Basketbullets: South Carolina

Basketbullets: South Carolina Comment Count

Brian December 10th, 2018 at 1:23 PM

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

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

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

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

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

Jon Teske got some back when he trucked Silva:

46182875802_da11d0fbf0_k

[Barron]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments

Unverified Voracity Is Perfectly Calm

Unverified Voracity Is Perfectly Calm Comment Count

Brian December 6th, 2018 at 1:24 PM

The prayer forced. Michigan's communication and Jon Teske's unexpected switch and quick hands forced Northwestern into a chuck:

Anonymous quotes about basketball's defense. Right this way, via Jeff Borzello:

"They're so much further ahead of everyone right now, it's not even funny," one opposing Big Ten coach said, referencing their experience. "What they were doing at the end of the year has carried over." …

"They have an alpha male at the point in Simpson," a Big Ten assistant said. "He holds those guys to what I would call a gold standard. He doesn't allow them to slip. When they don't do something correctly, he makes sure they know about it."

"Zavier just plays his ass off," another opposing coach said. "He may be smaller, but he's dialed in every possession, and they put a lot of length around him. He's a junkyard dog."

Michigan's 23-1 run stretching back to last year would be the #1 efficiency D in the history of Kenpom if it was a single season. And it seems like the bit from last year is the "bad" part.

Beilein's greatest enemy returns. NBA draftniks have started talking up Ignas Brazdeikis, who slides in at the end of the first round in SI's latest mock draft:

27. IGNAS BRAZDEIKIS, F, MICHIGAN | FRESHMAN

Height: 6’7” | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: NR

As has been widely noted, Brazdeikis turns 20 in January and is only technically a freshman, after doing a prep year in Canada. The good news is, it doesn’t really matter. Brazdeikis has been Michigan’s most consistent scorer and impressed with his ability to hunt shots off the ball. He can shoot it from outside or face up and attack the basket, and profiles as a useful offensive-minded role guy in the pros. His competitiveness and feel stand out, The big question with him is perimeter defense, as he will probably need to be parked on fours in the NBA. Regardless, if the Wolverines continue to play this well, Brazdeikis won’t have to stick around long.

Matthews (#38) and Poole (#51) also show up in their top 60, though Poole is in the you-should-return range and the author admits even that is "speculative." 

The Athletic's Sam Vecenie is more skeptical of Iggy as a one and done, placing him 50th in his latest top 100 and causing a blizzard of HEY WHAT ABOUT IGGY comments that he responded to at length. A portion:

Here's where I'm worried: Athleticism here is still a pretty real NBA concern on defense. Iggy is smart on that end and has taken to what Yaklich/Beilein want him to do well. But it also says something, IMO, that Michigan has been better on defense with him off the floor as opposed to when he's been on it -- especially in their games against high-major competition (vs. Nova, PC, UNC, Purdue, NW, Michigan had a 74 DRTG with him off the floor, and an 88 DRTG with him on it). That's a bit noisy, and the overall number is still good at 88. But I think Michigan has done more to insulate him rather than him being a true difference maker on that end, too.

On offense, over 75% of his offense has come from spot-ups, transition opportunities, back-cuts, and O-Rebs. The spot-up stuff is useful obviously, as he's a terrific shooter who can put the ball on the deck and attack a closeout.

Brazdeikis has done good work as a college four checking guys like Paschall and Maye but might not have the lateral agility to keep up with NBA wings. The stat about his offense seems… wrong, though? That's probably from Synergy and is therefore meticulously charted but it certainly feels like Iggy's creating a lot of his own shots. He dug Michigan out of some trouble against Northwestern by getting to the rim with frequency.

Vecenie says that if Iggy can maintain his effectiveness once he's 1) scouted and 2) the primary focus of opponent defenses he'll shoot up his board. One thing that hurts his stock—his age, which is a year older than most freshmen—is the kind of thing that makes you leave instead of makes you stay.

Let us resolve to enjoy the rest of this season.

[After the JUMP: potentially better NFL draft news?]

Comments

Timecops 2775

Timecops 2775 Comment Count

Brian December 5th, 2018 at 1:47 PM

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

Q: Really?

A: You should look at it as a compliment.

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

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

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

A: Exactly. We get less next year.

Q: And this is what you want.

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

Q: This does not reflect well on the species.

A: It does not.

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

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

Q:

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

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

A: "First, do no harm."

Q: Violated. The first and only time.

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

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

A: Make it so. Dale.

