Alpha Dog

Alpha Dog

Submitted by Brian on December 10th, 2012 at 12:09 PM

12/8/2012 – Michigan 80, Arkansas 67 – 9-0

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mgouser Blazefire wins a cookie for being inside my brain / Dustin Johnston/UMHoops

A guy named Kikko Haydar popped off the bench, and John Beilein wondered who he was. So did the rest of Crisler. It turned out we already knew him: Haydar is from the Merritt/Lee school of useful walk-on that Michigan fans know so well. He hit a three, and then another, and then another, and when Michigan lost him again in the second half Kikko Haydar got a Nik Stauskas Memorial Road Crowd Groan. It was warranted. He hit it.

This is a problem. Some walk-on jumping off the bench to pick up 12 points on 5 shots throws a wrench in many of your victory plans, especially when this is part of a team-wide 60% effort from behind the line. For most teams, it is a problem that affects your win-loss record and makes everybody sad. For Michigan, it affects their Kenpom ranking in a displeasing way and just makes super-nerd subscribers to Kenpom slightly annoyed that Pitt has jumped Michigan and I mean seriously Ken let's get some margin of victory capping up in here. I may or may not be in the latter group.

Anyway. When an overeager Haydar picked up the blocking foul in the shot above, he laid on the floor theatrically for a moment, and then Tim Hardaway Jr. helped him up. Haydar smacked his hands together and smiled. Dollars to donuts he thought something like we are going to lose but at least I've got a story to tell about the time I rained on future NBA players. His parents are both professors, I mean.

Arkansas did lose. By a lot, while shooting 60% on 17 threes.

-----------------------

Arkansas made a push in the second half thanks to a bunch of Michigan turnovers and their unconscious three-point shooting, and I had an experience I only recognized as strange afterwards: I was annoyed. Not frightened or despairing or waiting for the inevitable thing that always happens to happen, like any sports fan who's watched a frustrating outfit has. Annoyed.

Like when Penn State scored on a screen to bring the Pit Bull game to within a touchdown. You know, this game:

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Annoyed because the scoreboard isn't going to reflect what happened here today.

I thought back to watching Beilein's first team against Boston College, 3-3 on their way to 10-22. The BC game was the first one against a real opponent in Crisler, and I remember thinking the second-half run the Eagles used to put the game away was something bound to happen to this collection of young guys without much direction. A few players who saw the floor for at least 25% of Michigan's minutes: Zack Gibson, Jevohn Shepherd, Anthony Wright, Ron Coleman. Lee and Merritt were still a year away from maximum playing time. At some point you're going to have a collection of players out there that loses the plot, and then that's that.

Saturday I had the exact opposite experience. This team is too good and too deep and just too damn efficient to let a middling team keep it close even when they execute their impression of Beilein's first team.

So: here we are. It took nine games of watching these guys to go from thinking they're overrated to comparing them to the 2006 football team's defense. The capital-e Expectations have arrived, and are settling in for a long stay. This is going to be a different thing for all of us.

I spent large chunks of last year talking about how lovely it was to be able to appreciate a Michigan team with Novak and Douglass for exactly what they were, and be content with how they ended up as soon as they got that banner in Crisler. The loss to OHIO in the tournament sucked but it didn't suck in that way I know so well from hockey fandom:

The guys leaving brought Michigan from a program that hadn't been to the tournament since my dad was wearing his preposterous multicolor neon ski jacket to one that had been there three of four years, from a program that hadn't won the league since Joe Paterno was only kind of old to a sleeping giant with the alarm blaring in its ear. Their story is not Brandon Graham's. Their story isn't even Mike Martin's or Ryan Van Bergen's. It's better…

The loss doesn't erase the previous 34 games, or the previous hundred and change that saw Douglass set a record for the most games played in a career and Novak near it. The story of the outgoing guys is one of construction and triumph in the face of doubt. DJ Cooper going ham doesn't change that. Novak and Douglass have the luxury of exceeding all expectations, still and always.

These gentlemen do not have that luxury. They are too too good at basketball to lose to a short guy nailing a bunch of threes, as OHIO did last year. They are too too good to get flustered by a full-court press, or even see much of one.

This is no longer a scrappy program. This is a program that will step on your throat. It took nine games.

They are the hunted now.

Media

Shots from Bryan Fuller:

Bullets

Forty minutes of mildly annoying warmth with mosquitoes. Arkansas's vaunted press was rarely applied in this game, in part because Arkansas rarely got an opportunity to set it up because they weren't making many baskets—they stayed in it by making most of their makes worth three. When Arkansas did get a make and set up, Michigan broke the press with a couple passes and that was it. I don't recall a single turnover forced by the press.

That's another example of the growth on the team after they got flustered and behind 17-4 last year. This time out they were calm and prepared; they've now got four guys on the floor who are above-average handlers for their position most of the time, and a plan. Once Michigan got it to Burke it was over, and Arkansas knew it. Nice to prove that.

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BOX OUT! …is something Mike Anderson must scream in his sleep. Michigan—which I remind you is Michigan, a historically rebound-allergic team—outrebounded Arkansas. On Michigan misses. Yes. Michigan had 16 offensive rebounds to 15 Arkansas defensive rebounds. On the other side of the ball, it was 5 to 23.

