This Week’s Obsession: Beilein-Shakalaka

This Week’s Obsession: Beilein-Shakalaka Comment Count

Seth March 14th, 2018 at 12:46 PM


THIS ARTICLE HAS A SPONSOR: It’s Nick Hopwood, our MGoFinancial Planner from Peak Wealth Management. We’re going to act like kids in this article but first some seriousness: I had a big health scare recently and I’m talking to Nick now because we were not ready for things to go pear-shaped, and also I have two kids and if everything goes just fine I really wasn’t preparing correctly for their futures.

Anytime you’ve got a financial question, let Nick know. And when you’re ready to figure out how you’re going to plan your retirement and pay for your kids’ college when you just got done paying for your own, don’t wait to do something about that.

Legal disclosure in tiny font: Calling Nick our official financial planner is not intended as financial advice; Nick is an advertiser who financially supports MGoBlog. MGoBlog is not responsible for any advice or other communication provided to an investor by any financial advisor, and makes no representations or warranties as to the suitability of any particular financial advisor and/or investment for a specific investor.


The Question:

An exercise shameless stolen from someone who shamelessly stole it from someone else:

You get to pick three Beilein-era players for your NBA Jam team (two starters, one sub). As a bonus, you get to pick an unlockable player from the pre-Beilein era. For those unfamiliar with NBA Jam, this video should give you an idea of what we’re looking for here—there’s a strong emphasis on athleticism, dunking, outside shooting, blocking, and shoving other players to steal the ball.


Seth: My favorite part about this topic is that there is a non-zero chance one of our readers can actually reprogram an NBA Jam rom for us.

Alex: There are eight stat categories: speed, 3pt, dunk, pass, power, steal, block, clutch.


Ace: I’m taking Caris/Stauskas/McGary/Rice, fwiw.

slackbot: Canada on Apple iOS 11.2Fire on Apple iOS 11.2

[ED: We’ve been programming secret auto-replies into our group IM system. If we trip a keyword, slackbot will interject itself. –seth]

David: this a thing? I was at lunch.


David: Let me plug in my Game Genie first.

Brian: This should be a draft.

Seth: Our readers do love it when we draft fantasy teams.

Ace: …he said, after I got halfway through my writeup.

Brian: Ok never mind.

Alex: I think a draft would be sensible as well.

Sorry, sorry I'm tryi--

Brian: Ace can go first because he's upset.

David: How many ppl are involved?

Ace: I’m always the bad guy.

/giphy diva

ty giphy

David: OH MAN

Seth: I'm sure that has nothing to do with how you sit in your lair and giggle all the time.

Ace: I actually am working in the basement right now.

Alex: I don't really know where I would put this in the post, but would like to mention it: Stella's in Grand Rapids—a whiskey bar with probably the best burgers in the city—has an arcade section with the OG NBA Jam game. It's as great as it sounds. Shout-out to Stella's.

@adam Catch me at Stella's sometime to get that work from the Stockton-Malone Jazz.

Seth: Our house rule was you couldn't take the Jazz.

Alex: That was just the first team that came to mind - I was going to be courteous and let him use the Pistons. I guess I'll go with the Hardaway-Mullin Warriors. I DON'T PLAY WITH THE STACKED TEAMS IN 2K I SWEAR!

Seth: Draft order:


Seth: I really didn't want to go first damn my eyes.

RULES: It's a snake draft, 3 rounds of Beilein players only, and a fourth round for a secret unlockable character.

BiSB: Then the 4 unlockable players are all in the 4th round Deal?

Seth: YES

Ace: cool

David: fair

BiSB: Seth, Venric Mark is waiting...




MGoRadio 3.9: You Can Feel Very Smart Beating a Seven Year Old at Chess

MGoRadio 3.9: You Can Feel Very Smart Beating a Seven Year Old at Chess Comment Count

Seth November 10th, 2017 at 7:28 PM

1 hour 23 minutes



The show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan we’d be talking to ourselves.

