Gritty Muppets

Gritty Muppets Comment Count

Seth February 11th, 2014 at 11:20 PM

Michigan shot 8-17 from WANTING IT MORE while Ohio State had just three HUSTLES out of 20 WHEN YOU PLAY HOOPS. They even out-DECIDED TO GO OUT AND GET ANGRY'ed them 14 to 8.

And you can't have one without the other…

Thank you Triplor, god of threes. Your praises shall be sung with the ardor of a thousand Dakich-approved SHOW INTESITYs.


Unverified Voracity Found This Too Late

Unverified Voracity Found This Too Late Comment Count

Brian March 4th, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Source needed, but too good to pass up. This image is awesome.


Message board random who posted this only linked to imgur, so it could come from anywhere. UPDATE: Melanie Maxwell of MLive is the photographer.

Burke is of course going WHEEEEEE, and  then the Michigan State folk from L to R are going "welp," "welp," "welp," "I am terrified of all things," and "welp."

All the better to rip your heart out. Burke called his shot with McGary earlier in the game:

Michigan forward Mitch McGary said Appling used a spin move earlier in the game, which Michigan won 58-57, and Burke told him exactly how he was going to swipe the ball.

"He told me whenever (Appling) spins, he puts it in his right hand and it's an easy steal," McGary said. "Tim and I were just hoping he didn't hang on the rim."

Note that if it didn't work Appling would have had a choice between pressing the opportunity presented and giving Michigan a last shot of their own or holding for the final shot—it was an excellent time to go for broke.

Champions are made in the hot tub eating pizza. Greg unearths this great shot of Michigan kicker Bob Bergeron eating pizza in a hot tub that made SI:


He got to keep the pizza. Wild west back then.

CIVILIZATION. This is the end of it. There is nowhere to go but down from this.

Or this.

Gritalanche. It was a gritclone on Saturday. A toughdome.

Michigan's Mitch McGary provides much-needed energy, toughness off bench against Michigan State

It was a tickertocker.

Michigan shows its heart in critical win over MSU

It was a toughygritintestinalblockage.

Michigan finally shows grit, toughness, desperation in gutty win over rival Michigan State

It was a basketforge.

Trey Burke, Michigan show mettle in win over Michigan State

To be fair, John Beilein started it:

“We’ve had some real pretty wins here, where we did everything right and the ball went in and we just played lights-out,” Beilein explained after the win. “Today, it was all about grit.”

Michigan allowed Michigan State to rebound half of their misses. Congratulations to Mike Rothstein, who did not play along.

Burke steals a signature win for Michigan

Or at least his headline writer. You never know who does those things these days.

Make sure you use the right block M, as long as it's some shade of blinding yellow. Via Kyle Meinke, Michigan's persnicketiness about the block M:


I'm fine with this. Persnicketiness is good with the whole branding thing. but don't try to tell me that that color maize represents the colors Michigan is using on their uniforms these days. Y'all need to get your persnick on more.

BONUS: Hey, #FFCC000 is what I settled on when I was eyeballing what maize was way back in the blogspot days. I was off on the blue, using #000022. This portion of the post brought to you by things no one cares about but me.

Tiebreaker scenarios. The events of last week have caused an enormous hairball in the Big Ten standings below Indiana. Michigan actually has a not-infinitesimal shot at the title since Indiana finishes with Ohio State and Michigan. These teams are still in the hunt:

  • Indiana: share clinched. Win outright by winning at home versus OSU or @ Michigan.
  • OSU: win out (@ IU, Illinois), Michigan beats IU
  • Michigan: win out (@ Purdue, IU), OSU beats IU
  • Wisconsin/MSU: IU loses out, win UW/MSU game, don't blow last game against low-level opponent.

The chances are not good, but they're not zero. You may shake your fist at the Wisconsin and Penn State games now. In the event that a bunch of teams tie at the same record, Michigan is hurt by going 0-1 against Wisconsin (grrr) and often loses the tiebreaker and gets stuck without a bye in the first round of the Big Ten tourney, playing (grr) Penn State. If Michigan finishes 12-6 in the Big Ten that is at least a 50/50 proposition.

Lolizzo. Classic "my players destroyed the universe, but it's my fault" line:

"We were looking to get Gary a shot at the top of the key or to Keith and we didn't run it right," Izzo said. "We had a couple of freshmen in there that struggled with it. That was my fault."

Izzo : "my fault" :: humans : "just sayin'"



  • Michigan: 93
  • Michigan State: 72

Etc.: Wojo thing. Everett Cook on setting the trap. MSU highlights reveal glorious 57-0 victory for the People's Team. Five Key Plays.


Dear Diary is Speaks Fluent Jive

Dear Diary is Speaks Fluent Jive Comment Count

Seth March 30th, 2012 at 8:28 AM


By now you've read the Burke tweet, which needed three full-sized threads before everyone could get their Ha-Ha's out: One to point out its irony, one for when big brother slapped him in the face for it, and of course the wicked hangover. The oddity I saw was "People u seek out is better than those that seek u" and "EVERYONE got something to say... smh I thought this was my life!" are in a dialect totally incongruent with every tweet I found in 20 minutes of scrolling through Hollis tweets. Dude wasn't just giving Trey Burke sage advice, he was delivering it in a language that young people understand. Allow me to translate:


This will all blow over soon enough but should serve as warning to young people everywhere: NEVER under any circumstances give your handle out to old people; they think you speak Jive!

Please tell me you got that. It's somebody's general rule that people won't watch movies more than 15 years older than they are.*† ‡ By this rule you'd have to have been born in 1995 (a high school senior) to be excused from Airplane! I'm looking at you, people who didn't get dragonchild's cockpit full of Michigan defenders.

Funny thing about Airplane!: I respect that flick as a classic to the point where I'll be condescending toward someone who hasn't seen memorized it, but until recently I didn't even know it was an almost perfect spoof of Zero Hour! (1957). It's a testament to how good Airplane! is that it stands up even if you don't get the main joke; to be fair, the diary kind of doesn't. It's also ironic that I would make fun of people for a movie reference going over their heads when what that movie referenced totally went over my head.

Everything You Need to Know About Airmen. So I checked out Zero Hour! and now one of the Airplane! jokes I never really got totally makes sense. You know how Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's character is obviously Kareem Abdul-Jabbar but the narrative keeps trying force this "he's Roger the co-pilot!" thing, to the point that when they pull him away he's got his Lakers shorts on? In Zero Hour! the co-pilot was played by Elroy Hirsch.


ie Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsh…


…and when Kareem appears we're supposed to get how crazy it was that a kid could see Crazylegs in a pilot's uniform and not be like "OMIGOD YOU'RE ELROY HIRSCH!"

Crazylegs was a Badger who got moved to Michigan when a lot of WWII servicemen were transferred as part of a program to give in-training Navy and Marine officers a college education. Hirsch on the transfer:

"But I was to learn a far more important thing about Michigan. It's not something you can hold or see ... but you sure can feel it. I'm speaking about the great Michigan tradition. Corny you say? Not on your life. It's there ... it engulfs you."

Today the service academies don't get first dibs on any draft-age citizen they want, but they do have virtually unlimited scholarships, bringing in 40+ recruits a year (that makes two oversigners on the 2012 schedule). This and many more interesting facts about Air Force can be found in the very early preview by Rabbit21. The whole thing is fascinating. Diary of the Week!

Lines! The bats, oh the bats. They are home and hot, as softball swept their five-game homestand by 10-2, 11-2, 12-4, 6-0, and 12-2 scores. Outfielder Nicole Sappingfield had five RBI last night, including a walk-off grand slam. Shortstop Amy Knapp owes a girl in my section an apology for her put-away homer on Sunday vs. Penn State, which hurt the girl's wrist when she tried to catch it.

Player ERA W/L GS CG Sho IP H R ER BB SO OppAvg.
Haylie Wagner 1.28 15-4 15 13 4 109.1 72 25 20 20 68 0.185
Sara Driesenga 2.39 6-5 14 5 1 76.0 73 41 26 25 39 0.247
Stephanie Speierman 1.83 1-0 2 1 1 15.1 13 5 4 6 17 0.22
TEAM 1.73 22-9 x 19 6 202.0 158 71 50 53 125 0.211

Etc. CenterIce's writeup on the incoming hockey recruits. AC1997 updated the basketball offseason outlook for departures; now with 100% more ohgodBurkestay! Helle had a board-bumped travel diary for this year's road games. If you're going to Minnesota, try the Jucy Lucy [sic]. Pro-tip: let it cool first.


* There's a corollary rule that states you will think anything made in the 15-year span around when you were born is pure genius, but this rule is really just an observation by people my age that most of the best movies (Godfather, Star Wars, Back to the Future, etc.) all came out around then.§

† Trekkies are of course excluded.

‡ It's at least 17, since my wife agrees with me that The Lion in Winter with Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn is way better than the remake with Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close. Reminder: Angevin discussion is not OT in comments. Someone's going to take me up on this eventually.

§ Which is to say if some kid thinks Harry Potter and something with Russell Crowe in it constitutes the golden age of film, they should be beaten.‖

‖ Yes I'm doing the Alt85 thing again.


Best of the Board



Guys, we're friends. We like each others' blogs. We snark at each others' Neanderthalness. We trade ADs and sit in press boxes together and provide shoulders to cry on when clever un-hateable people in purple get pretentious in our homes. So, as a friend, you gotta get this shit under control, man. Do whatever it takes; run a passing spread, raze a heathen temple, sacrifice the virgins—use Nebraska's if you don't have any—hire a total outsider who hates defense and lose for three years; you must placate this thing before it escapes and wrecks every ballcarrier within 800 miles of a cornfield.

Also you may want to check the bottom of your RB depth chart to see if some weird voodoo is trying to find carries for the most surprising Heisman candidate ever. You're looking for something about 5'6", and looks at you funny if you touch his water bottle.


Wolverine Devotee put this together. I'm not a fan of great big dramatic music but I'm a huge fan of little goalies getting lifted by Vaughn then getting hardware from a guy a foot taller than him even without the skates on. I've never been so happy for a guy going to Columbus. He's definitely on the first ballot for the…


Ezeh-E wants a two-miracle limit for guys to get in. Then he includes Woodson and RVB. On the one hand it's one of sports' ironies that often the guys who work hardest and put the most time and effort into playing their sports well are the biggest superstars. I'm all for this miracle thing if you remove the sandpaper and just call it the Pantheon of Wolverines with Paranormal Abilities. The obvious guys will get in but need to have moments that defy the laws of nature to do so. For example, running 85 yards after Patrick Omameh used an NFL-bound linebacker as a safety-hunting projectile just takes speed. Doing this on your first play ever…

Now that is a complete, out-of-the-sky miracle. Speaking of things falling out of the sky…


I just…that's the title. I'm still reading the title. He's going to be okay. Weird thing about Buck I Guy is Bolgen Gobcat fans think he's a dick but the Michigan fans seem to think he's a good guy. We now know where Turkey vultures stand. Stand…segue from stand.



Those figures: MSHOT92 made those!

And now for your moment of zen:


Death From Above: Purdue

Death From Above: Purdue Comment Count

Ace February 24th, 2012 at 5:09 PM


WHAT Michigan vs. Purdue
WHERE Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, MI
WHEN 6 PM Eastern, 2/25/2012
LINE Michigan -6 (Kenpom)


Saturday's game represents Senior Night at the Crisler Center and—depending on what you think of a rapidly-imploding Illinois squad—Michigan's toughest matchup over their last three games. If the Wolverines can handle the Boilermakers, a 13-5 14-4(!) conference record becomes not just a real possibility, but the likely season outcome, as does at least a share of the Big Ten title (shakes fist at Minnesota for their Minnesota-esque choke job against Michigan State).

Brian has already previewed Purdue once, so be sure to check that out for reference, but a couple things have changed since Michigan eked by the Boilers last month. Namely, starting guard Kelsey Barlow was booted off the team for allegedly assaulting a bar bouncer after leaving his wallet inside said bar and attempting to re-enter (forcibly, it appears). He was a relatively efficient player with a knack for getting to the line, but the Wolverines no longer have to worry about that.

