One Frame At A Time: Loyola Chicago

One Frame At A Time: Loyola Chicago Comment Count

Ace June 13th, 2018 at 6:00 AM
what's german for 'galoot'? [Bryan Fuller]

So, uh, recovery hasn't been as smooth as expected—those following me on Twitter have probably picked up on that—and as such I'm pushing out posts when I can. I've been hoping to get to the Moe Wagner retrospective but have held off because I've hit a block there; in the process of preparing that post and working through the block, I did at least get through the Loyola Chicago game in GIFs. (Most of it, at least. This copy cut out all good replays of Wagner crashing into Raftery/Hill, which is an argh experience.) Did I do Florida State yet? Uh, working on it. Time is a construct.

Anyway, remember that time Moe Wagner put up a Final Four stat line matched only by Akeem Olajuwon and Larry Bird?

That was enjoyable.

[The rest of the Loyola game in GIFs, featuring a LOT of Moe, after THE JUMP.]


MGoPodcast 9.26: The Nicest Most Hated Pick and Roll in America

MGoPodcast 9.26: The Nicest Most Hated Pick and Roll in America Comment Count

Seth April 5th, 2018 at 7:14 AM

1 hour and 43 minutes


We are at the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, our gracious hosts and yours this fall if you act fast enough.

We Couldn’t Have One Without the Other

We can do this because people support us. You should support them too so they’ll want to do it again next year! The show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan there would be VERY long hiatuses between podcasts.

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. The Championship Game: Emotionally Drunk

starts at 1:00

Better to lose to a guy we respect than a criminal sex vampire. Brunson doesn’t bother us—like you can’t be mad about a guy Michigan wanted badly when Michigan gets is pure as the driven snow. Analysis is Donte DiVencenzo made off the dribble jacks four or five feet behind the line. Really could have used the Wagner Three Point Principle. Poor performances previously probably hurt Michigan in fatigue. Gameplan was fine: wide looks from three with their best shooters, 66% from two, lots of possible and-ones rimmed out. DiVencenzo heat checks prevented any getting back into the game, Nova ORebs were lucky and also Spellman, but that’s overstated: they didn’t convert them. Who could have predicted this Big Ten (/points at selves). Beilein as Tyrone Biggums of tape. Remember the bubble watch columns. Good feels.

2. Next Year: The Us

starts at 26:11

Position by position. PG: Indicators are if they want to get better shooting they have to cut into Z’s minutes. What’s a DeJulius who doesn’t have to start and can just come in to heat check? Eli Brooks is a guy Jay Wright wanted! POOLE! And Adrian Nunez? Anyway Skauskas/Levert breakout for Poole. Matthews expected back, think they can make him a shooter. Poole should take some pressure off him. Also Iggy should…be a McDonald’s All-American. The four, Livers?—feels a bit like early D.J. Wilson. Was 1/12 from three in last 14 games. Johns has a physical presence, Iggy gets buckets. Center: Moe has a decision to make. Unleash Teske: between great and game-changing rim defender. Redshirt Castleton if you can and use Davis.

3. Next Year: The Them

starts at 1:06:39

Around the Big Ten: anyone good? Wisconsin? Isaiah Roby? Let’s go with Roby. Penn State is interesting even though they lost their best player. Michigan State will need to lean on their back court. Don’t trust Indiana or a Pitino team despite some intriguing guys. Northwestern fans suddenly care about recruiting. Ohio State will be dangerous but maybe not in 2019.

4. Ace’s Hockey Podcast wsg Anthony Ciatti

starts at 1:22:42

ND is a very interesting matchup given the previous games. Sticking with ND was the turning point in Michigan’s season, sweeping them was the destiny punch. Typical Jeff Jackson team that’s super disciplined, lacking in high end scoring, great goaltending (not Hobie-worthy). Have not scored a lot of even strength goals. ND has the best player—the guy in net—but Marody and Hughes are the best two players on the ice. A moment for Quinn Hughes: he’ll be on the ice a lot!

