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|14 hours 34 min ago||-38 in two days||
Not bad... an offensive nickname, and -38 points in a mere two days of membership.
Welcome to the blog. Don't let the door hit your rear end on the way back out. :-)
|18 hours 35 min ago||Take the officials out of the game||
I felt the officiating was terrible. At the end of the day, Michigan did not play well enough to take the officials out of the game. You can't expect to beat a top 25 basketball team when you go ten minutes of game time without scoring. The fact that Michigan almost did anyway is a testament to the heart and resilience of the team. I felt like Michigan took th brunt of several bad calls, but they also looked lost on offense for a full quarter of the game.
I mean, let's face it -- the offensive numbers for the game are just plain ugly. 0.89 points per possession, 6/21 on 3-point shooting, 3/5 from the line (after going 23/29 vs. Oregon), and a 17.7% turnover rate -- none of that is good enough to get the job done.
However, the defense is turning into an unexpected, and very welcome, strength. Villanova has a KenPom adjusted offensive rating of 109.4, and Michigan held them to 0.98 points per possession, and even that's skewed somewhat by the four late free throws -- it was 0.93 points per possession for the first 60 possessions, when Michigan was playing defense, and then 2 points per possession for the last two, when they were just fouling to extend the game. That is an excellent performance and one that will win most nights.
This team actually seemed to grow on the court from the first half to the second. They're getting to know each other and learning their roles. The freshmen are making freshman mistakes, but that's to be expected -- and, because John Beilein is the coach, they won't be making those same mistakes come January. The team's youth is going to lead to inconsistency, but it also means that they may grow more between now and the tournament than anybody else save maybe Kentucky.
Michigan had three chances on the schedule to pick up a marquee non-conference win. This was one, and they let it slip by. @Arizona is going to be very tough, and I doubt any of us expects a win there. Tuesday vs. Syracuse is going to be critical to the team's résumé come Selection Sunday. Michigan beat Syracuse in the Final Four with McGary's assists from the high post. I'm not sure that offense is likely to work Tuesday, since I don't see any of Michigan's frontcourt dishing out passes like Mitch; I'm curious to see what Coach Beilein has up his sleeve.
|1 day 5 hours ago||The block||
The block was clean but he went right through Irvin's body afterwards. It was probably a foul but not one that you'd ever expect to see called (Burke vs. Louisville notwithstanding). The ones that infuriated me were on the last Villanova shot -- it's either a block on Caris or a charge, but there's no way it's a no-call -- and on Walton's drive. Every time they showed the replay to prove it went off of Villanova, all I could see was the Nova player starting at Walton's shoulders and raking down his arms to pull the ball out.
As nearly as I could tell, that was the theme of the game -- it seemed that the referees ignored almost everything on the hands, but were calling ticky-tack body contact. It seemed like Doyle, in particular, got foul calls for the penalty of being in existence. The net result of this was Villanova picking Michigan's pocket and Michigan players holding up their arms to show where they got slapped.
I mean -- Michigan commits fewer fouls than just about anybody, rarely turns the ball over, and can't rebound worth a lick. Somehow, Villanova generates a ton of turnovers, Michigan's in the double bonus at the end of the game, and Michigan -- not Villanova -- picked up several loose ball over-the-back fouls on rebound attempts. (?)
Ultimately, though, Michigan isn't going to win many games with well under 1 point per possession -- but I don't think they'll lose many games where they hold the opponent under 1 point per possession either. You could see the improvement of the team during the big second-half run, and if a couple of shots that frequently go down hadn't rattled out, it wouldn't have been close enough at the end for officiating to matter.
It's nice to be this angry about the outcome of a Michigan sporting event again -- and it's doubly nice that none of the anger is directed at the Michigan coaching staff.
