Unverified Voracity Decommits From Rutgers, Becomes Unimaginably Powerful

Unverified Voracity Decommits From Rutgers, Becomes Unimaginably Powerful Comment Count

Brian September 11th, 2018 at 12:43 PM

[Bryan Fuller]

Not many throws but they were pretty good. PFF B10 QB grades from last week:

Do not read the replies, which are all #TalkinBouttheBuckeyes. Unfortunately the PFF news isn't all good. Their list of Michigan's top five offensive players against WMU drops off pretty rapidly and implies that if any OL scraped over a 70 rating it wasn't by much:

In the past 70 has been "this person isn't terrible"; if they've still got the same scale they're attributing much of Michigan's success to WMU dorfs. Which is accurate.

Quick! Who does Rutgers have committed at running back? Recruiting services should probably give a running back who decommits from Rutgers six stars:

Imagine being Rutgers and watching two Heisman-quality RBs you had committed play in the Big Ten, a conference you would like to join but cannot.

[After THE JUMP: George Perles features, which is never a good thing.]


Maximizing Charles Matthews

Maximizing Charles Matthews Comment Count

Matt Way September 5th, 2018 at 1:17 PM

[Photo: Bryan Fuller]

[Ed-Seth: I know you all want more articles about Michigan's offensive tackles but basketball season is coming and we've brought Matt Way on board to talk about it. Previously: Maximizing Zavier Simpson, Maximizing Teske on Offense, Maximizing Teske on Defense]

The loss of Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman leaves a massive void in the Michigan basketball program. For the Wolverines to repeat last season’s success, Charles Matthews needs to fill that hole.

Abdur-Rahkman blossomed into an accomplished scorer and all-around great player and leader during his time in Ann Arbor. He also served an important role in his final two seasons, one similar to what Caris LeVert did when he was on the floor.

For years, John Beilein’s offenses were vulnerable against aggressive perimeter defenses. It was one of the few criticisms that were valid and not aesthetically-based. 

Michigan was often too entrenched in its typical motion offense. When opponents disrupted Beilein’s ball handlers, the entire timing of the offense was thrown off and the Wolverines often had no great counter.

At the highest levels of basketball, the best offenses are those which find ways to keep defenses off-balance. Sure, the top offenses nearly always have a defined system and a bread-and-butter scheme that they go to frequently. But when things break down, the elite of the elite find ways to counter and exploit defenses based on what they are trying to take away.

Beilein has always been known for countering aggressive defenses with back-door cuts in the hope that, if those cuts are effective, defenses will lay off opponents to prevent layups. It’s usually effective, but it only truly works if ball handlers are able to operate in some amount of space to see and make the necessary passes.

It then becomes critical to have a primary option that is able to create offense when everything is going wrong.

And that is when the LeVert and MAAR types became most useful.

[After THE JUMP: CM's role]


Maximizing Jon Teske's Defense

Maximizing Jon Teske's Defense Comment Count

Matt Way August 9th, 2018 at 12:04 PM

[Photo: JD Scott]

For years, a big man’s defense was largely determined by his size. If you could take up a lot of space, opponents struggled to create easy opportunities around the rim. In 2018, the game is far different. If you’re a center and you can’t move your feet adequately, your feet will find themselves on the bench.

Entering the 2018-19 season, mobility is an obvious concern with Jon Teske. Previously, we addressed how to mitigate the quickness concerns offensively through the pick-and-roll game. Now, we look at the other end of the floor.

During the vast majority of John Beilein’s tenure in Ann Arbor, Michigan’s big men have operated under a similar scheme defensively when operating in space. The message was clear: hedge the high screen and recover as quickly as possible.

The hedge-and-recover plan has had its highs and lows, sometimes dependent simply on a player’s conditioning, like in the case of Jordan Morgan. The most significant issue with the scheme is that it depends on more than the two primary defenders in a pick-and-roll to execute successfully. Often, the critical role falls to the wings who find themselves covering shooters. They must walk the tight rope of sticking to their man while, at the same time, cutting off the roll man’s lane to the paint.

While Jon Teske is probably a bit more mobile than what is generally perceived, he’s certainly not quick enough to single-handedly shut down high screen situations.

What he lacks in mobility, however, he more than makes up for in recognition and generally high basketball IQ.

[After THE JUMP: evidence of such]


Unverified Voracity Fires Traditional Money Cannon

Unverified Voracity Fires Traditional Money Cannon Comment Count

Brian April 9th, 2018 at 1:32 PM

Sponsor note. Police horses assembled on South U were the only people happy with the result of the Villanova game. And those riding them, I guess. Police-horse related business probably took a hit.


If you have one of those and have a contract you now regret, you probably should have hired Hoeg Law to execute it. Now you're stuck, and probably going bankrupt. Hopefully you shielded your personal assets, which Hoeg Law could have helped you with. But there's always next time. Maybe you could start a company that persuades advertisers to drop their weird months-long police horse saga in favor of something else. You should call Hoeg Law, then: he can be your lawyer and your client.


Amara Darboh becomes a citizen

Charity Bowl time. The original money cannon target returns:

HOW LONG IS THIS GOING? Through the week and into the weekend. We’ll give daily updates about how big a lead Michigan has.

ARE YOU GOING TO GET A TATTOO AGAIN? No, but as always, if we reach, say, $40,000 in total donations, Ours Truly here will do something dramatic in honor of the winning school. Don’t doubt us on this point. We have a tattoo of a Michigan block M with the character Totoro over it as proof of our seriousness here.

Also we sometimes have famous people from your school call you to thank you personally. Heisman Trophy winners, actually. No big deal, just a little thank you from us to you for being a great American.

Since, uh, the great victories of yesteryear were less great than anticipated, this year's donation is in honor of Darboh and Jehu Chesson.


