MGoPodcast 10.17: The Squidmarks Game

MGoPodcast 10.17: The Squidmarks Game Comment Count

Seth January 7th, 2019 at 6:21 PM

This show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan nobody would get our jokes. Our other sponsors are also key to all of this: HomeSure Lending, Peak Wealth Management, Ann Arbor Elder Law, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Michigan Law Grad,Human Element, and Lantana Hummus


1. The Brandon Johns Game: Indiana

starts at 1:00

Hey there Brandon Johns. Do we like him better than Davis? M offense devolved to a lot of heroball when he was in. Poole showing off his 19- and 20-foot game, and the thing he did to McBob.

2. The Jordan Poole Game: Penn State

starts at 1:00

Turnover fest was always going to be Michigan’s once they could get a run, and they did it with transition and a lot more help defense. Zavier Simpson kept their efficient PG to 44(!) ORtg.

3. Seth's Ace's Hockey Podcast

starts at 1:00

It was a long goal. A very long goal.

4. Around the Big Ten with Alex Cook

starts at 1:00

State spent the week without Langford, proved they’re right with Michigan on top of the league, plausible one seed. Minnesota-Wisconsin out-Big Ten’d Michigan-Penn State. Happ taken out of the game. Wisconsin doesn’t have the role players to complement Trice and Happ. Iowa plays you up to them, still can’t play defense, won an urgent game vs. Nebraska, who was just as desperate. Illinois is terrible, but are they really Rutgers-terrible?


  • "Candy (Drippin' Like Water)"—Snoop Dogg et al.
  • "Squid Song"—Rathergood
  • "Fear of Heights"—Apollo Sunshine
  • “Across 110th Street”


I like the fact that I'm not the guy who sounds like a cynical dick anymore


The Unstructured Gentleman

The Unstructured Gentleman Comment Count

Brian January 7th, 2019 at 1:18 PM

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

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

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

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

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

Watch this guy's best Nick Ward impression:

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

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

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

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

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

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

[After THE JUMP: Brandon Johns reporting for duty]


MGoPodcast 10.9: John B's Defensive Juggernaut

MGoPodcast 10.9: John B's Defensive Juggernaut Comment Count

Seth October 29th, 2018 at 7:47 AM

Special Guest: Ace Anbender returns to the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown.

The Sponsors

he show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan nobody would get our jokes. Our other sponsors are also key to all of this: HomeSure Lending, Peak Wealth Management, Ann Arbor Elder Law, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Michigan Law Grad,Human Element, and Lantana Hummus


1. The Backcourt

starts at 1:00

Optimistic about the defense: The two most important defensive positions are point guard and center, and everyone else is lanky. PG: Zavier Simpson was excluded from the All-B1G team so let’s revenge tour. Z’s shooting has to get better because can’t hide him as much. More defined role for Eli Brooks. DeJulius to come on later? SG: Poole is our shot at a lethal scorer on this team—can be average defender; no more getting back-cut. Nunez has a defined role. SF: Charles Matthews is still the Kentucky transfer, i.e. the least Beilein player ever, but he goes left sometimes now. More effective as a Beta dog. Can he get more Beilein-y?

The Frontcourt

starts at 29:53

PF: Iggy Buckets is a 40%+ spot-up shooter who took a lot of bad AAU shots. Could be a 1-and-done. Livers is a glue guy, but at 12% usage last year doesn’t bode well—lose the passivity or make an impact as a rebounder. Johns needs a year—do they push him at the 4 or 5? C: Teske is significantly more 1990s big man than Mo but if he can elbow-jump a bit he’s an excellent P&R guy, especially on the re-screen. Adds huge defensive value, including steals. What is Austin Davis? Gotta foul less but MSU went at him and it didn’t work. More on Johns, and some Mr. Basketball chip-on-the-shoulder games with MSU. Castleton is Mo 2.0 with shotblocking, but expecting a redshirt unless Davis is disappointing.

The Rest of the Conference

starts at 53:20

Not great. The unanimous conference favorite from everyone but us is Michigan State, who’s starting Nick Ward and Tillman, and they’re going to be playing Goens 20% of the time, plus McQuaid in a bigger role sans Bridges. Langford’s inefficient deep two game makes you wonder what Beilein would have made that guy. Leaning on Winston, and “Mr. Basketball” Foster Loyer. Then Michigan. Then the morass: IU brings in the biggest impact freshman in the conference in Lankford but making the dance is the goal. OSU lost most everybody from last year. Want to like Iowa—they’re like a parody of MSU; why is their defense so bad? Nebraska: Roby & Palmer & Copeland and experience—should have been a 9-seed last year. UW: what was that? Trying to remember who’s on the rest.

A moment to talk with Ace about what he’s doing now. The GoFundMe might’ve saved his life.