Ohio State or Duluth? M-D has more variance; Michigan hasn’t played a team like that with a lot of young, well-coached talent except Wisconsin, and Wisconsin is a worse matchup than even “we’re 0-5 versus” Ohio State: don’t count the first two games, the second two M outshot OSU 3-2 since. DON’T TAKE PENALTIES!



  • “It’s Not Too Beautiful”—The Beta Band
  • “Countdown”—Phoenix
  • “Brother”—The Rural Alberta Advantage
  • “Across 110th Street”


It does feel nice to not have it be the criminal sex vampire.


You Will Find Me In The Bush Growing Clothes Out Of My Face

You Will Find Me In The Bush Growing Clothes Out Of My Face Comment Count

Brian April 3rd, 2018 at 1:38 PM

3/31/2018 – Michigan 69, Loyola-Chicago 57 – 33-7, national championship game
4/2/2018 – Michigan 62, Villanova 79 – 33-8, season over


[Bryan Fuller]

The thing is in a football stadium so they raise the floor and permit the head coach a little stool he can sit on. From this perch he can yell stuff to his players more efficiently, I guess? It seems unnecessary. Maybe it's for television.

It's probably for television. For all the agency a coach has in selecting and preparing his team, by the time you reach the Final Four and they hand you a stool a great deal rides on a bunch of 30-40% coin flips. When seemingly all of those coin flips come up on the middle finger side, a coach's agony veritably radiates. He is a man alone on Stool Island, barely less helpless than someone who bought a ticket.

Michigan clanged back-to-back-to-back threes against Loyola with about ten minutes left, still in a five point hole. The first induced a Picard-worthy double facepalm from John Beilein.


The second actually caused Beilein to leap from the stool and stomp the floor before shuffling away in a huff.


The third was resignation and despair.


The man on the stool is moving deeper into the Kubler-Ross model every time down the court. If Jordan Poole hadn't swept through the lane for a layup on Michigan's next possession Beilein might have eaten his tie.

Eating your tie is acceptance. I accept that Michigan is never going to hit another three pointer, and I will live out my life in the Alaskan bush, wrangling caribou. No ties in Alaska. I am the man on the stool plotting his escape to Alaska, where I can suffer out of the public eye. At long last my innovation has betrayed me, and… huh. It appears we've ended the game on a 27-10 run. Plans canceled.


John Beilein probably isn't in a prop plane headed for Nome as we speak but you could hardly blame him if he was. It was there for Michigan to give an incredible Villanova team all it could handle, but for the fifth time in six games they clanged far too many open looks from outside. Their brutal shooting in the final surpassed all prior outings this season and for all but one game in the past five:

I have not rewatched the Villanova game and probably won't. If I do I expect to see Beilein age 75 years in two hours as a series of wide open looks fail to go down on one end while a blindfolded Donte DiVincenzo is canning off-the-dribble 30-footers. By the end he has grown a beard that he has fashioned into a hat and moccasins. By the end he is the West Virginia mascot, having whittled a musket from the stool.

This was a 17-point game that never felt close after Michigan's disastrous close to the first half. It was simultaneously the game Michigan needed to play to beat the best team in the country. Michigan shot 66% from two, had four different and-one opportunities rim out, and lost a couple points on a missed goaltend. Michigan's defense closed out magnificently; Villanova didn't care. Half of their ten makes from behind the line were deep pull-ups off the dribble that are—should be, anyway—bad shots. Michigan didn't start launching bad ones until they were already 3/18 and deep in a hole.

Shoot your season average on the reasonable looks and hit one of the dumb ones and you've carved that blowout margin down to 2-5 points. And you're probably not taking the dumb ones because the game is within reach and you have reason to believe an open corner three is a better shot than a wild ninja kick from halfcourt.

The grim section of our Alonzo Mourning gif is Michigan's collapse from behind the line in the tournament. In six away-or-neutral games leading up to the NCAA tournament Michigan hit 48%, 48%, 16%, 48%, 36%, and 35% from three. In the tourney itself: 31%, 27%, 58%, 18%, 25%, 13%.

