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.
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!
Let’s just get our “other than Rashan Gary,” out of the way. [JD Scott]
THIS ARTICLE HAS A SPONSOR: It’s Nick Hopwood, our MGoFinancial Planner from Peak Wealth Management. Nick spent last week in Florida with his in-laws because he’s smart with money and stuff. And he spent the whole week texting me he wishes he was in San Antonio or LA because he’s as much of a fan as you are. You should talk to him about your finances so that it’s only your in-laws in the way of going next time.
Legal disclosure in tiny 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.
Other than THAT MOMENT what was your favorite moment of the 2017-18 basketball season?
Also the sponsor is answering the question.
Nick Hopwood: Wagner behind the back, down the lane ANKLE BREAKER!
Alex: Yes. I was in attendance for the home win over OSU, in MSG for MSU and Purdue, and in San Antonio for the Loyola game. Those were each really special: the excessive booing of Andrew Dakich on Senior Day, authoritatively proving that this Michigan team was better than State, having Jon Teske spark a blowout over an eventual two-seed for a banner, and coming back against Cinderella in the Final 4 to knock them out.
But nothing will stand the test of time better than Moe Wagner absolutely embarrassing Nick Ward with the behind-the-back dribble.
Ace: Let’s take a moment to watch:
Yup, that holds up.
Seth: The gfycat label for that is LateGorgeousIberianlynx FYI, in case anyone else has need to memorize that.
[After THE JUMP: We come up with several more descriptions of that event before moving on to the others.]
It would have been a good death, there at the water’s edge. If the Red Sea hadn’t parted, and the Egyptian army had mown down every Hebrew man, woman, and child on that salt-licked Levantine shore, maybe they would still tell the story, thousands of years of later, of the slaves who forced a Pharaoh to consent to their release. Other stories have made it as long of fewer slaughtered with the taste of freedom on their lips. Few gods had done more for their people than theirs had already done for them.
My people this week are celebrating what is objectively my second-favorite world holiday*. Passover is exactly what a religious festival would look like if a dadly nerd like me was asked to draw one up: a history lesson followed by family dinner under some thematic culinary restriction. And everything has meaning.
This annual dinner-lecture (we call it a Seder) has collected a bunch of narrative traditions in service to the primary function of educating the next generation of fans on the founding myth, i.e. Exodus. I’ll spare you the Charleton Heston movie recap, and the super-abridged version I told on Saturday to get the Hebrews out of Egypt before tip-off. After the Red Sea climax the story speeds up to get this rabble of aimless refugees with slave’s skills back to People status, and the way we do this traditionally is a folk song that Jewish kids learn before their vocabulary gets to 100 words.
It’s called “Dayenu” (dye-AY-noo) which means “It would have been sufficient” but like all laconic bon mots it has a stronger meaning that implies listener and speaker both know the story, so it’s also “We had matzah subs; it was crazy!” The intention of this one is really, you’ve done more than enough; how can I ever repay you? plus two drops of I can die now.
Each verse is a chronological event that takes us from slavery to freedom, for which God gets the credit, in a call-response.
If He had taken us to Mount Sinai and not given us the Torah?
If He had given us the Torah but not shown us to Israel?
So you’re building gratitude throughout the song. Parting the Red Sea will already make every gimmicky top five best miracles in 10,000 years of podcasts; if the ground is muddy, zero complaints. (The ground isn’t muddy).
*[After y’all’s idea to spread gifts and good cheer during the darkest week of winter]
[After the Jump: What would have been sufficient.]
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.
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.
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.
Quick event note: If you’re in Texas tonight and need something to do besides pacing in your $300 hotel room, MGoReaders are getting together at The Growler Exchange Beer Garden in St Paul Square around dinner. Go down Commerce from the River Walk and turn down a little street called Sycamore, and you can't miss it.
Good beer, street ta co trailer on site. MGoTourney sponsor HomeSure Lending will buy first beer round from 6-7 if you give the code word, “Title Muppets.”