(I do think that Donnal should have passed quickly after receiving the ball, right before his 1 and 1, but I think he was terrified of a turnover -- not unreasonable at all for a freshman playing his fourth collegiate game. I think he'll do better the next time he's in that situation).
|1 week 2 days ago||Simplistic||
Yes, it's a simplistic approach; that's the point. Sports are supposed to be clear-cut; there are rules, and there's a winner and a loser, and both compete honorably with good sportsmanship. Sports are an ideal, and the sportsman is expected to be the realization of that ideal. Nobody's perfect, of course, so there have to be allowances made -- if a player gets a jaywalking ticket, I'm not trashing his bobblehead. :-) However, I simply do not have room in my life for athletes who fail to uphold even the barest minimum of societal standards.
The Erie County Prosecuting Attorney's office will decide whether or not there is evidence to prosecute Frank Clark; if they move forward, he will either plead guilty / no contest or be tried by a jury of his peers, and, if he is found guilty, he will be sentenced for punishment by an Erie County judge. None of that -- even a not-guilty verdict -- will change my opinion, which is that Mr. Clark is not currently fit to be a member of the Michigan family.
However, even my "good riddance" does not mean that I would never have a change of heart. If he does rehabilitate himself to the point where he is ready to be a productive member of society, then so be it. But he needs to be punished, and the first bit of punishment -- dismissal from the football team -- was long overdue. I have no specific animus towards him; rather, I dislike all violent criminals and want none of them to represent me* in anything.
There is a path from "violent criminal" to "reformed, former violent criminal," and if Frank Clark should take that path, then that's certainly a good thing -- as it would be for any other violent criminal. The suggestion that Clark was already on that path appears to be belied by the evidence.
* Here I speak as a member of the Michigan community, not an alumnus; I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go far from home to get my college degree at a D-III school where it never snows.
|1 week 2 days ago||Good riddance||
No, I said good riddance to him after the laptop incident, and I was upset that he was allowed to stay, and I will say good riddance to him now. But I wasn't cheering for him last week; I was cheering for the team. Against my wishes, he was a member of that team, but I have to make that distinction lest I drive myself mad.
I find the original post, and the numerous concurring comments, nearly mind-blowing. Civilization is the (learned) ability to suppress our basest instincts in order to create a better community for all. Violence has no place in civilization except in advance of the greater good. Clark's alleged behavior is uncivilized, and I don't care what reasons he may have for them, or what problems he had in his past that led to them. My sympathy ends when he stops abiding by society's rules. If he wanted to be an inspiration, all he had to do was refrain from committing violent felonies. That simply isn't too much to ask.
I mean, you're talking about somebody with a felonious past who decided to use his weekend off to take a trip with his girlfriend's family, get smashed, and then get violent towards her? And yet you're going to call me names if I want nothing further to do with him? How many colossally bad decisions does it take before it becomes acceptable for me to be outraged, exactly?
Look, football is an exercise in balance. We, as fans, praise aggression, but only on the field and never after the whistle. We celebrate violence, provided that it occurs within the rules. I'm not surprised when some players aren't able to constrain this behavior to appropriate times, but I am disgusted.
Furthermore, I believe that representing the University of Michigan, and the greater Michigan community, is an honor that should be reserved for the best men the school can provide. I'm less concerned with winning than I am with honor. Domestic violence is dishonorable; so is home invasion robbery. Either event should have disqualified Clark from wearing the winged helmet. Somehow, I managed to make it through college without getting arrested; it's not too much to ask that the players do the same.
So, I'm sorry, bronxblue -- and Brian -- but I stand by my original sentiment. Good riddance to Mr. Clark; he had no place on the team before, and I'm glad he's not on it now, and I hope that he is put somewhere where he can't hurt anyone for long enough that maybe he won't hurt anyone again after he gets out.
|1 week 2 days ago||Good riddance||
Clark should have been kicked off of the team after the laptop incident. I'm tired of people making excuses for athletes, and I don't care if the arrest and conviction rate for athletes is lower than that for the general population. The general population is not the appropriate peer group, unless you think people are going to pay hundreds of dollars to sit at a construction site and watch the roofers, or to sit at the mall food court and watch cheer on the fry cooks. Athletes should be held to a higher standard than the general population, and while I appreciate Coach Hoke not wanting to turn his back on a member of the football family, I don't think these kids are owed a second chance.
