Michigan 79, Wayne State 60

Michigan 79, Wayne State 60

Submitted by Ace on November 4th, 2013 at 9:49 PM


Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog

Since this game was televised, I'll make this relatively short and sweet—Michigan held a commanding lead for practically the entire game, though they failed to dominate Wayne State to the same extent that they eviscerated Concordia in the first exhibition. Given the amount of lineup shuffling, that's not of particular concern. Once again, here are some assorted thoughts from an exhibition blowout.

THE TWO-BIGS LINEUP SHOULD BE PUT ON HOLD

Michigan once again started both Jon Horford and Jordan Morgan, though this time it was freshman Derrick Walton getting his first career start (of many) instead of Spike Albrecht. Simply put, it didn't look like the two bigs lineup is going to work against real competition pending the return of Mitch McGary. Early on, the spacing on offense was poor, and Morgan looked uncomfortable trying to defend on the perimeter. That didn't change much when they trotted out similar lineups later in the game.

If tonight's game is any indication, Michigan is going to start Glenn Robinson III at the four sooner or later, and until McGary returns it may very well be Horford, not Morgan, who starts alongside him. After playing 22 minutes to Morgan's 14 in the opener, Horford once again got the lion's share of the minutes at center—25 to 14, despite having four fouls to Morgan's one. Neither player factored in much offensively and each fared pretty well on the boards; Horford's ability to block shots (two tonight) may be what's giving him the edge.

CARIS LEVERT AT THE POINT, ON THE OTHER HAND...

When Horford picked up an early foul, Michigan put out a lineup with Caris LeVert running the point and Spike Albrecht playing off the ball. This immediately resulted in an open three for Albrecht after a drive-and-kick from LeVert, who looked very confident in both his shot and ballhanding ability tonight, finishing with 16 points (5/10 FG, 5/7 FT) and three assists against just one turnover. I really liked this look, which allowed Michigan to get Albrecht on the court and take advantage of his shooting while hiding him a bit defensively—it's tough to pick on the 5'10" guy when there are four 6'6"-or-taller defenders disrupting passing lanes.

As you can see above, LeVert even showed off a go-to move, breaking some ankles with the crossover in this one.

NO WORRIES ABOUT SCORING

Tonight wasn't a great one for hopes that Robinson (right, Fuller) is going to create a ton of offense off the dribble; he scored 15 points on 10 FGAs but had difficulty getting into the lane on his own, with one notable exception that seemed more of a defensive miscue than anything else. He does appear more confident in his three-point shot, however, even though he knocked down just one of three attempts tonight.

More importantly, it doesn't look like he has to create offense for Michigan to score. Nik Stauskas led the team with 17 points, hitting 2/4 threes and looking equally effective inside the arc; encouragingly, he laid in a tough and-one on a fast break through heavy contact, something he had difficulty doing last year. LeVert, once again, seemed able to reach any point on the floor he wanted.

Then there's Zak Irvin, who looks ready to take GRIII's place as the Guy Who Scores A Quiet [Double-Digit Point Total]. Despite playing just eight minutes in the first half, Irvin paced the team with nine points, hitting three triples; he'd finish with 13 on 5/8 shooting in 19 minutes of action. One of his second-half makes was a pretty dribble-drive to pull-up jumper; when called upon, he looks comfortable creating his own shot. While fellow freshman Walton shot just 1/4 from the field, he hit 4/5 free throws and drilled a corner three to accompany a 4:2 assist-to-turnover ratio; like LeVert, he worked his way to the inside with relative ease to create offense for others. Walton also had his second Burkeian halfcourt steal in two games. If that becomes a patented Michigan point guard move, I'm totally okay with it.

OTHER NOTES

  • The perimeter defense could still use work. Wayne State's Bryan Coleman hit 3/5 first-half threes and had 17 points at the break; while he cooled off in the second half, he still found himself with several open looks against Stauskas and Robinson, primarily.
  • On the other hand, the transition defense was great—Wayne State finished with zero fast-break points, and Michigan communicated very well while getting back on D, a very good sign for such a young team.
  • For the second straight game, Max Bielfeldt struggled to defend the glass while playing center against an undersized team, grabbing zero rebounds in nine minutes of action while also having his fair share of issues defensively. If this is what he's playing like come conference play, he may not have a spot in the rotation, since he isn't a guy who's going to add much offensively.
  • Mark Donnal is almost certainly ticketed for a redshirt, as he didn't play until garbage time once again, then immediately forgot to box out on a free throw and committed a foul—that's probably the last we see of him this season unless injuries hit in a major way.
  • Welcome back, Ann Arbor Airshow. I missed you dearly.

John Beilein At Big Ten Media Day

John Beilein At Big Ten Media Day

Submitted by Brian on October 31st, 2013 at 10:51 AM

[Ed: I bet this causes something less than a 130-comment blowup.]

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Bryan Fuller

COACH BEILEIN: Good to get to this point of the year where we're ready to start another season. I like my team. I like the way we practiced. Different format has allowed us to experiment with some things and give us a little bit more contact with the players, more access. But it's a long season and we still have a long ways to go, even to get ready for our first games let alone our conference season. But I do
like our team. I like the way we've approached the preseason. But we have a lot of things to replace.

