so much for that
Hoops Opponent Watch: Steady As She Goes
Tracking what Michigan's opponents are doing.
Winning against Arkansas isn't worth a whole lot but Michigan's opponents did well over the week, seeing them bounce up a spot on RPIforecast and Sagarin. Michigan fell a little on Kenpom, for which you can insert grumbles about MOV capping. Michigan remains second in RPI.
Seed projection is static: a #2, behind projected #1s Duke, Indiana, Florida, and Louisville/Syracuse winner.
you will probably not be surprised to find out that BJ Young shot did not go in
I'm dropping Slippery Rock since their season won't impact how anyone looks at Michigan.
IUPUI continued to be awful, losing to Butler and WKU by 20+.
Filler that's not painful
Cleveland State lost to NC State, but given the committee's emphasis on quality wins that's how we wanted it to work out. Bradley beat GW by four at home, which didn't push their season projections much to the positive. They've got a couple of extremely bad teams before a December 22nd matchup with VT. Western Michigan took some of the shine off Michigan's resounding victory over them by losing to Illinois State by 22, but ISU took Northwestern to OT and Louisville to the wire so we'll give them a pass.
Duquense: W 66-45. North Florida: W, 89-47.
With five straight resounding blowouts against bad teams after their loss to Michigan, Pitt is the Wisconsin of the Big East. The latest spectacular annihilation of an overmatched opponent actually pushed Pitt in front of Michigan in Kenpom.
The Panthers don't play anyone of note before the Big East schedule opens on New Year's Eve, at which point we'll find out whether there's any there there. I'm guessing the answer is yes.
Kansas State (7-1)
@ George Washington: W 65-62
K State edged out a game GW team on the road in a game I caught large portions of. They remain large but rely far too much on Angel Rodriguez chucking up circus shots to be a real threat. They'll likely make the tournament and get bounced early. Don't expect much more than a .500-ish Big 12 campaign.
North Carolina State (6-2)
UConn (neutral): W 69-65. Cleveland State: W 80-63.
Edged a game against UConn in the Jimmy V thing and eased past Cleveland State. NC State remains uber-talented and mercurial, capable of doing all sorts of things from NBA power dunks to preposterous turnovers. Hobbit PG still can't play.
The Hogs are coming off a stretch of five straight games against power conference foes, of which they won just one against Oklahoma. They're done playing good teams until the SEC schedule. Kenpom has them at 8-10 in conference and that seems about right after watching their circus shot exhibition last week. They're an NIT outfit.
The Future (Nonconference)
Deniz Kilicli is WVU's highest-usage player, and is shooting 41% from the floor.
Dreck. Binghampton should not be on the schedule; they're coming off a 22-point loss to Bryant. Michigan will eviscerate them tomorrow in a game a bizarrely specific Kenpom gives Michigan a 99.7% chance of winning. Central lost to Charlotte by 12 and actually bumped their rating a little bit.
Filler, not painful. Oh let's move Eastern Michigan here after they beat Purdue, though I think that says more about Purdue than it does EMU. Eastern also got pounded by Syracuse this week.
West Virginia (4-3)
Marshall (neutral court): W 69-59. Virginia Tech: W 68-67.
The Mountaineers got off the deck a little bit last week with wins over Marshall and a previously-undefeated Virginia Tech. I took in the second half of that game as well and came away less than fearful of Michigan's upcoming game with them. WVU can't shoot—they're 310th in 3PT% and 262nd in 2PT%—and generate offense almost exclusively by pounding the offensive boards, which leads to a bevy of fast-break chances the other way when the rebounding guys can't make it work. They look like the NIT team Kenpom projects them to be right now.
The Future (Conference)
NOW WITH WEEKLY COMPARISONS TO OTHER THINGS POWER RANKINGS
LAST WEEK: beat up on Central Connecticut
THING: Indiana is real good. They play Butler on Saturday.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: Cashews. Tasty, curved, and about to get some ineligible foreigners back.
LAST WEEK beat up on WMU and beat Arkansas
THING: I wrote about these guys earlier today.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: Ernest Hemingway. Muscular prose purveyors are shooting enthusiasts.
LAST WEEK: beat up on Long Beach State, held "celebration of perfection against Long Beach State" pep rally no one cared about.
THING: Amadeo Della Valle watch: 13% of OSU minutes, no assists, lots of turnovers, vanishingly few attempts. 10% block percentage! These numbers may have small sample size.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: Sin.