At this point, you are intimately familiar with the star of Purdue, 18th-year senior Robbie Hummel. Hummel plays over 80% of the available minutes for Purdue and, at 6'8", is their starting center; he's a very efficient player for his sky-high usage, can step out and knock down the three (34.8%), rarely turns the ball over, and cleans up the defensive glass at a high rate. He'll be a tough defensive assignment for Jordan Morgan, though Morgan and Smotrycz held Hummel to 16 points on 14 shots in the first matchup (he did manage to dole out six assists).

Point guard Lewis Jackson is the other focal point of the Purdue offense, and he's nearly as efficient as Hummel. Jackson gets to the line at an extremely high rate and hits over 50% of his two-pointers, but he's not at all a threat from the outside (5-24 on the season from three). Trey Burke's job will be to keep Jackson in front of him and stay out of foul trouble, a difficult proposition in combination.

The Boilers have a pair of dangerous outside shooters besides Hummel, as starting guard Ryne Smith and sixth man D.J. Byrd connect at over a 40% clip from three. Neither poses a threat inside the arc—of their 358 combined FGA, 276 have come from three—but Tim Hardaway Jr. and Stu Douglass must make sure to stay at home and close out hard when they're on the floor. 6'2" Terone Johnson is the other starting guard and is by far Purdue's least efficient backcourt member with significant playing time outside of Anthony Johnson, who may be forced into a slightly larger role off the bench after Barlow's dismissal.

Stepping into the starting lineup these past two games—Byrd was suspended against MSU, so we'll see if he starts tomorrow instead—is low-usage forward Travis Carroll, who provides solid offensive rebounding, a shot-blocking presence, and little else. Purdue will stick with that seven-man rotation.


Since the first game against Michigan, Purdue has beaten Northwestern twice, Illinois on the road by 5, and Nebraska at home by 18, while dropping home blowouts against Indiana and Michigan State and nearly upsetting Ohio State on the road. That last game stands out as a bit of a fluke, but a three-point loss at OSU is a three-point loss at OSU.

The Boilermakers currently sit at 18-10 (8-7 B1G), placing them on the bubble but likely in the NCAA tournament as long as they take care of Penn State at home and get out of the first round of the BTT. This game could ensure them a spot in the tourney, however, so the Wolverines must be prepared to face a fired up squad.


Conference four factors:

Factor Offense (Rk) Defense (Rk) Avg
Effective FG%: 49.0 9 53.7 11 49
Turnover %: 12.2 1 18.0 9 20.5
Off. Reb. %: 29.8 8 31.5 8 32.2
FTA/FGA: 33.8 7 37.5 9 36.4

Purdue has not shot the ball particularly well—especially from inside the arc—in conference play and their field goal defense has fallen off a cliff. While they don't turn the ball over, they're not great at forcing turnovers, and their lack of size hampers their rebounding. Their effective height is actually lower than Michigan's, a rare sight indeed when not playing Northwestern.


Obligatory Hardaway. I thought he had turned the corner after the Illinois game but he regressed against Northwestern; nothing highlighted his recent shooting struggles quite as much as a 2-8 performance from the line in an arena half-full of Michigan fans. Purdue has no true center to speak of and without Barlow they lack athleticism, as well; Hardaway should be on a mission to get to the basket at all costs.

Many of you will hate me for saying this, but keep shooting the three. I know Brian highlighted the potential uselessness of defensive 3FG% recently, but the Boilermakers are second-to-last in the conference, allowing a 39.2% rate from beyond the arc. I don't want to see the Wolverines jack up 38 threes again, but they shouldn't be afraid—outside of Hardaway, who should drive at all times—to put up some outside shots. I don't think that needed to be said, but there it is.

Get it inside to Morgan and Smotrycz. The two bigs combined for 22 points on 8-12 shooting in the first game as Purdue struggled to defend the interior. Morgan even notched a pair of assists, and Hammer & Rails is afraid of the Wolverines continuing to attack with the inside-outside game:

This team is a difficult matchup for us because we proved the last time we cannot stop Morgan in the paint, and he can kick out to Evan Smotrycz or Zack Novak for threes. Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. can get their own shots too. In their last five victories they have been defensively stifling, holding those defeated opponents under 61 points.

Also, like, please don't miss layups, Morgan. The dwindling number of hairs on my head will thank you for it.

Don't let Hummel go off. Self-explanatory. Michigan did a fine job of this in their last matchup, but Hummel is the type of player who can explode at any time, and I think that's necessary for Purdue to win this one.

Keep Jackson from getting the lane on the pick-and-roll. Purdue's other dangerous option is getting the lightning-quick LewJack into the paint via the pick. Burke's been very effective defensively in conference play and he's going to have to keep them up; the last thing Michigan needs is for him to get into foul trouble. Same goes for Morgan—if he picks up a couple of cheapies while trying to corral Jackson, Michigan's effective height becomes much the same as Purdue's and the team loses one of their biggest advantages.

Give Novak and Douglass the biggest standing ovation in the history of standing ovations. It's senior night. I can't remember a pair of seniors who deserve your undying love as much as the two unheralded white boys from Indiana. If the roof doesn't blow off of the Crisler Center when these two are introduced for the last time at home, I will be waiting outside after the game with a machete. You would not like this, and neither would I, as I value my freedom mightily; however, I also value upholding ridiculous statements I make on the internet. Don't test me.


Michigan by 6. Also, biggest standing ovation ever.



With 258 games and 185 starts between them, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass will take the Crisler Center floor for the final time on Saturday night. The duo committed to Michigan with little fanfare and, bit by bit, have reestablished the program. Neither player ever averaged double digits or posted glamorous numbers but Zack Novak broke the 1,000 point plateau and Stu Douglass is likely to graduate as Michigan’s all-time leader in games played. Most importantly when all is said and done they will have taken the program, which hadn’t been to the NCAA tournament in a decade, to the Big Dance in three of their four seasons. Both players would tell you that the memories can wait as Michigan hosts Purdue with a chance to remain perfect at home and within striking distance of a Big Ten championship.

The memories can wait during the game, but if doesn't get pretty damn dusty in Crisler afterwards, regardless of the result... machete.

Also, the_white_tiger with a stat-heavy look over at Maize n Brew, and the aforementioned Hammer & Rails preview. The Daily's Ben Estes on Zack and Stu.'s Nick Baumgartner with a list of the top five Zack and Stu moments—you'll be pleased with the placement of the aneurysm of leadership.


Basketball UFR: Wisconsin Offense

Basketball UFR: Wisconsin Offense Comment Count

Ace January 13th, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Previously: Wisconsin Defense UFR

Before I start, I'd like to pose a question to you all: Given the wealth of valuable offensive metrics out there, is it worth doing the offensive UFRs? I think the defensive UFRs will have great value moving forward, but I'm questioning the value of going through every offensive play as well when there are so many good offensive stats out there and I have other work (read: recruiting) that I could be spending more time on. Read on, and let me know what you think in the comments.

Anyway, as you know, Michigan dismantled Wisconsin on Sunday, but while the Wolverines had an outstanding defensive performance, the offense was merely mediocre, mostly due to a lack of quality inside looks and a fair amount of missed open shots. Even the best offensive play of the day was really more of an outstanding defensive effort:

Fantastic. Moving on, let's dive right in—if you need a primer, as well as a point of reference (that point being the Oakland game), go here.

