How does MBB right the ship on defense?

How does MBB right the ship on defense?

Submitted by Lordfoul on February 19th, 2013 at 7:59 AM

After seeing all of the recent analysis of what ails Michigan Basketball, it seems obvious that something needs to happen to shore up the defense.  The team had a fair bit of success in the first half of the season running a man-to-man look, which JB said was taking advantage of the superior athletes on the team. Now the defense is looking slow and unable to stay in front of the players they are defending, or unable to recover and rotate when things begin to break down, resulting in easy lay-ups and a ballooning 2pt% given up on D.

So would it make sense for JB and staff to use some of the extra down time to bring out more zone looks on defense? As I understand it, a zone defense like a 2-3 can help clog the middle of the floor, making drives to the basket more difficult to execute, while tending to give up open 3pt looks.  Since Michigan already gives up many wide-open 3s playing man, what would be the downside to more zone?  

OT - Laker owner Dr. Jerry Buss has passed away

OT - Laker owner Dr. Jerry Buss has passed away

Submitted by kehnonymous on February 18th, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Title says it all. :(


A sad, though not unexpected, day for all professional basketball fans.  I lived in L.A. for the first seven years of my life, just as the Showtime era began, and I learned to love the Lakers somewhere between mastering potty training and my ABC’s.  In short, I was aware that the NBA was a thing for almost the entire 33-year run that Dr. Jerry Buss was the Laker’s owner.  In that time, my favorite pro team has been to the Finals sixteen times and won ten titles.  Suffice it to say that I’ve been spoiled as an NBA fan.  That this season has so spectacularly gone to shit does not diminish the Laker’s run of success, but rather testifies to a culture of winning and expecting championships that Dr. Buss made into a hallmark of being a Laker.  Many people have said (not without reason) that the Lakers are basketball’s version of the Yankees; in my infinite arrogance, I would submit that it’s the Yankees are baseball’s version of the Lakers.


As such, I’m not exactly impartial, but it is my considered opinion that Dr. Buss was the best professional sports owner in all four major leagues.  Much like fellow Laker legend Chick Hearn whose vocal mannerisms are now standard basketball parlance, Dr. Buss’ contributions reach far and wide beyond.  He certainly had no small amount of help from Magic and Kareem and Kobe, but Dr. Buss did was much as anyone else to make the NBA relevant - to make games an *event*.  How many people remember that Magic’s legendary close-out game in the 1980 finals was shown on tape delay?  That’d be inconceivable today.  I suspect many people here are Pistons or Bulls fans – I’m sure you have fond memories of the great teams they had during the 90’s.  But besides all the winning, don't you also remember ancillary moments like The Final Countdown blaring through The Palace during the 4th quarter?  John Mason saying ‘Joe Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuumars!’ after another clutch bucket by #4?  Dimming the lights and introducing the Bulls starters to Allan Parson’s ‘Sirius’?  All of that started with Jerry Buss.  Most of all, Jerry Buss knew how *not* to be Jerry Jones.


To bring this topic within a country mile of MGoBlog’s purview, it’s easy and probably apt to compare Jerry Buss to Bo.   They were both, for lack of a better word, icons.  In their passing they left footprints so large and so deep that they’re impossible to fill.  Michigan will always have Bo Schembechler’s indelible legacy to live up to and it’s no less the same for the Lakers in the post-Jerry Buss era.  Without going to the ugly details it’s no secret that the Lakers have an even bigger leadership void to fill.  As a Michigan and a Laker fan, it’s hard not for me to both appreciate the legacy that Bo and Dr. Buss have respectively left and to also feel trepidation about how things will go moving forward for L.A. given what we had to go through in the wake of Bo’s passing.

