Here's a Superbowl commercial that didn't make the cut, despite having ALL the Pat Stansiks:
Since CBS refused to run this for $500 bucks, our store partners at Underground are just going to give all them smackaroos to somebody to go on a Michigan gear shopping binge.
And just in time too because the latest from Fashion Week in Paris have arrived.
You many now consume.
A short, bittersweet version of OFAAT today, as I was wholly uninterested in capturing a bunch of gifs from a loss that still stings a bit.
As it turns out, however, things could've been much worse. I have looked into an alternate universe in which Victor Oladipo makes that impossible alley-oop, and that alternate universe, well...
...may it rest in peace.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the Indiana gifs, which once again include Ted Valentine being Ted Valentine, attention whore of the highest order.]
It looks like four teams are racing for three spots on the one line. Those four teams are Duke, Kansas, Michigan, and Indiana. The reason there are only three spots: Florida. At this point I consider Florida in the barn with 0 SEC losses—maybe one. They'll be a one-seed. They're #1 overall on Crashing the Dance already and their path to a gaudy end-of-season record is considerably easier than anyone else's. Also they are destroying everybody.
On the good side of the ledger, the Big East continued to eliminate itself with Syracuse's loss to Pitt—a loss that happens to help out Michigan quite a bit—and Kansas dropping a game at home to Okie State drops them from the realms of the stone-cold lock.
Those four teams are neck and neck right now; Duke's scheduling edge is evaporating as they trudge through an ACC that is a three-or-four bid league and lose to the other teams headed for the tourney. Kansas has relatively few big wins—OSU, and then K-State is probably their best—and won't be finding many more down the road. Michigan and Indiana are probably in the best shape as long as they can avoid being hewed down excessively by the Big Ten.
I'm keeping M on the one line since that seems to be the consensus. CtD has them third overall; the Bracket Matrix has them first. RPI remains steady at 7; their forecast is down to 9th. They've fallen behind Indiana in Kenpom. Indiana replaces Kansas by a nose.
Projected ones: Florida, Indiana, Duke, Michigan
The Nonconference Folk
NC State why u no clutch, other than clutch maybe not existing
Last win for IUPUI: December 27th. Binghamton's win against Maine was followed up with three losses; they're 3-19 on the year. Cleveland State beat UIC their last time out; before that they'd lost four straight. Central is 2-6 in the MAC. Eastern had that famous game against Northern Illinois last week; they lost against Kent State—with Ohio one of two teams within the KP100 in the MAC—this week.
On the good side of the ledger, Western lost to the top two teams in the MAC to kick off their conference schedule and haven't lost since. They're now 6-2 and approaching the KP100. Bradley continues on their path towards a .500 MVC record.
Big sorts of teams
@ Louisville: L 64-61. Syracuse: W 65-55. Seton Hall: W 56-46.
Pitt was four points away from a monster week (and day) but could not pull it out at the most ridiculously named arena in the entire universe. Instead they pick up a needed signature win and hold off an upset attempt from Seton Hall. The various seeding projection whatnots have generally moved Pitt up two to four lines, into the six-seed range. Amazing what one win can do for you when you've got a shiny record.
SEEDWATCH: Last six on CTD; a six on Bracket Matrix.
Kansas State (17-4)
Texas: W 83-57. @ Oklahoma: W 52-50.
K-State bounced back from a couple losses against the top end of the Big 12 with a blowout of Texas and a narrow win against Oklahoma. I saw most of the Oklahoma game, and it was the usual: ugly. Kansas State blarted out 0.87 PPP and found victory.
The difference was, uh, turnovers? Or something. Kansas State is not a very fun team to watch. I get mad at their point guard lots.
SEEDWATCH: Five on CTD and Bracket Matrix.
North Carolina State (16-6)
@ Virginia: L 58-55. Miami: L 79-78.
Glabdangit, NC State. Virginia is the Wisconsin of the ACC. They have in fact beaten Wisconsin in a 56 possession game that I recommend not watching should you come in contact with a copy of it. It is the Basketball Ring.
Anyway, they're a pretty tough out, especially on the road. NC State performed about as expected, and lost narrowly. Then they had a home game against surging Miami that they were winning until a tip in with under a second left. NC State has now lost four ACC games by a total of 7 points. The difference between the Wolfpack being the good win they are now and being a good win that looks like a great win is not much.
A game at Duke looms next; after that it's clear sailing, except this is a team that has lost to Wake Forest.
MCHOBBIT UPDATE: McHobbit renaissance yo.
Lorenzo Brown, NC State's starting point guard, got injured, and now I can't talk nearly as much crap about McHobbit. His 15 minutes against Virginia were suboptimal—three shots, two assists, NC State collapsed to 0.87 points a possession. ORtg superficially high thanks to low usage in a low-scoring game; bad overall.
Against Miami it was a different story: dude was on the floor for 36 minutes, put up 16 points on 8 shots, and had 5 assists to 1 turnover. Well done, McHobbit. Well done.
SEEDWATCH: Six on Bracket Matrix, five on Crashing The Dance.
@ Alabama: L 59-56. Tennessee: W 73-60.
.500 SEC continues apace. Florida looms this week. They gon' die.
West Virginia (10-11)
Kansas: L 61-56. Texas Tech: W 77-61.
WVU had a surprisingly good outing against Kansas and then did what everyone does to Tech. Status quo.
