MGoPodcast: Burninating the Cottages

MGoPodcast: Burninating the Cottages Comment Count

Seth December 3rd, 2018 at 7:45 AM

1 hour and 39 minutes

The Sponsors

This show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan nobody would get our jokes. 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, and Lantana Hummus


1. North Carolina

starts at 1:00

People are there for a 9:30 p.m. tip on a Wednesday and Crisler has been *loud*. Lotta Carolina fans got to witness their team's defenestration too. Is Michigan a blue blood? When Poole is your "weak point" your defense isn't vulnerable. Teske five blocks vs one of the most athletic teams in the country. CM's fall-away from 10 feet is not our favorite shot but it's valuable as a late clock idea. Iggy segment starts at 16 minutes.

2. Purdue

starts at 29:52

Boilers' schedule is brutal to start. Teske vs. Painter: if he's going to hit threes from the top of the key Painter's got nothing left. Carsen Edwards had 50% usage. Poole is now on fire. Prevented a three-centric team from shooting them.

3. Hoops Season Outlook

starts at 52:36

Is this a Top Seed? Normally a Beilein team is operating like this in February. Big Ten is manageable, probably already played the highest ranked opponents on the schedule. Have a trip to Breslin in their future. Free throw shooting: if Matthews can stay at 70. Big Ten is good this year though.

4. Not Hockey

Starts at 1:14:50

Why can't we get these games on TV? What has Warde done? This would be a good thing to do. State plays with six goalies on the ice at a time. Gotta make some Grade A stops because nobody can live at .830. Gonna be an off year or two while we wait for Mel's guys to grow up.


  • "Trogdor Song"—Homestar Runner
  • "Open Mike Eagle"—Microfiche
  • "I Bombed Korea"-Cake
  • “Across 110th Street”


I don't need them to go out and commit crimes but,


There Is No Roof Muppets

There Is No Roof Muppets Comment Count

Seth November 28th, 2018 at 11:41 PM

Brilliant defense, brilliant shooting (nisi free throws), and Poole from out of wifi range to cap it off just in case you were worried about that, as North Carolina gets ejected from Crisler while Dickie V sings The Victors.

And something something about Charles Matthews definitely (take rejected) absolutely (take rejected again) not ready for the NBA you can't have one without the other.

There goes the ceiling. No more ceiling. Basketball school.


Michigan 63, Norfolk State 44

Michigan 63, Norfolk State 44 Comment Count

Alex Cook November 6th, 2018 at 11:12 PM

In John Beilein's 800th career win, his Michigan team leaned on its defense and suffocated Norfolk State from the beginning en route to a comfortable, if ugly, 63-44 win. It took the Spartans (Not Those Spartans) over seven minutes to score their first points, which came on an unintentionally banked-in long two after Michigan had eased its way to an 11-0 lead. For most of the first half, the Wolverine defense was nearly impeccable, holding Norfolk State to just 0.37 points per possession and affording a misfiring Michigan offense a large margin of error.

Jon Teske was the standout for UM: not only did he lead the team in scoring (with 13 points) and rebounding (with 8, which was tied with Isaiah Livers), his defense in the paint was outstanding, as the 4 blocks he logged in the stat sheet is an insufficient record of how many shots he altered around the rim. After a swat as the help defender midway through the second half, BTN announcer Shon Morris remarked that he was "almost not fair," and it was hard to shake that feeling as he completely smothered any and every Norfolk State drive in his vicinity. Michigan's team will look quite different with Teske replacing Moe Wagner as the starting center, but early returns indicate that an already outstanding Michigan defense will be even more formidable with the surprisingly quick giant deterring opponents and swallowing up their shot attempts.

The wings mostly had rougher season debuts, and were the principal cause of Michigan's offensive troubles. Jordan Poole didn't hit a shot from the field, though he did have a few nice assists early on in the game before Norfolk State switched to its mix of zone defenses; Charles Matthews was active on the offensive glass and chipped in 12 points, but missed all four of his mostly wide open three-point attempts and - more worryingly - all five free throws; Ignas Brazdeikis had a rough first half in his first college game (featuring a rushed, contested two that was blocked after he'd conceded a layup, an airballed three, and a charge in transition) before making a few nice plays in the second. Livers, who played more minutes off the bench than the freshman did, had a nice game: protecting the rim, generating a few extra possessions on the boards, dishing out a few nice assists - including a drive and no-look dish to Brazdeikis for a dunk - and hitting a variety of shots.

