Oscillations Comment Count

Brian February 11th, 2019 at 12:26 PM

2/9/2019 – Michigan 61, Wisconsin 52 – 22-2, 11-2 Big Ten

I'm a person who looks a at lot of box scores. I look at a lot of tempo-free box scores, and a lot of bonus stats derived from play-by-play data, and then I watch the basketball. The thing that continually surprises me is just how neatly most basketball players can be defined by a deep enough dive into box score stats.

Just Shooters are just shooters. D'Mitrik Trice is a great example: he has about 10% of his shots at the rim, shoots a fair number of unassisted threes, and that is enough to paint a picture of Trice's offense exact enough to define him. In the last game the sheer loneliness of Geo Baker was neatly captured by his teammate's assist rate on his twos: under 5%. Ethan Happ, surely one of the most bizarre players in the last 20 years of college basketball, is a butterfly pinned to a board once tempo-free stats are applied.

Most of it is in there. Stats don't capture Simpson's sky hook or Charles Matthews's colossal leaping fadeaways, but they'll tell you the what and a lot of the how.

Charles Matthews's "what" has been wut:


I probably don't need to remind anyone reading this column of the above, specifically the bit that says 27%. It was 24% before this game.

The dissolution of Matthews's despair came gradually—he had two points in the first half—and then all at once. A second-half Matthews post-up got him to the rim, and hooray. The next possession, Matthews post up, Matthews elects to take a contested fadeaway baseline jumper. I did not think that was going in. It did. I didn't think the next one was going in, either. It did. So did the next one, and by the end of the game there was only one person who was going to take the bad-idea shot after Michigan ran the shot clock down. That, too, was a long fadeaway jumper. Swish.

Sure, what the hell. There's no reason Matthews's jumper fell apart this year so there's no reason it can't come back.


If combined with offensive contributions from anyone else, a consistent offensive output from Matthews gets Michigan back to what they were earlier in the season, when they were able to run away and hide from good teams. At Villanova: 19 points on 16 shot equivalents, run away and hide. Vs UNC: 21 points on 16 shot equivalents, run away and hide. There have been blips and bloops since but nothing resembling his finishing stretch last year.

It's hard to square the version of Matthews Michigan has had much of the season with the guy who was banging out a string of efficient tourney performances. Last year's post-season ORTGs: 120, 108, 130, 97, 90, 97, 138, 103, 120, and then a dud in the final: 47. Matthews seemed to be rounding into the final collegiate version of himself, a guy who wasn't ever going to rack up MVP numbers but would be a consistent source of moderately efficient points that Michigan could count on and build off of.

Instead a mid-season drought Atcaman in its intensity.

Matthews has cut his turnovers down and become a functional free throw shooter at the same time so his overall efficiency has been more or less what it was a year ago. But you do want more, because when he hits one of those fadeaways where he jumps so high his head's level with the rim he's a marvel. Matthews alternates between being "Bambi on ice," as Beilein famously described him, and looking like a robot hawk designed to kill God and play basketball. Sometimes when you're on, as the man said.

If Michigan could just bottle that Matthews and mass produce it for 12 or 13 or 16 games down the stretch… but no. Probably not. Matthews is riding back-to-back reasonably efficient games against major competition for the first time all year. There will be oscillations, like there are with Poole and Brazdeikis, and Michigan will hope to ride the waves such that they're able to navigate to post-season destinations.

[After THE JUMP: Happ comes back to the pack]


MGoPodcast 10.21: Daddy Said Fudge

MGoPodcast 10.21: Daddy Said Fudge Comment Count

Seth February 11th, 2019 at 7:27 AM

1 hour and 22 minutes

The Sponsors:

This show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store. Do you like Michigan sweatshirts and stuff? Buy one from them. 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, Phil Klein Insurance, and Lantana Hummus


1. Wisconsin with a W

starts at 1:00

Happ can’t get a foul called on him. Brad Davison has changed block/charge calls in the Big Ten. Happ got worn down after 60 percent usage—beat up Teske then couldn’t even push X around late. Michigan’s defense was amazing. First reason Michigan won was Teske, second was Matthews making shots late. Iggy has an allergy to Wisconsin. Haven’t talked about the Teske re-screen in a while.