For the more rivalry inclined there are various basketball scores available. Please don't use the score of the Syracuse-Michigan State game, though. We're trying to raise money here, people.

The big lawsuit. Amateurism may end by brute force in the near future, as the other big NCAA antitrust lawsuit comes in front of the same judge that ruled against the NCAA in O'Bannon:

n a 36-page opinion, Wilken did not give either side total victory. However, she rejected several of the NCAA’s critical contentions and set the stage for the plaintiffs to seek a new system that would apply to Division I men’s and women’s basketball players and to football players at Football Bowl Subdivision schools.

The plaintiffs have proposed that limits on athletes’ compensation be set on a conference-by-conference basis, a change that could open the door to athletes being able to capitalize on their names, images and likeness if a conference's schools chose to go that way.

The plaintiffs also have suggested that athletes be allowed to receive all manner of benefits above the cost of attendance that are related to education and/or are incidental to their participation in their sports.

“We’d call this ruling a home run,” said Steve Berman, one of the lead plaintiffs’ attorneys. “We couldn’t have plotted it out better for us, frankly. … I absolutely think we are going to win this trial.”

Kevin Trahan goes a little more in depth in a post on Above The Law:

Here lies the NCAA’s problem: Its two most persuasive justifications — and explanations for why no less-restrictive alternatives would work — are premised on the fact that fans wouldn’t watch and athletes wouldn’t be students if they weren’t paid. But the more the FBI shows that athletes were getting paid, while athletic departments continued to rake in money and those players still showed up for class, the more the NCAA will struggle to argue that such strict rules are necessary to preserve college sports.

Before the FBI investigation, and during the O’Bannon trial, the plaintiffs relied on showing that athletes weren’t primarily students in a lot of cases. The academic scandal at the University of North Carolina, in which athletes were getting degrees for taking fake classes and weren’t allowed to pursue their desired coursework, was an instructive example. The plaintiffs will certainly bring up that point again — especially after the NCAA arguably failed to substantially punish UNC for its widespread academic fraud — but in O’Bannon, Wilken clearly saw the potential for payments to hurt the academic experience of athletes. Specifically, she worried that if athletes made too much money, they “might also be inclined to separate themselves from the broader campus community by living and socializing off campus.”

Not only can the plaintiffs now show that schools themselves separate athletes from the rest of campus, they can also show that the system didn’t come crumbling down when players did get paid. For instance, Marvin Bagley, whose family went from bankruptcy to a pristine house due to allegedly “illicit” payments, made the Atlantic Coast Conference’s All-Academic team while starring at Duke.

The NCAA is trying to prove a bunch of things that aren't true and have lots of evidence suggesting they aren't true, in front of a judge that's already ruled against them in a near identical case. The only difference is that this case is asking for the moon instead of crumbs.

Pendulum swings back ever so slightly. Basketball has rejected two point jumpers wholesale over the past ten years.


We may be reaching the maximum extent of that trend. Spurred on by Trey Burke's sudden NBA emergence and all those clanged free throw line jumpers the 2-3 zones of the NCAA tournament induced, I've been wondering when a midrange jumper is actually good. The answer in the NBA appears to be "when it's the only open shot you can get":

The NBA Stats API provides some aggregate data on shooting performance based on both the distance of the shot, and the distance of the closest defender at the time of the shot, which shows that yes, usually a 3-point attempt has a higher expected value than a long-range 2. But if the 3-pointer is tightly guarded and the long-range 2 is wide-open, then the 2-pointer can be better. For example, a wide-open 2-point shot from 20 feet on average results in 0.84 points, while a tightly-guarded 3-point attempt from 25 feet only averages 0.71 points.

Neither of those numbers is good, obviously. Michigan's crushing tourney D was holding teams to around 0.84 PPP in their best possessions. But if the clock's running out and someone's closing out, that long two after a dribble is… eh… fine.

Speaking of Trey. His re-emergence into an NBA player is one of the more remarkable stories of the year:

Burke in New York has the statistical profile of a star. He's shooting well from everywhere: 39 percent from deep, Nowitzkian levels from midrange on colossal volume, and even 73 percent at the rim -- once a no-fly zone for an undersized guy with average athleticism.

Burke isn't just hunting points. He has assisted on almost 40 percent of New York's baskets while on the floor, a borderline top-five number. He has developed a nice pick-and-roll chemistry with Michael Beasley, captain of last year's Waltons; New York has scored 1.28 points per possession on any trip featuring a Burke-Beasley pick-and-roll, the fourth-best (!) mark among almost 300 duos that have run at least 150 such plays, per Second Spectrum.

Only six players over the past two seasons have commandeered such a large share of possessions with shots and assists: LeBron, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, James Harden, Dennis Schroder, and D'Angelo Russell.

He's probably going to come back to earth somewhat, but he's still gone from the G League to a guy who's going to get paid.

A denominator! The Detroit News provides a percentage for a basketball recruit:

David DeJulius, 6-0, Sr., G, Detroit East English

DeJulius had the ability to step up and carry his team to victories. He scored 17 fourth-quarter points to rally East English from an 18-point halftime deficit in an 80-71 victory over two-time Class A state champion Clarkston, then scored 49 two weeks later in a win over Illinois state champion Chicago Orr, making nine 3-pointers. He averaged 26 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, shooting 42 percent from 3-point range. “He was always trying to get better, always listened and was very coachable,” Coach Juan Rickman said. “He could score the ball, his ball-handling got better and he was able to read defenses, leading him to take the ball to the basket, find an open teammate or make the 3-pointer.” DeJulius, a Mr. Basketball finalist, will play at Michigan.

42% on huge usage pull-up threes is pretty pretty good. He should be pretty plug and play as a backup PG. Enough of that will translate even against better defenses.