Lineup: Burke, Novak, Hardaway, Smotrycz, Morgan
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
20:00 0-0 2-1-2 Man Novak 3-pt Miss
After Michigan wins the tip, Burke hands off on the right side to Smotrycz, who swings it to Morgan at the top of the key. Smotrycz (+0.5) sets a nice off-ball downscreen on Novak's man, freeing up Novak to take a handoff from Morgan. Novak gets an open look for three, but can't connect (3-pt, no contest, miss).
19:05 0-0 2-1-2 Man Morgan 2-pt Miss
Novak and Morgan end up running a high pick-and-roll with 10 seconds on the shot clock. Morgan sets a decent screen, but Novak's man is able to fight over it, so no points either way there. Novak (+1) slips a slick bounce pass to Morgan just inside the free throw line, but Morgan can't hit a pullup jumper as the Wisco D recovers (2-pt, heavy contest, miss).
18:17 0-0 2-1-2 Man Morgan 2-pt Make
It's Novak and Morgan again on the high P&R. This time, Morgan's screen is effective, as Novak draws both defenders when his man tries to go over the top again. Novak (+1) drives hard to his left, then delivers a nice jump-pass to Morgan, who pivots as his man flops while trying to take a charge that isn't there, then banks in a short fallaway J (+1.5, 2-pt, no contest, make).
17:29 2-0 2-1-2 Man Hardaway 2-pt Miss
Blergh. Hardaway takes the ball up the court after hauling in a defensive rebound, barely gives the offense time to set up, and jacks up a very long two after getting a quick screen from Morgan. Brick (Hardaway -2, 2-pt, late contest, miss). As Brian pointed out in the game column, Hardaway can get that shot off whenever he wants, and putting it up with 30 seconds on the shot clock is not at all ideal.
16:57 2-0 2-1-2 Man Novak 2-pt Miss/OReb/Layup Make
Burke gets a screen up top from Morgan, starts to drive, and pulls up for an open 18-footer that draws the back iron (2-pt, no contest, miss). The long rebound goes right back to Burke, who dishes off to Hardaway near the corner. Hardaway (+1) sees Novak open at the top of the key and gives it to him. Novak pumps, forcing a recovering Jordan Taylor to overrun him, then drives hard to the hoop and connects on a running one-hander (+2, dunk/layup, late contest, make).
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
16:09 4-0 2-1-2 Man Smotrycz 3-pt Miss
Douglass holds the ball at the top of the key as Smotrycz comes over from his center position towards Novak in the corner. Smotrycz fakes as if he's going to screen Novak's man, and instead pops out to the arc, where Douglass hits him with time to get off a shot before Berggren can get out there. Smotrycz can't connect (+0.5, 3-pt, late contest, miss), and while Novak GRITs his way to the rebound, he grabs it while his body is partly out of bounds. Really like the design of this play to get Smotrycz a clean look from deep.
15:28 4-2 2-1-2 Man Hardaway 2-pt Miss
Blergh the second. With 20 seconds left on the clock, Hardaway gets a half-hearted pick from Smotrycz (-0.5), pulls up at the elbow, and hits only backboard with a heavily-contested shot (-1, 2-pt, heavy contest, miss).
14:31 4-2 2-1-2 Man Burke Layup Make
Smotrycz (+0.5) gets the ball up top, waits for someone to come open, then hands off to Burke while also setting a screen on Taylor, who is forced to go over the top and can't keep up with Burke. Burke doesn't stop and takes it right to the hoop, where he hits a layup over Berggren (+1, dunk/layup, heavy contest, make). Burke did a fantastic job getting the shot up quickly before Berggren could position himself for a strong challenge—he had little choice but to put up his hands and hope Burke missed.
13:46 6-2 2-1-2 Man Novak Layup Make
Burke gets the ball at the top of the key, and unlike earlier, Smotrycz (+0.5) actually sets a screen when he heads to Novak in the corner. Novak (+1) makes a great cut to the lane, where Burke (+1) hits him in stride with a perfect bounce pass. The defense is late getting over, and Novak hits the layup (dunk/layup, late contest, make).
13:00 8-2 FB FB Hardaway Foul (2/2)
Novak spearheads a semi-transition possession after a defensive board. Michigan spreads the floor with all five players outside the 3-pt line, and Novak passes off to Hardaway, who drives hard to the left with no help coming and draws a shooting foul when he gets past his man (+1, dunk/layup, late contest, foul).
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Vogrich, Smotrycz, Morgan
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
12:33 10-4 1-4 High Man Morgan Turnover
Morgan (-2) sets a blatantly moving screen on Burke's man, and is called for it. Sloppy.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Vogrich, Smotrycz, McLimans
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
11:58 10-7 2-1-2 Man Smotrycz Layup Miss (Block)
McLimans (+0.5) sets a good off-ball screen to briefly free up Smotrycz, who curl-cuts to the basket from the corner. Douglass feeds him and Smotrycz goes up for a lefty layup, but Evans makes a fantastic play to recover from behind and block the shot (dunk/layup, heavy contest, miss). Not going to fault Smotrycz there—he had an open lane and Evans just made a great play.
11:14 10-10 2-1-2 Man Smotrycz Turnover
Smotrycz (-3) comes off an off-ball screen, gets it at the top of the key, then sends a really lazy pass in the direction of Burke. Taylor easily cuts it off and is ahead of the pack on the break, and he'll make an uncontested layup. You just can't make that pass.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Vogrich, Novak, McLimans
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
10:56 10-12 2-1-2 Man McLimans 3-pt Make
Great play design out of a timeout by Beilein. Burke runs a high screen with McLimans (+1), who immediately turns and sets another pick for Douglass, who comes from the baseline and is wide open for three. Burke (+0.5) finds him, and Douglass buries the trey (+0.5, 3-pt, no contest, make).
10:09 13-12 2-1-2 Man Burke Layup Miss/OReb/Foul
Burke (+2) comes off a screen, puts on a sweet hesitation move, and gets to the basket, but he can't hit a tough running layup (dunk/layup, heavy contest, miss). McLimans (+1) fights hard for the rebound between three defenders, and though he can't bring it in cleanly he draws a foul.
9:55 13-12 OOB Man McLimans 2-pt Miss/OReb/3-pt Miss
Nice play design off the inbounds frees up Vogrich for an open 18-footer, but he can't connect (2-pt, late contest, miss). The long rebound bounces out to Novak. Douglass ends up with the ball up top and McLimans pops out for a decent look from three, but he misses as well (3-pt, late contest, miss).
9:05 13-14 2-1-2 Man Burke Layup Miss
Burke gets a screen from McLimans, but McLimans (-0.5) isn't in great position and Taylor is able to go cleanly over the top. Burke still goes hard to the left and tries to get up a layup, but Taylor is right in his pocket and Burke's shot is short (Burke -1, dunk/layup, heavy contest, miss). With 16 seconds on the clock, Burke had time to reset there.
Lineup: Brundidge, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
8:00 13-14 FB FB Smotrycz 3-pt Miss
Brundidge pulls in a tough rebound on the other end and, while falling over, gets it to Hardaway, who breaks out with Smotrycz. Both head to the right side and nobody picks up Smotrycz (+0.5) as he drifts towards the corner. Hardaway feeds him and Smot has all day, but he misses the open three (3-pt, no contest, miss). Nice breakout off the miss, just couldn't knock down the shot.
7:26 13-14 1-4 High Man Hardaway Layup Miss
Hardaway (-1) comes off a good off-ball screen from Smotrycz (+0.5), who then pops out and is wide open for three. Hardaway instead drives right at Berggren and tries to scoop the ball in... brick (dunk/layup, heavy contest, miss). No need for Hardaway to be so hasty in getting up a shot, since there were over 20 seconds left on the clock.
6:57 13-14 FB FB Novak 3-pt Make
Smotrycz leads a breakout after hauling in a rebound, with Michigan going 3-on-3 against Wisconsin. Smot passes off to Novak (+2), who drives towards the lane, draws attention from three defenders, then looks off a defender in order to free up Hardaway (+1), trailing on the play, for three. Hardaway drills it (3-pt, late contest, make).
Lineup: Burke, Akunne, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
6:14 16-14 2-1-2 Man Smotrycz Foul/3-pt Make
Smotrycz (+1) comes off a pick and roll with Burke, gets the pass, and makes a nice move to get to the basket, where he draws a non-shooting foul just before he makes a layup—that probably counts if this is the NBA. Off the inbounds, Burke gives to Hardaway, who draws three defenders near the lane, and Smotrycz pops to the arc, gets the pass, and hits a three (3-pt, late contest, make).
5:19 19-16 2-1-2 Man Novak 2-pt Miss
Akunne gets the ball up top and Smotrycz (+0.5) again sets that off-ball screen in the corner for Novak. Akunne gives it up, and Novak gets a good look on a pullup at the free-throw line, but it bounces off the back iron (2-pt, late contest, miss). Smotrycz stupidly commits a foul on a rebound he has no chance at.
4:40 19-16 2-1-2 Man Burke 2-pt Make
Burke runs a high pick and pop with Smotrycz (+0.5), and both end up open as Burke gets by his man and Smotrycz drifts open for three. Burke takes the open look at the free throw line and knocks it down (+1, 2-pt, no contest, make).
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
3:26 21-16 FB FB Burke Layup Block/Foul/2-pt Make
Hardaway (+1) sees an opening after a Wisconsin miss and drives hard to the basket, and though his layup attempt is blocked (dunk/layup, heavy contest, miss), it probably should've been a foul and there's an immediate make-up call as he brings in his own rebound. After the inbounds, Hardaway gets it up top, and Smotrycz (+0.5) picks off Taylor in the corner and frees up Burke, who gets the pass from THJ, steps inside the arc, and drills a long two (+1, 2-pt, late contest, make).
2:37 23-16 2-1-2 Man Burke Turnover
Burke gets a pick from Smotrycz but crosses over in front instead of going around and using the pick. He tries a quick drive to the bucket, but Taylor slaps the ball out and steals as Burke (-1) picks up his dribble to go up for a layup.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, McLimans
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
2:04 23-19 2-1-2 Man Novak 2-pt Make
Lots of motion here. Burke (+0.5) starts the play by giving to McLimans at the top of the key, then goes to the corner and sets a pick for Hardaway, who comes over the top and gets it from McLimans as he gets another pick along the way from Douglass (+0.5). Hardaway (+1) drives hard to the right, three defenders collapse on him, and this frees up Novak to curl around from the right corner and take a pass on the run from THJ. Novak (+1) pump-fakes a three and gets Evans to bite, then dribbles into the lane and hits a pull-up J from the free-throw line (2-pt, late contest, make).
1:14 25-19 2-1-2 Man Novak 3-pt Miss
Pretty bleh possession here. Michigan cycles the ball around the perimeter until McLimans ends up with it at the top of the key. Novak, with no help from a screen, pops out to the 3-pt line and gets it, but can't hit the three with Evans right there to contest (Novak -1, 3-pt, heavy contest, miss). Too early in the clock for that shot.
0:35 25-19 2-1-2 Man Burke 2-pt Miss
Burke holds as Michigan can kill the rest of the clock for the half. With 8 seconds left, he drives, doesn't get anything, and jumps along the baseline to get the ball to Novak in the corner. Novak dribbles into the lane and has no choice but to put up a tough fallaway with a hand in his face (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). Not a fantastic play, so no positives, but not the worst end of half possession, either, so no negatives.
Lineup: Burke, Novak, Hardaway, Smotrycz, Morgan
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
20:00 25-19 2-1-2 Man Morgan 2-pt Miss
Burke starts to drive from right to left on Taylor, but doesn't have a step and gives to Morgan at the FT line. Morgan fakes a handoff back to Burke and drives right into Burggren, turning his back, pivoting, and then putting up a tough righty shot off the glass that bounces out (-1, 2-pt, heavy contest, miss). This really wasn't there, and Morgan probably should've kicked it back out.
19:27 25-19 2-1-2 Man Morgan 3-pt Miss/OReb/3-pt Make
Burke runs a high P&R with Morgan, but Morgan doesn't hold his ground long enough to actually affect Taylor (guarding Burke). Burke kicks out to Novak, who gets a decent look from deep but can't hit (3-pt, late contest, miss). Morgan (+0.5, with a half-minus for the crappy pick) is initially boxed out but backs Burggren right under the basket and gets his hands on the rebound. The ball is knocked around and Smotrycz (+0.5) ends up with it and kicks it out to a wide-open Hardaway, who buries a three (3-pt, no contest, make).
18:24 28-19 FB FB Burke Turnover
Hardaway (+0.5) hits Burke with a nice outlet pass after a rebound and Michigan has a 3-on-2 with Burke charging down the right side, Morgan (+0.5) cutting to the basket, and Smotrycz (+0.5) fading to the corner—great spacing here frees up Morgan. Burke (-2), instead of making a simple bounce pass that would almost assuredly result in a dunk, tries to hit Morgan with a lob; Gasser is able to get a hand on the pass and Evans grabs it.
17:24 28-19 2-1-2 Man Burke 3-pt Miss
Burke (+2) gets a good pick from Morgan (+0.5) and manages to split between three players, causing Evans to come over from Smotrycz in the corner. Burke immediately gets it out to Smotrycz for an open look, but Smotrycz completely air-mails the three, missing everything (3-pt, late contest, miss). Yikes.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Morgan
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
16:39 28-19 FB FB Burke Foul (2/2)
Burke (+2) comes flying out of the gate after pulling in a defensive rebound. He nearly blows by Taylor, takes a bump, and draws the two Wisconsin defenders as he stops inside the FT line and dishes to Hardaway under the basket. Taylor recovers, but only in time to foul Hardaway, who does a great job switching hands to make sure he gets up a shot and draws a shooting foul (+1 Hardaway, dunk/layup, late contest, foul).
15:44 30-19 FB FB Morgan 2-pt Miss/OReb/Layup Make
Burke (+1) again pushes the pace after a turnover, and with Michigan 3-on-3 he creates space by pulling up inside the FT line, where he gets an open look but misses (2-pt, no contest, miss). Novak (+1) bats the rebound off the glass, and Morgan (+2) comes from beyond the 3-pt line to grab the rebound inside the lane. He goes right back up with the left hand and hits the putback layup (dunk/layup, late contest, make). Great hustle from Morgan to even get into the play.
14:59 32-22 2-1-2 Man Morgan Turnover
Morgan gets the ball in the high post, Burke runs by him with Morgan faking a handoff, then Burke stops and curls back around, this time taking the ball as he gets a step on Taylor. Morgan's man is forced to step over to stop the drive, and Burke (+1) dishes it off to Morgan, who's diving to the hoop. Morgan (-1) gets stripped by Taylor, however—get the ball up!—and Wisconsin comes up with the loose ball.
14:13 32-22 2-1-2 Man Burke 2-pt Miss
Burke gets a good screen from Morgan (+0.5) up top, freeing him up for an open 15-footer, but it rims out (2-pt, no contest, miss).
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, McLimans
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
13:01 32-23 2-1-2 Man Hardaway 2-pt Make
Hardaway gets the ball and drives around a pretty half-hearted pick from McLimans (-0.5), but still gets a half-step on his man, pulls up at the free-throw line, and nails a jumper (+1, 2-pt, late contest, make). Would like to see him attack for that shot more often.
12:15 34-23 FB FB Douglass Foul (2/2)
After getting a steal, Douglass leads a 2-on-2 fast break with Burke on the other side. Burke is well-covered by Taylor so Douglass goes hard at Kaminsky, drawing contact and getting to the line (Douglass +1, dunk/layup, heavy contest, foul).
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Morgan
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
11:41 36-26 2-1-2 Man Hardaway Layup Make
Hardaway gets the ball on the left side and drives over the top of a Morgan screen, but Morgan (-0.5) rolls before he actually picks off Jackson, who's able to stay right with THJ. Hardaway gets to the right block and starts backing Jackson down, does a slow spin to the middle of the lane, and is able to get to the left side of the basket and body out Jackson as he goes up strong for a layup (+2, dunk/layup, late contest, make). Nice work by Hardaway to use his frame to get himself a great look.
11:03 38-26 2-1-2 Man Burke Layup Make
Trey Burke! Burke gets the ball on the left side and gets a screen from Morgan, and this time Morgan (+0.5) sticks around just long enough to throw Taylor off-course. Burke gets into the lane, hesitates, then goes right at Berggren, getting into his chest and hitting a righty layup as he falls over (+2, dunk/layup, heavy contest, make). Impressive.
10:19 40-26 FB FB Burke Layup Make + Foul (1/1)
After a steal, Burke pushes up the court as he's one-on-one with Taylor, who is retreating quickly and can't get turned around until he hits the paint. Burke (+2) gets into the lane, executes a textbook jump-stop, and hits the layup while Taylor raps him on the arm for an and-one (dunk/layup, heavy contest, make). The CBS mic picks up a very excited/spastic Novak screaming "AAAAAAND ONE!" as he chest-bumps the freshman. Man, I love this team.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Smotrycz, Morgan
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
9:52 43-29 2-1-2 Man Smotrycz 3-pt Miss/OReb/3-pt Miss/OReb/Turnover
Smotrycz gets the ball on the elbow, picks up his dribble, and is just kinda stuck there for a couple seconds. Douglass comes over and gets the ball, and Smotrycz (+0.5) sets a nice pick for him, then pops out to the corner. Douglass draws both defenders and passes out to Smotrycz, who can't hit the three (3-pt, late contest, miss). Hardaway (+1) uses his leaping ability to grab the rebound, and he's fouled as he comes down with it. After the inbounds, Burke eventually works his way into the lane, then kicks out to Hardaway, who fires from deep and misses (3-pt, heavy contest, miss). Morgan (+0.5) tips the rebound and Smotrycz grabs it, then loses it, but Morgan recovers and gets it out to Burke. After M kills clock, Burke (+0.5) gets the lane and kicks out to Smotrycz (-1), who travels while making a ball-fake. At least we killed a lot of clock.
8:13 43-31 2-1-2 Man Morgan 2-pt Miss/OReb
Burke gets the ball on the left wing and drives baseline, attempting a tough right-handed runner from just outside the paint and missing (-1, 2-pt, heavy contest, miss). No need for that shot with 20 seconds on the shot clock. Morgan (+1) goes up strong, bats the ball off the backboard, and nearly grabs it before it goes OOB off a Wisconsin defender. TV timeout.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
7:51 43-31 OOB Man Novak Foul (2/2)
Hardaway takes it on the left side, sees an opening in the middle of the lane, and drives there, drawing Evans, who was guarding Novak on the right. Hardaway (+1) dishes to Novak, who pump-fakes and gets by a recovering Evans, then is fouled as he pulls up and shoots a jumper on Bruesewitz (Novak +1, 2-pt, late contest, foul).
7:11 45-33 2-1-2 Man Novak 3-pt Miss/OReb/Layup Make
Burke gets the ball on the wing and gets a great screen from Smotrycz (+0.5), and Burke gets a wide-open look from three, but can't hit (3-pt, late contest, miss). Novak (+2) comes flying over to grab the long rebound, dribbles into the lane after his man trips going for the board, and hits a layup before the defense can react (dunk/layup, late contest, make). MOAR GRIT.
6:22 47-33 FB FB Novak Layup Make
Novak (+2), after diving on a loose ball at halfcourt, makes a beautiful flip over his head to a streaking Burke (+1), who runs by everyone and hits a finger roll as Uncle Verne has an aneurysm (dunk/layup, no contest, make). Fantastic play.
5:59 49-35 2-1-2 Man Novak Turnover
Burke penetrates after getting a handoff from Novak and coming around a screen from Morgan, but Taylor stonewalls the drive and Burke passes back out top to Novak. Novak (-2) pump-fakes, drives, and then travels as he tries to turn around and kick it back out again.
5:27 49-35 2-1-2 Man Novak Layup Make
Michigan works the clock down below 10, Burke gives it to Hardaway on the left wing, and Hardaway (+1) makes a nice skip pass to Novak in the opposite corner. Novak pumps the three and drives hard baseline, getting into the lane and hitting the game-sealing layup (+2, dunk/layup, late contest, make). That's how you put the final nail in the coffin. Charting ceases for the ensuing foul-fest.