This is something you could have predicted as Arkansas is horrendous at defensive rebounding and meh on offense; it's still something to marvel over. It's hard to remember that Mike Anderson took three Missouri teams to the tournament before moving to Arkansas, because the team Michigan just went up against looked Amakerian in its inability to do anything right. Just year two for him, I guess.

[@ right: Fuller]

Ruthlessly hacked to the bench. Matt Vogrich, we'll always have the 2011 Tennessee blowout in which you went 5-5 from the floor for 11 points in 16 minutes and got a gritty offensive rebound and a gritty steal and generally contributed to a huge fun tourney blowout that eventually produced this picture:

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He'll probably show up in a game or two this year when injury or foul trouble forces him to but it really looks like short of that he's joined the McLimans brigade. Which is something, because though he'd had a dismal start to this year Vogrich had some bonafides coming in and now he's seemingly done save for extenuating circumstances.

I can't say that's wrong—Vogrich was really not playing well. I'm just pointing it out as another example of Beilein changing his mind in ways some other coaches would not.

Now. Now. Now. That Caris LeVert hasn't done a whole lot in Vogrich's stead is actually evidence that the coaches are planning for this to be the year. LeVert has a lot more upside, and if he doesn't get there this year you can always try Vogrich again in February and make a decision as far as march goes. But Beilein went into this year thinking about LeVert's redshirt senior season; now he's thinking about ten to fifteen possessions in a game this march. That's the right call, I think.

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Fuller

Let's hear it for Horford. Another game without a shot attempt in which Jon Horford comes out seeming like a potentially key piece in some game down the stretch when Michigan is struggling with a post player. UMHoops highlighted this defensive possession that is an I be like dang moment:

Three blocks, four rebounds, and a steal in ten minutes on the floor is exactly what Michigan needs from Horford when the starting lineup is pouring in at least twelve per person. McGary and Horford are producing a lot of extra possessions, and the offense doesn't need that many more to be lethally efficient.

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Fuller

Little Big Dog is also a highly efficient peripheral scorer. He lead Michigan with 17 in this one and did it in two ways, mostly: on wide open shots from behind the line and on layups/dunks other people set up. Robinson has the athleticism to make those assisted interior buckets extremely high percentage and is beginning to finish through contact effectively, but Michigan doesn't really run anything from or through him. He's there to finish, clean up, and shoot when you sag off him, and he's doing all of those exceptionally well: he's got a top 100 ORtg, a low TO rate, and a top 250 OReb rate.

Part of the reason this team is playing so well is it has guys who are extremely effective without the ball, and Robinson is probably the best example of that.

BONUS DAWSON COMPARISON CHECK-IN: Creepy, in fact.

  • Rebounding rate (O/D): Robinson 11.6/14.3, Dawson 11.2/13.2
  • Twos: Robinson 32/53, 60%. Dawson 47/77, 61%
  • FTs (FT rate/FT%): Robinson 39/76%, Dawson 28/45% (he was 60% last year FWIW)
  • A/TO rate (A/TO): Robinson 7.3/13.8, Dawson 13/25.6

Dawson has a higher usage rate by a few points and seems to be in a situation where he's being asked to generate some offense of his own. The big differences are in shooting (big edge to GRIII, who's hitting 38% from three and is a non-liability on the line) and defense (statistically a big edge to Dawson, who is blocking a ton of shots and getting a ton of steals; in this case I think those statistics bear out a real difference since GRIII is not an impact defender by any stretch of the imagination).

Hardaway complete player watch. Michigan's an extraordinarily good defensive rebounding team this year, currently fourth behind some small schools. They'll come back to earth some in the Big Ten like they did last year. I don't expect that will be nearly as harsh that decline to ninth in the league, though, as you've got Robinson replacing Novak, McGary and Horford replacing Smotrycz, and Tim Hardaway's massive improvement in this category pushing things over the top. Hardaway is mere decimal points away from passing Jordan Morgan in DR%.

Spike! Albrecht isn't giving Burke much more of a rest than he had last year—Burke minutes have dropped only 5%—but he is proving a nice player to have around. In this game he hit a key three and pushed a partial break off the press to set up GRIII for one of his layups. On both plays he showed a confidence that belied his class status if not his years—he's actually a few months older than Burke.

He's probably never going to be a starter aside from a few games at the beginning of next year before the Derrick Walton era gets under way, but he's an excellent guy to have around steadying the ship for the next few years. Burke and Beilein on Spike:

"There was a time around the seven- or eight-minute mark (of the second half) where it was just up and down for about six or seven possessions," Burke said after Michigan's 80-67 win over Arkansas. "I don't know if I had gotten a foul or what, but there was a dead ball and I was pretty tired because it was just non-stop.

"But Spike did a great job. And coach Beilein did a great job of getting guys in and out."

And, sure enough, moments after entering the game with under eight minutes to go Saturday, Albrecht made a difference. The freshman backup point guard nailed a 3-pointer to push Michigan's lead up to seven.

The next trip down the court, he found Glenn Robinson III for a layup. When he left the game two minutes later, the Wolverines were up nine and things were basically in hand.

