Michigan 74, Ohio State 62

Michigan 74, Ohio State 62

Submitted by BiSB on February 18th, 2018 at 4:38 PM

December was a long time ago.

When Michigan played Ohio State on December 4, everyone expected Ohio State to be a mediocre-at-best Big Ten team. The Buckeyes’ were coming off a 17-15 season and a disastrous offseason, and hadn’t shown anything particularly noteworthy in the early non-conference season. So when Michigan built, and subsequently blew, a 20-point in Columbus, it looked to be a terrible loss and the sign of a team that might struggle to make the NCAA tournament.  Now, ten weeks later, a home win over that same team being (rightly) seen as a massive résumé win.

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Moe goes up, Moe goes down (Campredon)

Ohio State’s turnaround has been keyed by Big Ten Player-of-the-Year frontrunner Keita Bates-Diop, and Michigan’s resurgence has been led by its defense. On this day, the defense won the battle. Bates-Diop finished with 17 points, but he required 17 shots to get there, and turned the ball over 4 times in the process. Overall, the Wolverines forced 14 turnovers, largely the result of excellent perimeter defense that resulted in numerous transition opportunities. Ohio State’s offensive success was largely predicated on offensive rebounding, as the Buckeyes grabbed 15 offensive boards.

Offensively, Michigan was sluggish out of the gate, trailing 14-10 midway through the first half. That was when Jordan Poole did Jordan Poole things. Michigan went on a 12-4 run, nine of which were Poole’s, including a four-point play. Michigan never relinquished the lead. Poole finished with 15 points on 5-8 shooting, including 4-5 from deep. He was the only Wolverine who shot well from outside (the rest of the team was 3-15 from three), and equally importantly, he provided a notable boost of energy.

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Sir, is your microwave running? Well then you’d better try to catch it (Campredon)

The other palpable source of energy was Moritz Wagner. Wagner scored an efficient 12 points, but also spent a large portion of the afternoon scrambling for loose balls and generally being an hyperactive pest. He also benefited from a (generally) laissez-faire approach from the officials, which allowed him to stay on the court despite being involved in some very physical encounters.

In other positive performances, Jaaron Simmons played extended minutes for the third consecutive game, including a solid stretch along side Jordan Poole during Poole’s first half explosion. The highlight of his first half was a pretty feed to Wagner in the post for an easy. It seems pretty clear at this point that he has supplanted Eli Brooks. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Zavier Simpson combined for 20 points in the second half.  On the downside, Charles Matthews continued to struggle. He was abused by JaeSean Tate (though Michigan struggled to defend him down low all game), and he was held to six points on six shots while turning the ball over four times. However, he did have a couple of nice takes to the bucket in the second half, and he generally stayed within the flow of the offense.

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Adieu, gentlemen (Campredon)

This was Senior Day, and Michigan said farewell to three active players; Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Duncan Robinson, and Jaaron Simmons all played significant minutes in this one, and generally played well. But the star of the festivities was Austin Hatch.  Hatch, who wasn’t allowed to play because of NCAA rules (he took a medical redshirt a couple of years ago) was announced as a starter, and warmed up with the team. Crisler’s greeting was reminiscent of that Brock Mealer when the Michigan football team opened the season against UConn in 2010.

For the second year in a row, a former Michigan grad transfer played Michigan's Senior Night an a different color jersey. But unlike Spike Albrecht, who received a relatively warm reception, Andrew Dakich was booed every time he touched the ball. Such is the nature of rivalry. Dakich finished with 0 points, 0 assists, and a turnover in 22 minutes.

This win removes what little doubt remained about Michigan’s tournament status. They still have a chance to play their way out of a second-round matchup with a 1- or 2-seed, though Michigan has recently been projected anywhere from a 3-seed to a “launched-by-trebuchet-into-the-sun,” so your guess is as good as mine. For the moment, we will have to be satisfied with a hearty round of “NOT LIKE FOOTBALL <clap> <clap> <clap clap clap>.”

[Hit THE JUMP for the box score.]

Austin Hatch Takes Medical Scholarship

Austin Hatch Takes Medical Scholarship

Submitted by Ace on April 27th, 2015 at 10:26 AM


[Bryan Fuller]

The basketball program announced today that Austin Hatch will move to a medical scholarship and transition to a role as a student assistant. This means that while Hatch's playing career is over, he stays on full scholarship and enjoys all the other benefits of being part of the program. From the official release, which was accompanied by a longer feature:

"This is, and has been, a very difficult decision; one that we have been discussing with Austin over the last few months," said Beilein. "Together, we made this decision at the end of the season and have been waiting for approval from the Big Ten for his status change. With the request for a medical exemption waiver approved (April 27), we are ready to move forward with the next steps in Austin's career."

"Over the past year, we closely observed Austin's academic and athletic progress. In the end, Austin and our staff agree that the waiver is the proper next step. This change allows Austin to devote the necessary time he needs to be successful in his studies and obtain a Michigan degree. We also wanted to be sure we continued our commitment to Austin keeping his full scholarship in place for the next three years. This waiver allows for both.

"What makes this move equally important is, with NCAA rules, it allows Austin to continue to be a valuable asset to our team as a leader, mentor and assistant. As a student assistant coach, Austin will be allowed to continue to be engaged in our practice and training and to travel with us when it can fit into his academic schedule. The only real change will be that he will no longer be on our active roster or allowed to play in games.

"Austin remains an important part of our program and culture, even if we do not have that chance to see him compete again."

"Basketball has always been a huge part of my life; however, it is what I play, not who I am," said Hatch. "It was a goal of mine to return to the game that I love so much and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to play for Michigan. After all that I have been through, it was a dream come true for me to put on a Michigan jersey and get into a game at Crisler Center.

"As I have progressed through this first season, I know that I am not where I want to be, both academically and athletically. My priority is academics and I feel that it is in my best interest to devote more time to my studies. This decision honors my father, and it is something that I know he would agree with and be proud of me for making.