It defies explanation. Michigan wasn't any more tired during the tournament than they were when they hit their season average against Purdue and MSU despite both of those teams getting the double bye Michigan did not. They seemed to get the same quality of look. They just missed twelve straight in the national title game. And struggled against everyone else not named Texas A&M.

It probably wouldn't have been enough anyway. And nothing from this fun-as-hell basketball season can really disappoint. But that'll linger a bit, that U-turn.



Basketball is a helpless thing sometimes.


Unverified Voracity Is Clearing Tabs, Killing Time

Unverified Voracity Is Clearing Tabs, Killing Time Comment Count

Brian April 2nd, 2018 at 3:11 PM


[Bryan Fuller]

Nice face. The Ringer's Paolo Uggetti on Michigan's expressive star:

“I’m shook. I’m a very nervous person before games,” Wagner says. “I’m a wreck, and I don’t allow myself to relax. On the court, it’s gone, but before, I can’t stand it.”

The court is Wagner’s comfort zone, and with good reason. Once the headphones and warm-ups come off and the clock begins to run, Wagner is a different person. On this particular night, he puts together his best game of the Dance, tallying 21 points and draining all three of his shots from deep in 30 minutes. Michigan beats Texas A&M by 27 to advance to the Elite Eight—it’s the type of game Wagner loves most: a blowout. “It’s better for the nerves.”

Very same. Maybe there's actually something to the First Wagner Three theory?

Don't try this at home, if you have a lamp post in your home. The South U scene post-game:

Hangin' with Sister Jean. Jordan Poole on his post-game interaction with the most famous nun in America:

"She got those guys," Poole told reporters afterward. "She had their back the entire time and everybody talks about them being a Cinderella story and she was getting a lot of attention.

"But being able to build a fan base how she did, and being able to have Loyola have so many fans out here and travel well, and I just thought the entire concept and everything that she brought to the table, and being able to have such a a big impact on the team, being in a situation like this, I thought it was amazing."

Charles Matthews probably still doesn't know who she is.

Various videos. All makes in the semi:

Individual reels for Wagner…

…and Charles Matthews are also available.

Contest all the shots. This is extraordinary after Michigan contested all but three of FSU's attempts in the Elite Eight:

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Michigan contested 24 of Loyola's 27 shot attempts from the field in the second half, including the first 16 Ramblers shots. Loyola didn't record an "open" shot until 4:43 remained in the game, by which time the Wolverines held a five-point lead.

Do that against Villanova and you've got a real shot.

Building X. [Editor's note: dad calls him X, I'm calling him X. X is the coolest letter.] Andrew Kahn dives into what makes Zavier Simpson such an effective defender:

"If we trained him like we do Moe (Wagner), he'd look like a fullback on the football team," Sanderson said.

But Simpson was a bit of a "waddler" with tight hips. Sanderson worked to increase his joint flexibility, allowing for further range of motion and better defensive technique. That, along with not fouling nearly as much as last year, has turned Simpson into an elite defender.

"He not only takes in what our coaching staff will tell him about a player, but he has his own little tricks," Michigan's Rico Ozuna-Harrison said. Like Wilson, Ozuna-Harrison is a freshman walk-on who often plays on the scout team that faces the starters. "He knows what hand to guard when you're doing a move. He knows where to place his feet. How to bump you and where. Small stuff that really makes a difference."

Paintball oral history? Okay, sure:

Kapustka: (Beilein) was the first guy taken out. Got hit right in the head.

Abdur-Rahkman: Bounced off his head. Paint all over his face.

Kapustka: It came from the ground. Someone just fired a perfect shot. It was pretty crazy.

Ibi Watson, freshman forward: It was (Eli) Brooks who got him.

Eli Brooks, freshman point guard: /makes exaggerated hand gun motion

Don't miss a titanic Charles Matthews-Jon Sanderson showdown.

A mind-bending counterfactual. Jay Wright, Rutgers coach:

There’s one more minor connection that neither coach may even know about. When Villanova went after Hofstra’s coach, Wright was the school’s sole target. Former athletic director Vince Nicastro used the word “exclusively” in describing whom they were going after.

