will be michigan's highest pick in a while
John Walters' latest Campus Blitz discusses timeouts in basketball a bit and allows me to open fire on one of my favorite sports rules to despise: the live-action timeout. No sport except basketball allows this monstrosity to occur. Quarterbacks cannot politely request a stop in play immediately after they hurl a wounded duck skyward. Defensemen cannot demand the referee put a stop to things if they are pressured by a heavy forecheck and have no place to put the puck. Baseball has no live action. Only in basketball can you get trapped in a corner by good defensive play and simply ask the referee to correct your screwup for you.
I hate all basketball timeouts, actually. And not just because of the infamous Webber Incident, though that certainly didn't help. Timeouts are one of the reasons I can't get as into basketball as, say, hockey or football (primary reason: watching my team lose a basketball game almost always makes me seriously consider buying a shotgun and a permit for Ref season). The end of a tight basketball game is almost always frantic action alternating with boring trips to the free-throw line and commercials for OxyClean. Frantic action, yes. Free-throws and STAIN FIGHTING POWER, no. Coaches use timeouts as a crutch for players who can't think. We're down three with 40 seconds to go. What do you do? Call timeout, ask coach.
Wouldn't basketball be better if teams had a single timeout? Coaches would have to wonder whether they should halt their opponent's run or save the Precious for a critical late-game situation. The decision would be akin to the decision to take a timeout in hockey... it happens every once in a while early in a game, it's infrequent and not terribly important, and no one minds. Occasionally the mid-game timeout dramatically tilts the ice in favor of one team or another. Michigan trailed DU 3-0 in an NCAA tournament game five or so years back when Berenson called his timeout. Michigan scored 5 straight goals in a game that burned itself into my head. Drama!
There's no drama when timeouts are as disposable as Indonesian Nike employees or top-100 defensive ends at USC, so the answer to that question is "I'll take a timeout BOTH times!" That's great if you're a control freak of a coach, but bad if you're anyone else. Timeouts should disappear from basketball.
If you're really patient with maniacs, I can also describe to you why I think hockey should get rid of offsides. Entirely. But maybe another time.
From a Kentucky coach on Rivals. Hopefully UM can raid KY again this year. There are some high profile guys there again.
Update: No kidding, dude. Perusing the UK board reveals downright panic about UM returning to loot and plunder the rolling hills of Kentucky, pursuing four of the top five prospects in the state: Johnson, Corey Peters (who played right next to McKinney on the DL of Louisville Central), Justin Burke (The QB of Brandon Logan's LexCath team), and scatback/DB Javeare Turner.
Michigan is co-leader with UL for Peters, apparently. A UK poster had a conversation with Crabtree and gave an early line for the stars on these guys: probably 5 for Johnson, 4 for Peters and Burke, and 3 for Turner.
Says the Free Press. BE's discussing his prospects for the upcoming draft and saying Miami seems to be a good fit, which I have to strongly disagree with. Who will throw you the ball, Braylon?
Update: Typo fix. Also I said "News" instead of "Free Press." It's a blog, it's supposed to be shoddy. That's its charm.
That's "more of the same" for the acronymally challenged.
I could rehash my stance (Amaker obviously can't be judged on this year but things I see disturb me greatly) but you've heard that before, too. One new thing I can add is that I had my concerns nicely summarized by a single sequence against MSU: Michigan's gone on a nice little run to get it down to ten with a few minutes left in the game and plays an excellent defensive sequence that results in Neitzel jacking up an off-balance prayer of a three with time expiring on the shot clock. He bricks it, but no one boxes out Alan Anderson, he gets the offensive rebound, and MSU runs another 30 seconds off the clock before AA cans a short jumper.
What is Amaker doing during practice? I hope it's more than "let's play really good this weekend, guys!" followed by Abram raising his hand and saying "let's play well, Coach," followed by Amaker saying "Yeah! That's the ticket!"
I dunno, I like my student-athletes to be scared #$%*less by their coach. I mean, not Bobby Knight scared, but Red Berenson scared. I could see Amaker in a Care Bears episode as Friendly Mr. Coachy.
"Fundamentals make my tummy ouch."
Johnson steady at #2. Cogliano at #22. Not sure on the other UM players, as I am not a subscriber.
I'll bet the CSB a dollar that Cogs goes a lot closer to #22 than whatever ridiculous 6th round prediction they put up in their midterm rankings.
Update: Hensick checks in at #45, again a much, much more realistic projection than the CSB's ridiculousness.
Minnesota is 5-8-1 since January started, including stellar outings like being swept by Michigan Tech and, most recently, a 1-point weekend against UAA. Despite all this suckitude, the PWR rankings still peg them as a #1 seed. I stated earlier that it woud take an "epic collapse" for Minnesota to drop from a one seed... but apparently even an epic collapse isn't good enough. How about a galactic collapse? Sure. We'll go with that.
Poking around some of the individual comparisons leads me to believe that Michigan has a slim chance of passing Minnesota. Basically, they have to pass Minnesota in the RPI to do so and keep their precarious TUC lead or have Minnesota drop a game against Tech again to give them the common opponents category.
Michigan could also pass Boston College if the Eagles stumble going into the final weeks of the season. BC has a slim RPI lead and TUC lead on Michigan but is losing the Common Opponents comparison. Michigan has two upcoming games against COp Notre Dame. BC has two against COp UNH. Unless Michigan stumbles against a wretched ND squad, they should hold onto that point. If BC loses a few down the stretch Michigan may win the TUC comparison or the RPI comparison, which would give them the point.
That might not be super helpful, however, as unless those hypothetical BC losses had them drop another comparison along the way, UM, Minnesota, and BC would be in a three way tie for two #1 seeds, and RPI would be the tiebreaker.
Bottom line: Michigan must pass Minnesota or BC in the RPI to get a #1 seed. With games against a terrible ND squad and an OK BG squad coming up, Michigan needs significant help from one of those squads. Remember that the agreed-upon guess at the committee's RPI bonuses for "good" wins, .003-.002-.001, leaves the RPI situation looking a good bit bleaker. Instead of BC and Minnesota having razor-thin RPI margins they have about a .003 margin, which is bridgeable but much tougher.
Second question: would a #1 seeded Michigan get more or less screwed? Answer: probably more, at least in the "we deserve better" sense. Minnesota would most likely be the #5 seed, and they're hosting this year, so they have to stay home, which means that most likely Michigan would play in the Twin Cities. That is, in fact, the most likely situation at the moment anyway. So the distinction is probably meaningless, but we could get more indignant about it if we were a #1 seed.
In other CCHA team news, OSU's recent run of form seems to have solidified themselves as a tourney team. NMU is just barely in of the tournament at the moment, sitting at 14th in the pairwise after the 3-2-1 bonus. They'd be in as of today if no one currently on the outside looking in (other than that AHCA and CHA teams) won their conference tourney. Northern has two against Tech, two against Ferris, and two against Lake State to finish up the year... good if they win, deadly if they lose. Four of those games are roadies. They probably won't make it, but they've got some kind of shot at least.