"Coach Beilein, the staff and my teammates have been so understanding of my situation. They have supported me through everything I have been through and I now view them as part of my extended family. My words cannot, and would not, adequately express my gratitude for all they have done and continue to do for me.

"I am honored to be, and will be, a part of the Michigan Basketball program going forward -- in whatever capacity my studies allow me to be. I am a Michigan Wolverine for life. Again, I am honored and truly grateful that I am in a position to say that."

Hatch played in five games during his freshman season, tallying points in an exhibition against Wayne State and a regular-season game against Coppin State.

Hatch's move to a medical scholarship opens up one scholarship for the 2015-16 season, and Michigan is in continued pursuit of 2015 prospects Jaylen Brown and Kenny Williams. The Wolverines have been rumored to be in Brown's top two, while Williams is planning an official visit. (Max Bielfeldt's imminent departure also opened up a spot, which was taken by Moritz Wagner.)

Ramifications for next season aside, it was an honor and a pleasure to cover the team as Hatch took the court last season, and it's great to see he'll continue to be an integral part of the program moving forward.

Mailbag: Recruiting Outperformance, APR and Hardship Logistics, Burn This Card Now

Mailbag: Recruiting Outperformance, APR and Hardship Logistics, Burn This Card Now

Submitted by Brian on April 10th, 2015 at 12:43 PM

Recruiting rankings and outperformance

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[Bryan Fuller]

Good afternoon –

Beilein has developed a reputation for being a stellar recruiter. He is now known for uncovering basketball players who were either lightly regarded, lightly recruited, unknown, or young, so that they grew and developed significantly after he recruited them. (Burke, Rahkman, Dawkins, Albrecht, LeVert, and now Moritz Wagner all fall into this category.)  I will be interested to see how Harbaugh and his staff correlate to Beilein in this regard. In one sense, every fan wants every recruit who comes in to be a 4 or 5 star rated recruit. But the reality is that the coaches sometimes see things that the rating experts missed. This has been an on-going discussion: how much do stars matter? I think the correlation of Wagner and Kingston Davis committing today brought this topic to my mind.

So, my questions and requests for you:

1) I’d love to see a table showing recruiting ranking vs. actual performance. Who ends up bring in recruits who significantly outperform their ranking, who brings in recruits who perform the way expected, and who brings in recruits who underperform, relative to how they were ranked.

This is too hard to do for basketball since there are very small and wildly varying recruiting classes. Last year Michigan brought in six players; this year it looks like it will be just one. A couple years ago Ohio State's recruiting class was… nobody. The attrition rates are wildly different so recruiting rankings, which always favor volume, are going to be skewed. You can point to anecdotes like Beilein turning fringe top 100 recruits into lottery picks on the regular; I don't think it's possible to do anything systematic with the numbers.

Football does give you a reasonable baseline to work with and this has been done by Ross Benes at Deadspin. You will be unsurprised to find Michigan where it is in a study that covers 2009 to 2013:

image

I am a bit skeptical about the methodology here, as it doesn't seem to account for the fact that there's nowhere to go but down for the teams at the top of the rankings. (It also doesn't take last year into account, which is why Michigan State isn't in the Wisconsin zone.) But it's still good for comparing you to your peers and the result is undeniable: amongst teams that recruit like Michigan, only Tennessee and maybe UCLA perform worse; Miami is on par.

2) The followup question would be to assess how much of this is attributable to a recruit being ranked accurately and appropriately, and much is attributable to the recruit’s development in college. The knock on Hoke wasn’t recruiting:  it was the belief that he didn’t develop players to perform to the best of their capability.

Thanks, best regards, and enjoy the balance of the Spring.

Steve Kass

No doubt it is some of both. Recruiting rankings are necessarily ignorant of a number of things that will influence the development of the player—ACL stability for one. But it's clear that some guys are awesome teachers able to improve players and others are guys who clap and shout "let's go." It's nice to see Stanford on the right side of this ledger even after Harbaugh's departure since many of those coaches were his, and he set up the culture that lifted them from the bottom.

APR logistics

Brian:

I think that perhaps I don't understand what goes into the APR and was hoping you could help me understand.  I thought (although it appears incorrectly) that APR measured the percent of a school's players with remaining eligibility that return to school, maintain that eligibility academically, and/or graduate.  With 7 Kentucky players declaring for the draft (following several years of many more declaring), it would appear that Kentucky couldn't possibly evade APR penalties because legions of eligible players have not and will not be returning to school.  Is there an exception for going pro that I'm unaware of?  Is Kentucky's APR really only measured by whether their mop up players stay eligible and graduate, without regard to the majority of the team that goes pro?

Thanks,

Evan

That is correct. The APR has a loophole for players who leave school early for pro sports. You don't even have to get drafted to take advantage of it—NCAA-sanctioned UConn men's basketball started digging out with a perfect score this year despite a player leaving for Europe. He signed a contract overseas and left in "good academic standing," so he doesn't hurt UConn's APR.

As a result of that loophole all Kentucky has to do is gin up some Cs for the NCAA minimum progress toward a degree and their APR is untouched. It's probably in fact easier for them to comply with APR stuff because all they have to do is get their kids to go to Easy Class 101. Few end up having to move on to We Kind Of Need You To Pay Attention Now 386.

On the one hand, you need that exception because it's not the school's fault if, say, Nik Stauskas blows up into a top ten pick and wants to go get paid millions of dollars. On the other it does enable the travelling circus that is the current one-and-done system.

Medical hardship logistics

Hey Brian --

Recently there's been significant attention paid to key questions facing Michigan basketball this offseason (Will Levert go pro?  Will Jaylen Brown commit? etc.).  All of the discussion seems to operate under the premise that either Austin Hatch will continue to take up one of the 13 scholarships the team has to hand out, or the team will place him under "medical hardship."  I have two questions.

1) What does this medical hardship entail?  Would it be 100% career-ending?  Would he no longer be able to practice and play with the team?