Agreed. Zack Novak is pretty awesome at this basketball thing. Other than a late derp that resulted in a travel, he played as well as you could ask of him.


Gritscream. Also, Trey Burke covers ground with alacrity:


Sure. It's Friday afternoon. Scream all you want.



Offensive Creation
Player + - T Notes
Burke 18.5 5 13.5 Not at all his best offensive performance (14 points on 6-15 shooting, 2 assists, 2 turnovers), but he still had a largely positive offensive impact to go along with his stellar defending of Taylor. Gets into trouble when he tries to do too much, but remember, freshman point guard and all.
Hardaway 12.5 4 8.5 Takes some dumb shots and disappears for stretches, then does something awesome that reminds you why he's an NBA-caliber player. Had 17 points on 10 shots with zero turnovers—if his in-game streakiness results in stat lines like that (he also had 10 rebounds, two on offense), I'm totally cool with it.
Novak 16 3 13 His ruthless efficiency may be a result of his relatively low usage, but I'd still like to see Michigan test that theory and get him the ball more. Novak has become very effective with his pump-fake and drive, and he's finishing well, too.
Smotrycz 7.5 4.5 3 Pretty quiet day for Smotrycz, who racked up almost all of his positives on screens, then had one awful turnover account for three of his negative points. His three points on 1-6 shooting with one assist and two turnovers jives with the small point total.
Morgan 8 5 3 Only played 19 minutes and did most of his damage on the boards, hauling in five offensive rebounds. Three turnovers is a little disconcerting considering he barely handled the ball.
Douglass 2 0 2 With Burke playing 37 minutes, Douglass spent most of the game as a spot-up shooter and Michigan didn't run many plays through him. No negatives means no bad shots, which is nice to see from Stu.
Horford - - - DNP (foot)
Akunne - - - Not even sure he touched the ball during his brief cameo.
Christian - - - One minute in uncharted garbage time.
Vogrich - - - Got up a shot during his short stint off the bench, but otherwise a non-factor.
McLimans 2.5 1 1.5 Set some good screens, set some bad screens. Looks like Big Bird.
Team - - - Like with the defensive UFR, the "Team" category will disappear next time, as it was a total cop-out. May introduce an RPS metric in its place.
TOTAL 67 22.5 44.5 Solid day against a tough Wisconsin defense—1.09 points per possession is very good against the Badgers. Michigan didn't shoot well, but held down their turnovers and did great work on the offensive glass.

Okay, I've calmed down. That looks... good?

Yes, it does. As we'll see in the video breakdown, Beilein did his usual stellar job of setting the team up for success with his offensive ingenuity. The guards limited mistakes against a very good Wisconsin outfit—the team turned it over on 16.7% of their possessions—and the offensive rebounding was superb.

But Jordan Morgan is no longer getting a +23!

This is true. I toned down the points for successful picks—those really should've been worth a half-point from the beginning—and also Morgan only played 19 minutes. Smotrycz got most of his points setting the picks that Morgan didn't this game.

What about magic invisible Stu?

I'm really still trying to get a handle on Douglass and what he brings to the team. He scored very well (+10.5, third on the team) in the defensive UFR, and watching him in detail I think people are right in saying he's the squad's best perimeter defender. He did almost nothing—positive or negative—on offense, however, despite playing 30 minutes. With Burke handling point guard duties for nearly the entire duration of the game, I think this is mostly a function of his role in the offense. When Burke is running the point, Douglass is mostly a spot-up shooter, and with the emergence of Novak as both a very solid outside shooter and a threat to drive to the basket, any plays run for guys other than Burke, Hardaway, or Smotrycz (Morgan mostly just sets picks and crashes the boards) go to Novak. I'm totally fine with this—Stu had one open look from three this game, and he knocked it down. Keep doing that and there will be no complaints from me.

Speaking of shooting...

Yep, another chart.

  Dunk/Layup 2-point 3-point Total
Burke 1/1 - 3/5 (1F) 1/4 1/1 0/1 - 0/1 - 1/5 1/2 3/6 (1F) 5/13 (1F)
Hardaway - 1/1 (2F) 0/2 - 1/2 0/1 1/1 1/1 0/1 1/1 3/4 (2F) 0/4 4/9  (2F)
Novak - 4/4 - - 1/2 (1F) 0/1 0/1 0/1 0/1 0/1 5/7 (1F) 0/2 5/10 (1F)
Smotrycz - - 0/1 - - - 0/1 1/4 - 0/1 1/4 0/1 1/6
Morgan - 1/1 - 1/1 - 0/2 - - - 1/1 1/1 0/2 2/4
Douglass - - (1F) - - - 1/1 - - 1/1 - (1F) 1/1 (1F)
Horford - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Akunne - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Christian - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Vogrich - - - - 0/1 - - - - - 0/1 - 0/1
McLimans - - - - - - - 0/1 - - 0/1 - 0/1
TOTAL 1/1 6/6 (2F) 3/8 (1F) 2/5 3/6 (1F) 0/5 2/4 2/8 0/2 5/10 11/20 (3F) 3/15 (1F) 19/45 (4F)

Michigan didn't have the easiest time finding open looks, especially inside, and while they hit the lion's share of their layups, open jumpers were an issue. That 2/8 number on late-contest threes is especially disconcerting, as those are exactly the type of shots this offense is designed to create. Still, those shots were created, and the Wolverines didn't force too much, so I'm not worried about this performance. The shots will fall if they play like this on most nights, and it's always good to remember that Wisconsin is very good defensively.

You forgot to mention the Hardaway thing.

Ah, yes, the Hardaway thing. Brian expressed his frustration with Hardaway jacking up long twos early in the shot clock, and, well, it's a legitimate gripe:

That's bad, mmmkay? Hardaway's length and athleticism allow him to rise above the defense for a pretty clean look whenever he wants to shoot a jump shot. It is never necessary for that shot to come from 18 feet with 30 seconds on the shot clock. I counted two pretty terrible early-clock jumpers from THJ, and he forced the issue a couple times when he drove inside, as well. It looks like he's getting frustrated by his recent shooting struggles (keeping Michigan afloat against Northwestern notwithstanding) and when he tries to jump-start his own offense, it comes at the expense of the team. Northwestern was an improvement on the shooting front, so hopefully this kind of stuff mostly goes away as the season progresses. It probably won't go away entirely.

Meanwhile, Beilein is a magician.

Yes. Michigan set a ton of high screens for Burke, and also had the center head over to the corner to set off-ball screens for the guard in the corner. Because the team almost exclusively sets up in that 2-1-2 before plays, making the start of every possession look pretty much the same, they are able to do some pretty simple things that can completely confound a defense when they're looking for x and Beilein calls for y. Here, instead of having the center go out and screen the guy in the corner, Douglass (playing up top without the ball) dives into the paint, then curls back around to get a screen from McLimans:

The screen gets Douglass wide open at the top of the key, and he drills the three. It's a really simple play that doesn't ask for too much, other than a pair of solid screens from the center, and when executed properly it creates a great look for three points.

Finally, some obligatory love for Trey Burke, who continues to impress even when his jump shot is a little off.

Burke uses picks very well, making sure to rub close to the screener and get as much separation as possible, and his quickness makes it so that few players will be able to recover once that happens. On the above play, he's even able to throw in a little hesitation move at the free-throw line before going hard in the paint, getting right into Bruesewitz and hitting the layup while attacking in a way that makes it tough to alter the shot. He just keeps getting better, and I'm starting to just hope he'll be around for more than two years.


Novak and Burke. Novak's efficiency definitely calls for further exploration of his role in the offense—I think he needs to get the ball more, as he's proven he can take it inside and finish well. Novak attempted four layups, all before the defense could properly contest, and while part of that is picking his spots well, it's also because the defense has to respect his outside shot.

As for Burke, he's not making many errors while creating a lot of shots for both himself and his teammates. His shot is still relatively inconsistent, but I think that will work itself out in time—his free-throw shooting (75% on the season) and great form lead me to believe he'll only improve in that regard.