Grantland: Shane Ryan on CBB Road Games

Grantland: Shane Ryan on CBB Road Games

Submitted by ChiCityWolverine on February 18th, 2013 at 4:02 PM

EDIT: Link

Pretty fair and interesting analysis of Duke and Miami as well as the chaos in the top half of the B1G. Love this graphic:


This puts top half B1G road records at:

  • Indiana: 1-0 (@Michigan, @MSU, @Minnesota remaining)
  • Michigan: 1-4 (done)
  • Ohio: 0-3 (@Indiana remaining)
  • Wisconsin: 1-2 (@MSU remaining)
  • Michigan State: 1-2 (@Michigan, @Ohio remaining)
  • Minnesota: 0-3 (@Ohio remaining)

Michigan had the toughest schedule against the top half playing all 5 on the road and only getting 3 home matchups. Road wins are hard to come by and I would expect Michigan to be win a share of the B1G crown IF they can protect Crisler. If Indiana or State manages to win 3 road games, they probably win the conference outright, but I doubt that happens.

As bad as the loss in East Lansing was, the haunting loss here is Wisconsin. We had them and a 2-3 road record against this group would be nothing to be ashamed of and would have put us in solid position to win the conference. I still fully expect Michigan to have a shot in the end with 2 weeks to regain some mojo before Michigan State visits Ann Arbor.

Our Journey Through Big Ten Basketball To Date

Our Journey Through Big Ten Basketball To Date

Submitted by LSAClassOf2000 on February 18th, 2013 at 1:15 PM


Now that there is some respite from the meat grinder that seems to be the Big Ten basketball schedule (at least until this weekend), I felt it might be an appropriate moment to step back and look at some of the basic numbers and breakdowns for our Wolverines. Much has been said in the postgame threads over the last stretch of games, and indeed, some of it bears itself out in the trends that you will see here. The caveat here is that the conference schedule is not yet complete and these numbers are not final.

I had wanted to do something like this since the Indiana game, but I held off because there simply was not enough data regarding conference play to make much of a determination about where the areas of focus should be at that point. Now, I think you can see some definite trends. I also compiled our statistics in a Michigan win versus Michigan loss format so you can easily see just how stark some of the differences are in some cases.

TABLE 1 – “Michigan Win Vs. Michigan Loss”


The one thing that leapt out immediately, at least to me, is that in conference play, we are shooting about 11% when we win as opposed to when we lose, which is significant considering that our four losses have been at the hands of some of the most defensively efficient teams in Division I basketball, not just the conference. The difference is small for our opponents, who shoot only about 6% better in wins as opposed to losses. It’s a fairly similar story for three-pointers – we are down about 13% in losses compared to wins, whereas our opponents again show a difference of only 6% between the two scenarios.

Here is the shooting data broken out into individual games:

Photobucket Photobucket

Many of the findings aren’t entirely unexpected – we have fewer assists when we lose, we rebound less, and so on, but there are actually sustained trends that are worth noting at this point. Below are trends for point totals and the running average of points:

Photobucket Photobucket

In both of these, you can see an overall decline in our own production and a gradual increase in the production of those we have played. Since Indiana, in fact, we are giving up three more points per game on average, which may not seem like much, but when you consider that the fewest we have given up since then is 65, it is noteworthy. Our average in the same period has declined about two points, but our average is bolstered some by some of our early performances in conference play.

Tied somewhat to that would be offensive and defensive efficiency, shown below. This is the running number, cumulative as of each game:

Photobucket Photobucket

The trends are obviously not favorable, but overall, the efficiency numbers have not slid too much, as you will note. In both case, it is less than a 10% slide. It is enough, however, to say that there are items to address soon on both sides of the ball.

Rebounds and assists have also tailed off somewhat, but turnovers show one notable aberration:

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket


This is here for your perusal. The discussion which hopefully follows will become the conclusion of the board, or at least that is my intention. If there are other statistics that you would like to see charted, let me know and I will insert the data as time permits. I thought I might just get the discussion going with what I did here.



Trey Burke Named Big Ten Player of the Week for 3rd Time This Season

Trey Burke Named Big Ten Player of the Week for 3rd Time This Season

Submitted by Raoul on February 18th, 2013 at 10:04 AM

I suppose this is no longer newsworthy—but another Michigan player nabs a Big Ten player of the week award. Trey Burke with his third of the season.

