Laws Of Physics Lose Their Sway

Laws Of Physics Lose Their Sway Comment Count

Brian January 14th, 2019 at 1:36 PM

1/13/2019 – Michigan 80, Northwestern 60 – 17-0, 6-0 Big Ten

The inevitable question came in the post-game press conference: what was the difference between Zavier Simpson's shots tonight and the ones that got him lifted for crunch time in Welsh-Ryan? Beilein went for the laugh line first: "the ball went in." The assembled press duly laughed. Same question to Chris Collins, same answer.

But because John Beilein is John Beilein, he realized that was flip and dismissive. So he quickly followed that up with "that's a great question" and noted two things. The first: Northwestern was the first and to-date-only team to leave him open like that. The implication was that despite the shots being open Simpson was maybe not mentally prepared to take them.

The second: Simpson took the Northwestern sag as "a personal affront." Northwestern made Zavier Simpson mad. This is inadvisable.

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

So anyway there was a heat check at the end of that. It followed on from the first step-back 18-footer of Simpson's career and five makes from three in nine attempts. Heat checks are generally annoying since they are by definition bad shots.

This one had to be taken. Zavier Simpson had to continue shooting ever more improbably until he missed. If he hit the heavily contested off the dribble three that clanged, the next time down was going to be a flip throw.

This is not 'Nam. There are rules. Flip throw.

Perhaps lost in the second-half delirium was the first-half delirium when Jon Teske did more or less the same thing, flinging in three first-half three pointers and subsequently breaking the brains of his opposition. Dererk Pardon went from nine career three point attempts to thirteen without banking another one in. Pardon's backup, Barrett Benson, flung one so wide of the backboard it might have been a poorly-disguised assassination attempt against a photographer.

Northwestern's centers were convinced that this was magical opposite day. They thought they might live out their Steph Curry fantasies, and who could blame them? I counted my limbs last night and was unsure whether to be relieved or disappointed when there were still four of them. Surely in such circumstances a tall man will be permitted to hit career three pointer #3, in Crisler Arena where the walls between dimensions are thin.

It was not to be so for Pardon and Benson, who don't have the reserves of sheer cussedness that Simpson does. They cannot refine their anger to a fine white-hot line and use it for revenge and mincing garlic.

Simpson can. His career has been one long exercise in proving the skeptics wrong. And there were many skeptics, including yours truly. I may have wondered in the MGoSlack chat what Beilein saw in a 5'10" point guard who couldn't shoot. I still wonder what Beilein thought he was getting when he got tired of waiting for Cassius Winston. Beilein's as close as anyone can be to a genius when it comes to doing the basketball, but I struggle to believe even he saw a world in which a player who is the very opposite of everything he's done in 40 years of coaching became the beating heart of a 17-0 team.

But then nobody envisioned a Zavier Simpson heat check in a pulsating arena, either. Expectations are just another way to piss off the last man in the world you want to motivate.

[After THE JUMP: Fun With Torvik, Teske edition.]

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Basketbullets: Illinois 2019

Basketbullets: Illinois 2019 Comment Count

Brian January 11th, 2019 at 3:19 PM

1/10/2019 – Michigan 79, Illinois 69 – 16-0, 5-0 Big Ten

Rotate. Michigan won this game on the strength of Jon Teske and Zavier Simpson, if you had to pick two people. Against Indiana it was Poole and Matthews. Penn State: Simpson and Matthews.  Northwestern: Brazdeikis and Poole. Purdue: Brazdeikis and Poole.

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The Unstructured Gentleman

The Unstructured Gentleman Comment Count

Brian January 7th, 2019 at 1:18 PM

1/6/2019 – Michigan 74, Indiana 63 – 15-0, 4-0 Big Ten

Midway through the Penn State game Jordan Poole poked a pass into the PSU backcourt, corralled the ball before it got out of bounds, and attacked PSU's center with a nasty step-through that drew an appreciative "aouww" from play-by-play guy Jason Benetti. Poole got fouled, giving Dan Dakich the opportunity to neatly define Poole's ineffable Poole-ness:

"I guarantee you that he played so much basketball without a coach, or without a ref, or without a scoreboard. Just playing. Where out of bounds is the grass, or out of bounds is the street … there's such a difference between guys who just play and guys who are manufactured by a trainer."