A blue day. A shoe day. Ere the sun rises! [Patrick Barron]
Something's been missing to take the edge off before Michigan games since the free programs ceased being economically viable: scientific gameday predictions that are not at all preordained by the strictures of a column in which one writer takes a positive tack and the other a negative one. Something like… Punt-Counterpunt, except for basketball.
By Bryan MacKenzie
Everyone loves an underdog. It's a big part of what makes March so much fun. Invariably every year a double-digit seed bombs their way into the Sweet 16 - or beyond - and we get to learn about their little quirks and storylines and idiosyncrasies. Remember Dunk City? Havoc? George Mason? They are fun stories with fun, new characters. And just as importantly, unless your team is one of the Goliaths slewn (slewed? slained? slewned?) by these Davids, their stories are harmless and free from the usual baggage that comes with established foes. Loyola-Chicago isn't a long-standing rival. They never beat Michigan for a key recruit. They aren't coached by an archetypal Evil Coach like K or Cal or Boeheim.
But take a look at Michigan with those same fresh eyes. Pretend for a moment that you just emerged from a century-long coma, and observe these Wolverines. They are led by a 5'nothing" point guard who has shut down some of the best point guards in the country through sheer force of aggrievement. He launches ludicrous sky hooks and teardrops over guys a foot and a half taller than him. He has the biggest mood of all the moods.
Their captain and shooting guard is a 2-star who they stole from Harvard. Their best shooter and 6th man of the year is a guy who transferred from Division 3. Their best player is from 7,000 miles away and who apparently learned his (fluent) English by watching, like, the Bad Boy Pistons and Joe Pesci movies. They have Jordan Poole, who... my God, Jordan Poole.
They play precise, intricate basketball. They run the kind of offense that overmatched teams run to try to manipulate matchups. They play White Wide Receiver Adjective defense.
Take the names off the front of the jersey, and this is a "Cinderella team." It's just that if John Beilein were your Fairy Godmother, the pumpkin coach wouldn't have needed horses because it would have gotten 37 miles per gallon, and it wouldn't have turned back into a pumpkin for like three or four weeks. And the coachman would have shot 37% from three.
There's no question that Loyola has captured lightning in a bottle. You don't get to the Final Four as an 11-seed without a little magic. But some combination of John Beilein's wizardry, the timely emergence of talent, a coalescence of karma and chemistry, and the right coins being tossed in the right wishing wells has led a nondescript bubble team to rattle off 13 straight wins (including seven Top-30 wins), and has them once again eyeing a ladder and a pair of scissors. When you boil it down, this is a basketball game. If Michigan hits, they win. If they don't hit, they might still win. That's good enough for me.
Michigan 74, Loyola-Chicago 63
Three hundred and fifty fanbases a year end the season knowing the wrong team accomplished what they desperately wanted for themselves. We try to avoid it. We do our best to apply reason to it. We acknowledge and honor fantastic achievements like conference championships and Final Four runs, but with each of these banner’s sweet memories comes the inescapable shadow of what-could-have-been. It’s the price we pay for the elation of another glorious B1G tournament, or Jordan Poole answered prayer; we treasure them on their own merits, but we ache for them to be the stepping stones to something more. We know these moments need no specific coda to give them meaning, but when that light at the end of the tunnel just keeps getting bigger, it becomes incredibly difficult to separate the joy from the regret.
Look no further than Michigan’s last Final Four team for the perfect example. Michigan has had a run of recent success under Coach Beilein that even this fickle fanbase has no choice but to look back upon fondly. Images of the brashest Canadian blowing kisses and a kid from Detroit clapping in the face of those that doubted his toughness dance in our heads. Mention 2013, however, and something altogether different burns brightest in our minds.
Team 97 earned a protected seed in the NCAA Tournament, claimed 3 consecutive wins over Kenpom top 10 teams on their way to Michigan’s first Final Four in decades, and its star player was a National Player of the Year that drilled a shot only very recently challenged for the title of Michigan Basketball’s “The Shot”. Even within the title game, we had an insane hot streak from a bench player put us on all cloud 9, if only for a few minutes. Despite all this, an inexplicable, inescapable call dominates their legacy.
