"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
"There's a certain level of confidence and composure he brings to the court," said sophomore forward Aubrey Dawkins, who played the bulk of his minutes as a freshman while LeVert sat on the end of the bench in a sweat suit. "When you know you have a player like that on your team of that caliber, it's just like, we're in his hands and he can do a lot of things for this team. It's a comfort. It's nice."
"I just really wanted to see him in a game and I loved what I saw," Beilein said. "He was active. He's got a motor. He's got some things he's got to work on. He doesn't have the strength to (play) the way he'd like to in the Big Ten yet, but that's what we're going to work on in-between (games) without inhibiting his ability to play the next game."
wit1/24/2013 – Michigan 68, Purdue 53 – 17-1, 5-1 Big Ten
Probably not many more of these for games not against Penn State, but I don't have any narrative for this one so let's just talk about stuff that happened.
Photos. Via Eric Upchurch:
It catches up in the end. The story of the first half was the normally deficient Boiler three-point shooting checking in at 54%, which was good enough to stake them to a one-point lead. In the second half they went 0-9 to finish almost exactly on their season average of 31.6%, and honestly it should have been worse what with DJ Byrd hitting one from 35 feet and banking in another. (As always, Death To Backboards.)
By the end of the game everything had averaged out to… averages and Michigan just about hit the Vegas line and Kenpom's prediction of a 17-point margin. If Ronnie Johnson hitting a three is the difference I'll live with it.
MY MAN RONNIE. That one make on three attempts pushed him to 14% on the year.
Purdue is kind of fun to watch. So you've got Ronnie Johnson's three-point futility plus his tendency to crash full-bore into opponents for charges that are so obvious the refs don't even get excited about them. Then you've got DJ Byrd hucking it up from anywhere, making a few and hilariously missing more. All other Purdue perimeter players are more or less versions of those two guys. The Johnsonbot named Terone adds a dash of circus shot to the stew.
The end result is balls flying all over the place. More than once last night I thought GO HOME PURDUE, YOU ARE DRUNK. This makes them significantly more entertaining than, say, Penn State or Nebraska. Nebraska does have Andre Almedia, I guess.
Does Michigan need to foul more? I think they might. There was a possession relatively late on which Burke extended pressure and harassed one of the many Boiler Johnsons into a near-turnover twice, and then Mitch McGary overplayed a passing lane to finally turn Purdue over. I'd like that to be a more frequent occurrence even if it comes at the cost of some additional fouls.
I can immediately think of some good counter-arguments:
Michigan plays its starters a ton and there is a serious dropoff to the bench so foul trouble is to be avoided at all costs.
Playing defense like that tires you out, bench thing again.
Michigan likes games of HORSE.
But but but boy do I want this team to get out in transition and getting aggressive on defense seems to have some potentially large payoffs. Their transition numbers are nuts, in the 96th percentile nationally as of a few games ago according to Synergy and UMHoops. Anything they can do to push the pace is going to benefit them.
They only forced 12 turnovers in this one, limiting those opportunities. Their man to man seems a lot more passive than many teams'. This game in particular seemed to invite aggression: the Boilers have a very good eFG% defense and can't shoot free throws.
Specifically, I hope Caris LeVert can beast up over the next couple months. He's not going to foul out and if he gives up a couple of over-aggressive fouls on the perimeter it's not likely to end up hurting Michigan since they so rarely find themselves giving up the bonus. Stauskas, too—that man is still in the top ten nationally at avoiding fouls.
THEORY. It may be that Michigan's second-half surge is partially built on a lack of fouls in the first half? If they go into the locker room with everyone clean maybe they sit down and are like "okay guys now time to get aggressive"? I'll check the numbers on this to see if there's anything to it.
If I had to guess I'd say no. It feels more like Michigan's offense takes off right after halftime. But I'll check.
Throw out the rebounding record books when you play the Purdue Boilermakers. For the record, Michigan still won the battle on the boards against a team that looks damn good at that bit right now—22nd OREB, 64th DREB. They grabbed 12 of 30 opportunities; Purdue got 11 of 34.
And it was hard to be mad about many of Purdue's offensive boards anyway. Their misses were often so wild that attempting to get position was a futile project often ending with a ball heading directly at your head with hockey-puck speed. I hope no one on the team was in 'Nam. If anyone was they're having a seriously bad day today.
I definitely shouldn't mention this. Tim Hardaway was 3/5 from deep today, bringing his three point shooting in league play to a Stauskas-like 15/29.