Nobody will ever accuse Jordan Poole of being manufactured. His newly-activated driving game doesn't go in straight lines. It wanders all over the neighborhood like a Family Circus comic, leaving the befuddled in his wake. Watch question marks sprout from the heads of Indiana defenders:

Watch four different Indiana defenders form an honor guard for him as he swoops to the rim:

Watch this guy's best Nick Ward impression:

In one buttoned-down Bob Knight sense that last clip is not the right play. The right play is the kickout to an open 40% three point shooter in the corner. The off the dribble semi-contested jumper is a worse shot. The laws of math say pass. The laws of coaches with slicked-back hair and anger issues say pass.

The laws of basketball demand otherwise, and Jordan Poole is ruled by those and those alone. To not complete the highlight would be the gravest sin. To not take the heat check is unthinkable, because the heat check might go down. And then! And then, well, I mean. You know. The entire arena collapses, overdosed on swag.

This, I think, is what John Beilein meant last year when he said that Poole was a strange player for him to coach. His career has been built by taking limited athletes and drilling them on the basics until they're the kind of regimented outfit that never finishes outside the top 10 in turnover rate. There's a certain mechanical aspect to what Michigan does. This is completely, obviously fine. But with limited exceptions its the system that makes the players go. These days NBA evaluations of Michigan players come with Beilein-is-too-good-at-systems disclaimers.

Poole does stuff that makes your palms itch. Then the shot goes in and you have to pretend that you were on board with the departmental reorganization all along. Yes sir, promoting a technical superstar who's worn the same silvery sweatpants for four years to management is a good idea. Yes sir, that contested NBA three with 20 seconds on the shot clock was within the bounds of the gameplan. Carry on.

You can't yell at a guy for shot selection when he's hitting 60%/47%. Half of those threes are from NBA range. In four Big Ten games Poole is 17/21(!) from two. As the season moves along here his usage is ticking upwards and his efficiency is holding steady.

The swag is approaching uncontained levels. So Poole's a weird guy to coach when you've spent your career being the best fundamentals coach in basketball. But you can't tamp down the swag and expect Poole to remain Poole. A tame unicorn is just a horse.

[After THE JUMP: Brandon Johns reporting for duty]

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Basketbullets: South Carolina

Basketbullets: South Carolina Comment Count

Brian December 10th, 2018 at 1:23 PM

Sometimes I don't have a column. In these times: just bullets.

12/8/2018 – Michigan 89, South Carolina 78 – 10-0

A sloppy outing ends in an eleven point win as Michigan is clearly better, so that's nice. Items:

The un-Michigan game. Michigan 1) rebounded almost half their misses, 2) turned it over 16 times, 3) made 77% of their free throws, and allowed the bricklayers on the other team to shoot 53% from two. This was very un-Dude. Certain things did make sense in the recent history of Michigan basketball. South Carolina got up just 11 threes, didn't go to the line much, and Michigan burned the nets themselves.

The New York Football Knicks. Man, when South Carolina commits a foul it is not subtle. Iggy got flying shoulder thumps immediately preceding most of his FTAs. Michigan hit the bonus with about 12 minutes left in the second half and that felt late. In the first half I kept looking up at the scoreboard to see which South Carolina player had just earned an autobenching only to find out that Martin was rotating his guys so thoroughly that none of the hacking removed key players for long stretches. Both Alanzo Frink and Felipe Haase had three fouls in about ten minutes. Silva fouled out late; five other guys had two fouls.

Jon Teske got some back when he trucked Silva:

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[Barron]

That was deemed a charge; at least Teske got his money's worth.

