[Patrick Barron]


WHAT #6 Michigan (17-1) vs
#66 Minnesota(14-4)
WHERE Crisler Arena
Ann Arbor, MI
LINE Michigan –14 (Kenpom)


Welp, that was frustrating. Michigan comes off their first loss of the season with the easiest game left on the schedule, per the advanced stats people: a home game against the Gophers. Michigan will seek to expunge the taste of a trip to the Trohl Center from their mouths.

Ignas Brazdeikis, in particular, will want to put up some points after getting a goose egg.


image (17)

Click for big.

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.

Pos. # Name Yr. Ht./Wt. %Min %Poss ORtg SIBMIHHAT
G 0 Dupree McBrayer Sr. 6'5, 195 73 18 105 Sort of
Not Just A Shooter who splits usage about 50/50 between two and three with A and TO rates of 17 each. Hitting 33% from deep, has improved dismal shooting inside the line.
G 34 Gabe Kalscheur Fr. 6'4, 200 69 16 119 No
Composite #198 FR is Just A Shooter hitting 38% from deep.
F 21 Amir Coffey Jr. 6'8, 210 83 24 106 Sort of
Wiry swingman being forced into a lot of tough shots, shooting 49/30, gets to the line a lot.
F 35 Jordan Murphy Sr. 6'6 250 75 27 109 Yes
Bull of a PF grabs all the rebounds but can't really shoot and lack of size makes him meh (59%) at rim. A rate has doubled in final year.
C 22 Daniel Oturu Fr. 6'10, 225 58 22 108 Yes
Composite #50 FR is already an excellent defensive C. 15% OREB rate, 8% block rate, almost all his shots at the rim. Black hole you can and should double.
G 23 Isaiah Washington So. 6'1 195 43 22 90 God Yes
You probably remember this bricklayer going 10/14 last year on off the dribble 18-footers. Giant assist rate, 19 TO rate, shooting 34/19. Hits 27%(!!!) at rim. A miracle.
F 1 Eric Curry Jr. 6'9, 240 48* 16 99 Yes
Returned from knee injury 6 games ago. Generic Backup C profile.
G 2 Brock Stull So. 6'4, 210 22 10 105 No
UWM grad transfer hit 37/38% last year. Just 24 shots so far for Gophers.
C 15 Matz Stockman Sr. 7'0, 245 13 25 106 Yes
Louisville transfer was getting 10-15 MPG through early December but has disappeared. Defensive force in a couple games I saw.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]

"Pay this end his regard!" called the 5'10"/185-pound tackle. "Hey, call me a linebacker!" replied James Hall. "What's a linebacker?"

What is this? A tournament of great Michigan teams past as some gimmick to write about Old Blue over the offseason. I write up a fictitious game between two historical Michigan teams, then eulogize the loser. See the play-in round for further explanation.

Since Tom Brady’s career is now just adding some fourth quarter padding to his lead on Montana, I figured we should go back to the beginning of it. It also gives me an opportunity at the start of this series to decide what I’m going to do when a team from the Stone Age faces one from modern times who just thinks it's from the Stone Age. In truth I think it would be a slaughter, like varsity versus the club team. For the sake of keeping things interesting I’m going to set some ground rules:

  • To deal with changing rules, the 1st half is played under the lower seed year's rules, and the 2nd half under the higher seed's rules.
  • Old time teams will be treated like they're on a sliding scale of modern subdivisions, so for example the 1901 team will be treated as if it just romped through Division III. In general, pre-1880s=Club, pre-1916=D3, pre-War=D2, pre-1980=FCS, and late 20th century=mid-majors. This is probably inaccurate, but I don't want to punish old teams too much for existing before the University of Michigan invents time travel.
  • Injured/suspended players can participate equivalent to the % of the season they played, for example the 1998 team gets Marcus Ray for about a quarter.
  • I can cheat for narrative purposes

Here's the bracket, which was made by a phantom NCAA committee we can all agree doesn't know anything about these teams (because I haven't written about them yet):



Round of 64: 1902 (7-seed) vs 1998 (10-seed)


Willie Heston outpaces 1998 safety DeWayne Patmon, because unfair characterizations of DeWayne Patmon's speed are pretty much all anyone remembers about DeWayne Patmon

Both of these teams had to follow national championship seasons, and combined most of those loaded rosters with unprecedentedly good recruiting classes. The 1902s had a much tougher act to follow, as their immediate predecessor (Yost’s first) outscored opponents 555-0. They also returned more, including Willie Heston, one of the best backs in the game’s history. Understandably, the 1998s would feel confident about beating 34 doughty white guys.

