spoiler alert: i linked this
[File photo: Eric Upchurch]
Caris LeVert's 11 first-half points were easy to overlook during a spectacular Michigan barrage that featured 11 three-pointers.
When the barrage abated, and a persistent Texas squad nearly knottedd up the score, LeVert's eight second-half points kept the Wolverines out in front. Tasked with taking control of the offense with the Longhorns giving chace, LeVert snaked through defenders to find all manner of ways to create a layup.
The supporting cast is still setting into shape; it did just enough tonight. Duncan Robinson hit 4/5 three-pointers. Zak Irvin went 5/8 for 13 points. Derrick Walton stuffed the stat sheet (13-5-7) and drew a pivotal charge on Isaiah Taylor down the stretch. Moe Wagner looked like he may quickly become the team's best center, putting up six and four in the first half before foul trouble limited him in the second.
The team defense still wasn't good. Texas had plenty of chances to make this a real game but an 8/19 mark from the free-throw line made up the difference and then some. Big man Cameron Ridley was perfect from the field but only took five shots in 28 minutes; not to sound like Seth Davis calling a Michigan game, but he could've used a few more post touches.
Michigan is going to get in some shootouts this year. They're ready for them on one end. On the other, we'll have to wait and see.
Brian's preview is here. Go Blue.
[Click here for the Ohio State preview]
Here's the scores of Michigan's football games since someone last won this darn thing:
- 28-16 over Penn State
- 48-41 over Indiana
- 49-16 over Rutgers
- 29-26 over Minnesota
You guys have left a "Build a Wall" shirt, the "Win with Character, Win with Cruelty" shirt, the Penn State excuses shirt, a book about Michigan's helmets, and a replica of the Brown Jug on the table. We're getting 400+ guesses. Just start guessing crazy things, I dunno. I want to give you free stuff!
How this works again:
- Readers predict the final score of a designated game by placing a guess in the comments, preferably in the format of [M score][hyphen][Opp score], for example "41-0" or "35-0 Michigan", or "28-0 Go Blue", or "42-0 Harbaugh!" etc.
- The three guys who read this part holler at people who post in a different format
- First person (by timestamp) to post a particular score has it.
- If you got it right, I contact you for an address by your MGoBlog account email, and you give me some time to get that to you.
- If nobody got it right or I don't hear from the winner(s) we push it to next week or let it go.
About Last Time:
What's so weird about 28-16? Two of you guessed 28-17.
This Week's Game:
And on the Line:
A full-size, limited edition print by famous portrait artist (and Bacon book interviewee) Ben McCready. Bennie is named for THAT Bennie, who was his godfather. McCready is part of the lifeblood of this Michigan of ours. He was the guy they asked when they started the Legends jerseys, and the guy behind getting them retired again. He's putting one of his prints on the line for whoever guesses the score correctly.
BONUS: If Penn State beats Michigan State and Michigan beats Ohio State I'll pick some score-guessers from those past articles and give them the prizes for being close enough, because sometimes if you're close a little bit of help can get you where you want to be.
Fine print: One entry per user. First user to choose a set of scores wins, determined by the timestamp of your entry (for my ease I prefer if you don't post it as a reply to another person's score--if you do it won't help or hurt you). Deadline for entries is 24 hours before the start of the game. MGoEmployees and Moderators exempt from winning. The algorithm finds the winners as it chooses. The algorithm is self-correcting. The algorithm is back! This is not the algorithm. But it will be again soon.
Elliott Takes The Cake
Great birthday wishes from a great coaching staff pic.twitter.com/yQxJ4lmoc9
— Its Lit (@XCV____) November 24, 2015
Alright, so, um, perhaps that cake doesn't look exactly like Texas. That apparently didn't matter to top-100 TX DT Jordan Elliott, who moved up his official visit to this weekend, joining a packed list of expected weekend visitors. The Wolverine's Brandon Brown is reporting "multiple sources" have informed him that Michigan is in great position to land Elliott, whether it's during or after his official visit ($).
Elliott is near the top of the list of potential weekend commitments for Michigan. 247's Steve Wiltfong put in Michigan Crystal Ball picks($) for Elliott and three-star FL WR Keyshawn "Pie" Young; he already had ones in for top-ranked MD OG Terrance Davis and four-star Detroit King CB LaVert Hill—the Hill pick is one he's especially confident about. Wiltfong also confirmed that four-star King WR Donnie Corley will be in Ann Arbor tomorrow.