A medical hardship allows the school to continue giving the kid a full scholarship. It would end his playing career at Michigan. He could still be affiliated with the team, could still practice (there's no regulations on who you practice with in college; womens' teams will often go up against guys). He could not get in the game. He would be a student manager, basically.

Michigan might be able to get a waiver for senior day.

2) Why has there been no discussion of freeing up Hatch's scholarship to use on, say, Jaylen Brown or Mike Edwards, by making him a walk-on?  I'm assuming there are other ways the University can make sure all his tuition bills are paid for.  At the very least, paying for Hatch to go to Michigan is worthy of $200K of the millions of dollars the athletic department has gotten from Stephen Ross or Al Glick.

In other words, maybe we don't have to choose between keeping Hatch on the basketball team and bringing in another scholarship player of Jaylen Brown's caliber, should LeVert choose to come back.

Thanks,
Jack

M 2012

Once you've been on scholarship, you count as a scholarship player even if your money supposedly comes from a source than the athletic department.

There are in fact certain things that you can do when you are just a recruit that make you count as a scholarship player, something that football teams have been dancing around of late with this "blueshirt" thing where kids arrive on campus as walk-ons. Those kids can't take officials or they end up counting against the limit of 25 signees annually.

Again, this is a situation where Michigan might be able to get a waiver since it's very high profile. Without that Michigan cannot use Hatch's scholarship without disqualifying him from playing.

Buy it and burn it.

Brian,

I am so upset about this I had to share...

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The above Ebay link is for a new Devin Gardner card with a sick & twisted "variation" of the winged helmet. This just is not right! I don't see how Upper Deck can get away with messing with our helmet design and printing this card.

Ed McArdle

Saginaw, MI

Is that a sugar cookie made by a deranged aunt on the card? Why is anyone making a Devin Gardner rookie card and is it even slightly possible that any of the bids on this travesty are legitimate? Supposedly this card is up to 16.05 with four different bidders. This makes me want to find a WIRED article about the shady lives of professional EBay sellers or something. I have a million questions.

Nah

Gonna go with "no" on this one.

Basketbullets: Indiana

Basketbullets: Indiana

Submitted by Brian on February 9th, 2015 at 12:55 PM

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You should really look at the big version for the background faces [Patrick Barron]

We have a theme, a palpable theme. Michigan plays about as well as they can, is right in it with a team headed to the tournament, and cannot finish the job. Three of Michigan's last four losses have followed that pattern, with the exception a home blowout against suddenly incandescent Iowa.

That was also going to happen—the ugly blowouts against teams that can exploit the various holes in Michigan's roster—but overall it's a familiar theme: Michigan's got a bunch of guys trying their best and not quite making it. This is also known as "the Amaker tenure."

In this case Michigan had to get raided by the NBA draft, lose their top two players, and have their touted freshman spectacularly underperform. They'll be a lot better next year. Take this team, add Walton, Duncan Robinson, DJ Wilson, and a year of experience for literally everyone and you're back to being a tourney team.

Levert? FWIW, I was talking to Sam Webb during my weekly WTKA thing (Thursdays, 9 AM) and LeVert came up; he said that it wasn't a slam dunk he'd go, and I was like "er, what" and he said he likes school, loves the team, and might stick it out. He is very young for his grade. Obviously, the prospect of a guaranteed seven-figure contract is and will remain tempting.

It would be nice to finally get a guy who could go back.

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[Barron]

Irvin bust out. Indiana does not have a good defense. Let's stipulate that. But Michigan actually saw a good deal of, you know, offense. Michigan's 13 assists were the most they'd had since the Penn State game, and rarely have they cracked double digits. That's symptomatic of an offense that's struggling and resorting to a lot of heroball.

Nobody has been more negatively impacted by this than Zak Irvin, who was an excellent microwave last year and has struggled to initiate his own offense or find kickouts from his teammates. This leads to a pattern of frustration followed by contested shots off the dribble—not good eats for your offensive efficiency.

Irvin shook that against Indiana, finishing a few buckets around the basket that were set up by his teammates and finding small windows of space for his threes. He initiated a little offense himself. He was efficient. After, Beilein praised his improved "acumen for the game," and that's about right. This was also right, unfortunately:

But if there was one nagging frustration with Irvin on Sunday, it was his struggles to finish at the rim. With eight minutes left and Michigan down nine, the forward missed a fairly routine layup. A minute later, he went up for a layup with his right hand despite being on the left side of the rim, and the shot was blocked as a result.

“He’s got his head on right, and he knows that everybody has parts of their game they need to work on,” Beilein said. “He realizes what some of those are, and he’s working on them.”

Major points to the color guy for pointing that latter problem out immediately and informatively.

Anyway, priority one for the rest of this year is for the rest of the offense to pose enough of a threat to opponents that Irvin can either find open threes or, at the very least, closeouts. He can attack those; when he's just trying to straight up beat a guy he doesn't have the lateral mobility to do that without a bunch of spins and other such moves that bring help defenders into play.

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[Patrick Barron]

MAAR bust. Freshmen are up and down and hoo boy was MAAR down in this one. His missed bunny after a steal was followed by another Irvin missed bunny and those buckets combined to rankle the remainder of the game, no more so than when Michigan ended up three points short on the scoreboard.

This is no doubt an adjustment period. Teams have seen what MAAR can do and have a scouting report on him; now it's up for Michigan to get MAAR playing better than he's scouted. One priority needs to be moving him from a guy who seems to make up his mind whether it's pass or shot before the drive to one who can find the open guys under the hoop when he draws help.

And then Doyle surges. (Also Donnal.) Meanwhile, Michigan's bigs kept moderately-big Max Bielfeldt (three minutes) on the bench for the first time in forever. Donnal put up seven points on four shots; Doyle had 15(!) on 8 shot equivalents. He was one made FT from having as many points as you can without an and-one or three pointer, on 19% usage in 27 minutes.

This has a lot to do with Indiana, which got a total of five minutes from guys bigger than a willowy 6'7".