At first glance it didn't look very competitive. The 1998s had five offensive linemen over 300 pounds, including sophomores Jeff Backus and Steve Hutchinson, while the 1902s were proud of the fact that their average weight was just 180. Hayden Epstein booted the opening kickoff through the uprights, and a gaping Yost had to be informed that under 1998 rules no points were awarded for that.

The 1998 team built up a solid-enough-looking 9-0 lead in the first half, keyed by two 3rd and long conversions by Tom Brady to Markus Knight and Tai Streets. But the 1902s had the C-Will/A-Train running game scouted well, as the small but fearless Yostmen frustrated 1998 Michigan’s blockers with a seven-man front and diving into gaps. Carr extended the frustration to the fans by refusing to throw the ball despite having Tom friggin’ Brady against eleven dudes who’d literally never seen a forward pass.

The 1998s also kept having to start deep in their own zone. The 1902s managed to pin their afterbears back with a pair of gorgeous 60-yard punts by Everett Sweeney. They also were able to churn out a few first downs each drive, with Jim Herrman's '98 defense persistently confounded by Yost's no-huddle, high-tempo offense. The hurry-up forced Carr to burn all his timeouts early, and that contributed to his decision to run then take a knee when the '98s got the ball back on their 30 with over a minute remaining.

“They’re completely immune to deception,” said Lloyd Carr as his team went into the locker room for halftime. “Even our go-to screen pass wasn’t working.”

“That’s because I invented it,” quipped Yost.

[After the JUMP: The second half under 1902 rules, and one of these teams is eulogized]

very same [Patrick Barron]

1/19/2019 – Michigan 54, Wisconsin 64 – 17-1, 6-1 Big Ten

I've already written the column about how playing games at the Trohl Center is an experience that makes you think you're the last human in the land of the bug people, and hoo boy was this a shining example of the genre. The ends of each half, taken together, are kind of amazing. The end of the first half: Wisconsin has multiple fouls to give at the end of the first half and is trying to use them, but the a guy intentionally grabbing a Michigan player doesn't get called for two or three seconds. Michigan's left with under two seconds on the clock and does not convert.

The end of the second: Ethan Happ briefly touches the ball with Michigan down three and gets rid of it; immediately afterward Brazdeikis grabs him, in the way of late game basketball. This too is ignored. When Iggy goes back to foul Happ again, this time completely away from the ball, he's called for a flagrant 1. That essentially ends the game.

I don't really know what you're supposed to do when the referees can't even get the fouls both teams are trying to commit right. When you've got an apoplectic John Beilein at midcourt being held back by his assistants you've screwed up. You made First Episode Walter White mad! He drives a minivan and loves his children! GAH!

It would be nice if Michigan's basketball team was so good it could power through batshit road garbage at the Trohliest of all Centers, but if it was it would have so much power that it could not be permitted off a military base. It's a harsh reality check for a team that had played just one game that went down to the final couple minutes.

GRIM. This kind of offensive performance is a once-every-few-years occurrence:

That was the let's-drink-some-bleach South Carolina game, when Michigan was 8/26 from two and 2/26 from three. Michigan finished that season with the #4 offense in the country after Derrick Walton blew up midseason.

That was on another level in terms of offensive futility. Michigan shot 47%/28%, which is real bad but not the abomination that the South Carolina game was. Michigan's main problem was  giant turnover rate—almost one in every four Michigan possessions ended in a turnover. That was spread almost equally throughout the roster.

[After THE JUMP: Teske though?]

recap in the snow

The greatest tournament for the greatest Michigan teams of all time.

I also have a BC insider, as it turns out

Michigan journeys into the Trohl Center, where Khalil Iverson will hit his first three in two years. It will bank in, obviously.