There's no way I can call Hardaway a goat when he's putting up 17 points on 10 shots. No other player really qualifies for consideration—Smotrycz was forced to play center for much of the game due to Horford's absence, so he mostly set screens, and Morgan's five offensive rebounds more than offset his three turnovers.

Anything else?

Again, please let me know what you think of the offensive (and defensive, for that matter) UFR in the comments. This is really time-consuming and it'd be really valuable to know whether or not this is worth the effort. I'm pretty committed to the defensive UFR, but this one seems like it could be covered by a summary of the advanced metics and some picture-pages. Your input is greatly appreciated.


Basketball UFR: Wisconsin Defense

Basketball UFR: Wisconsin Defense Comment Count

Ace January 12th, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Not entirely related, but this needs to be the intro (via MGoVideo):

DON'T LET ANYBODY COME IN YOUR HOUSE, PLAY HARDER THAN YOU PLAY, AND BEAT YOU. When Cazzie Russell says such things in "The House That Cazzie Built" (or is that now "The Center That Cazzie Built"?) you listen. Michigan listened.

The Wolverines narrowly defeated Northwestern at home last night in an ugly, ugly game, but on Sunday they put on perhaps their finest performance of the season in crushing Wisconsin, 59-41, to end a 10-game losing skid against the Badgers. I'm still not sure how often I can do these while still providing the proper amount of recruiting coverage, but I did UFR the game, and not only that, but this time I actually covered both offense and defense.

So, today is the debut of the basketball defensive UFR. It it likely fraught with errors and oversights, so as always I encourage the basketball coaches/junkies to please tell me what I'm doing wrong in the comments. The setup is much the same as the offensive UFR in that it tracks shot creation, but this time it's all about preventing good looks instead of creating them. Rebounding is mostly tracked in more traditional stats, so that is mostly ignored unless a player makes a particularly strong effort to haul in a rebound and prevent what would otherwise be an easy putback opportunity.

I made little effort to try and figure out what Wisconsin was trying to run on each offensive set, as doing so would've put the ETA on this post at sometime around the 32nd of Neverary. Instead, possessions are broken down as either half-court (HC) or fast break (FB). Defensive set is charted as usual, noting whether Michigan is in man, 1-3-1, or defending the fast break (the Wolverines did not break out any 2-3 this game, something they rarely do anyway). Without further ado, here's chart the first, broken into sections whenever Michigan makes a lineup change:

Lineup: Burke, Novak, Hardaway, Smotrycz, Morgan
Time Score Offense Defense Player Result
19:45 0-0 HC Man Morgan Turnover
After running the shot clock down to 10 seconds (this is Wisconsin, remember), point guard Jordan Taylor runs a high screen with center Jared Berggren. Burke (+0.5) and Morgan both hedge hard, forcing Taylor to pass off to Berggren in the corner. Berggren gives back to Taylor, who tries to hit Mike Bruesewitz under the basket, but Morgan has fallen back into the lane—at first he's not looking for the entry pass, but recovers in time to deflect the pass (+1.5), and Novak collects the loose ball, but...
19:07 0-0 FB FB Morgan Foul (0/2)
...Novak can't hold onto the ball cleanly, and it's stolen. Ryan Evans gets a pass with an open lane to the hoop, goes up for the dunk, and is fouled from behind by Morgan, preventing the basket (+0.5, dunk/layup, late contest, foul). Evans misses both free throws.
18:34 0-0 HC Man Smotrycz 2-pt Miss
Wisconsin dumps the ball into Berggren, guarded by Morgan, on the left block. Berggren fakes to the middle of the key and spins to the baseline, beating Morgan (-1), who can only put his hands up and force him further baseline. Smotrycz (+2) slides over from the other side of the key for a well-timed double-team, then gets a great contest when Berggren tries a Dream Shake—he can't connect on a short, but tricky, hook shot (2-pt, heavy contest, miss).
17:54 2-0 HC Man Morgan 2-pt Miss
Ryan Evans ends up with the ball on the right wing, and he's clearly looking to get the ball to Berggren on the block. Morgan (+1) does a great job of fronting him and denying any chance at an entry pass. Evans doesn't even try, instead doing a quick ball fake that creates some space against Smotrycz (-0.5). Evans misses a long two as Smotrycz recovers to get a late contest (2-pt, late contest, miss).
17:21 2-0 HC Man Burke 2-pt Miss
Fantastic defense from Burke here. Taylor spends the entire possession trying to post him up, but Burke holds strong, eventually forcing Taylor to receive the pass near the baseline 15 feet away from the basket. Taylor backs him down, but Burke forces Taylor to try a fadeaway from just inside the FT line and gets a hand right in his face—the shot doesn't even draw iron (Burke +2, 2-pt, heavy contest, miss).
16:26 4-0 HC Man Novak Turnover
Bruesewitz, whose name really sucks to have to spell out multiple times, gets matched up with Novak and posts him up. Novak (+1) does a great job forcing him away from the basket, and he catches the pass just a couple feet inside the 3-pt arc. Bruesewitz starts to back towards the basket, and Hardaway (+0.5) comes over for solid double-team. Bruesewitz travels trying to get a pass off.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz
Time Score Offense Defense Player Result
15:52 4-0 HC 1-3-1 Smotrycz 2-pt Make
Michigan breaks out the 1-3-1 for the first time, and initially all Wisconsin can do is swing the ball around the perimeter. They flood the middle of the zone with two players, however, and Smotrycz (-1) strays too far from the middle. Bruesewitz finds Evans open with space in the middle of the lane, and he takes it over Novak—who has the backside and is caught between Evans in the key and Taylor up top—for a short runner (2-pt, late contest, make).
15:07 4-2 HC Man Burke 2-pt Miss
Great team defense here as Wisconsin simply can't find an opening. Eventually, Taylor gets a screen up top with 8 seconds on the clock, Burke fights past it as Hardaway (+0.5) also shows before falling back to his man. Taylor drives left and pulls up just inside the arc, missing the long two as Burke gets a hand right in his face (Burke +1.5, 2-pt, heavy contest, miss).
14:16 6-2 HC Man Douglass 2-pt Miss
Wisconsin again works the ball around the arc for about 20 seconds, then Josh Gasser drives into the lane against Hardaway (-0.5), who's initally beaten, but Novak (+1) steps up and stops the penetration. Douglass (-1), guarding Ben Brust at the top of the key, takes a peek into the lane, and Brust cuts behind him into the lane, drawing three defenders and passing off to an open Berggren. Smotrycz recovers to get a late contest, but Berggren should've hit the relatively open look from 12 feet (2-pt, late contest, miss).
13:27 8-2 HC Man Smotrycz 2-pt Miss
Taylor takes a pick on the elbow that draws both Burke and Novak. He dishes off to Rob Wilson in the corner as Hardaway (+0.5) rotates over nicely—Novak (+0.5) falls back and picks up Hardaway's man in the opposite corner. Wilson drops it off to Berggren on the block. He tries backing down Smotrycz (+2), can't get any closer, and bricks a baby hook with Smotrycz right in his face (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). Great on-ball defense from Smotrycz there, and M doing a fantastic job of showing on picks and not giving Taylor any room to maneuver.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Vogrich, Smotrycz, Morgan
Time Score Offense Defense Player Result
12:51 10-2 HC Man Morgan Layup Make
Lots of confusion here. Wisconsin runs a high pick and roll and Smotrycz hedges hard, as he's clearly been coached to do on Taylor in this game. Smotrycz (-1) then slides back into the post, but Morgan is already there. Morgan is now confused about who to guard and is way late getting out to Josh Gasser, who is all alone behind the arc. Wisconsin swings it to Gasser, who fakes baseline, gets Morgan to bite, and takes it strong to the hoop, finishing with the left before help can arrive (Morgan -1, dunk/layup, late contest, make). I could be wrong, but I think Smotrycz wasn't supposed to drop back into the post since he's now the 4, but Morgan also has to do a better job staying between his man and the basket.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Vogrich, Smotrycz, McLimans
Time Score Offense Defense Player Result
12:19 10-4 HC Man Smotrycz 3-pt Make
Wisconsin again runs the high P&R, but McLimans (+1) does a solid job of getting out on Taylor and then recovering to his man. Wisconsin ends up dumping it down to Ryan Evans, who's posting up McLimans on the right block. McLimans stymies Evans, who pivots around looking for somewhere to dump the ball to. Smotrycz (-2) comes over to double, but he's way late and has to scramble back out when Evans gives to his man, Gasser, who fakes the shot and easily gets the lane. The defense has to collapse down, and Gasser finds Bruesewitz in the corner for an open three (3-pt, late contest, make).
11:45 10-7 HC Man McLimans 3-pt Miss/OReb/Layup Miss/OReb/3-pt Make
Bruesewitz gets the ball on the block against McLimans (-1) in great position—McLimans lets him establish his spot way too deep in the lane. Vogrich collapses down to help and Douglass swings over to Vogrich's man, who gets the pass from Bruesewitz and swings it around the perimeter. Michigan is scrambling, Burke (-2) rotates down low to Evans, who McLimans has covered, and Taylor ends up with an open look from three, but he misses (3-pt, late contest, miss). Smotrycz (-1) doesn't block out Bruesewitz, who grabs the board, misses a very tough putback (dunk/layup, heavy contest, miss), gets his own rebound, and passes out to Ben Brust, who is all alone up top for a three (3-pt, no contest, make). Douglass gets a -1 for being the fifth(!) M defender in the lane on the second putback attempt, leaving the perimeter entirely unguarded.
11:00 10-10 FB FB Burke Layup Make
Nothing Burke can do here as Taylor is out in front after stealing a Smotrycz pass near halfcourt. Taylor breezes in for a layup, and Burke smartly doesn't try to contest—he's too far back to do anything but give up an and-1 (dunk/layup, no contest, make).
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Vogrich, Novak, McLimans
Time Score Offense Defense Player Result
10:41 13-12 HC Man Novak Turnover
Let's follow Novak here. First he hedges nicely on a P&R up top, then drops back to Bruesewitz, his original man. Wisconsin swings it to Gasser on the elbow as Bruesewitz tries to establish post position on Novak, but Novak drives him nearly out to the 3-pt line. He bails on posting up, takes a handoff, and passes back out to the top of the key. Bruesewitz, with Novak still on him, ends up with the ball at the opposite elbow, gives to Taylor in the corner, then sets a pick with 8 seconds on the play clock. Novak (+3) hedges hard on Taylor as Burke fights through the screen, and Taylor's pass goes through Bruesewitz's hands and out of bounds. GRIT.
9:38 13-12 HC Man Burke 2-pt Make
Taylor runs another high P&R that Burke initially is caught up in, but McLimans (+1) does a great job of getting out on Taylor and forcing him into the corner, where Burke gets over to recover as McLimans settles back into the post. Wisconsin works it around the arc while putting Burke (+2) through a series of off-ball screens, which he does a great job of fighting through and staying with Taylor. Taylor ends up with the ball up top and the clock winding down, drives left with Burke right in his pocket, and hits a tough pull-up jumper with Burke's hand nearly on the ball (2-pt, heavy contest, make). Unless he's two inches taller, there's no way Burke can play this any better.
8:43 13-14 FB FB Burke 3-pt Miss
Burke (-1) is way late getting back after missing an ill-advised layup attempt on the other end. Taylor takes advantage of having an extra man by driving hard into the middle at McLimans, which draws Vogrich and also, unnecessarily, Douglass (-1), who leaves Gasser open for three. He misses (3-pt, late contest, miss). Novak (+0.5), being Novak, gets a good blockout and then dives for the loose rebound, but he's tied up on the floor and Wisconsin maintains possession.
Lineup: Brundidge, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz
Time Score Offense Defense Player Result
8:30 13-14 HC Man Brundidge 2-pt Miss
Brundidge with an early cameo, and he acquits himself well, fighting through several off-ball screens and sticking right with his man. Evans ends up taking on Hardaway one-on-one, and Hardaway trips over Evans's foot (no minus for that unlucky break). Evans can't hit the now-wide-open long two (2-pt, no contest, miss), and Brundidge (+1.5) hauls down a really tough board between three guys. One point for the rebound and a half-point for strong off-ball defense.
7:52 13-14 HC Man Douglass 2-pt Miss
Evans posts up Douglass on the left block and backs him into the middle of the lane, but Douglass (+1) doesn't give up any ground to the bigger player. Evans tries to put up a turnaround jumper anyway, and it rims out (2-pt, heavy contest, miss).
7:09 13-14 HC Man Novak 2-pt Miss
Taylor pushes the pace (no, seriously) after a Michigan miss and attempts to drive on Douglass, but Stu (+1) stays right in front of him and Taylor has to back out. Taylor passes to Berggren on the block, who tries to back down Novak (+1), but Novak holds strong and Berggren misses a contested turnaround fadeaway (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). Smotrycz (+0.5) gets up for a tough rebound in a crowd.
6:44 16-14 HC Man Brundidge Foul
Brundidge (-0.5) gets called for a reach-in foul, and we go to a timeout.
Lineup: Burke, Akunne, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz
Time Score Offense Defense Player Result
6:30 16-14 HC Man Novak Turnover
Evans gets the ball on the block and is closely guarded by Novak. Brust cuts to his side of the court, losing Smotrycz (-1), gets the ball, and drives to the paint, where it looks like he has space as Smotrycz overcommits at the arc. Novak (+1) smartly steps up and cuts off the drive, however, and Brust tosses a pass out of bounds. Nice play by Novak, but Akunne (-1) left Gasser wide open 10 feet from the basket—if the pass is on target, this is probably an easy bucket.
5:56 19-14 HC Man Smotrycz 3-pt Miss/OReb/2-pt Make
Wisconsin sets a double screen for Taylor at the top of the key, and though Burke (+0.5) stays right with Taylor, Smotrycz (-2.5) drops back into the lane despite the fact that his man, Berggren, has popped out to the 3-pt line. Akunne (+0.5) hauls ass to close out but can't get there to really contest, but Berggren misses (3-pt, late contest, miss). Smotrycz can't even haul in the rebound as Gasser beats him to the spot. Wisconsin resets, Gasser cuts to the top of the key and loses Akunne (-1), then drives to the free throw line and hits a runner (2-pt, late contest, make).
5:04 19-16 HC Man Burke 2-pt Miss/OReb/Turnover
Wisconsin again sets that double screen for Taylor, and this time he drives, but Burke (+1) stays right with him and forces a tough pullup J as Smotrycz (+1) also comes over to contest (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). Berggren brings in the rebound after it bounces out of the lane. Berggren eventually gets it in the post, where Smotrycz has him covered, then he throws it out of bounds when Taylor zigs and he expects a zag.
4:29 21-16 HC Man Burke Foul
Wisconsin works it over to Rob Wilson, who tries to back down Novak (+1) into the lane but can't make any progress. Wilson tries to slip a pass to a cutting Taylor but Burke (+2) is right there and pokes the ball away. Hardaway dives for the loose ball and is called for a questionable foul when he collides with Taylor, who was also diving for it. Let them play, IMO. TV timeout.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz
Time Score Offense Defense Player Result
3:53 21-16 HC Man Smotrycz 2-pt Miss
Taylor drives to the baseline and has a half-step on Burke (-0.5), but Novak (+1) is there to cut off the drive. Evans, Novak's man, pops out towards the arc and gets the pass from Taylor, but Smotrycz (+1) slides over to contest, and he misses a long two (2-pt, heavy contest, miss).
3:08 23-16 HC Man Burke 3-pt Block
Taylor ends up with the ball on the wing, tries to drive into the lane, and is stymied by Burke, forcing Taylor to pass back out top as the shot clock approaches 10. Taylor gets the ball right back and tries to get up a quick three over Burke (+2), but Burke blocks it (not credited in the box score, but Taylor doesn't airball by 3 feet if it isn't) (3-pt, heavy contest, miss). Ball to Michigan, which draws some legitimate protests from the Badgers.
2:26 23-16 HC Man Smotrycz 2-pt Make + Foul (1/1)
After Smotrycz and Burke (+0.5) stymie a high P&R for Taylor, Berggren ends up posting up Smotrycz on the left side of the lane. Smotrycz (-1) lets him get into the middle of the lane just outside the charge circle, and Berggren makes a righty baby hook as Smot fouls him on the other arm (2-pt, heavy contest, make + foul). Novak (-0.5) is late coming over to help, btw.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, McLimans
Time Score Offense Defense Player Result
1:49 25-19 HC Man Burke 2-pt Miss
Wisconsin can't do anything on this possession, thanks to great off-ball D by McLimans (+1) and Douglass (+0.5), who both fight off screens and blow up whatever play the Badgers planned on running. Taylor has to create himself with 10 seconds left on the clock. He gets a screen from Berggren and both Burke and McLimans hedge hard again. Burke (+1.5) stays right with Taylor and McLimans falls back, Taylor drives to the free-throw line and has to settle for a tough pull-up with Burke's hand in his face (2-pt, heavy contest, miss).
0:50 25-19 HC Man Novak 2-pt Miss
Taylor and Berggren run that high P&R, and with McLimans (+0.5) hedging on Taylor and stopping the drive as he's supposed to, Novak has to fall back off his man Evans briefly to stop any potential pass into the lane. Douglass (-0.5) rotates over onto Evans but drops back to his man, who's positioned himself for an open corner three, just as Taylor gives to Evans all alone up top. McLimans has recovered to his man, but Novak (-1) is way late getting back out on Evans, who luckily bricks the open two (2-pt, late contest, miss). This could be more on Douglass. Basketball people, let me know in the comments. Also, Burke (+0.5) impressively comes flying in for the rebound after it's tipped off the backboard by a sea of hands.
Lineup: Burke, Novak, Hardaway, Smotrycz, Morgan
Time Score Offense Defense Player Result
19:45 25-19 HC Man Novak 2-pt Miss
This play looks to be designed to get Evans the ball in the post, but Novak (+1) does a great job of fronting and denying the ball. Taylor instead gives to Gasser, who gets separation from Smotrycz (-0.5) with a simple ball-fake and move to the baseline. Smotrycz recovers to get a late contest of the long two, which misses (2-pt, late contest, miss). Smot is not quick, and this play really exposes his slow feet even though no points come as a result.
18:48 28-19 HC Man Hardaway 2-pt Miss
Nice job by Hardaway here. Evans gets the ball in the post against Smotrycz, and Hardaway comes over to double on the baseline, then gets all the way back up top by the time Wisconsin can swing it around to Gasser, his original man. Gasser tries to drive left, but Hardaway doesn't charge out too hard and is able to stay with him step-for-step, forcing Gasser to pivot and try a fadeaway that Hardaway contests (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). To top it off, Hardaway (+2.5) then jumps over everyone to pull down the rebound.
18:20 28-19 HC Man Burke 2-pt Miss
Taylor gives it up initially, goes through a screen in the middle of the lane that Burke fights through, and ends up getting the ball in the left corner as Wisconsin clears out for him. Taylor doesn't attempt to drive and instead just shoots a long two, and Burke (+1) has his hand right there to contest (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). Not a great shot from Taylor, but Burke has been all over him all game. Unfortunately, Morgan (-1) grabs the rebound but doesn't keep the ball high and has it slapped off his leg and out of bounds.
17:58 28-19 HC Man Smotrycz 2-pt Miss
Evans tries to post up Smotrycz, but Smotrycz (+1.5) pushes him out near the perimeter and slaps the entry pass out of bounds. After the inbounds, Hardaway (+1) does a great job denying on a designed backdoor cut, Wisconsin is forced to reset, and Smotrycz stays right with Evans as he drives, pulls up, and misses from the FT line (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). This time Morgan securely hauls in the rebound.
17:12 28-19 HC Man Burke 3-pt Miss/Foul
Taylor gets a pick up top and is hounded by both Burke (+1) and Morgan (+1), drives to the baseline and has to stop there and pick up his dribble. Taylor passes inside to Berggren, where Morgan has recovered to pick him up, and Berggren gives back out to Taylor, who jacks up a contested three (3-pt, heavy contest, miss). Novak (-1) loses Evans under the basket and doesn't box out, then Smotrycz (-0.5) picks up a foul pushing Evans in the back to prevent an offensive rebound. Smotrycz was put in a very tough position, but that's also his critical third foul early in the second half. Now he has to come out.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Morgan
Time Score Offense Defense Player Result
16:50 28-19 HC Man Hardaway 3-pt Miss
Taylor curl-cuts off a screen on the left elbow, but Burke (+1.5) hangs right with him while going over the top of the pick. Wilson passes to Taylor, and Hardaway, who's guarding Wilson at the top of the key, cheats in to try to steal and then collapses down on Taylor. With Burke in good position, I don't think this is the right move, as Burke has the drive covered and Hardaway (-2) leaves Wilson wide open. Taylor kicks it out and Wilson bricks the uncontested three (3-pt, no contest, miss). Again, great D by Burke, but THJ gets a little greedy.
16:33 30-19 HC Man Novak 3-pt Miss/OReb/Turnover
Michigan initially stymies the Wisconsin offense, forcing Taylor to desperately drive with the clock under 10. As he gets near the lane, Burke (+1) completely cuts him off with help from Novak (+0.5), but Morgan (-1.5) is also looking in and loses track of Evans, his man. Douglass (+0.5) has to switch and guard Evans, who's cutting to the basket, and this leaves Brust wide open for three. Brust has nobody near him when he gets the pass from Taylor, but his shot comes up short and draws front iron (3-pt, no contest, miss). Evans pulls in the rebound over Morgan and gets it back out top. Wisconsin eventually gets it in to Berggren in the post, and Novak (+2) sneaks over and rips the ball away from him.
15:35 32-19 HC Man Douglass 3-pt Make
Douglass (+1) fights through multiple off-ball screens, seamlessly executes a switch with Novak (+0.5), and gets out to cover Evans on a skip pass, forcing Wisconsin to reset. Taylor comes off a pick and passes to Bruesewitz, who hits a three with Hardaway (+0.5) right in his face (3-pt, heavy contest, make).
14:36 32-22 HC Man Novak 2-pt Miss
Novak pulls a seamless switch with Douglass (+0.5) on an off-ball screen, ending up on Traevon Jackson on the wing. Jackson drives baseline and tries to get a shot over Novak, but Novak slaps the ball away on the way up (not credited as a block in the box score, so no shot chart, but Jackson was clearly trying to shoot). The ball goes off the side of the backboard and back to Jackson, who goes back up with it and can't bank in a tough 10-footer over Novak (+2, 2-pt, heavy contest, miss).
13:44 32-22 HC Man Hardaway 2-pt Miss/OReb/Foul (1/2)
Taylor runs a high P&R, Burke (+0.5) and Morgan hedge well again, and Taylor is forced to throw a skip pass to Wilson in the opposite corner. Hardaway (+1), who had come down into the paint to help out on Morgan's man, gets back out and almost gets a hand on the ball as Wilson chucks a long two at the end of the shot clock. It misses (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). Wisconsin's Kaminsky grabs the board as he gets position on Morgan (-0.5, getting a half-point credit for his D on the P&R). Wilson ends up with the ball on the wing, drives against Novak, and picks up a really ticky-tack foul as he shoots while flying out of bounds (2-pt, late contest, foul).
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, McLimans
Time Score Offense Defense Player Result
12:44 34-23 HC Man Douglass 2-pt Miss/OReb/Turnover
Wilson gets the ball up top as Wisconsin can't do anything with the first 20 seconds of the shot clock. He hesitates, then drives, getting a half-step on Douglass, but Stu recovers and with help from Novak (+0.5) contests Wilson's runner (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). Hardaway (-1) forgets to block out, Bruesewitz grabs the rebound, and Douglass (+2.5) bails him out by stealing the ball clean as Bruesewitz comes down with it.
12:10 36-23 HC Man   3-pt Make
Jackson has the ball up top and gives to Bruesewitz, who drives by McLimans (-1) into the paint as Jackson sets a screen on Hardaway, who switches with Douglass, on the opposite side of the court. Douglass (-1) is caught in no-man's land because of the penetration, but doesn't make a move to Bruesewitz or back outside to Jackson. He pays for his indecision as Jackson gets the ball and drains a three right over him (3-pt, late contest, make).
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Morgan
Time Score Offense Defense Player Result
11:23 38-26 HC Man Douglass Turnover
Jackson gets the ball on the wing and looks to dump it into Bruesewitz in the post, but Novak (+0.5) fronts well and denies. Jackson then drives to the middle against Hardaway (-0.5) and gets a step, but Douglass (+1) rotates over quickly. Jackson panics when he sees Douglass and zips a hurried pass into the Wisconsin bench. Bo Ryan is not amused.
10:47 40-26 HC Man Douglass 3-pt Miss/OReb/Turnover
Berggren posts up Morgan near the baseline, about five feet outside the lane, and Wisconsin clears out for him. Berggren backs down to the edge of the paint, where Novak (+0.5) comes over to cut him off, but Hardaway (-1) cheats down and loses Bruesewitz, who's all alone for three up top. He misses (3-pt, late contest, miss), but Berggren gets the board over Douglass after Morgan (-1) doesn't block him out. HOWEVA, Douglass (+2) bats the ball away from Berggren and Burke collects the loose ball, starting a break the other way.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Smotrycz, Morgan
Time Score Offense Defense Player Result
10:15 43-26 HC Man Burke 3-pt Make
Taylor gets the ball up top and unexpectedly pulls up for three, hitting it just over Burke, who contested well (Burke +0.5, 3-pt, heavy contest, make). Nothing you can do about that.
8:36 43-29 HC Man Morgan Layup Make
Bruesewitz has the ball up top while Taylor sets a screen of sorts (he more just gets in the way) on Morgan away from the ball. Morgan (-1) is very slow to recognize this and has to switch with Burke, who's now stuck on the much-bigger Evans. Evans sees this and goes right at Burke (-1), who flails at the ball instead of getting between Evans and the basket, and Evans hit a layup before help can arrive (dunk/layup, late contest, make).
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz
Time Score Offense Defense Player Result
7:40 45-31 HC Man Burke 2-pt Make
Michigan does a great job sticking with their men and not giving any openings, especially Burke (+0.5) on Brust, who went through a couple off-ball screens. Wisconsin has to run the clock down to 12, not ideal in this situation, when Evans gets the ball on the wing and puts up an 18-footer over Smotrycz. He hits it (2-pt, heavy contest, make), but Michigan will absolutely take that possession in this situation.
6:44 47-33 HC Man Douglass Turnover
When people say Stu Douglass is M's best perimeter defender, this is what they're talking about. He starts man-up on Taylor up top, comes over a screen, the smartly rotates over to Bruesewitz as Novak picks up Taylor. Bruesewitz gets the pass as Douglass is running over and tries to cut back the opposite way, but Douglass (+3) knocks the ball away with his left hand. Douglass and Bruesewitz dive for it, so of course Zack Novak (+1) also hits the floor and grabs the loose ball. He'll get more points for this on the offensive UFR, as he then flips the ball to Burke for a breakaway layup.
6:07 49-33 HC Man - 2-pt Make
Taylor gets the ball off a sideline inbounds after a bizarre review of the previous play. Wisco is now in desperation mode, so Taylor just runs up the court, pulls up at the FT line, and buries a jumper over Douglass (2-pt, heavy contest, make). That's just a great shot.
5:35 49-35 HC Man Morgan 3-pt Miss
Taylor dribbles upcourt and launches a three from well beyond the arc as soon as he gets up the floor, missing all but the backboard (3-pt, no contest, miss). Morgan (+1) boxes out Evans perfectly to grab a tough rebound.
4:53 51-35 HC Man Douglass Turnover
Douglass (+2) picks Taylor's pocket as he comes across halfcourt, then is fouled by Taylor as he tries to reel the ball in. It's a parade to the free-throw line for Michigan from here on out, so charting ceases.

