Alright, there’s a lot of basketball this week, and a lot of hockey too. Which means I’m doing hockey tomorrow.
Biiig week for College Basketball. And for the Michigan Wolverines. One of the biggest weeks in a long time for our team.
Rankings: We’re #23 in the Media poll, up from last week. #24 in the coaches’ poll, which improves over last week’s NR. Thanks for waking up coaches! Now, the Big Ten season begins, and we have a chance to prove we deserve to be ranked. So, us and the 5 teams above us in each poll, whose potential losses are the most likely to affect our rank:
(Rankings go Media/Coaches’, if only one is listed it’s unanimous.)
#23/#24 Michigan: Tonight against North Carolina Central is a win. For real. They’re winless. Then, B10 season begins, and we gotta stay on our toes. A 9-3 Badgers team will not let up on New Year’s Eve (Tickets are quite available at Crisler!), and a couple days later, neither will the 12-1 Fighting Ilini (Tickets are quite available!). Crucial to pick up the home wins in both games, crucial even to our tourney bid.
#24/#23 Ohio State: I think but am not sure after that West Virginia game that the Buckeyes can take out Iowa on New Year’s Eve. Saturday is a tough contest against the #21 Minnesota Golden Gophers. I’ll get to that later.
#22 Xavier: Not too hard a week for the Musketeers, Wednesday against Robert Morris, a .500 team they should beat. A little harder on Saturday against a 6-4 Virginia squad, but, they should be able to pick up two wins this week.
#21 Minnesota: Wednesday against the #10/#15 Spartans. I’m honestly not sure what helps us more in the long run, a win by Minnesota or a win by State. I think I’d prefer the Minnesota win, because if it’s a close game State shouldn’t take too big of a hit (they then get to beat up on Northwestern a couple days later), and I’d rather two mid-ranked Big Ten teams, one of which can easily recover, than one high ranked and one unranked. The Minnesota/OSU game: Again, I’m going to root for Minnesota. Because, well, I’d rather the lower team fall out of the rankings. And I hate the Buckeyes. Then, a couple days later, I can watch State beat them without feeling like it’ll hurt our strength of schedule too much.
#20/#16 Clemson: Tomorrow, against South Carolina. SC’s 9-1, and the game’s at their house, so, the undefeated Clemson should be able to win, but can’t look past this game. Much easier game at home on Saturday, against an East Carolina team on a three game losing streak.
#19/#20 Baylor: Tonight against Portland state. Portland State is 10-3, but, I’m still picking the 1-loss Bears to win at home. Really easy game New Year’s Eve against 1-win Jackson State, then, Friday night against the previously mentioned Gamecocks.
#18 Louisville:New Year’s Eve against UNLV. Louisville can beat the Rebels, but, UNLV’s 10-2 and could be dangerous. Then, Sunday against Kentucky, a team that you should always watch out for.
#14/#18 Tennessee: There was a tie in the Coaches’ poll, meaning both Louisville and Tennessee are #18. At any rate, they get the best named team in college sports, the Ragin’ Cajuns tonight. UL-Lafayette is 4-6, so, easy win for them. Saturday they’re in Kansas, against a Jayhawks team looking to be ranked again.
So, that’s that. A lot of potential upsets, but, if Michigan wants to be ranked higher, they’re going to have to hold up their end of the bargain and go undefeated this week.
Here’s a regurgitation of the schedule up to Wednesday in order of when games are actually taking place, along with where to watch them. I’ll be back tomorrow with hockey, and Thursday with an update on Wednesday’s games. Lemme tell you, New Year’s Eve is looking like a Saturday. Hope to see some of you at Crisler on Wednesday:
#23/#24 MICHIGAN v. NC Central, 7:00, BTN
#14/#18 Tennessee v. Louisiana-Lafayette, 7:30, Online
#19/#20 Baylor v. Portland State, 8:00, Online
#20/#16 Clemson at South Carolina, 7:00, FSN South/Florida, ESPN360.com
#21/#21 Minnesota v. #10/#15 Michigan State, 12:00, BTN
#23/#24 MICHIGAN v. Wisconsin, 2:00, ESPN2
#24/#23 Ohio State v. Iowa, 4:00, BTN
#19/#20 Baylor v. Jackson, 5:00, FSN Southwest
#22/#22 Xavier v. Robert Morris, 6:00, FSN Ohio
#18/#18 Louisville v. UNLV, 6:30, EPSN2
Ok, lets do this quickly before more rankings show up tomorrow:
#11 Michigan in the GLI. First night, we handily beat Michigan Tech, in a good game for the defense. Hogan records a shutout, but, I was there, and there were very few shots that caused us Michigan fans to go “oooh!” after good saves. Michigan State beats North Dakota in a stunner, setting up this year’s third Michigan/Michigan State match.
