How the fuck is Tennessee favored? I know they defeated two powerhouse programs to get here, but...oh wait.
Tourney Preview: Tennessee
Michigan (27-8, 15-3 B1G) vs.
Tennessee (24-12, 11-7 SEC)
Colts Location Stadium,
|WHEN||7:15 pm Eastern, Friday|
|LINE||Tennessee -1 (KenPom)|
Win or go home.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold:
|G||2||Antonio Barton||Sr.||6'2, 178||63%||17%||Yes|
|Main redeeming quality is low TO rate. shoots 42/32, low usage.|
|G||1||Josh Richardson||Jr.||6'6, 190||76%||16%||Sort of|
|Efficient shooter until 3, where he's 34%. Good at twos of all varieties.|
|G||52||Jordan McRae||Sr.||6'6, 185||80%||29||No|
|Shoulders massive O burden, shooting meh, TOs low. Athlete.|
|F||5||Jarnell Stokes||Jr.||6'8, 260||81%||26||N/A|
|Board monster has a little range but not much. Box out at all costs.|
|C||34||Jeronne Maymon||Sr.||6'8, 260||71%||20||N/A|
|Cameron Ridley 2.0. Board monster 2.0. Not great except on putbacks.|
|G||4||Armani Moore||So.||6'5, 215||28%||13||Very|
|Offensive nonentity spots starters and tries to play D.|
|G||15||Darius Thompson||Fr.||6'5, 181||40%||15||Very|
|Offensive nonentity spots starters and tries to play D.|
|C||23||Derek Reese||So.||6'8, 215||16||15||Very|
|Generic large man. Massive downgrade from starters.|
Jordan McRae is from the Hardaway/Sullinger school of yellin'.
Tennessee is Texas after a power mushroom. Their bigs are more intimidating on the boards; their guards are literally a Super Mario version of the Texas backcourt.
The offense revolves around senior Jordan McRae, a 6'6" jack of all trades who is in fact listed at 15 pounds lighter than Caris LeVert, if you can believe that. Everything you need to know about McRae is encapsulated in this DraftExpress scouting video:
That is a preaseason video that is a bit pessimistic, as McRae has improved his A:TO a meaningful amount. The rest of his stats are static so it's reasonable to assume it is otherwise on point.
McRae is not much of an isolation creator. He's effective at the rim but doesn't get there much on his own volition and his assist rate is pretty mediocre for a guy who has such a large usage rate. LeVert will draw that matchup; it's a pretty good one for him. McRae is a guy he can stay in front of. Hopefully!
You probably know fellow wing Josh Richardson from an inadvisable statement made to the media about his upcoming defensive assignment against Nik Stauskas:
“It’s just another player,” Richardson said. “I’ve been guarding guys like that for a while now. It’s nothing new.”
Yeah, the SEC is just loaded with guys like Stauskas. Take, say, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. That's the ticket.
Anyway, Richardson is a relatively low-usage jump shooter who is effective on jumpers inside the line (43%) that he gets himself. He's decent behind the line at 34%, where he takes about a third of his shots. He is UT's designated perimeter stopper, as well.
Point guard and Memphis transfer Antonio Barton is the closest thing to a designated shooter Tennessee has, with about 60% of his FGAs coming from beyond the arc. Unfortunately for the Vols he hits those at a 33% clip. Inside the arc he's even less efficient at 42%, because he rarely gets to the rim and is a miserable two point jump shooter. Barton was a 40% guy in a reasonable number of minutes at Memphis, so maybe the best idea is to run him off the line and watch him try to pull up off the bounce. Things don't go well when that happens.
One thing these three gentlemen have going for them is a collective turnover rate that is super low. Tennessee's happy to pull up for a two pointer that's not the world's best look because of…
Stokes and Maymon are the best pair of rebounders in the country.