Our other sponsors are also key to all of this: HomeSure Lending, Peak Wealth Management, Ann Arbor Elder Law, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Michigan Law Grad, Human Element, Lantana Hummus and Ecotelligent Homes


1. Minnesota After UFR

starts at 1:00

You should probably block Khaleke Hudson. Minnesota’s approach to this game was bad. Not baffling—they were recycling ideas that worked once each for Penn State and Rutgers. Just…bad. It was bad. Offense things: JBB is obviously a good power blocker; when the offense was going to be a spread-to-Speight outfit in the offseason he probably was too bad at pass pro to be viable. Nice to see the running backs now picking up the subtleties of power running.

2. Hoops Preview LET’S GOOOOOOO

starts at 20:58

Who’s our point guard? Guessing Simmons will end up there, but it’s weird to go into a season without that spot settled—when was the last time that was true? Charles Matthews is the guy they trust to isolate and crate his own shot. MAAR’s usage up this year? Rebounding misses Derrick Walton; Moe Wagner knows he has to start grabbing boards to make the NBA. Teske is now Big Nasty (up from Big Sleep). Duncan Robinson is a coach out there. He might be the best shooter in the country; he might be the worst defender too.

3. Gimmicky Top Five: Thoughts About Board Games

starts at 44:50

We welcome special guest Reid McCarthy from Ann Arbor Elder Law to call Brian to task for calling out Settlers of Catan. This becomes a segment on all the board games we love and hate, and just put together once and thought it was cool but never actually played before losing a piece and now it’s worthless no YOUR childhood was ruined by MouseTrap. Also Brian realizes 5 minutes into talking about Wizards of the Coast buying out Dungeons and Dragons that he just went deeper into nerdiness than even this blog is comfortable with.

4. Maryland Preview w—once again relegated to—sg Seth Fisher

starts at 1:12:35

At least they have an excuse for their quarterback play. THE BORTENSCHLAGER experience might be over in favor of 5’11” Air Force kid. It’ll be like the Rutgers game but not the Minnesota game, basically. Come to me you precious easy passing yards. Come to meeeeeeeee.



If you or a friend made some good tunes and don't have a label out scrubbing for them we'd be happy to feature you. Tonight we return to the considerably more ravey stylings of WILSON, featuring his tracks “Roll on Your Wave”, “World Class”, and “In the Meantime” Also “Across 110th Street”.



    Mel Pearson, Corsi, and You: A Possession-Driven Look at Michigan’s New Head Coach

    Mel Pearson, Corsi, and You: A Possession-Driven Look at Michigan’s New Head Coach Comment Count

    Adam Schnepp April 27th, 2017 at 11:01 AM



    Most old posts are embarrassing. My takeaway in reading through old work for research purposes is usually some stupid line that I wish I had framed a different way or a dumb joke that I forgot I made and spend the rest of the day regretting. Occasionally, though, I’ll read something that makes me feel exactly what I was feeling when I wrote it.

    When I dug through old Goal-by-Goal Analyses featuring Michigan Tech I came across the mini-column I wrote at the bottom of this year’s Great Lakes Invitational post and felt the still-too-familiar raging bewilderment that marked much of the 2016-17 Michigan hockey season. The piece ended with boiled-over frustration about Michigan’s offense and their inability to get the puck in the zone; there’s a mention of how badly Michigan was out-attempted, but the Corsi hamblasting from Tech wasn’t unusual enough to garner anything more than an unfeeling, fleeting mention.

    tech v m corsi

    furthest right column is Tech’s Corsi For %

    That’s Warner Bros. DC movie-level destruction; that’s also reflective of how difficult to stomach the 2016-17 Wolverines could be. If Mel Pearson’s Michigan Tech teams are any evidence, however, Michigan fans are in for a rebalancing in their squad’s putrid possession numbers. College Hockey News has some advanced stats available from 2013-14 on, including Corsi. Remember that Corsi is every shot attempted: shots on goal, shots that missed the net, blocked shots. (There’s a more complete primer at the bottomr of the post.) The general idea behind this is that a team has to have the puck to shoot it, so Corsi is a puck-possession proxy.

    image (68)

    thanks, Seth

    Generally speaking, Pearson’s teams were good against very good teams and great against bad teams, at least in terms of possession. You can see from the trend line that they did exactly what you’d want a team to do against teams outside the PairWise top 16; the trendline drops below 50% on the doorstep of teams that would make the tournament.

