WTKA Roundtable 1/4/2018: A Lonely Cook

WTKA Roundtable 1/4/2018: A Lonely Cook

Submitted by Seth on January 5th, 2018 at 7:11 AM

WTKA cover 1-4-18

Ira’s in for Sam today.

Football things discussed:

  • Brian groans
  • Every quarterback regressed this year. Unprecedented under Harbaugh, who’s had QB success since San Diego. Wasn’t just protection.
  • Down three guys on an OL that wasn’t very good to begin with.
  • No valid complaints about the defense, though some people manage to do so anyway. Microcosm of the season: constantly put behind the 8 ball and held the opponent to a beatable score.
  • Mo Hurst was the best defensive lineman in Craig’s 3,000-year lifetime. Cam made Ira laugh.
  • Would Roman come? Would we go to a pistol? Pistol gets you more of a downhill running game out of a read-option shotgun game, changes quarterback footwork.
  • One of the problems with this offense is Harbaugh might have stepped back from running the offense.
  • Go back to his third year of Stanford: things got better from there too.
  • New coaches: likely to have five new guys if Drevno and Pep are gone too, plus there’s a tenth assistant.

Hoops things discussed

  • Hoops! Ira’s not a fan of the gap: the space between the BTT and the tournament could lead to too much rust.
  • Michigan’s the third-best team in a bad league, but it’s a four-bid league. The defense is ranking better than their offense on Ed’s numbers.
  • Livers emerging is a big deal because Robinson should be out there with Teske to hide his perimeter defense, return him to his Microwave job.
  • Z is never going to be Derrick Walton but he’s becoming an excellent version of himself now that he can shoot: never doubt Beilein’s ability to make anyone a 36% 3-point shooter.
  • Donnal is at 6.3% DREB at Clemson, which means everyone on Michigan’s court is outperforming him. Wagner has improved after his draft grade circled that spot, and Teske is a major upgrade.
  • Poole is the Quinn Hughes of the basketball team: once he settles down Michigan really has something
  • When was the low point last year? Maverick Morgan or the Ohio State loss?
  • Root for Texas, UCLA and LSU. Texas might be really good—Bamba getting better could make that a signature victory this year. Central Michigan could help too.
  • Watch Oklahoma’s Trae Young: Ira says he’s Steph Curry II.

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

Segment two is here. Segment three is here.

THE USUAL LINKS

It was bad year, and it’s manifesting itself on the radio.

Michigan 59, Texas 52

Michigan 59, Texas 52

Submitted by Ace on December 12th, 2017 at 11:56 PM

It may have been ugly. Texas may have been shorthanded. For Michigan, though, tonight's 59-52 road victory over the Longhorns capped a huge week for their tournament chances.

While a defensive slugfest wasn't the unlikeliest scenario, I don't think anybody expected this game to play out the way it did. Both teams struggled to hit from beyond the arc, but Michigan scored more efficiently than a tall Texas squad on two-pointers, especially as they built a 12-point halftime lead. The Longhorns led 2-0 at the under-16 timeout; they wouldn't lead again. Facing five-star skyscraper Mo Bamba, Michigan won the battle of the boards.

After the achingly slow start, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman got the team rolling with a corner three and never looked back. The Wolverines, especially MAAR, got more confident attacking the basket even with Bamba protecting the rim, and they were able to hit a surprising number of tough shots. Of Michigan's 14 first-half field goals, 12 were two-pointers.

The lead didn't remain comfortable for long as Texas made multiple second-half surges. Duncan Robinson and Isaiah Livers both had trouble slowing down Dylan Osetkowski, who led the way for Texas with 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting. He was the only Texas player who could maintain any sort of effeciency on offense, however; the rest of the team went 10-for-25 on twos and 3-for-16 from downtown.

After Osetkowski went on an early second-half tear, Michigan answered with an 11-0 run spearheaded by Charles Matthews and Moe Wagner. Shortly after the run ended, however, Wagner rolled his right ankle over Bamba's foot, and he was quickly ruled out of the game. Seemingly given new life, Texas went on a 7-0 run of their own to close the gap to seven.