We have five seniors that graduated last year that were incredible leaders for our team and sacrificed so much for the other guys. Now you lose two guys to the first round of
the NBA. There's obviously some replacement to do. At the same time, there's 25 or 30 shots out there. There's another 80 minutes out there. I think our guys are embracing the opportunities that they have in front of them.

Q. Obviously recruiting is very accelerated, Coach, but how have you seen making it to a national championship affect recruiting since then, please?

COACH BEILEIN: That's a common question. Recruiting is such a unique science to it.
I think there's been good things and I think it hasn't made a difference in some other ways as well. Certainly I think we're on a lot of people's lists. At the same time, everybody has different reasons for choosing their next university, the university they're going to go to. So I've seen some really good things, but at times it's maybe not the right fit. So we just keep doing what we are doing.

The young men we did have in recruiting probably were not the Trey Burkes and the Tim Hardaways, weren't on the top of anybody's lists. There's a lot of different ways to form a good team.

Q. The past few years you've been here, can you sense the target on Michigan
getting bigger from the other Big Ten teams?

COACH BEILEIN: No, I don't think about that at all. I think all the time that we are – we're just trying to be the best that we can be. And we have enough things to do to grow our program right now let alone worry about any target on our back. We just keep playing and trying to improve and take each day trying to improve, really.

Q. There's been a lot of discussion about Glenn perhaps changing positionally a
little bit, moving more toward the perimeter. Is that happening? And, if so, how is his skill development affecting the process?

COACH BEILEIN: Really, last year he was not an inside player at all. So he's been a
perimeter the whole time. I think the biggest difference is what I just alluded to. There's 80 more minutes and there's a good 20 to 30 shots, scoring opportunities that Trey and Tim rightfully took upon themselves last year that are wide open.

We want him to fill a lot of those opportunities, attacking from all different sides.
We can play big. We can play guards – all guards. We can do a lot of things. He'll probably
be on the floor no matter what we do.

Q. Regarding some of the new rules aimed toward decreasing the physicality of the
game, the Big Ten's a physical league, do you think the league's in any way being targeted by those rules?

COACH BEILEIN: The people that have changed the rules over time have really had a
good record at doing this. There's some experimentation probably we would have preferred at times. But we led the country in not fouling last year. I think we were number one or number two in not fouling. So I don't think there's going to be a
big change in how we coach.

And the block charge, I hope it simplifies things. I do not know that it does. We have to wait. And this is where I defer to the experts and say, okay, if they think it will work, they've done enough research on it, we just go and we adjust from there.

But we've had a scrimmage and inter squad scrimmage. I haven't seen the difference, in
particular, in how the game was called against us. And I think other teams have a drastic difference. But who knows.

[ED: Was this five minutes long? Yeesh.]

Michigan 117, Concordia 44

Michigan 117, Concordia 44

Submitted by Ace on October 29th, 2013 at 9:24 PM

There's your game in a nutshell. Michigan ran rampant over an undersized and overwhelmed Concordia squad, and the visitors only made matters worse by insisting on running a full-court press for much of the game. This, unsurprisingly, did not go well.

Stat lines of importance:

Glenn Robinson III: 33 points, 8/9 2P, 4/6 3P, 5/5 FT, 3 rebs, 4 asts, 2 stls, 1 TO
Nik Stuaskas: 23 points, 5/5 2P, 2/3 3P, 7/7 FT, 3 rebs, 3 asts, 1 block, 1 steal, +103(!!!)
Caris LeVert: 16 points, 6/6 2P, 1/2 3P, 1/3 FT, 4 rebs, 10(!) asts, 3 stls, 1 TO
Derrick Walton: 11 points, 2/3 2P, 2/4 3P, 1/2 FT, 4 rebs, 4 asts, 4 stls, 1 TO


Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog

Scattered thoughts from a rote exhibition blowout—Concordia caveats very much apply:

  • Michigan opened with a starting lineup of Albrecht, Stauskas, Robinson, Morgan, and Horford; Beilein played two bigs for lengthy portions of the game, and it's clear he's serious about incorporating that in a major way even without the services of Mitch McGary, who watched from the sideline in a (pretty sharp) suit.
  • Derrick Walton looked every bit the part of a starting point guard. He pushed the pace well, displayed impressive hands on defense, and had a nice balance of looking for his own shot and creating open looks for others.
  • Caris LeVert may be gunning for that point guard spot himself. He dished out ten assists to just one turnover, confidently got to any spot on the floor he wanted, and finished strong at the rim on multiple occasions. Again, it's Concordia, but he looked very capable of living up to the sky-high practice hype.
  • Also in the good sign department: Glenn Robinson couldn't miss from the field, whether contested or not, and he also dished out four assists while picking just the right spots to get aggressive.
  • Nik Stauskas remains Nik Stauskas, which is quite nice.
  • Zak Irvin scored a quiet ten points on seven shots, displaying a nice shooting stroke while also showing off his defensive prowess; his combination of length and quickness gave Concordia a lot of problems. That goes for the team as a whole, as well; we saw the "nobody shorter than 6'6" lineup with LeVert running the point, and it was dominant defensively (even more so than the rest of the lineups).
  • One thing that I think will hold up regardless of opponent: Michigan is looking to run off of every defensive rebound, and with good reason. The outlet passing from the bigs—and also the guards—was impressive, leading to a ton of easy fast break buckets. With a pass-first guard like Walton leading the break, the team looked unstoppable in transition—this is a very athletic team that can finish at the hoop.
  • Mark Donnal appears headed for a redshirt; he didn't enter the game until the score was 111-36 with 5:38 left, and most of his time was spent alongside the walk-ons.