Negative: even so they still got crushed on the boards. Doyle's trying to block shots that are not good shots to block: in the first half Irvin or Dawkins or MAAR had successfully contested a drive, forcing Indiana into difficult runner from five feet. It missed, but Doyle had tried to block it and his guy was there for an easy putback. Unless you are a pterodactyl man like Anthony Davis, that's a bad idea.

16288510958_1ac48e7c28_zEvidence of offensive improvement. Michigan's last shot went through all five Wolverines before landing in MAAR's hands in the corner for a wide open look. It didn't go down, but to be able to execute that is something resembling progress.

Also, an alley-oop! It seems like forever ago when Michigan got two or three of those a game from Robinson.

[@ right: Patrick Barron]

Evidence they've got a ways to go. Blackmon (sigh) and Ferrell had a great sequence against the 2-3 in which Blackmon attacked, drawing  both high defenders. Ferrell saw this and made a cut to the soft spot of the 2-3, receiving the pass and finishing and and-one against a highly disadvantaged Irvin.

That's not something we've seen much of from Michigan during their extensive opportunities to go up against a 2-3. Very, very rarely does anyone force the zone to react before attempting to get a pass inside the arc, and a lot of the time Michigan spends 20 seconds or so trying to make a pass to initiate their offense against a zone that hasn't been deformed or stretched.

Chatman thing. He did little in his ten minutes. This is something of an improvement. I did wonder what was going on on several possessions where he sat in the middle of the floor like he was flashing to the post against a 2-3. He brought a defender with him, which almost made it look like Indiana was running a 1-3-1. It was a confusing time.

Then I figured out that Indiana was just in man to man and Chatman kept flashing to the post because he didn't recognize that. This happened on three or four possessions and is another ominous sign about how far he has to go.

Must… fight… old man sportswriter… feels. SPOCK. I am not a fan of guys sitting back from their typewriters proclaiming some dude they don't know a scourge of society because he is a bit of a showoff. I think this is more reflective of the person writing it than the subject.

But, man, Troy Williams takes it to another level. Troy Williams flexes at his mom after he successfully pours milk in his cereal. Troy Williams goes to children's hospitals and mean-mugs at cancer patients because he is to date free of same. Troy Williams makes me an old man sportswriter and therefore I dislike him.

Hatch bits. ESPN story and video:

Bring kleenex.

Thing I never want to see again. A Yogi Ferrell pull-up three. I would like him to not be at Indiana, please.

Unverified Voracity Got A Job Just Yesterday

Unverified Voracity Got A Job Just Yesterday

Submitted by Brian on February 6th, 2015 at 12:35 PM

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DON'T DO THIS

WEBER FIASCO DEFCON 1. The damn day after Mike Weber signs a LOI to Ohio State, running backs coach Stan Drayton leaves for the Bears. Weber:

Tony Paul:

The timing of this move is odd, to put it mildly.

John Fox was named the new Chicago Bears coach in early January, and much of his coaching staff was in place shortly thereafter. It seems curious Drayton would be making the move only after Weber signed his letter of intent to play for Ohio State.

UCLA pulled a similar stunt with their DC. Roquan Smith managed to find out before he used the fax machine, but you have to think that maybe some of UCLA's defensive commits would have looked around if UCLA had announced when they knew about it a month before signing day. Just more of the usual crap.

Recruits! DON'T SIGN A LETTER OF INTENT.

DON'T SIGN A LETTER OF INTENT

I mean, if you're a random three star and they say sign this paper or we're moving on, go ahead. If you're a big deal, do this:

The NCAA last fall began allowing football prospects who plan to enroll in January to sign financial aid agreements with college programs as early as August 1 of their senior year. The agreement, which allows the college program to have unlimited contact with the player and publicly speak about him, binds the school to the prospect, but not the prospect to the school. So there's nothing to dissuade a situation like that of Josh Malone, who signed financial aid agreements with four schools before ultimately signing with Tennessee.

Sign a financial aid agreement. It's like the LOI, except backwards, and that makes schools hate it. Instead of stuff like this happening to you, you can have hilarious quotes like this apply to your situation:

"You're basically taking the word of the kid," Mallonee told the AJC. "That's part of the issue."

Yeah! A kid who might drop a school for no reason or sell a school a false bill of goods. Damn kids. Always doing mean things with all the power they have.  

Meanwhile. Can't say I'm surprised about this.

Upshot. Could this lead to Weber flipping back to Michigan? Maybe. Schools can release players from LOIs.

Institutions are now empowered to grant a full and complete release from the NLI at anytime. To do so, an official Release Request Form must be initiated by the prospect and submitted to both the NLI office and the signing institution.

There's also an opportunity to appeal when school refuses to release a player, a process that ND signee Eddie Vanderdoes successfully went through a few years back. I'm unclear on what, exactly, this means as part of the Vanderdoes case:

The victory for Vanderdoes comes after a rather lengthy (and sometimes public) spat with Notre Dame and head coach Brian Kelly, who allowed Vanderdoes to enroll at UCLA, but refused to release him from the letter of intent he signed with Notre Dame in February.

Kelly can't prevent a guy from enrolling wherever he wants, and there appears to be no partial release from a LOI. The Bylaw Blog post on the topic implies that this was a straight-up win for Vanderdoes after Kelly refused to release him.

In any case: OSU could release him if the publicity gets bad enough, or Weber could decide to go somewhere else and attempt to appeal. If he did not win that appeal he would have to sit out his freshman year and he would lose that year of eligibility, making him a true sophomore in 2016.

Weber would have to want to pursue that, of course. It's possible he gets over it.

ESPN doing Hatch things. Hatch things:

Hiring various people for 'crootin' and 'lyzin'. Michigan announced they've hired longtime college coach and Harbaugh family associate TJ Weist as a "senior offensive analyst." Weist was the WR coach at Michigan in the early 90s, when a guy named Desmond Howard was hanging out, and was most recently the OC at Connecticut.

