"He's a hard worker, and he watched me and Tim (Hardaway Jr.) and Nik (Stauksas) put work in to become (first-round picks), and I'm just happy he's getting better," Burke said. "It's great for the program, too. It shows what type of program the University of Michigan is and the direction it continues to go in."
give money to someone elseeeeeeee
This April 4 will be the first Go Blue Bowl, an event to benefit Marlin Jackson's Fight for Life Foundation. It's a flag football tournament with teams of 10 sponsored by local businesses and coached by Marlin, Jason Avant, Jerome Jackson, Donovan Warren, Chris Perry, Cato June, Tim Massaquoi, Marcus Ray, Jeremy Gallon, Roy Manning, Brandon Williams, and Jamar Adams (so far).
On Monday Brian and I were invited to attend the kickoff event and I was asked to give a speech to explain why we're behind this. I figured I might as well share that as a diary, where those who care to read it can, and the overwhelming majority who don't need only put up with a handful of picas in the diary bar for a few days.
Michigan is This
I was part of that famous class of 1998. Together we won a BCS bowl, 2 Big Ten championships, and twice beat THE university that thinks you need to put an article before a proper noun. The reason you probably don't remember me is Coach Carr here never offered me a scholarship, on account of the fact I was born without any football talent.
I'm just a big fan. As you have probably realized since graduating, being a fan means you are profoundly affected by things you have no control over whatsoever. And because This is Michigan™ [audience adds the 'forgodsakes'] those things aren't just the football things, but also the scholarship things, and the community things.
As your loved ones have probably, carefully, asked when the Michigan things have threatened your control of your sanity: "Why does it matter so much?"
It's our particular weirdness to think we need a real answer to this. Everyone who went here, played here, or roots there [points toward a photo of the stadium] believes in this exceptionalism, this idea that being "acceptable" in any of these facets is never good enough. We can't all possibly excel at such a level all the time. It is an ideal, and that ideal is what we espouse when we reverentially say "Michigan."
We're here supporting the Fight for Life Foundation and Marlin Jackson because he is the embodiment of that ideal, excelling as an athlete, as a scholar, and in what he does to give back to his community.
When I was first checking out his foundation I thought "wow, Marlin Jackson, remember his first interception on the 7 yard line against Western when he was still wearing number 20 where he went up and we were all like "finally!"…
Yeah so the second thing was I showed this to my wife does this for a living—she's a child psychologist who works with at-risk children—and she was very impressed, said this is what these kids need and what a lot of their schools have increasingly been unable to provide.
They need access to art, and challenges to their creativity and analysis skills, to develop critical thinking. They need assistance to catch up to classmates in their studies, else all that other school is wasted in futility. They need opportunities to function in a team setting, to develop an appreciation for society and their own value to it.
These aren't just things; the scholars in child psychology say that after food and shelter they're the most important things.
Marlin saw that this is what these kids need to succeed as teammates, in the classroom, and as members of their communities, via his own experiences, and from the expertise of some of the top educational thinkers around Indianapolis whom he's brought in to develop his programming. He was put in a position to provide this because he made himself an exceptional athlete. And he knew he had to, because he went to Michigan, and THIS is what we're all about.
We can't always affect this, that, or the other thing. But with Marlin's leadership we can be contributors to the making-the-world-a-better-place-things, that is, the things that make THIS matter.
This piece was going to start with something about how fall is here and evoke images of pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice lattes but there’s a thread on the board about hockey practice jerseys that has double-digit comments so let’s get to the point; it’s almost hockey season. Also, you’re probably envisioning pumpkin pie or a pumpkin spice latte now anyway so mission: accomplished.
Twenty two days remain before the puck drops on the 2013-14 season, and even though it might seem like a good time to do a season preview* I’m not done writing about last year. There are two things that I could write about ad infinitum; applying advanced stats to college hockey and what went wrong during the 2012-13 season.This might as well be a Sports Illustrated expose because there just isn’t going to be a smoking gun that alerts us to the singular reason behind the 2012-13 collapse, but with advanced stats in the fold there are new ways to look at what happened.
I recently read about applying baseball’s quality start statistic to goaltenders (you can read more here and here). A lot of blame was heaped on Michigan’s trio of netminders last season, and while some of it may have been understandably levied I still believe that an unwarranted amount of criticism was given to the guys between the pipes and not enough was placed on those standing in front of them.
Quality starts are worth looking at because they are highly correlated with winning. At the NHL level, a team wins 77.5% of the games in which their goaltender recorded a quality start. There are, of course, some flaws to the statistics. First and foremost, there’s still not a good way to control for a poor defensive team. If a team gives up lots of breakaways and odd-man rushes then the goaltender’s save percentage is still likely to suffer. At the same time, quality starts are useful from a consistency standpoint. If a goalie fluctuates between shutting out teams and blowing up and allowing five goals then they typically won’t record as many quality starts as a goalie who consistently goes out and allows two or three goals per game.