Next night, in front of a slightly pro-Michigan crowd, we destroyed Little Brother 5-1. Game was awesome, I was thrilled to be there. Louie for Hobey! Two more for the season sweep.
#9 Cornell plays in the Florida College Classic. Beat St. Cloud State night 1, Colgate beats Maine, setting up a Sunday night match.
In which I can’t figure out exactly what happened. The Live Stats site says 2-2 at the end of 5 minutes of overtime, and I can’t imagine a tourney can end in a tie. And I want to post this.
Hockey’s holiday break sort of ends next week. We don’t play, but, more teams play than have played all at once in some time.
Everything goes according to plan, except a BYU game that wasn’t played. Monday night, #24/NR Michigan beat Florida Gulf Coast (although, apparently we were fairly lethargic about it), then take Christmas off. Here’s a list of the rest of the games (Ranks: Media/Coaches’):
NR/#24 Memphis over Drexel
#21/#22 Baylor over Hartford
NR/#25 Marquette over NC State
BYU v. Western Oregon- Postponed to Jan 6th due to inclement weather
#20/#17 Arizona State over Idaho State
#23/#23 Minnesota over Southeastern Louisiana
#19/#19 Louisville over UAB
NR/#25 Marquette over Presbyterian
#23/#23 Minnesota over High Point
See you tomorrow with some rankings and some plans for your week.
UPDATE: I played with formatting. DEAR LORD DOES IT LOOK BETTER. It'll be formatted like this forever now. Also, we beat Florida Gulf Coast. It's fine to be a Michigan Wolverine I guess.
To summarize this entire post: No change in hockey, GLI THIS WEEKEND! Basketball is #24 in the media and got totally screwed by incompetent coaches. I predict no changes next week, because no one really plays this week. Of course, if you want to read the post, I worked very hard on it.
Alright, forgot to update last night, so, a quick weekend wrap-up before we get to the new rankings.
#10 Colorado College ties Sacred Heart on Friday, Kills them on Saturday. No rankings change there, Michigan goes into this weekend’s GLI #11.
Michigan should win the Great Lakes Invitational. We should. This doesn’t mean we will. It’s at the Joe, Saturday (Tickets still available and cheap! I’ll be there!). The first round, we play a 4-14-2 Michigan Tech, while the other game is a struggling Spartan squad vs. the just-above-.500 North Dakota fighting Souix. (I’m not entirely sure what order they come in. USCHO.com says one thing, the Michigan hockey schedule says another.) Winner of our game plays winner of theirs on Sunday, I expect a Michigan v. North Dakota final, which would be the two losers of last years’ Frozen Four. We win, we keep our NCAA tourney chances very alive, and, every time you go to the Joe (at least until the CCHA tournament), both college hockey banners will say Michigan. If we’re in the Finals, you can catch it on FSN. If we’re not in the finals, and we end up with a Michigan v. Michigan State 3rd place game, FOR GODS SAKE COME TO THE JOE. Even if it’s not for a GLI championship, I want a SEASON SWEEP of Michigan State this year. We can do it.
Only other thing that may matter, #9 Cornell plays in another Christmas tourney, the Florida College Classic, which could actually be a very good tournament. They get St. Cloud St. on Saturday, no guaranteed win. Other game is Colgate v. Maine, probable Maine win. And, even if Cornell makes the finals, Maine’s no slouch either.
So, probably not much rankings change this week. Maybe gain a spot if we win the tournament. I can’t wait until hockey starts again proper.
Games I didn’t care about that went as expected:
#23/#24 Marquette over Western Carolina
#21/#24 Baylor over Texas-Arlington (Though it was damn close.)
