This Week's Obsession: Expectations are Back There

This Week's Obsession: Expectations are Back There Comment Count

Seth December 4th, 2018 at 10:00 AM

The Sponsor:

It’s Nick Hopwood, our MGoFinancial Planner from Peak Wealth Management. If you haven't listened to Nick's podcast, Finding True Wealth, yet, head over there because his latest episode is an interview with our own Brian Cook about the past and future of MGoBlog. Nick also 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.

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The Question:

Why is this team exceeding expectations?

Ace: Just wait until Jordan Poole gets goin— oh, I see.

Seth: 1/1 Charles Mathewses agree: this is not a good development.


Ace: We can start with the obvious: Michigan had one of the best defenses in the country last year, upgraded on that end at the four and five spots (and arguably the two as well), and also moved into year two of Luke Yaklich’s teachings taking hold. Now it’s the best defense in the country by a significant margin so far this year.

This is very much Zavier Simpson’s team. Matthews’, too.

BiSB: To the defensive question, we didn't know if Iggy could play defense. Turns out... yeah, very much so.

Brian: His first real test is "hey, check Eric Paschall with zero help defense" and that goes spectacularly.

Seth: Let's not leave out 7'2" Zavier Simpson.

BiSB: Big Trogdor?

Ace: I meant in terms of temperament. Jon Teske is clearly one of the main reasons this team is so good. He’s a defensive savant. It’s not just that he can block shots, he’s almost never in the wrong place, his hands are great, and he moves surprisingly well.

BiSB: His foul rate is also insanely low.

Brian: Michigan's two point D is stunning and it is most stunning when The Big Sleep is on the floor. 31%!

Ace: (pulls out bullhorn)


[After THE JUMP: Florida gets mentioned once. Also Duke.]


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,


The Unusual

The Unusual Comment Count

Brian November 29th, 2018 at 1:14 PM

11/28/2018 – Michigan 84, North Carolina 67 – 7-0

Last year's game against North Carolina was a familiar script for Michigan fans. When one of college basketball's blue bloods deigns to play Michigan, it's the old college try for a while. Then the fact that the large men can jump over your head wins out, as it tends to in basketball games.

Sometimes Michigan stayed in contact until the very end, like they did in the Elite Eight against Kentucky. Sometimes they won the damn game, like they did in the Sweet Sixteen versus Kansas. Other times not so much. But even when the positive version of these events were transpiring every lead the opposition got felt like a million points; every Michigan basket was trying to empty the ocean bucket by bucket. Last year it was 20-20 in a flash because Michigan was hitting everything, but even then I was waiting for the bottom to drop out. North Carolina was taking a bunch of good shots. Michigan was taking… shots. They weren't all bad. They weren't all good. They were just shots.

When the lull inevitably came the deficit piled up quickly. Michigan never managed to eat into it. And that was the least unusual thing in the world.



pre-hat-and-pistols phase[Campredon]

Last night Roy Williams got madder and madder and madder until he was Yosemite Sam in a suit. He was so furious about a four-point first-half deficit that he kept his team in the locker room for the full duration of halftime; when the second half started his team was so sped up that they were taking literally any shot they could get up without devolving into half-court offense. These were universally bricks.

Michigan responded with slick pick-and-roll baskets and open threes. Williams became beet-red at the neck, with the redness inching ever-higher. Jon Teske—honest friar Jon Teske—leveled the basket on an alley-oop dunk that I still do not believe happened; the red flew up Roy's forehead. The meter filled up shortly after. Williams pulled the ultimate high school move: all five starters on the bench, looking forlorn as their backups booted balls into the stands and threw up the kind of shots that are hard to rebound because they come off the backboard so fast they feel like bullets. By the time the starters returned the lead was well and truly insurmountable.


"It was because they stunk it up," Williams said when asked about the lineup change. "Every one of them stunk it up, and so did I." …

"I've got no positive things," Williams said. "If you want positive things, you'd better go out and find someone on the street. I've got no positive for me, no positives for my team."

This was unusual. Michigan has exasperated coaches before. They've rained death from above against half the country. They've never comprehensively whooped one of college basketball's upper crust on both ends. If Michigan could hit a dang free throw they would have cracked 1.3 points per possession. UNC was held under one on the other end.