Optimism pervades the Michigan community regarding this game, and not without reason. I’ve looked at the advanced stats, they look good. I’ve consumed a borderline-irresponsible number of takes regarding this matchup; people are mostly picking Michigan, and those calling a Loyola win are playing Major League Feelingsball. When common sense and the numbers agree in your favor, it’s a wonderful place to be. There is no good reason to believe Michigan will lose this game, but I’ve seen Jordan Morgan’s layup hang for eternity on the rim before falling harmlessly away. I’ve seen a Kentucky team with no shooters hit almost 70% of their threes, including the game-winner in our best defender’s grill. I’ve seen a Derrick Walton jumper that was absolutely destined to take us to the Elite Eight carom away. There are reasons behind every win and loss, but those reasons don’t have to be any good.
"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.
"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:
I think trying the G-League out instead of college makes sense for a whole host of reasons, but using it to avoid playing for Syracuse might be the most important thing for Darius Bazley's development as a prospect
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.
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.
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.
"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."
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.
Illinois State to the Final Four [Marc-Gregor Campredon]
Talkin' 'bout Yak. Sam Webb interviews Illinois State head coach Dan Muller, who actively tried to get his assistants the jobs at Michigan they in fact got:
“I was talking to him about the next step in his career and what he wanted to do, what his aspirations were as a coach, and how I could help,” Muller recalled. “He said, ‘hey, what do you think about Michigan?’ And I said, ‘I think that would be a great place for you. Have you ever met Coach Beilein? (He said), ‘no.’ I said, ‘okay look, in this business I am going to tell you the odds are you won't get the job because you've never met him. A lot of times coaches hire guys that they know or have met at least.’ I said, ‘if you want, I'll call him and just see.’"
“I called Coach Beilein that day and left him a message. He called me back a couple days later and said thank you very much, but I've got a couple of guys I think I'm going to hire. I actually recommended DeAndre Haynes, also, who was on my staff. I said, ‘coach that's fine. If anything changes give me a call. I think both of these guys would be terrific for you.’
That is incredible on many levels. Beilein listened to a cold call about a couple of guys he didn't know, did the requisite research to bridge that gap, and hired both of the Illinois State guys on offer. And the guy who'd hired them in the first place and saw them build a team that absolutely should have gotten an at-large NCAA bid in the MVC was selfless enough to kick that process off.
The first priority Yaklich drilled into his team before Saturday’s game was to take away Florida State’s vaunted transition attack. The Wolverines responded by not surrendering a single fast-break point to a Seminoles team that scored 14 two nights earlier against Gonzaga.
The second point of emphasis from Yaklich was keeping Florida State from generating second-chance points. Michigan held the Seminoles below their season average in offensive rebounding percentage despite playing four guards for most of the game.
Yaklich’s final objective was to successfully foil Florida State’s pick-and-roll game and force the Seminoles to win the game shooting contested jumpers. The Wolverines fought over screens, made crisp rotations and recovered to shooters quickly, contributing to the Seminoles scoring almost nothing easy at the rim from start to finish.
“You have to take away the roll man against Florida State,” Yaklich said. “They’re so big and long. You watch them on video, and they’re throwing dunks in from five or six feet away. We just had to stop their momentum to the basket and then it’s the effort we always talk about on defense of getting back to the shooters.
“We have a phrase that we yell every day in practice every time a ball screen is set, and that’s “Do your job.” That means you’ve got to sprint to where you’re supposed to be right away. Those practice habits helped.”
Uh… what? Yahoo collects a bunch of coach quotes about the Final Four teams, and the guy talking about Michigan is a little cheesed off at the end:
Prediction: Loyola can beat their asses. Everyone saying this is a mismatch is wrong. Loyola has a bunch of like pieces, which screws up Michigan’s offense. It’s going to be a defensive-type game, which means that anyone can win. Look at the teams Michigan feasted on: Texas A&M, Purdue, Michigan State and Nebraska in the Big Ten tournament. If you play big like those teams, they are going to annihilate you. If you switch and junk it up and play almost guerrilla-warfare coverage on defense, they’ll struggle to score. If you can switch, which Loyola does 1 through 4, this game will be close.