"Spike was terrific, wasn't he?" Beilein remarked afterward. "I don't think he had a turnover, his numbers were terrific and they continue to be. He really helps us."

John Beilein is good at talent evaluation. E-fact.

Morgan silly foul re-evaluation watch. Repeating myself here but when Morgan shot out to the perimeter to get a silly foul on a screen hedge late in the first half, my reaction would have been…

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http://nooooooooooooooo.com/

…last year and has now become…

meh[1]

…and this was a game that Morgan was dominating. I was just like "okay McGary or Horford will maintain approximately this level of play" and that was basically right. I like depth! It's fun.

Three headed-center totals in this one normalized to 40 minutes (they got 49): 15 points on 53% shooting, 16 rebounds, 8 of them offensive, 3 blocks, 3 TO, 2 steals. That center spot may be the least glamorous on the team but it is producing as well as any of the other starters.

Elsewhere

UMHoops recap plus five key plays. Also more photos from Dustin Johnston. He got a goodun of the hanging on the rim tech:

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I was not surprised when they called that, FWIW, and don't care if it was slightly unsportsmanlike. (Neither does anyone else.) Look how much joy he is bringing Mitch McGary. Mitch McGary only feels that much joy six to eight times an hour. Would you rob him of that?

Wojo:

There's a new ceiling for Michigan basketball these days, and it figuratively extends from the top of the polished Crisler Center straight to the shiny floor. You could argue the structure, from the arena to the team, looks as good as it ever has — and expectations are higher than they've ever been.

The Wolverines aren't some quick-shooting oddity anymore. They're deep, talented and feisty, and here's the notion that should warm Michigan fans — they're getting tough in the trenches, with the size and gumption to rebound.

John Beilein is not impress. Dave Telep hypes up Derrick Walton. Recruiting roundup. Hardaway's not shooting well but other things he's doing mean no one's noticed. Nesbitt column.

One Frame At A Time: Arkansas

One Frame At A Time: Arkansas

Submitted by Ace on December 10th, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Since there are only three of these today I'm not going to bother with the screencap/lightbox thing—if you need to stop the animation for the sake of bandwith, hit 'escape'.

Pretty nice play by the team's second-best freshman/"weak spot".

/removes pants

[Hit the jump for Burke's throwdown, panda.]

Death From Above: Arkansas

Death From Above: Arkansas

Submitted by Ace on December 7th, 2012 at 2:14 PM

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT Arkansas at Michigan
WHERE Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan
WHEN Noon Eastern, Saturday
LINE Michigan –19(!) (Kenpom)
TV CBS

THE THEM

Last year's game at Arkansas was something of a nightmare, as the Razorbacks pressed like madmen, hit their first 11 shots from the field, and held on for a two-point victory as Trey Burke's attempted game-winner rimmed out. In the aftermath, I called the game "about as bad as it gets from a fan perspective," and I stand by that statement.

This year, the result projects to be a little different. Arkansas will still bring their "40 Minutes of Hell" full-court press and look to push the pace, of course. As you're well aware, however, this isn't last year's Michigan team, and this game takes place in Ann Arbor, not Fayetteville. Meanwhile, Arkansas has struggled to a 4-3 start, albeit against a difficult schedule. KenPom gives Michigan a 93% chance of winning, which, like, woah.

Sophomore guard B.J. Young runs the show for Arkansas and leads the team in both points (19.5/game) and assists (3.7). He's the one player who can really create his own shot off the dribble—74% of his field goals come at the rim, and only 26% of those are assisted, according to Hoop-Math—and while he's only 3-21 from three this year, he was a 41.3% shooter from beyond the arc last season. Young is also remarkably adept at holding onto the basketball, sitting at 11th in the country in turnover rate.

Due to their frenetic pace, a large cast of characters will rotate into the lineup for Arkansas around Young, whose 62.5% of available minutes played leads the team. Joining Young in the starting backcourt are 6'2" junior Mardracus Wade and 6'5" sophomore Rashad Madden. Despite his size, Wade gets most of his shots around the basket and draws a lot of fouls (4.8 per 40 min.), while Madden is in the same mold but with fewer trips to the line—both have issues with turnovers.

6'3" guards Rickey Scott and Anthlon Bell get a fair amount of minutes; both have had terrible shooting seasons but take care of the basketball far better than Wade and Madden. 5'10" freshman DeQuavious "Dee" Wagner earned a start in their game against Oklahoma on Tuesday, but only played six minutes; he's a bit player currently boasting an extraordinary assist rate (32.7%) and good outside shooting (4-9 from three) in a pretty small sample.

6'7" junior power forward Marshawn Powell is the team's biggest threat outside of Young, shooting 52.5% from two and 43.8% from three this year while drawing a ton of fouls. He'll line up next to Hunter Mickelson, the 6'10" starting center, and 6'7" reserve Coty Clarke, who actually plays more minutes than Mickelson. Mickelson is by far the team's best shot blocker but is surprisingly absent on the offensive boards (3.7 OReb%), while Clarke is the best rebounder for the Razorbacks on both ends of the floor.

A couple freshmen—6'8" forward Jacorey Williams and 6'5" wing Michael Qualls—will rotate in as well; again, Arkansas goes deep so they can turn games into a 40-minute track meet on hardwood.