Illuminati Charles Matthews. Matthews was 2/4 from two, 2/4 from three, 2/4 from the line, and had 2 DREBs and 4 OREBs. Spooooooky.

The defense slowly comes back to earth. Michigan's early two-point D was always going to be unsustainable and things are creeping back up. The good news is that folks are still posting items about Michigan's defense in relation to some of the best in the last decade of college basketball; the bad news is that Michigan's regressing back towards the mean faster than those defenses:

All of those teams had giant block rates. The only reason all three didn't finish first is that 2015 Texas (20%!) beat out 2015 Kentucky (18.2). Last year's MSU (18.5) team had Jaren Jackson (sometimes) and also finished first. Michigan is currently 115th—not bad, but not a number that is going to see you finish the season with a historically good two-point D.

Even if the absurd two-point D was a bit of a mirage, Michigan's D is still very very good in a sustainable fashion. They're forcing more "other twos" than anyone other than San Diego. They're 9th in the country at preventing threes from getting up, and are still top 50 at preventing the opponent from getting to the rim. Teske may not be a super elite shotblocking center but he's also averaging just 3.3 fouls/40, which is a major part of Michigan's #1 ranking in free throw rate allowed.

Michigan is going to be a very good defense. They probably aren't going to be #1 at the end of the year. If they are it's going to be because they're pretty good at two point D and funnel everyone inside the line.

[After THE JUMP: on the other hand this is still a Beilein team.]

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Timecops 2775

Timecops 2775 Comment Count

Brian December 5th, 2018 at 1:47 PM

12/4/2018 – Michigan 62, Northwestern 60 – 8-0, 2-0 Big Ten

Q: Really?

A: You should look at it as a compliment.

Q: I'm supposed to use the greatest invention in the history of humanity to go back seven hundred years in time to… I don't even know?

A: You guys have already repaired all of the really bad stuff. Nobody outside of this organization knows anything about World War II, Larry Culpepper, or Michigan Football from 2007-2037. This… this is what's left.

Q: And we have to spend our allocation or…?

A: Exactly. We get less next year.

Q: And this is what you want.

A: I mean… they made GIFs and everything. Look at it:

Q: This does not reflect well on the species.

A: It does not.

Q: I'm still unclear on the mission. Kill Hitler. Make Pitbull the permanent intergalactic president. Brain-swap Rich Rodriguez and Nick Saban. These are all defined goals. How am I supposed to prevent… that?

A: You could have a stern talk with him about the essential dignity of humanity and the importance of its preservation?

Q:

A: I see you've been on a college basketball head coach mission before.

Q: Yes, President Pitbull. The Izzident is the darkest day in our organization's history.

A: "First, do no harm."

Q: Violated. The first and only time.

A: Look, just change the refereeing structure of college basketball to be fundamentally less sycophantic to little Hitlers. Any coach venturing onto the court during play gets a tech.

Q: Now that's the kind of timeline revision I can get behind.

A: Make it so. Dale.

[After THE JUMP: the post gets marginally less silly]

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I Have Been Suplexed Into A River But At Least I Have Company

I Have Been Suplexed Into A River But At Least I Have Company Comment Count

Brian December 3rd, 2018 at 1:33 PM

12/1/2018 – Michigan 76, Purdue 57 – 8-0, 1-0 Big Ten

Bigs are the college basketball equivalent of offensive linemen. They're hard to project. They take a significant amount of time to refine into their final product. Also they are big.

Once you get outside the rarefied air of the kids who go to basketball factories so fake they can't even bother to come up with a real name—there is now a place called "Spire Academy" which naturally now houses LaMelo Ball—when centers arrive on campus they've mostly spent their time raining fire on 6'3" guys who keep asking the ref if they can use pitchforks against it. Also, they are big, so they've been slotted into basketball teams whether or not they really care to be. The bigger the person, the more foreordained it is that they will play center despite a total lack of basketball-related skills. There's a 7'6" dude from Dakar named Tacko Fall who plays for UCF and shoots 27% on free throws. QED.