I have a lot of problems with these assertions. One: Nebraska switches one through five better than anyone else in the Big Ten because Isaiah Roby is an elite defender. Two: Loyola's center is a plodder who's extremely ill-suited to switching. Three: who cares about switching 1-4? How many PG-SF pick and rolls do we think Michigan is running?
Also this was a bit of an odd assertion:
One thing we noticed was that they’re unbelievably handsy and grabby. I was almost taken aback at how physical they are. You don’t expect it. It’s going to be a physical game, you have to be ready to fight in the streets.
Can't say I've noticed a FIGHT IN THE STREETS kind of defense except for that one game against MSU, but I guess that's the word on the street. Mostly they just contest stuff. That doesn't make them WVU.
Best friends forever. Tim Hardaway Jr drew up a play for Trey Burke during Burke's 40-point double-double:
Doubling down. Myron Medcalf managed to write a 3,000 word story about the rise of the three pointer in college basketball without a single one of them being "Beilein." Michigan is in the Final Four! Beilein's had one team in the last 15 years that wasn't in the 90th percentile in 3P%! Pittsnogle! Pittsnogle.
Instead, Medcalf's 3,000 word story includes quotes from Jaren Jackson, Miles Bridges, and Tom Izzo. I'm not even mad. I'm impressed.
Minnesota makes a hire. The Gophers' new hockey coach is St Cloud State's Bob Motzko. Motzko was SCSU's head coach for 13 years, during which the Huskies made 8 tourney appearances, including five of the last six years. Motzko never paid off his regular season success in the tourney as he reached just one Frozen Four and didn't get to the title game, but worst tourney in sports, etc. He's now got access to the biggest talent base in college hockey—seems like a pretty good hire.
Final Four! Frozen Four! When to buy? What to buy? How to buy? Any tricks?
Sorry this is coming out too late to be a part of the volatile part of the market. There was a point when Michigan and Loyola were the only two fanbases who knew they were going to San Antonio, and then prices shot up from $200 to $250 (official ticket exchange) the second Kansas and Nova fans got in (these are after-markup prices). The cheapest ticket to go by since I’ve been tracking this week is $120.
They’re at the high now and should stay that way until a fuzzy point tomorrow when UPS is no longer a good option. This restricts the salability of the tickets and the price starts coming down until gametime. Because of the nature of this beast a huge amount of tickets are bought on the secondary market, and with expensive flights booked there’s a lot of impetus for buyers to buy. Don’t buy at the high.
As the market’s settled down it’s formed into three price tiers:
$I-Don’t-Care: Premium seats were purchased as soon as they went on sale by brokers looking to capitalize on the once-in-a-lifetime nature of great seats for a Final Four/Championship run. They were bought as session seats and are selling separately. The reasonable ones went right away so all that’s left are $3,000 moonshots that nobody will buy (about 110 seats like that on the market). WAIT on these. They’ll drop as gametime approaches—perhaps down to as little as $600 for Final Four.
$Good seats: Once you’ve given up on being down low at half court there’s a middle tier that’s going for about $500 now and should come down to the $400s, but they’re also slowly disappearing from the bottom-up. Behind the basket and corner are the same—it’s just about what someone’s trying to offload. You can also find some club seats in this price level since the Alamodome has a ton of those.
$Get me in the building: The cheap seats are all upstairs, either Upper Baseline or Plaza Level. They’re also available as mobile tickets so they’ll be trading right up to the finish line. These are moving at about $200-$250 though there are a bunch listed for more in better rows (saw four for $300 each in row 1 today). Right now you have more options where to sit—wait for a real person to put up a “sell now” and jump.
Note that season ticket holders got access to lower bowl seats for $385 face—I noted wryly that a bunch of seats went up for $1,385 on Sunday night.
The rows for the premium seats are a bit weird and you should pay attention so you’re not sold a seat 20 rows higher than it sounded like. Rows 1, 2, 3, and 4 are what they say on the tin, then it goes A-Z, then AA-QQ, then 20-35. So row “F” is 10th row, and “FF” is 36th row, and “Row 20” is really Row 47. Seating upstairs goes Row 1 to 28.