Girard profiled. Joe Girard III is the all-time New York HS scoring leader with a year left in his career, and a major 2019 target for John Beilein. He likes basketball:

Wiping sweat from his eyes, Girard starts one of Dagostino’s finishing drills. Instructed to take two “slide dribbles” on the right wing before finishing at the rim with his left hand, Girard starts with three straight misses.

On the fourth miss, which he air balls, Girard slaps the baseline wall in frustration.

Dagostino gathers Girard’s miss, lays the ball up and in the bucket before passing it back to Girard and says, “try throwing (the ball) in.”

“My biggest thing was always if you could see the ball go through the hoop,” Dagostino said, “no matter if you make it or your teammate makes it, then you are going to have a better chance of finding your rhythm by seeing it go in.”

Girard adjusts by “throwing” the ball in an overhand motion rather than the scooping technique prior. Dagostino’s suggestion results in five straight makes and Girard ends the drill with a round of free throws, a staple of any Dagostino circuit.

Sounds like he'll be off the board in the near future:

“I am getting kind of closer to a decision,” Girard said on Thursday. “I am getting older and time is becoming less and less. So it is about things getting more serious that (my dad and I) talk about, and what I need to do in order to play at the next (college) I will be attending.”

Girard's dad played for Beilein, but Duke looms. As of a week ago the Duke 247 site was very confident.

Etc.: Northwestern picks up Evansville transfer Ryan Taylor, who took 41% Evansville shots(!) last year. Midfielder Marc Ybarra will play for AFC Ann Arbor this summer. The Hughes family is good at doing hockey. Beilein after the loss. "All or Nothing" reviewed. Morris and Genuinely Sarcastic bid this basketball team goodbye. Arizona State saying the quiet parts loud.


Let's Chart Some Threes Because We're Nervous

Let's Chart Some Threes Because We're Nervous Comment Count

Brian March 21st, 2018 at 12:12 PM


[JD Scott]

Michigan's offense during the opening weekend of the tourney was… not great. Michigan failed to hit a point per possession in either game. A sloppy, weird, late-night game against Montana with 14 turnovers rather explains itself. The Houston game not so much.

While Houston does sport one of the country's better defenses, Michigan turned the ball over just seven times. They shot 45% from two, nine points under their season average; they were a grim 24% from three before Jordan Poole's miracle pulled them up to 27%. If they'd hit their not-very-impressive season average of 36%, the end of that game is Michigan putting the clamps on whilst up 6-8 points.

Game-to-game shooting variance is of course the very heart of basketball but I wanted to see if Houston had done anything that warranted that kind of performance or if it was just one of those things. So I started poking around and got quite deep in the weeds, because quantifying what's a good three pointer and what's a bad one is tricky. But I'm willing to give it a shot after checking out this paper from the 2014 Sloan Conference. It uses NBA data to create a model of what a good shot is; that model is way beyond the scope of this post but there were a couple of graphs that confirm everyone's eye test.

The first: catch and shoot is better than off the dribble.


Second, and possibly counterintuitively, every foot matters when you're closing out.


As the paper authors put it it, "it is not simply a matter of a shot being “contested” or not but ... there is significant marginal value in every foot of space between the shooter and the closest defender." I wouldn't necessarily have expected that. (Also, I assume that the big uptick in long jumper eFG when a guy is in your grill is because he's fouling you.)

These are NBA numbers but there's no reason to expect that college basketball players would deviate from either of these assertions. So, here's a bunch of three pointers charted. Spoiler alert: the large majority of the attempts Michigan got off were good looks with reasonable space between the shooter and the defender. A fairly typical look:



Y/N Length Shooter State Defender distance Contest Notes
MISS 22 Mathews catch and shoot 3 light Late clock jack is surprisingly clean look
MISS 23 MAAR catch and shoot 2 heavy Curl screen gets vg closeout from Houston defender
MISS 24 Simpson catch and shoot 6 none PNR switch w big sagging off Simpson, no contest
MISS 22 Livers catch and shoot 3 moderate drive and kick rhythm three from wing
MISS 22 MAAR off the dribble 4 light switch confusion for UH gives MAAR opportunity to gather and go straight up
MAKE 28 Robinson catch and shoot 3 heavy late clock deep jack is worst look of game so far, goes down
MAKE 24 Robinson catch and shoot 7 light V-cut and Teske screen gets Robinson clean look
MISS 22 Wagner catch and shoot 3 moderate pick and pop open-ish, decent contest
MAKE 22 Robinson catch and shoot 2 moderate Robinson's defender is lax for a second and DR just rises over him
MAKE 22 Poole catch and shoot 4 light penetrate and kick to Wagner, extra pass, open corner
MISS 22 Simpson catch and shoot 8 none drive and kick, Poole upfakes and dribbles once to draw a second guy, Simpson wide open in corner
MISS 22 Poole off the dribble 2 heavy bad heat check stepback w/ 21 seconds on clock
MISS 24 Poole catch and shoot 4 light drive and kick from MAAR
MISS 27 Robinson off the dribble 2 heavy late clock, initial contest and one-dribble lanch
MISS 24 MAAR catch and shoot 8 none numbers for M, shot fake from MAAR gets wide open look, airball
MISS 22 MAAR off the dribble 2 heavy last ditch attempt at end of half
MISS 22 Matthews catch and shoot 4 light Wagner kick to Simpson over for open look
MAKE 23 Wagner catch and shoot 5 light Simpson pick and pop
MISS 23 Wagner catch and shoot 5 light Near identical pick and pop from same spot on the floor
MISS 23 Simpson catch and shoot 4 light Poole drive and kick, token contest
MAKE 23 Wagner catch and shoot 5 moderate Pick and pop from left wing, and one
MISS 24 Robinson catch and shoot 6 none wing pick from Matthews opens this up. No contest... airball.
MISS 25 MAAR off the dribble 4 moderate PNR switch, pretty good contest from the big MAAR rises up on
MISS 23 Robinson catch and shoot 6 light Simpson drives baseline and kicks to left wing
MISS 22 Robinson catch and shoot 5 light OREB to scramble drill to corner 3
MAKE 22 Matthews catch and shoot 4 moderate Simpson drive and kick; lucky bounce off heel and straight up and down
MISS 25 Matthews off the dribble 2 heavy late clock jack is not at all a clean look
MAKE 30 Poole catch and shoot 2 heavy THIS IS A BAD LOOK BUT OKAY

Leaving out the two must-launches at the end of each half and Michigan had just 5 off the dribble looks on 28 attempts, two of those from MAAR in pretty good situations. One was a pick and roll switch with the big playing off, the other an opening when Houston got confused on another pick and roll.

