This Week’s Obsession: Stumbling Blocks

This Week’s Obsession: Stumbling Blocks

Submitted by Seth on October 5th, 2016 at 11:00 AM

image

[Bryan Fuller]

The Question:

Biggest risk of not reaching The Game undefeated? Can be opponent or team issue

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

The Responses:

Seth: My answers are low-score entropy, and the general bloodimindedness of the Big Ten universe. When Stribling fell down those who don't remember Bo-era losses must've thought "well that's what happens when you let a worse team off the hook." Those of us who do thought "Oh no, not again."

Randomness is the enemy of all favorites. When you're an offensive juggernaut with an okay defense, you worry about an injury to your dervish quarterback, conditions that take away something the defense couldn't, and staying on pace. When you're a defensive juggernaut with an okay offense, you worry about the one play.

We were given a treatment for the latter against Wisconsin. When facing a real defense, Michigan's just-okay offense will get bogged down. Michigan can mitigate the inability to kick a 40-yarder with better 4th down strategy, but this feeds the chaos engine.

Iowa brought back most of a great defense and could put it back together at night in Kinnick. Dantonio State will always play its best against Michigan. Indiana is probably better than either of those two and would be utterly terrifying if their chaos seed was just that rather than a curse. And out there on the Big Ten seas lurk the John O'Neill officiating crew, sworn enemies oddsmakers, favorites and ever calling holding unless it didn't happen, and capable of shifting an expected score by 28 points on the regular. When the deck is stacked in your favor, chaos is the enemy

[After THE JUMP: Respekt is earned.]

Unverified Voracity Sows Chaos, Reaps The Wildcat

Unverified Voracity Sows Chaos, Reaps The Wildcat

Submitted by Brian on January 30th, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Important (not important). This is a frog.

DMvRfd1[1]

I have been exhorted to call this MGoFrog and make it a thing. I'm afraid that by doing so I will give Adidas an idea for a Michigan uniform, unfortunately.

Important (important). Will Heininger features in an Outside The Lines article on mental health issues for athletes:

"I had emotional pain that was overwhelming; I would wake up, and from morning until I feel asleep -- when I was able sleep -- I had troubling thoughts that were utterly consuming," said the 2011 Michigan honors graduate. "Not a minute would go by in a day, without my depression on my mind … this, this felt impossible."

One of the things CAPA is fighting for is better treatment for these sorts of issues; read the whole thing. Both of the whole things.

image

"Please enjoy this punch in the nuts." –DJ Newbill

CHAOS! Did you happen to watch the rote blowouts in the Big Ten last night? You did not, because Ohio State and Wisconsin lost to Penn State and Northwestern, respectively. At home. As our own BISB said:

Yes. They're trying to push each other into the lava, but yes. Or Adam Jacobi:

The Big Ten Is Full of Blood and Spiders

Jacboi has a nice table that indicates the upcoming "no days off in the Big Ten"/"this conference is so deep" announcer memes are in fact on point:

Year Conf. Rating Rank Avg. B1G Worst Team Rating
2003 .7688 5 No. 56 Penn State 210
2004 .7520 5 No. 62 Penn State 218
2005 .7862 3 No. 47 Penn State 215
2006 .7831 4 No. 54 Purdue 152
2007 .8058 4 No. 51 Minnesota 170
2008 .7625 5 No. 65 Northwestern 192
2009 .8144 5 No. 46 Indiana 209
2010 .7851 4 No. 60 Indiana 198
2011 .8527 1 No. 31 Iowa 92
2012 .8263 1 No. 32 Nebraska 150
2013 .8459 1 No. 34 Penn State 148
2014 .8310 1 No. 42 Northwestern 118

The closest thing to an easy out is the Northwestern team that is a half-game out of a first round bye in the Big Ten tourney; there's not even a last year's Penn State to kick around. There's a last year's Penn State plus Tim Frazier. See cliff above.

This is good and bad for Michigan. In the Kenpom world it's good since Michigan's beaten PSU handily and has yet to play OSU, but in the NCAA seeding world you get more credit for beating 6-seed OSU and terrible PSU than you get for beating 10-seed OSU and mediocre PSU. Neither of these effects are huge, so the correct reaction is probably just to point and laugh*. (And fume at how bad Big Ten refs are.)

*[But probably not at Aaron Craft. He got crossed over for the game winner, which was Newbill rushing a wrist-flick shot because Craft was coming. Meanwhile, Tim Frazier's statline: 8 points on 9 shot attempts, 7 assists, 6 TO. No offense to Derrick Walton, but put Craft on this Michigan team and they are a juggernaut. I shouldn't have mentioned this.]