SEEDWATCH: alternate universe maybe
CONFERENCE OF POWER RANKING POWER POWER
LAST WEEK We need to invent a new word for what they did to Purdue, at Mackey. Something with connotations including flaying alive and evisceration. Then they had a solid home victory over Michigan.
THING About the last thing Indiana opponents need is to deal with yet another scoring threat. Unfortunately for them, Yogi Ferrell's early-season shooting woes are disappearing rapidly. While he still doesn't put it up much, in Indiana's five-game win streak he's 9/13 from 2 and 9/17 from three. He was nails at the free throw line late in the Michigan game, not that he really had to be.
OTHER THING It kind of goes without saying that Victor Oladipo continues his reign of terror. After assembling all of the hype machines after his dominating performance on national TV against Michigan State he put up 17 points on 12 shots against Purdue and 15 on 12 against Michigan. In those two games he added five more steals against just two fouls, and a couple of his misses against Michigan turned into spectacular Cody Zeller tip dunks after Oladipo drew help defense.
Even though Tim Hardaway Jr had a pretty good night against the Hoosiers it was clear Oladipo was on another level.
OTHER OTHER THING No, Jordan Hulls can't really check Nik Stauskas, but Stauskas couldn't shoot on Saturday night.
THING THEY ARE LIKE The Constructicons. Their powers have united and now they cannot be stopped moooohahaha.
LAST WEEK Routine 20-point win against Northwestern; could not defy Kenpom or Vegas at Assembly Hall in aforementioned game.
THING If you had to point to one thing that doomed Michigan it was three-point shooting. Before a late flurry after the game had been decided but for the ritual of fouling, Michigan was 4/18. Most of those were excellent looks from good shooters, but pre-flurry Hardaway and Stauskas were 1/8. Against a similarly elite outfit, ballgame.
OTHER THING Mitch McGary cracked 20 minutes for the first time in his career against Indiana and put up a great box score, but it's hard not to look at the early Horford foul that saw him eat bench and correlate it with IU's scoring blitz to open the game. While Michigan got their defense kind of figured out after the first ten minutes, maybe not having to throw the freshman out there at the beginning of the game would have helped.
OTHER OTHER THING If there was heroball from Burke against Indiana, it was necessary heroball.
THING THEY ARE LIKE The Autobot version of Destructor minus a leg or arm or something. I forget. There was one, right? Here's a picture of a damaged Optimus Prime.
3. Ohio State (17-4)
LAST WEEK Blew open a close game against the Badgers with a 13-0 run spanning a third of the second half. A 13-0 run against Wisconsin is the equivalent of a 20-0 run against human teams. OSU was then mildly threatened by Nebraska. Andre Almedia missed a putback that would have brought the Huskers within three points late.
THIS WEEK IN EVOCATIVELY CORRECT WIN PROBABILITY GRAPHS. Ohio State vs Wisconsin:
A dead heat until Ohio State decided to stop missing shots at the 13 minute mark; over seven minutes later when Wisconsin finally broke their run. No 1-3-1 turning point here, just a period of blazing heat.
THING A pattern emerges with that secondary scoring bugaboo: against bad defenses other guys get involved—Lenzelle Smith had 21 against Nebraska. Against good ones, it's Deshaun of the Dead again. He had 25 points in the low-possession Wisconsin outing; only Aaron Craft made it into double digits with him and the other three starters combined for seven points.
OTHER THING Deshaun Thomas KPOY Watch: up to ninth. Had a bad game against Nebraska (15 points, 20 shots, 0 A, 2 TO); had a great one against Wisconsin (25 on 17, 4 A, 1 TO).
THING THEY ARE LIKE Stupid Saturday morning cartoon theme continued:
I expect several iseewhatyoudidthere.gifs in the comments.
4. Michigan State (18-4)
LAST WEEK Followed up last week's analyst-tizzy-inducing road loss to Indiana with home game against Illinois. Found themselves down ten at halftime, ruthlessly pulled it back right after halftime, and escorted the game to the finish.
THING That Illinois game was one of the weirdest of the year. Illinois shot their way to a ten-point halftime lead, and then MSU scored on almost literally every possession they had in the second half. They shot 16/18, rebounded both misses, and ended the game with a whopping 34 free throws to their credit, scoring 80 points in a 65 possession game… and winning by five.
Did Illinois annihilate from three? Not really: 9/25. It was hard to figure out how the game was close watching it live, and it's equally hard figuring it out in the box score afterwards.
ADRIEAN PAYNE THREE POINT SPECIALIST UPDATE. Just 1/3 against Illinois, bringing his recent spree down to… uh… 7/10. Had a relatively quiet game outside of that, with just eight points in 38 minutes.
Remember when Adriean Payne had tiny lungs that prevented him from playing more than 20 minutes a game? Yeah. That may not have been true.
OTHER THING Russell Byrd notched a seven-minute trillion. Alex Gauna and Matt Costello were single missed two pointers away from joining them.
These events (rather, non-events) happened after Travis Trice went out with a concussion in the first half; Gary Harris was somewhat limited with back spasms. If either condition persists there's going to be a guy on the floor who doesn't do much except pass it around the perimeter.
THIS WEEK IN STOP ASKING FOR POST TOUCHES This isn't going to work out when Illinois is dead set on fouling everything that moves. Payne and Nix combined for 4/7 shooting with 6 FTAs, 3 A, 3 TO.