This wasn't Michigan scrapping out a victory with pluck and an improbable three pointer launched nearly from halfcourt. From the 12 minute mark in the first half on it was a +27 beatdown in which Michigan felt like the better team in everything except getting shots up (but not down) fast. This year it was UNC hitting just shots for a while, and then the bottom dropped out on them. Their vaunted transition game was more curse than gift. Once in the halfcourt they looked around for one on one opportunities and executed far too few of them.

This is a new world.

John Beilein's Michigan teams are known for scuffling through early rough patches as the complicated offense comes together with new folks in new roles. Then they hit the warp speed button. Sometimes in January, sometimes in February, but usually around halfway through the year.

What happens when a Beilein team that has ripped Villanova and North Carolina hits the go button? Is there even a button left to push? Where can they even go from here? What's the hole to patch? Okay, other than free throws? I have no idea what the answer to these questions are. I project finding out is going to be fun.

[After THE JUMP: old man game and a deer on fire]


Michigan 84, North Carolina 67

Michigan 84, North Carolina 67 Comment Count

Alex Cook November 29th, 2018 at 1:15 AM

Early on, this looked like North Carolina’s type of game. The Tar Heels scored on their first three possessions, set the pace at their preferred tempo, and veteran big man Luke Maye had a couple of buckets. Michigan had to sub out Ignas Brazdeikis after an early foul, and following a few careless turnovers and a few more scores by UNC, the Wolverines trailed 21-11 eight minutes into the contest. At that point, North Carolina was 9-13 shooting from the field and controlled the game.

From there, Michigan went on to outscore the Tar Heels by 27 and blew out their seventh opponent in seven games. UM quickly erased the deficit: it started with an awkward sequence that ended with a Zavier Simpson steal and layup, Iggy scored three the old-fashioned way and hit a spot-up three on consecutive possessions, and Eli Brooks made another three to take the lead. The game began to get more frenetic late in the first half, but it was to Michigan’s advantage as they went on an extended 17-2 run.

North Carolina inadvertently slowed the game down with some fouls and regained the lead; the Wolverines got just one point out of three one-and-one situations (it was a bad night at the line for Michigan, who shot just 11-23). Matthews and Jordan Poole each hit threes on the last possessions of the half though, and UM took a 39-35 lead into the break. Michigan had adjusted to North Carolina’s style, and the defense locked in for the rest of the game - but it was the Wolverine offense that keyed the rout in the second half.



Maye hit the first basket out of halftime on a post hook over Iggy, but Iggy quickly returned the favor by burning him on a backdoor cut from the wing. Jordan Poole hit a tough step-back three late in the shot clock; he set up Iggy for another three; and Simpson lobbed an alley-oop to Jon Teske to prompt a timeout from Roy Williams less than three minutes into the half. At the under-16 timeout, Williams subbed in his entire bench and by the time the starters returned, the deficit was at 18 and the game was basically over.

After UNC reserve guard Leaky Black hit a three to briefly stem the bleeding, he and Matthews started jawing and prompted an intervention from the refs; on the next two possessions, Matthews skied for a put-back dunk and was fouled for a three-point play, and then he blocked a shot from Black into the student section. That sequence was basically the half in microcosm, as the Wolverines dominated at both ends for much of the second stanza.

North Carolina tried to mount a late rally. Cameron Johnson, who entered the game as their leading scorer, was held scoreless (mostly due to the efforts of Matthews) until he made a layup over Iggy and was fouled, missed the free throw and wound up hitting a three on that same possession; Kenny Williams knocked down consecutive threes; a 22-point lead was trimmed in half. After the two teams traded empty possessions, Matthews knocked down a big three to slam the door. On Michigan’s last possession of the game, Poole hit a deep step-back three to beat the shot clock - a fitting conclusion to an extremely impressive performance.