That Michigan scored just 0.91 points per possession and still managed to win very comfortably speaks to how utterly overwhelmed Norfolk State was by what could be one of the best defenses in the country. The Wolverines did a good job of moving the ball against the zone and avoided turnovers for the most part (at least until late in the game, deep into garbage time), but just couldn't hit shots: 16/34 on twos (47%) against an undersized opponent and 6/26 on threes (23%). More worryingly, free throws were an issue even aside from Matthews, as Michigan hit just 13-29 of its free throws as a team (45%).

It didn't matter though. Even if most of Michigan's rotation was having an off night on the offensive end, their work on defense made those struggles irrelevant. The three guards, Zavier Simpson, Poole, and Eli Brooks (who played well on offense, hitting two threes and notching four assists to zero turnovers) were disruptive - forcing more turnovers than they were credited with in the box score - and did well to stay in front of Norfolk State's perimeter players. Most of the rare baskets they conceded came on tough shots, including multiple contested step-back twos. That first Spartan bucket was illustrative of simply how hard it was for them to score, as was their first made three, a turnaround deep buzzer-beater in the second half. In the end, Norfolk State scored 0.64 points per possession, a number that was better than all but two of the defensive performances over Michigan's 41 games last season.

Before the last five minutes of the game, when Beilein subbed out Teske for good and put in freshman big Brandon Johns, he went with a tight, eight-man rotation: the same starters as the exhibition (Simpson, Poole, Matthews, Brazdeikis, and Teske), the sixth man, Livers, third guard Brooks, and backup big man Austin Davis, who was active around the basket on the offensive end. By the end, all five freshmen had played, and the Wolverines closed with a lineup of David DeJulius, Adrien Nunez, walk-on CJ Baird, Johns, and Colin Castleton - so there will be no redshirts this season.

Once Michigan's strength of schedule ramps up, it's unlikely that opponents will look so uhapless on offense, but it's clear that this team has a ton of potential on the defensive end of the floor - and that starts with Teske, who looked outstanding against an overmatched Norfolk State team, and Simpson, who was his usual tenacious self tonight. Michigan's shooting struggles may or may not portend a rough year in that regard (it's far too early to tell) but their defense could rack up plenty of wins either way.

[After the JUMP: the box score]


This Week's Obsession: Hello Basketball, Part I

This Week's Obsession: Hello Basketball, Part I Comment Count

Seth October 31st, 2018 at 4:16 PM

The Sponsor:

It’s Nick Hopwood, our MGoFinancial Planner from Peak Wealth Management. Nick has a neat new tool which has a different spin on figuring out which level of risk is appropriate for your portfolio in these volatile times. His podcast is called Finding True Wealth and worth listening to.

Legal disclosure in itty bitty 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:


Alex: Welcome back, basketball.

Brian: This year we get to have two sports that are fun!

Ace: Hutch just gave you a look.

Seth: Defending national runners-up hockey team doesn't do it for you?

Brian: This year we get to have many consecutive sports being fun!

Alex: Hey, I personally think Michigan clubbing teams 58-46 will be fun, but ymmv.

Seth: Yay Sports. Also I had a sibling mention it is Michigan State basketball season and they are expected to win the Big Ten again is this true?

Ace: In a technical sense. For reasons.

Brian: Okay, let's start with overall conference outlook. Who wins the league?

[After THE JUMP: Who do you think?]


Open Practice Impressions

Open Practice Impressions Comment Count

Brian October 30th, 2018 at 12:19 PM

Michigan's annual basketball open practice was yesterday. Takes! You need takes!

Pick and roll focus. After a quick warmup the drills portion of the practice was largely pick and roll, with various managers simulating the various ways teams defend P&R and Michigan executing plays based on the opposition's reaction. There was also a fast break drill that started 3 v 2 or 3 v 1 with the defense getting extra players up to parity after an initial disadvantage.

Positional intrigue. Brooks played the two next to Simpson in the scrimmage; Beilein explicitly noted that a number of players were playing multiple positions. That's par for the course; the interesting bit was that Livers and Johns are both options at center. Michigan ran a little of Livers at C last year, where he looked lost on the offensive end. Johns looked pretty similar during the scrimmage. Despite that I'd expect to see him mostly at the 5. Beilein talked about his "four bigs" at one point and generally referenced Johns as a 5.



