they did against Nebraska.
Pitt was a middling team in the ACC this year, but between a good non-conference showing and a few solid wins in conference play (including three wins over former Big East rival Syracuse), they made it safely into the field. Contrary to what you’d expect from a Jaime Dixon team, Pitt is actually better on offense than they are on defense; predictably, their strength on the offensive end is derived from a strong collective offensive rebounding presence led by Michael Young and Sheldon Jeter in the frontcourt. The Panthers’ best offensive option is swingman Jamel Artis, though Young is definitely an able sidekick.
As far as 7/10 games go, this one is pretty even – Kenpom gives Wisconsin a 56% chance of advancing to the next round to (probably) face Xavier.
[After the JUMP: the rest of the 1st round]
A deep ball! In the wild! This is a very exciting development.
[Hit THE JUMP for much more of that, as well as plenty of Harbaugh and a surprise battle for #1.]