Derrick Walton's range extended to the midcourt logo today. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]
Three is worth more than two.
In one of the most unbelievable offensive showcases these eyes have seen at any level, that core tenet of John Beilein's offense proved the difference.
In a tight contest from start to finish, Michigan couldn't keep Oklahoma State's Jawun Evans from getting into the paint. Evans poured in 23 points and handed out 12 assists, and many of his 16 misses led to second-chance points for the Cowboys. OSU pulled down 16 offensive boards to Michigan's six; they outscored the Wolverines 50-20 in the paint.
Michigan, on the other hand, had a difficult time working their way inside. After clinging to a one-point halftime lead because they took care of the basketball, they laid waste to OSU's defense from the perimeter, sinking 11 of their 15 second-half three-point attempts.
Derrick Walton, to nobody's surprise, led the second-half charge. After a 1-for-6 first half, Walton didn't hesitate to rise and fire from as far out as the edge of the midcourt logo, and for good reason: he scored 19 in the final stanza, hitting 5-of-6 threes.
"It's a lot of fun, first and foremost, to know you have that rock that you can always count on," Duncan Robinson said of Walton. "He's been so good and we go as he goes, so hopefully he's got a little bit more left in the tank."
"I just tapped into the fact that I know I've worked really hard," said Walton. "Just the mindset and the trust these guys have in me, that makes me go out and just play much more free knowing they have a lot of confidence in me."
Zak Irvin's 16 points included some huge second-half jumpers. [Bryan Fuller]
Robinson and Zak Irvin also hit huge shots down the stretch from beyond the arc. DJ Wilson came up with big plays on both ends of the floor, including the game-sealing free-throws to put Michigan up four before Evans drilled an inconsequential—unless you're a gambler—triple at the buzzer.
That capped one of the most entertaining, exhilarating, and stressful games of this college basketball season. So much happened in the second half that it's hard to remember that the game got off to a sluggish start; the two teams were knotted up at 11 at the under-12 timeout. OSU pushed ahead with a swift 9-0 run, then Michigan hit back when John Beilein threw caution to the wind and re-inserted Moe Wagner despite his two early fouls. Both squads settled into a groove, giving a taste of what was to come after the break.
The Cowboys again jumped out to a lead after halftime, and that was only a small part of Michigan's concern, as Walton briefly exited the game with an apparent ankle issue. He returned with the Wolverines down six points; that gap closed to two on M's next three possessions, in which Walton hit a three and dished out two assists. A pair of Wagner free throws deadlocked the game at 59 with 13 minutes to play; from there, Michigan's deadeye shooting made the difference.
Walton sizes up Jawun Evans before drilling a corner three. [Campredon]
While the Wolverines couldn't string together stops, neither could the Cowboys, and Michigan's shots were coming from beyond the arc. With that, the Wolverines needed one decent defensive stretch, and they got that with two stops at the rim—including a huge block by DJ Wilson that led to Walton's midcourt bomb—and a charge drawn on OSU center Mitchell Solomon. Subsequent triples by Wilson and Walton sandwiched around a Phil Forte two-pointer got the lead to eight with 6:47 left.
That held steady until a late OSU comeback push that appeared to be stymied by long jumpers from Irvin and Walton. Robinson missed the front end of two late one-and-ones, however, which added some serious drama to the final moments until Wilson's pair of free throws sealed it.
Michigan took this game despite a quiet performance from Wagner, who scored six points in only 14 minutes as Beilein went with Wilson at the five for much of the second half. Wilson finished with 19 points, while Irvin and Muhammed-Ali Abdur-Rahkman each added 16. That proved just enough to overcome Evans and a very efficient 19-point outing from Jeffrey Carroll.
Hopefully, we can catch our collective breath in time for Sunday's game, which will almost certainly be against two-seed Louisville.
Michigan gave up 51 points in the second half. Which is okay, because Michigan scored 51 points in the second half. If you have any idea what just happened please explain it to the rest of us. In the meantime...
And because the other has to keep going shot-for-shot with the one...
Welcome back to March.
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New features this week: You get to plus or minus now. It works differently than here—you hit plus or minus then hit the comment you want to knock or help. That in turn will affect how much that person can talk, unless they’re a mod. If you neg a mod it does nothing.