So when you hear the new big who looks like a newborn deer during the brief moments he's permitted on the court is nicknamed "The Big Sleep," well… this is our concern. Not even the guy with literal narcolepsy got called The Big Sleep.

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

Two years later, Purdue has switched Carsen Edwards onto The Big Sleep. This is a thing Purdue just does on instinct at this point. Does the tall man's jersey read "Michigan"? Okay, switch a firefly onto him because the one thing Michigan never does is post up. This gambit has waned in its effectiveness over time but usually because the Boilermaker on the guard is a great lumbering thing or, now, a Frenchman on a dilapidated bicycle. Michigan still doesn't post up, basically ever.

This time Jon Teske puts Edwards on his back, receives an entry pass, and dunks. Edwards shrugs afterwards. His face says "what I am supposed to do with that?" He knows the answer is nothing.

This is Teske now, with the rough edges sanded down. He puts up 17 points on 8 shot equivalents. He spearheads the #1 defense in college basketball. There are a lot of reasons that opponents are hitting 36% of their twos, but the foremost among them is Teske. When he's on the court teams are hitting 31 percent. 31! When he goes to the bench opponents get 13 percentage points worth of relief. Teske got switched onto Nassir Little in the last game and matched Little's drive to the basket. That ball ended up in the stands.

Teske roared afterward, much like he does in the photo that leads this post. That came when he put poor Grady Eifert on a poster:

At the top, Simpson is doing his Big Mood walk despite having no involvement in the play. And that's right too. Teske deserves to roar; he deserves all the chest-bumps and weird awkward arm-lock thingies Michigan is doing this year.

He still looks like the nice boy down the street after you increased his pixel count by 50%, and that's why he'll always be Big Sleep to me. Saddi Washington attempted to rebrand Teske as "Big Nasty" last year, but let's keep The Big Sleep around. Big Nasty is taken by Corliss Williamson and generic anyway. Ain't nobody named Big Sleep.

We just have to look at it a different way. The Big Sleep isn't about what Jon Teske is. It's about what he does to your offense, and sometimes your defense. The Big Sleep is a noir movie. The Big Sleep is a wrestling finisher. The Big Sleep is what happens when you tell Cement Ricky you'll have his money in two weeks and don't.

The Big Sleep is what happens when you manage to get past the forest of poking arms around Michigan's perimeter: a giant man in a trenchcoat throws you over his head into the water.

[After THE JUMP: cat and mouse between Beilein and Painter]

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The Unusual

The Unusual Comment Count

Brian November 29th, 2018 at 1:14 PM

11/28/2018 – Michigan 84, North Carolina 67 – 7-0

Last year's game against North Carolina was a familiar script for Michigan fans. When one of college basketball's blue bloods deigns to play Michigan, it's the old college try for a while. Then the fact that the large men can jump over your head wins out, as it tends to in basketball games.

Sometimes Michigan stayed in contact until the very end, like they did in the Elite Eight against Kentucky. Sometimes they won the damn game, like they did in the Sweet Sixteen versus Kansas. Other times not so much. But even when the positive version of these events were transpiring every lead the opposition got felt like a million points; every Michigan basket was trying to empty the ocean bucket by bucket. Last year it was 20-20 in a flash because Michigan was hitting everything, but even then I was waiting for the bottom to drop out. North Carolina was taking a bunch of good shots. Michigan was taking… shots. They weren't all bad. They weren't all good. They were just shots.

When the lull inevitably came the deficit piled up quickly. Michigan never managed to eat into it. And that was the least unusual thing in the world.

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

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pre-hat-and-pistols phase[Campredon]

Last night Roy Williams got madder and madder and madder until he was Yosemite Sam in a suit. He was so furious about a four-point first-half deficit that he kept his team in the locker room for the full duration of halftime; when the second half started his team was so sped up that they were taking literally any shot they could get up without devolving into half-court offense. These were universally bricks.