THE RESUME

Arkansas's best victory came on Tuesday, a three-point home win over KenPom's #82 squad, Oklahoma. Their other three wins also came at home, versus #304 Sam Houston State (by only three—yikes), #346 Longwood, and #333 Florida A&M. They lost neutral-site games to #144 Arizona State and #9 Wisconsin in the Las Vegas Invitational and suffered a nine-point home defeat at the hands of #5 Syracuse.

THE TEMPO-FREE

The four factors for Arkansas paint a rather extreme picture:

  eFG% Turnover % Off. Reb. % FTA/FGA
Offense 48.1 (171) 14.4 (1) 32.4 (160) 42.2 (74)
Defense 52.3 (277) 24.3 (53) 34.3 (233) 41.4 (246)

The offense never turns the ball over and gets to the line frequently; they're an average shooting and offensive rebounding unit. The defense, well, it's turnover or death for the Razorbacks.

Other state of note: Arkansas is having a very tough year shooting the three (28.8%) but are solidly above average both inside the arc (50.0%) and at the line (72.8%). Their adjusted tempo is 12th in the country, naturally, in extreme contrast to Michigan (327th).

THE PROTIPS

Hold onto the damn ball. I have other things, but the game pretty much entirely comes down to this. Michigan actually did a solid job of not turning the ball over against Arkansas last year after the opening blitzkrieg; unfortunately, there was the opening blitzkrieg. There are more guys to handle the ball this year than just Trey Burke, and in the comforts of Crisler that bodes well for Michigan. If the Wolverines don't cough up the ball against the press, it's tough to find a way that they lose this game.

Play your game. One of the cardinal sins when playing against an up-tempo press team is to get out of your offense and try to match their tempo. Despite running out on the break more often than in years past, Michigan is by no means an up-tempo squad. With Burke, Stauskas, Hardaway, and Albrecht, the Wolverines shouldn't be overwhelmed by the press. The key is, once they get the ball upcourt, to slow it down and run the offense. If Arkansas isn't forcing turnovers, they have a pretty awful defense; they'd like nothing more than for Michigan to throw gratuitous skip passes and alley-oops when they break across half court.

Keep Arkansas off the line. The Razorback offense largely relies on drawing fouls to generate points, especially if their outside shots aren't falling. Michigan is currently third in the country at keeping opponents off the free-throw line. This should be advantage, Michigan. If it is, it's going to take a herculean effort from Young just to keep Arkansas competitive.

Keep doing what you've been doing. I mean, yeah.

THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES

Michigan by 19

Elsewhere

UMHoops preview. Tremendous preview. ClearEyesFullHart's extensive preview diary.

Guess the Score, Win Stuff: Arrghkansaw

Guess the Score, Win Stuff: Arrghkansaw

Submitted by Seth on December 5th, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Basketballguessthescore

I think Mitch McGary needs an energy guy trademark, like how Laimbeer wasn't cameo-in-a-Jim Abrahams-Movie Laimbeer until he got the mask. Something to show he's the RVB, the Jake Ryan, the…I think I just had an idea.

How this works again:

  1. Wednesdays I put up a winnable prize that consists of a desirable good.
  2. You guess the final scores of this weekend's designated game (football or hoops, depending on the season), and put it in the comments. First person to post a particular score has it.
  3. If you got it right, we contact you. If not, go to (5)
  4. The desirable good arrives at the address you give us.
  5. Non-winners can acquire the same desirable good by trading currency for it.

About Last Week:

I don't ever remember feeling nervous when Bradley was staying close, and the final score fell well within the guessing range so maybe not as bad as people thought. The victor will be at Saturday's game.

This Week's Game:

We kick off Chanukah with Arkansas visiting Michigan. The Razorbacks are really big on full-court presses, so for those of you in town don't be too surprised if you're waiting in line at Morgan & York this week and suddenly BJ Young is all up in your grill.

And on the Line…

4148_49

Spread the word.

Fine print: One entry per user. First user to choose a set of scores wins, determined by the timestamp of your entry (for my ease I prefer if you don't post it as a reply to another person's score--if you do it won't help or hurt you). Deadline for entries is 24 hours before the start of the game. MGoEmployees and Moderators exempt from winning. We did not invent the algorithm. The algorithm consistently finds Jesus. The algorithm killed Jeeves. The algorithm is banned in China. The algorithm is from Jersey. Rutgers is from Jersey. Holy shit guys Rutgers is in the Big Ten. BIG TENNNNN! The algorithm constantly finds Jesus.This is not the algorithm. This is close.

Wednesday Presser Transcript 11-7-12: Brady Hoke

Wednesday Presser Transcript 11-7-12: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on November 7th, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Bullets:

  • Both Denard and Russell Bellomy are day to day. Hoke doesn't want to comment on it, so don't ask or he'll get mad at you.
  • All's quiet on the Devin Gardner redshirt front.
  • Mario Ojemudia is not 100%, still limited in practice. My guess is he probably won't play Saturday.
  • Jeremy Gallon is "good." My guess is he probably will play on Saturday.
  • Joey Burzynski and Jack Miller have taken reps with the ones this week. If they do get shuffled into the offensive line rotation, that decision will be made after tomorrow's practice.