A goaltender is awarded a quality start if they 1.) start a game and 2.) have a save percentage that is above the league average (or, in this case, above the DI average). In the context of a portion of a season we aren’t going to escape the problem of small sample size, but there are some nuances to what happened last year that we can glean from the stats available. As you can imagine save percentage and quality starts are closely linked. Steven Racine’s 89.9% save percent wasn’t exactly a revelation, but at the same time his improvement over the season did get Michigan within one game of another NCAA Tournament berth. This is where not just quality saves but the associated statistics become worth investigating and discussing.
A cheap win occurs when a goaltender records a save percent below the DI average but his team wins anyway. Conversely, a tough loss (or wasted quality start) is granted if a goaltender has a save percentage at or above the DI average but his team loses.
[QS= Quality Start, NQS= Non-Quality Start, CW= Cheap Win, WQS= Wasted Quality Start]
Steven Racine’s 2012-13 stats are featured in the table above. We’re going to look at his starts because he’s the only goalie on Michigan’s roster that started more than 15 games, and 15 starts was the cutoff for having one’s save percentage counted towards the DI national average. The DI national average turned out to be 90.2%, with 76 goaltenders being included in the calculation. As a quick aside, three of Adam Janecyk’s nine starts were quality starts and three of Jared Rutledge’s nine starts were quality starts. Having only 33.3% of your starts qualify as quality starts is just bad; the NHL standards at Hockey Prospectus state that a quality start percentage of 40% or below is considered very poor.
Racine fared better than his counterparts, with 12 QS out of his 22 starts. That means that 54.5% of Racine’s starts were quality starts, putting him relatively close to the 60% QS that Hockey Prospectus considers elite. While Racine’s QS numbers weren’t all obtained during the team’s nine game win streak that put them in the CCHA Championship game he definitely had a statistically better latter half of the season. Racine recorded five QS in his first twelve starts and seven QS is his last ten. Again, it’s hard to tell whether the shift from 41.6% of starts being QS to 70% of starts being QS is due to Racine settling in and adapting to the speed and angles of the college game or whether it’s because the team defense buckled down and started, like, defending but there’s no question that the increase in QS% was huge.
Five cheap wins in 22 starts means that 22.7% of the time Racine started in net he didn’t have a SV% that was at or above the DI average, with three of those cheap wins coming after the team’s nine game win streak started on February 22nd. That doesn’t surprise me that much, as you’d expect that a Michigan goalie is going to get some cheap wins when the offense is ranked seventh in the nation in goals per game.
Only two of Racine’s 22 starts were wasted quality starts, which is also indicative of having a good offense; in only 9% of his starts did Racine or the team perform well defensively only to watch the game slip away because they couldn’t put the puck in the net.
Tl;dr. What’s your point?
Michigan’s goaltending wasn’t as bad as it may have seemed, with 54.5% of Steven Racine’s starts being quality starts. The percent may seem low until you find out that having a 60% QS% is considered elite in the NHL. If Michigan can get their forwards to backcheck and forecheck and if the defense corps isn’t a punch of pylons or rovers then the 2013-14 season should go better than 2012-13.
While there are some obvious flaws to the QS stat, it should be interesting to track over multiple seasons. There will always be the huge caveat of shot quality being untrackable, but it’s definitely a better (and both more nuanced and interesting) stat than *shudder* wins.
*If you are looking for a season preview then perhaps ordering Hail to Hoops and Hockey would be a good idea. You get an actual preview from Brian, as well as an article by me about what went wrong last season. Wait, what do you mean there’s a theme to what I write?
Our good friend TomVH passed this along and I thought it was worth posting before the holidays—Mike Barwis is raising money for the Athletic Angels Foundation, which will provide food, clothing, and toys to needy families in the Detroit area. If you're interested in donating, the information is below. Checks shoud be sent to:
Athletic Angels Foundation
44191 Plymouth Oaks Blvd., Suite 600
Plymouth, MI 48170
This was posted in the Omameh thread by Tim North, former Michigan DE, director of the Zoltan Mesko Foundation, and new MGoBlog user. He asked if someone could start a new thread as he doesn't have enough points to do so.
It's so great to see Patrick be recognized for his selflessness and the time he spent at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital throughout his time on the football team - he is truly a Michigan Man in every sense of the word.
In an effort not to take any attention away from Patrick, I am posting on this thread as a new user on MGoBlog (could not create my own thread) and wanted to reach out to the MGoBlog community about the newly established Zoltan Mesko Foundation (http://www.facebook.com/ZoltanMeskoFoundation) and our current fundraising promotion with the New England Patriots and Celebrities for Charity. My name is Tim North, and I am a former U of M Football defensive end (2005-09) and current director for the Zoltan Mesko Foundation. Zoltan has greatly appreciated the support from MGoBlog since his freshman year (yes, he was well-aware of the Space Emperor title in 2005), and wanted to make sure we connected with U of M fans to raise awareness for the Zoltan Mesko Foundation and our current promotion: http://www.celebritiesforcharity.org/raffle/zoltan-meskos-london-ticket-...
If a more seasoned MGoBlogger could make a new topic about the Zoltan Mesko Foundation we would GREATLY appreciate the help. Again, we do not want to take any attention away from Patrick so it would be awesome if there was a seperate thread to discuss.
Thanks again everyone and Go Blue!
Tim North and the Zoltan Mesko Foundation