This analyst position is not a full assistant job, so Weist won't be able to work with players directly or recruit. He'll do film, find tendencies, and advise. Usually when established coaches take these jobs they're short-term gigs before something opens up elsewhere.

Michigan's also hired Gwendolyn Bush as "director of player development." Bush is the mom of Wayne Lyons, the fifth-year Stanford transfer who's supposed to be landing in Ann Arbor.

This has led to a couple of assertions that Michigan is getting down and dirty. If so, let's be clear why: it's not because Michigan wants a defensive back who will be around for one year. It's because Bush was—uh—"team mom" for South Florida Express, a high-powered 7 on 7 outfit that launched the careers of Teddy Bridgewater and Geno Smith, amongst many others.

SFE won the national 7-on-7 championship, which is apparently a thing that exists now, and got profiled in SI, etc etc.

Meanwhile, Lyons. The Lyons transfer thing has broken loose from the paysites and made the Mercury News:

Stanford coach David Shaw on Wednesday enthusiastically described all 22 players who signed letters of intent as part of another well-regarded recruiting class. He was slightly less eager to discuss a player who might be leaving the program.

Cornerback Wayne Lyons is reportedly considering a transfer to Michigan, where he would play one season (as a graduate student) for former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh.

"For those guys going into their fifth year that want the opportunity to play someplace else,'' Shaw said, "I've never said no, never tried talk anybody out of it.''

Lyons started seven games last year for Stanford's kick-ass defense. Michigan doesn't really need a defensive back but they've got a slot if Joe Kerridge isn't guaranteed a scholarship (and since it's highly likely someone leaves the team before fall that's probably moot anyway). May as well fill it with a quality player.

Michicon Valley. SJSU hires a familiar name:

Then they did the thing:

SAN JOSE -- San Jose State officially announced two of its coaching hires on Thursday, with Al Borges being named offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach and Dan Ferrigno the special teams coordinator/tight ends coach.

Greg Robinson is of course the DC. It will be… interesting to see how SJSU does this year. I predict bad.

Meanwhile in offensive coordinator hires that Michigan fans are extremely skeptical of. Tennessee is actually, officially doing their thing:

DeBord has never coordinated anything approximating a mobile quarterback and couldn't even find a position coach job after leaving the NFL, instead landing at Michigan for an Olympic sports administrator thing. Let's see if he can submarine Butch Jones's 80 recruits per year.

Dabo's very particular. This private bathroom thing is a thing.

I've heard worse ideas. BYU signed a guy who's never played football before. Does this sound like an idea on par with hiring an Olympic Sports Administrator to be your offensive coordinator? Not so fast my friend:

That's no moon. Unless it's orbiting a planet. Then it totally is.

Etc.: In case you were considering taking Dave Zirin seriously about anything ever, you probably shouldn't. Vegas odds for the hockey national title are bonkers. Iowa wasn't real happy with the Higdon flip.

Signing day interviews with JayHar, Baxter, Jackson, and Wheatley (Jr).

Unverified Voracity Complains About Gift Horses

Unverified Voracity Complains About Gift Horses

Submitted by Brian on January 26th, 2015 at 5:12 PM

Hatch Gameday. Via MLive:

Positioned on the Crisler court alongside coach John Beilein and ESPN's Rece Davis and Jay Williams, Michigan freshman Austin Hatch looked up at the arena scoreboard as a his tale of loss and triumph played on the video screen.

If, by chance, a pin had hit the hardwood, you'd have heard it.

Beilein brushed a tear from his eye. As images of the 2011 plane crash that claimed Hatch's father and step-mother and left him in an eight-week coma flashed on the screen, Beilein rested his hand on Hatch's leg.

Hatch gave him an "it's OK" glance.

The nonsense of a 14 team conference defined. UNC and Wake are playing nonconference games in 2019 and 2021, because they'd rather do that than wait a zillion years to play each other again. Congratulations, conference commissioners.

This is a bump. Harbaugh was supposedly getting 7-8 million a year; he is not. The gap between his deal and his rumored deal seems to be headed to his assistants:

That bumps at the same rate Harbaugh does. Michigan was at 3.5 last year; the top end of that scale would see them third nationally behind LSU and Alabama, pending everyone else throwing money at their assistants.

Other contract details. Harbaugh's deal is pretty standard. It specifies that he gets a private plane for recruiting, which I think we're all happy with. Saving time as you flit about and not dealing with commercial air travel are things that make sense for the head man. The rest of the terms are as favorable as you think they might be for a guy in that kind of demand: if Michigan fires him they're on the hook for the whole deal anyway; if he leaves his buyout is a pro-rated portion of his two million dollar signing bonus. IE, nothing.

Izzo is really something. Walter Pitchford got tossed three minutes in to the MSU-Nebraska game for throwing an elbow at Matt Costello. Tim Miles:

“I thought Walt deserved to get kicked out, after seeing it,” Miles said. “He made a mistake. I know he’s sorry for that mistake. He’s being held, he looks at the ref, but you don’t do that. That’s uncalled for. That’s not us. Walt will learn from that.”

Tom Izzo:

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said Nebraska indirectly may have benefited from Pitchford’s ejection.

“I thought it energized them,” he said. “Calls went differently after that, like normally they do.”

Izzo could complain about winning the lottery.

Caris evaluated. Draft Express took the opportunity to evaluate Caris LeVert after the information NBA teams will get before next year's draft was abruptly finished by his foot injury. The upshot:

LeVert will need to decide now whether or not to return to Michigan for his senior season. The feedback he gets from NBA teams in the next few months will likely play a large role in that. While this is not considered a weak draft at the moment, it does look fairly shallow at the guard positions, which could help LeVert's stock.

Most places still have him as first round pick, though now he's out of the lottery. As a young junior he still has a lot of upside he could explore in college. Unfortunately, it's often hard for guys to come back when they go into a year expecting it will be their last in college. We saw that with Glenn Robinson III last year. GRIII entered the draft knowing full well he wasn't getting a guaranteed contract because of that momentum.