I can't bring myself to write much more about such a meaningless game; I'll say that, even accounting for the opponent, just about everything that could go well went well. The shooting was obviously great (30/41 from two, 11/22 from three), the team moved the ball around very well without turning it over (26 assists, 6 TOs), and the Wolverines were effectively aggressive on defense. Yes, there's good reason this game didn't count; that doesn't mean there isn't reason for optimism after seeing Michigan perform with such brutal efficiency.

Hoops Preview: Wings

Hoops Preview: Wings

Submitted by Ace on October 29th, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Previously: Preview MGoPodcast with John Gasaway, Media Day Wrap, Bigs (Also, BUY HTTV BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE. There's more great preview content in there than I can possibly cover in a sequence of blog posts.)

Before I get into previewing the shooting guard and small forward types, here's some info on tonight's exhibition against Concordia since there won't be a full-blown game preview for reasons that should be self-evident.

Who: Michigan vs. Concordia
Where: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor
When: 7 pm Eastern
TV/Radio: Streaming on MGoBlue (subscription required) and Big Ten Digital Network (game listed as free for now, but may require a subscription). Radio info here.
Prediction: Pain.

Alright. On to the wings, where the four players expected to rotate in at the two and three (and some point guard and power forward, too) all have star potential.

Glenn Robinson III

Year: Sophomore
Measurables: 6'6", 220
Base Stats: 33.6 minutes, 11.0 points, 65/32/68 2P/3P/FT%, 5.4 rebounds
Key Advanced Metrics: 15.2% usage, 7.8 OR%, 10.0 TO%, 67% of FGs assisted

As the fourth or fifth offensive option last year (depending on Mitch McGary's ascension point), GRIII ended the season with a very small usage number and absolutely bananas efficiency—his 128.4 offensive rating ranked tenth in the country. The big question—and perhaps the key to Michigan's season—is whether Robinson can continue to be so efficient without the benefit of Trey Burke creating open dunk after open dunk. A full two-thirds of Robinson's field goals last year were assisted, and most of the ones that weren't were putbacks following offensive rebounds; if someone kept track of baskets per dribble ratio, Robinson likely would've led the country in that stat.

For Robinson to become the lead dog that his NBA lottery projections suggest he should be, he'll have to become much more effective and assertive as a creator off the dribble—if he can consistently get himself to the basket, his ridiculous vertical and excellent finishing will lead to plenty of points, especially if he develops his decent—but thus far inconsistent—outside shot. Reports from the summer have been mixed in this regard. Robinson attended several camps and wasn't mentioned as a standout nor as one of the more assertive players. ESPN's Jeff Goodman, however, took a tour of the country's top programs and named GRIII the most impressive player he saw over the likes of Marcus Smart, Andrew Wiggins, and Adreian Payne ($):

Michigan's Glenn Robinson III was the most impressive player of anyone I saw on the trip. GR3 will see more time at his natural position, small forward, this season. The 6-7 Robinson has added weight and become more athletic.

The questions regarding the son of the "Big Dog" were about his perimeter shot and ability to put the ball on the floor. Robinson buried deep jumper after deep jumper and appears far more comfortable at the 3-spot in John Beilein's offense. It's still yet to be determined whether this aspect of his skill set will translate in games, but it's a good sign with Robinson more assertive on the offensive end. If he can gain a consistent jumper to go with his athleticism, he'll almost certainly be a lottery pick.

If Mitch McGary is healthy and Michigan gets that GRIII, all bets are off regarding this team's ceiling. Another data point in favor of "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" comes from assistant coach Jeff Meyer, who noted that Robinson has made great strides as a ballhandler and distributor:

“He’s worked very diligently in July — we kind of shifted and allowed the best point guard coach in the country [LaVall Jordan] to work with Glenn, with his ball handling. Vall did a great job of putting him through a series of skill development drills,” Meyer said. “Glenn on his own has really worked hard at improving in that area, which is putting the ball on the floor. I think, in terms of the first 15 practices, his ability to take the ball end-to-end with the bounce has definitely improved, his ability to negotiate ball screens, reading the defense and then playing based on what the defense is giving has improved. Through our first 15 practices, I think he’s at 16 assists to three turnovers, so he’s really improved in that area and I know he’s taken a lot of pride in improving in that area.