THING THEY ARE LIKE Bald Bull: a challenge but extremely fragile.
artist's impression of Michigan State in the event of persistent Gary Harris back spasms
5. Wisconsin (15-7)
LAST WEEK Close game at OSU until that late run put it away. Had a ludicrously-fast-by-their-standards game at Illinois (70 possessions!) and dominated it.
THING Don't be fooled by the relatively close final score of that Illinois game. The Badgers had a 15 point lead when fouling time kicked in with two minutes left. Illinois whittled it down against the worst free-throw-shooting team in the conference but had already flatlined on the Kenpom win graph.
Note that the extended foul time is a major reason for all the possessions in that game.
OTHER THING Little-used backup guard Frank Kaminsky had his first outing of more than ten minutes since December and was Wisconsin's go-to guy down the FTA stretch. He had 14 attempts from the line, almost doubling his season total. He hit 12.
WISCONSIN PREVENTS THREE POINTERS WATCH This goes beyond skill and enters the realm of creepy: Illinois, the three-jackingest team in the conference, was 2/13. Ohio State was 3 of 5. Five!
Conference opponents are getting threes off at a 21% clip. That's #1, obviously. They're third nationally.
RYAN EVANS FT WATCH None against Ohio State. He shares this distinction with his teammates: Wisconsin acquire even one measly free throw. It was a different story in the extended Illinois game: Evans went 5 for 11.
THING THEY ARE LIKE A congressional bill banning gun scopes.
6. Minnesota (15-5)
LAST WEEK Clubbed Nebraska. Edged a narrow home game against Iowa.
THING You can do this every week in this league, but wow Minnesota has a rough road coming up: @ MSU, Illinois, Wisconsin, @ Iowa, @ OSU, Indiana. All of those are losable and if you escape that .500 you're high-fiving each other.
OTHER THING I know Trevor Mbakwe is more of a garbage man than a guy you can go to in the post but man it seems like a huge waste when he's 2/5 from the floor in consecutive games. He just doesn't take many shots but it's weird that he was at 20% during his last healthy season and has dropped almost two and a half points this year.
THIS WEEK IN MINNESOTA INTIMIDATION FACTOR Had more offensive rebounds than Nebraska had defensive rebounds. Held the Huskers to four OREBs themselves. Rebounded 41% of their misses against Iowa but actually lost the board war thanks to a heroic effort from Team, which secured a whopping six OREBs for the Hawkeyes. Go Team.
Minnesota did acquire seven blocked shots against Iowa, though.
THING THEY ARE LIKE Sludge.
I think, anyway. The powerful dumb one.
7. Iowa (13-7)
LAST WEEK Amaker bubble team status: locked in. First it was the uninspiring win over Penn State to keep hopes alive, then a strong game against a good opponent (Minnesota) that still ends in defeat.
THING The rims scream for relief from your frequent three-pointers, Iowa. Have you no decency, at long last?
THIS WEEK IN WHERE'S ROY DEVYN WALDO Wow: 17 minutes, 0 points for Marble against the Gophers. He didn't even do much against Penn State other than miss a bunch of threes.
THING THEY ARE LIKE Turtleneck sweaters.
8. Illinois (15-8)
LAST WEEK Continued stellar impression of 2012 Illini with losses against Michigan State and Wisconsin. Now 2-7 in the league.
THING Dying by the three continues apace. The Illini are dead last in three point shooting in conference play at 25%; they're third in launching them. They are dead last in eFG% D, tenth from two and tenth from three.
TYLER GRIFFEY WATCH Did not attempt a three. Doesn't even want to be around a basketball right now.
NNANNA EGWU WATCH One rebound in 25 minutes against Michigan State, and he fouled out. To be fair, the Illini only had 14 defensive rebounds for the game because Michigan State was hitting everything they threw up. Against Wisconsin, seven rebounds in 33 minutes, one offensive. Egwu also fouled out in this one.
This is progress! Egwu has passed point guard Tracy Abrams in DREB rate and has tied DJ Richardson.
OTHER EGWU WATCH Egwu backup and Coastal Carolina grad-year transfer Sam McLaurin has a DREB rate of 6.9. He is 6'8".
THE ENNUI QUESTION They can still make it to 7-11, 20-12 with wins over Butler, Gonzaga, and OSU. They just have to beat Purdue, Northwestern, Penn State, Nebraska, and Iowa, and then they've got four more swings at quality wins. They can do it. They'll get at least one more week above the line as games against Indiana and at Minnesota are not must-wins. Then they will probably lose to Purdue by 60, at which point I'll move them under the line.
THING THEY ARE LIKE WHO WATCHES THE WATCH WATCHERS
HENRI LINE OF ENNUI
LAST WEEK Beat up by Michigan; beat up on Purdue.
THING The Michigan box score looks like Ohio State minus Deshaun Thomas: one guy over ten points, that Alex Olah with ten.
OTHER THING The Purdue box score looks like Ohio Stat with Deshaun Thomas: Reggie Hearn went off scoring 26 points on 17 shots. Some other guys helped marginally.
OTHER OTHER THING It's probably not good for Purdue's defense that 24 of Northwestern's 26 baskets were assisted. Or Northwestern's offense, honestly.
THING THEY ARE LIKE King of the Dwarves.
10. Purdue (11-11)
LAST WEEK Destroyed by Indiana. Destroyed by Northwestern.