This is reasonably nasty. Kyle Connor will be a freshman next year.

He's projected as a first round pick.

So this guy exists. Not sure what job this gentleman landed:

But he landed a job. Hastings played for D-II Washburn University, which I have just learned has one of the best logo/nickname combinations in college sports:

Ichabod_logo[1]

They are the Ichabods.

Anyway, after college Hastings kicked around the 49ers practice squad for a few years, then landed in the Eagles' front office. He's probably getting one of those analyst jobs Michigan was supposed to be adding.

Etc.: ESPN wants to move next year's semifinal playoff games from New Year's Eve because they're afraid of Ryan Seacrest. Seriously. Charles Pierce on deflategate is mandatory. Harbaughtweets power-ranked. Jon Falk on decals.

Michigan 72, Coppin State 56

Michigan 72, Coppin State 56

Submitted by Ace on December 22nd, 2014 at 10:07 PM


LET THE BODIES HIT THE FLOOR

Michigan easily dispatched an overmatched Coppin State squad to snap their four-game losing streak, coasting to a 16-point victory that wasn't as close as the score would indicate. The above GIF is more representative.

Ricky Doyle led the team with a career-high 16 points, going 6/7 from the field; he could've had even more if not for a 4/9 mark from the free-throw line. Derrick Walton recorded a career high in assists for the second straight year against CSU, dishing out nine in addition to scoring nine points.

Zak Irvin hit 3/7 three-pointers on his way to 13 points while hauling in seven boards. Caris LeVert did solid work on the glass as well, pulling down eight rebounds on top of his eight points. Kam Chatman added nine points, Mark Donnal eight, and the bench got plenty of run.

That included Austin Hatch, who tallied his first official career point at the line after getting fouled on a three-pointer that he very nearly sunk. After Hatch narrowly missed another opportunity from the corner, John Beilein called timeout to sub him out and allow the crowd a chance to give him a standing ovation. It was quite a moment to cap off a much-needed win.

Michigan 86, Wayne State 43, Austin Hatch 1

Michigan 86, Wayne State 43, Austin Hatch 1

Submitted by Ace on November 10th, 2014 at 9:27 PM


Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog

Michigan blew out Wayne State tonight in an exhibition that was never remotely competitive. The usual suspects, Caris LeVert and Zak Irvin, led the team in scoring with 16 and 13 points, respectively. Derrick Walton came back from an injury scare—just a cramp, it turned out—to tally 11, while freshmen Kam Chatman and DJ Wilson both turned in nine-point efforts. The team looks expectedly disjointed on offense despite their production; the defensive effort was quite encouraging for a young team's opening game.

That all mattered very little when Austin Hatch, survivor of two tragic plane crashes, subbed into the game with 1:40 left to a standing ovation. The Crisler Center crowd, subdued to that point, nearly burst in nervous anticipation every time Hatch touched the ball, aching for him to take a shot that didn't seem like it would come. Hatch was content to kill the clock in a blowout win. The crowd moaned when not he, but Ricky Doyle, finished a long possession with an easy layup; each time he had touched the ball, his teammates on the bench were literally jumping up and down encouraging him to shoot. He waited.

Then Hatch drew a foul at the top of the key with 12 seconds remaining and Michigan in the double bonus, and the crowd rose once again. The first free throw caught the back iron. The second did not. You're going to want to click that link.

To top it off, John Beilein called a timeout after Hatch sunk his free throw, then wrapped him in a bear hug as he came to the bench.

Words cannot describe the feeling of watching a man who's twice fallen from the sky get to fulfill at least some small part of his big dream. I'm sure Austin Hatch never envisioned his first point at Michigan being this big a deal, a capital-'M' Moment. It was, though, and to see his teammates, coaches, and fans react as they did—special doesn't cover it. The cheers and the hugs and the smiles tell just a fraction of the story, a joyous moment in an unfathomable journey.

Thank you, Austin, for sharing it with us.

Unverified Voracity Has Words For One Word

Unverified Voracity Has Words For One Word

Submitted by Brian on August 22nd, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Scrimmage video. Fan-based, so wobbly.

Perverse incentives create perverse results. It is of course completely nuts for Michigan to play Florida in Dallas. The stadium is smaller, the fanbases are far away, and the pageantry of college football is largely replaced with sterile NFL lawyer spaceship accoutrements. But people do it because they get the money.

After Wisconsin scheduled LSU in a goofy neutral-and-neutral situation, Jim Delany issued a memo that the Cedar Times Gazette has unearthed:

Delany’s letter, which was obtained by The Gazette, highlighted the league’s support for neutral sites provided at least half of the series occur within the Big Ten footprint and under the league’s television agreements. Delany wrote an arrangement would be “disapproved” if a Big Ten game was not designated as the home squad in at least half the games or if it was a one-game event that took place outside the league’s television umbrella. …

“We applaud and very much appreciate your efforts in doing so, as this should create value for your teams and fans as well as for our television partners and, therefore, for all Conference members. But please keep in mind the above policies that are important to all of us as we share collectively in the revenue generated by our televised games."

I'm not sure what "disapproved" means here. Could be "we will not let you do this"; could be "we will raise our mighty eyebrow at you but take no other action."

In any case the memo indirectly indicates why neutral site games are popular: the two teams participating can split the TV money between themselves instead of between themselves and Indiana and Purdue and a bunch of other teams that are not in fact playing. When there's a Jerryworld game, ESPN and Jerryworld get the rights and then give home-team-sized slices to both participants. The Big Ten doesn't like that.

The Big Ten can pound sand. Scheduling real games would be so much easier if the teams in them actually saw the benefits without having to leave campus. There is zero reason that a Michigan-Florida home and home should be less lucrative than a neutral site game for the people involved.

Thankfully it sounds like Michigan's trip to Jerryworld in 2017 will be their last, by league decree. It's for the wrong reason, but these days that's all you can hope for.

Hatch things. Good Morning America had him on:

I am going to judge you on your word. Big Ten coaches given one word to describe their teams!