This leads to another major question about Robinson, and that's where he'll play the majority of his minutes this year. With McGary dinged up to start the season and John Beilein's preference to bring along freshmen slowly if possible (see: McGary, Mitch), Robinson should reprise his role as a stretch four, especially early in the season. The coaches are very serious about incorporating more two-post lineups—including the starting lineup—and when McGary is healthy that means Robinson could slide down to the three, a much more natural defensive position for him (in Beilein's offense, the three and the four essentially mirror each other).

A move down to the three could greatly benefit GRIII defensively, where he struggled as a freshman last year, especially when trying to defend larger players. A lot of that was due to the usual freshman issues: Robinson got caught ball-watching regularly and often looked unsure of his assignment. A year of experience will help, as will the 10-15 pounds of muscle he added during the offseason—when he does play the four, that'll really come into play.

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

Unverified Voracity Offers Up Two Bits

Unverified Voracity Offers Up Two Bits

Submitted by Brian on October 29th, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Tuesday. Must be time to post a shirtless photo of somebody. Nik Stauskas is a larger person.

Nik-Stauskas-Progress[1]

Hopefully this makes him LeBron James, or at least more capable when it comes time to finish at the rim. Last year he had two modes: 1) Game, blouses dunk. 2) wildly inaccurate layup.

Drink. Nick Baumgardner, or at least his headline guy, gets the season off to a rousing start:

Not just a shooter: Nik Stauskas backs up his teary-eyed Final Four pledge by focusing on defense

Beanpole bros:

"I'm going to get back in the gym as soon as I get back to Ann Arbor," Stauskas said, with tears in his eyes. "I'm going to be a different player next year."

Six months after making a vow to improve himself, Michigan's sharp-shooting Canadian sophomore showed up to media day Thursday looking like a different person.

Literally.

Stauskas added 16 pounds of muscle to his frame, spending most of the summer in Ann Arbor in the weight room with fellow sophomore Caris LeVert.

Michigan loses two first round NBA picks; gets back three or four Sophomore Leap™ candidates, depending on how you look at McGary.

My other three is a lottery pick. Mitch McGary won't play in tonight's exhibition against NAIA Concordia. This is the only thing that prevents me from declaring victory in the great Glenn Robinson III Is A Small Forward Over John Beilein's Dead Body war of the 2013 offseason:

“Spike or Derrick will play at the point, Nik or Caris will play at the two, Glenn or Zak will be at the three, and at the other three it will be Jordan or Glenn. Jon’s played real well, too. Jon’s going to get a great chance.”

"The other three." A door opened, and Michigan became the first team to go 1 2 3 3 5, because it was good PR. In fairness to Beilein, the roles of the 3 and 4 in his system are not particularly different, especially when you've got a guy like Robinson.

Also, please be true:

“Glenn is one of our top assist guys in all the scrimmages thus far. A lot of times we’ll just let them play, and allow them to play to the vision and strengths that they have,” Beilein said. “He’s got an ability to play where he can see open men really quickly. You see a lot of kids who, for some reason, while they’re athletic, don’t have the same feel for the game in crowds.”

Shot creation from Robinson would be enormous. Freshman to sophomore leaps are possible at a couple of different positions from players who were already pretty damn good last time out.

A SHORT LIST OF THINGS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

  1. Does Nik Stauskas rip an arm off a Concordia player, use it to shoot a three pointer, and then bite a chunk out of it as he leaves the floor?
  2. Is Caris LeVert showing any signs of making the proverbial Jump?
  3. Why did Tim Hardaway Jr get taller?
  4. That's still Trey Burke, right? I left my contacts out.

By the way, a quarter will get you in the door. If the University's making more money off the unclaimed student tickets, it's not going to be much money.

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AT LEAST THEIR HELMETS WERE DUMB

Well, that's not good. By the time I got home from Saturday's hockey game it was halftime in the PSU-OSU game and the score was 42-7. That's some pretty un-swell boding right there. By the end, the Ohio State offense had eviscerated Penn State in unprecedented ways:

Ohio State racked up 686 yards of total offense against Penn State, a new high for the Buckeyes against a Big Ten defense and a new low for the Nittany Lions in the 127-year history of the program. The final score, 63–14, made it the most lopsided defeat Penn State has endured since Nov. 25, 1899, in a 64–5 loss to the Duquesne Athletic Club, which was also the last time Penn State allowed 60 points. In the intervening 114 years, only two other opponents scored 50 points against Penn State: West Virginia in October 1988, and Navy in October 1944.

I was curious and grabbed a torrent of that event. OSU's line blew that 282 pound defensive tackle who occasionally featured against Michigan off the line regularly, took all manner of perimeter screens when presented the opportunity (including, oddly, a third and one conversion and a second and one conversion), and used Hyde as a punishing alternative to Braxton Miller—the usual. I guess they've kind of struggled in their other league games? Yeah.

Also alarming was Michigan State's Illinois-aided demolition of Illinois:

Michigan State QB Connor Cook was 15-of-16 for 208 yards and three touchdowns against Illinois, setting a school record for pass efficiency (264.8) in a 42–3 rout. After a slow start, the Spartan offense as a whole converted 14 of 16 third-down attempts – including a kneel-down to end the game – the best single-game rate by any team this season, and scored touchdowns on six consecutive possessions before killing the clock.