    [After THE JUMP: looking for surprises in Tech’s possession numbers]


    Seth’s 2017 Bracket Assist Tool

    Seth’s 2017 Bracket Assist Tool Comment Count

    Seth March 14th, 2017 at 1:08 PM

    Tourney sponsor reminder: HomeSure Lending is that. NMLS 1161358.


    This began as a tool I made to fill out my brackets, then a few years ago I shared it and it became a thing. Much of the data are from Kenpom, though this year I also included’s rankings, which Ed determines by expected margin of victory over an average opponent. Both he and Kenpom wound up pretty close, but it’s a bit more data when you’re deciding things like which should-be-a-6-seed do I choose in this 7-10 matchup? Alex Cook will have a thing later today that shows which teams got screwed the most in this year’s rather whacky seeding. Spoiler: Maryland and Minnesota shouldn’t be over the BTT championship participants.

    The Tool The Tool The Tool:

    To use this you:

    1. Follow this link to make a copy of the spreadsheet.
    2. Select the two teams you want to compare.

    The site will be pulled from Team 1, fyi, so if you pull a match that doesn’t exist you’ll still get the distance each team will have to travel to their real site.

    Thanks also go to the guy who wrote a google script to pull drive times with a formula.


    Hockey at the Midpoint: Analyzing Netfront Scoring

    Hockey at the Midpoint: Analyzing Netfront Scoring Comment Count

    Adam Schnepp February 3rd, 2017 at 10:04 AM


    [Patrick Barron]

    In the beginning, it seemed like things might change. Michigan’s defense has been giving up more shot attempts than their offense has been generating from the drop, but the freshman class seemed to inject a bit more tenacity into Michigan’s forechecking. Opponents held the puck for long stretches, but it seemed that the prime scoring chances ceded by defenses in years past, the ones right in front of the net, may have been corrected. At least, that’s what this writer naively believed.

    We’re now a bit past the midway point in the season and, thanks to some meticulous stat tracking, we have data to lean on that suggests the unchecked-man-in-front-of-the-net problem has not been remedied. An idea that’s gained popularity over the last few years among NHL advanced stats wonks is separating out from which area a shot is attempted. Those analysts have found what one might expect: more goals are scored from the area in front of the net than from the edges of the zone. Below we have scoring chance by shooting location via a Chance article by A.C. Thomas:

    Pucksberry: What We Can Learn From Hexagonal Plots of NHL Data

    Based on information like the above, analysts have started to call the area with the two darkest shades of green the “home plate” area. The success rate above is based on NHL data, but the idea can be carried over to college hockey. With that in mind, David has been tracking shot attempts (in the Corsi sense; shots on goal+misses+blocked shots) all season. (Special thanks to Orion Sang and Mike Persak of the Daily for frequently providing us with shot charts.) Now that we’re past the midpoint of the season and solidly into Big Ten play, it seems that there’s enough data to see how Michigan’s defense has fared. It’s, uh…well, there’s a reason I called myself “naïve” above.

    [After THE JUMP: cheery fun stuff]


    Seth's Bracket Assist Widget

    Seth's Bracket Assist Widget Comment Count

    Seth March 16th, 2016 at 3:40 PM


    You will probably have to create your own copy but then you can type in any two teams and make a comparison. Thank you to Kenpom for the data and helpful Google Sheets script writers for helping me calculate distances. Drive times are calculated as 1.3 minutes per mile.

    To get a copy:

    Follow this link and play around with it on google sheets.


    1. Follow this link to the spreadsheet.
    2. Go to "File" and "download as". Choose a format and the rest is up to you.

    To use it just put the two teams you're trying to compare and the round (it will return wonky stuff if those two teams aren't able to meet there). It'll show you things like Off and Def rank on Kenpom and a win confidence based on a factor of the average 1 seed will be 100% to beat an average 16 seed. It'll also bring up the site of the game and, new this year, the distance for each team in driving hours. Last it'll show any injuries I knew about when I made it last night.