THING AJ Hammons played about as well as it is possible to in a 37-point loss on your home floor: 30 points on 14 shots and five blocks in 28 minutes. Rebounding may have been an issue. He also played about as well as you can in a 15-point loss to Northwestern: 19 points on 19 shots, okay, but 7 OREB and 6 DREB plus three assists to two turnovers.
Hype about Hammons being the All Big Ten center next year: buying.
OTHER THING I know that hitting 9 of 19 twos doesn't seem that impressive but consider it in context: Purdue shot 33% from two against Northwestern. No one other than Hammons even approached 50%, and even though Purdue rebounded half its misses and had just eight turnovers they could only get to 1 PPP.
OTHER OTHER THING Purdue players other than AJ Hammons are bad at basketball.
RONNIE JOHNSON THREE POINTER WATCH One of two against Indiana brings him up to 16%.
THING THEY ARE LIKE Ohio State if Deshaun Thomas was a center and Aaron Craft was a small dog named Wuffles.
Vetenari's hand… Indiana? This is getting strained.
LAST WEEK Blown out by Minnesota. Kept it interesting against Ohio State.
THING Ray Gallegos is the Annoying Ole Miss Guy of the Big Ten, except he's not a polarizing GIF machine with emotional problems. He put up 30 on Minnesota, taking just 17 shots to get there. He then put up 11 on Ohio State on 14 shots.
He's taken double-digit three pointers in five games this year, has not launched fewer than four, and is averaging over eight attempts a game. He's hitting 31%.
THING THEY ARE LIKE what if Ole Miss played in the Big Ten
12. Penn State (8-12)
LAST WEEK Fairly competitive at Iowa, and was mercifully given the weekend off.
THING Penn State has a guy shooting 18% from three and a guy shooting 14 % from three who collectively have 80 attempts.
OTHER THING they're 340th at giving up free throws
OTHER OTHER THING they're pretty good at rebounding though!
THING THEY ARE LIKE a really depressing basketball team
Tourney locks sans Illinois-2011-style implosion
projected seeds included
#1 Indiana, #2 MICHIGAN, #3 Michigan State, #4 Ohio State, #6 Minnesota
Northwestern Memorial wrong side of the bubble award
Rutgers Memorial what's a bubble award
Northwestern, Penn State, Nebraska, Purdue
Games relevant to your interest that are on the TV and may be worth watching after the first ten minutes. Bolded teams are suggested teams to root for, calibrated for …
1) helping M win conference title
2) best chance for quality-win pile-up to help M seeding
3) greatest number of tourney teams from league
4) eff Michigan State
5) also Wisconsin
was yesterday. Pitt beat Seton Hall by 10.
Purdue at Penn State, 7PM, BTN
Florida at Arkansas, 7PM, ESPN
K-State at Texas Tech, 8PM, ESPN3
Ohio State at MICHIGAN, 9PM, ESPN
Minnesota at Michigan State, 7PM, BTN
Iowa at Wisconsin, 9PM, BTN
Indiana at Illinois, 7PM, ESPN
NC State at Duke, 9PM, ESPN3 (wow, lame)
MICHIGAN at Wisconsin, noon, ESPN
Arkansas at Vanderbilt, 1:30, ESPN3
Kansas at Oklahoma, 4PM, ESPN
Northwestern at Iowa, 4:36(?) PM, BTN
Pitt at Cincinnati, 6PM, ESPN
Iowa State at K-State, 6PM, ESPN2
Michigan State at Purdue, 7PM, BTN
Penn State at Nebraska, 9PM, ESPNU
Indiana at Ohio State, 1PM, CBS
NC State at Clemson, 1PM, ESPN3
Illinois at Minnesota, 6PM, BTN
Duke at Boston College, 6PM, ESPNU
As promised, here is where the recruiting rankings stand with two days until Signing Day 2013. Michigan still has command of the board, and a few of the Big Ten's best programs still languish in the bottom half of the rankings. Link to last rankings (too many changes to list).
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||24/7 Avg||ESPN Avg||Avg Avg^||POINTS*|
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
*The product of number of Commits and Average Average
NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as two-star players.
On to the full data after the jump.
Pop quiz: why we done lost? Answers are bandied about.
The Morgan question. Hashed and rehashed.
The inexplicable Dick Vitale. Calling something awesome is a stupid catch phrase. Raftery doodles the word "onions" and this makes him superior.
Football recruiting! Boring at this juncture but boring in a good way. Our discussion touches on Kyle Bosch, Wyatt Shallman, Damario Jones, and Malik McDowell amongst others.
Talking Big Ten with Jamiemac. Jamie has a rough ride as we ask him which team he sided with on Saturday, and he punts. Front-running accusations are leveled! A duel may result. Also we talk the top of the Big Ten, the conference race,
The usual links:
Today's recruiting roundup welcomes Jack Wangler, previews Michigan's signing day (spoiler: there's not much to preview), covers the latest in the 2014 class, and more.
Hello: Jack Wangler
Over the weekend, Michigan picked up a preferred walk-on in Warren (MI) De La Salle WR Jack Wangler, son of former Wolverine QB John Wangler and high school teammate of Shane Morris. Wangler didn't have any major college offers but did hold interest from a handful of MAC and Ivy League schools—the lure of following in his father's footsteps won out in the end:
"I can't wait to carry on the Wangler name at Michigan," he said. "Before I made it public, I was sure to call my dad and let him know what I had decided to do. He was definitely excited. Being around Michigan my entire life and experiencing it so much the past couple seasons really made it an easy choice. My dad said my years at Michigan will end up being the best four or five years of my life. I know they were for him."