There have also been two five-star additions to the 2017 visitor list: Davis' high school teammate, RB Anthony McFarland, and IMG Academy standout DE Joshua Kaindoh. While Michigan hasn't been mentioned among the favorites for either, that could change after this weekend.
While the focus of the coaching staff is still primarily on wrapping up the 2016 class, we could see their 2017 efforts pick up steam, especially since many big-time junior prospects seem excited about Michigan. To wit:
4 Star Top 100 DT prospect excited for Michigan visit this weekend. https://t.co/6VIrgPWpSx
— Cesar Ruiz (@_OverCees) November 25, 2015
4 OC, can tell that 4 DT Fred Hansard is excited for Michigan visit ! https://t.co/FViW60MpFl
— Fred Hansard (@Fred_Hansard56) November 25, 2015
Yup, safe to say they're excited.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Well, that was always the risk.
When I said the Ohio State tickets were going to stay $250, that was based on my assumption that Ohio State had a gameplan that was in any way related to what Michigan State has looked like this year. While Michael Geiger ran around Columbus like a choo choo, Buckeyes did the same on the secondary market. They’d been buying these up all year, not to mention they got a big allotment to sell. While just about any fanbase would still be happy to follow that team anywhere, Ohio State’s had it too good lately. The suddenly very real possibility that losses happen in football changed the math. The market took a nosedive.
Ralph Garcia from TiqIQ:
Current average price is $255.20—the lowest average price all year. The majority of this drop in price occurred from the 21st to the 25th (AVG price on the 21st was $393.10). Overall, average asking price is down 39% over the past 7 days. Current get-in is $154 for a single seat & $155/each for a pair. The lowest point was 9/8 at $117.
I’ve asked him to stop using average price but that’s a fair approximation of a good seat. Face value for a section 1 (50 yard line) ticket is $125, and remember there was a pretty high licensing fee that the season ticket holders paid. So if you’re trying to get in just anywhere, $150 isn’t a bad deal, nor a bad idea. So far Craigslisters are optimistic—one guy in Detroit has two for $200 each in an upper corner (section 8), the same another guy is asking for Row 19 on the 20 yard line. If you bring that much to the game I have a feeling you’ll be able to find something.
Hit the jump for tips and stuff.
- able to sit for more than 15 seconds at a time,
- not inclined to run through the nearest wall,
- in possession of a metal girder that needs biting through, or
I have the solution for you. Hype videos.
Please do not watch these in the vicinity of anything fragile you would like to keep in one piece, like windows, Hummel figurines, or grandmothers.
[ED (Seth): By now you guys know Joe Pichey. You know about his recipes, and his blog, and why Stubb's sponsors them here, and why your doctor wants all this to stop. But I'm here to remind you anyway. Joe's blog is MMMGoBlueBBQ. Stubbs gives us some money to put his recipes here too because their CEO is a reader, and a nice guy, and he wants you to give his sauces a try next time you're in the supermarket.]
It's my favorite week of the year for several reasons. Turkey Day is my favorite day of the year (for obvious eating reasons) and THE GAME is here. We've waited all year for this one, so let's cook something truly special. It's not everyday we get to smoke a brisket, so let's enjoy this day to the fullest. The brisket is one of my favorites to cook, but also one of the trickiest. You can get overwhelmed watching videos on youtube or researching on google, so just search "Aaron Franklin Brisket" if you want. He has some fantastic videos if you want to do some more research or just want to watch some food porn. The biggest game deserves the biggest cut of beef, so grab your smoker, knife and beverages and let's get started.
- 10 - 15 lb Brisket (Packer)
- BBQ Rub
- Butcher paper (Non Waxed) or Foil
[After the jump, set your grill or smoker for indirect heat and prepare to melt]
Michigan (3-2) vs
Paradise Island, Bahamas
|WHEN||7 pm ET, Friday|
|LINE||Michigan -1 (KenPom)|
PBP: Kenny Rice
Analyst: Seth Davis
Right: Last time was fun.
HOW TO WATCH
One last time, here's how to find AXS TV, a channel you'll probably never watch again. For those in the area, here's a handy guide for A2/Detroit/GR provided by U-M Media Relations:
- AT&T U-verse Ch. 1106
- Charter Ch. 820 (also Ch. 770 in Detroit)
- Comcast Ch. 382
- DirecTV Ch. 340
- DISH Ch. 167
- Wyandotte Cable TV Ch. 179
For the rest of you, AXS TV has a channel finder on their site.