Having said that, kudos to Hoke for not giving him a third chance, and good riddance to Mr. Clark. I hope he learns some very hard lessons from this, and I hope he's put in a place where he will no longer be able to do harm to those around him.
|3 weeks 2 days ago||Michigan Football||
While in the process of being tackled, inches above the turf, #98 flips a touchdown pass to #92. That must be the most Michigan of all touchdowns. :-)
|3 weeks 4 days ago||Previous Play||
It's in the video -- an intentional lateral out of bounds to stop the clock and set up the final play. I'm pretty sure the clock no longer stops if you intentionally throw the ball out of bounds.
|6 weeks 3 days ago||No||
Sorry, but no. A thousand times no. Maybe a million times no.
Losing to Rutgers was awful, but the season was already a tire fire. My expectations for Michigan football do not include 10-man punt return teams, horrible clock management, 31-0 losses to Notre Dame, and putting probably-concussed quarterbacks back into play. I absolutely refuse to lower my expectations to the point where being barely over .500 would change any of my perceptions.
|6 weeks 4 days ago||Offsides||
From the NCAA rulebook: http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/FR14.pdf
Rule 2 (Definitions):
ARTICLE 5. A restraining line is part of a vertical plane that limits a team’s alignment for free kicks. The plane extends beyond the sidelines [emphasis added]
Then, again, page FR-35:
ARTICLE 2. After the ball is ready for play [...]
Offside occurs when one or more players of the kicking team are not behind their restraining line when the ball is legally free-kicked (Exception: The kicker and holder are not offside when they are beyond their restraining line) (Rule 6-1-2).
The call is indisputably correct; the player's head was offsides, as shown in the screen capture above. It's not clear that the announcing team understood the rule, which certainly didn't help things.
|6 weeks 4 days ago||That was cheap||
PSU knew that guy was out of bounds, so they went to the hurry-up. That's cheap, and I hope karma catches up to them.
|6 weeks 4 days ago||Hurry Up||
If Michigan had gotten the first down, it would have been nice to have the timeout available to them. They may not have needed it, but if they were going to take a timeout in that situation, it should have been right away, not with no time on the play clock. They literally wasted as much time as the rules allowed them to waste. If you're just trying to bleed the time off of the clock, when you're trailing in the game and have a receiver like Funchess that should be a matchup problem for a defense all by himself, you're playing to lose.
Honestly, given Michigan's snail-like pace, even if they'd gotten the first down, at some point during the drive they would have run short of time, or, at a minimum, they would have gone into a panicked hurry-up instead of a controlled one.
|6 weeks 4 days ago||Clock management||
How can we continue to be so bad at fundamental clock management? First they can't get a play off in time during what should have been a two-minute drill, so they waste a timeout with no time on the play clock. Then, they give PSU a free shot at the end zone? If you're calling timeout to "make them kick," you have to do it right away, not with three seconds left.
This isn't rocket science, or some advanced football theory that we shouldn't expect a Division I college football coach to comprehend. This is stuff that 6-year olds get right on Madden. This is an absolute embarrassment, and I feel terrible for the players who have to play against not only the opposing team but also their own coaching staff.
|7 weeks 2 days ago||I'd like to understand||
I'd like to understand Hoke's rationale for this ridiculous antagonism. He appears to be doubling down on the tactic of being as rude as possible. Admittedly, the people asking the questions should probably have learned not to bother by now, but part of the head coach's job is putting up with press conferences, wherein each question gets asked five times in order for each reporter to get a slightly different quote.
Right now, Brady Hoke needs to understand that he is the face of the program, and he needs to act appropriately. He can protect the privacy of his players without embarrassing the program with his childish behavior. He needs to understand how much respect he's lost between the Gibbons and Morris incidents; the last thing he needs to do is to irritate people further.