Iggy and Matthews were major catalysts for Michigan, combining for 45 points on just 32 shooting possessions, and they were consistently excellent on both ends throughout the game. Poole scored 15 of his 18 points (and hit four threes) after halftime to provide a huge boost. Jon Teske had just 6 points and 5 rebounds in his season-high 34 minutes, but stepped up with Livers limited by foul trouble. He blocked five shots, was a deterrent around the rim, and made several impressive plays, including corralling freshman phenom Nassir Little (who had a rough night) on a switch and forcing a bad miss.

The Wolverines shot 63% on twos, hit 11 threes, and still finished with a healthy 1.20 points per possession despite the bad free throw shooting. On the other end of the floor, they held the potent Tar Heel offense to under a point per possession, were solid on the defensive glass for most of the game, allowed relatively few transition baskets, and - as usual - contested almost every shot well. Maye and point guard Coby White were inefficient; Johnson and Little had some of the worst games they’ll have all season.

Much like they did in the Villanova game, Michigan staked a compelling claim as one of the best teams in the country with this emphatic win in a marquee game. The Wolverine defense passed a tough test against one of the best offenses they’ll face - and they’ll get another quality offense on Saturday as Carsen Edwards and Purdue come to town on Saturday. Michigan seems poised for a special season, and if the offense clicks like it did tonight, this team has an unbelievably high ceiling. It’s gonna be a fun year.



[Box score after the JUMP]


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.


Hoops Preview: North Carolina 2018

Hoops Preview: North Carolina 2018 Comment Count

Brian November 27th, 2018 at 1:42 PM


WHAT #7 Michigan (6-0) vs
#4 North Carolina (6-1)
WHERE Crisler Arena
Ann Arbor, MI
WHEN 9 PM Wednesday 
LINE Michigan -2 (KenPom)


Michigan's Only Revenue Sport™ returns to the court tomorrow in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, sporting a shiny #1 in Kenpom's defensive efficiency rankings. This kicks off a four-game stretch, including two conference games, that will either firmly establish Michigan as a contender in the league and maybe for a 1-seed or cause the total implosion of the Michigan fanbase. No pressure!

This stretch kicks off with a return game from North Carolina. Last year a frenetic start (20-20 six minutes in) gave way to a Michigan scoring drought and a 14-point halftime deficit Michigan never ate into. Luke Maye put up 27 points as Michigan forced just six turnovers and allowed 57% shooting from two. Michigan gave up 1.23 points per possession, their worst performance of the year outside of that Purdue insanity.

This edition of UNC is insanely fast and Michigan's D is locked in. Should be fun.


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 Coby White Fr. 6'5, 185 57 27 120 No
#25 composite freshman is giant point guard who hit 7/10 threes against Texas. Bad so far inside line. Pull-up three shooter.
G 24 Kenny Williams Sr. 6'4, 191 65 15 110 No
Low usage but very efficient (59/40 shooting) last year. Rarely creates own shot, but will convert off cuts a lot. Scuffling early this year.
F 5 Nassir Little Fr. 6'6, 220 50 23 129 Kinda
#3 composite freshman is absurd athlete hitting 64% from two and grabbing a ton of OREBs. 95%(!!!) at rim. Iffy shooter.
F 13 Cameron Johnson Sr. 6'9 210 64 21 135 No
Grad transferred from Pitt last year and fit in as versatile stretch four. 52/34 from floor, not much of an impact without the ball.
C 32 Luke Maye Sr. 6'8, 240 71 21 119 No
Stretch 5 hit 43% on 116 threes last year and is burly enough to be a major factor on the boards. Not a great athlete and just a 50% shooter from two in 2017-18.
C 15 Garrison Brooks So. 6'9, 230 45 20 118 Yes
Conventional big is hammering the offensive boards and converting off others' assists.
C 21 Sterling Manley So. 6'11", 235 30 21 96 Yes
Extremely typical backup C.
F 1 Leaky Black Fr. 6'7, 185 36 13 120 No
#71 composite freshman got ~15 MPG vs Texas and UCLA. Super low usage so far.
G 4 Seventh Woods Jr. 6'2, 185 40* 16 117 Yes
PG has whopping 43% assist rate and basically never shoots because he's awful at it. 25 TO rate against jabronis.

*[Woods missed UNC's games against UCLA and Texas but was averaging about 15 MPG in their previous outings. ]

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