4. Around the Big Ten with Jamie Mac

Starts at 1:25:29

Marcus Ray now believes the best team in the Big Ten is Michigan State with Rocky Lombardi at quarterback. The Iowa 14, and Frames Janklin’s timeouts, attempted timeouts, and icing his own kicker. McSorley’s degradation. Maryland averaged a first down per play vs Lovie’s Lini. Go bowling Terps. Cats for the West! Jonathan Taylor (11 carries for 46 yards) is now a fumbler, Turtle punted on 4th and 2 again and invented the fullback two-minute drill. Northwestern could win the West or not go to a bowl game, or both? David Blough and Purdue got by the MSU ghosts and MSU rain—shoulda given D.J. Knox more carries. A very on-brand IU performance, even when they were down 31-9 Jamie never lost faith that the Hoosiers could come back to tie it then lose in heartbreaking fashion. Angry Minnesota Running Back Hating God. Daniel Faaele making an impact.


  • "None Shall Pass"—Aesop Rock
  • "I'm Slowly Turning Into You"—The White Stripes
  • "Play It Right"—Sylvan Esso
  • “Across 110th Street”


Thank you for sharing your voice and your nipples with us.


Unverified Voracity Has Good Feelings That Make It Feel Bad

Unverified Voracity Has Good Feelings That Make It Feel Bad Comment Count

Brian August 24th, 2018 at 12:40 PM

I am too optimistic about this game. This QB situation is about to meet a Don Brown defense that returns nine starters:

Brian Kelly is going to run a spread 'n' shred against Don Brown. Where have I seen that before?

I hate myself for thinking the things I think about this game, which will be insanity like all ND games are.

Two and done, a love story. Former DX and current ESPN draft analyst Mike Schmitz on basketball's breakout star:

It's happened before and will happen again. Maaaaybe Michigan gets a third year out of Poole, but they should be keeping that third slot in the 2019 class warm.

The Bentley, profiled. Michigan's history—all of it—is meticulously documented at the Bentley Library, which has been an invaluable resource for Seth, Craig Ross, Greg Dooley, and anyone else who wants to delve into the rich history of Michigan football. So it's good to see that the Athletic profiled Greg Kinney:

“This must be the ’98 team,” Kinney says. He is holding a black-and-white picture of men wearing funny clothes. He is not talking about the Lloyd Carr football team that went 10-3. He is talking about a team that went 10-0 and beat Chicago in front of a record crowd of 12,000, the original Champions of the West.

He is talking about 1898.

Standing just beside him, Brian Williams, a coworker, shoots over a knowing stare. “He can tell you that just by looking at it.”

[After THE JUMP: post takes a turn for the negative.]


Hoops Mailbag: What To Expect From Jordan Poole

Hoops Mailbag: What To Expect From Jordan Poole Comment Count

Ace April 9th, 2018 at 4:06 PM

On the rise, but where's the ceiling? [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

I was going to do a longer mailbag on next year's team today. You'll be shocked to see which question I decided had to broken off into its own post instead:

Poole is clearly going to be the focus of the offense and hinted at his talent this year.  But how much can we really expect from him considering how little he played this season?

Everyone wants to compare him to Stauskas, but Nik was playing starters minutes as a freshman and was very efficient.  Poole played limited bench minutes and saw his efficiency fluctuate a lot and struggled on defense.  Would sophomore Levert or Irvin be better comparisons?

Chicago, IL

Ask me to talk about Jordan Poole, you say? Let me warm up for a sec.

Alright. Let's go.

I am, as you probably expect, a Jordan Poole optimist. This isn't without reason, however, and said reason goes well beyond his personality. Setting the expectation at sophomore Nik Stauskas, when Stauskas won Big Ten Player of the Year, may be a bit lofty—I still lean closer to that than sophomore Caris LeVert, who played a very promising but less effective second banana to Stauskas for that 2013-14 season.

I've used Bart Torvik's invaluable site to pull the statistics of Poole and his comparables against top-50 (venue-adjusted) competition. When you ignore minutes and usage for a moment—two factors with clear explanations I'll get to momentarily—there's a clear match for Poole: Stauskas.

  G %Min ORtg USG eFG% AST% TO% FTM-FTA (%) 2PM-2PA (%) 3PM-3PA (%)
Burke '12 17 91.2 95.9 27.8 48.8 27.7 21.6 33-55 (60.0%) 62-126 (49.2%) 26.-81 (32.1%)
Stauskas '13 21 72.9 118.0 15.0 54.5 6.6 11.4 38-44 (86.4%) 31-58 (53.4%) 32-87 (36.8%)
LeVert '13 18 21.1 87.9 16.8 41.5 7.8 14.5 5-10 (50.0%) 9-25 (36.0%) 7-22 (31.8%)
Irvin '14 21 37.4 119.3 18.2 61.1 2.1 8.9 8-10 (80.0%) 11-28 (39.3%) 35-76 (46.1%)
Poole '18 18 29.9 118.8 22.4 56.2 7.7 9.0 27-34 (79.4%) 17-32 (53.1%) 16-41 (39.0%)

Trey Burke, mostly thrown in as an extra data point, had far different usage as a pure point guard. The rest are wings and therefore more comparable. The numbers that give me optimism regarding Poole are his two-pointers—taken with relative frequency, finished with efficiency—and his combination of high usage, extant assist rate, and low turnover rate.