2. Rutgers with an S

starts at 31:20

They’re not bad: we’d take Baker and Omoruyi, and maybe three or four backup centers. Michigan made their free throws. Rutgers offense is terrible. The pick and pop is great but needs to stop ending with Iggy misses. Brian’s cheezed off that Gonzaga is a 1 seed. Someone would like to destroy your sweater.

3. Football: The New Coaches, New Offense

starts at 46:50

Second straight year Michigan oversigned their coaches and had to slow-motion process a guy. Aside about Drevno. How much of a problem was Pep? How much is Harbaugh going to hand over the offense to Gattis? Buggy Rugs. Throw the ball, and throw it off our run action please.

4. Hockey and USA Soccer

starts at 1:08:05

The icers finally swept a series. If they can sweep Ohio State and Notre Dame to finish the season they might earn a playoff seed? Gotta win the BTT too. Yeah, it’s a longshot. USA soccer did something other than make Americans miserable for the first time in two years. What’s next, and can they build a 4-3 under defense (?!?) out of players who could play in Europe?


  • "Say It Ain’t So"—Weezer
  • "I Don’t Mind Your Cussing"—Hoots & Hellmouth
  • "Pretty Fly for a White Guy"—Offspring
  • “Across 110th Street”

I could tell from your tweet about this that you were pretty upset about it.


Michigan 61, Wisconsin 52

Michigan 61, Wisconsin 52 Comment Count

Alex Cook February 9th, 2019 at 3:40 PM

For the second time this season, Michigan and Wisconsin played a tight, tense game featuring great performances from both starting centers and quality defense on nearly every possession. For the second time, the home team held a small lead for much of the second half, and never relinquished it, eventually pulling away for a comfortable margin of victory that belied how close the game was. Charles Matthews was the difference for Michigan, scoring an efficient 16 points after the break and showing off his entire offensive arsenal.

Early on, Ethan Happ was dominant. He started with an isolation drive on Jon Teske and made a layup to start the game — Wisconsin went with that look often, and Happ sometimes eventually settled into a post-up. Happ would score eight points before the first TV timeout, as Michigan chose not to bring the double team and had Teske guard him one-on-one. While Happ certainly got the best of that matchup early on, the effectiveness of his isolation takes and post touches waned over the course of the game. He did get Wisconsin out to a big lead early, as a D’Mitrik Trice three brought the score to 13-5.

Michigan finally got going offensively about midway through the first half. Ignas Brazdeikis — who had another rough game against the Badgers, scoring just two points on nine shots — was blocked at the rim by Nate Reuvers, but Michigan rescued the possession and was rewarded with an Isaiah Livers three. On the next trip down the floor, Eli Brooks set up Teske, who slipped a ball screen, for two more. Zavier Simpson got to his right and scored past Davison, then found Teske on a side pick-and-roll for a dunk to give Michigan its first lead of the game at 18-17 with nine minutes left.



The rest of the half was a slog. Iggy kept on missing shots (including some wide open looks), and Happ was no longer able to score at will — though he did score on Teske and Matthews on back-to-back possessions to give Wisconsin a lead. After a physical first half, he picked up his second foul with two minutes left by shoving Teske before catching an entry pass. Teske knocked down a pick-and-pop three on the next possession, and a Kobe King put-back tied the score at 27 right before halftime.

Both teams were still cold to open the second half, but one of the most consequential plays of the game came when Happ committed his third foul. He isolated Teske, drove, missed a reverse layup, and then hit Teske while going for the rebound. While Michigan would only outscore Wisconsin by four in the ten minutes Happ was on the bench, the Badgers were much worse without him. Frequently, they were leveraged into terrible shots — and to Davison’s credit, he knocked down a few big ones to prevent Michigan from pulling away — without the linchpin of their inside-out style.

Jon Teske carried the scoring early in the second half for the Wolverines, but the arrival of Charles Matthews decided the game. Matthews’s first play — a tap-out for an offensive rebound and Jordan Poole layup — was innocuous enough, but he took over from there. He posted up Brevin Pritzl and scored a layup after an aggressive move; he posted up King and while King knew he’d try a fadeaway over his right shoulder, Matthews still hit it. He made a wild layup over Reuvers, hit a step-back two over Pritzl, dished an assist to Teske after drawing help, and threw down a two-handed dunk after blowing by Khalil Iverson. Even though Michigan didn’t make a three in the second half (0-10), they scored enough to maintain a slim lead — and that was because of Matthews.