Trey Burke yawn yawn. Save for an uncharacteristically poor night from three (0 of 4), Trey was himself: 6/10 inside the arc with 4 FTAs, 8 assists, one turnover. Oddity: he blocked two shots.
Burke has surged into the KPOY lead now, passing Russ Smith and Mason Plumlee. Smith may have a case—he's putting up 36% of Louisville shots and has a huge steal percentage—but is hurt by inefficient shooting; Plumlee's presence is largely due to a huge DREB rate that seems to exist because no one else on the Blue Devils even tries.
There's a team adjustment in the kPOY that probably explains much of the movement. Louisville and Duke have had a rough past couple weeks; as their teams fall back to the pack their numbers go down.
it was a fumbly kind of game for big guys (Upchurch)
Blank-headed center regains third head. With Morgan and McGary having some struggles early, Jon Horford saw eight minutes for his first extended playing time in a while. His impact was not enormous—three rebounds, 1/2 from the floor—but it's nice to have him available.
This Week in This Week In Stop Asking For Post Touches: the beginning of the first half for Michigan, in which Jordan Morgan ended up taking on AJ Hammons directly and went 0-3. Morgan and McGary did have one nice one-on-one bucket apiece against Hammons; overall their efficiency was significantly lower than the rest of the offense.
Another oddity: Michigan's three posts saw a total of 43 minutes and picked up no fouls. This was because…
Holy pants was AJ Hammons awful. I've been talking him up based on watching some Purdue and seeing some nice things in the box score; in this game he was total non-entity. In 24 minutes he had 2 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 turnovers. While I wasn't enamored with Michigan's center play in this one, they have to get some credit for that.
That over and back call. A couple folks pushed back on twitter when I broke out the traditional "lol big ten refs" for the over-and-back on Stauskas, but I am sure I'm right on this. For over-and-back to be in play the entire ball and the entirety of the player's body have to cross the halfcourt line. By the time Stauskas caught up to the ball Byrd had poked out it had already started crossing the halfcourt stripe. This was obvious on TV but not to the ref, since said ref was well behind the play.
In any case, he clearly did not regain control of the ball until he'd entered the backcourt, in which case the tip indicated by the ref closest to the play was still the determining factor. That call was mystifying.
Yes, I can find things to complain about even when Michigan is the #2 FTA/FGA team in the nation. It's a skill, what can I say?
Second-half adjustment watch. This one was even coming out of the locker room, with both teams picking up five points in the first five minutes. Then Michigan went away with a 14-2 run in the next five. You can add that to the bin or not; your discretion.
On deck: huge swing game. I dislike this Illinois game coming up. Michigan should win, but this is an Illinois team that beat OSU's head in at Assembly (Not That Assembly) and could at any moment heat up on their many, many three-pointers. They'll be desperate for another marquee win that can cover up blemishes like "losers to Purdue and Northwestern" when tourney time comes around; I can see things going very well or very badly.
There's a cap on how well Illinois can do when they can't grab a rebound to save their lives; I am still wary of a team at the bottom of three-point percentage rankings on both offense and defense. That could turn around and bite you. Ask Gonzaga, on the wrong end of an 11/26 night from the Illini.
Kenpom has Michigan by eight and with a 77% chance of winning—feels a little more random than that to me.
All 3 points(both feet and the ball) have to be in the frontcourt before over and back can be called...so on that point you are correct.
However, once the ball is establsihed in the frontcourt, if an offensive player is deemed to have possession(which is what I believe the refs felt Stauskas had) if any part of the ball or your body touches into the back court, it is indeed, an over and back.
The argument is about possession then, not having all 3 points established because the all 3 points HAD BEEN establsihed. So essentially, the halfcourt line becomes and out of bounds line if the offense has established possession of the ball(which the refs said he did have).
It was a tough play for Nik because Bryd was bearing down on him and I don't think Nik realized exactly where he was when he picked up the ball.
The interesting part it, it was so, so close that I don't think Painter would have bitched about it too much but in the end I believe they got the call correct,
From my view, neither of Stauskas's feet nor the ball had touched ground in the backcourt when Stauskas gained control of the ball; therefore his subsequent step into the backcourt was a violation. If he had waited another step to coral the ball, he would have been fine as he would have gained control after establishing himself in the backcourt and avoided the violation.