Well, that was fairly dominant.

Indeed it was. Wisconsin couldn't get anything going, mostly thanks to fantastic perimeter defense from Michigan, especially against Jordan Taylor and the high pick-and-roll. The Badgers tried to free up Taylor on most of their plays, and he just never found any space. Take a bow, Trey Burke.

You might want to mention Novak and Douglass as well.

I might go into a GRIT-spasm in doing so, but sure thing. Novak is so incredibly sound on defense that I think his contributions on that end might actually be underrated. He's remarkably good at denying the ball against the post-up despite being all of 6'4". He doesn't get lost on switches, sticks to his man like glue off the ball, and is strong on the ball, as well. He is all of the grit, and that's why we love him.

As for Douglass, he's not the quickest guy out there, but like Novak he's usually in the right spot. He looked just fine when he ended up on Jordan Taylor, and was just as effective when playing against bigger guards. Then he comes up with five steals, and those aren't by accident—he knows just the right time to reach in and poke the ball out, and often does so when he sneaks up for a quick double that the ballhandler doesn't see coming. He picks his spots well. When you wonder why coaches love having seniors on the squad, it's not just because they provide leadership—the on-court benefits of experience are very apparent when watching Novak and Douglass play.

What about the bigs?

The scores for the big men aren't nearly as high as the guards, but I didn't think they were bad, at least not Morgan. Morgan had to hedge hard on a lot of high screens, and he did a very good job with it, as evidenced by Taylor's lack of production and inability to get off a decent pass despite Michigan constantly bringing two players out on him after picks. He did get out of position at times in the post, but for the most part I thought he was solid. The lack of a ton of positive points, I think, comes from him not making a lot of big plays (read: blocks) and me not factoring rebounding in heavily.

Smotrycz, well, is a work-in-progress. He looks lost out there more than any other player, and he's not athletic enough to make up for being out of position. The fouling is also a big issue—he goes for the ball a lot, but doesn't pick his spots well like Douglass, so he gets hit with a lot of reach-ins and the like when they're entirely unnecessary. When he's defending the ball in the post, however, he's actually pretty decent. That extra size he added this year is beneficial.

Enough talk. Let's go to the...



Defensive Shot Prevention
Player + - T Notes
Burke 20 4.5 15.5 Did a fantastic job on Taylor, holding him to a stat line of 12 points on 5-15 shooting and just one assist to three turnovers. His quickness makes up for a lot of his freshman mistakes on the defensive end, and he's surprisingly strong for his size, though he's still caught out of position at times.
Hardaway 6.5 5 1.5 Not an outstanding game from Hardaway defensively. Guards can take advantage of his lack of a quick first step, and THJ often gets burned when he tries to make a big play on defense instead of staying positionally sound.
Novak 18.5 2.5 16 Almost never in the wrong place, and at this point in his career he's entirely comfortable playing against bigger guys in the post. Simply GRIT-tastic.
Smotrycz 8 11 -3 To be blunt, Smotrycz's lack of athleticism really hurts him on this end of the floor, and it doesn't help that he seems to get confused fairly often about where he's supposed to be. I was actually impressed by his ability to hold up in the post, but his off-ball defense needs work.
Morgan 5 7 -2 I didn't really think Morgan had a bad game, but Wisconsin mostly stayed away from posting him up, instead choosing to go at Novak and Smotrycz. Spent most of his day hedging on picks, which he did pretty well.
Douglass 15 4.5 10.5 I see Douglass catching a lot of flak, but the talk of him being a very good perimeter defender isn't BS. Like Novak, he's rarely out of position, and he's learned to use his length to stay in front of quicker guards. Also has quick hands and knows when to go for the steal, and, just as importantly, when not to.
Horford - - - DNP (foot)
Akunne .5 2 -1.5 Is Eso Akunne.
Christian - - - Got in for one minute after charting ceased.
Vogrich - - - Played very little during the meat of the game and didn't have a major impact either way.
McLimans 3.5 2 1.5 Not too shabby for being the third-string center. Did quite well defending the pick-and-roll, but still isn't strong enough to hold up well in the post.
Team - - - The team metric has been eliminated, since it was pretty much a cop-out for when I couldn't figure out where to give individual credit. This will be gone next time.
TOTAL 77 38.5 38.5 The exact 2:1 ratio was not intentional, but pretty cool, right? A strong positive number makes sense given that Michigan held the Badgers to just .76 points per possession and a 38.2 eFg% while forcing turnovers on 22.2% of their possessions.

As you can see, the big standouts were Burke, Novak, and Douglass. Novak's tiny negative total came on a handful of -0.5s, while Douglass was a little more prone to making bigger mistakes that lead to baskets (same deal for Burke). Smotrycz obviously needs to improve on the defensive end, but it's really hard to criticize much about the defense after you look at the...


Jeez, I hear you, self. Shot chart.

  Dunk/Layup 2-point 3-point Total
Man - 2/2 0/1 0/1 1/5 (1F) 4/19 (1F) 1/4 2/5 2/4 1/5 5/12 (1F) 6/24 (1F) 12/41 (2F)
1-3-1 - - - - 1/1 - - - - - 1/1 - 1/1
2-3 - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Fast Break 1/1 (1F) - - - - - 0/1 - 1/1 0/1 (1F)   1/2 (1F)
TOTAL 1/1 2/2 (1F) 0/1 0/1 2/6 (1F) 4/19 (1F) 1/4 2/6 2/4 2/6 6/14 (2F) 6/24 (1F) 14/44 (3F)


Seriously, this is ridiculous. Well over half of Wisconsin's shots were heavily contested, and most of those came inside the arc but not close enough for a layup. The Badgers shot just four layups—plus a foul—all game (at least out of what was charted, which was the whole part that actually mattered). Yes, Wisconsin plays a brutally slow pace, but they still managed to chuck up 19 heavily contested two-pointers. I just... wow. I really didn't fudge this. That's just a fantastic defensive performance. The official box score shows Wisconsin—who shot a lot after charting stopped—finishing 16-51 from the field, a paltry 31.4%. They attempted all of five three throws. There was just nothing open.


Nothing. Let's post some videos.


Trey Burke, yo:

Wisconsin tried everything with Jordan Taylor, and that included posting him up early against the smaller Burke. As you can see, that didn't work so well. Burke held up and Taylor couldn't get good position, then when Taylor finally got the ball, Burke was all up in his grill. If Burke was two inches taller, I think he ends up with three or four blocks.

Then there was Novak. Watch him through the entirety of this play, and you'll begin to understand what he brings to the defense:

That's tireless work against a much bigger player, fighting through screens and keeping up the pressure all while having an acute awareness of where he is relative to the ball. With the shot clock winding down, he executes a hard hedge on Taylor perfectly, and the other senior, Douglass, is in great position with his rotation in case the pass doesn't go out of bounds.

Just show that really awesome play already.

Really awesome play:

It speaks volumes that I'm a big fan Uncle Verne Lundquist despite the fact that he contributes to CBS's shameless shilling of the SEC (go away, Gary Danielson), and it's because he loses his mind at just the right moments. That was one of them. Also, check out Douglass's effort throughout the play. Just fantastic.


Burke, Novak, and Douglass, in case you just skipped to the very end and haven't read a word I wrote above.


Smotrycz? I guess? When your team chokes the life out of Wisconsin and six players get the vast majority of the minutes, there really are no goats.


Unverified Voracity Is Basically Tom Brady

Unverified Voracity Is Basically Tom Brady Comment Count

Brian January 20th, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Brady Interview Football 
soak it in

This week in limited concessions to SEO. So it turns out Esquire googled AJ Daulerio and found this site's bluntly titled piece on him in the aftermath of the ESPN sex tantrum that outed some woman no one had ever heard of for dating some guy no one had ever heard of. They quoted me, so score. That makes me essentially Tom Brady. If I was not getting married in five months this might have had some utility.