Illinois’ Tim Beckman: Family

"Can you help me find them? I'm not supposed to be out after 7 PM."

Indiana’s Kevin Wilson: Cusp

That's not an adjective. The Hoosiers are not seeming particularly cusp this morn.

Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz: Developmental

Neither is this unless it's followed by "-ly disabled," but I like that Ferentz managed to be even more boring than boring. He's probably in a band called White Toast and that's one of their songs.

Maryland’s Randy Edsall: Hungry

Boring, and not in a fun Ferentz way. Boring in a boring way. Randy Edsall is in a band and their one song is "this is not a band it is just a boring man telling you to eat your vegetables."

Michigan’s Brady Hoke: Together

…now that our first round left tackle is gone

Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio: Committed

…pass interference and still weren't found out

Minnesota’s Jerry Kill: Hungry

This would be boring except for this video of Jerry Kill eating a tiny burrito:

Awwww.

Nebraska’s Bo Pelini: Exciting

Accurate. Nebraska is not great but they are a cat explosion waiting to happen.

Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald: Focused

…until the fourth quarter.

Ohio State’s Urban Meyer: Fast

Accurate, in fact tells you something about desired composition of team, relatively un-boring.

Penn State’s James Franklin: Perseverance

Again with the non-adjectives.

Purdue’s Darrell Hazell: Hungry

Would be boring but in this case I think Darrell Hazell may be saying that his players are literally hungry because they can't figure out which hole to put the food in. "NOT THAT ONE," Darrell Hazell screams for the third time today, "THAT ONE ISN'T EVEN A PART OF YOUR BODY."

Rutgers’ Kyle Flood: Hungry

wait why is this guy even listed

Wisconsin’s Gary Andersen: Youthful

Well… yeah. Joe Namath ain't walking through that door.

Meanwhile, Spurrier said "decent" because hail Spurrier. Mark Richt said "wow" for some reason. I ain't saying that Dave Brandon goes around wearing Mark Richt's skin. But I ain't saying otherwise, neither.

Would you say that your decisions are film and evidence-based? Hoke:

"The evidence for making decisions is on the film," Hoke said Saturday night after the team's public scrimmage. "It's evidence-based. Based on film."

No word on the moisture status of his upper lip.

Another "students are gone" article. This one from USA Today is standard-issue. It never ceases to amaze that athletic directors can say this…

"I don't think it's a targeted demographic problem; I think it's more of a (high-definition) TV, living room, leather couch problem and we have to give the people a reason to come to our live product," Washington athletics director Scott Woodward said. "It is something we're going to have to address and deal with."

…and then marvel at the fact that it's tough to sell tickets that have spiraled upward relative to inflation, nearly tripling since 2000. Surely there is an athletic director out there who can figure out why they might be having attendance problems. Take 2, and then take this other 2, and somehow we have to reach 4.

The article has another pile of lukewarm solutions that aren't going to fix much of anything. One thing that could help: stop treating students like enemies. Michigan gets the vapors when a student says the word "sucks" and tries to drown it out; the ushers in the student section are constantly harassing anyone who does anything that looks even slightly like liability. You've got a choice here: loosen things up and accept the fact that you're going to have slightly higher insurance premiums, or continue to turn off your future customers with adversarial relationships between students and your main point of contact with them.

[Via Get The Picture.]

Italy stuff. The entire first game is available on the tubes. UMHoops has highlights of game #3.

Etc.: MSU WR MacGarrett Kings doesn't even get standard-issue one game DUI suspension. Notre Dame previewed by Paul Myerberg. An overview of where the various NCAA lawsuits stand. The Kessler suit is The Big One. I'm in a sidebar of this ESPN story on the state of Michigan. NOPE.

MVictors interviews Dan Dierdorf. Genuinely Sarcastic comes back for a post about Michigan football that naturally includes a section on Stalingrad. Notre Dame scandal is always a good opportunity to rip Notre Dame.

Unverified Voracity Gets Misty

Unverified Voracity Gets Misty

Submitted by Brian on August 14th, 2014 at 1:54 PM

9856552466_aa103fe7b9_z

Bryan Fuller

On Csont'e York. It was inevitable that once the York video was released there were going to be a lot of strong reactions to it. I deleted a number of things that were over the line, and expected to.

I left up a bunch more that weren't quite delete-worthy but did make me feel uncomfortable. Most of those were uncomfortable because they weren't sad. Many called him a coward, others were almost gleeful in their eagerness to ship the guy out. Those threads don't reflect well on our community here.

While I think that York's second chance has to come somewhere else given the severity of what he did, I would appreciate it if everyone would keep in mind that even a kid who did a dumbass thing remains a person. There's an unfortunately paywalled profile of York from his time as a recruit up on ESPN. Chantel Jennings:

In August, he'll enroll at the University of Michigan and become the first person in his family to attend college. He has made it through the death of his mother, a number of family moves, and out of Detroit with a positive attitude. And through all of this, what he keeps closest to his heart is his family.

"My little brothers and sisters, I think about them," York said. "It has always been in my head that I have to do this for them. This isn't just for me. It's for my family. That's all I think of."

The reason York did what he did started with the people around him as he grew up and the primary emotion should be sadness that a kid couldn't keep it together. Once we're on to third chances I can see the disdain begin to creep in legitimately. Now, though, I just think of the times when I've been on the verge of a bad decision and struggled not to make it.

Kleenex at the ready. Austin Hatch and John Beilein profiled:

Three years ago, lying in a hospital bed in Traverse City fighting for his life, Austin Hatch's relationship with John Beilein went beyond a player-coach situation.

Nine days after pledging his verbal commitment to Michigan in June of 2011, Hatch was involved in a tragic plane crash that took the lives of both his father and stepmother and left him in a medically-induced coma.

At that point, no one was concerned about Hatch's basketball career. The main focus was saving his life.

And, unknown to Hatch at the time, one of those people standing at his bedside -- fighting along with him -- was Beilein.