4. Minnesota (10-1)
LAST WEEK: checked to make sure they had not lost to a Dakota team on the gridiron and chanted "just like football" at South Dakota State, annihilated USC.
THING: Oh yeah well we have our own 6'6" guy who occasionally bumps his head on satellites, Gophers. Scary thing about Minnesota so far: Trevor Mbakwe has only played 45% of their minutes.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: like what if you found a species of pogo stick gazelle men hiding in a Papua New Guinea rain forest
LAST WEEK: Beat Gonzaga! By nine! On the road! After falling behind by 11 early! Brandon Paul is a frightening dude and do your remember that Tyler Griffey guy who went off on M last year, well he's shooting 47% on a lot of threes!
THING: Hmmm. John Groce may be okay at this basketball thing. Problem: Nnanna Egwu is terrible. Like, he is an absolutely appalling player. He is seven feet tall and the seventh-best rebounder on his team and he is drawing 6.2 fouls every 40 minutes.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: like what if the pogo stick gazelle men had a basketball team coached by John Beilein
6. Michigan State (8-2)
LAST WEEK: Blew out SWAC team, struggled with Loyola-Chicago before pulling away late.
THING: Nobody on this team can shoot threes except Travis Trice and probably Gary Harris. MSU needs Trice to be a bigger part of the gameplan than he has been so far. Injury limitations don't explain him getting just 20% of MSU minutes while Russell Byrd has acquired 30% and Brandan Kearney 46%.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: An ugly, oversized, defense-oriented, Michigan-obsessed crab. So "any Michigan State sports team."
LAST WEEK: Beat up on South Dakota, finally beat Iowa State in anything at all.
THING: This is not a good defensive team, and they can't shoot threes. Going to be a slog for them in the Big Ten.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: Corn. Full of starch until you put the heat on them, when they become distended and unbalanced. Delicious covered in cheese powder.
8. Wisconsin (6-4)
LAST WEEK: Exploited Kenpom's algorithm with a 46 point win over Nebraska-Omaha, got rolled by Marquette 60-50.
THING: GO AWAY
THING THEY ARE LIKE: Boring death. Obviously.
LAST WEEK: Ran out to a huge lead and shockingly won against Baylor, reviving bubble hopes, then lost solidly to Butler, putting bubble hopes back on life support.
THING: Hey, Northwestern fans, at least this means the Wildcats will do better than expected in the Big Ten so they can rip your heart out in March.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: A nation of really depressed otters: Also delicious covered in cheese.
10. Nebraska (6-2)
LAST WEEK: Ran USC out of their building, then got bombed by Creighton.
THING: Nebraska has a guy named Andre Almeida who is listed at 6'11", 314, and has to be 50 pounds heavier than that. He's top 20 in block rate, which is like wow guy how do you even get off the ground.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: A squirrel on a conveyor belt facing away from the woodchipper.
LAST WEEK: Beat a guy named Lamar. Did not beat a guy named Eastern Michigan.
THING: Your Ronnie Johnson three-pointer watch: 9% on 23 attempts. At least they held up the conference's honor in the ACC/Big Ten challenge, unlike Wisconsin.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: A blindfolded man with a machine gun.
12. Penn State (5-4)
LAST WEEK: Got beat by La Salle by 35; beat Army. By eight.
THING: This program has been to the tournament four times since the last time Rutgers went in 1991.
THING THEY ARE LIKE: Rutgers, EXCEPT MUCH BETTER.
Tourney locks sans Illinois-2011-style implosion
projected seeds included
#1 Indiana, #2 Ohio State, #2 MICHIGAN, #4 Minnesota, #5 Illinois, #7 Michigan State
Northwestern Memorial wrong side of the bubble award
Rutgers Memorial what's a bubble award
Penn State, Nebraska, Purdue
Games relevant to your interest that are on the TV and may be worth watching after the first ten minutes.
It's a thin week what with finals going on. Things pick up on Saturday… sort of.
West Virginia at Duquesne, CBS Sports Network, 7 PM
Binghampton at MICHIGAN, BTN, 7 PM
Eastern Michigan at UIC, Comcast Chicago, 1 PM
Indiana vs Butler, CBS, 2PM
Iowa vs Northern Iowa, BTN, 2:30 PM
Purdue vs Notre Dame, 4:30, ESPN2
Nebraska at Oregon, FSN, 5:30
MICHIGAN vs West Virginia, ESPN, 8 PM
Kansas State at Gonzaga (in Seattle), ESPN 2, 9 PM
The rest of the schedule consists of games against low-majors that should be blowouts.