The Volunteer posts both crush the boards at both ends and get to the line. "Fridge on wheels" Jarnell Stokes is in the Kenpom POY top ten thanks to a 15% OREB rate—huge for an individual—and a McGary-like 23% DREB rate. He gets half his shots at the rim thanks in large part to that offensive rebounding. He's a decent shooter from the post, as well. DraftExpress projects him as a second-rounder in the upcoming draft if he decides to enter, and praises his inside game:
He catches everything thrown his way, and has very good touch around the basket, which, along with his length, helps compensate for the fact that he's not a naturally explosive leaper and doesn't possess the most diverse post-arsenal at this stage of his development. … some ball-handling ability from the mid-post, and a decent looking mid-range jumper. … always been a phenomenal rebounder—and that held true in Colorado Springs. He has suction cups for hands and a terrific knack for pursuing loose balls out of his area, particularly on the offensive glass, where he was dominant at times.
Michigan has to figure out whether they're going to stick Morgan on this dude or Jeronne Maymon. Maymon is the more center-like of the posts in disposition—Stokes is about 50/50 between shots at the rim and two point jumpers, while Maymon is 75/25 and terrible at the jumpers—but Stokes is probably taller since he sometimes gets listed at 6'9" while Maymon sometimes gets listed at 6'7". Normally I'd say Morgan gets Maymon, but I guess I prefer the less brutal rebounding mismatch. If Maymon tries to post GRIII so be it.
FWIW, Tennessee folk are universally assuming Robinson gets matched with Maymon and Morgan takes Stokes.
And then the bottom drops out. Here is one dollar that says Tennessee has the worst bench of any team that made the tournament. All show up in the "limited roles" section of Kenpom and get slender minutes with which they do very little. All can be ignored on the perimeter, as they collectively shoot about 22% from three.
Derek Reese is the backup big; he hasn't taken a shot since March 8th. He hasn't made one in a game that was competitive since… uh… January 15th? He rebounds well enough on defense and that's about his only contribution. He gets about ten minutes a game giving the starters a breather.
Armani Moore and Darius Thompson are the backup guards. Thompson has the highest assist rate on the team… and a TO rate even higher. He's seeing about 16 minutes a game in the last couple months, and he takes about two shots on a average in that time. He does get a lot of steals; he'll be used as a defensive pest on Stauskas. Moore's role is similar; he gets in the game and plays D and passes it around the perimeter to someone who won't get shot by the coach if he tries to create a shot.
Tennessee had a weird nonconference split with Xavier, losing in Cinci to open their season and getting their revenge in their neutral-court tournament. They also lost to UTEP by eight on a neutral court, Wichita State by nine at Wichita, and at home to NC State. In opposition to this what-the-hell-are-they-doing-in-the-tournament nonconference schedule they place a 35-point blowout of Virginia. As we said, man, Tennessee is weird.
In conference Tennessee was no less weird, blowing out all manner of opposition and somehow dropping games to Texas A&M (twice), Vanderbilt, and Missouri to go along with more understandable losses to Florida (twice) and Kentucky. Tennessee has a tendency to absolutely pound face when they win a game. It's just that they've lost twelve of them already despite playing a not particularly challenging nonconference schedule and against a not particularly challenging conference. Go figure.
In the post season, Tennessee blew out South Carolina before losing for a third time to Florida in the SEC tournament. Then they won an OT game against Iowa before hammering Massachusetts and Mercer. It should be noted that Tennesse's only games against the Kenpom top 50 are the following:
- Wichita State: L 70-61
- Virginia: W 87-52
- Kentucky: L 74-66
- Three losses to Florida
- Iowa: W 78-65 (OT)
They're… just so weird.
Tennessee is a beast on the boards, rebounding almost 40% of their misses. They get to the line decently and are efficient once there—something they have over Texas—and take care of the ball. The main issue with their offense is a lack of three point shooting.
On defense, they look a lot like a version of Michigan that could keep guys away from the basket: few TOs forced, good rebounding, few fouls committed. But unlike Michigan they do a good job of defending shots—40th nationally. And as mentioned, the scariest thing about their statistical profile is what appears to be a sustained and effective emphasis on preventing opponents from getting threes off.