Games I actually cared about:
In short, EVERYTHING went the way I wanted it to.
For starters, we beat Oakland. It was a good game. Three-point shooting was great, and LLP!!!!!! Awww yeah. LLP.
#19/#22 Michigan State OVER #5/#5 Texas: Long term, very good for us. If we beat the Spartans in February, we’ve beaten a team that beat a top 5 team. A strong Big Ten is good for Michigan.
#22/#20 Davidson LOSS #13/#18 Purdue: Woohoo Big 10 again. Davidson may fall out, or maybe we enter above them.
BYU LOSS #20/#17 Arizona State: Guarantees BYU doesn’t get to take open spot in the Coaches’ poll over us.
#23/#21 Memphis LOSS #11/#11 Syracuse: Opens up spot in polls, or gives us opportunity to enter above them.
Miami (FL) LOSS #25/#25 Clemson: This one was good for us no matter what happened. Clemson losing would have dropped them from the polls, but, Miami losing means they don’t have the opportunity to replace them.
My guess (as of this writing, polls haven’t come out, but, I’m not posting twice in one day): #23. Both polls.
So, now, I take a break from writing this, shower, eat a sandwich, wait for polls to come out.
And now, a rant:
COACHES DON’T WATCH BASKETBALL. It’s very clear to me now. They don’t deserve to vote, they don’t watch games. How they hell do you justify BYU getting more votes than Michigan in a week where BYU lost? How the hell does Minnesota go from not getting any votes to being #23? That’s such bullshit. Absolute bullshit. I’m pissed. Minnesota beat ONE top 10 team. We beat TWO top 5 teams. Total crap.
The AP Poll: We’re ranked! We’re #24! We’re ranked! We get a little number next to our name! Woohoo! I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get a spot higher, mostly because of who got the #23 spot: Minnesota. Listen, I’m all for the “Strong Big 10 is good for Michigan” thing, but, again, we’ve earned it way more than they have. February 19th at our place, March 9th at theirs. Let’s take care of some business.
So, for us this week: Florida Gulf Coast tonight at 7:00 on bigtennetwork.com. Honestly, I won’t be watching (I’ll be sledding!). We better freaking win. No Savannah State crap. That’s it. Have a good Christmas, Wolverines.
Alright, lemme plan your week off, starting with teams that are only higher than us in the Coaches poll (the first couple of whom aren’t ranked):
Davidson WHO LOST LAST WEEK, doesn’t play this week. Weird, right?
BYU WHO LOST LAST WEEK, plays tomorrow night vs. Western Oregon. Easy for them.
#25 Marquette WHO LOST LAST WEEK plays NC State tomorrow night and the Presbyterian Blue Hose (I’m not kidding) Sunday. The second one's an easy win, but, as was pointed out in the comments, NC State's a 1-loss team and shouldn't be so quickly put aside. I still think Marquette should win, but, if they find themselves looking past NC State, they could get surprised.
#24 Memphis WHO LOST LAST WEEK already beat Drexel earlier today, and that’s it for this week.
So, the 5 teams ahead of us in the media poll and the rest of the bottom 5 in the coaches’. (Ranks listed in that order.)
#23/#23 Minnesota: Wednesday v. Southeastern Louisiana, Sunday v. High Point, two easy wins.
#22/#20 Clemson: No games this week.
#21/#22 Baylor: Tonight v. Hartford. Easy win.
#20/#17 Arizona State: Tomorrow v. Idaho State. Easy win.
#19/#19 Louisville: Saturday v. University of Alabama-Birmingham. Similar situation to Marquette's game, I called it an easy win, someone called me out. So, again, Louisville should win, but, they can't look past UAB.
#16/#21 Tennessee: No games this week.
So, in short, nothing happens this week. No mid-week update, unless something crazy happens. I don’t forsee any rankings changes that effect us next week (unless maybe the coaches really wise up). I’ll see you Sunday to report that everything went exactly as expected.
And, if you’re in town, the Great Lakes Invitational is a great way to see good hockey for pretty cheap. I hope to see you all there.
Midweek update. Because no games of interest happen Thursday night this week. So, I’m posting this right now. I will admit this one is pretty similar to Monday’s.