Huge, they say. Michigan is apparently set to announce two home and home series:

Michigan football is set to announce two huge home and home opponents this week.

Terry Foster and Mike Stone met with Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon today and that’s when Brandon dropped the news that this announcement will happen later this week.

FWIW, apparently there was a connected guy on the Rivals board saying the opponents were Stanford and Duke in a since-deleted post. No idea if that's accurate or not; obviously only one of those teams would even sort of qualify as "huge." And with Stanford there's always the possibility that they return to historical norms by the time the game rolls around. I kind of doubt that's accurate anyway—tough to see Stanford taking on Michigan when they've got a nine-game conference schedule plus their now-annual game against Notre Dame. But anyway, stay tuned.

By the way, that post has a poll asking who you'd like to see Michigan play that includes Nebraska and Wisconsin, which was momentarily absurd until it wasn't. Marshall, another option, remains so.

WELP? Prepare for the Colening.

Everybody get up. But especially you. Aubrey Dawkins can get up, yo.

When Michigan took MAAR and then still went after Dawkins that was an indication they liked him more than his rating would imply, and In Beilein We Trust.

That shot came from an open practice Michigan held before their Italy trip during which Kam Chatman impressed:

Michigan’s most highly touted freshman is multifaceted and college-ready. The general consensus among the scribes perched up on the observation deck was that Chatman will be a day-one starter, barring anything unforeseen.

The 6-foot-7 wing drilled smooth left-handed 3-pointers as a standstill shooter and off the dribble. He looked comfortable and capable making decisions with the ball. He finished in traffic.

Quinn's colleague Nick Baumgardner concurred:

First thing that struck me was Chatman. High-level shooter, can handle, finish, isn't skinny. He'll start right away.

Both Chatman and Dawkins spent time doing post drills as they prepare to play Novak/GRIII undersized 4. DJ Wilson is also going to be a 4 of the not-undersized variety but is still being held out with his pinky injury.

Unfortunately, Michigan won't be streaming any of the Italy games.

Brutal departure/injury spree. Unlike Nebraska's, this one actually matters for Michigan: Northwestern tailback Venric Mark will transfer; leading wide receiver Christian Jones is out for the year with a knee injury.

Mark, of course, tortured Michigan two years ago with his quickness. Jones is less of a loss since Northwestern tends to plug and play at WR but he was still their best guy in yards per target by some distance. Looks like it's Prater time? Naw, man, it's never Prater time. Until it is. But probably not. Because a Rutgers transfer is the guy Inside NU is promoting for the job.

A man familiar with the situation. Michigan doesn't get much mention in CBS Sportsline's group preview of the Big Ten except for incessant Jabrill Peppers talk in the "best newcomer" category, but the one guy who singled out Michigan as an underrated team is an interesting one: Auburn fan Jerry Hinnen, who's seen both Al Borges and Doug Nussmeier up close and personal. His take on M:

Most underrated team: Michigan. The Wolverines have to visit both Michigan State and Ohio State, keeping their odds of winning the East low, but they might still be the third-best team in the league. A healthy Jake Ryan and a loaded secondary should give Greg Mattison his best defense yet, and going from Al Borges to Doug Nussmeier might be the biggest offensive coaching upgrade in the FBS. If the offensive line has a pulse, 10 wins will be in play.

That is Michigan's great hope.

Looking pretty good down the road. More high praise for a hockey commit:

Unfortunately, that is an addendum to an article running down the top prospects the OHL's Kitchener Rangers have. Luce checks in third after being drafted in the fifth round despite his NTDP commitment. Details:

Steady, instinctive blueliner with great size and poise. Textbook hitter and defender backed by solid positional sense. … Thrives in the dirty pockets of the ice, using his size and strength advantages to win battles and gain possession. Excellent one on one defender, keeps an active stick, extremely efficient at getting sticks on pucks. Difficult to drive the net or gain an outside lane on, manages gaps efficiently and takes advantage of his massive wingspan. … Projects as a tough, physical, stay at home defender who can contribute at both ends of the ice. …  Would be a top paring defender if he ever comes to the league.

Sounds like the kind of shutdown D Michigan hasn't had in a long time. I mean, Trouba, but Trouba was here and gone in a flash.

Kitchener does manage to snipe guys frequently, but in Luce's case Michigan should be okay. He's headed to NTDP and not currently projected to be a pick so high that he would get signed immediately and then reassigned. Also, his dad is the Panthers' director of scouting and played in the OHL himself—when they chose college it was an informed decision.

This is going to be a problem. The NCAA has just been hit with an injunction that says it cannot cap scholarship values below the federal government's full cost of attendance, so eventually those numbers are going to have to come up. The issue: those gaps vary widely between schools:

Michigan: $2,204
Ohio State: $3,346
Penn State: $4,000

Somehow it's more expensive to live in the middle of nowhere than an actual city or in Ann Arbor's notoriously expensive student housing market. Meanwhile, Tennessee has the biggest gap in the power five at 5,666.

It doesn't seem likely that Michigan's going to stand for a system where a kid going to Penn State gets 7k more over his four years, and there's no way in hell Georgia (1.8k) is going to go for a system where half the SEC is offering 10k+ more. So then what?

The power conferences have one way to normalize cost of attendance across all 65 schools: let every school go up to the highest cost of attendance figure, which in this case is Tennessee’s $5,666.

But that has its own set of problems. First, many schools would then be permitted to exceed cost of attendance, some by thousands of dollars. Not only is that philosophically troubling for the NCAA, it also complicates matters with financial aid offices. If a portion of an athletic scholarship exceeds cost of attendance and is not paid through the financial aid office, what is but payment for services rendered?

The shakiest part of the O'Bannon decision is definitely the proposed remedy, which forces the NCAA into a choice they don't want to make.

Etc.: You can see the Lego Movie at Michigan Stadium if you're a season ticket holder. The Pac-12 wants you to know it schedules hard and should be rewarded for it. Gopher blog predicts 31-13 M win over Minnesota. Fresno State tries to keep up with the Joneses.