Ads for fertilizer and soybeans, the Purdue radio crew were saying that Michigan ended with just enough to beat the Vegas 14.5 line. I also enjoyed their recap of the three keys of the game and noting how Purdue failed at them - the one I remember was they needed to keep Michigan and especially Trey out of the paint where he can dish out assists.
Michigan is going to take care of business at Illinois. I am the first one to become skeptical, and I knew for a fact that we were not going to beat Ohio State. Michigan is the best team in the country and they are not going to let the top ranking slip by again. Illinois will not doubt be pesky and annoying on Sunday, but YES..... Michigan will be #1 in the land come Monday afternoon.
No one else has mentioned this, at least as far as I've seen, but I thought Burke played some of the best on-ball defense I have ever seen from him in the second half. He was really harrassing Purdue's guards as they brought the ball up, and it led to a few turnovers and easy fast break points.
For about 3 minutes of the game (I believe it was the 1st half), our lineup was:
This is when Purdue had Hammons and their big white guy Travis Carroll (6'9'') out there. Anyone think that this was to see how a 2-big offense would work, if say we need to use it frequently against MSU and/or Wisconsin?
I can't remember how they did, but I think Morgan blew by Hammons for a lay-up.
Stellar post about a comfortingly blah win. But why write Boiler Johnsons when you had the rare chance to go with the always delightful "Boilers Johnson"? Disappointing oversight, no?
“The boys are all ‘soft’ and short winded as yet, but if they follow Captain Malley it will be soiled meat and sand that Cornell runs up against this year" - "Our Rugby Team," The Michigan Daily, 1890.
This concerned me as well. I actually yelled, "That's what you came up with!?" But I am also fully convinced that the GRIII BOOM SHAKALAKA! was an intentional inbound play to perform said BOOM! So I'll live with it.
I don't know how there can be any mention of LOL B1G REFS without the non-call on Purdue's double-dribble. I had to rewind the Tivo twice to make sure I wasn't going crazy. That one and the over and back thing both need to be in the upcoming OFAAT post.
Also, wouldn't the solution to the "foul more?" dilemma simply be to have the subs be the overaggressive ones? Actually I'm not sure there's a huge step down to the bench really; Albrecht, LeVert, etc. could start for a lot of Big Ten teams and the only reason there's any talk of a step down is because of how phenomenal the starters are. But if they're less good at scoring, and they are, and the starters are too valuable to rack up the fouls, and they are, then why not have the subs be the ones overplaying lanes in hopes of getting easy transition buckets?
I agree to an extent on your hypothesis (see what I did there?) regarding fouling more, as I do with Brian's. Being more aggressive at times is necessary to set the tone for the game and give their offense pause to think about driving the lane. However, I really do like late in the half being in the bonus while still having a number of fouls to give before the other team is also enjoying free free-throws. Its a great way to manufacture some points with such an athletic team.
I could be wrong though...all the reason I was a swimmer in college.
“If worms had machine guns, birds would be afraid of 'em.”
Plus the foul they called on Burke when he blocked one of the Johnson's shots after he pushed off Burke three times. They showed a close up slow motion replay and I narrated it to myself as 'offensive foul, offensive foul, offensive foul, clean blocked shot, wtf refs?'
When you are a transition team, it is much easier to score when your opponent misses, which is part of the reason basketball is a game of runs. M is as good in transition as any team I've seen this season. So, no, I don't want M fouling more; I like Beilein's theory of playing good D, don't foul, get rebounds, and get going. It's a beautiful thing to watch.
I think part of the reason McGary minutes are ascending while Morgan's minutes are descending, is McGary's unmatched ability to create fast break opportunities when he is on the court, either through his rebounding or steals. Michigan looks like Phi Slamma Jamma when McGary gets his mojo going.
According to this officiating site it's similar to an out-of-bounds call. It doesn't matter if the defender's tip is what the real cause of it going into the back court. Once Stauskas touched it in the front court which he appears to do then it's him "causing" the ball backcourt. And therefore Michigan cannot touch it again before a Purdue player. It was very close as the ball was pretty much at/near the line but hard to say the official was wrong
It's hard to disagree with your point, though to be fair to Brian he's not saying we need to foul more; he's saying we need to play more aggressive defense to create more turnovers, which will inevitably end up in our fouling more.
I made a similar point last year when THJ was shooting a million 15 to <= the three point line jump shots. I said something like the coaches should force him to pick up one charging foul while dunking on some fool's head before he gets the green light to shoot a long two.