  • Averaged 23.5 points on nearly 60 percent shooting, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals against Michigan State and Penn State last week
  • On the road against nationally ranked Michigan State, finished with 18 points and 63.6 percent shooting with four assists and three steals
  • Tallied a season-best 29 points against Penn State on Sunday, shooting 56.3 percent from the floor, including 75 percent from long range, with five assists and two steals
  • Earns his fourth career Big Ten Player of the Week honor and third this season

Burke is now averaging 18.6 points per game for the season. If he maintains or betters than average, it'll be the highest for a Michigan player in the 21st century, topping Manny Harris's 18.1 ppg for 2009-10.

Burke is also on pace for the best assist per game mark in Michigan history. He's averaging 6.885 assists per game this season, while Gary Grant averaged 6.882 in the 1987-88 season.

Often overlooked are the remarkably few turnovers Burke commits—only 47 for the season, which translates into a 3.8 assist-to-turnover ratio. That's probably the best in Michigan history. By comparison, Grant committed 150 turnovers in 1987-88, while his assist total was 234.

A Look At The Big Ten Remaining Schedules #3

A Look At The Big Ten Remaining Schedules #3

Submitted by GOLBOGM on February 17th, 2013 at 11:21 PM

Take three of a look at the remaining schedules:

This is long... if that's not for you you will dislike this...

Past Versions:



Current Standings:

Team Record
Indiana 11-2
Michigan State 11-2
Wisconsin 9-4
Michigan 9-4
Ohio State 8-5
Minnesota 6-7
Illinois 6-7
Iowa 6-7
Purdue 5-8
Northwestern 4-9
Nebraska 3-10
Penn State 0-13

I may have screwed up the 6-7 order- it is unclear if 2-2 is better than 1-1 given the description- but that is not too important...

Who has the hardest schedule?:

I decided to try something new here and associate a score with each team.  The higher the score the harder the opponent is.  Since there are 12 teams in the Big Ten the top team gets 12 points, and the lowest team gets 1 point.  Any tie ranking all teams get the highest possible rank (both MSU and Indiana are “top team” in this ranking).  Below is that ranking.

Team Score
Indiana 12
Michigan St 12
Wisconsin 10
Michigan 10
Ohio St 8
Minnesota 7
Illinois 7
Iowa 7
Purdue 4
NW 3
Nebraska 2
Penn St 1

Next I determined that a road game should adjust the rankings.  A team’s road score is their regular score +3.  I settled on 3 arbitrarily because it seemed like the best fit.  Michigan and Wisconsin on the road seem barely harder than Indiana or Michigan State at home, while Minnesota/Illinois/Iowa on the road seem to be about the same strength as Wisconsin or Michigan at home.  This is definitely quite subjective choosing three points- but it is simple.  Some teams are much stronger at home and you could argue deserve and even bigger bump than three, while some play at relatively similar strength home or away.  Perhaps Indiana and Michigan State should be +5 on the road because beating a top-10 team on the road is so difficult, while Penn State still is relatively terrible at home…. Anyway, I settled on three!

Below is each of the top-5 teams remaining schedules.  Below each opponent is the regular score and advanced score.  The regular score does not adjust for home/away, while the advanced score adds 3 points for each away game.  If you don’t like the advanced score- disregard it.

Regular 12 7 7 8 10 44
Advanced 15 10 7 8 13 53
Regular 12 8 10 10 3 43
Advanced 12 11 13 10 3 49
Regular 3 2 4 12 1 22
Advanced 6 2 4 15 4 31
Regular 7 1 12 4 12 36
Advanced 7 4 12 7 12 42
Regular 7 12 3 12 7 41
Advanced 7 12 6 15 7 47

To show you a little bit easier I order the schedules from hardest to easiest below:

Team Regular Advanced
Indiana 44 53
Michigan St 43 49
Ohio St 41 47
Michigan 36 42
Wisconsin 22 31

Those numbers seem about right- Wisconsin has it pretty easy, Michigan not too bad, and the rest have it pretty rough...

Next I looked more traditionally at the remaining schedules- looking at: the number of home games compared to road games, the number of games vs top-5 teams (note: all parenthesis show home games, road games), the number of games vs the middle-5 teams, and finally the games vs Nebraska and Penn State.  Perhaps it’s not the best split with 5/5/2- arguments could be made to put the split at several points but that’s what I chose (mostly because the first two versions used those splits).