As he had all night, MAAR came up big, though perhaps a tad lucky; his banked-in three-pointer ended the run and all but ended the game with 4:53 remaining. He'd add one more tough bucket and a free throw to keep UT at bay, finishing with team-highs of 17 points and ten rebounds.

After beating UCLA and Texas in back-to-back games, Michigan gets a few tune-up contests before conference play starts in January, beginning with a matchup against Detroit on Saturday. While the schedule would allow Michigan to avoid rushing Moe Wagner back, his injury thankfully doesn't sound too serious anyway:

Jon Teske played 18 minutes because of Wagner's injury and early foul; he was a defensive presence, blocking two shots and adding a steal. While he failed to make an offensive impact, he covered much of the gap with his defense, continuing an encouraging run of play for him. Zavier Simpson had another solid performance, getting into the lane for a couple tough buckets, dishing out four assists, and once again earning John Beilein's trust to handle crunch-time minutes. Jordan Poole only played eight minutes but made both of his shots, a tough transition bucket and a step-in jumper off a nifty move at the arc.

So long as Wagner's injury doesn't have a significant impact, this was a huge night for the boys in blue. The victory has already moved Michigan up five spots on KenPom, and for now they should be on the right side of the bubble in early tourney projections. Even if Texas collapses without leading scorer Andrew Jones, which looks like a distinct possibility, the Wolverines just came through a tough five-game stretch with a 3-2 record, strengthened their resumé, and got a better idea of the rotation going forward. Now Beilein gets a few games to tinker before Big Ten play resumes.

[Hit THE JUMP for the box score.]

Hoops Preview: Texas

Hoops Preview: Texas

Submitted by Ace on December 12th, 2017 at 2:58 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #41 Michigan (8-3) at
#26 Texas (6-2)
WHERE Frank Erwin Center
Austin, Texas
WHEN 9 pm ET, Tuesday
LINE Texas -5 (KenPom)
Texas -5 (Bovada)
TV ESPN2
PBP: Dan Shulman
Analyst: Dick Vitale

Right: Goodness gracious, Mo Bamba.

THE US

While UCLA put a quality win feather in Michigan's tournament resumé cap, there's still work to be done, especially since the Big Ten, uh, kinda sucks? The B1G is currently projected as a three-bid league by stat guru Bart Torvik—and that's with Maryland as one of the last four teams in the field. Michigan State and Purdue are the only locks.

In such a conference down year, it'd be very nice to add another resumé-boosting victory in non-conference play, and Texas represents M's final chance at doing so. According to Torvik's team forecast tool, a victory tonight would take Michigan from the projected sixth team out of tournament to in the field, albeit as a First Four team. That's a huge jump from one game.

Given the short turnaround (and a flight to Texas) from Saturday's UCLA game, I wouldn't expect to see major changes to the rotation yet. After this game, however, the team has a few tune-ups before conference play, and that's when we could see some major experimentation. I'll have much more on how that could shake out later this week; tonight's game will provide a critical extra data point for guys like Jordan Poole and Isaiah Livers.

THE LINEUP CARD

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 2 Matt Coleman Fr. 6'2, 180 74 16 108 Yes
Low-usage distributor, not much of a scoring threat.
G 10 Eric Davis Jr. 6'3, 190 43 17 98 Kinda
Three-point specialist in prolonged slump: 26% over last season-plus.
G 12 Kerwin Roach Jr. 6'4, 180 69 19 121 Yes
P&R threat who's extremely effective at rim. Doesn't often shoot from anywhere else.
F 21 Dylan Osetkowski Jr. 6'9, 245 70 27 103 Yes
Excellent rebounder, decent post scorer, will slide to center.
C 4 Mo Bamba Fr. 6'11, 225 59 21 105 Very
Tremendous rebounder and rim protector. Scores mostly via putbacks and cuts.
F 20 Jericho Sims Fr. 6'9, 240 39 16 89 Very
Decent cleanup guy, but turnover-prone and bad FT shooter.
G 3 Jacob Young So. 6'2, 185 24 19 127 No
Efficient scorer vs. bad teams, hasn't played much vs. good teams.
G 1 Andrew Jones (inj.) So. 6'4, 195 62 26 119 Not At All
Leading scorer, best shooter, quality defender out with hand injury.

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