While Wangler isn't a high-profile recruit—he's only ranked on Scout, where he's a two-star—he's impressed on the camp scene. Scout's Allen Trieu named him one of the emerging prospects at last April's Adidas Invitational:
Wangler had a good showing, first running a 4.58 in the forty yard dash and then catching everything thrown at him for the rest of the day. He has good ball skills and went up over top of a couple defenders to grab some passes and he's a kid who knows how to create separation.
Rivals's Josh Helmholdt called him one of the sleepers of last June's Sound Mind Sound Body camp:
Wangler has put a lot of work in this off-season with his Maximum Exposure teams, going head-to-head against some of the top defensive backs in the country. Wangler is always going to be a possession receiver; but his speed is coming along, and he has been timed as low as the 4.5 range for the 40-yard dash. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Wangler is a physical receiver and a technician when it comes to route-running.
As a guy who won't take up a scholarship slot, Wangler has some upside—he's got decent size, route-running, and hands, not to mention strong familiarity with Michigan's quarterback of the future. If there's a position group where a walk-on with a niche—in this case, sure-handed possession receiver—could work their way onto the field in the next few years, it's at receiver.
[Hit THE JUMP for your very brief signing day primer, news on the 2014 QB situation, new offers, and more.]
2/2/2013 – Michigan 73, Indiana 81 – 20-2, 7-2 Big Ten
Midway through the second half, Michigan popped into a 1-3-1 zone for a possession. I did not like this. I immediately thought "you can't run this defense with Jordan Hulls on the floor," and Indiana duly tossed the ball around the perimeter until Hulls was presented with an open three-pointer. He knocked it down. The 1-3-1 did not reappear.
Hulls didn't do much other than that. Unfortunately for Michigan, two of the other things he did were bury two more open threes; he missed only once. This is what you expect from Jordan Hulls, and it's why he's out there trying to check dudes a half-foot taller than him on defense.
To beat a team with a guy who shoots like that playing next to a sticky-fingered nightmare of a defender, the man Hulls is checking has to at least keep pace with the guy. Nik Stauskas didn't. He, too, is the sort of player that sends you to your toes when he's left wide open in transition, the sort of shooter that can create a buzz in an arena before the ball has even left his hand. He, too, had four good looks from three before the game had been decided. He missed all of them. (Hulls fouled him on a fifth.) The fourth miss was incredible, deflating, infuriating. This is not what is expected.
In a game where just about everything else did go as expected, that seems like the difference between a rock-'em-sock-'em affair ending at the buzzer and the marginally exciting contest that instead unfolded: Michigan's best shooter did not hit when presented with excellent looks.
And they were excellent. I'm not sure if Michigan came out with a concerted plan to emphasize the Hulls-Stauskas matchup or if Stauskas improvising based on his belief that Hulls couldn't check him; either way Michigan came out of the gate attacking that guy, and for naught. Stauskas drove for marginally-contested layups, and missed. He was found for marginally- or un-contested threes and missed. Michigan launched itself into desperation mode with two minutes left down nine, down exactly the same number of points Hulls had tossed in from behind the arc and Stauskas hadn't.
This is not to pile on Stauskas, who played about as well as he could up until the moment he let a shot go. This was not the Ohio State game, when he could not move towards the basket and found himself hacked out of the offense, reduced to jacking up deep, contested threes out of frustration.
When Stauskas made contact with Hulls he was largely quieted—along with the zone three two of his other looks came in transition. Stauskas didn't turn the ball over and had a couple assists. I can't recall any frustration shots launched. Afterwards, Beilein revealed Stauskas had missed practice the day before with the flu. Independent random trials can be a bitch even when you're healthy.
But there it is. While Glenn Robinson sputtered to two points and contributed little else in 40 minutes, his presence in the game always feels light. He largely cleans up other people's misses or throws down their assists. His absence or presence is something felt less viscerally than thinking TAKE THAT at maximum brain volume and seeing something betray Nik Stauskas's swag.
So it goes. Sometimes the damn thing won't go in the basket. The only thing to do is keep shooting.
Protip: stop falling behind by lots in tough road games. Against OSU, Michigan's offense came out discombobulated and staked the opponent to a 21-point lead. In this one, Michigan's defense couldn't make a rotation or stop the ball in the first ten minutes and staked the opponent to a 15-point lead.
Protip: once you have fallen behind by lots in a tough road game and come storming back, DO NOT TIE THE GAME. When this happened in Columbus Michigan started jacking up bad shots and was on the wrong end of a decisive 6-0 run. In Bloomington they managed to tie the game just a few minutes into the second half, and then suffered an 11-0 run.
Clearly a mandate must go out indicating that it's threes only if you have fallen behind by lots only to claw back and find yourself down two in a tough road game. No more ties. No more.
Protip: just predict what Kenpom predicts. Twice this year arrogant predictor guys at this very website have arrogantly deviated from the Great Book Of Kenpom and predicted road victories, first myself for the OSU game and then Ace for Saturday. Kenpom was off by a total of three points in these games. Yea, and it was wroth.
Halftime adjustments check: no. Michigan clawed back to even after five minutes, but then suffered the aforementioned run.
The Morgan question. Was his absence a major problem? The two minutes on a gimpy ankle he got seems to indicate the answer is yes, as does Indiana shooting 59% from 2. McGary's box score says no: 5/7 from the floor, 3 OREB, 4 DREB, an assist, 0 TO, two blocks, two steals, and a Wes Unseld hockey assist not recorded. Horford added a couple buckets, blocks and turnovers in ten minutes.