Scrimmage! Teams:

  • Maize was Simpson/Brooks/Nunez/Livers/Teske, with Castleton subbing in at the 5. CJ Baird also got a little run.
  • Blue was DeJulius/Poole/Matthews/Brazdeikis/Davis, with Johns subbing in at the 5.

Maize won by approximately 8 points (there was no scoreboard but Beilein had it in his head and kept exhorting blue to get some stops), largely on the strength of Simpson and Teske. Beilein was mic'd up and kept relaying items to the crowd—this was delightful—and one of them was a mention that Simpson and Teske had great chemistry in the pick and roll. This was borne out, as Simpson found Teske repeatedly with a series of slick pocket passes that set the Maize team up for easy buckets. Many of these drew "oooohs" from the assembled crowd.

Simpson didn't just find Teske; he was able to set up all manner of his teammates. His shot's still pretty broke; even so he looked like a guy who'd taken another largish leap forward. It felt like he'd be able to get to the lane with more consistency and pay that off more. Simpson's sophomore year already featured a 25% assist rate*, which was around 200th nationally. That was comparable to Derrick Walton's final two years. Trey Burke's Naismith year saw him rack up a 37% assist rate. Simpson could get to 30-32%, maybe? The kind of passes he was making felt like they'd work against a whole hell of a lot of folks.

*[IE, a quarter of Michigan's baskets when Simpson was on the floor were assisted by him.]

[After THE JUMP: a freshman who doesn't feel like one]


2018-19 Big Ten Hoops Preview Part 2

2018-19 Big Ten Hoops Preview Part 2 Comment Count

Alex Cook October 23rd, 2018 at 10:18 AM

Previously: 14. Rutgers, 13. Illinois, 12. Iowa, 11. Northwestern, 10. Ohio State

The biggest reason the Big Ten was bad last year was because its middle was so weak.

The Big Ten sent just four teams to the NCAA Tournament last season, and they didn't deserve more. It was a severe step back for the conference, which had sent seven in each of the seasons since the league expanded to 14 teams, and hadn't even sent as few as five since 2010. And while the top of the league was strong with Purdue (2), Michigan (3), Michigan State (3), and Ohio State (5) finishing as high seeds, there was a huge drop-off from there.

Nebraska, which finished tied for fourth in the conference and received a double-bye to the Big Ten Tournament, beat exactly one decent team on its way to 22 regular season wins. Penn State was a Top 25 team according to the computers and suffered some bad, close losses at home. Maryland never put it together. Northwestern and Minnesota crashed and burned after high expectations; Indiana and Wisconsin just had crappy teams.

It was not long ago that the Big Ten was the best conference in college basketball, featuring frequent matchups between top-ranked teams and future pros. Last year, there was a grand total of nine regular season Big Ten games between NCAA Tournament teams - out of 126 total. It made for a lot of bad basketball, and anyone who stared at it too closely may have been better off staring at the sun.

With all that said, it should be better this season. The top of the league is weaker than it was a year ago, but its middle appears to be stronger. Even teams profiled in the last installment of this preview - namely Iowa and Northwestern - could really exceed expectations and make a push for the NCAA Tournament. A rising tide lifts all boats, and if there are more quality teams, there will be more opportunities for teams to get impressive wins, and fewer chances for damaging losses.

Of course, many of the teams previewed here could falter. I’m hoping that the Big Ten season won’t be an endless sea of sludge again, but I’d by remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the possibility.


Maximizing Zavier Simpson

Maximizing Zavier Simpson Comment Count

Matt Way July 5th, 2018 at 9:35 AM

[Photo: Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Fresh off a Title Game run, Michigan and John Beilein have plenty of re-tooling to do. Losing several rotation members, the team’s likely starting lineup of Zavier Simpson, Jordan Poole, Charles Matthews, Isaiah Livers, and Jon Teske played only 29 possessions together (15 on offense, 14 on defense) last season per Hoop Lens. That particular lineup struggled mightily, but given the sample size, there’s little real conclusions that can be drawn from those minutes.

We can, however, look at each player and their successes in 2017-18 for clues as to how next season’s starting lineup might operate.

Here, we start with the returning floor general.

Simpson made significant strides in his sophomore season, especially on the offensive end of the floor. The Ohio native doubled his two-point field goal attempts per 100 possessions while improving his shooting on those attempts from 45.8 percent in his freshman year to 56.2 percent last season.