One of those touchdown drives featured an Illinois player certain to intercept not only not doing that but batting the ball directly to a Michigan State player for a touchdown. That put MSU up 14-3 in a half featuring that and a goal line stand for MSU at the one, turning a potential tie into a lead insurmountable and eventually a laughable blowout.

On the bright side, Minnesota ran for almost 300 yards in a relatively easy win over Nebraska. Football is weird. That's the hope now, anyway.

At least this is the last year we have to talk about this. Fresno State and Northern Illinois are currently undefeated and on track to finish higher than the champion of the Large America conference, which means whichever finishes higher in the final standings will get the honor of being annihilated in a BCS Game. This is the BCS's own fault, because rough and tough football coaches mewled about how it was mean when that man scored another touchdown:

One of the reasons the Bulldogs and Huskies are in such solid position, surprisingly, is their good standing in the computer polls, where both rank in the top 15 despite the computers' alleged emphasis on strength of schedule. (NIU's best win is over Iowa, by three points; the crown jewel in Fresno's resumé is either a one-point win over Rutgers, in overtime, or a one-point win over Boise State.) In fact, even the machines don't really know what to do with them. In Jeff Sagarin's rankings, for example, his "real" rankingswhich include margin of victory – list both NIU and Fresno as mediocrities at No. 51 and No. 52, respectively, nowhere near the threshold for a BCS game; in the version Sagarin submits to the BCS, though, which excludes margin of victory, the same teams come in at No. 3 and No. 14.

The BCS has been one eyerolling compromise after another. Even if the playoff committee was Condoleeza Rice and 14 animals representing the diversity of American agriculture the output would be less of a steaming pile than the soon-to-be late, extraordinarily unlamented BCS.

Math is just a tool, and for two decades the people in charge of college football took the safety off of Richard Billingsley and pointed him at their face, then sawed-off the other computer rankings and pointed them at their family. We're better off without it if it's going to be used like that: by morons.

Etc.: MVictors talks with Jarrod Bunch. Vincent Smith is more than just a guy who Jadeveon Clowney killed. The Guptill penalty-shot goal from Friday's BU game. Andrew Copp profiled.

The origin of "We Are Penn State." Another article on how sports are making people who don't care about sports drop cable at an increasing rate. Alabama getting tough on student-group no-shows.

Hoops Media Day Wrap

Hoops Media Day Wrap

Submitted by Ace on October 25th, 2013 at 1:59 PM


Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog

Before I post a partial transcript of John Beilein's press conference, a few player interviews, and photo galleries from both Eric and Bryan, here are my main takeaways from yesterday's basketball media day:

  • First and foremost, John Beilein is serious about playing two bigs and having a lot of lineup versatility—this sentiment echoed from Beilein himself down through the players, almost all of whom discussed playing multiple roles in some capacity. Everything from Walton/Spike/Stauskas/GRIII/McGary to LeVert/Stauskas/GRIII/McGary/Morgan is on the table; this team can play small or go very, very big—both Stauskas and LeVert are capable of running the point.
  • Mitch McGary's health is a major question mark. Beilein isn't sure if he'll be ready for the first exhibition game—it certainly didn't seem like it—and would only say he's "day-to-day" when asked about a timetable. When asked about the nature of the injury, McGary responded that it wasn't an injury, but a "lower back condition" that the team is being cautious about right now. That's obviously a point of concern, even though McGary maintained that he felt good about where he's at right now and the upcoming season. He's definitely missing critical practice time—Beilein noted that he hasn't had a chance to practice his perimeter defense, a crucial area for improvement if McGary is going to be able to play the four.
  • The physical development of the sophomores has been rather remarkable. Glenn Robinson III's improved vertical is getting a lot of attention—yes, he touched 12'3", maxing out Michigan's device for measuring vertical leaps—and similar gains have been made by Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert. All three look noticeably more muscular; though LeVert is still very much on the skinny side, he's no longer rail-thin, and Stauskas appears capable of playing the three if need be. GRIII, meanwhile, looks the part of an NBA player.
  • When asked about their new break-the-huddle mantra this year, Beilein responded that it's simply "champions"—whether that applies to the Puerto Rico Invitational, the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the Big Ten regular- and post-season crowns, or even loftier goals. Last year's team took the expectations to an entirely new level; it's clear this team is comfortable with that.

For direct quotes from Beilein, player interviews with Jon Horford, Jordan Morgan, and Derrick Walton, and photo galleries from media day, hit the jump.

[JUMP]

For You, Dear Diary

For You, Dear Diary

Submitted by Seth on October 25th, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Meta: Chicagoans—if we did a Q&A-type event downtown the night before NW'ern would you come? Jared of SPW offered to host it as part of his killer Northwestern package; trying to gauge interest.

The Sartorialist.