Houston did force five heavily contested late-clock jacks, one of which went down when Robinson hit a deep one. There was also one more heavily contested three as Corey Davis came around a screen really well on an early MAAR attempt. The other 20 attempts I charted were all reasonable to excellent looks that simply didn't go down. Eight attempts from Michigan's worst three-point shooters, Simpson and Matthews, isn't a particularly unusual ratio. Those guys have about 20% of Michigan's attempts on the year. 8 of 28 non-desperation threes is a couple more than you'd expect, but not outlandish.

Verdict: just one of those things. One that happens to a team like Michigan that's not exactly Villanova.


Conference Tournaments Rooting Guide Update

Conference Tournaments Rooting Guide Update Comment Count

Seth March 9th, 2018 at 10:46 AM


[Marc-Gregor Campredon (oui, les Campredons qui fait le bon vin)]

After some some rooting guides by the users popped up we made our own, and now that we're deeper in I've updated it. I’ve highlighted the team you’re rooting for in each. All times eastern.

UPDATE 3/9: Just about nothing went right for our rooting interests last night except Duke easily dispatched the Domerless Domers. We're now 5-14 overall on our rooting guide, though to be fair we were picking against a lot of favorites. There's nothing to be done for Maryland and Penn State since everything that could conspire to move them down RPI has transpired—the Terps dropped 6 spots from yesterday without even playing—and everyone around them now has upward mobility. We're going to stop tracking that now since they’re both probably trapped below the 75th threshold, and just focus on various conference champions we don't want to pass Michigan.

Friday, March 9


  • Cincinnati vs SMU (ESPN2). Why: Michigan’s competing for a protected seed and there are too many Midwest teams for too few Detroit slots. Cincy is a 2 in the bracket matrix but an early tourney loss could have an outsized effect given their weakish schedule (best non-conf win is @UCLA) and deny Wichita State a shot at a signature win later on.
  • VCU vs Rhode Island (NBCS). Why: No, URI isn't catching us; this is because Michigan beat VCU earlier this year and an upset here would be nice for an RPI bump, while a run to the A10 title would sneak in another tourney win. It won't happen but it'd be fun.


  • Bama vs Auburn (ESPN). Why: Auburn has a slightly stronger resume than Michigan’s right now. A loss to a mediocre Tide could push them below us and lock Michigan into a 3-see. However Auburn could also do us a favor if we get stuck behind them by winning the SEC and keeping Kentucky, Florida, or Tennessee from passing us. So if Auburn wins, just root for them the rest of the way.


  • Southern Miss vs Marshall (CBSSN). Why: Former Michigan opponent stayin' alive.


  • Kentucky vs Georgia (ESPN). Why: Kentucky is currently a five seed to Bracket Matrix but a run in the SEC Tourney could conceivably pass Michigan while boosting the resumes of Tennessee and Auburn. Florida is the last double-bye in the SEC tourney and are currently a six seed by the way. Georgia knocked out Mizzou, probably the best shot to blast the SEC threats out of the water, so now we're UGA fans I guess? Hard to root for that school.


  • UVA vs Clemson (ESPN2). Why: Last chance to knock Clemson below Michigan--if they upset a 1 seed here that'll almost certainly push the Tigers ahead for good.
  • Miss St vs Tennessee (SEC Network). Why: Any chance of Michigan moving up means passing one or two SEC teams, and Tennessee is currently one spot ahead of us in the bracket matrix and 10th in RPI. 
  • Temple vs Wichita State (ESPNU). Why: Wichita State can’t play in Wichita because they’re the hosts so we really don’t want them winning the AAC tournament and passing Michigan for a protected seed (they’re the second four-seed to Bracket Matrix). Better Cincy than Wichita.


  • West Virginia vs Texas Tech (ESPN2). Why: Both are technically threats to Michigan but TTU is one spot below us on Bracket Matrix so a win here could push them permanently over Michigan while WVU has a ton of RPI to make up.
  • UCLA vs Arizona (Pac 12 network). Why: Zona (last four-seed on BracketMatrix, 18th RPI) would probably need a championship to have a shot at passing Michigan but the best possible time for them to go out is versus a team Michigan beat.

The Rest of the Weekend

I'm just going to do this by conference now:

  • ACC: Anyone but Clemson. UNC helps those around us as much as it does us, Michigan can't pass UVA, UNC, or Duke. Championship Game: 8:30 pm ESPN tomorrow night.
  • Atlantic 10: VCU all the way! They play A10 1-seed Rhode Island in an hour or so in the quarterfinals so there's a way's to go.
  • Big East: An upset by Butler or Providence doesn't move Nova or Xavier down far enough, and neither can catch Michigan but feel free to root for one-seed chaos anyway?
  • Big XII: Would strongly prefer WVU knocks out Texas Tech then loses to whichever Kansas team (probably Kansas). In the championship root for whichever team has the most Kansas in their name. CG will air at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN.
  • ConfUSA: Root for Southern Miss to maybe (not likely, they're not very good) give Michigan another victory over a tournament team. They play Marshall this afternoon and the winner of ODU/WKU tomorrow night at 7:30pm, CBSsports.
  • Pac 12: Root for UCLA and against Arizona. A Pac12 banner shouldn't put the Wildcats over Michigan but never trust the selectors with a marquee name. Championship game is at 10pm on FS1.
  • SEC: They're still in the quarterfinals so this is a bit more complicated. Root for all the upsets tonight in hopes of Michigan finishing above the entire SEC, but if they don't come off you want Auburn (8th RPI, first 3 seed to Bracket Matrix) to win it, followed by Florida (37th, first 6 seed), Kentucky (17th, last 5 seed), and last of all Tennessee (3rd 3 seed, 10th RPI). Worst case scenario is Tennessee over Auburn in the finals, since that'll put both of them over Michigan. Florida over Auburn in the finals would get iffy. Semifinals will be at 1pm and 3pm tomorrow on ESPN, and the championship will be at noon on ESPN on Sunday.
  • Atlantic 10, ConfUSA, MEAC, MtnWest, Southland, Sun Belt: Don't curr.

[After THE JUMP: results from Wednesday and Thursday]



Conference Tournaments Rooting Guide (thru Friday)

Conference Tournaments Rooting Guide (thru Friday) Comment Count

Seth March 7th, 2018 at 4:15 PM


[Marc-Gregor Campredon (oui, CE Campredon)]

After playing a compressed schedule then four games in four days Michigan gets to watch the rest of college basketball sort out their seed resumes this week. We’ve had a couple of rooting guides pop up on our radar. The one by Mercury Hayes included some I’ve left out, and the board post by ish goes into a bunch of scenarios. There’s also this very useful twitter thread. We figured since you’re all probably junkies like us, you’d also like to know when these games are taking place. So here’s a rooting guide with gametimes and stuff! I’ve highlighted the team you’re rooting for in each (in blue if it only matters to getting Penn State to 75th in RPI). All times eastern.

UPDATE 3/8: Noted the scores and winners from last night. Now Maryland is 74th in RPI and Penn State has fallen to 80th, so really you're rooting for nobody else to pass Maryland now. I don't know how much the quartiles will actually mean to the committee--maybe not at all--but it's a number they see so we might as well track it.

Wednesday, March 7


  • Cal vs Stanford (Pac12 Network). Why: Penn State is currently 77th in RPI and Stanford (76th) losing would be one fewer teams ahead of PSU. If PSU gets up to 75th that’s another Q1 win for Michigan.
    RESULT: Stanford 76-58, but Cal is such a schedule weight they dropped to 83rd.


  • Notre Dame vs Virginia Tech (ESPN2). Why: Same reason; ND is 70th in RPI. Also why: they’re an MSU non-conference win, and State needs to cherish every tournament team victory since they skipped out on a lot of chances in-conference. Also also why: Screw ND.
    RESULT: Notre Dame 76-65. VT pissed away a 19-point lead with some Teddy V assistance. ND is up to 64th.

  • Vanderbilt vs Georgia (SEC Network). Why: ditto. Georgia is 83rd.
    RESULT: Vanderbilt 78-62. Georgia moved up to 81st anyway.


  • Texas vs ISU (ESPNU). Why: Michigan beat Texas on the road earlier this year so any little boost to that victory should help. Even if they ride Mo Bamba all the way to a banner they can’t catch up to Michigan but a decent run could put them in the tournament. Also Shaka Smart was college roommates with one of our big sponsors. Hook ’em!
    RESULT: Texas 68-64

  • Ole Miss vs South Carolina (SEC Network) Why: Back to helping Md/PSU. South Carolina is 80th in RPI and a run in the SEC could push them up.
    RESULT: SC 85-84, up to 75th in RPI

  • North Carolina vs Syracuse (ESPN2). Why: This is an argument because UNC is a two seed right now to Bracket Matrix, so UNC losing to Syracuse miiight give a Michigan a shot to move up a line. But honestly, nah, the H2H settles things if it’s close, and I hate Cuse.
    RESULT: UNC 78-59

Thursday, March 8


  • Clemson vs Boston College (ESPN2). Why: Clemson is currently 12th in RPI--one spot ahead of Michigan--so the sooner they go out in this tourney the better.


  • Colorado vs Arizona (Pac12 Network). Why: Zona is currently the last 4 seed on Bracket Matrix and Michigan is the last 3, so a run could pull the Wildcats ahead of us. Root against them all the way: they probably get UCLA in the 2nd round by the way.


  • Cal State Bakersfield vs Utah Valley (ESPN3). Why: Utah Valley is 73rd in RPI and we want Penn State to get to 75th to convince the committee to count that as a Quartile One victory instead of a Quartile Two victory because Penn State’s non-conference schedule was crap so RPI has them severely underrated. This should be all the explanation you need for streaming WACball when your family is begging you to come to dinner.


  • Texas Tech vs TEXAS (ESPN2). Why: The Red Raiders are currently predicted to be a four seed so a run in a very strong Big XII tournament could push them past us. Texas is also a non-conference win.
  • LSU vs Mississippi State (SEC Network). Why: An LSU run would make for a boost in Michigan’s strength of schedule and also knock Mississippi State (72nd in RPI) below Michigan's conference rivals.
  • Duke vs Notre Dame (ESPN). Why: I flipped this because Notre Dame is an important non-conference win for Michigan State, who skipped double-plays against every tournament or bubble Big Ten team, and only played one ranked conference team on the road, until they lost by double-digits again to Michigan in the tournament and if you thought it was getting old to point this out you don't know me very well. If ND gets blown out here the committee will remember they were a legendary Teddy V'ing away from losing to Virginia Tech; if they pull off the upset MSU has a stronger case to be ranked ahead of the team they lost to twice, once at home and once at a neutral site, by double digits. Nope, still not old. Michigan can't pass Duke.