The 2015 bump is because they dramatically raised the face price—that tends to set the market more than the teams in it.
Which fanbases are in can make a big difference (the 2014-’15 qtys are from when TicketIQ was an official resale partner I think). I don’t pay much attention to “average” price though that’s what the ticket resellers like to report. Michigan drove the 2013 prices, though that was the first trip in decades in a city filled with Michigan fans. This time I think it’ll be more in line with the Houston numbers—Michigan and Kansas fans are the big travelers in the bunch.
For you Loyola fans, the good news is once you defeat Michigan there should be a lot of Michigan tickets for sale. Prices either drop 25% if the favorites make it in, or 50%+ if they don’t. More data from Ralph:
Again you see when face value went up historically. The big takeaway here is don’t buy ahead—there are going to be some really big Nova or Kansas fans who bought awesome “both sessions” seats going home and putting these up for what they may. If you can’t get cheaper than what’s available, you can probably get better. Right now those are going in the $300s or $400s. But you can still shop for deals—I found a lower level right now for $357.
Craigslist after the first two sessions will light up like a pinball machine, and that’s a good starting point if you’re in San Antonio and sticking around a few days. WARNING for Craigslisters: the Spurs are one of a handful of teams that now use a terrible app called Flash Seats; sometimes that’s a good way to ID a real person but the reason they use it is the app has all its protections for the seller and not you. Note that their reviews are either real people with major complaints or good bot reviews.
If you’re in SA, keep in mind this isn’t like the last round, where few people flew in just for the second match. People will go to a championship game who didn’t go to a Final Four. So if you’re on the ground, take advantage by playing the people walking out of the building, and the types who’d love to meet on the way to the airport on Sunday.
This is one of those times when I think your seat does matter. You’re going to remember going to this game (when’s Loyola going back to the national championship game?) and the markup from getting in to getting down isn’t that huge unless you’re trying to sit in the lower bowl. Here’s where waiting to buy championship tickets also helps: if you don’t like your seat in the first game you’ve now had a night to suss out the place. Plus the seats that go on sale will be pretty random, whereas they’re being bought up in order of niceness/price.
Where the Maize People At?
Section 113-118 (southwest side) is Michigan’s allotment, so if you’re trying to sit near more Michigan fans your best bets are to sidle around that: 316, 318, 320, etc.
They do exist, but so far they’re a tiny part of the market, and marked up because of convenience.
Flying to San Antonio is going to be a super premium right now. I personally find Texas very drivable despite the long distances—traffic jams up outside the main cities all the time but they’ve got wide and open freeways where the buffalos roamed, and you have to try really hard not to find an amazing barbecue joint en route.
Austin is just an hour and a half away. Corpus Christie is 2 hours. Houston is 3 hours and you go through a city named Flatonia.
The State of Texas (nisi Austin) is a hellscape of pavement with no parking that pays to host national events because that’s what passes for their tourism industry. This goes triple for San Antonio. The Alamodome is just off to the side of San Antonio’s main downtown area, across the freeway from the convention center. So it’s kind of like trying to park in Detroit for a World Series game if you just picture Comerica Park on other side of I-75. There are structures and adjacent lots that will be sold out, some parking lots in not-great neighborhoods behind, and lots and lots of downtown. Here’s a map of official alternative lots.
There is an Amtrak station just next door but note: the Amtrak station is not the giant beautiful “Sunset Station” train station. One day maybe I’ll tell you about how I tried to find the train station and wound up crashing an airline magnate’s son’s wedding.
Thinking about making the run to Minneapolis? Tickets are going to be available for about $80-$100 for the ND game (one week from today) and probably drop to the $60s for the championship on Saturday. You’ll spend more getting there than getting in, and it’s a beautiful arena with no bad seats so if you’re going just get in.
Why is This Night Different from All Other Nights Seth?
If they put this game any time except when I have to lead a Passover Seder for both sides of extended family, deiyanu.