As per tradition, bye week Saturday is Wife Day, when sports fans stop to appreciate those who married us—only to discover they had also married this thing that makes us sometimes psychotic, often inconsolable, and constantly spending vast sums for tickets and road trips and apparel. Oh, you are perfectly right to bitch about somebody who plans their wedding on any October Saturday (I hope your every anniversary falls on top of a rivalry game, a hated hockey opponent, the opening throws of basketball season, and the World Series). But let's recognize—male and female (17% of our readership)—that this does make us a particularly needy breed of spouse.

Weeklies: Gifs and F+-ing. Best and Worst made a comic book reference I actually got, and points out the defense was actually doing a good job until the point in the 2nd quarter when they got Roberson'd. He rightly calls out the staff for still making major offensive line changes this late in the season, though I think we're happy they made them. Inside the Box score also brought up the O-line carousel:

* Midway through the first quarter, Joey Burzynski got hurt. So let's review our situation at Left Guard this year. Glasgow started the season there, only to move to center in an attempt to shore up the middle. Chris Bryant was the next man in. He's either injured or not as effective as the staff would like, so he was replaced by Burzynski. When he got hurt, Kyle Bosch entered the lineup. Yep, our 4th string left guard.

Turns out the offensive line should have been playing Indiana all along.

You've seen the Borges be Trollin with Hoke in a rainbow chariot by Drkboarder. But you probably skipped the link. Therefore you missed the rest like:

fi3tz0q

…and a chicken coop parade for ND, and CMU as the crying Indian in that don't-litter commercial from the '80s, and Akron/UConn as Indiana Jones obstacles. These are going to be weekly he says.

More F/+ please! Here is dnak439 with an updated chart of Big Ten teams by Fremeau's F/+: offense (y-axis) and defense (x-axis).

10_19_13_Fplus_B1G

Hooray for being in the good quadrant; hard to believe MSU's offense is as good (bad?) as Penn State's. Iowa's tracking higher than Northwestern since AIRBHG whiffed on Weisman and nailed the Wildcats' entire backfield. Dnack also made a thing that tracks your rooting interest to get Michigan the Bo Division crown.

[Jump for new and improved Stauskas, GRIII levitates, hand checking enforcement effect on Big Ten teams, the Seeya! chant]

Unverified Voracity Requests Drum-Off

Unverified Voracity Requests Drum-Off

Submitted by Brian on October 22nd, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Drumline, go.

I would watch a halftime show that was a you-got-served style drumoff between bands. Yes sir.

It's almost like this was not well thought out. Michigan's three million dollar billboard is an eyesore the city would like to turn off.

Ann Arbor officials are planning to ask the University of Michigan to decommission its new digital billboard outside the Big House.

City Council Member Christopher Taylor, D-3rd Ward, and other council members argue the large marquee on East Stadium Boulevard is too big, too bright and too distracting to drivers with its continually changing messages.

You may be wondering why the city is bringing this up after the thing was installed, they were obviously not consulted and don't have to be. Whateva, the U does what it wants:

The university does not have to follow the city's local ordinances or obey council requests. Nonetheless, the council members behind the resolution are hoping the university will hear the community's concerns and respond.

"It just doesn't seem very appropriate," Higgins said of the billboard. "We talked about the size (as part of the city's sign ordinance), and that just so far exceeded any size that we thought was really feasible within the city limits."

Does anyone ask anyone else about anything before just doing it anymore? If I show up at Michigan Stadium next year and it's upside down, will anyone have a rationale, or at least a document indicating that there was a 15 minute discussion about the pros and cons of such an undertaking? (PRO: rain can't get in so easily. CON: have to invent anti-gravity to play football.)

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SCORCHED EARTH

Well, that was inevitable. Miami gets three scholarships docked for the next three years. No bowl ban, various other minor penalties. After the NCAA screwed up that investigation harder than Nevin Shapiro screwed his ponzi investors, this was always going to be a wrist-slap compromise that wouldn't send Miami to the appeal/sue route, and lo, it is so. QED: the NCAA put together a record-shattering 102-page document to mildly annoy a program they savage as being basically without compliance in the report.

It's worth noting that Miami self-imposed two years of bowl ban, which cost them a berth in last year's ACC Championship game, and a bunch of players were suspended. It did cost them something.

Obligatory: the NCAA is stupid and their rules are unenforceable and pointless and most of those rules should be put in a blender for the benefit of players, society, common sense, and most importantly Michigan, which has an alumni base with gobs of dough and a department that actually has, you know, compliance activities going on.

Ann Arbor Skyline. Finally, the mysterious name of Ann Arbor's newest high school is explained:

Stauskas and Caris LeVert sharing the backcourt is not "out of the realm of possibility," per Jordan.

That is from WTKA's eight-o-clock hour this morning, on which Michigan's basketball assistants appeared and sent every Michigan basketball beat guy scurrying to their twitter to live-tweet it.

If this actually comes to fruition, holy pants that is a huge lineup: LeVert, Stauskas, Robinson, McGary, Morgan/Horford, or stick Irvin somewhere in there. No one under 6'6". It'll be a sideshow with Walton and Spike around, but what a sideshow.

In general, the coaches sounded excited about LeVert in particular, who's up to 185 and apparently showing enough point guard skill to warrant some run at that spot. He is the kind of guy—young, skinny, still growing—who can be a totally different player in year two.

