"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
"The experience he has from last year is starting to show," Jazz forward Gordon Hayward said. "He’s making shots, and he made some gutsy plays against Portland. He’s got a confidence about him that he can get the job done."
Conference play has come, and Big Ten teams can safely retreat to their thunderdomes to clobber each other in peace, insulated from the braying mockery of the national media. There is still upheaval. Michigan has fallen apart. Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke have been confined to the Touliers Palace.
Multiple well-researched recruiting retrospectives, everything you need to know about being Number 1, and so many memes explained. Buckle in sports fans because this was a week for user comment worthy of being ranked over Kansas. But first, the thing where I give money to i give money to yooooooouuueeee:
IN WHICH VOGRICH AIN'T SO POOR. You have until 11 a.m. tomorrow to register your fantasy team in our Saturday free pool. Winner gets $100, and there's another $200 split among the 2nd through 15th placers. Details are in the Diary. Really it's just you pick eight guys under a salary cap and see who can get the most rebounds, assists, and points. Wings get called guards, which I find appropriate and kind of interesting in a Beilein has changed the game kind of way. This time I tried rolling with a tempo formula and ended up with both parts of the Cody Zeller-Mitch McGary matchup.
Some of the valuations are weird, for example McGary is $7, 476 while…
Did I just put that there because MGoBlog is obsessed with boxscore bagels? Maybe.
IN WHICH WE BELIEVE EYEBALLING IS BETTER THAN MATH. On Tuesday Brian told Big Ten Geeks that if their metrics were coming up "Jordan Morgan is the Big Ten's best defender," the metric is probably wrong. Most people would see a battle of internet sports nerds of this magnitude and just nod on the sideline, but the brave Blue_MQT dove right into that, putting four countable defensive factors (field goal %, turnovers, rebounding and free-throw rate) against defensive efficiency to see which correlate the best. Then he shows pictures to demonstrate the stuff good defense is really made of, and why it doesn't appear in statistics. A million ugly Big Ten forwards with weird names agree.
IN WHICH BRAYLON GIVES OUR RANKING A SCHOLARSHIP. Every time Yeoman does something that takes a lot of work and ends up being super valuable to our interests, the author of this column must decide whether or not to deploy the obvious double-entendre. This week's impressive solo-farming effort yielded the tournament fates of the last 30 top-ranked teams in January. I make pie:
Now keep telling yourself this. Relatedly: LSAClassof2000 charts AP votes for Michigan this year, creates a chart that seems to suggest there's a ranking zero. Blazefire imagines a 2013-'14 without Burke, Hardaway and GRIII; how about we lose only Vogrich, Akune, Bartelstein, McLimans, and Person and repeat as National Champs, did you think about that?? [me choking Blazefire.gif]. No, no, the chart, remember the chart. Anyone else's arm getting tired?
[After the Jump: the final word on the difference between a 4- and 5-star running back. And many memes explained.]
IN WHICH SCHOLARSHIPS GIVE OUR FOOTBALL TEAM A RANKING
The 4-stars of 2004: Max Martin, Pierre Rembert, Darnell Hood, and Jerome Jackson. Saved from the MGoBlue Archives
There were three excellent diaries by this week on assessing football recruiting, and all are required reading if you are to be discussing expectations for the latest Hoke classes. Ron Utah went over the Rivals 100 players that Michigan and Ohio State recruited since 2002 to see how many worked out; unsurprisingly the sweatervesticule got more out of his guys than Carr/Rodriguez/Hoke.
EGD looked at whether it's best to bank a scholarship rather than spend it on a late offer, the result being a kind of surprising "maybe." In practice, the late offers tend to go to fliers, not your standard 3-stars, but I guess the payoff rate is the same for either. My answer is it depends. When Michigan lost out late on some expected guys for the 2005 class Carr suddenly offered two Renaissance kids—Carson Butler was full of talent but didn't have an offer because he was a headcase, and Andre Criswell was just a kid who got really big suddenly. I was fine with that at the time, but in retrospect it looks ill advised bordering on reckless. On the other hand Brian and I were separately penning "why not Norfleet?!?" articles on Signing Day 2012 before he got the offer. If there's a lesson it's "do it if you know what you're getting."
Here also I point out that Michigan has a pair of 4-star running backs in this class, Deveon Smith and Wyatt Shallman, who could both leap the current depth chart by fall. Shallman is a pretty straightforward Brandon Jacobs-type man-beast, while enough coaches from Ohio have been screaming "man are you guys underrating Smith!" right now to point out we might be underrating Smith.
The reason for the dissonance here, other than they're just four-stars, is Michigan's recent four-stars haven't panned out so much. Since 2002 guys in that range include Darnell Hood, Jerome Jackson, Pierre Rembert, Max Martin, Carlos Brown, Brandon Minor, Sam McGuffie, Michael Shaw, Mike Cox, Austin White, Fitz Toussaint, and Justice Hayes. The diary is mostly the lists from Rivals but if I put that data to a spreadsheet we see there's a big difference in hit rate between the fours and the fives:
1,000+ yard seasons in a BCS conference:
Yrs 1k+ Yds
3 or more
At least 2
At least 1
A hundred years in the future, recruiting data will still only go back to 2002 and anything before that will be called "the dark years." I keep a database of the last 10 years of The Dark Years culled from Lemming ratings, newspaper articles, player profiles in old programs and the like. Adding the '90s recruits seems to round out Michigan's efforts to pass the eyeball test so…
Five Stars: Kelly Baraka, Ryan Beard, Anthony Thomas, Justin Fargas, Charles Woodson* and Tyrone Wheatley
Four Stars: Ed Davis, Ray Jackson, Tshimanga Biakabutuka, Ricky Powers, Andre Weathers*, B.J. Askew, Walter Cross, J.R. Ford, Ian Gold*, Chris Howard, Woody Hankins*, Charles Drake*, Chris Perry, David Underwood, Pat McCall, and Clarence Williams.