    Jimmystats: Making Charts from UFRs

    Jimmystats: Making Charts from UFRs Comment Count

    Seth March 15th, 2016 at 10:07 AM


    No, Upon Further Review series is not comprehensive. Most years are absent Ohio State and bowl games (including last year), and 2014 checked out after Indiana. That said, I challenge you to find a greater cache of free data than Brian's masterful charting of Michigan plays going back to the DeBord Throws Rock age.

    Every so often I pull all that into a massive Excel file and try to learn things like how spread the offense was, favorite plays, etc. Let's dive in shall we?

    What're those pie charts at top? Shows the relative efficiency (by yards per play on standard downs) and the mixes of Michigan's backfield formation choices. For "standard downs" I mean 1st and 2nd downs when the offense wasn't trying to do a clock thing or go a super-long or super-short distance. So no garbage time, no two-minute drills, no goal line, and no going off on Bowling Green and Delaware State. The idea is to show which offense did they get in when they had the full gamut to choose from, and how many yards did it get when the goal presumably was to get as many yards as possible.

    Nothing very surprising there. Rodriguez ran his shotgun offense, Borges inherited Denard and Devin and still managed to jam them half-way into an under-center offense in three years. Then Nussmeier ran his zone melange single-back thing. Harbaugh did what Hoke always dreamed of doing, and the offense climbed back to about where Hoke's offense was with a senior (but oft injured) Denard.


    [Hit THE JUMP for each year's most charted play, visualized Hennecharts, how many TEs Harbaugh used, how many rushers defenses sent, and LOOOOOTS of charts.]


    Jimmystats: The Best Recruits Play

    Jimmystats: The Best Recruits Play Comment Count

    Seth February 3rd, 2015 at 10:45 AM


    Taco-ranked starters are far more likely than Glasgows [Fuller]

    Every year, as college football recruiting becomes the only football thing left to pay attention to until spring, we are suddenly struck by an army of pundits so arrogantly attached to their "recruiting stars don't matter" narratives that they don't bother to care that math is against them.

    Michigan typically gets taken to the woodshed in these articles for recurrently not matching recruiting expectations with on-field results. This discrepancy does exist beyond the normal J.T. Turners that everybody gets, and for various interrelated reasons: attrition spikes, spottily shoddy coaching, program instability, recruiting shortfalls. Anecdotally, there are examples I can point to, especially in the early aughts, when an otherwise two-star athlete was bumped to a three-star because Michigan offered. That explains less about how Wisconsin and Michigan State thrive on 2- and 3-stars, and more about how Michigan has recruited very few guys under a consensus 3-star.

    However every time we find a new way to compare recruiting data to performance data, we consistently discover that recruiting stars handed out by the services correlate to better players. No, a 5-star isn't an instant superstar, but the 25-30 five-stars each season are consistently found to be about twice as likely to meet some performance metric (NFL draft, All-conference, team success, etc.) as the pool of 200-odd four-stars, who are consistently more likely to meet performance thresholds of the 400-odd three-stars, etc.

    Today I present a new metric for proving it: starts.

    Example of raw data, via UM Bentley Library.

    ALL the Starts

    My project over Christmas was to take the data from Bentley's team pages (example at right), scrub the hell out of it, and produce a database of who started what years, at what positions, at what age, with what recruiting hype, etc.


    A few weeks back I released the initial results of my starts data. We noticed there were a lot of problems in that. I went back and did a lot of fixing, mostly just finding more weird errors in the Bentley pages I'd culled the data from, sometimes emailing the guys themselves to ask things like "Was there a game in 2001 that either you or B.J. didn't start?"

    I think I've got it cleaned up now; at least the total number of starts for each season matches 22 players per game.

    Recruiting By Starts

    Starting in 1996 we start getting relatively uniform star rankings for recruits, though I had to translate Lemming rankings and such into stars (he had position rankings and national lists that line up with what we call recruits today). So I took the average of available star ratings of all players to appear on Michigan's Bentley rosters from the Class of 1996 through the Class of 2010, and put 'em against the number of starts generated. Guess what: recruiting actually matters.