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

Comments

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

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

Brian December 3rd, 2018 at 1:33 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments

The Unusual

The Unusual Comment Count

Brian November 29th, 2018 at 1:14 PM

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

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

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

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

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

31158883547_5d885992fd_k

pre-hat-and-pistols phase[Campredon]

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

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

Afterwards:

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

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

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

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

This is a new world.

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

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

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

Comments

What Are You Gonna Do, Stab Me?

What Are You Gonna Do, Stab Me? Comment Count

Brian November 15th, 2018 at 12:24 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25730438977_e957c9a448_k (1)

[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

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

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

stabme

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

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

Comments

Who Invited the Insane Canadian Muppets

Who Invited the Insane Canadian Muppets Comment Count

Seth November 14th, 2018 at 9:26 PM

Michigan rode into Pennsylvania with the defense that carried it to last year's national championship game and an even more annoying #13, if that's possible. They ride out with a Tier 1 road victory that should make any non-conference RPI conversations far more enjoyable next March.

And you can't have one without the other!

Also Iggy is currently 10th on the KenPom PoY rankings.

Comments

Hoops Preview 2018-19: Wings

Hoops Preview 2018-19: Wings Comment Count

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

 

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

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

Charles Matthews

40798847572_1039ce60ca_z

[Bryan Fuller]

Year: Senior

Measurables: 6’6’’, 205

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ignas Brazdeikis

44774915165_4c17c033bb_z (1)

[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Year: Freshman

Measurables: 6’7’’, 215

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

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

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

But Brazdeikis isn’t your typical freshman.

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

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

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

[After THE JUMP: Livers, Nunez, Johns]

Comments

Open Practice Impressions

Open Practice Impressions Comment Count

Brian October 30th, 2018 at 12:19 PM

Michigan's annual basketball open practice was yesterday. Takes! You need takes!

Pick and roll focus. After a quick warmup the drills portion of the practice was largely pick and roll, with various managers simulating the various ways teams defend P&R and Michigan executing plays based on the opposition's reaction. There was also a fast break drill that started 3 v 2 or 3 v 1 with the defense getting extra players up to parity after an initial disadvantage.

Positional intrigue. Brooks played the two next to Simpson in the scrimmage; Beilein explicitly noted that a number of players were playing multiple positions. That's par for the course; the interesting bit was that Livers and Johns are both options at center. Michigan ran a little of Livers at C last year, where he looked lost on the offensive end. Johns looked pretty similar during the scrimmage. Despite that I'd expect to see him mostly at the 5. Beilein talked about his "four bigs" at one point and generally referenced Johns as a 5.

31045496898_523fe867e0_k

[Campredon]

Scrimmage! Teams:

  • Maize was Simpson/Brooks/Nunez/Livers/Teske, with Castleton subbing in at the 5. CJ Baird also got a little run.
  • Blue was DeJulius/Poole/Matthews/Brazdeikis/Davis, with Johns subbing in at the 5.

Maize won by approximately 8 points (there was no scoreboard but Beilein had it in his head and kept exhorting blue to get some stops), largely on the strength of Simpson and Teske. Beilein was mic'd up and kept relaying items to the crowd—this was delightful—and one of them was a mention that Simpson and Teske had great chemistry in the pick and roll. This was borne out, as Simpson found Teske repeatedly with a series of slick pocket passes that set the Maize team up for easy buckets. Many of these drew "oooohs" from the assembled crowd.

Simpson didn't just find Teske; he was able to set up all manner of his teammates. His shot's still pretty broke; even so he looked like a guy who'd taken another largish leap forward. It felt like he'd be able to get to the lane with more consistency and pay that off more. Simpson's sophomore year already featured a 25% assist rate*, which was around 200th nationally. That was comparable to Derrick Walton's final two years. Trey Burke's Naismith year saw him rack up a 37% assist rate. Simpson could get to 30-32%, maybe? The kind of passes he was making felt like they'd work against a whole hell of a lot of folks.

*[IE, a quarter of Michigan's baskets when Simpson was on the floor were assisted by him.]

[After THE JUMP: a freshman who doesn't feel like one]

Comments

Unverified Voracity Needs Mulch Answers

Unverified Voracity Needs Mulch Answers Comment Count

Brian May 21st, 2018 at 12:58 PM

mulch-Charlottesville-VA

MUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUULCH

I HAVE QUESTIONS. When did Beilein think up "Mulch Madness" and how excited was he to send that tweet? Why does John Beilein need 15 cubic yards of mulch? I need 15 cubic yards of mulch because my entire yard is mulched. Does John Beilein also have a no-grass yard? Did he clear this with compliance? (A: Yes, obviously.) Did that mean the players couldn't have snacks?

