i can see it [Marc-Gregor Campredon]
Jordan Poole annoyed everyone into being mean. That's Ace's take on the season, no doubt, and uh…
"It was just aggressive," Jordan Poole said last week in Ann Arbor, before the team left for the Big Ten Tournament in New York. "Guys were leaving with cuts, fights (were) breaking out. It was pretty high-intensity games in open gym. I think that's when we knew our identity was going to be tough." …
So what changed? Multiple players mentioned the freshmen as bringing a certain kind of mindset as soon as they arrived on campus.
Hibbitts singled out Poole. "He didn't want to get quote unquote 'bullied' or anything like that," Hibbitts said. "He held his own and wasn't backing down from anybody."
…it might not be wrong.
Figuring out Detroit. I have not been able to figure out how much flexibility the committee has to intervene in a situation like the one burgeoning in the Midwest this year, with Xavier, Purdue, Cincinnati, Michigan, and MSU all in as protected seeds. A ton of brackets have Xavier as the #1 in Detroit and Purdue #2 behind them. Joe Lunardi had a conference call recently in which he asserted that the committee was likely to slot teams in strictly by distance:
"If the Committee goes strictly by mileage, Xavier and then Purdue and/or Cincinnati will end up in Detroit ahead of one or both of (Michigan or Michigan State)," Lunardi said on a conference call Thursday. "And I said earlier, the Committee could wiggle. They could choose to put Xavier or Cincinnati in Pittsburgh, which is about a 20-mile difference to try and open up a Detroit slot. They just have not done that in the past. They go one team at a time, look at mileage — I call it drop and slot — and then move on to the next team on the list."
Lunardi also asserts that Michigan State will be ahead of Michigan on the seed list, which is an extremely frustrating situation to be in if it does in fact come to pass:
If they're on the same seed line you'd think that would be a situation where head to head would break a tie for Detroit placement. But I'd brace yourselves for Not Detroit.
One reason there's such a logjam. Jason Lisk took a look at protected seeds over the past decade:
…the breakdown of actual top seeds by geographic region (as generally defined by where the regional finals are held) is as follows:
West – 14%
Midwest – 36%
East – 27%
South – 23%
The East (if we consider the Carolinas as representing the southern edge of the East Region) and the South (if we include the South to go from Georgia and Florida in the East, to Texas and Oklahoma in the West, and Kentucky to the north) are pretty balanced in terms of the teams and hosting sites.
There are too many teams fighting for protected slots and too many regionals in an area with no top-end teams. Lisk runs down the bracketing procedure if you just go by distance, and it boots both MSU and Michigan from Detroit:
#1 Virginia goes to Charlotte
#2 Villanova goes to Pittsburgh
#3 Xavier goes to Detroit (Cincinnati is 263 miles to Detroit, 273 to Nashville and 288 to Pittsburgh)
#4 Kansas goes to Wichita
#5 Duke takes the 2nd Charlotte spot
#6 Purdue takes 2nd Detroit spot
#7 Cincinnati takes Nashville
#8 North Carolina takes 2nd Pittsburgh spot (slightly closer than Nashville but still a 7+ hour drive, so now that option is closed to Michigan and Michigan State
#9 Michigan takes 2nd Nashville spot (ahead of either SEC contender)
#10 Auburn then has to go to Dallas 700 miles away
#11 Michigan State then goes to 2nd Wichita spot 900 miles away
#12 Tennessee takes 2nd Dallas spot 840 miles away, foreclosing Texas Tech and Wichita State from being relatively close enough for fans
This is a worst case scenario for locations and assumes Michigan is the top 3 (which they are on Torvik but aren't on the Bracket Matrix). It vastly preferable to MSU getting an undeserved slot over a Michigan team that beat it by double-digits twice. But it's still pretty doofy.
NIT is a four letter word. Jaaron Simmons was taken aback recently.
"We've got to keep winning games so we keep playing in the postseason," Beilein told his team. "NIT, NCAA."
Beilein and Simmons made eye contact. Simmons laughed.
"What are you laughing at?" Beilein asked, a smile creeping on his face.
"Coach," Simmons said, "I ain't come here to play in the NIT."
Also of note: Simmons is still calling Zavier Simpson "X." Can we still call him X? Amongst all the letters X is the coolest.
Livers should be good. Via the Daily:
And while instant reactions seemed grim, it seems the injury is not as bad as it may have initially seemed. Livers came back to the bench midway through the second half, though he did not play the final 19 minutes of the championship bout.
“I could (have gone back in),” Livers said. “Duncan (Robinson) was just playing good.”
After the game, Livers vowed to be ready for the NCAA Tournament. Aided by the extra week off, he will, at minimum, have 10 days to regain his health in preparation for the Tournament.
That kind of injury could have been anything from a rolled ankle to a Dread High Ankle Sprain. Looks like it's the former.
Report reports that reports are good. A couple months ago, Illinois announced it would undertake a feasibility study for hockey, sponsored by various agencies that want to promote hockey. The unsurprising conclusion:
Ice hockey would 'flourish' at University of Illinois, study shows
A study on the feasibility of an NCAA men’s ice hockey team at the University of Illinois reached a clear conclusion: Go for it.
The study that launched in June found the interest level and talent in the state would help a hockey program thrive at Illinois.
The university has not decided if it will add a team but is seeking information on funding from campus and community stakeholders. Athletic director Josh Whitman told reporters Thursday that implementing a varsity program would require raising “north of $50 million” and called it “probably one of the more ambitious projects.”
That is the laziest possible takeaway from a shoddy "study" riddled with typos, unjustified assumptions, and self-contradictory assertions. But if you only read the front page, yeah, that's what it says. Not what it shows. Frustrated Illinois fan Steve The Illinois Fan actually read the thing and brings up various issues with the report in a Medium post.
Penn State was the best-case scenario for a startup program: huge fanbase, limited basketball tradition, massive program benefactor. They've created a program that generates 1.7 million in ticket sales annually… and it's still only a break-even proposition when you include the women's hockey boat anchor that Title IX lashed to it.
Illinois has zero of these advantages, and frankly it's hard to see them being anything but a basement dweller if they did start a program.
Iowa and Nebraska remain the Big Ten schools at which hockey makes the most sense. Both schools are smack dab in the middle of the USHL. Both have (or will probably have) private rinks of the appropriate size literally across the street from campus, obviating the need for a massive startup donation. Both have large local fanbases and basketball programs that don't often reach the NCAA tournament.
People In Charge Of Things Are Just In Charge Of Them, Part Lots. Pittsburgh's athletic director let Jamie Dixon return to his alma mater TCU without a fight, hired a search firm headed by his old boss, who also happened to be the old boss of flailing Vandy head coach Kevin Stallings. Stallings had managed one NCAA bit in the previous four years, that an 11 seed at 19-13. Pitt immediately cratered; Stallings was booted after just two years.
Miraculously, that AD had already gotten out ahead of the posse:
So Pittsburgh (presumably) paid six figures so the search firm could recommend an old buddy, and the hire has now produced a disaster in two years. Barnes, by the way, moved on to Oregon State in December of 2016, and spent only 18 months as the athletic director in Pittsburgh. It was a costly tenure, and one for which the school now gets to pay the final bill while Barnes is thousands of miles away.
Once you get to a certain level of rich, other people at that level will crony your ass so that no level of incompetence is too high. See Dave Brandon.
Etc.: Football hires Ron Prince as an analyst. New York doesn't care about you. Steve Kerr also thinks amateurism is stupid.