    Recruit Level 1996-2011
    5-stars 21 450 21.4
    4.5-stars 28 462 16.5
    4-stars 82 1215 14.8
    3.5-stars 76 881 11.6
    3-stars 82 669 8.2
    2- or 2.5-stars 29 271 9.3
    Walk-ons 217 97 0.4

    Even with Michigan's notorious luck, the 5-stars were expected to give you about two seasons of starts, compared to the 8 or 9 games you'll get out of a 2- or 3-star. That is significant, and offers a bit more evidence toward the general statement about recruiting stars: the higher the star rating, the more likely he is to be a good college football player, though at best you're at 50-50.

    As for walk-ons, I've linked to the list of the 217 guys in that time period who made the Bentley rosters and weren't special teamers, in case you doubt me. The Order of St. Kovacs have accomplished great things for Michigan, but turning up one of those guys anywhere other than fullback has been rare indeed.

    Recruiting classessince1996

    Best Classes

    I'm going to try to use the starts data above to get predictive. The scatter plot of the 1996-2010 group was pretty linear so I'm just going to plug in a linear equation:

    Expected Starts on Avg M Team = Stars x 5.30 - 6.35

    And that gives us a reasonable expectation of Michigan starts to expect from a class based on their rankings:

    Starts by Class 2vs Expectations by Star Ratings

    click big makes

    For the Class of 2011-2014 projections, I just guessed by hand, so those projections are going to be increasingly inaccurate once I'm predicting 2017 starters and whatnot.

    The chart above has two stories to tell: 1) The strength of a recruiting class is strongly correlated to the value that class will produce in starters, and 2) the damage done by attrition to the 2005 and 2010 classes created ripple effects for several classes afterwards.

    An Average Michigan Team:

    By some quick averages I was able to get an average makeup of a starting 22. I took the average number of starts by experience (i.e. year in the program) for the classes of 1995-2010, adjusted those numbers for a 13-game schedule, then divided by 13 games to get an idea of what the starters ought to be against years of interest.

    Experience Average 2014 2013 2012 2011 2008 1999 1997
    5th Years 5 3 5 7 4 4 6 3
    Senior / RS Jr 7 5 4 8 8 6 8 9
    Junior / RS So 6 10 5 4 7 7 5 6
    Soph / RS Fr 3 3 6 2 1 2 3 4
    True Frosh 1 1 2 1 2 3 0 0
    AVG starter age 3.55 3.27 3.18 3.82 3.50 3.27 3.77 3.50

    By this the last two teams look extraordinarily young—about as young as the 2008 team or younger. The 2012 team by contrast seems like a wasted opportunity. FWIW I counted Devin, not Denard, as the quarterback, or it would have been even older. That fits the narrative: 2012 was a wasted opportunity, as a line with three 5th year seniors (two of whom were long-term productive starters) plus Lewan and Schofield was coached into one of the worst offensive lines in memory.


    Jimmystats: Starts by Class and Stars

    Jimmystats: Starts by Class and Stars Comment Count

    Seth January 7th, 2015 at 9:28 AM

    Meta: Hokepoints is now alternating bi-weekly features. Jimmystats is the one where we play with Excel, H4 is the one where we play with Playmaker or get misty-eyed. Thank you readers who submitted name ideas.


    Not all upperclassmen are good, but having upperclassmen is good. [Fuller]

    I keep a few different databases on Michigan players for various uses, and Bosch's transfer initiated a two-day time sink into updating the big roster one. It now includes number of starts each guy since the 1993 class had in his career, along with the recruiting profile and career summary. Have at it, diarists:

    Some stuff I generated with it:

    The Holy Balls 2010 attrition chart:

    Retention rate

    Bigging it makes it clicker.

    The retention rate isn't the number of players who stuck, it's the number of total eligible seasons the class would have produced if every freshman played four (and every junior transfer played two, etc.). If somebody ever says there was nothing good about the Hoke era, point at the 2012-2014 classes. I do expect the transition costs and other levies of time will reduce those triple towers eventually, but that is a very good start, especially the 2012 group who came in after 11-2 and got not that since.

    The flipside of course is that 2010 class, which spent exactly half of its eligibility not on Michigan's roster. And that was followed by the 2011 "process" class, which more on that in a minute. I also tracked the reasons for losses:

    [Jump for that a bunch more charts and tables you can use to wow your friends, like the average number of starts for a 5-star recruit]