The point guard’s increased efficiency resulted largely from his masterful work in the pick-and-roll. Simpson’s operation on high screens was important due to the less reliable outside shooting around him – Michigan’s three-point shooting dropped from 38.5 percent in 2016-17 to 35.7 percent a year ago. Losing Duncan Robinson, Moe Wagner, and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Michigan will rely on Simpson off the dribble even more in the fall.

Simpson’s most valuable asset is his first step and general quickness. His quickness is particularly advantageous when there are fewer defenders that can potentially impede his route to the basket. That primarily comes in two forms – in space and along the short side of the court. The latter is perhaps less intuitive because it results in less space to operate. But defenses generally commit less manpower to those areas.

[Hit THE JUMP for Simpson torching MSU, his growing rapport with Jon Teske, and much more.]


Charles Matthews Returning For Junior Year

Charles Matthews Returning For Junior Year Comment Count

Ace May 30th, 2018 at 4:17 PM

leggoooooooooooooooooooooooooo [Bryan Fuller]

The pieces are in place. Michigan announced this afternoon that Charles Matthews is withdrawing his name from the NBA Draft and will return to school for his redshirt junior season:

"I am thankful for the assistance Coach Beilein and the staff have given me in order to gain as much information as possible before making this decision. They showed great confidence and patience with me while I sorted this all out," said Matthews. "After much prayer and discussions with my family and the staff, I am excited to be returning to Michigan next year. I learned a lot throughout this process, but my main focus will now be completing my education at Michigan and leading my teammates to more success next season."

"This process allows young men to gather so much valuable information and make the most informed decision they can," said U-M's David and Meredith Kaplan head men's basketball coach John Beilein. "Charles has an incredible personality and confidence. His work habits and desire to reach his potential are terrific. He is more focused than ever to improve in all areas of his game. Like others before him, Charles will be a great senior leader for us and we are excited to have this opportunity to coach him again next season."

Matthews has the opportunity to be Michigan's go-to scorer (a role Jordan Poole is eyeing, too) now that Moe Wagner has gone to the NBA, and his return cements the Wolverines as one of the Big Ten favorites for 2018-19, especially in conjunction with the news that Maryland's Kevin Huerter is hiring an agent. Not only does Matthews give the team another NBA talent, he allows a talented freshman class of wings to work their way into big roles at a more reasonable pace.

It seems likely Matthews will follow the Wagner route—testing the waters, returning, then leaving after improving a couple key areas—and if he does, Michigan should be a very good team once again. His slashing, rebounding, and defense will be major assets, and if his shot develops this season like his footwork did last season, he'll be an all-conference player.

I'll have a post soon to give a full overview of the returning and departing talent in the conference and its outlook now that we have a better handle on the rosters. Meanwhile, top-50 2019 TX forward Jalen Wilson is announcing his decision at 6 pm ET from a group of six that includes the favored Wolverines.


The Big Ten's State of Flux

The Big Ten's State of Flux Comment Count

Ace April 24th, 2018 at 1:15 PM

Uncertainty ball. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

The deadline for putting one's name into the NBA Draft has come and gone, so we now enter the period of uncertainty as players who didn't hire agents go through the pre-draft process before deciding whether to return to school. The Big Ten already has several notable early entrants who will hire agents and stay in the draft, including Moe Wagner and the duo of Jaren Jackson Jr. and Miles Bridges at Michigan State. (Also, uh, Nebraska's Jack McVeigh?)

Even more are testing the waters without an agent, including Charles Matthews, and those decisions will go a long way towards determining the Big Ten outlook for 2018-19. College Basketball Talk's Rob Dauster put together a list of the most influential early entry decisions from a college hoops perspective; of the 12 teams listed, five are from the B1G, and two of those teams (Maryland and Nebraska) have two players with NBA choices to make.

Here's a look at who's gone, who's testing, and how the draft could impact the conference standings next season.

Gone For Sure

...bye. [Campredon]

These players have declared and will hire an agent, locking them into the draft.


F Leron Black — A big loss for an Illinois team that relied heavily on Black's scoring and rebounding. The Illini have some decent young talent and a solid incoming class but this is a setback for Brad Underwood after a rough first year. As for Black, he's probably going undrafted.