So, so far, week’s gone well for us. There have only been four games of interest, and #25/#25 Clemson beat North Florida, #23/#21 Memphis beat Arkansas-Little Rock, and #19/#22 Michigan State beat the Citadel. Whatever.
The biggie, however, is that #24/#23 Marquette lost to #16/#19 Tennessee. This is great! This means Marquette should fall out of the polls. If we can beat Oakland, we WILL enter at least one. Which is sweet.
So, lemme plan your weekend, what to watch, where to watch it:
Well, actually, there are more priority games than non-priority games this week. But, you know, lots of important games.
Michigan v. Oakland: We win, we’re ranked. Its that simple. Also, LLP shows up. Which is cool. This one’s at the neutral Palace of Auburn Hills at 4:00pm, you can find it on FSN.
#19/#22 Michigan State at unanimous #5 Texas: Well, even though a loss by the Spartans could take them out of the polls opening another spot and further guaranteeing our entering and being ranked not too low our first week in, it’d be better for us to have Texas lose this one, because, well, we play MSU (at Crisler on February 10th. I think I’m going.), and what’s good for the Big T1e1n is good for us (for now). Should be a good game no matter how you root, catch it at 2:00pm on CBS.
#22/#20 Davidson at #13/#18 Purdue: GO BIG TEN! I’ll root for Purdue pretty hard here, because, well, the Big Ten winning is good, and, a solid Davidson loss could allow us to pass them in the polls, which would be hella tight. 4:00, CBS, just switch back and forth between this and the UofM game.
BYU at #20/#17 Arizona State: Alright, BYU is between us and a ranking in the coaches’ poll, so, them losing means they have no chance of getting the spot if only one spot opens, so, I’m pushing hard for a loss. This game is at 4:30pm, but, you’re not going to find it in Detroit. It’s on FSN, but, they’re showing the Michigan game here. Oh well.
#23/#21 Memphis at unanimous #11 Syracuse: Just another possible loss by a low-ranked team, which can help us get ranked, and not be ranked #25. 6:00pm, ESPN, also, if you’re computer-bound, ESPN360.com.
#25/#25 Clemson at Miami (FL): This one’s interesting. Either way this game goes, its good for us. Clemson loses, they fall out of the polls and there’s another spot available. Miami loses, well, they’re between us and a rank in the Coaches’ poll, and if that loss can be combined with a BYU loss, we get any open spots in that poll. So, uh, just, flip a coin or something. 7:45, FSN (even in Detroit).
Games that I care less about because the team that should win probably will:
#23/#24 Marquette v. Western Carolina, 8:30, Sports 32
#21/#24 Baylor v. Texas-Arlington, 9:30, Online
So, that’s that. With a big win and some luck, I think we could be looking at #23 or #22 next week. With a win at all, we’re looking at at least #25. Cool.
Also, #11 Colorado College plays Sacred Heart in hockey Friday and Saturday. No TV of any kind. Whatever.
Good night, Go Blue.
Rankings came out today in basketball and hockey.
I’ll start with hockey.
The loss by Vermont was enough for us to pass them, the split by Colorado College with Minnesota kept them at the same place. This puts us at #11. Which means we got better without playing.
#10 Colorado College has a Friday/Saturday series against Sacred Heart. If they can split, there’s probably no effect on us. And they should split, at least. Sacred Heart is .333 on the year, and CC plays at home. A sweep is a reasonable assumption. We’ll probably stay the same next week, at which point there’s the GLI.
Now, I got me some basketball jones. (That basketball was like a basketball to me!)
So, we beat EMU by 31. Kansas lost to UMass. As a result, they fall from the polls.
And we’re media darlings. Not really, but we’re a theoretical #26 in the media poll. Which is one away from an actual rank. If we can beat Oakland this weekend, maybe we get it.
Similar story in the coaches poll, #28. So, we’ll see how that goes.
So, other than beating Oakland Saturday at the Palace of Auburn Hills, here’s what can affect our rank (this might be different from what I said last time, but, rankings are now listed media/coaches):
First, teams that were only got more votes than us coaches’ poll, both of which are not really ranked in either poll:
Miami (FL): One game this week, against #25/#25 Clemson, on Sunday night, which is weird, because a loss by either team helps us. Personally, I think a Miami win actually helps us more, because a loss by #25 definitely means they drop out of the poll, and, depending on what we do against Oakland, does not necessarily mean they get replaced by the team that beat them.