From the mixed up files of Dr. Basil E. Heikoyang

Opening remarks:

“It was a good practice, and I think it’s been like that most of the year. I think we had really good energy. We had good tempo. I think our team -- I know our team understands we’re playing an awfully good team this week. They’re very difficult in some ways to defend from an offensive perspective. Their playmakers on both sides of the ball with Mark and Colter, and Siemian throws the ball awfully well. They have a group of receivers that play the ball well in the air. I think they run after the catch very well. When you look at the big plays they’ve had defensively, they’ve had 20 plus runs. I think they have 12 touchdowns of them. And then throwing the ball, they’ve had a number of those they’ve done a good job with. And then defensively you look at them and, you know, Mike Hankwitz, who played here, the coordinator, does a tremendous job from a defensive perspective. Sound, disciplined, run to the ball, all the things you want to see a defense do. We’ve got our work cut out for us.

“Regarding our two quarterbacks, I’m not going to talk about it as far as what’s going on with Russell and Denard because it’s day to day and in fairness to those kids, I’m not going to give day to day updates. So that’s where that’s at.”

Michigan Adds BYU, Arkansas

Michigan Adds BYU, Arkansas

Submitted by Brian on November 6th, 2012 at 2:08 PM

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we're coming for you, Hogville

Release:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan Athletic Department announced today (Tuesday, Nov. 6) its complete 2015 and 16 football schedules, adding contests with Brigham Young in 2015 and Hawaii, Miami (Ohio) and Ball State in 2016 to its previously-announced games.

U-M also announced a home-and-home series with Arkansas to open the 2018 and 19 seasons.

Everything save Arkansas is a one-off home game. Schedules affected:

2015

Sept. 3 at Utah

Sept. 12 Oregon State

Sept. 19 UNLV

Sept. 26 BYU

2016

Sept. 3 Hawaii

Sept. 10 Miami (Ohio)

Sept. 17 Colorado

Sept. 24 Ball State

2016 is now officially a replay of this season in terms of the attractiveness of the home schedule. Big Ten home games that year are MSU, Northwestern, Illinois, and Iowa. It's also the worst nonconference schedule since before the ND series resumed. Yuck. On the other hand, 2015 is excellent: decent nonconference games against Oregon State and BYU plus Wisconsin/Nebraska/OSU.

Arkansas as a home and home opponent… eh. Hopefully they'll add something else of interest in those years.

UPDATE: hey that guy predicting an Arkansas series was right.

Mailbag: ACC Openings, Arkansas(?), Mustache Tricks, Tempo, Flan

Mailbag: ACC Openings, Arkansas(?), Mustache Tricks, Tempo, Flan

Submitted by Brian on October 5th, 2012 at 3:47 PM

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Doak-Campbell

ND replacements open up.

Hi Brian, I don't know if you've caught up with this yet but the ACC is going to an 8 game conference schedule in football from the present 9 games.  This will create immediate schedule openings for ACC teams.  The article below from the Atlanta paper discusses the impact on GA Tech and of ND coming into the ACC. Tech and Notre Dame will be permanent partners for home and home series in basketball.  I wouldn't want UM to play GA Tech in football, with their Air Force/Navy type offense but there are a ton of other possibilities for us now within the ACC.

This puts Florida State and Clemson more on the table—and I should mention that FSU did have an Oklahoma series in addition to their annual Florida series recently, so they are not entirely averse to a second quality opponent. FSU will have to make sure they don't get Notre Dame in one of those years before anything firms up, but there are five years Michigan is looking for a sexy opponent. At least two of those years FSU will have an opening.

I'd bank on at least one ACC entering the picture in the 2016-2020 window, since two-thirds of a game every year has just opened up.

BONUS INSIDERY THING: This is not on the same level as the Alabama game prediction, which I was certain of, but I've heard from a decent source that Arkansas may be a team that pops up on the schedule in the near future. Jeff Long is a Michigan guy—thus the basketball series we've just completed—and only has TCU in 2016 as a quality opponent in the time frame Michigan will be looking for partners.

Arkansas is not on the level of a Notre Dame but as part of a schedule in which Michigan has two real opponents they're a good choice.

MUSTACHE TRICKS (UNCLASSIFIED)

Brian,

 

Do you think that Danny Hope is being vague on the status of Marve and Bolden just to keep Michigan off-balanced in game preparation? I doubt that we will see either player, but having to game plan for both a predominately pocket passer and a more mobile quarterback eats up a lot of practice time and film time. If Bolden and Marve were to be in the game, that back field if both healthy would be an athletic one which could give our defense issues.

 

NFG

Did I answer this question just because it came with a subject of "Mustache tricks (UNCLASSIFIED)"? That's classified.

I wouldn't put anything past coaches in their never-ending quests to gamesmanship themselves an extra yard or two, but I'm not sure about your policework there. TerBush is the athletic QB, Marve the more effective passer. Bolden is either available or not. Purdue's offense isn't going to shift that drastically based on the QB—routes will be the same, they're still going to be operating from the shotgun, etc.