It's not much harder to be polite than it is to be rude. It's embarrassing that Michigan is being represented by a coach who won't try.
|9 weeks 4 days ago||"A Michigan Man Will Coach Michigan"||
This "Michigan Man" thing drives me nuts because it's somehow become the very opposite of what it meant originally. Heck, Bo went to Miami of Ohio and started his coaching career for Woody Hayes at Ohio State, and he's pretty much the epitome of the Michigan man in the modern era. As nearly as I can tell, the origin of the "Michigan man" thing goes back to his quote about promoting Steve Fisher -- "I don't want someone from Arizona State coaching the Michigan team. A Michigan Man is going to coach Michigan."
Now, Steve Fisher did not attend Michigan -- he went to Illinois State, although he'd been an assistant on Freider's staff for years. However, at the time, he was a "Michigan Man," not because of his background, but because Bo was not about to let Bill Frieder -- a guy who had tendered his resgination and accepted a new position at ASU -- coach Michigan during the NCAA tournament. He wanted a guy who was committed to Michigan.
I never thought Rich Rodriguez would be a Michigan man, not because he was from West Virginia -- so was Fielding Yost! -- but because, in his previous positions, I always felt like he had one foot out the door, looking for his next job. By his third year, when it was clear that he wasn't going to be able to use the Michigan job to springboard into the NFL, I think he was bought in, but by then it was too late.
Hoke was a Michigan man from day one, but he does not appear to be an effective football coach. I believe he should be allowed to coach out his contract, because I don't believe that Michigan should fire a coach for results on the field. I wouldn't give him an extension unless he shows a willingness to adapt to the changing times -- for example, by acknowledging that tempo management is important and that he needs to improve at it. But, if he is let go, I hope that Dave Brandon -- or, better yet, his successor -- will understand a "Michigan man" to be someone who will be 100% committed to Michigan, and not necessarily someone with prior experience at Michigan. The latter formulation excludes any number of qualified candidates for no good reason whatsoever.
PS: John Beilein? No prior Michigan ties, but 100% a Michigan man.
|11 weeks 6 days ago||This.||
Seconded. Thirded. Fifthed. Whatever it takes... BiSB, how could you do that to us? With no warning or anything? I mean, what did we ever do to you?
Here are some free suggestions for next week:
1 - A picture of Boone, NC
2 - A picture of Daniel Boone
3 - A picture of a mountain
4 - A picture of the WVU Mountaineers' irritating hillbilly-with-a-musket mascot guy.
5 - They Who Shall Not Be Named
I mean, really, just about anything else. Please. We're begging here. ;)
|12 weeks 5 days ago||14?||
Don't you mean 15? 12-week regular season, Big Ten Championship, two rounds of playoffs...
Unselfishly, of course. ;-)
|12 weeks 5 days ago||This game...||
Can we retroactively assign our first score from this game to the last one? That's the way it works, right?
I expect this Michigan team to come out much more focused than that one did... and, actually, that Mountaineer team was a pretty good example of the power of a spread offense to make defenders make bad choices. I expect better results this time.
Having said that, like many fans outside of the midwest, I never watched the first game on account of not being able to get BTN at the time. I'm not exactly looking forward to the actual process of watching the game this year, because I assume that the production crew will cut to historical highlights about 50 times. I do not want to see those; nobody watching the game, except for App St. fans, will want to see them. And yet, we all know that they will be played over and over again, ad nauseum.
I would just listen to the game via streaming audio, but that's what I did last time, so...
Too many choices, and all of them bad. :-(
|32 weeks 5 days ago||Title IX||
Title IX is a convenient scapegoat, but for most schools, this couldn't be further from the truth. Suppose Michigan wanted to have 125 students on football scholarship, instead of 85. They could either remove 40 scholarships from other mens' sports or add 40 women's scholarships to compensate.