I unsubscribed from Deadspin's feed a while ago when they removed full feeds because there was too much junk to wade through just to get to "Dead Wrestler of the Week" or Tommy Craggs writing something long, so I've lost track of what's going on with athlete dongs. Apparently this is:

The topic turned to a video Deadspin had posted of a drunk girl having sex in a bathroom stall at a sports bar in Bloomington, Indiana.  After a few days of trading emails with the girl, who was begging to have the video taken down, he refused to take it down.  Then the girl's father contacted Daulerio to let him know "You gotta understand, I've just been dealing with watching my daughter get f---ed in a pile of piss for the past two days."

So, awesome. We've moved beyond the thin veneer of "making ESPN acknowledge its sexism" or "Josh Hamilton is a hypocrite" or "Brett Favre is someone you've heard of" and we're just randomly holding up unfortunate young women not connected to sports in any way for internet leers. At least no one's pretending anymore. Except of course Daulerio is, so here's Tom Fornelli ripping him for it.

We'll always have Notre Dame. Tate Forcier transferred, completing his destiny. He used Twitter to make his announcement. It's sad and obviously omits "class" when it talks about the various places he worked hard. In retrospect it's all just so obvious. Homeschooling, yo. It either turns you into Tim Tebow or… not Tim Tebow.

This was cosmically ordained. Now Tate Forcier is the avatar of the Rodriguez era: high expectations, fun here and there, eventual letdown, premature termination. I'll miss the moxie. In memoriam:


BONUS INCEST SPECULATION: I wonder if he'll end up at San Diego State? He's from San Diego. He has a redshirt year, and SDSU's QB graduates after 2011. Those Montana rumors from earlier now have a lot of credence, but if he's willing to sit out a year home seems like an attractive option.

This is hard, veteran fluff. Mattison is saying some awfully nice things about Brady Hoke:

"When Brady got the job (at Michigan last Tuesday), I said to myself, 'If I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this with Brady,'" Mattison said. "I wouldn't have gone to any other college team. I wouldn't have changed what I was doing for anybody but Brady.

And you can't have a defensive coordinator hire without the magic word:

"You put the best front and the best coverage out there, and the intention is to be aggressive," Mattison said.

Jarrett Irons also says Mattison is a "helluva" recruiter.

Speaking of recruiting, not to be, like, you know but… Michigan has eight coaches. Seven are white and one is Fred Jackson. Most are old, and even the young-ish ones look like old white guys spiritually. This 1) is bad, 2) looks bad, and 3) can be offset if the last two guys are "energetic recruiters" in the same way Zack Novak is "heady."

If Vincent Smith is having problems I'm not sure he's got anyone he can talk to with any clue what it's like to be a poor black kid:

I am sorry to hear your troubles. In these times I always turn to the advice of Robert Goulet.

The only thing separating this staff from your local realtor is Mark Smith's terror at being photographed. For a lot of reasons, we need some people on staff who know who Waka Flocka Flame is. (No points awarded for knowing of the existence of a "Small Wayne.")

I've heard the last two assistants are likely to be guys without ties to Michigan but there's a guy out there who seems like a natural fit: Corwin Brown. He's a secondary coach, and Michigan needs a secondary coach. He's currently with the Patriots but his role one of those assistant (to the) position coach roles the NFL invented to give anyone who gets fired a job. He's probably not making an exorbitant amount of money.

Brown wasn't a good defensive coordinator but ND defensive backs developed pretty well under his guidance and he was a monster recruiter for them. Since I have mentioned him as a plausible candidate there's no way he gets hired, but the fit seems obvious.

The DL coach, meanwhile, can barely know what a defensive line is since Hoke and Mattison are on staff and should only touch down in Ann Arbor to drop off signed LOIs. Beyonce for DL coach?

[Side note on yesterday's post on Mattison: the 12.1 PPG number I cited isn't right. It was around 17 points per game. Oddly, I got this erroneous info from M's own database, which said opponents scored 157 points in '95.]

All tapes have not been erased. If you're wondering, there will not be a Gator Bowl UFR because what's the point? I do have the Utah-SDSU game from this year and I'll do the offense from that game after Signing Day. I might pull some Picture Pages from the defense if I can find something that illuminates the difference between Greg Robinson running a 3-3-5 he doesn't understand and Rocky Long running the D he invented, too.

But anyway someone did bother to look at the tape of Michigan's bowl demolition. Here's Craig Roh playing DT on first and goal:


This would be a seven-yard touchdown up the gut. Surprise. That play features errors by Mouton, Demens, and Kovacs and is yet another item to add to the pile of reasons Greg Robinson was a bad idea.

Not a feature. I'm arrogant. I know this for a lot of reasons but there's a statistic to back it up: the Michigan version of quiz bowl (a dynasty, BTW) held intramural tournaments occasionally and my first couple years in college I played in them. They kept extensive stats, and I was in the top five in correct answers. I was number one by a mile in incorrect answers*. Arrogance is not a feature, it's a bug.

There's a response to my post about Will Smith and robots and Michigan's hidebound image of itself on Maize 'n' Brew that "loves" the arrogance of Michigan fandom that I can't disagree more with. Arrogant fans are above all unpleasant to be around, no matter if they're on your side or not. When I was in Chicago for Blogs With Balls there was barhopping wherein I hung out with various Chicago based bloggers. One was Brian Stouffer of House Rock Built. I'm not sure who the other was. Stouffer's a really nice guy. The other guy was ND Nation in the flesh, a guy who actually brought up the African-American grad rate canard in a conversation with a stranger he'd just met. That sort of clueless insecurity is arrogance.

Also, this:

We are an arrogant program, and I am an arrogant fan.  I don't argue with Brian's awareness of the arrogance, but I think there's more to it than that.  He's right - "certain outsiders" can't really teach me, or many of us, anything.  Yes, many of the things rivals say about Michigan are true.  And yes, our bowl game opponents and OOC opponents will say Michigan just "lines up and comes after you" because that's what Michigan does.  Sure, we haven't won a majority of those games (even in the past thirty or so years, Michigan's bowl record isn't fantastic) but the formula works.

Is this:

lemon-of-troy Ned Flanders: Pardon me, neighbourinos. Some of our boys are lost in your town. You wouldn't have happened to see them, by any chance?
Shelbyville Guy #1: Sounds like Springfield's got a discipline problem.
Shelbyville Guy #2: Maybe that's why we beat them at football nearly half the time.

The post is neatly summarized by Shelbyville Guy #2. This is not so good.

*(Which cost five points if offered before the question was over.)

Etc.: Kellen Jones reconfirms commitment, if you missed it in yesterday's recruiting post. Oversigning picks up steam as a media concept. JMFJ on JMFJ. Holdin' the Rope on the early days of Hoke—boy, is that blog name going to be one to explain in a few years.



Aaaaaarrrrrgggghhhh Comment Count

Brian December 3rd, 2009 at 11:32 AM

12/2/2009 – Michigan 58, Boston College 62 – 3-3

Oh_Noes_by_wormhappy1plz oh_noes_its_fella_by_luminaeus

via luminaeus

Apparently there was a meeting this offseason and Michigan's three major sports bet each other they could be the most disappointing outfit on campus. Hockey is winning, but narrowly. Assorted thoughts on basketball season so far:


Can We Please Assemble Yost To Point At The 1-3-1 And Call It A Sieve? Holy hopscotching hell. Michigan finally moved away from the disastrous fringe zone defense against Boston College, but before that it had given up enough points to seal Michigan's doom. This comes after the Marquette game, in which the Eagles averaged 1.27(!!!) points per possession, the worst output of the Beilein era, and the Alabama game, which wasn't as bad but lord it wasn't good either.

This isn't even a preparation issue. Marquette and Alabama did not put in special practice time to deal with Michigan when there was a 25% or less chance those teams would play the Wolverines; Michigan just sucks at the 1-3-1. Hard.

If this was football I'd have some amateur but fairly accurate point about scheme; since it's basketball I'm about as mystified as anyone else. The defense wasn't good last year but it wasn't anywhere near this bad and the only difference is replacing a couple walk-ons with Darius Morris. Morris hasn't seemed like the problem so far. Problems: Stu Douglass is a really terrible defender, Manny Harris is lackadaisical himself, and no one got any taller.

…but on the other hand. Morris has given Michigan zero offensively other than some fast break buckets against poor competition. I guess he makes sense in a high-paced transition offense that results from a ton of steals forced by the 1-3-1. Since Michigan is not getting a ton of steals, he's a non-shooter whose main contribution on offense is to pass the ball around the perimeter. Freshman and all that, but right now Stu Douglass is a much better passer and shooter and seems considerably more useful on offense. Is that worth the 3-4 wide open threes he'll give up? This is not a lovely choice.

And now we devolve into talk radio platitudes. Forgive me: I am about to sound like whichever post-Spielman droid is currently Pam Ward's color guy. In multiple ways. Brace yourself.

Doesn't this team look horribly coached? I keep going back to the haunting Manny Harris three against Alabama. With 20 seconds on the shot clock in a tie game with under a minute left, Harris comes over a half-hearted screen from DeShawn Sims and jacks up a three with a hand in his face. It, like 90% of Harris's threes to date, misses, and Alabama comes down for the winning basket after the rebound. Beilein benched Harris and Sims for large portions of the Boston College game, and they deserved it, and the team didn't play much worse. That's about all he can do but good God, by now the upperclass stars on the team shouldn't have to get benched.

Elsewhere in this theory: the 1-3-1 failure and the number of possessions that end with few ideas and few good shot options. Sometimes the dread specter of Amaker offense shows up. This should probably not be happening in year three.

I don't want to overstate the case: obviously I still support Beilein and think he's a good coach who will—has—been the most successful one at Michigan since Tom Goss and Ed Martin crushed the program's will to live. But in the aftermath of the Evan Smotrycz rise, Brundidge commitment and potential acquisition of Casey Prather or Trey Ziegler, I was teetering along the edge of taking back the "Beilein won't ever make Michigan elite" theory offered here earlier… now not so much.

Second: could "leadership" actually be an issue here? Resorting to leadership is the last option around here, but the team seems way, way worse than last year—even when you take things like losing to Iowa and almost doing the same against Indiana—and the only difference is that CJ Lee is running for congress or something and David Merritt is starting the next Nike. Similarly, the hockey team lost Aaron Palushaj but nothing else aside from a couple of gritty grit Gritsteins in Tim Miller and Travis Turnbull and has collapsed to the point where its decades-long tourney streak is in serious doubt.

I usually dismiss heart and leadership and whatnot. I still think this holds in football because football is a bunch of short, complicated bursts of activity. Whatever effect trying really hard has is dwarfed by knowing what the hell to do and doing it right. Aside from the occasional tired defensive linemen, coasting isn't an option. Football is kill or be killed; it has your full attention at all times.

In hockey and basketball, on the other hand, you can sort of do things. You can defend the post with token effort, or lackadaisically close out, or not rotate. You can coast on your forecheck or not backcheck or not finish a check. It's far more possible to give poor effort. So it's conceptually possible to me that gritty heart dirt dog blah blah is actually important, and then you've got two separate teams that are a thousand times worse than they were last year despite personnel situations that should be considerably better but for the absence of Gritzilla. The conclusion, horrifyingly, is that maybe people who like Colin Cowherd aren't always wrong about everything forever.

It's just about over, isn't it? Michigan's put themselves in a position where they've blown virtually all of their winnable quality nonconference games—Creighton doesn't look like it will count—and now must either pull vast upsets against Kansas and/or UConn and maybe also beat Utah to scrape into the tourney with a similar conference record. If they win one of those games they probably have to go 11-7 in the conference to make it, and raise your hand if you think that's likely. Right.

Kitten? Kitten.

bengal-kitten3 You know, if I ever thought I'd get so much use out of the "i know it's over and oh it never really began but in my heart it was so real" tag, I might have considered another line of work. Like ninja.