In general, football coaches' manic attempts to get every edge possible are ridiculous. That stuff going down in Los Angeles is doing more damage to either LA program than the miniscule advantage provided by pretty much but not quite knowing the injury situation going into the game. It's especially grating when the same guys are like "scheme is overrated." You know what's overrated? Insane North Korea secrecy.

Can we go fast?

Brian,

I'm a huge spread guy and I noticed that not once under Hoke has Michigan pushed tempo on offense unless late in halves or games. Can you explain this?

Ali Maki

There's a cost to that. Tempoing a defense requires everyone to be on the same page, restricts the package of plays you can use, and requires you to move to a different system of play-signaling.

I think it's a cost worth paying. One of the big takeaways from the Mott open practices is how often guys are not doing anything. That would drive me crazy as a coach, and does drive Chip Kelly crazy, so he set about cramming as much stuff in as possible during practice and then thinking about it after. The results have been pretty good.

Michigan doesn't, at least not right now. I get it. They've got a lot of stuff they're trying to cram into Denard and the OL without putting that extra weight on his shoulders. They haven't taken Tempo 301's prereqs.

Pretty much, buddy.

Brian,

Do you or do you not support sending Denard on a safety blitz when Ohio State has a 3rd and 9 on the Michigan 40 with 3 minutes to play in a tie game-seems like a near guarantee that he would missile himself into Braxton Miller's spine, forcing a fumble which could then be returned by laquon treadwell who is visiting and has run on to the field in uncontrollable excitement.  

If this happens I will donate my entire income for the 2013 fiscal year to Vincent Smith's estate.

I'd rather have Denard throw a poisoned flan at the guy, but I guess your plan could work too.

Unverified Voracity Found This Watch At A Vintage Store

Unverified Voracity Found This Watch At A Vintage Store

Submitted by Brian on July 19th, 2012 at 2:10 PM

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Remember the plan. Orson is at SEC media days talking about Gene Chizik's enormous head and how John L Smith should always be employed at a BCS ("contract conference" now, I guess) school, because he absolutely should:

John L. Smith is …  an animated scarecrow loaded with bootleg fireworks tossed into a shed full of flammable talent, even more volatile politics, and, like, a shitload of M-80s and old, sweaty sticks of poorly packaged Chinese dynamite. The glow will be seen for miles when it all goes up, and when we all run to the site we might find the limp figures of decimated opponents, or the scorched foundations of Arkansas football itself. Either way no one in this room wants John L. Smith to go anywhere, ever, especially as long as he's barreling into press conferences like so many bulls through the streets of Pamplona. (He gored Joe Schad on the way out! It was awesome! They're totally bros now!)

The plan: every year one BCS-or-contract-conference school selected at random that has fired its coach will be required to hire JLS on a one-year interim basis. This was a good idea before Orson implicitly promised to follow him around to whatever media day he ends up at, drawing pictures of him as a duck with his hair on fire screaming inanities he actually tells his players.

Goodbye, Braylonfest. User Drill points out another rule change that I'd missed. Along with nerfing most kickoff returns, the safety-conscious/paranoid rules committee may have all but eliminated onside kicks:

After a kickoff hits the ground — specifically on a one-hop onside kick — the receiving team gets an opportunity to fair catch that ball. "A lot of our coaches," Shaw said, "have said that will almost take that one-hop (onside) kick out of the game."

That is insane. Dealing with kickoffs is marginally acceptable as an ineffective fig-leaf designed to show people you are Thinking About The Children, but eliminating onside kicks, which happen maybe once a game, is sacrificing that small element of what if that goes through your head and sometimes comes to spectacular fruition so that a maximum of twelve plays a year are marginally less dangerous.

This is another negative side effect of not paying the players anything: constant rule adjustments for safety in excess of reason to reduce the ammo of dissidents.

Tom Luginbill was into Shane Morris before he got popular. Ace will tackle the recruiting content contained in this tomorrow (probably, anyway), but this space is for ridiculous things and Tom Luginbill's best Hipster Runoff impression counts:

image

"Tyrone Swoopes's hot streak was fueled by self-loathing and self-aggrandizement, the equal and opposite manifestations of a whopping ego."

"Amongst the towering riffs that comprise the heart of JT Barrett is a lurking discontent with the state of modern society."

"Shane Morris's lefthandedness is a breath of fresh air at an event dominated by a hegemony of right-handed conformists. Take that, late capitalism!"

BONUS: guess which one of these was lifted directly from the front page of Pitchfork for a prize.

ANSWER: the first, which was teaser text on a review of the Smashing Pumpkins' Pisces Iscariot reissue.

PRIZE: Hey, that's Ian Cohen of Sexy Results!

Do you have weird stuff? Weird old stuff? Inspired by this War Eagle Reader post featuring old media games and other Auburn miscellanea old enough to be cool and a touch insane…

1971-Media-Guide[1]

…instead of deeply embarrassing, I am considering a new sort of mailbag post in which you send me images of stuff you've collected, which I then post on the internet. I should kick things off by finally scanning in the relevant portions of the very old Michigan yearbook I acquired a couple years back.

So, like, if you've got some weird old stuff scan it and send it in. Especially if it's the Ann Arbor version of the 1973 Delta Chi Miss Hot Pants Pageant. Strictly for its historic interest, of course.