Tennessee is not a team that uses a lot of tempo. They get about 18% of their shots in transition and their shooting in those situations is barely better than the rest of their offense; a full 10% of their shots come with five or less on the shot clock. They don't have a dynamic guy to push the ball up the floor, they aren't a team to fear a transition three from much, and they're thin. They'll want to keep it slow.
Draw fouls, all the fouls. Ace talked about this in his post earlier this week: when Tennessee gets in foul trouble they collapse.
Maymon's had 4+ fouls in eight games this season. Tennessee has lost six of them.
Both wins were against Auburn. Tennessee has a veteran, intimidating starting five and zero depth behind it. Precisely zero depth.
Tennessee can sustain a hit to Richardson or Barton, who don't command large roles in the offense. If McRae, Stokes, or Maymon is saddled with foul trouble, Tennessee's chance to win goes through the floor.
Go to the rack. A corollary to the first bullet. Tennessee's depth and style of play means the balance of power between shooting hilariously accurate long range shots and going to the bucket shifts. Go to the rack.
If Stauskas or LeVert gets hit with a charge, that is 1) not likely to mean anything in terms of their playing time and 2) even if it does it paves the way for Zak Irvin to rain on people. If Stauskas or LeVert draws a foul on one of Tennessee's big three, orange collars start getting tight.
Michigan should make a concerted effort to go at the basket, especially given the fact that Tennessee is committed to preventing threes and doesn't block shots.
[@ right: Bryan Fuller]
Cope on the boards as best you can. Part of the overwhelming Texas surge in the second half was Longhorn desperation. In a more normal first half, Texas was content to send their two bigs to the board and see what happened. They got about 30% of their misses. In the second, they inserted a third 6'8" guy and sent everyone who wasn't the shooter to the board because they felt they weren't stopping Michigan anyway and needed every bucket. They got 70% of their misses
Michigan needs to get out of dodge with a 30% Tennessee OREB rate, not 70% or 52%. Unless Michigan has just rained it on the Vols to the point where they're as desperate as Texas. Failing that, Maymon versus GRIII on the boards is a big chunk of the game. Morgan will probably get beat by Stokes, but not so badly Michigan can't weather it.
Push tempo. They are thin. Maymon may be listed at 260 but let's be real people. Play like MSU in this one, with their irritating go go go go even after makes. If you don't have it, fine. You've discombobulated them a bit.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Tennessee by one.
…which team has had the most success in the last five minutes of a game, regardless of whether it was leading or trailing?
One way to do this would be to use win probabilities. If a team had a 99 percent chance to win with five minutes left and ultimately won, its play in the last five minutes would be worth .01 wins. This method rewards the teams that make big comebacks or win games that were effectively tossups with five minutes remaining over the ones that coast in with big leads, which any team could do given the chance.
Here’s that list, using my win probability model, and wins gained over the past five seasons as the ranked statistic.1 Massachusetts +11.8 2 Colorado +10.9 3 New Mexico +10.2 4 Robert Morris +9.8 5 Western Kentucky +9.2 6 Louisiana Tech +8.9 7 Loyola MD +8.9 8 San Diego St. +8.8 9 Mississippi +8.6 10 Michigan +8.6
Michigan finishes a respectable 30th in the last minute, and then ninth in wins added in the second half. It doesn't matter what frame of reference you want to look at. Michigan performs better as the game goes along and is outstanding at closing games out. Why? Well, they hit a lot of free throws and don't turn the ball over and when they're down late they can get back in a hurry with a three.
are. KenPom is not like a Vegas line that can move for betting purposes alone. It is surprising to me that Tennessee is favored. It gives me some pause.
-1 (actually, it's like -0.75) doesn't really qualify as being favored. It's basically calling the game a coinflip. (I think even that is generous to UT, but we'll see.)