Fifth place in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Try to contain your excitement.
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||Isaiah Taylor||Jr.||6'3, 185||72||28||Yes|
|Same high-volume, low-efficiency slasher he was in '14. Solid passer now.|
|G||3||Javan Felix||Sr.||5'11, 205||43||16||No|
|Career 35% 3P shooter is Texas' top outside shooting threat.|
|G||2||Demarcus Holland||Sr.||6'3, 190||64||12||Kinda?|
|Tiny usage. 0/7 on threes this year; was at 42% last year and 29% the year prior.|
|F||21||Connor Lammert||Sr.||6'10, 235||60||11||Kinda?|
|Tiny usage. Solid rebounder. Career 30% 3P shooter is 6/12 this season.|
|C||55||Cameron Ridley||Sr.||6'10. 290||57||27||Very|
|Post-up/rebounding/shot-blocking force limited by fouls, FT shooting, turnovers.|
|G||10||Eric Davis Jr.||Fr.||6'2, 185||55||22||Not really|
|Freshman provides scoring spark off bench; can hit three or get to the hoop.|
|G||12||Kerwin Roach Jr.||Fr.||6'4, 170||43||24||Yes|
|Posting woeful 66.7 ORtg due to 6/21 shooting, 11 turnovers.|
|F||0||Tevin Mack||Fr.||6'6, 210||38||26||Yes|
|0/14 2P, 2/14 3P, edges out Roach in ORtg b/c he turns it over less.|
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
Jeff Holzhausen first walked through Forest Hill cemetery over twenty years ago. He wanted to honor two Michigan legends during The Week before The Game, and he decided the best way to do so was to visit their graves. Holzhausen led his first tour group on that same walk a few years later, and he’s been doing so ever since. I went on the grave walk last year, and afterwards I wrote a piece that was (thankfully) never published. The thesis was basically that Michigan fans had too tight a grip on the past and how that grip would need to slacken if the football program was ever going to become healthy again. It took one year, one speech, and one chance encounter with Jim Harbaugh to show me that I entirely missed the point of the grave walk.
“We want the Big Ten championship and we're gonna win it as a team. They can throw out all those great backs, and great quarterbacks, and great defensive players, throughout the country and in this conference, but there's gonna be one team that's gonna play solely as a team.”
The University of Michigan is brutal. You will come in idealistic and looking down innumerable paths as realistic options and at some point you will be a confused shell of that self, drained and defenseless and lost, wondering not only what your next move is in the bigger sense but what you’re going to do just to get to the next break. Michigan is more than those who have downed a pot of coffee because how else are you supposed to prep for that orgo exam and an econ exam and finish this stupid worksheet for Spanish? That’s a college experience, but it’s not unique; you can find that at almost any campus across the country. At Michigan, there comes a point where you will look around and feel like everyone is better than you; Michigan’s seeping into your soul in that moment as much as it ever will.
“No man is more important than the team. No coach is more important than the team. The team, the team, the team, and if we think that way, all of us, everything that you do, you take into consideration what effect does it have on my team?”
No one associated with Michigan takes the “Leaders and Best” line lightly. The power in that comes from a bunch of high strung, neurotic, obsessively achieving individuals working toward common goals. The goals aren’t the same; the endgame for a research team investigating the genetic causes of a certain mental health issue is different than it is for the football team, but the overarching theme is the same: use your collective talents to achieve something great.
“Because you can go into professional football, you can go anywhere you want to play after you leave here. You will never play for a team again.”
Michigan has a fortunate history of having the right person show up at the right time, a new captain to right the course of a ship just slightly off course. At the same time, Michigan has had leaders in place that have had an ability to spot a fine-drawn mistake in course; Yost was hired after the dissatisfaction born of four losses and a tie in the twenty games played in 1899 and 1900.
The expectations for on-field performance have been high for over a century; expectations for traditional football powers will always have death-and-taxes status. Somewhere along the way, though, a new component of those expectations was wrought. It’s not enough to win at Michigan. It has to be done with integrity, honesty, and through a ceaseless pursuit of perfection.