F Justin Jackson — Jackson had the misfortune of getting injured after coming back for his sophomore season, and he'd already been off to a stock-hurting start. Still, he's a talented player who made a solid impact as a freshman, and the Terps could be losing a lot depending on a couple other draft decisions.


C Moe Wagner — I don't need to tell you about the impact of this one for Michigan—we've covered it extensively and there will be plenty more to come. Wagner is currently a late first- or second-round prospect who's considered a safe pick without a ton of upside (his defense remains a sticking point).


F Miles Bridges and F Jaren Jackson Jr. — Bridges was overdue to enter and probably slipped a few spots in a loaded draft year because he returned to jack up 25-footers over a 2-3 zone. Jackson, after taking a strangely long time to make a decision that seemed quite obvious after that Syracuse game, made the obvious choice—he could go as high as #3 overall. Both are obviously major losses for an MSU team that may end up starting Kenny Goins at the four. They could lose the third member of their starting frontcourt, too.


F Jack McVeigh — Is not an NBA prospect, to be frank. He barely played for the Huskers this year after being useful rotation piece in his first two seasons. Nebraska's fates are much more closely tied to the decisions of two players who haven't hired agents.


F Keita Bates-Diop — An expected departure as KBD put together a Player of the Year-caliber junior season that earned him first-round projections. The Bucks also lose Jae'Sean Tate and Kam Williams from the starting lineup. They're set to drop back after a shockingly good first year under Chris Holtmann.


PG Tony Carr — Remember that brief moment when Penn State was a dark horse conference title contender for 2018-19? It's over now. Pat Chambers still has a team that could make some noise but they're going to have a very tough time replacing Carr's high-usage, high-efficiency offense. Carr should go in the second round.


PG Corey Sanders — A huge loss for Rutgers, as Sanders dragged that offense out of the KenPom 300s in efficiency the last couple years by taking all the bad shots he could handle and making a respectable number of them given the circumstances. While bad-shot-making is an NBA trait, Sanders isn't expected to be drafted.

[Hit THE JUMP for the water-testers.]


Charles Matthews Testing Draft Process

Charles Matthews Testing Draft Process Comment Count

Ace April 20th, 2018 at 12:49 PM

Yeah, being eye level with the rim is an NBA trait. [Bryan Fuller]

In a move that should come as little surprise, Charles Matthews announced today that he'll test the NBA Draft process without hiring an agent. This allows him, like Moe Wagner last year, to go through the combine and work out for teams while leaving open the door to a return. The press release from the program contains the key dates:

University of Michigan men's basketball junior Charles Matthews announced today (Friday, April 20) he will submit the proper paperwork and declare for the 2018 NBA Draft without hiring an agent allowing him to maintain his amateur status.

"After careful consideration with my parents and coaching staff, I am excited to announce that I will be declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft without hiring an agent," said Matthews. "I give thanks to the Lord for this amazing opportunity, as well as the entire University of Michigan for their support. Go Blue!"

"We have loved the initiative and maturity Charles has shown during this early phase of the testing the NBA Draft process," said U-M's David and Meredith Kaplan Men's Basketball Head Coach John Beilein. "We have been, and will continue, to work closely with Charles and his family to gain as much information as possible in the weeks ahead."

With Matthews entering his name for the NBA Draft, he makes himself eligible to be selected at the Thursday (June 21) draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Additionally, he will be able to start attending workouts scheduled by NBA teams starting Tuesday (April 24) and, if selected, he will be eligible for the NBA Draft Combine, Wednesday through Sunday (May 16-20) in Chicago.

Following the combine, Matthews will have 10 days to weigh his options and keep his name in or withdrawal, by Wednesday (May 30). Withdrawing his name from the draft will maintain his collegiate eligibility.

Matthews is a strong candidate, like Wagner before him, to get a feel for what he needs to improve upon before returning to college for at least one more season. He's mostly off this year's NBA Draft radar—he isn't on ESPN's top 100 and NBADraftNet projects him in the second round of the 2019 draft.

Barring the unexpected—and, yes, you can never rule that out with the NBA Draft—this should be a great opportunity for Matthews to work on his game, return to Michigan, and see the type of development that made Wagner's NBA decision a little easier this year. If the unexpected strikes, someone from the 2018 class—most likely Iggy Brazdeikis—gets thrust into a major role from the start. It'd be very nice to have Matthews' athleticism, finishing, rebounding, and defense on the squad so John Beilein can bring along the freshmen at his preferred pace.