102615840-09153724[1]

Bill Carmody: gone, but not forgotten

The Wildcat conundrum. Meanwhile, we've been talking about how fascinating Northwestern is on the podcast for the last couple weeks. And boy, aren't they? Last year they were extremely bad, around 140th on both sides of the ball. The Wildcats then:

  • fired Bill Carmody
  • hired Chris Collins
  • graduated two low-usage, mediocre efficiency seniors
  • graduated a high usage, low efficiency senior
  • got Drew Crawford back
  • added a pretty terrible offensive player in freshman Sanjay Lumpkin, who they play starter's minutes

For some reason, the result is a massively unbalanced version of the team they were last year. Northwestern is 11th(!!!) in defensive efficiency on Kenpom for no discernable reason whatsoever. They have plummeted to 320th on offense. Their games are incredibly watchable for unwatchable games, because you're always trying to unravel the mystery of why the Wildcats are elite on defense. It makes no sense. No sense at all. Here's John Gasaway trying to figure it out.

Meanwhile, Northwestern is a half-game out of a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament and that gets BIG TENNNN, right? I think that's a BIG TENNNN.

By the way. Michigan shot 63% from two against the Wildcats and averaged 1.21 points per possession, and Alex Olah—Gasaway's best guess as to why NW is playing so much better D—was on the court for 30 minutes.

Recruiting battles past. OSU has a couple of guys on their team that Michigan pursued, and it's interesting to see their development. Or lack thereof, as the case may be.

Michigan stopped recruiting Amadeo Della Valle so they could go after Caris LeVert, who was right under OSU's nose. OSU grabs ADV; Michigan gets LeVert. In year two, Della Valle is a very poor man's LeVert: a skinny shooting guard with some ability to drive, but one who's only getting 30% of OSU's minutes as they struggle to generate anything on offense. LeVert generates a lot of assists; ADV is generating few. Hell, LeVert has replaced about 95% of Tim Hardaway's production a year after Michigan was trying to redshirt him.

The context of the team is important, but it seems like that Michigan made the right choice on that one.

The other guy on the OSU roster Michigan was involved with is Amir Williams, OSU's mercurial center. Williams has oven mitts for hands and gets pulled on the regular despite OSU's near total lack of post players to replace him with; he has seemingly not improved one whit from the absentminded freshman I remember from two years ago. Michigan was never really a consideration for Williams, but it's kind of amazing that OSU would probably trade him for Jordan Morgan without blinking.

Either way. In yesterday's post on Northwestern's prospective union I mentioned that the NLRB had flipped back and forth on the issue of student-employees being able to organize based on assertions from a 2006 paper. In that paper the most recent ruling had gone against the students trying to organize. Well, that has again flipped:

“There’s case law for the NLRB involving teaching assistants which supports their position,” Baum said. “There have been different decisions both ways. What they’re saying is that this really is a form of litigation to bring about change because they’re asking for something very similar.”

In December 2013, the American Arbitration Association announced that graduate teaching and research assistants at New York University had officially unionized. The group is the only graduate assistants’ union at a private university in the U.S.

Demonstrating the volatility of the NLRB, graduate assistants at NYU were granted the ability to negotiate a union contract and both improved health benefits and increased stipends in 2000. But in 2005 the ruling was switched following a case involving Brown graduate assistants in which the NLRB ruled that graduate assistants are students, not employees, and therefore cannot unionize.

The recent overturn of the 2005 ruling, though, is an encouraging sign for the newly formed CAPA.

One gets the sense that the NLRB tends to blow whichever way the White House does. In CAPA's case there seems to be no way to put the cat back in the bag if Northwestern does indeed get certified, so now is as good a time to strike as any.

Typical. FERPA means whatever Universities want it to mean, so the university says they will not release any details about Brendan Gibbons. This is in line with the university's general stance on releasing information—don't do it, because we have to cover our ass. Suspicious in most cases, here it verges on appalling given the fact that FERPA specifically states this:

The text of FERPA notes that the law shouldn’t “be construed to prohibit an institution of postsecondary education from disclosing the final results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by such institution against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of any crime of violence … or a nonforcible sex offense, if the institution determines as a result of that disciplinary proceeding that the student committed a violation of the institution’s rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense.”

With lurid conspiracy theories flying back and forth, everyone would be better off if Michigan came forth and showed everyone exactly what happened to expel a student four years after the incident that got him expelled transpired. This is not an athletic department thing, but rather a larger pattern of CYA secrecy that's beneath the university. Or at least should be.

Etc.: Spilly's quest for balls. Death to the neutral site game. Penn State is discounting season tickets for recent grads. Men's basketball standings. Michigan gets a 2016 D commit.