However, just in case Wright decided the big Rutgers offer was the one he would take, Villanova needed a backup plan. Everyone has to have a list. The name on top of that list, John Beilein.

Not that any sane person is taking the Rutgers job over… literally any other high major school? I think that's true.

Etc.: Two fairly silly reasons Nova will win. Andrew Kahn on Wagner's performance. Andy Staples on the game. Max Marcovitch on Jordan Poole's halftime talk.


MGoPodcast 9.25: Sweating to the Drip Boys

MGoPodcast 9.25: Sweating to the Drip Boys Comment Count

Seth April 2nd, 2018 at 7:00 AM

55 minutes


We are at the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, and perspiring, but fortunately there’s an indoor pool just down the hall.

We Couldn’t Have One Without the Other

We can do this because people support us. You should support them too so they’ll want to do it again next year! The show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan there would be VERY long hiatuses between podcasts.

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. Cheer Up Sister Jean

starts at 1:00

A Pittsburgh left is a social custom to allow a left-turner to get out of everyone’s way. Really as soon as Duncan Robinson gets his sixth point it’s all good. Some weird lineups for the bulk of this game, though not crunch time—none of them were two bigs. Wagner’s amazing game was as defensive as offensive. Z…uh…came in late. C.J. Baird is the greatest player who ever lived!

2. Villanova Preview: They’re Really Good.

starts at 24:25

Why were they so wide open vs. Kansas? It’s like they thought Villanova was going to be five Tum-Tums. Watching different games to get a feel for Nova because we presume Michigan is going to defend them in a way that makes any kind of sense. Brunson may not be a huge NBA prospect but as a college player he is unguardable—a point guard who can post. Everyone shoots well from three. Their Bridges is better than MSU’s Bridges. Theory of geometric progression says Michigan due for another A&M game. Defensively they rank about where Loyola does—make your three pointers and you can make it a game.

3. Gimmicky Top Five: Great Postseason Performances

starts at 42:10

Top postseason performances by players that we remember—sorry Craig but guys named Gustav in nineteen dickety-two don’t rate. The GOAT in the Orange Bowl versus a bunch of murderous defensive linemen and a terrible secondary. The nuts game. The Shot. The little guy. The big man. The Champ (Ace was two so we kind of broke the rules). Stick around for honorable mentions!


No segment four but we’ll probably have an extra podcast this week to discuss whatever happens tomorrow night.



  • “Mo Fire”—Lil Wayne
  • “Praise You”—Fatboy Slim
  • “Across 110th Street”


Or you know, just, you know score six points Duncan. Just score six points. By the way. You know we may be testing it a little bit. If that happens and Michigan wins the national championship, that is going in the stupid stat hall of fame. And I will love and appreciate that stupid stat—I will cherish that stupid stat. It will be my favorite stupid stat.


Michigan 69, Loyola Chicago 57, One More Game

Michigan 69, Loyola Chicago 57, One More Game Comment Count

Ace March 31st, 2018 at 9:56 PM

Moe Wagner made history with his performance tonight. [Bryan Fuller]

We just had to believe.

Believe in the Moe Wagner First Three-Pointer Corollary. Believe in Luke Yaklich's defense. Believe that Zavier Simpson wouldn't have the worst game of his life for every last minute. Believe that these damn shots would eventually fall. Believe in the Ironclad Law of Duncan Robinson's Six. Believe in John Beilein.

Our beliefs were tested. Michigan shot out of the gate, gaining an early 12-4 edge, before a well-coached Loyola squad started outplaying them. The switching Ramblers defense kept the Wolverines from getting into their usual sets. On the other end, Loyola combined dizzying off-ball motion with strong post-ups from center Cameron Krutwig. While Wagner was a force, tallying 11 points and 11 boards at halftime, he received almost no help. Charles Matthews churned out eight points on 3-for-8 shooting. Backup center Jon Teske made his lone attempt. Nobody else on the team had a bucket.

While Michigan's poor outside shooting wasn't anything new this tournament, the same couldn't be said for the seven-point halftime deficit, nor the simultaneous disappearing acts of Robinson, Simpson, and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman. The Wolverines had been able to grind out wins without one or two of those players in top form; getting nothing out of all three would be tough to overcome.