Even if you believe that the athletic department is giving the school $60K per player per year to cover the cost of the scholarship, all this does is double that cost to $120K -- $60K for the player that you actually want to come to your school, and $60K for the additional women's bowling scholarship that was created to balance the books.
In fact, setting scholarship limits is just another way to set a salary cap, and it has all of the same implications that it does in pro sports (supports competitive balance, ensures a minimum salary for every player on the roster, and caps the total outlays by the owner, to name a few). Of course, the NCAA will never call it a salary cap, but if a scholarship costs $60K and there are 85 in football, then the football salary cap is $5.1MM, end of story.
Anyway, don't be fooled. Setting scholarship limits is strictly in the purview of the NCAA -- in fact, you could argue that it's their primary responsibility. You can find the specific limits here:
|32 weeks 6 days ago||"nothing"||
Many of these students are poor enough that they would qualify for substantial financial aid, if they could be admitted to the university in the first place. I think it's fair to say that many of them are playing for "nothing."
It's nearly impossible to compute the true value of a scholarship. College is (intentionally) priced so that it will be just slightly out of reach for all but the very rich.* The value proposition sold to parents is that they should sacrifice elsewhere in order to provide this education -- or, better yet, that they should complain to the government and attempt to get additional tax incentives for education.
Jordan Morgan got a good value from his Michigan scholarship, with two degrees in engineering. Many players don't do so well for themselves.
* Here I define the "price" of college as the total out-of-pocket expense, which scales greatly with income.
|32 weeks 6 days ago||Because it's against the rules||
The only reason I need to want Michigan not to do this is "it's against the rules." I am fully in favor of changing the rules. I'd like to start with the ridiculous scholarship cap: "So, what you're saying is, if Michigan wants to sponsor scholarships for 400 young men, many of whom can't afford tuition otherwise, the NCAA will stand in the way of educating these children?" Then I'd like to allow the players to be compensated at whatever level the school thinks is appropriate, like they would for any other on-campus job.
However, until we get rules in place that allow these things, Michigan absolutely should not do them. I would rather see Michigan lose with honor than win with dishonor, any day. And there is no honor in breaking the rules to win, even if the rules don't make sense. Work within the system to change the rules, or exit the NCAA and create your own rules, but don't break them because they're not convenient.
|33 weeks 1 day ago||Other Schools||
Yeah, I see Alabama plates (gah!) all the time. I've even seen a Sparty plate (blecch). The website includes plates for most major Texas universities and a few other schools, mainly from the southeast. Big Ten representation includes Sparty, Indiana, Illinois, Nebraska, and Purdue, so it's a little unclear as to what, exactly, the criteria for inclusion are. :-)
BTW, I clicked through one of the UT plates, and the base prices appear to be $55 for a single year, $195 for a five-year term, and $295 for a ten-year term; they go up from there if you want a custom plate instead of random text. They also mention that you may have to pay extra when you register the vehicle so that the expiration date on the plates and vehicle sticker match up.
I added my name to the list, but I'm not entirely sold... that's a pretty pricey way to show pride.
BTW - the registration form assumes that your state is Texas. I don't know that they're going to be verifying addresses or anything, but I doubt having out-of-state users sign up is going to make much of an impression upon TxDMV, so those of you who aren't in Texas can feel free to save your spam folder. :-)
|33 weeks 1 day ago||*Three Games*||
Michigan won the Big Ten championship by *three games*. Indiana won last year's Big Ten championship by a missed layup and missed putback. It is entirely reasonable to judge the two seasons differently. If Michigan had been upset by Wofford, then, fine, Wisconsin would have had the better season. As it stands, the answer has to be Michigan this year *and* Michigan last year. If Wisconsin had won the national title, yes, that would trump a Big Ten title. As it stands, they'll hang a banner at Trohl, but nobody really remembers the national semifinal losers anyway.
|33 weeks 5 days ago||Down 2 with the ball||
If MIchigan wanted to be down 2 with the ball and a chance for the last shot, they could have pulled it back out after one of the offensive rebounds in that epic stretch just before this. (Admittedly, maybe JB would have wanted to do that, but the players didn't consider it; still, he could have called a time-out. It's not like they're all that limited in basketball).