In the aftermath I've seen various folk complain about McGary overhelping and thus setting up Cody Zeller's three tip dunks, but if Oladipo is screaming at the basket that seems McGary has a bad choice either way. By helping McGary forced tougher shots and misses on those, at least. If he's not there and Oladipo throws down a rim-rattling dunk, um… well, that's not good either. It seems like the problem there is on the initial drive and McGary is picking the lesser of two evils.
Because this is an attempt to quantify the defensive prowess of an individual player, we of course have wildly differing metrics here. Some low-sample-size Synergy data from UMHoops suggests that Morgan is by far the better defender. That is in direct conflict with some low-sample-size data Ace assembled that suggests Michigan is a crap-ton better with McGary on the floor.
I don't know, man. Keep "road game at Indiana" in perspective here: despite giving up 1.17 PPP, Michigan's defensive ranking on Kenpom actually moved up slightly after the game. If Indiana shot too well from two they also got up far fewer shots than Michigan thanks in large part to McGary, and without the intentional fouls at the end of the game that PPP rate drops to 1.10. It's complicated.
One spot at which Morgan may have helped: the four. Michigan hasn't taken Glenn Robinson off the floor since Morgan got hurt, and in this game he wasn't doing anything to justify 40 minutes. Morgan would have brought extra rebounding and been better able to hold up against Christian Watford on the block; Robinson would probably have been more effective if he knew he was going to get some rest here and there.
Speaking of the overhelping bit. I think we can put the Tim Hardaway Jr lockdown defender meme to rest. Oladipo roared into the paint with frequency against him, hitting 5/9 from two and IIRC having two of those misses thundered back into the basket by Zeller since he'd drawn two guys.
Hardaway's better than last year; in no way, shape, or form does he approach the level of an impact perimeter defender like, say, that Oladipo guy.
Hardaway was an effective shooter in this one, largely when Oladipo switched off onto Burke.
Oblig. Burke check. Hoo boy he put up a lot of shots: 24 in total. We should remove the rushed heaves at the end of the game to get a better picture of what he did when quality was more important than quantity. This slices out four 3PA, one of which went down, and two generous assists on similarly rushed heaves by Hardaway and Stauskas.
Those excised, Burke:
- 5/12 from 2
- 3/8 from 3
- 3/4 from the line
- 6 A, 3 TO, 2 steals, 2 OREB(!)
- 22 points on 20 shots
Burke was tasked with a good number of Oh God Oh Jesus Oh God late-clock possessions as Indiana's defense came to play; he had difficulty with Oladipo, as you might expect. His numbers would have been less extreme and likely less inefficient if Stauskas had been healthy and accurate. As it was more and more of the offense devolved onto him.
He carried Michigan when they had to be carried. To exceed a point per shot against a top-tier defense while sucking up 40% of Michigan's possessions is remarkable.
Oblig. ref check. Fouls were even before Michigan went into game extension mode. There was a 15 to 7 FTA disparity for Indiana that seems mostly attributable to random chance. Two goofy calls stood out: the Oladipo continuation bucket and a blocking foul assigned to Hardaway that was a textbook charge—one, in fact, that Hardaway repeated moments later, getting the call.
Rebounding check. Michigan lost the battle on the boards thanks in no small part to those Zeller slams. It was close—29% to 34%—though, far less of a factor than IU doubling up Michigan when it came to turnovers.
The bright side! This may put a damper on GRIII to NBA worries?
"Cumong man" of the game. Indiana hit 88% of their free throws and didn't miss once in their last 14 tries. This is not conducive to exciting finish, Indiana. I am dissapoint.
The oddity of having a really good basketball team. You get punished by having Dick Vitale assigned to your games. I've always experienced him as an annoying presence on Duke broadcasts I'm not going to watch more than a few minutes of; this year I've finally been exposed to 40 minutes of the guy repeatedly.
I am not enjoying this experience. Take it away, Wikipedia:
He is known for catchphrases such as "baby"
The worst part is that when Vitale finally retires—he's 73—the ESPN executives who have not ordered him to do middle school games at 3 AM on ESPN3 will slide a howler monkey into his place and hope no one notices.
I wonder how Duke fans must feel about the guy. Sure, he's basically an extension of your university but even when he's yelling inanities in favor of your team, they are still inanities detracting from the important thing you are trying to pay attention to. And he is omnipresent. I don't think I could deal, man. We should have asked Jamiemac—who admitted no rooting interest in Saturday's game!—about that when we were quizzing him about the Yankees' chances this year in the podcast.
Anyway, in most other sports ascending to the big time level is a reward. Gary Thorne does the NCAA hockey tournament, and Sean McDonough will do your college football games. People bag on Musberger but I like him, and there's no comparison between Vitale and Herbstreit. Big NBA games get you Marv Albert.
I guess Tim McCarver and Jim Nantz do loom, but what this is all about is WHERE'S GUS JOHNSON, STRING?
HUH? WHERE IS GUS? STRING!
It's strange to me that I love Raftery and Gus Johnson so much and find Vitale so detestable. All three bring buckets of enthusiasm and get criticized for it by haters. I am only in that group for the last guy. Maybe it's because "baby" is not a catch phrase, it is a useless appendage, where as "onions" is delightful and Gus Johnson makes lip-curling noises.