The exclamation point. [Fuller]

Ever so slowly, Wagner and friends worked their way back in the second half. Ever so slowly. The margin remained at seven at the first media timeout and climbed to eight on a pair of Clayton Custer free throws out of the second. With the outside shots still clanging iron and Simpson looking entirely out of sorts, Beilein turned to his bench, subbing in Teske and Jordan Poole. With ten seconds of entering the game, Poole drove baseline for a layup. Shortly thereafter, Poole grabbed a defensive rebound in traffic, pushed the pace, and the ball worked around to Robinson for a three-pointer—quite notably, his second, reaching the magic six-point mark while cutting the deficit to three.

Poole, fully at home taking center stage in the Final Four, kept seeking out buckets. After another board, he went coast-to-coast for a tough layup. Wagner knotted the game a minute later by backing out of a double-team and launching a three-pointer right over it. Poole took his the next turn, giving Michigan its first lead of the second half at the line with 6:20 to play.

"The Drip Boys are full of swag, that's what they call themselves," said Matthews. "They bring instant energy, especially this kid here [Poole]. This is my roommate, so I've got my hands tied with him the whole trip long."

In closing time, Beilein went with his go-to guys. Simpson came back in for Simmons, rediscovered his defense, and kept the ball moving without those unsightly turnovers. Matthews hit a gorgeous reverse layup off a sharp pass from Wagner after taking a quick breather. Abdur-Rahkman got Michigan's lead up to double digits with a tough runner, only his second basket of the game, that all but ended the game with 2:13 to play. Sister Jean got a head start up the tunnel right around the time Matthews hammered home the final nail.

How many more, Jordan? [Fuller]

This was, above all, a career-defining performance by Wagner, who finished with 24 points on 17 shot equivalents, 15 rebounds (six offensive), an assist, and three steals. That stat line put him among Hall of Fame company: Larry Bird and Hakeem Olajuwon are the only other players to record 20 points and 15 rebounds in a national semifinal.

"Wow," said Wagner upon hearing that fact. "If you put it like that, it's probably cool. But to be honest, I kept looking possession by possession, we had trouble scoring the first half. We scored 22 points and that was kind of the only way we found our way to the basket, grab offensive rebounds and get second-shot opportunities. And I honestly just tried to do my job. The shots were falling the second half. It's a lot more fun when the ball goes through the net."

Wagner also played one of his best defensive games; while Krutwig went 7-for-11 from the field, he also coughed up six turnovers, and Wagner committed only one foul—of paramount importance in a game the Wolverines needed all 36 of his brilliant minutes.

Michigan's now-usual stifling defense handled the rest until the offense finally clicked late. Just don't tell the Wolverines they just knocked off Cinderella.

"We never looked at the team as a Cinderella team," said Matthews. "It's like 300-something Division I teams, and they're one of the last four standing. That's no Cinderella story. We respected them and we knew we had to come out and execute against them."

It took a lot of patience and faith in the system, but it ultimately paid off in Michigan's second trip to the NCAA championship game in six years. The winner of Villanova-Kansas awaits on Monday night.

"Everybody is really happy," said Beilein. "And we're ready to move on to the next game, whoever it is."

[Hit THE JUMP for more photos and the box score.]


Unverified Voracity Does Not Mention Any Nuns

Unverified Voracity Does Not Mention Any Nuns Comment Count

Brian March 30th, 2018 at 12:49 PM

Let's all sit quietly and think about the near future. SOUNDS GOOD GUYS NOBODY'S EXPLODING KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK





"you can attack their bigs" [Patrick Barron]

A much better anon coach quote article. Yahoo's was extremely silly, but ESPN's version is on point. On Michigan:

"They've got three really good on-ball defenders," one coach said. "Most teams don't have two, or even one. They have three. [Zavier] Simpson, [Muhammad-Ali] Abdur-Rahkman, [Charles] Matthews can really guard the ball. You don't have a matchup on the perimeter you can attack. They're handsy, they're physical in all the right ways. How handsy and chippy they are, in itself is very anti-Michigan-like. They're well-schooled. They're so good at putting their hands on or getting an armbar into you and then taking it off, then beating you to the spot." …

"If you're a traditional defensive team, you've got no chance of guarding them," one opposing coach said. "The teams that have slowed them down the most are teams that are nontraditional, that can switch a lot. You've got no chance of defending them if you don't switch ball screens."