Michigan responded with slick pick-and-roll baskets and open threes. Williams became beet-red at the neck, with the redness inching ever-higher. Jon Teske—honest friar Jon Teske—leveled the basket on an alley-oop dunk that I still do not believe happened; the red flew up Roy's forehead. The meter filled up shortly after. Williams pulled the ultimate high school move: all five starters on the bench, looking forlorn as their backups booted balls into the stands and threw up the kind of shots that are hard to rebound because they come off the backboard so fast they feel like bullets. By the time the starters returned the lead was well and truly insurmountable.

Afterwards:

"It was because they stunk it up," Williams said when asked about the lineup change. "Every one of them stunk it up, and so did I." …

"I've got no positive things," Williams said. "If you want positive things, you'd better go out and find someone on the street. I've got no positive for me, no positives for my team."

This was unusual. Michigan has exasperated coaches before. They've rained death from above against half the country. They've never comprehensively whooped one of college basketball's upper crust on both ends. If Michigan could hit a dang free throw they would have cracked 1.3 points per possession. UNC was held under one on the other end.

This wasn't Michigan scrapping out a victory with pluck and an improbable three pointer launched nearly from halfcourt. From the 12 minute mark in the first half on it was a +27 beatdown in which Michigan felt like the better team in everything except getting shots up (but not down) fast. This year it was UNC hitting just shots for a while, and then the bottom dropped out on them. Their vaunted transition game was more curse than gift. Once in the halfcourt they looked around for one on one opportunities and executed far too few of them.

This is a new world.

John Beilein's Michigan teams are known for scuffling through early rough patches as the complicated offense comes together with new folks in new roles. Then they hit the warp speed button. Sometimes in January, sometimes in February, but usually around halfway through the year.

What happens when a Beilein team that has ripped Villanova and North Carolina hits the go button? Is there even a button left to push? Where can they even go from here? What's the hole to patch? Okay, other than free throws? I have no idea what the answer to these questions are. I project finding out is going to be fun.

[After THE JUMP: old man game and a deer on fire]

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What Are You Gonna Do, Stab Me?

What Are You Gonna Do, Stab Me? Comment Count

Brian November 15th, 2018 at 12:24 PM

11/14/2018 – Michigan 73, Villanova 46 – 3-0

During the consumption-of-entrails portion of the game someone tweeted a question at me.

Sort of but also no. "Death from above" is a particular genre of Beilein win where Nik Stauskas sticks contested threes in your face and no amount of scoring you manage is ever enough to climb up the Sisyphean treadmill that Michigan's offense presents you. Halfway through the first half your official twitter account issues a shruggie. The danger comes from the high-arcing artillery shells Michigan fires with unerring accuracy, and then a Lithuanian-Canadian dude dunks on your face.

That's Death From Above. This was different, except for the Lithuanian-Canadian dude. This was a shiv in the dark.

Michigan was most dangerous in the low places, where Zavier Simpson's fingers are stickiest and Ignas Brazdeikis's defense most implausible. The closest thing to a consistent perimeter threat Michigan presented came from Charles Matthews jumpers that started just outside the restricted circle and ended just inside the three-point line. The very, very burly Eric Paschall is going to hit 65% from two in conference play; he was just 3 of 13 against against a true freshman wing giving up 40 pounds.

At the same time Michigan was turning an All Big East C into a pumpkin they limited Villanova (VILLANOVA!) to 3 of 15 from behind the arc, on shots that were about 95% contested. Six different guys had steals. Zavier Simpson had five himself. Villanova had three turnovers for every assist.

At some point Gus Johnson said that Michigan was known for ferocious defense and a near-total lack of turnovers. I thought about tweeting out something in the "lol that's half-right" genre, and then stopped. Stopped like a wildebeest trying to drive the lane against Michigan. Maybe it's true. Or, at least, it's is going to be true.

And like, I don't know, fine? Let's go? I don't have the fingers to deal with this.