The yellow/ orange bar is your mana.
Sending messages costs mana.
Messages cost more, the more active chat is.
The red dudes on the side bar are lives remaining.
If you break the Board Rules, you lose a life. Lose three lives and you have to insert a quarter into your monitor. No no keep trying it, it’ll go in. As always, the Liveblog Chaos Mitigation Post is The Law.
Enter here: http://kibitz.io/#/ncaa
Ira is here for Sam, who’s in Indy for the open practice.
- The last gasp of the Red era: Michigan didn’t go to the Joe and win three straight but it would have been nice. What’s next?
- Gaming RPI: The NCAA met with Sagarin and Pomeroy…and went back to their stupid metric that’s so predictable a hero at Minnesota got them a 5-seed and Illinois State got left out for 9-seed MSU.
- Oklahoma State could be the VCU game of this tourney, except Cowboys can shoot. We like that there’s nobody to get Wagner in trouble.
- Who’s got two guards and is No. 1 at forcing two-point jumpers?
- The rest of our brackets. Brian likes UCLA because that game, Craig believes the Midwest is so soft Kentucky will jump brackets and beat all of us down, Gonzaga might get to walk to the Final Four, and hoo did Wisconsin end up in a rough bracket.
- Match the champs to the roundtabler: Kentucky, UNC, Nova, Meeeshigan.
You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.
THE USUAL LINKS
I was gonna do one of these, then I wasn’t, then I was, then I…whatever it’ll be a short one though. The main impetus for doing it is:
The speculators have skedaddled and these have come down to a reasonable $61, with $50 tickets popping up here and there in the upper bowl. What I think happened here is when the field was announced this was obviously the hottest ticket, given all the big schools in driving range, and speculators jumped into the market. Now it’s time for them to get out and prices have deflated between 40-50 percent because of it.
That’s the good news. The bad news is Kentucky and Louisville are still both in town, while tomorrow’s St. Patrick’s Day, which means anywhere but the arena is going to be packed to the gills with hillbillies in their cups.
Round 2 (if necessary)
If Michigan makes it to the next round, tickets will go in a flash, but you’ll be able to pick one up for about that outside if history is any judge. Plans will have to come together in a hurry once they announce the time, but if Michigan gets an early Sunday afternoon timeslot it’s likely to draw more fans who can justify a last-minute day trip out of it. Night draws: notsomuch, since a 5-hour drive that starts after dark when Monday’s a work day is unlikely to get past the committee.
Strategy-wise if we draw the noon or 2:30 slot jump on those at $80. If it’s a night game and you’re already committed, I bet they’ll drop to something more like $60 online the night before, with lots of last-minute seats around for cheap. Right now it’s $111 but that is speculator pricing.
Kansas City is too far for a majority of Michigan fans to drive—even for the large Chicago contingent it’s ~9 hours. Oregon (the #3 seed) fans won’t get there en masse either. However if Creighton comes out of that part of the bracket, Omaha is very nearby, and could drive up the price considerably. Otherwise expect that to act a lot like a low bowl game, with tickets overpriced online and cheap on the ground.
Kansas would be the likely Elite 8 draw if that happens, and at that point it’s a virtual Jayhawks home game. It’s too hard to predict prices for that but even in that case tickets the day of the game tend to come down sharply from where they were earlier.
#20 Michigan (24-11, 10-8 B1G) vs
#24 Oklahoma State (20-13, 9-9 B12)
The BTT Should've Been Here Arena
|WHEN||12:15 pm ET, Friday|
Michigan -1 (KenPom)
Michigan -2.5 (Vegas)
PBP: Jim Nantz
Analyst: Bill Raftery & Grant Hill
Right: Stare into the abyss that is Pistol Pete's face.
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There's blissfully little to discuss in this section. I've closed the Bracket Matrix tab for the first time in weeks, if not months. The team has safely arrived in Indianapolis. Michigan is not dealing with any significant injuries.