  • Baylor vs West Virginia (ESPN2) Why: Though we’re all secretly hoping West Virginia ends up in Michigan’s bracket we’re not hoping for West Virginia to steal Michigan’s spot. At 31st in RPI we probably shouldn’t worry about WVU, but Baylor can’t hurt us at all and the Mountaineers could.
  • East Carolina vs UCF (ESPNU) Why: UCF is 78th to RPI so that removes another Md/PSU problem but also UCF is 5th in defense to Kenpom and Michigan is 6th so YAR ME CAROLINA MATEYS or whatever the kids say when they’re not saying “We in here!”


  • Old Dominion vs La. Tech (no TV). Why: ODU (77th) is another team that needs to get out of Maryland and Penn State’s way.

Friday, March 9


  • Cincinnati vs Winner of UConn/SMU (ESPN2). Why: Michigan’s competing for a protected seed and there are too many Midwest teams for too few Detroit slots. Cincy is a 2 in the bracket matrix but an early tourney loss could have an outsized effect given their weakish schedule (best non-conf win is @UCLA) and deny Wichita State a shot at a signature win later on.


  • Winner of A&M/Bama vs Auburn (ESPN). Why: Auburn has a similar resume to Michigan’s right now. A loss could lock them below Michigan, however Auburn could also do us a favor if we get stuck behind them by winning the SEC and keeping Kentucky, Florida, or Tennessee from passing us. So if Auburn wins, just root for them the rest of the way and if they lose root for LSU and upsets galore.


  • Kentucky vs Winner of Georgia/Vandy vs Mizzou (ESPN). Why: Kentucky is currently a five seed to Bracket Matrix but a run in the SEC Tourney could conceivably pass Michigan while boosting the resumes of Tennessee and Auburn. Florida is the last double-bye in the SEC tourney and are currently a six seed by the way. Mizzou probably has the best shot to blast the SEC threats out of the water.


  • Winner of LSU/Miss St vs Tennessee (SEC Network). Why: Any chance of Michigan moving up means passing one or two SEC teams, and Tennessee is currently one spot ahead of us in the bracket matrix.
  • Winner of Temple/Tulane vs Wichita State (ESPNU). Why: Wichita State can’t play in Wichita because they’re the hosts so we really don’t want them winning the AAC tournament and passing Michigan for a protected seed (they’re the second four-seed to Bracket Matrix). Better Cincy than Wichita.


  • GW/Fordham/St Louis vs Davidson (NBCSN). Why: Davidson is 84th in RPI.


This Week’s Obsession: 2018 All-B1G Hoops Team

This Week’s Obsession: 2018 All-B1G Hoops Team Comment Count

Seth February 27th, 2018 at 10:08 AM


THE EVENT: So long as Michigan survives Thursday (and your band of health-compromised bloggers do as well), we’re going to get together this Friday at 2:30 at Wolverine Brewing for our first MGo-gamewatch party. Sponsor Nick Hopwood of Peak Wealth Management, who also sponsors this post, offered to cover the first couple rounds and some food for our tables. Please let us know if you’re coming so we can get a halfway decent count (if we run out of space signups get first priority: https://goo.gl/forms/t0F28mhfnYRRbKPh2

Also if you’re in New York, Dewey’s Pub down the street from MSG tends to collect the MGoBlog contingent after the game.

THE SPONSOR: How are you managing your savings? Your insurance? What kind of accounts do you have for your kids? Our MGoFinancial Planner Nick Hopwood from Peak Wealth Management is the guy to talk to.

Legal disclosure in tiny font: Calling Nick our official financial planner is not intended as financial advice; Nick is an advertiser who financially supports MGoBlog. MGoBlog is not responsible for any advice or other communication provided to an investor by any financial advisor, and makes no representations or warranties as to the suitability of any particular financial advisor and/or investment for a specific investor.


The Big Ten released its all-conference selections so we decided to complain, of course.

All-Big Ten Team
Coaches Media
Miles Bridges, MSU Miles Bridges, MSU
James Palmer, Neb Ethan Happ, Wis
Keita Bates-Diop, OSU Keita Bates-Diop, OSU
Tony Carr, PSU Tony Carr, PSU
Carsen Edwards, Pur Carsen Edwards, Pur
2nd Team
Coaches Media
Juwan Morgan, IU Juwan Morgan, IU
Moritz Wagner, UM Moritz Wagner, UM
Jae'Sean Tate, OSU Jordan Murphy, Minn
Vincent Edwards, Pur Vincent Edwards, Pur
Ethan Happ James Palmer, Neb
All-defense All-freshmen
Anthony Cowan, Md Trent Frazier, IL
Jaren Jackson, MSU Bruno Fernando, Md
Josh Reaves, PSU Jaren Jackson, MSU
Mike Watkins, PSU Kaleb Wesson, OSU
Dakota Mathias, Pur Brad Davison, UW
Player of the Year Keita Bates-Diop, OSU
Freshman of the Year Jaren Jackson, MSU
6th Man Duncan Robinson, UM
Coach of the Year no argument

Brian: Ugh, naming a team without a center is like naming a football team without an OL. My pet peeve is first team all conference basketball teams that wouldn't be very good. And this is a season with Ethan Happ and Isaac Haas!

Seth: Haas got so much love all season on BTN I was both surprised and totally fine with him being left out. I But I agree even Beilein wouldn't play a lineup of Bridges-Palmer-KBD-Carr-Edwards.

Ace: Jackson freshman of the year, KBD player of the year, Duncan Robinson(!) 6th man of the year.

Seth: This is the part where Ace is mad Poole didn't make any of these teams.

Ace: They probably got the right guys since Poole emerged so late, though that lineup doesn’t pass the “this would work on the court” test.

Brian: Two pure Cs might be worse than none. Ugh, all broken, I'm just naming my first team because guh.