Never in the history of humanity has a program undergone such a dramatic 180 in how they get things done without losing its fundamental personality. And make no mistake: Zavier Simpson is as good of a Beilein-at-Michigan avatar as anyone despite the fact he'll hit 30% of his threes this year if he's lucky. He is not without precedent. He is the continuation of a theme. Seven years ago Darius Morris told Michigan State to "get the fuck off my court." Nik Stauskas terrified Kentucky fans despite Kentucky having 16 seven-foot jumping jacks. Charles Matthews?

25730438977_e957c9a448_k (1)

[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Charles Matthews spent the entire first half doing this to various Villanova Wildcats. Everyone wanted to punch him and someone almost did.

These guys have always been assassins. Just not this kind. They've been guys who line your head up in a targeting reticle from two miles away. Now they knock on the front door and ask if anyone wants to play with all these knives they brought. You can say no all you want. The question is rhetorical.

stabme

Yes. Michigan is going to stab you until a palpably depressed Gus Johnson can no longer inject any life into the game. And then they're going to stab you one last time, because maybe you deserved it.

[After THE JUMP: some bullets and react from elsewhere]

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Hoops Preview 2018-19: Wings

Hoops Preview 2018-19: Wings Comment Count

Matt Way November 6th, 2018 at 4:47 PM

 

Gone are Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Duncan Robinson. Enter Ignas Brazdeikis, Brandon Johns, and Adrien Nunez.

Despite losing two significant rotation members from last year’s squad, the depth at wing should stabilize Michigan as the team looks to repeat last year’s March run.

Charles Matthews

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[Bryan Fuller]

Year: Senior

Measurables: 6’6’’, 205

Base Stats: 30.1 MPG, 13.0 PPG, 58/32/56 2P/3P/FT%, 5.5 REB/G, 2.4 AST/G, 2.0 TO/G

Key Advanced Metrics: 25.1% usage, 105.7 ORating, 16.1 assist %, 14.7 turnover %, 17.0 total rebound %

Following a brief flirtation with the NBA Draft, Charles Matthews decided that his time in Ann Arbor was not complete.

Matthews’ first season under John Beilein was a bit of a roller coaster, but it ended strong with great play in March. Transferring from Kentucky, Matthews was learning a completely new system and implementing novel concepts during game play didn’t come without its struggles:

"I came into the season, we're going over plays and the freshmen were looking at me. And I was like y'all are going to have to look at somebody else. I don't know this stuff either." 

Now with a full season under his belt, Matthews will be expected to shoulder a heavier burden.

With the departure of MAAR, Matthews is the only proven playmaker Beilein has among wings. Although he sometimes over-dribbles, Matthews developed chemistry with Jon Teske in the pick and roll last season and he will continued to be called upon to summon it to create shots for both himself and others.

When he’s off the ball, Matthews showed an ability to recognize and occupy open space via cuts leading to easy buckets.

Defensively, Matthews often took the task of defending the best opposing wing and did so admirably. His athleticism and strength provide real deterrents for bigger wings and help slow down offense that has given Michigan trouble for years.

If Michigan is going to have a deep run in March again, Charles Matthews will need to be a big part of it. With his physical abilities and developing skills and chemistry in Beilein’s offense, it’s entirely possible that he can play just that type of role.

Ignas Brazdeikis

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[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Year: Freshman

Measurables: 6’7’’, 215

Recruiting Profile (Hello post): Four-star, #9 PF, #40 overall (247 Composite)

Arriving in Ann Arbor via Ontario, Ignas Brazdeikis earned the starting spot in Michigan’s first exhibition game against Northwood.

Brazdeikis is a unique freshman in that he appears likely to play multiple positions for the Wolverines right out of the gate. Beilein makes a point of defining player’s roles and that’s especially true among his young players who have a lot to learn in his new, complex system.

But Brazdeikis isn’t your typical freshman.

At 6’7, he possesses the size to play power forward but the skill and athleticism to move up as high as the shooting guard position. He moves fluidly on the court and can attack mismatches, both big and small, that will remind many Michigan fans of Moritz Wagner.