Win The Game.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.
|G||1||Jawun Evans||So.||6'1, 185||70||33||117||No|
|Speedy, ball-dominant PG. Streaky outside shooter, at best going to rim.|
|G||13||Phil Forte||Sr.||5'11, 195||78||16||130||Not At All|
|Three-point sharpshooter with range well beyond the arc.|
|G||30||Jeffrey Carroll||Jr.||6'6, 215||73||23||129||Not At All|
|Do-it-all wing scores efficiently inside and out. Good rebounder.|
|F||23||Leyton Hammonds||Sr.||6'8, 215||57||16||130||No|
|Stretch four shooting 34% from three.|
|F||41||Mitchell Solomon||Jr.||6'9, 245||50||16||115||Very|
|Great offensive rebounder, good rim protector, foul-prone. Gets easy buckets.|
|F||12||Cameron McGriff||Fr.||6'7, 210||39||15||103||Yes|
|TO-prone, iffy-shooting bit player salvages ORtg with sky-high FT rate.|
|G||0||Brandon Averette||Fr.||5'11, 175||37||21||95||No|
|Efficient scorer on low usage, but turnovers a consistent problem.|
|G||24||Davon Dillard||So.||6'5, 215||24||21||109||Not At All|
|Glue guy who can score. Weakness is—surprise!—turnovers.|
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
Wichita St.’s Gregg Marshall [Getty]
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Yesterday, I took a look at the most overseeded teams in the NCAA Tournament – those who are worse than their seed line. Here are the teams who got boned.
As a reminder, this is the methodology:
In order to sort out which teams are better or worse than where they’re seeded, I took the list of teams sorted by the committee 1-66, and I compared it to a composite computer ranking of tournament teams based on the average of Ken Pomeroy, Jeff Sagarin, and Bart Torvik’s metrics. I then calculated the difference between where a team should theoretically be ranked given their strength according to that composite ranking and where they actually wound up.
The seven most underseeded teams are
- South #10 Wichita St.
- South #11 Kansas St.
- Midwest #10 Oklahoma St.
- West #4 West Virginia
- East #10 Marquette
- East #5 Virginia
- East #8 Wisconsin
No, no Michigan. Or at least if Michigan got boned in our seeding by historic standards it wasn't as bad as some other schools got it. True we have to play one of the most underseeded teams in the tournament in the first round, but it's not like Michigan played an Elite 8 seed kind of season and got put in a double-digit slot. Who's got it worse than us? See after the jump.
He Seems So Nice, But...
The face of a ruthless killer after a successful hunt. [Paul Sherman]
John Beilein can be evil. Just ask Ethan Happ.
Michigan's first two offensive sets against Wisconsin put Happ in no-win situations and set the tone for the rest of the game. Here's the first, which features Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman making an elaborate off-ball cut after a dribble handoff:
MAAR's cut is gorgeous on its own: it looks like he'll run along the baseline to the opposite corner, a common maneuver in Beilein's offense, but instead doubles back and curls around a Moe Wagner screen that gets MAAR two steps ahead of his defender, Vitto Brown.
The real beauty of this play, however, comes right about the moment Derrick Walton releases the pass. Against almost any other team in the country, Happ wouldn't hesitate to slide into the paint and prevent the layup. Michigan has Wagner, however, and three points are greater than two. After MAAR curls around the screen, Wagner pops out to the perimeter. Even though the ball is already headed MAAR's way, Happ is preoccupied enough with Wagner to take a false step towards the three-point line:
That moment of hesitation provides MAAR with the space he needs for a layup.
That play was pretty mean. The real evil comes on the next possession.
[Hit THE JUMP.]
we going to the ship
Michigan represented in the real bracket. This Is March, and that means it's Name of the Year time. College football, which annually raises hundreds of names from obscurity, contributes five participants—at least five that I recognize—to this year's tournament:
1 seed Kobe Buffalomeat, an Illinois State signee.
15 seed Dredrick Snelson Jr, a UCF wide receiver.
11 seed Bumper Pool, a 2018 LB committed to Okie State (who Michigan pursued).
5 seed and Michigan signee Luiji Vilain(!).
1 seed Quindarious Monday, a 2018 safety out of Georgia recently offered by Michigan.
2 seed Sultan McDoom does not appear to be related to Eddie, FWIW. Also there is a Taco Dibbits who is presumably not related to Taco Charlton.