Does anyone like Vitale? Stand and be heard. I want to know if he appeals to anyone. We should do announcer approval ratings.
…will start an hour before the game so you can have a little Q & A time with our guest hosts, Brandon Williams and Ronald Bellamy, who are here on behalf of our sponsor. Bellamy (RonaldBellamy19) coaches football at West Bloomfield High School; Williams (bwilliams12) is executive director of Go Blue Then and Now, and also advises various athlete foundations.
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Before you Enter:
Read the Liveblog Chaos Mitigation Post.
|WHAT||Michigan at Indiana|
|WHERE||Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana|
|WHEN||9:00 PM Eastern, Saturday|
|LINE||Indiana –6 (Kenpom)|
Right: Victor Oladipo is terrifying, frankly.
One team stands between Michigan and sole control of the Big Ten, not to mention a likely perch atop both national polls. That team, of course, is Indiana, whose lone losses have come in overtime against Butler (neutral-site) and at home in a textbook Wisconsin slugfest.
Indiana's national player of the year candidate is seven-foot center Cody Zeller, an offensive force thanks to deft touch around the basket (69% on FGs at the rim, per hoop-math), decent mid-range shooting, one of the highest drawn foul rates in the country (7.0/40 min.[!]), and stellar offensive rebounding. He's also a very good defensive rebounder who provides a solid shot-blocking presence. He'll be a huge test for a Michigan team that should be without Jordan Morgan, their best on-ball defender among their big men.
Indiana's other national player of the year candidate is 6'5" wing Victor Oladipo, a brutally efficient shooter—making 69% of his twos and 18-of-34 threes—who hits the offensive glass nearly as frequently as Zeller. Oh, and he's also one of the best defenders in the nation at any position, boasting the #12 steal rate in the country along with his fair share of blocks. The big question for this game is who Oladipo will guard. Will Crean match him up with Trey Burke, in an effort to stymie Michigan's pick-and-roll game like Ohio State did with Aaron Craft? Or does that create too many other matchup issues, leading Crean to put him on Tim Hardaway Jr. or even Nik Stauskas? That largely depends upon what they do with...
...6'0" shooting guard Jordan Hulls, one of the most efficient offensive players in the country thanks to his dead-eye outside shooting (48.1% from three, where he takes 64% of his shots). His lethal shot adds much the same dimension to Indiana's offense that Stauskas's does for Michigan—never, ever help off of Hulls—but on the other end of the floor he's something of a liability. Indiana has three options defensively thanks to his shortcomings, which guarantee he won't match up with Burke: (1) play Oladipo on Burke and hope Hulls can hold his own against Stauskas, (2) go to a 2-3 zone, which they've done to middling success before and could go south in a hurry against Michigan's shooters, or (3) bite the bullet and lessen his minutes in favor of his more defensively proficient backups.
6'9" power forward Christian Watford isn't the most complete player, but he does a few things very well—namely, shoot threes (48%), get to the line, and hit the defensive boards. Watford drives Indiana fans a little crazy, however, because he's prone to inconsistency, hasn't developed an offensive game inside the arc (42% from two), and isn't a great defender. He'll be an interesting matchup for Glenn Robinson III—if Watford loses track of GRIII on the defensive end, there could be fireworks.
Freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell is living up to his five-star hype, though the numbers may not suggest as much. While he isn't a great shooter and has been prone to freshman mistakes (including seven turnovers in the last two games), he runs the offense well and plays very solid defense, especially for a freshman. Ferrell isn't afraid to step up in big moments, either—if the game is on the line, expect the ball to at least start in his hands.
Like Michigan, Indiana doesn't use their bench too often, nor do they go very deep. 6'7" wing Will Sheehy is the only bench player to crack 40% of IU's available minutes (he's at 54%). Sheehy is a solid shooter both inside and outside the arc and gives Crean the option to go with a bigger lineup. 6'4" wing Remy Abell is in much the same mold. The Hoosiers will rarely go beyond the seven players above, especially in a game of this magnitude.
Indiana has eight wins against KP100 opponents but are somewhat lacking in the signature win department: their nine-point home win over Minnesota is looking less impressive by the day, while their best road win came at Iowa (they did beat #26 Georgetown in overtime at a neutral site). Their two losses, covered above, were upsets but by no means embarrassing ones.
Four factors, conference play only:
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||53.3 (2)||19.9 (10)||39.2 (2)||52.1 (1)|
|Defense||44.3 (3)||22.0 (1)||32.8 (8)||27.9 (5)|
This may be the ultimate "something has to give" game. On offense, Indiana does two things extremely well outside of shooting the basketball: rebound and draw fouls. Michigan is #12 nationally in defensive rebounding and the best team in the country at keeping opponents off the free-throw line.
On the other end, Indiana's forte is forcing turnovers, a huge key for getting their offense going. What does Michigan do better than any team in the conference? Not turn the ball over, naturally. The team that is able to play their game is going to win, plain and simple.
Get Hulls off the court. While Sheehy and Abel are solid players, Hulls adds a completely different dimension to Indiana's offense by forcing defenses to respect his outside shot and being able to create that shot off the dribble—he's More Than Just A Spot-Up Shooter™, which is what makes him so dangerous. Indiana is going to have to hide him defensively, however, so if Michigan can identify that matchup and exploit it until Indiana is forced to choose between getting firebombed and taking one of their main offensive weapons off the court, that's a huge advantage for Michigan. If Hulls ends up on Stauskas, which is what I expect, I bet you'll see Stuaskas in a lot of pick-and-roll situation, where he's lethal even when he doesn't have a six-inch size advantage.