Great success. The Classical stops in at Detroit City FC and finds a ludicrous amount of success for a first-year minor league soccer outfit that plays at Cass Tech. Former Wolverine Knox Cameron is a prominent starter and credits the club with reviving his interest in the beautiful game:

Knox Cameron, a former youth national team player and University of Michigan star, described himself as “pretty much over soccer” by the time his MLS career ended in 2006. But his experience with Detroit City FC has rekindled his old feelings for the game. The “big thing,” he said, “is it’s really united the residents. To know that the sport that you love is making an impact…that is really, really gratifying.”

He said that his experience playing with Detroit City FC has been one of the greatest of his career. “This would be right there, just below playing in an Under-20 World Cup or a Major League Soccer game. Just because of what the ownership is trying to accomplish. To be able to bring this level of joy and camaraderie to the citizens of Detroit, that ranks up there.”

Their inaugural season just came to a close at .500 overall.

Whoah. I've been getting questions about the Big Ten's reaction to this whole Paterno thing, questions I have no ability to answer since I'm not privy to the discussions going on and it's not like there's any precedent for this sort of thing. But people are at least talking about the nuclear option:

The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting Big Ten leaders are weighing a series of proposals in an 18-page plan prompted by the current situation at Penn State. Among the ideas being thrown around include removing the university from the conference($).

The Big Ten handbook requires at least a 60 percent vote from the league's Council of Presidents and Chancellors to expel a member, although a Big Ten spokesperson told the Chronicle that number will rise to 70 percent for 2012-13.

The league is also talking about empowering the commissioner to fire coaches and administrators, which seems beside the point since anything that would trigger this sort of penalty would be a firing offense. On the other hand, as long as anyone who gets fired under this statute has to be replaced by John L Smith I'm on board.

This time, with taste. I hope, then check. The last time we tried this it didn't go so well:

One of the interesting touches to the new concourse will be the lyrics to the fight song "The Victors" etched into the floor and wrapping throughout the concourse. A new brick exterior also blends Crisler with Michigan Stadium, which also had a recent facelift.

"Crisler is probably an 80-percent finished product right now. There's a completely new facade and the outside is all brick and it's beautiful," Beilein said Wednesday in an interview on WDFN. "There's a new entryway to Crisler that's going to knock you out. There's a big block 'M' and the escalators and big glass entry. All of the concourses are wide open with food courts, lighting and windows. It is going to be something really special."

Survey says

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We're good. There are a bunch more exiting pictures of construction at that link.

image

CONCREEEEEETE

A loss on youtube. A rarity, but here's the narrow 1988 loss to Miami narrated by Keith Jackson. Like… all of it. No idea why; the other things this guy has thrown up include a 1991 edition of the Ryder Cup and a Borg vs McEnroe match.

Mikulak profile. Sam Mikulak hits AA.com:

"There have been many times in the past where I'd have had my parents make that call for me," Mikulak said. "When I was a kid in California, I'd want to go on a snowboarding trip or something with friends and they'd tell me 'no,' tell me I can't go because the season's coming up and I can't get hurt.

"But now, I kind of tend to make those decisions on my own. I guess I'm kind of maturing."

Correct. Red on Carrick's disappearance:

“I think he talked to Coach Wiseman. I never got a call from him. I just think it’s a huge mistake. The sad thing is, we make a commitment to a kid two years ago and we sit on that scholarship and we honor that commitment and right up until the draft, and then he takes the draft and decides now he’s going to go in a different direction? What kind of integrity is that? That’s just terrible. That’s one of the things that bothers me about college coaching. Some of these families and kids don’t keep their word. I hate to put integrity on the line, but let’s face it. This is a commitment you make and this is your word and what are you doing?”

You can use the excuse that Carrick is 17 or whatever, but his parents aren't. Here's to not improving your 10% shot at the league by playing against younger, poorer competition.

Etc.: Nick Saban says Michigan is terrible and Alabama will beat them by 20 points. Long fluffy hype on Beilein from the News. Indianapolis won't bid on the first round of NCAA title games.

Death From Above: Arkansas

Death From Above: Arkansas

Submitted by Brian on January 20th, 2012 at 3:42 PM

THE ESSENTIALS85408489.jpg.21417.0_crop_340x234[1]

WHAT Michigan at Arkansas
WHERE Walton Arena, Fayetteville, AR
WHEN 2 PM Eastern, 1/21/2012
LINE M –2 (Kenpom)
TV National on CBS

THE THEM

Despite a relatively shiny 13-5 record, Kenpom ranks the Razorbacks Michigan's third-easiest opponent left this season ahead of only Nebraska and Penn State. As we'll see in the next section, that's because Arkansas has played few good teams and beaten none of them.

I happened to flip on the TV after the State game Tuesday and was serendipitously presented with the Arkansas-Kentucky game. Unfortunately, the huge talent mismatch and Arkansas's insistence on pressing made my observations brief and not very useful:

  • Good god, Anthony Davis.
  • Trey Burke shouldn't have any problem breaking this press.
  • Jesus, that guy's arms make him look like a dinosaur. Also he seems to be dunking on every possession.
  • Arkansas has a guy who kind of looks like Joakim Noah.
  • I think the Pistons should try to lose the rest of their games this year…
  • …not like you can tell the difference between Dumars doing that and trying to win these days.
  • The only thing more impressive than Anthony Davis's arms is his unibrow.