  Home Games Road Games Vs. Top-5 Vs. Mid-5 Vs. Bot-2
Indiana 2 3 3 (1,2) 2 (1,1) 0
Michigan St 3 2 4 (2,2) 1 (1,0) 0
Wisconsin 2 3 1 (0,1) 2 (1,1) 2 (1,1)
Michigan 3 2 2 (2,0) 2 (1,1) 1 (0,1)
Ohio State 3 2 2 (1,1) 3 (2,1) 0

Enough data/tables… onto opinion:


Indiana has the hardest schedule left.  They play fewer home games than everyone but Wisconsin, and only two of their opponents are not fellow top-5 teams-one team is Iowa, who has been playing very well and has lost several very close games, and the other is at Minnesota.  They have no easy games left and each game is “losable” to some degree.  If you told me Indiana lost any of those games I would not be shocked- and that is not a good way to end the season.  Obviously the most important game is at Michigan State coming up.  MSU gets the edge at home- which means Indiana will have to pull an upset to be number 1.  At Minnesota will be tough, and Iowa at home could be a sleeper game if they get caught looking ahead.  They wrap up at home against OSU which will essentially be a must-win with a road game in Ann Arbor wrapping up the season.  It’s hard to imagine the final game not determining the champion in some fashion.  If Indiana beats MSU that final game could be sole possession of first- if not it will determine who will be champion in some way with Michigan hopefully having a shot for a co-championship in that game.

Michigan State:

The second toughest schedule according to the point systems.  Looking at the traditional details it looks just as hard as Indiana however.  Only one game is not against a top-5 team and that is the final game at home against Northwestern.  That last game could determine the championship as well.  It’s hard to imagine them not losing at least one game.  Indiana at home coming up next is huge (covered above) and then OSU and Michigan on the road will be daunting.  OSU is a little hard to figure out, and they beat down Michigan in EL, so these games may play out to be less challenging than they may appear.   If they lose to Indiana they have to win-out at home and at least split those road games to still feel comfortable- if they beat Indiana a split in the road games becomes easier to swallow- but both of those situations assume a win against Wisconsin which will not be easy either.


No matter how you slice it their remaining schedule is incredibly easy.  They play the 4 lowest teams in the conference, and while they play NW and PSU on the road neither of those should be games they should lose.  They play at home against Nebraska and Purdue- and both of those should be wins.  Purdue is probably the only game that will be a serious challenge other than Michigan State.  With 4 losses the MSU game is a must-win (as are all their games).  On the road they are not favored to win, but if they pull it off they have to hope MSU loses at least one other game, and Indiana also loses 2.  If they beat MSU and take care of the games they should it is not too unlikely they have a shot at being co-champs.  (Writing that made me throw-up a little…)


As is the case with Wisconsin Michigan needs to win out.  Indiana on the road was close, and then we fought out a win against OSU, before the two most frustrating games all year in Madison and EL.  Let’s hope more spacing of games and an easier schedule (particularly compared to what we just went through) will allow us to get back to top-form.  A lot of questions remain: were we significantly overrated before?  Will Morgan be at full strength?  Will the freshman be able to step-it-up?  Are Indiana, and particularly Michigan State, a clear step-up from us?  Is this team on the rebound- or are we still slumping?  Have teams played great games against us- or is our defense underperforming and is that just foolish optimism?

The answers to those questions will come in time- that is, unless we lose to Illinois or at Penn State.  Both games should be wins- and if we lose either of those games our chance for a championship erode- and our stock will be sliding fast.  If we get through those games we still likely need to win out.  Last analysis I said I expected a loss at MSU and that we could be said to be favored the rest of the way.  Our play at EL changed that outlook significantly.  MSU in Ann Arbor will be very intense- and if we win we have a good shot- if we lose it’s all over for co-champ talk most likely.  Plus, if we lose, MSU will very possibly go into the last week looking like favorites- a lot will be at stake.  Most fans, and presumably the team, will be looking to show that the game in EL was a terrible hiccup; otherwise that game will possibly be a very low point of the season.  If we do beat MSU, and took care of business against Illinois and PSU we have a sleeper game at Purdue (who last year cost us an outright title by being the only home loss) before closing against Indiana at home.  Worst case, we lost to MSU (and maybe even one of the other three games) and play Indiana with no-chance to win a title- and they show us that they, and MSU, are the class of the conference.  Best-case, we took care of business, righted the ship against MSU, and play at home against Indiana for a chance for being co-champs.  If that is the case we will have only lost at home once in the last two years, have lots of momentum, and have a good chance to beat Indiana- let’s hope that last scenario plays out!