Same as it ever was. Hockey got some pretty horrible officiating in New Hampshire over the weekend, no call worse than a Derek DeBlois stick-lift that was somehow judged a penalty shot. Berenson on that:

A man may dress like a cowboy and smell like a cowboy but he can't ride a horse.

The Big Ten ain't fixing the gibbering pack of maroons that's available to ref games.

Exit. Farewell to Burgeoning Wolverine Star, which hangs up its spurs. Chris of BWS acquired a reputation as something of a downer, but… uh… on many counts he turned out to be right. (See: offensive line.) His play breakdowns were consistently worth arguing about. He'll be missed.

Entrance. If the previous news leaves you feeling sad, here is Fergodsakes, which is ramping up their coverage entertainingly:

Young (Michigan Alum) David Alan Grier?

Pictured: Michigan Offense, rediscovered

First off, this reference to Spielberg's "Hook" (1991), a landmark achievement in Giant Crocodile cinema technology, was not at all random, and will be of use later in this piece.

A possible future. A leaked PDF that was accurate enough to forecast a Michigan/UCLA series in 2022 and 2023 also indicates Michigan may be playing a neutral-site game against Florida in 2017. Neutral probably means Atlanta, which wouldn't be neutral but would at least be easy to get to. If Will Muschamp doesn't kill Orson by then that would be fun.

Other games it may reveal: UCF in 2016, pushing back a Ball State game, Air Force in 2017—ack option football—and SMU in 2018, all home games.

I subscribe to your newspaper. I subscribe it up. Jeff Goodman toured six of the top programs in America a few days back, hitting Kansas, MSU, Indiana, Oklahoma State, Louisville, and another school I can't figure out from the italicized preview bit. The most impressive guy Goodman saw?

Michigan's Glenn Robinson III was the most impressive player of anyone I saw on the trip. GR3 will see more time at his natural position, small forward, this season. The 6-7 Robinson has added weight and become more athletic.

The questions regarding the son of the "Big Dog" were about his perimeter shot and ability to put the ball on the floor. Robinson buried deep jumper after deep jumper and appears far more comfortable at the 3-spot in John Beilein's offense. It's still yet to be determined whether this aspect of his skill set will translate in games, but it's a good sign with Robinson more assertive on the offensive end. If he can gain a consistent jumper to go with his athleticism, he'll almost certainly be a lottery pick.

That would be excellent. Robinson attended the same camps McGary did over the summer; the buzz from them was that McGary was a beast and Robinson tended to fade into the background, as he is wont to do. I've been expecting an incremental leap in GRIII's game with Stauskas and McGary picking up more of the usage slack left by Burke as a result. Any indicator that Little Big Dog is going to eat is an encouraging sign.

On pace. Jeremy Gallon was the fourth-leading receiver in the Big Ten last year with 829 yards. Through seven games this year he's already exceeded that total with 831. To break Braylon Edwards's single-season receiving record of 1330 yards Gallon needs to average 84 yards a game—well within reach, especially if Michigan retains the pass-orientation they showed against Indiana.

Booker not looking too good. Devin Booker took a visit to Missouri over the weekend, and this is maybe not so good:

Booker visited both Kentucky and Michigan State on the weekend of Sept. 6-9 and went to Michigan on Oct. 5. He arrived back in Mississippi Sunday after the first of consecutive trips to Columbia, Mo., with plans to return to this weekend when his father, Melvin, is honored along with the rest of Missouri's 1994 Big 8 championship team.

A couple of Kentucky folk have flipped their predictions to Mizzou on 247, FWIW.

Etc.: Pahokee eating update. Also an update from Maize and Go Blue. Ups and downs of Brady Hoke. This happened forever ago, but my gawd James Murphy. The Ducks are the reason John Gibson never showed up at Michigan. OH SF Javon Bess, a plan B for Michigan as they wait on Booker and Blackmon, commits to MSU. Here is the weird halftime show.

Unverified Voracity Has A Lot Of Video

Unverified Voracity Has A Lot Of Video

Submitted by Brian on August 1st, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Countdown to Kickoff exists again. Talkin' with Devin Gardner:

Countdown to Kickoff 2013: Day 30 - Devin Gardner by mgovide

So that explains that. If you were wondering why Michigan's option plays weren't actual option plays the last couple years, well, yeah:

“We did it [the Wildcat] in OTAs and a couple of times he ran the ball and fumbled the ball and he didn’t know how to pitch," Bradley said, according to the Register.

The one time he did try to pitch on a speed option was when he got lit up in the backfield, and that was a fumble.

Oklahoma State was not always good. Wolverine Historian presents the 1992 non-classic:

Gardner on Darboh. I think both of last year's wide receivers are on pace to work out, and Darboh is ahead of the curve:

"He's just a great athlete," Gardner said of the wideout. "He's strong, he's fast, he catches the ball well. He's pretty much everything you could ever want in a receiver."

Gardner compares Darboh to Junior Hemingway, but fast. No, seriously:

"He goes up and gets the ball just like Junior. And he runs fast."

I'll take it.