Having said that, I'd have been in favor of fouling in many circumstances, but not when Kentucky was getting so many offensive rebounds. Even with Michigan being given inside position by rule, I would be very worried about Kentucky scoring a point and then getting the ball back on a missed second free throw.
Still, one shot away from a back-to-back Final Four. It's nice to be upset about this instead of Evan Turner. :-)
|34 weeks 1 day ago||Powerade||
I was at a game in some small gym one time -- I think it was at Yale. They had a giant Powerade cooler on the sideline. On top of the cooler were the bottles of Gatorade that they were pouring into the Powerade cups. The whole thing is a silly exercise in corporate marketing, and just slightly Orwellian.
I applaud any attempts to show the NCAA's hypocrisy. Yes, the journalist knew the rules, but the rule is asinine precisely because of the official stance on amateurism. If the NCAA wants to run amateur athletics competitions, they should follow the same rules themselves and divest themselves of all "corporate partners" (as opposed to incorporate partners, I suppose?), event sponsors, and the like.
Instead, they regulate cream cheese on athletes' bagels and the cups that may be used on press row. They're ridiculous.
|34 weeks 2 days ago||Chance of getting the ball back||
I think the problem here is the assumption that any missed free throw is rebounded by Michigan. Although the non-shooting team has automatic advantages when it comes to rebounding, given the fact that Michigan rebounded fewer than half of Kentucky's misses, I can't see this being any higher than 75%, and I think this makes the traditional approach correct. The worst possible scenario is one made free throw, a miss, and an offensive rebound, and that was a sadly realistic scenario.
Thanks for putting this together though. :-) I applaud the measurement of non-traditional approaches.
|34 weeks 2 days ago||No other games...||
This is the one thing that drives me nuts about attending NCAA tournament games. I went to the first-round games in San Antonio this year, and while we did get a fairly prompt update after Mercer beat Duke, most of the arena was either glued to their smartphone or to somebody else's report from their smartphone. There's so much downtime due to the interminable tournament commericals, it shouldn't be hard to have CBS's feeds pumped in.
(In fact, they did have highlights this year, which I don't remember from the past -- but no live feeds).
|34 weeks 2 days ago||J-Mo did win a title||
J-Mo did win a title. Two, in fact -- the shared Big Ten title from 2012 and the outright title this year (by three games!)
That's two more than anybody on the Fab Five got. I mean, I wanted this team to keep winning as much as anyone, but I don't want to fall victim to the trap of measuring the season by a single-elimination tournament at the end of the year. Fluky things happen, like a poor-shooting team hitting 7/11 3s. Winning the conference takes hard work and determination, day in and day out, and that's Jordan's legacy as much as anything.
|34 weeks 2 days ago||LMU||
I'd like to see that too -- they were a great offensive team -- but obviously a lot of their scoring came from their pace. I'm not saying that they wouldn't have surprassed 1.24 adjusted points per possession, but I'm not sure it would be a slam dunk either way.
I took a quick look at a box score from the 1990 game. It doesn't list turnovers -- there must have been plenty, both ways -- but it looks like there must have been at least 90-100 possessions in that game. And the 149 was an outlier, even for them (at least against major competition).
|34 weeks 3 days ago||Class||
I logged on to post the exact same thought. Izzo said he didn't want to take anything away from his opponent. Beilein -- and the team -- actually didn't take anything away from them. In fact, Coach Beilein even said he thought it was well-officiated, which is nuts but very classy. It's not the fault of Kentucky's players, fans, or coaches that the officials called the game the way they did, and I appreciated the fact that Michigan's coach would express such sportsmanship immediately after what must have been an infuriating loss.
What a team! I'm already looking forward to 2014-2015. Go Blue!