I believe Vilain is the first Michigan-affiliated participant since Iris Macadangdang made it to the final in 2009, losing to LSU DE Barkevious Mingo. Yes I knew that off the top of my head. Yes my brain is very good and full of useful things.
The NOTY bracket is always a magical one that different people will take different things from, like a diamond with 64 gleaming facets. Personally, I'm partial to Boats Botes. Boats.
— Cass Tech Football (@Detroit_CTFB) March 14, 2017
Many, many spring practice(?) things. I was thinking about splitting out huge data dumps from Sam Webb and Steve Lorenz into a separate post but since they're mostly about winter workouts—ie not even practice—during the heart of NCAA tournment season maybe we'll just jam it in here.
Prepare for JAM:
- Webb reports that Don Brown is bringing up Mike Wroblewski—who is apparently called "ROBO"—unprompted as the third ILB along with McCray and Bush. Sounds like Michigan will be rotating three guys for two spots.
- Drevno picks out Mike Onwenu as the gentleman with the biggest offseason improvement. Also mentioned: Rashan Gary, Ian Bunting, and Donovan Peoples-Jones. Meanwhile Lorenz reports that Onwenu has shed significant weight and is in a good spot.
- Sam is asked which early enrollees are consistently drawing mention and responds with Cesar Ruiz and—surprise—Donovan Peoples-Jones. Lorenz also mentions Ruiz as "college ready" physically and broaches the possibility he'll be a four-year starter. That would necessarily kick either Mason Cole or Ben Bredeson out to tackle. Frey thinks he can bat Cole around this spring and it won't have a negative impact.
- Lorenz also asserts that the coaching staff is pushing Juwann Bushell-Beatty because they think he can make it. They thought he was a reasonable option midseason, so he's got to be doing something right in practice.
- Per Lorenz, Karan Higdon's gotten up to 200 and he'll push Chris Evans.
- Metellus and Hudson are candidates at both safety and VIPER(!). Metellus is getting talked up a lot as a guy who had "one of the best winters on the roster" by Sam and by Lorenz as the favorite to start next to Kinnel, as he's a "rock solid 205" and a Don Brown favorite.
- Lorenz reports that Michigan is big on Carlo Kemp and Donovan Jeter has impressed early.
There's more at each of the links but that's how they get you, with the useful information.
ACC BIG 10 BIG 12 SEC PAC 12 BIG EAST. It's me again. Looking 4 home & home next year. Pls call me 4 chance 4 QUALITY road win, top 33 RPI pic.twitter.com/zYAZpR3kJn
— Dan Muller (@DanMuller) March 13, 2017
Illinois State should have been in. Ken Pomeroy writes on the exclusion of Illinois State from the field. One reason I was mildly incensed about what the committee did this year is that they gave the numbers-literate a window for hope:
In January, the NCAA invited me and several other people to discuss using new metrics to support the tournament selection process. It is encouraging that the people in charge of men’s basketball at the NCAA are interested in using the best tools available.
That discussion obviously went nowhere, as the Minnesota-Wisconsin seeding discrepancy and Illinois State exclusion demonstrate. Kenpom's take on the Redbirds:
Teams from a competitive mid-major conference like the Missouri Valley play a much different kind of schedule. Most games against teams outside the top 100 are conference games, which are just as likely to be on the road as they are at home. Also, very few of those “bad” opponents are going to be as bad as Howard or Western Carolina, whom Marquette played. Although it played many more teams outside the top 100, Illinois State still had fewer games (three) against teams in the bottom 100 than Marquette. As a consequence, a whole lot more of Illinois State’s games against poorer teams were potentially loseable, if the Redbirds had a particularly bad night or their opponent was feeling it. And the Redbirds did lose two of them—road games to Murray State and Tulsa. ...
If Marquette and Illinois State swapped schedules, the Golden Eagles would almost surely lose some games to teams outside the top 100. If you put Illinois State in the Big East, it would have earned some quality wins. No doubt, though, the Redbirds would do much worse than their 17-1 Missouri Valley Conference record when facing the tougher competition. But consider that Xavier went 8-10 against Big East teams not named DePaul and easily earned an at-large bid. The standard for small-conference teams is incredibly high, while the standard for major-conference teams is not as high as you think.