Michigan to be favored, and by a little bit. I would expect Michigan -4. That is why the KenPom line throws be off so much.
Tennessee's game against Virginia game mucks everything up. A 12-loss team shouldn't be in the top 10 of his rankings, but a 35-point win over an otherwise excellent UVa team makes Tennessee look awesome. A human observer would say that UVa just mailed it in that game, especially on defense (they're normally one of the best defensive teams in the country and gave up 87), and that kind of outcome would not happen in a rematch. But KenPom's formula can only take the score into account.
Creighton beat Villanova by 40 yet Villanova is ranked ahead of Creighton.
It's because Tennessee blew pretty much everybody out and has several close losses to good teams. That's why they're ranked so high.
It's been mentioned several times in the past couple weeks: Kenpom's formula LOVES Tennessee's resume of blowout wins and narrow losses, even if the total number of losses tells most humans they're a middle-of-the-pack team. One might go so far as to call Kenpom's evaulation of this matchup flawed, but we do not taunt the Kenpom. No sir.
Everything sensical about this says UM big. But even Brian is holding the close game, could very well be a loss line. I don't get it. Neither Louisville nor Kentucky would be underdogs against this team. Nor would Duke. I just don't get it...
Great analysis, but why do you have to be such a KCP Hater?
I just saw a DISH Network ad that said Tennessee would be playing "Big Blue" tonight. I have no effing idea who Big Blue is, but you know a team like Tennessee can't play TWO games in one night and still be at their best.
anyone have tips on the jacked chest and shoulders with beergut combo? I want to look like I mean business... while looking like i mean business.
you can appear on TV w/ an arrow pointing to your pecker and STILL get the Auburn job a few years later.
1. Yes, plenty of times.
2. Probably, definitely not.
Several teams have done #1.
#2 is a tougher question.
and they didn't get a whole lot of respect.
worries me. We are the defending national runner up, the B1G ten champion, steam rolled both opponents in our first two games, and we have the conference player of the year. I can't figure out a reasonable explanation as to why we are not fairly comfortable favorites in this game. It gives me an "out of the loop" feeling and I am starting to feel like there is something I am missing here.
Honestly, who cares?
From a functional national perspective we are built like Duke this year, lots of outside game, little inside game. The emergence of Morgan lately is undervalued by the national media. Our defensive stats also are quite bad. So the narrative (which is not entirely inaccurrate) is all it takes is one cold shooting day.... or Morgan to be dismissed by the refs as he was vs MSU.
Of course that "bad shooting day" narrative applies to most/all teams, but seems to be wrapped around our neck more due to rebounding / defensive issues.
Just wait until next round - I don't see any pundit picking UM over Kentucky or Louisville if they mostly all have us falling to Tenn.
Not that it really matters, but I guess look at it this way. Who would you take last year's team as it was playing in the tournament (healthy McGary) or this year's team? I think the vast majority of the public would say last year's team even with this year's accomplishments in the Big Ten.
last years team getting much respect either. They wouldn't be able to handle the VCU press, the Syracuse zone, Florida's whatever.
Just this year, I think Purdue got much less respect than us.
Oh wait, you meant any good team?
Will be curious what Coach does with Morgan. I'd put him on their best inside player (Stokes) and take my chances GR3 on Maymon. Maymon is not a creator like Stokes is, so GR3 will get outrebounded but if he is only 6'7 then GR3 just gives up an inch (and a lot of pounds). Morgan is a better defender, with a lot more bulk so I'd rather have him on Stokes esp since he is not a rangy inside outside type of PF.
Anyhow it is amazing how Morgan has in some ways become the "MVP" - when Nik is off the floor I don't go all white knuckled due to Caris/GR3 like I do now when Morgan is out.
Might put GRIII on stokes and send a double team. Morgan cancels out Maymon. Is it better to have 2 small mismatches or one big one?
That is a good question and why better left to Coach B.