The former is what separates Poole from LeVert, whose finishing took a long time to come along. Poole is already an impressive finisher at the rim for a guard; according to hoop-math, he made 25-of-36 (69.4%) shots at the basket with only eight assisted makes. That's almost exactly on pace, albeit on lower volume, with freshman Stauskas—38-of-55 (69.1%), 13 assisted—and way ahead of LeVert, who needed assists on four of his five makes at the rim as a freshman. Poole has already produced as a pick-and-roll ballhandler, and while he's not quite on Stauskas's level there yet, he was better as an isolation scorer—and Poole usually drew more of the defense's attention when he was out there than Stauskas did when surrounded by Burke, Hardaway, GRIII, et al.

Expect more of this next season. [Campredon]

The latter is what separates Poole from Irvin, who jacked threes and did little else as a freshman. Poole not only took two-pointers with much greater regularity, he actually passed the ball and displayed some tantalizing potential in that department. Irvin got exposed in his sophomore year when LeVert when down and he took on a lead role before he was ready; Poole looks ready (and certainly eager) to have the ball in his hands as much as possible.

As a refresher, here's how this group of players fared as sophomores against top-50 venue-adjusted competition: 

  G %Min ORtg USG eFG% AST% TO% FTM-FTA (%) 2PM-2PA (%) 3PM-3PA (%)
Burke '13 21 89.9 113.1 30.3 49.1 37.3 13.9 82-104 (78.8%) 91-204 (44.6%) 43-113 (38.1%)
Stauskas '14 21 90.9 120.8 23.5 56.8 18.6 13.6 89-108 (82.4%) 52-111 (46.8%) 55-126 (43.7%)
LeVert '14 21 87.7 101.2 22.9 48.2 17.0 17.5 52-71 (73.2%) 59-139 (42.4%) 33-86 (38.4%)
Irvin '15 15 88.9 95.2 24.6 48.5 10.2 12.5 19-33 (57.6%) 45-98 (45.9%) 33-97 (34.0%)

The Stauskas leap remains spectacular. He significantly upped his usage, improved his efficiency while taking on a much greater role as a distributor, and even improved significantly as a three-point shooter despite taking way more of his shots off the bounce.

I still think Poole can do something quite similar. He may not have played the early minutes Stauskas did, but he played a lot of important minutes and took on a bigger role when he saw the floor. Meanwhile, a lot of what he did on the court looked downright Stauskas-esque. Both are known for their unabashed three-point gunning, but what really separates the two is their ability to score from all three levels (rim, midrange, three).

Stauskas was a solid midrange shooter, especially when he could step into one off a screen. Poole was downright great from midrange in a small sample, going 12-for-24 on jumpers inside the arc, per Synergy. If you give him space, he's going to rise and fire.

Stauskas and Poole both learned early that the threat of a pull-up three combined with a quick first step poses serious problems to defenders. Stauskas had a ton of success on baseline drives—like his first Game, Blouses dunk—because defenses had to worry so much about keeping him out of the middle of the floor, where he was most likely to pull up for a jumper. Poole provides that same threat with, I'd argue, a quicker first step.

While Poole won't put up Burke-like assist numbers—and won't need to with Zavier Simpson likely manning the point—he could approach a Stauskas-level rate. He's shown the ability to find the open man off the drive, he keeps the ball moving in the offense despite his gunner reputation, and he's got some flashy dimes in his arsenal.

As for defense, I'm actually quite optimistic about Poole's ability on that end of the floor. While his freshman mistakes were numerous, they were notable in part because they were such an exception compared to the rest of the defense; they were also almost entirely mental. Poole, much more than Stauskas, has the lateral athleticism and defensive instincts to be an impact player on that end. He's already displayed potential as a ball-hawk, posting a 2.5% steal rate that wasn't far behind Zavier Simpson and Jon Teske for best on the squad. He'll challenge shots. He needs to focus more on that end of the court; an added year of experience and more consistent minutes should help.

I'm not saying Poole is going to be the Big Ten's best player next year. Not necessarily, at least. But I believe, barring a Wagner return, he's going to be the centerpiece of the offense, and I fully expect him to contend for first-team all-conference honors if that's the case. Poole after a summer of Camp Sanderson, immersing himself in Beilein's offense, and practicing pull-up threes off the high screen is going to be a boatload of fun.