The "bad loss" mode of thinking fails to take into account the fact that when you play a high number of road games against teams with RPIs from 100 to 200, an NCAA quality team will be expected to lose some of them.
There are metrics that take this into account. "Wins Above Bubble"—defined as "the amount of wins you have - than the amount of wins an average bubble team would expect to have against the schedule you faced"—is an easy concept to grasp that ranks on overall resume instead of the distorted windows that arbitrary RPI bins provide. Illinois State was excluded despite being 1.5 WAB, ahead of 7-seed Dayton and 9-seeds MSU and Vandy*.
We blithely dismiss Illinois State's record because it came against "nobody", but anybody can be somebody on the road. Take Illinois State's game at Missouri State. On the day of the game, Missouri State was ranked #130 in Kenpom—bad loss territory if this was RPI. Illinois State was ranked #44, which is where nine-seed VT is ranked today and ahead of at-large picks VCU, Seton Hall, Providence, and USC. Kenpom gave Illinois State—which, again, was performing like a legit NCAA tournament team at the time—just a 63% shot at victory. Play nine road games against teams from 100 to 200 and an NCAA bubble team should lose a couple, as Illinois State did. Their record should have been enough to get them in the field.
*[I don't think WAB should be used for seeding; it's a selection metric. I mention the above teams because they were not only in the field but evidently not even on the bubble.]
New hockey coach maybe possibly. This gentleman appears to be Pavel Datsyuk's agent:
— Jeffrey Moss (@JeffMossDSR) March 15, 2017
Obligatory disclaimer: agents are not always reliable sources, and the deletion of said tweet makes it even shakier. If, however, he is correct and Michigan has already moved to secure their next head coach that could mean they've gone off the board. IE: they hired Not Mel. It seems doubtful that this guy would be in the loop if it was Pearson.
This podcast was recorded at Human Element, the Ann Arbor-based team of software developers and designers who are currently (perhaps literally if the site seems slow right this second) deep in their Kerrytown nerd cave, entrusted with the top-down redesign of this very site.
We Couldn’t Have One Without the Other
We get to make audio content because we can afford the studio time and equipment to make it happen, and that is thanks in large part to our longest and greatest supporters, Rishi and Ryan, proprietors of UGP, Moe's, and the Bo Store.
All or our sponsors are people just as embedded in the MGocommunity and whom we know personally. Homesure Lending, Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Ann Arbor Elder Law, Deo Bookkeeping, Michigan Law Grad, Defensive Drivers Group, and Peak Wealth Management.
1. Michigan after Maverick: Big Ten Tourney Recap Part 1
starts against 0:55
How far these players have come. We back up to the streak (and a couple of weird things on the road) before to set up the culmination of Maverick Morgan’s white collar comeuppance, followed by out-x’s and o’s-ing the Big Ten’s best guy to talk to about X’s and O’s.
2. Michigan after Maverick Part 2 and Gaming the RPI
starts at 20:45
Second half of Minnesota everyone’s legs die, Derrick Walton puts the team on his back. Announcers have to learn to appreciate Walton shots. Praise for announcers AND for referees—I’m warning you now in case you get here and start to wonder if this really is the MGoPodcast you’re listening to.
3. NCAA Tourney Preview
starts at 37:10
Not a good draw—Oklahoma State was seeded way—however Beilein might be the exact kind of coach that Cowboy shtick doesn’t work against. If they’re hitting from 30 feet or Michigan’s not hitting their open threes, it’s tip your cap time. Louisville is some big scary blocky dudes who don’t score enough to be terrifying. Kansas is the 1 seed you want in your region.
4. Gimmicky Top 5: Great moments in 2016-'17 M Hoops
starts at 1:05:15
HUEL (Human Element to any HUEL marketing managers out there) co-founder Jason Magee sat in to reminisce our favorite moments. Jason, not Ace or Brian, remembered the one that David and I were going to pantomime in the studio if they didn’t get to it.
- "Danger Zone"—Kenny Loggins
- “Playin’ With the Boys”—Kenny Loggins
- “Take My Breath Away”—Berlin
- “Across 110th Street”