Stay out of foul trouble up front. This was a key for Horford and McGary against Northwestern and they combined for just four fouls, but the Wildcats aren't familiar with the concept of a post presence, let alone one as dangerous as Cody Zeller. This is not the game for Michigan to try and survive with Max Bielfeldt playing 15-20 minutes.
Stay aggressive, guards. That said, Michigan would like to find a way to get some easy points in transition, and they've been able to do that lately with Trey Burke being far more aggressive defensively. Burke's going against a freshman point guard who's been prone to turnovers, so I'd love to see him continue to attack the ball and try to fluster Ferrell into mistakes. The team that can hold onto the ball while getting out in transition should win this game, so along those lines...
Hold onto the damn ball. Self-explanatory.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT
THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES RIGHTEOUS VICTORY
Michigan by 1
With all due respect to KenPom, Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, the voodoo of Assembly Hall, and everything else favoring Indiana, I have to go with Michigan for one simple reason: the matchups. When Indiana has the ball, Michigan at least knows which of their starters is going to match up with each of Indiana's: Burke on Farrell, Stauskas on Hulls, Hardaway on Oladipo, Robinson on Watford, Horford/McGary on Zeller. Whether they'll be greatly effective is another issue, but at least the matchups make sense.
On the other end, Indiana has a huge problem, and that problem is slowing down the Burke/Hardaway/Stauskas triumvirate when two of their starting guards are each 6'0" tall—a freshman and a defensive liability, respectively. I don't think Indiana will be able to stay in a zone, not against Michigan's shooters, and that means either living with a terrible matchup (likely Hulls on Stauskas) or benching one of their best offensive weapons.
In a game with two teams this good, even at Indiana, I think that's enough to swing the result in favor of the good guys.
Crimson and Crodcast. I appear on CrimsonCast talking about the game. I'm not very audible early, unfortunately.
FRAN! I ALREADY TOLD YOU THE MORTGAGE RATE WILL ADJUST IN FIVE YEARS HOW HARD IS THIS TO UNDERSTAND
GET OUT OF MY BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANK
(Iowa beat Penn State too narrowly for McCaffery's taste.)
Glory grasped. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl champs, man.
It doesn't get any better than this you guys.
Statistical indications. Dylan's hookup with Synergy Sports makes me all jealous and stuff, because he can tell you that Indiana's not real good at defending the pick and roll:
The Hoosiers rank in just the16th percentile nationally while defending pick and roll ball handlers. Michigan happens to have one of the best ball screen offenses in the country including the two best ball screen scorers in the league. …
For comparison, Ohio State – who stifled Michigan’s ball screen offense – surrenders just .56 PPP to screen and roll ball handlers (89th percentile) and .82 PPP to roll men (77th percentile).
There's still something that seems strange with those number since it seems impossible that allowing 0.84 points a possession on anything is, like, bad, but the percentiles are the percentiles. When it comes to the pick and roll, Indiana finds themselves squarely between Northwestern and Penn State:
Not where you want to be. Also note that Michigan's the best team in the league at defending the pick and roll what with their hard hedging.
Anyway, Burke and Stauskas's proficiency with the P&R will hopefully force Indiana to do things they don't want to—like play zone—or lead to lots of that scoring stuff.
Dylan also brings up a salient point from last year: Crean put Christian Watford on Burke, like, a lot. Given the relative success Illinois had at holding Burke's numbers down by switching Nnanna Egwu onto him in the pick and roll we might see something similar, at least until Mitch McGary rebounding against Yogi Ferrell becomes a bit of an issue.
More indications of how this is probably going to go. Barry Alvarez is on record that he would like to see Wisconsin play Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska yearly in the Rhombus of Hate. Add that to the pile of evidence suggesting the Big Ten will tear up the Where Is Wisconsin and Why Is Wisconsin Here divisions for the conference's brief stop at 14 teams.
Speaking of The Big Ten, Too model:
“Based on the last three years I’ve been in this business, you’d be crazy not to think about it," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said. "But it’s hard to model anything because you don’t know what to model. The minute you get yourself convinced that you’re going to go from 14 to 16, for all you know you’re going to 18, and a lot of people think the ultimate landing place is 20. Who knows?"
I guess it's a better ideal than this bit.
Gene Smith's still pushing for ten conference games, BTW.
Frieder: still mad. Bill Frieder's been making the rounds this week and seems to have a little bit of bitterness left over from his matchups at Assembly Hall back in the day:
"The hostility of that crowd and everything else you have to go against at Indiana (is tough)," he said. "You usually won't get good officiating at Indiana, you usually get a bad call or something bad with the administration along the sideline. There's something to do with the shot clock or the clock not starting on time.
"You'll have everything going against you, so you'll have to play extremely well to win the game. ... When you play Indiana at Indiana and they're a top five team, you're going to be the underdog, no matter where you're ranked."
If the second half goes anything like Illinois's against MSU last night I won't stop twitching for weeks.
Etc.: MSU guard Travis Trice apparently fine after nasty hit to head last night. More on the "catfishing" story, which I stopped caring about a lot faster than everyone else. Everyone's in a tizzy about whether in fact the term was used. Indiana-Michigan previews from Inside the Hall and the Crimson Quarry. Also UMHoops.