Of course, that’s not to say that Brazdeikis will produce at the level of Wagner as a freshman, but his versatility in all lineups will help fill a void left by Wagner’s departure.

As with all freshmen, there will be ups and downs with Brazdeikis’ first season in Ann Arbor. But his intriguing skill set makes it likely that the ups will be far higher than with your typical first-year player.

[After THE JUMP: Livers, Nunez, Johns]

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Unverified Voracity Swiftly Reverses Dumb Decision

Unverified Voracity Swiftly Reverses Dumb Decision Comment Count

Brian November 1st, 2018 at 2:11 PM

Reminder. Tom VH will hold you at Literati tomorrow at 7. He'll also be on MGoRadio. Pat pat, there there. I'll be there, too, but I didn't write a book

So that happened, and then un-happened. Maryland retained DJ Durkin, and then fired DJ Durkin, because people are just in charge of things for no reason. Like Michigan State, the people in charge of things in this case are the regents. Reports that president Wallace Loh wanted to axe everyone were likely true, and after everyone from the student government to both candidate for governor publicly complained Maryland admitted what every adult American other than their board members already knew: DJ Durkin's career is toast.

Anyway, now's a good time to reflect on the colossal failure Big Ten expansion has been:

Let’s start with rutger. I don’t know if I need to say anything more about these guys that hasn’t been said in the past four years. They’re terrible at the major sports. They’ve embarrassingly brought down the strength of the Big Ten schedule. A few months after their Big Ten membership became official, the basketball coach was caught on video throwing basketballs and yelling homophobic slurs at players. Ex-AD Julie Hermann was routinely making shocking statements to the media and embroiled in controversy at her former schools. Ex-football coach Kyle Flood once threatened a professor if he wouldn’t change a player’s grade. The list goes on. rutger remains an easy target. We’ve already covered them extensively on this blog. Oh yeah, this [a Rutgers player being kicked off the team for a failed double-homicide] happened yesterday as well. Not great, Piscataway!

Moving onto Maryland. Until recently, the frustration with the Terps was a little more subtle than their New Jersey counterparts. The football team employed Randy Edsall. The basketball team hasn’t reached the heights it did under Gary Williams, attendance is down after a post-B1G boost, and an FBI investigation looms over the program. At least men’s lacrosse and women’s hoops have been reliable, though.

But then there is the situation with head football coach DJ Durkin, which after months of investigations regarding McNair’s death, was seemingly resolved yesterday. The Maryland Board of Regents overruled outgoing university president Wallace Loh, who seemingly wanted Durkin fired, and reinstated Durkin as the coach, despite the release of a 200-page report that illustrated the abusive behavior of the coaching staff under his watch. After all of this, one startling fact remains: a 19 year-old student-athlete died, and the head coach has been allowed to keep his job. Unsurprisingly, Jordan McNair’s family was angry about this decision, and at least 3 players walked out of a team meeting with Durkin yesterday. Now, the university administration has received tons of criticism, and is facing backlash from Maryland lawmakers as well as UMD students, who plan to hold a rally Thursday.

Great job, Jim Delany. Hope the brief surge in television revenue was worth it.

Urban's head. Meyer's strange behavior on the sideline has a cause:

Since kneeling down on the sideline in a game against Indiana on Oct. 6 because of severe headaches, Meyer has been peppered with questions about his health and future in coaching. He said the cause of the discomfort links back to a congenital arachnoid cyst in his brain, which has led to severe headaches at times in his career.

“The past four years, we’ve been working closely with coach Meyer to monitor and manage the symptoms that have risen from his enlarged congenital arachnoid cyst,” said Dr. Andrew Thomas, Meyer’s personal physician and the chief clinical officer at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center. “This includes aggressive headaches, which have particularly flared up the past two years.”

That sucks for him and does not excuse his conduct with Zach Smith. Verdict: still a bad dude. Not the kind that saves the president. An expired coupon kind of guy.

[After THE JUMP: secret scrimmages, ooooooh]

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