BYU: Again, one game, against #20/#17 Arizona State Saturday. I’m rooting for the Sun Devils here, because they’re a bit too highly ranked for a loss to certainly drop them from polls, and a loss by BYU certainly lets us pass them next week (if we beat Oakland).
No teams beat us in the media poll but not the coaches’ poll, so, on to the bottom 5 (well, 6):
#25/#25 Clemson: See Miami. Also, North Florida tomorrow. Should win.
#24/#23 Marquette: Two games this week, one tomorrow at #16/#19 Tennessee, which they certainly could lose, and one against 4-2 Western Carolina on Friday, which they should win, but, you know, nothing’s certain. But, if they lost to the Vols, they probably drop out.
#23/#21 Memphis: One probable win Wednesday over an Arkansas-Little Rock (7-2). I mean, I guess theoretically ALR could beat them (based solely on record), but, we have a much better chance of them getting a loss Saturday, when they play #11/#11 Syracuse.
#22/#20 Davidson: One game this week, and it’s of interest. Davidson plays at #13/#18 Purdue on Saturday. I want Purdue to win pretty badly, both because they’re a Big T1e1n team and because, well, a Davidson loss could help us.
#21/#24 Baylor: One game, Saturday, easy win over Texas-Arlington.
#19/#22 Michigan State: Two games this week; an easy win on Wednesday over the Citadel. There’s a pretty big contest Saturday though: at #5/#5 Texas. In the end, its probably better for us if State wins this game. There’s enough other possible losses that if they win, it won’t be too big of a deal.
So, the skinny: Almost every bottom 5 team in both polls plays a very, very losable game this week. We really only need one of them to lose and for us to beat Oakland to be ranked in at least the coaches’ poll. I’m gonna go ahead and predict a ranking next week.
Good night, and Go Blue.
Here’s the final update before the rankings come out:
First, hockey. Michigan was off. So, only three games were played this weekend that mattered.
On Saturday, teams I wanted to win went 2 for 2. Which was sweet. St. Lawrence edged #11 Vermont by a goal. Also, #2 Minnesota beat #10 Colorado College 4-1 pretty bad, which, in the end, is good for us. (Minnesota wins also help our strength of schedule, as we beat them earlier in the season.)
On Sunday, CC edged Minnesota 1-0. I’m really hoping the fact that the weekend’s total score was 4-2 is what sticks in the minds of voters.
It’s not unreasonable that we jump from #12 to #10 without even playing.
Basketball. Lets start with the games I labeled priority games:
Michigan totally kicked Eastern’s ass. 91-60. This is sufficient to impress people I imagine. Michigan was down by as much as 7 early, and Bielein was absent, but, well, we rocked. Being a Michigan Wolverine is a satisfactory experience!
#21/#21 Ohio State beat Butler. It was a good game, I watched the end, Butler almost won. But, in the end, Ohio State’s probably slightly too ahead of us for a loss by them to actually have affected our rank, so, their win probably helps us in the long run, because it makes the Big T1e1n stronger.
BYU beats up on Portland. Which is too bad. It means that, while I thought BYU might go 1-1 this week, they go 2-0.
The big upset:
UMASS BEATS KANSAS! Awesome, just awesome. Kansas was #23/#25, should fall out of both polls, ideally we’re ahead of them next week, even if we’re not ranked. This is the only game on my “games that there probably won’t be an upset” in which there was one.
Everything else went the way it was supposed to:
NR/#22 Baylor over Prairie View
Clemson over SC State
#24/#24 Marquette over IPFW
#22/#23 Davidson over Chattanooga
Wisconsin over Wisconsin-Green Bay
Dayton over Coppin State
Sunday’s only game:
#25/NR Miami (FL) over Robert Morris
So, being that only one team lost that could actually affect our rank, I figure we shouldn’t move much. We certainly won’t be ranked. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the 30 point win will mean we get enough votes so that we’re something like a theoretical 26th or 27th, but, I don’t forsee it. See you tomorrow once the rankings have come out. Good night, don’t let the inner-ear infections bite.