And so on.

1004333[1]If Arkansas was futilely trying to press Kentucky despite the rain of Davis dunks it produced you can rest assured they will do the same against Michigan, which has not broken a press in a way that would threaten the defense yet this year. Their offense thrives on transition and bogs down considerably when forced into the halfcourt, so they've got to try to prop up their top-30 steal rate or the offense is reduced to "Please do something, BJ Young." (@ right. Via Hawgs Illustrated.)

Young is a freshman taking over 30% of Arkansas shots when he's on the floor. He shoots 42% from 3, 56% from two, and has a decent assist rate. He does not get to the line much and he turns the ball over too much. Even so he is impressively efficient for a high-volume scorer. Unfortunately for Arkansas, their 40-minutes-of-hell style limits his minutes. No Arkansas player averages more than 70% of available playing time and Young, their go-to guy, only gets 59%.

Arkansas's other efficient players are sophomore sniper Madarcus Wade, a near-50% three-point shooter on more than four attempts a game, and platooning senior forward Marvell Waithe. Both are low usage types.

Aside from Wade and Young, Arkansas has some hugely ineffective three point shooters. Rickey Scott is 3 of 34 on the year, Rashad Madden 10 of 37. The amazingly named* Julysses Nobles is hitting a third of his attempts; he is really struggling within the arc.

Overall, it looks pretty simple: deal with Young and don't let Wade get good looks at that basket. Any relatively contested shot by someone other than those two is a good one.

*[Arkansas is a strong contender for Name Of The Year National Champions. Wade, Waithe, and Nobles are all positives, and then you've got Devonta Abron and Hunter Mickelson.]

THE RESUME

There isn't much of one. Arkansas played only two Kenpom top 100 foes in their nonconference schedule and lost both. Those were @ UConn by 13 and @ Oklahoma by 15. They also dropped a "Semi-home" game against #209 Houston, currently 1-4 in CUSA. The rest of their nonconference schedule was against low majors. Positives include a win over #115 Charlotte and beat common opponent Oakland 91-68 early in the year.

They do have a couple of a decent wins at home in the SEC, beating Mississippi State and LSU by about ten points at home. They lost at Ole Miss, however, and are coming off a 23-point scalding at the hands of Kentucky that wasn't even as close as that.

THE TEMPO-FREE

Four factors:

Factor Offense (Rk) Defense (Rk) Avg
Effective FG%: 49.0 170 44.7 37 49
Turnover %: 18.3 45 24.6 25 20.8
Off. Reb. %: 33.8 122 36.2 294 32.5
FTA/FGA: 39.4 99 33.4 114 36.5

These should be taken in light of the Arkansas schedule.

The other thing that leaps out from the stat sheet is pace. Michigan remains one of the country's slowest teams; Arkansas is one of the country's fastest. This is partially because of their pressing style. It is also a dedication to running in any conceivable situation: look at those awful defensive rebounding numbers compiled against mostly low-major short stuffs. Razorbacks will bail for cherry-picking opportunities at any opportunity.

This presents an interesting dilemma for Michigan: get back to deny transition opportunities or try to pound the boards. Survey says the former.

THE PROTIPS

Go small again? This seems like a game where having Stu Douglass available to check a huge-usage perimeter player is a good idea. Arkansas has four guys over 6-8 who each average about 40% of available minutes so about half the time Arkansas is playing only one of them, leaving Novak with a matchup against a similarly-sized player.

Going small has other benefits. It adds another ballhandler against the press, and reduces the defensive workload of Michigan's most important offensive player. With Smotrycz struggling  and Arkansas the worst-rebounding team on both ends of the floor in SEC play I'm betting on another Douglass start.

Feel free to sag off most players. Whoever has Wade needs to stick with him; when he's out of the game Michigan can collapse off the other guards without getting hurt much. This is something Michigan has done a lot of this year to the detriment of their three-point percentages; this doesn't seem like an opponent where they'll get burned by leaving their Thornton-equivalents to help in the post.

Limit Wade shots. He's already low usage. He can be taken out of the game entirely, and then Arkansas's offensive efficiency really starts hurting.

Don't get baited into their pace. Michigan is not a good transition team and should keep it cool.

Win turnovers. Immovable object versus irresistible force matchup here. Michigan thrives on avoiding turnovers; Arkansas thrives on creating them. Whichever strength wins out here is likely the difference.

Hardaway bad idea shot count: three or less. Go to the hoop, please.

THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES

Michigan by 2.

Etc.: a composite schedule put together by RCMB poster Andy_H shows the difficult road Michigan has ahead:

363117[1]

Click for big. Michigan has a more road-titled schedule than anyone in the league and they're currently tied for the most difficult league schedule with a couple other teams. Revel in YOUR FIRST PLACE MICHIGAN WOLVERINES while you can.

UMHoops preview. Ditto from Holdin' the Rope. Rush the Court breaks down the Arkansas press.