O'Bannon-related victory. I thought Sam Keller's lawsuit had been folded into the O'Bannon suit, but apparently not. They've just won at the appellate level:

By a 2-1 vote, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said EA's use of the athletes' likenesses in its NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball games did not deserve protection as free expression under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

EA is disappointed that free speech doesn't cover important things like college football videogames using the representations of people without mentioning it to them, and plans to appeal, for all the good that will do.

They'll have to name him Lack Of Seat Cushions. Sorry, those are the probably fictional, possibly offensive stereotypical Native American rules:

I don't make the probably fictional, possibly offensive stereotypical Native American rules. I just enforce 'em, lady.

Jordan Paskorz: I'm not dead yet! Michigan could use some tight end depth with veteran Mike Kwiatkowski departed, and Jake Bu—MAH GAWD THAT'S JORDAN PASKORZ'S MUSIC, AT LEAST I THINK IT IS BECAUSE I'M NOT SURE HE EVEN HAD SOME:

[Paskorz's] career has since been derailed by seemingly interminable instability.

But that's about to change, as he enters his second season at tight end and seems to have fought his way into the rotation as a blocking specialist. …

"What I like is, we settled him into that position and I think he can be a guy who gives us a little more on-the-line-of-scrimmage movement. That’s exciting."

At 6'3", 251, he is about the right size to be more of a pusher at TE. AJ Williams is a guy Michigan will ask to fill that role as well, but he needs a lot of technique work to get there. We'll see if the talk translates into playing time.

When do I get to be on a bulletin board? Because if Steve Everitt's lighthearted jab at Kirk Cousins qualifies

locker-room-1-1024x768[1]

…surely I can come up with something vile enough to get up there despite not being a viking. Hey, Spartans! You smell! Bad!

I'll work on it.

In related news, Dave Brandon once again reiterated that he doesn't want a night game in the series. This is correct. I hope the real reason is wanting to tweak MSU by playing anyone but them at night, but I'll take "don't want a bunch of East Lansing people drunj" after the Gathering of the Juggalos that was two years ago.

Speaking of. UTL II Hype Video:

Glenn Robinson: now he can jump. Yeah, now:

image

His vertical is up four inches to 12'3".

Etc.: Introducing Dr. Gay Hitler, who was of course from… Ohio, and the son of George Hitler, and a dentist.

Here is a class of 1927(!) alum talking bout her days on campus. Oregon has some money. People don't like dynamic pricing, except for that one guy on facebook who hasn't been to a game since 1982 but likes being a prick to people on the internet. Bill Connolly previews Ohio State. Lewan talks Gholston punch.

This Week in the Twitterverse

This Week in the Twitterverse

Submitted by BiSB on August 1st, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Aaaaand we’re back. And we’re done with the ennui stuff. Mostly. More on that in a bit. But for now, we return to the decidedly more upbeat world of social media. As usual, if you come across anything that you think deserves a spot here, send it to @Bry_Mac. Or just find me on the blog. I’ll be the football-playing golden retriever.

Meta

Just when everything was going right for the Maize and Blue, a bombshell. Michigan has once again been thrust into the harrowing and unpredictable world of NCAA violations. And this time, the violations come from the very top of the Twitterverse.

That was Twitter CEO and Michigan uber-fan Dick Costolo sharing either a congratulations or a simple comment of amazement on the commitment of George Campbell. The problem was that he replied directly to Campbell and Wilton Speight, which you loyal TWIT readers recognize as an NCAA no-no. Now, this happens all the time, so while it is technically a violation, I’m sure it won’t get very much attention… except for here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and holy crap how can this return 2000 results?

We’re on thin ice here, so Mr. Costolo, if you’re reading this, (a) I know it’s dumb as all get-out but you probably shouldn’t do this again, and (b) HOLY CRAP DICK COSTOLO READS MGOBLOG. Mind staying for an interview? We can order pizza. It’ll be fun.

Don’t worry, though. Ohio State may be equally screwed. You see, their newest commit, Demetrius Knox, has been a long-time Buckeye fan, and as such he has been posting for a long time on the Eleven Warriors forum. J’accuse! The posters communicating with him have been unknowingly violating NCAA strictures for months, if not years. It’s such a problem that they literally have to ostracize the kid.

Meanwhile, Bob Stoops becomes the latest coach to actively encourage fans to tweet recruits.

"That's something that's becoming a part of it," said Stoops when asked if he had concerns about fans contacting recruits on Twitter. "We may hire you to govern our social media with the fans… I'm not kidding," he said. Once things get rolling, it's not stopping."

So wait a minute: Stoops is just openly telling fans to contact recruits on Twitter? Something even OU's own compliance department frowns upon?

"I'm pretty sure that's what it means," said Stoops. "You hear that OU fans? We have to get on board."

 

This is on the heels of Vandy coach James Franklin condoning it. And yet THIS isn’t a violation. Orchestrating innumerable violations is not itself a violation. I guess what I’m saying is O’BANNON RULES.

GRIII doing GRIII things

Submitted without comment. Because I can’t words.

[After the jump: SAVAGES!!!]