Ohio State:

With five-losses OSU has almost no-chance.  It is hard to imagine both Indiana and MSU losing three times, and Wisconsin’s schedule looks like they will be at worst a 5-loss team meaning OSU has essentially no chance at being an outright champ- and almost no chance of a co-championship.  Plus, they have to play at Indiana and home against MSU.  Although, if you need to make up ground you want to play the teams you need to lose.  Minnesota at home, their next game, will be a challenge, and at Northwestern could be a sleeper game.  Most likely they end the year a game (or likely more) out- and the last game at Illinois will matter for seeding and if Illinois makes the dance.


I think we are looking at co-champs at 14-4.  Who those teams are is very hard to say.  Indiana will likely lose at MSU, and hopefully at Michigan as well.  At Minnesota, Iowa, and OSU will all be a challenge too- so even if they only lose one of the first games mentioned there is still a good shot they lose one of those.

Michigan State I think has the best chance because they play Indiana at home.  I think they are better than OSU and Michigan but will struggle to win both of those games, and may lose both.  After that they should beat Wisconsin and NW.  I think they have the best chance to go 15-3 and be alone on top of the charts.  It really comes down to whether or not we can beat them, in my opinion.

Wisconsin lucked into the easiest schedule to end the year.  Luckily for every other fan-base they should lose to MSU- and it’s hard to see 13-5 cutting it.  If they pull the upset- they have the four bottom teams left- let’s hope they slip up in one of those- because who wants to see Wisconsin win the championsip….

Michigan has long odds.  Granted I projected them losing to MSU and being in good shape last time, the nature of the last few weeks make it tough to be too optimistic at this point.  MSU and Indiana at home are very, very tough.  But if we want to be champs we need them to lose- so it’s good we play them- and good it is at home for both.  Illinois at home could be tough if we play like we have been also.  Let’s hope that we can show up and protect the home-court- because we need to!

Ohio State is too far out…


What I said above in nice simple, very subjective number form:

  16 - 2 15 - 3 14 - 4 13 - 5 12 - 6 or Worse
INDIANA 5% 15% 60% 19% 1%
MICHIGAN ST 10% 25% 60% 4% 1%
WISCONSIN NA NA 25% 60% 15%
MICHIGAN NA NA 20% 50% 30%

Hope everyone liked it!

Michigan/PSU Postgame Thread

Michigan/PSU Postgame Thread

Submitted by Mr. Yost on February 17th, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Post-game thoughts...share away!

EDIT: I'm choosing to share some of my thoughts in this OP because some drunken jackass wants to neg every post. Fine by me, all you can do is downvote this thread and that does nothing to me or my thoughts as far as visibility.

There are waaaaaaaay too many of you guys freaking out and overlooking that we just had the toughest stretch of ANY team in college basketball in terms of scheduling. You're also overlooking the fact that we didn't have our best big man for ANY of it...and didn't have him today. J-Mo doesn't do a ton, but he plays defense and gets rebounds. That's exactly what most of you who are bitching...are bitching about. Why do you leave out that caveat?

Michigan allowed 70 points ONE time in the 6 games prior to Morgan's injury. This is where I feel the defense "clicked" for Michigan and we were playing MUCH better on the defensive end.

Also, you fail to note the fact that we just played THREE top 10 teams in 10 days! ...and the other game? @ Wisconsin. One of the toughest places to play in the country.

So don't overlook those two HUGE facts just so you can whine and complain. Sidenote, no other B1G contender will have a stretch like we did. It's unfair and unfortunate.