Personally I would like to strongly affect their best front court player. I think if GR3 gets 12 pts, 4 rbs and Maymon gets 11 pts and 9 rbs I consider that a wash and we are fine if that is a 1 v 1 matchup. Maymon is one of those guys who gets his points "cleaning up" - putbacks, dunks, that sort of thing. He will get his rebounds over anyone at some point in the game - whether it be Morgan, Horford, GR3, Zack Novak.
I am afraid of what Stokes can do to GR3 inside. I'd rather have Stokes face serious resistance with Morgan. It seems like a good matchup for Morgan because Stokes is not a guy who runs out to the 3 point line, thus tiring out Morgan. Morgan has equal size and he is far and away our best defender as well ... so take away the other team's best weapon (front court) and let other people beat you - that is usually how teams attack.
GR3 can afford to foul a few times - I think we would be a lot less willing to see Morgan get into foul trouble. So, we want might want GR3 on Stokes from that perspective. I'm not saying that you're wrong, just think Beilein will also look at the foul situation in making his strategy. There's also the option of switching throughout the game, maybe put Morgan on stokes to start and then switch GR3 onto later based on how the game is playing out.
Of course, I trust that Beilein will devise a good strategy, although it is very interesting for us to ponder what his options are.
I just can't see a situation in which our offense fails to put up points. Iowa got a lot of good looks and almost beat Tennessee and we all know that Iowa wasn't exactly on fire to end the season. If Michigan gets the looks that Iowa got, it's going to be tough for Michigan to lose. The key factor to me will be how they defend the Stauskas pick and roll with Morford. I think the opportunity for Nik to drive off of the high pick and roll and get to the cup will be there. If not, he can find a streaking Morford down the lane for the deuce. Maybe UT wins this one, but I feel more optimistic about it than others on the blog.
Why is Tennessee favored?
SEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEE CCCCCCCCCCCCCCC
Oh, wrong sport.
Pace is also going to be interesting. UM plays at medium pace and Tenn plays at slow pace. With Tenn's focus on their starting 5, it will be curious if UM tries to play at a faster pace. We saw the bad conditioning of Texas bigs hurt them, but those 2 bruisers for Tenn play quite a bit ....but can get away with it with Tenn's slow offensive pace. Seems like a good idea would be to try to run them up and down the court a bit faster then we usually go.
"Win the Game!"
That's all Jordan needed to hear.
I love the confident look on his face as he gives the command. He knew they would win the game.
We opened as a 1.5 favorite, the line has since moved to 3.5. Brian is still in football depression mode clearly.
"KenPom" also obviously has not taken in to account what happens when you give Bielein a week to prepare for a game...
You never anger Kenpom by going against him. Never. We've seen the horrors that brings.
Tennessee is "favored" because of how KenPom values blowouts. Ken Pomeroy himself admits that this isn't the most accurate part of his model, and gun to his head I'm thinking he'd take Michigan to win this. That's irrelevant - 'round these parts, we don't tempt the KenPom gods.
Over/under on "CMON... get a damn rebound!!!!" posts tonight set at 350.
Not just another player.
I hope Nik drops 30 on that puck. Teach him to keep his mouth shut.
Don't mess with the B1G POY
I know there's this wierd obsession around here with worshipping all things Kenpom that the freakings Mayan's would be proud of but I wonder if Brian REALLY thinks Tennessee is going to win by one.
I certainly don't.
I wonder if Brian has a picture of "KenPom" with his shirt off as his background picture.
He didn't think we were beating Kansas last year, but officially predicted Michigan by one because KenPom had decreed it.
Lo and behold, the mighty KenPom was not angered, and he allowed us to continue on.
that you did not fuck with the Kenpom gods. Given that, WIN THE GAME!
I hope the coaches are telling JMo how Stokes and Maymon are so big and strong and get all the rebounds, and JMo will be in chip-on-his-shoulder mode.
"their guards are literally a Super Mario version of the Texas backcourt."
Hopefully they don't hop on Yoshi's back, like literally. That could spell trouble.