Dollar says the latter quote there is from Matt Painter.

On Loyola:

"Everybody on their team is an above-average passer and can shoot it, so they have spacing," another head coach in the league said. "They don't take bad shots. They really work together as a team to get great shots every possession. They have an inside presence, but most of their offensive attack is transition or through spacing. Offensively, that's what makes them really good." …

"They ice ball screens and try to keep Krutwig in the paint defensively," he said. "So they've got some real tough decisions to make. You can't keep Krutwig in the paint against Wagner, so how they guard those actions, the pick-and-rolls in the middle of the floor. They can bring [Aundre] Jackson off the bench, but they need Krutwig on the floor. That's a real interesting thing for me."

Much more that's interesting at the link.

Yak's got this. Of all the reasons hiring Luke Yaklich might have benefited Michigan, "he'll have lots of experience against the MVC team Michigan sees in the Final Four" is the least likely. And yet:

Prior to joining the Wolverines, the defensive maestro went 7-1 against the Ramblers in his four seasons spent at Illinois State as an assistant coach and is familiar, at least fundamentally, with coach Porter Moser’s style of play.

“Coach Moser is an unbelievable coach ... you have to be locked in on both ends of the floor,” Yaklich said. “It’s gonna be a dog fight. His teams reflect his personality. They’re prepared, they get better, tough and they have a bunch of really great kids that have been through the Missouri Valley and non-conference wars.

“Loyola is obviously gonna have our full attention all week, and we’re thrilled with the opportunity to play in the Final Four against a really good and well-coached team.”

If Michigan wins on Saturday, before the final they need to hire an assistant from a team they can beat easily. How about Dane Fife?

One and done done? Syracuse recruit Darius Bazley has decided to blow off college hoops in favor of a year in the G league, because he's a serious dude.

“I’m self-motivated because I know this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. This is how I want to make a living. This is how I want to provide for my family, and provide for my love of basketball. I’m not playing any games with this. I’m attacking this straight forward. I’m not maneuvering around this, take any side steps. I’m taking this head on. This is the decision that I made, and I know it will work. I know what I’m capable of doing, and I’m going to do just that.”

Fair enough. Is this THE END for the current regime in college basketball? Maybe, maybe not. Bazley's salary in his sole G League year is apparently going to be a comically low 26k, and while he can sign with an agent and get some shoe money he'd probably be better off in the long run with the fame an NCAA tournament run could generate. And it's not like the shoe people can't just give his family money already.

On the other hand:

Bazley won't be wasting his time perfecting a defense that's illegal in the NBA and driving wildly into the lane hoping that this heavily contested shot miraculously falls. Why Bazley—or anyone cough cough Tyus Battle—with a potential NBA future would sign up for that remains a complete mystery. How a team stacked with NBA lottery picks could lose to that team is an even greater one.

PREPARE THE NELSON MEME. Oh and also this:

Or possibly the Sideshow Bob Steps On Rakes meme.

Would the end of one and done be bad for Michigan? Or good? I lean towards good. While the Dukes and Kentuckys of the world would start picking off guys outside the top 25 and might land on a guy that Michigan would otherwise get, the relative gap between those dudes and the dozen-or-so genetic lottery winners available annually is bigger than the 25-50 cohort and the next tier down.

Meanwhile the shoe money that funnels kids towards that restrictive list of bluebloods would now just be signing the top guys outright. The guys at the next level down would be choosing lower levels of bag if they eschew being developed by Beilein. I don't think it would upset the apple cart in college basketball that much; it would kill accidental superteams like "Anthony Davis and four other guys." Since Michigan was never going to get that guy, good.

PFF on Mo Hurst. They like him.

They like him almost as much as I do.