The Wolverine defense was fantastic, as always. Teske — who may have been trying to avoid fouling — conceded several baskets early in the game, but Michigan stuck with its gameplan. The Wolverines dared Happ to beat them, and while he had a 18 point, 11 rebound double-double, he took 19 shots and had 5 turnovers to just one assist. Michigan didn’t panic and didn’t risk double-teaming Happ at the expense of leaving other players open and having Happ, an excellent passer, create open looks. While Reuvers, Trice, and Davison each made a few nice offensive plays, Happ was the only Badger to finish with double-digit points. Michigan stuck to shooters, and Wisconsin went 4-12 from behind the arc.

A Happ layup after a Matthews switch cut Michigan’s lead to 51-50 with just over four minutes left, but Michigan scored the next ten points to put the game away. Simpson made an acrobatic reverse layup after catching Reuvers on a switch, and then Matthews hit two shots over Reuvers: a baseline jumper after a drive to the basket, and a beautiful step-back two to beat the shot clock. After that basket with four minutes left, Michigan stopped Happ on three straight possessions — Teske stole a high-low entry pass and then forced misses around the basket. The victory was capped off by a Poole to Livers alley-oop dunk after Poole broke the Wisconsin press.

It was an important win the chase for a Big Ten championship: Michigan’s two games ahead of Purdue (who has an easy remaining schedule) in the win column, and the loss pushes Wisconsin back to a tie for fourth with Maryland. Michigan’s defensive effort and execution was as good as ever, and Matthews may have rediscovered his game after a rough stretch of games. The Wolverines travel to Happy Valley to take on 1-11 Penn State on Tuesday.

[Box score after the JUMP]


Hoops Preview: 2018-19 Wisconsin Part Two

Hoops Preview: 2018-19 Wisconsin Part Two Comment Count

Brian February 8th, 2019 at 12:13 PM


WHAT #6 Michigan (21-2) vs
#11 Wisconsin (17-6)
WHERE Crisler Arena
Ann Arbor, MI
WHEN Noon Saturday
LINE Michigan –5, 68% to win (Kenpom)
Michigan –6.8, 79% to win (Torvik)


Michigan was able to hold a Rutgers team that's officially "pesky" at arm's length in their last outing. At virtually the same time Michigan State provided a welcome batch of perspective by losing to Illinois. Also a welcome opening of the conference race, which Kenpom now projects as a three-way tie between the two Michigan schools and resurgent Purdue.

The Boilers have cleared the brutal part of its schedule and now settle in for a home stretch with just one top-20 game, that at Maryland. Michigan, on the other hand, has five top-20 opponents in their final eight games. A return date against Wisconsin is first up, and probably mandatory if Michigan wants to keep pace.


image (23)

Click for big.

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 0 D'Mitrik Trice So. 6'0, 187 81 22 110 No
Still just a shooter who never gets to the rim. 42/45 shooting splits.
G 34 Brad Davison So. 6'3, 206 78 18 113 No
Grayson Allen if he looked like the illicit son of R Lee Emery and Matt Damon.
F 21 Khalil Iverson Sr. 6'5, 217 53 14 101 God yes
Burlywing played only 9 minutes in first game. Dunks on others assists for most of points.
F 35 Nate Reuvers So. 6'11 240 53 20 114 No
Heir apparent at C spends most of his time as stretch 4. Top 50 block rate, 60/39% splits, rock bottom TO rate.
C 22 Ethan Happ Sr. 6'10, 237 79 35 109 Yes
Unique point-center has top 50 assist rate, giant usage, good efficiency, and a major achilles heel: 47% on FTs. Not super athletic and can get eaten up by bigger, jumpier Cs.
G 23 Kobe King Fr.* 6'4 203 49 11 116 No
31 mins in first game, hit 2/2 from three and 0/2 from two. Will get to rack a little but usage is rock bottom.
G 1 Brevin Pritzl Jr. 6'3, 198 48 11 129 No
Just A Shooter, hitting 40%, 50% in Big Ten play but on just 26 attempts.
F 2 Aleem Ford So. 6'8, 220 32 15 89 Sorta
Just A Shooter, horrible (21%) from three in Big Ten play. Naturally hit 2/3 in first game.
F 15 Charles Thomas Sr. 6'8, 250 12 26 104 Maybe
Bit player gets a few minutes here and there.

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