C Isaac Haas. Not Haas's fault he's got a windmill on the bench behind him and a team around him. Haas has per-minute stats that stack up with anyone, spearheaded the nation's #15 eFG defense, and plays on an actually good team. Happ's numbers are silly in part because he has one other guy who can play on his team; he's more effective on offense but doesn't bring anywhere near the rim protection Haas does. The Mo mismatch applies to both of these guys; Haas was much better at attacking at the other end of the floor.

Ace: Happ is also way worse at free throws, which is a big deal for both of them. Totally agree with this one. In general, everyone seems to have overvalued raw numbers.

Haas hit one fewer FT on 31 fewer attempts in B1G play.


[After THE JUMP: how long until Ace says Poole is robbed you think?]


Shooters Get To Shoot

Shooters Get To Shoot Comment Count

Brian February 15th, 2018 at 1:22 PM

2/14/2018 – Michigan 74, Iowa 59 – 21-7, 10-5 Big Ten


[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

There are many reasons your correspondent does not coach basketball. One of them is that I would not look at Michigan's defensive issues from their first game against Iowa and solve them by putting Duncan Robinson on Tyler Cook. Cook eviscerated anyone Michigan sent at him en route to 28 points at Carver-Hawkeye; yesterday my humorous tweet about how things were going for Robinson was not quite hyperbolic enough:

Cook actually had four points at that juncture. He'd finish with ten, on 18% usage, and Iowa does not win a game where Cook ends up being a role player. Without Luka Garza going NBA Jam from 15 feet, Iowa's offense would have collapsed in a wet puddle; even with that net-burning activity the Hawkeyes were held to 0.88 points per possession, their third-worst outing of the year.

Also Robinson singlehandedly shot Iowa out of their zone, and the game, by hitting 6/8 threes—many of them from a couple feet behind the line. This naturally leads to a lot of sentences that start with "if" and end with ellipses, like "if Duncan Robinson can just do that six straight times..." or "if Duncan Robinson is possessed by the soul of Glen Rice..." or "if Duncan Robinson made a pact with the Devil..."

Then, yeah, man. Yeah. Sometimes a Mitch McGary comes from out of nowhere. It's not likely with Robinson, who's been a contributor for long enough that he's established a baseline of performance. We probably just saw Robinson's best game at Michigan.

I can accept one "if", though: if Robinson can be the 40%+ three point shooter he was his first two years, that could take Michigan's offense up to "threatening to high seed" levels. Knockdown three point shooting makes it very difficult for a Michigan opponent to not get caught in possession-based quicksand.


I keep poking it in case it wakes up and trundles off into the sea, leaving me to wonder if it was ever real. It does not wake up. It does not even seem vaguely fluky. Michigan's defense is legitimate. Crashing the boards on this team leads to more transition opportunities the other way than second chances. Iowa is the top OREB team in the Big Ten and Michigan obliterated them. Iowa got 18% of their misses; Michigan got 28% of theirs.

That's a six shot advantage. Turnover margin provided another ten. Even if Michigan is a wonky shooting team, and they usually are this year, there's almost no way to stay in contact with a team that gets 16 more opportunities to score than you do. When only 10 of your attempts are from three, forget about it.

Michigan now combines elite turnover avoidance, elite defensive rebounding, and elite three-point shot prevention. If they were anywhere near their usual level of sharpshooting this team would be really something. They aren't, so they're just a B outfit headed for a middling seed.

But I think there's something in this new paradigm. Michigan will remain an elite turnover avoidance team as long as Beilein is here. Their worst performance in the past six years was 17th. Preventing threes also seems sustainable. They were 218th two years ago when Beilein turned his staff over and hired a defensive coordinator; under Billy Donlon they were 9th; under Luke Yaklich they are 10th. There's no reason that can't continue.

Rebounding is an open question. This is Beilein's best DREB team by almost four full percentage points, and Wagner is (somehow) now the kind of elite DREB vacuum that might move the needle. You'd think Teske would be at least in the vicinity, though.

If Michigan can go from a team that gets a lot of shots to a team that has a huge shot margin because the opposition isn't getting second chances, and that eFG D is helped out by that 3PA prevention, and they can do this with a Typical Beilein level of shooting... well, yeah, that seems like it would be good.

I eagerly anticipate marrying the era where there's a defensive coordinator with the one where Michigan assassinates archdukes with called bank shots. For now, let's hope Maverick Morgan sent Robinson a shitty DM last week.



oblig mad fran [Campredon]

Damn me to hell. Yesterday in our Slack chat I wondered why Fran McCaffrey, a guy with one regular under 6'5", didn't play zone. So of course for the first time in McCaffrey's dang career he sends his team out in a 2-3 zone from the drop. Michigan spent their requisite 5-10 minutes staring uncomprehendingly at it, staking Iowa to an early lead, and limped to a 1.1 PPP performance against a defense that was previously horrible.

Michigan—Robinson—eventually shot Iowa out of it, but honestly they should have stuck with it. The zone completely neutralized the Bohannon-Simpson matchup that was a major problem for the Hawkeyes earlier this year. Simpson had one shot attempt, four assists, and three TOs. Charles Matthews also struggled mightily against it, and the Robinson threes weren't always open or anywhere near the three point line.

Michigan's going to continue facing these zones because they don't have many rise-up threats against it. Matthews and Simpson aren't; Robinson evidently can be but if he's having an off game your other options are... MAAR, I guess, and he loathes being a high usage guy. Hopefully next year's vanguard will make zone a very bad idea—DeJulius, Nunez, and Brazdeikis are all guys who can punish the half-closeouts zones generally provide outside shooters.



Every day I'm scuffling. Charles Matthews continues to implode down the stretch. We should mention that one of his misses was a Kobe assist that led directly to a Teske dunk. Still: 10 points on 17 shot attempts is grim even if he grabbed four OREBs. A couple of his makes were transition gimmes, too. It's nice that he's able to run the floor and dunk explosively; in our imaginary grading system that's less of a positive than breaking down a set defense.