* Back in the day fewer top high schoolers would transfer to football powerhouses, so a larger proportion of D-I athletes would come in as running backs or option QBs, since that's where you put your best athletes.
Onetime Globetrotter Bacari Alexander says stuff, and sometimes it catches on (ha!) Sometimes you are watching Big Ten highlights without sound during the MSU-Illinois game and Bacari has himself a hard-hat and is chest-bumping people. Or he has a long-handled sledgehammer and you are like "what are you doing with a hammer, Bacari?" Motivating. The answer is always Motivating. He's also a big reason this team is so damn fun to watch. You know what, watch that video:
"We all know the best Canadian shooter in the country is [Gonzaga's] Kevin Pangos. He's made seven threes in a game, have you done that? I've seen five."
KNOW YOUR MEMES: BLOUSES
You are watching and/or reading about Michigan basketball, and Nik Stauskas does something other than shoot™, and suddenly people are saying "Game…Blouses" on your favorite blogs and you are like "what did I miss?"
The closest Michigan connection—one degree—is Michigan man Mart Metcalf (Niedermeyer) in Animal House. But thee OP wanted to see if the blog could be connected to The Great Connector. This can be accomplished in just three degrees, thanks to a quarter of my head appearing for three frames in a movie with Bill Paxton. If extras don't count, my best friend at the time got a line—"Sorry I have to pass you Bethie, I want to win this one"—and appears in the credits, so it's four.
The real hero of this thread is Butterfield, who managed to connect us to Kevin Bacon via peoples' blog handles. I share, you r amaze:
Lets try this with MGoBlog posters.....
Odds are that someone who sits in (1) Section 1 suffers from (2) Diabeetus.
(2) Diabeetus care prescriptions can be filled at the CVS located at 209 S. (3) State Street
I am as excited about Green than anyone, but we should not forget that we also have two other stud RBs in this class in Smith and Shallman (which kind of makes the whole "Hoke can't close good skill position players" thing kind of silly). Any of these guys could be a break-out RB for us.
Question for the MGoCommunity: With these three guys coming in, what happens to Rawls, Hayes, Fitz and Fleet? My prediction is that Fleet (assuming health) assumes the starting role during opening week, but shares carries with one of the new kids. If Fitz can regain 2011 form, over the season, I think that we see him and one of the newbies split carries somewhat equally. IF Fitz looks more like 2012 Fitz, then I think that by mid-season, he is the clear second RB, and only ends up with 10-15 carries per game. As for Rawls, he was billed as a power back. With all three of the new guys also fitting that bill, I suspect that he is buried way down the depth chart, and plays sparingly, if at all. Hayes looks like he will end up either (1) moving to slot receiver, where we are still a bit thin, or (2) assuming the role of 3rd down back, if necessary. Finally, Flet should still feature on special teams, and will likely remain on the defensive side of the ball. That said, if Borges wants a true change of pace back, Fleet could fit that role, as well.
Dont forget Drake Johnson. He payed his dues and deserves a chance to play. I think Green is only lock of a freshman RB to play. The other two will have to compete the hardess to earn some PT. I wouldn't mind reshirting the other two freshmen so we can see what we have at RB with what should be a better run blocking OLine
What you're saying makes sense, but I think it's important to remember that Borges has repeatedly stressed that he wants a workhorse back. One guy getting 25 carries every Saturday. So I think this battle will be more of a winner-takes-all competition. For my money, I'd say Green is most likely to win it, but Fitz and Smith also in the running (get it?).
I don't expect to ever see Rawls in a crucial spot again, to be honest, and i doubt Drake Johnson will really be in the conversation either. Not saying it's a sure thing, but when you consider his lack of recruiting hype and lack of insider practice hype, i just think it's unlikely.
Furthermore, i'd expect to see Shallman end up in a fullback/H-back type role and Hayes as slot reciever. Norfleet? Well, i like the kid's burst but i'm just not sure where he fits in for Borges' system. You'd hope a coach would find ways to get his most explosive guys the ball, but to be honest we've already seen that Borges isn't the most creative guy in that regard (see: Denard in the Ohio game).
As i write this, though, I'm thinking we aren't giving Fitz enough credit. He was a darn good runner in 2011 and i think 2013's O-Line will be more like 2011's than 2012's. And while that knee injury was brutal, it's become almost fightening how quickly and effectively top athletes can recover from knee injuries these days.
All told, i think Green, Smith or Fitz will win the battle outright by B1G play, Hayes and/or Norfleet will get some 3rd and long PT, and everyone else will be relegated to minor support roles.
Just watched the moment of zen DG highlights. Check out the TD against Umass at 2:45. Granted, he gets some help from a shove in the back, but he covers the last 10 yards in just three steps (one of which he is stumbling). 30 feet in three steps. Impressive.