[After THE JUMP: Schembechler, Yost, Ufer, and an unexpected guest]
|WHAT||Ohio State at Michigan|
Ann Arbor, MI
|WHEN||Noon PM Eastern
November 28st, 2015
|THE LINE||Ohio State -1|
|WEATHER||mostly cloudy, around 40, 0% chance of rain|
They came for our families. They came for our principles. They saw our hapless generals and ordered a scorched-earth campaign. I ate tires for six months, and then I pined for the good old days when I had tires to eat. Then I pined for the good old days when I could remember the thing that was supposed to be bad that I ate.
I'm tired of it, and you're tired of it, and Jim Harbaugh just crested the ridge with the Rohirrim. Let's get it.
Run Offense vs Ohio State
Joey Bosa has made an effort to look like every Ohio State fan averaged together
It was bizarre to watch the much-maligned Michigan State offensive line get a grip on their opposition last week and drive the Buckeyes backwards. By the second half of that game OSU was getting blown off the ball on the regular.
In some ways that is reminiscent of Michigan's performance against Indiana—with the OSU offense unable to stay on the field and MSU sustaining 10+ play drives, the talented but thin Buckeye line ran out of gas. Can Michigan replicate that performance?I don't know. This is an improvement from my previous impressions.
OSU's rush defense has been bipolar this season. Minnesota and Illinois collected a total of 55 yards between them, but Big Ten games other than those two haven't gone nearly as well:
- Indiana (mostly) minus Jordan Howard: 55 carries, 176 yards, 3.2 YPC
- Maryland: 42 carries, 253 yards, 6 YPC
- PSU: 40 carries, 195 yards, 4.9 YPC
- Rutgers: 29 carries, 104 yards, 3.6 YPC
- MSU: 51 carries, 203 yards, 4 YPC
Michigan's mediocre rush offense (51st in S&P) doesn't project to blow up, especially since the main back, De'Veon Smith, is the opposite of a burner. Michigan also does not run the quarterback on purpose much, and both Indiana and Maryland's production was heavily dependent on QBs running a long way. MSU also featured a heavy dose of QB run. That's not an option for M.
OSU runs out one of those MSU-ish 4-3 over, quarters defenses with a LB/S hybrid over the slot. With Penn State running more or less the same defense, all three of Michigan's main division competitors are in the same boat. Michigan has not been able to run against this style of defense all year, but there were differences between PSU and MSU, specifically at safety. PSU is much more conservative with their safeties and gives their LBs pass responsibilities; MSU is in your face and lets their LBs go. OSU is much closer to Penn State.
You can do that when you have talent coming out your ears. Joey Bosa, of course, leads the way:
Nor is Bosa just a pass rusher — he’s equally destructive in run defense, and that’s reflected in his +58.2 overall grade, which leads all edge rushers. … Bosa’s season has been so impressive that we felt he should be seen as a Heisman contender, even though we know that the Heisman is rarely awarded to a defensive player.
Adolphus Washington is a high quality DT in the vein of Maurice Hurst—not huge but in your backfield a lot. The other two DL are fine but don't jump off the page; the linebacker corps is very good. Seth has more details in FFFF.
Expect Michigan to try out those wide receiver screens when OSU aligns so they might work; OSU may be able to shut those down anyway if Darron Lee and Vonn Bell are on point. On the interior they may be able to crease the weaker half of the OSU line and maybe Washington if he gets tired, but consistent production is difficult to see.
When it comes to the actual ground game, I don't know. I can see the left side of Michigan's line winning enough battles to put a tailback in a productive position, but barely, and Michigan's tailbacks have not done well with "barely" this year. Ohio State will try to win with their 7 up front before trying anything special, which should give Michigan some opportunities if they can just match OSU's ability.
The X factor is Jabrill Peppers, who's started lining up as a tailback the last couple weeks. Peppers has shown flashes of the kind of ability he demonstrated in high school…
…and may be able to break a couple things that swing this matchup to a draw. Tough sledding awaits either way.
KEY MATCHUP: JABRILL PEPPERS versus THE SPOOOOKY GHOST OF TOM HARMON.
[Hit THE JUMP for Butt vs Bell, rushing offense, 404 passing O not found, and WHAT ARE THOOOOSE kickers]
Behold the only preview of The Game you'll need until Brian posts his actual preview in an hour or so.
If you aren't familiar with Next Media Animation, yes, it's supposed to be that ridiculous.
We are forever indebted for this:
Either way ... GO BLUE!!