Michigan just has to live with it, I think. MAAR will turn into a gremlin if he ever gets up to 24% usage in a game, Simpson's total lack of a jump shot limits him, Wagner's already carrying a heavy load, Livers is a role player at this point in his career, and Robinson is 85% Just A Shooter. And it's tough to shove minutes over to Poole when he's 0/4 in a game, as he was here.

Matthews still has a lot of upside to explore but I don't think we're going to see a 180 down the stretch here.

Expand flagrants. Iowa had two hard fouls on Michigan fast breaks that were not declared flagrants. They probably weren't under the current rules. But they should be. On both, the Iowa player had no realistic play on the ball and undercut a Michigan guy in a full sprint. Instead of cool dunk action, we got free throws, and both Michigan players hit the court hard. Those fouls are intentional and are not legitimate defensive plays; they should be two shots and the ball. If you are behind a guy on a fast break you should not be able to grab them without that outcome being worse than no foul at all.

It'll be different without Mo, but maybe not worse. I assume Mo Wagner is headed for the exit after this year even if he's not ranked particularly high on draft boards, because he's done what he can to make himself more attractive to the next level—become an excellent rebounder—and his defensive deficiencies are baked in. I'd love to have him back, but I'm not banking on it.

I am relatively sanguine about this possibility because of Jon Teske, who had 8 rebounds, three offensive, and three steals in 16 minutes. Teske doesn't quite qualify for Kenpom leaderboards—he's about 4 MPG short—but if he did he would be in the top 20 nationally as an offensive rebounder. And his OREB rate goes up as the competition gets stiffer. That's probably a sample size issue, but it does go to show that it's not an artifact of beating up on the Alabama A&Ms of the world. He's also got an absurd-for-a-big steal rate:

He is the blue dot all the way to the right, and would be top 100 in steal rate for all players if he qualified. While Teske isn't an elite shot blocker his post defense is already solid or better, and he's showing flashes of being an efficient scorer with decent usage. He's not far from being this site's Dream Beilein Post, non-Pittsnogle division: an elite possession generator and rim protector. Just has to get that block rate up some and he's going to be a major positive. McGary-esque, perhaps.

FWIW, I was poking around Beilein's history on Kenpom and the one year Michigan's OREB rate wasn't in the red was the Final Four team, which had 20 MPG of McGary, an elite OREB guy (16%), 15 MPG of Jordan Morgan, a very good one (14%), and 5 minutes of Jon Horford, an okay one (10%) along with Glenn Robinson's solid 8% OREB rate. Livers is at 8, Matthews is at 6, and Wagner is at 7. 30 MPG of Teske and his 15% OREB rate has the potential to bring Michigan's OREBs from around 250th to 130th.

That would take Michigan's possession advantage from very good to great.



Simmons lives! Jaaron Simmons has 20 minutes in the last couple games; he canned a pull-up three in front of the zone and had a clever steal to set himself up for a dunk. With four assists to one turnover he had a productive outing. He's not in Simpson's class as a defender but he is the man who got absolutely zero help from his Ohio teammates a year ago; if there's a team daring Michigan to shoot over a zone he might be a decent option. Certainly more of a threat than Simpson to do so.

BTN gives, BTN takes. On the one hand, Robbie Hummel is already very good early in his broadcast career. He offers intelligent studio analysis and his color is mostly unnoticeable—a major positive—until he says something insightful. On the other, I find it impossible to listen to Jon Crispin for two hours without thinking about the sweet release of death.


Hoops Preview: Iowa Part Two

Hoops Preview: Iowa Part Two Comment Count

Brian February 14th, 2018 at 1:39 PM


WHAT #27 Michigan (20-7) vs
#96 Iowa (12-15)
WHERE Crisler Arena
Ann Arbor, MI          
WHEN 6:30 PM
LINE Michigan –11 (KenPom)

Fran McCaffrey is absolutely correct about Big Ten officiating.


Michigan overcame the Trohl Center in their most recent outing, and now they get the platonic opposite of the deliberate, steady, clang-tastic Badgers. Michigan's offense continue to oscillate between clobberin' and clobbered, with little in between. This is going to have to be a clobberin' outing, what with Iowa's miserable defense and excellent offense.

This is Michigan's last should-win of the season, with a home game against a very good OSU team next and then two road games against high NIT seeds to finish the season. Losing this one would be a bleah lead in to crunch time.


Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.

Pos. # Name Yr. Ht./Wt. %Min %Poss ORtg SIBMIHHAT
G 3 Jordan Bohannon So. 6'0, 180 78 20 122 Not at all
SG forced to play point, good A:TO ratio. Lethal shooter, but terrible inside the line.
G 4 Isaiah Moss So. 6'5, 205 59 22 107 No
Multi-purpose O weapon w high shot volume and middling efficiency. Again, force inside line.
F 51 Nicholas Baer Jr. 6'7, 210 43 16 107 Sort of
Defensive pest and OREB threat is mediocre scorer.
F 5 Tyler Cook So. 6'8, 215 67 26 110 Very
Skilled 4/5 took it to M in first matchup. Keep away from rim, if you can.
C 55 Luka Garza Fr. 6'10, 235 50 24 120 Sort of
Rebounding machine w solid block rate, efficient, low TO interior scorer. Some range.
F 35 Cordell Pemsl So. 6'8, 240 42 19 111 Very
Hambeast PF rebounds everything and dunks off assists.
C 20 Jack Nunge Fr. 6'11, 225 41 19 113 No
Stretch 5 still a bit skinny; poor DREB gent.
F 25 Maishe Dailey So. 6'7, 195 40 16 107 No
Wing is another guy Michigan should run off the line as his efficiency drops inside it.

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