Mid-majors: yes. 8-10 P5 teams: no. Rodger Sherman on the dwindling role of the underdog mid-major:

Twenty years ago, in 1998, the committee gave out at-large bids to Western Michigan (from the Mid-American Conference) and Illinois-Chicago and Detroit-Mercy (from the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, now called the Horizon League). When George Mason stunned the world by reaching the Final Four as a no. 11 seed in 2006, it did so thanks to an at-large bid, having failed to win the Colonial Athletic Association tournament. Same goes for 11th-seeded VCU in 2011, also an also-ran from the CAA. Between 1995 and 2005, UNC Charlotte made the tournament eight times despite winning the Conference USA tournament only twice. UNC Charlotte got six at-large bids in a span of 10 years!

If you’ll allow me to temporarily use a clumsy definition of “mid-major” for the purposes of this piece, let’s say the “mid-major” label applies any school that isn’t in one of the five football power conferences, their predecessors, or either the defunct or current versions of the Big East. In the 20 NCAA tournaments from 1995 to 2014, the selection committee extended at-large bids to an average of 8.9 schools fitting that definition, the high being 12 in 1995, 1998, and 2004. In half of those years at least 10 such teams landed at-large invitations. Since 2015, the committee has invited no more than seven such teams in a given year, bottoming out with last year’s four. You’d think this trend would be reversed, considering over that time frame the number of at-large bids has increased from 32 to 36 as the size of the tournament field has grown from 64 to 68. But no: With more available spots, the committee has rewarded fewer teams from mid-major leagues.

The NCAA should mandate no at large bids for a team that couldn't even win half its conference games. Only one good thing has ever happened because an 8-10 ACC team got in.

Lame. Michigan cancels the 2020-21 VT series, paying 400k to get out of it. In VT's place in 2020: Arkansas State. Something something it's smart because playoff, you say. And I say something something it's dumb because playoff, and we both have exactly the same amount of evidence.

Poole on JJJ. Jordan Poole and Jaren Jackson Jr played together at La Lumiere last year, and Poole thinks he knows that Jackson's out the door:

"I'm pretty sure I already know what his decision is," said Poole.

So, will the 19-year-old Jackson turn pro?

"For sure, I definitely think so, only because it’s an opportunity that not a lot of people are able to pass up. Being able to be in a situation like this, especially being in the lottery as a freshman and getting paid to play basketball, (which) is a dream, that’s definitely an opportunity that you have to take advantage of," Poole said.

You'd think this obvious since he's a top five pick who played fewer minutes in an NCAA tournament elimination than Ben Carter, but MSU people are putting it out there that Jackson is leaning towards returning. Izzo getting a lottery pick to return for more rebounding drills in football pads is almost as baffling as "anyone plays for Syracuse."

Etc.: How Villanova became VILLANOVA. KRACH tourney odds. Beilein, post-crash. Amateurism and Loyola. Title IX is no barrier to ending amateurism.


WTKA Roundtable 3/29/2018: Return of the Mid-Range Assassins

WTKA Roundtable 3/29/2018: Return of the Mid-Range Assassins Comment Count

Seth March 30th, 2018 at 6:05 AM


Things discussed:

  • Sam is on a plane to San Antonio and Ed is not here so we’ve got Ira, Brian, and Craig today.
  • People should be nicer to Craig on our message boards.
  • Texas A&M: Show me two guys on the floor who can’t shoot and I’ll show you a Beilein win. Their zone didn’t matter because Michigan was hitting their shots, even if they weren’t as good of looks.
  • Nobody practices midrange twos anymore—back when Craig was playing routinely day everyone liked that shot—Moses was 80% from that spot.
  • Will see Michigan State play some 2-3 next year we bet. JJJ is 80% to come back via people in Lansing.
  • In the past when Michigan didn’t shoot well they just lost—being able to win these types of games is. Mindblowing stat: Michigan is 7-3 this year shooting under 1 PPP when historically they were 12-84.
  • Impressive that FSU didn’t get any transition points until that missed goaltend/awful call on Moe.
  • The story of Yacklich: guy wanted to stay a high school teacher!
  • Only elite defending PG you can put with Z in Michigan’s history with Z is Gary Grant. Yacklich has some weirdly defensive guys for Michigan: Z, Matthews.
  • The recruitment of Z and Winston: Z’s dad got frustrated with being State’s 2nd fiddle.
  • Leonard Hamilton and that relaxing 10 seconds. Two or three open looks all game! Their 7’4 guy only played 7 minutes?
  • Those coaches comments were pretty salty.
  • Loyola-Chicago: MVC Purdue. No rise-up shooters so their threes have to be assisted, but they can get efficient midrange shots to go regularly. Been winning games close. Will stretch Michigan’s defense.
  • If they get to the championship: Villanova terrifies us. Brunson postups might be Zavier Simpson kryptonite. Like a super Michigan. Much rather play Kansas: more of a Purdue with a true 7 footer who gets in foul trouble.
  • Frozen Four: Mel playing with house money. Very due for one of these Ohio State games when Michigan’s been winning 5-on-5 by a big margin. Hockey is plinko is the crux of the argument against this tournament format—Michigan got some luck against BU.
  • When Quinn Hughes is off the ice you’re asking when does Quinn Hughes go back on the ice? Nice that they’re no longer on top of basketball.

You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Podbean.

Segment two is here. Segment three is here.


Ben Carter’s gone so Jackson should have a chance to get starter’s minutes now.


Hoops Preview: Loyola-Chicago, Final Four

Hoops Preview: Loyola-Chicago, Final Four Comment Count

Brian March 29th, 2018 at 2:18 PM

SPONSOR NOTE. HomeSure Lending is sponsoring our tourney coverage. If you need a home loan, you should probably get it from a guy whose Ted Valentine impression is just as thunderously sarcastic as yours. Matt will get you a good loan, fast. And call you for a charge while doing it. Unless it is actually a block.


WHAT #7 Michigan (32-7) vs
#30 Loyola-Chicago (32-5)
WHERE Alamodome
San Antonio, TX
WHEN 6:09 PM Saturday
LINE Michigan –5 (KenPom)

yes, you can purchase a Sister Jean bobblehead


Well, here we are. Again. Michigan rolls into the Final Four as the most fearsome defense left in the tourney by some distance. They can't shoot straight anymore, but it hasn't really mattered. Moe Wagner has had three off games, and it hasn't really mattered. The front end of a one and one is a turnover, and it hasn't really mattered.

It'll matter this weekend. Michigan has a shot at the national title. It'll either be a poor one if it's the first weekend; it'll be an outstanding one of it's Texas A&M. Here we go.


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 13 Clayton Custer Jr. 6'1, 185 86* 21 117 No
58/47 from floor, excellent at 2PJs. Main assist guy but 5:4 A:TO is bleah.
G 14 Ben Richardson Sr. 6'3, 195 81 14 111 No
Low usage combo is 39% from deep and has 1:1 A:TO. Barely shoots inside line.
G 5 Marques Townes Jr. 6'4, 210 71 22 106 No
Slasher a rarity on the roster w 60% of shots at rim. 40% on limited threes.
F 0 Donte Ingram Sr. 6'6 215 71 19 106 No
40% from 3 on 184 attempts, does fair amount of work inside line.
C 25 Cameron Krutwig Fr. 6'9, 260 52 23 120 Very
Beefy dude with mad YMCA game. Post-up only. Not a rim protector.
F 21 Aundre Jackson Sr. 6'5, 230 48 28 108 No
Undersized backup 5 does a lot of posting up vs MVC.
G 12 Lucas Williamson Fr. 6'4", 190 47 13 110 No
Does some inside work vs MVC, in this game projects as 43% Just A Shooter
G 2 Bruno Skokna So. 6'1, 195 16 15 111 No
Also a guy likely to be relegated to standing around perimeter; 36% from 3.
G 2 Cameron Satterwhite Fr. 6'4, 175 11 15 102 Yes
Fringe guy who might get a few minutes if there's foul trouble.

*[last five games minutes from Kenpom.]

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