Where did he get his mulch? How much did it cost? Is it cheaper than the mulch I buy? What's with the pitchforks, doesn't the mulch fall through? Is it stupid to use a snow-shovel instead of these pitchfork things? That's what I do. Will I force Ace to ask all these questions at a press conference? (A: Yes, obviously.)

No. Uh, Sir. It's 2010 all over again:

He said Saturday he feels the game hasn’t been emphasized enough by Michigan.

“To be quite honest I really feel like over the years, in recent years, there hasn’t been the emphasis that I’m used to being put on that game,” Woodson said.

“Every game has been out on the same level of that game and that’s not the way we were brought up, that’s not the way we were raised around here. And we had no shame in saying it.”

Michigan lost by a literal inch in 2016 and last year had a brilliant gameplan undone by a third string quarterback playing like an eighth string one. Also they went and grabbed a defensive coordinator who runs a 4-2-5 as a base and has a 3-3-5 changeup in an attempt to tackle OSU's spread offense. There have been cracks in the Harbaugh façade—cough cough Drevno—but "doesn't prepare enough for Ohio State" is not one of them.

Purdue could be real interesting real soon. Former five star and now former Clemson Tiger Hunter Johnson is transferring after one year. He's from Indianapolis—a couple years back he played Brandon Peters in a game Ace broke down—and has a couple of Big Ten locations high on his list:

Sources told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg that Northwestern and Purdue are two possible destinations for Johnson. His brother Cole played in few games as a reserve for Northwestern a few years ago.

This is against the natural way of things where failed Purdue quarterbacks inexplicably go start for major programs in the south, but I suspect Boiler fans will accept this violation of tradition if in fact they do land Johnson. If the Boilers can hold onto Jeff Brohm, who was a candidate during Tennessee's crazy search, they could be in for some Tiller-era seasons. Large ifs, but with Nebraska finally hiring someone who is a good idea the West could be substantially less sad in the near future.

Or Johnson could be so definitively behind Trevor Lawrence he transfers after one spring session because he's not actually that good. Peters's team blew his out, after all.

Camp Sanderson now has data behind it. Moe Wagner came back to Michigan in part because he wasn't an NBA-ready athlete. The bits of this that can be fixed seem to have been fixed, emphatically:

Wagner still doesn't have pterodactyl arms, but hopefully his increased physical prowess and the big leap in his rebounding that made possible allow him to slip into the tail end of the first round.

Hoops croot quotes. The Detroit News runs down Michigan's incoming basketball class, with quotes from both Rivals and 24/7 scouts. Some of them are silly, like this assertion from Brian Snow…

What (Brazdeikis) does is he just scores the ball. He's more of a mid-range shooter right now, which I don't love because it's the most inefficient shot in basketball, but he does it at a high level.

…that is flatly incorrect per UMHoops:

image

But other assertions are more interesting and less directly contradicted by data. Both guys think Colin Castleton has a chance to be elite:

Bossi’s take: “Castleton is a guy that we gave a pretty big bump to after his senior year because he has always been able to move really well for a kid his size … but what really stood out to me is how quickly his skills emerged. He's become reliable as a 10- to 12-foot jump shooter. He's got a little jump hook, and the production on offense that wasn't really there last spring and summer has started to come on during the high school year. I think he's got confidence now.”

Snow’s take: “Colin is a kid who can really run the court, has good hands and good shooting touch. He's physically not strong yet but he does compete. I think he has a chance to really improve as the years go along. He's going to have to get stronger and spend a lot of time in the weight room, but he's a good athlete, he can block shots, he can score inside, from the mid-range and even step out to 3. He might not be ready for big minutes right away, but I think this is a kid who down the line has a chance to be a special player.”

Brandon Johns is also proposed as a potential 4/5 combo, which would be another way for Michigan to get some stretch 5 minutes even after Wagner's departure.

But at least he made logical hires! So this guy still had a job?

The guy who hired Charlie Weis after Notre Dame survived longer than Weis.

Etc.: NHL GMs are just in charge of things. ChadTough Cancer Center is now a thing. Ethan Sears on Trey Burke's NBA revival. DJ Carton moves to five-star status at 24/7. Jalen Wilson is just outside at #29. Stephen Spanellis is a thinker. Jim Harbaugh doesn't understand roasts and that's probably for the best.

Comments