The Big Ten's State of Flux

The Big Ten's State of Flux

Submitted by Ace on April 24th, 2018 at 1:15 PM


Uncertainty ball. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

The deadline for putting one's name into the NBA Draft has come and gone, so we now enter the period of uncertainty as players who didn't hire agents go through the pre-draft process before deciding whether to return to school. The Big Ten already has several notable early entrants who will hire agents and stay in the draft, including Moe Wagner and the duo of Jaren Jackson Jr. and Miles Bridges at Michigan State. (Also, uh, Nebraska's Jack McVeigh?)

Even more are testing the waters without an agent, including Charles Matthews, and those decisions will go a long way towards determining the Big Ten outlook for 2018-19. College Basketball Talk's Rob Dauster put together a list of the most influential early entry decisions from a college hoops perspective; of the 12 teams listed, five are from the B1G, and two of those teams (Maryland and Nebraska) have two players with NBA choices to make.

Here's a look at who's gone, who's testing, and how the draft could impact the conference standings next season.

Gone For Sure


...bye. [Campredon]

These players have declared and will hire an agent, locking them into the draft.

ILLINOIS

F Leron Black — A big loss for an Illinois team that relied heavily on Black's scoring and rebounding. The Illini have some decent young talent and a solid incoming class but this is a setback for Brad Underwood after a rough first year. As for Black, he's probably going undrafted.

MARYLAND

F Justin Jackson — Jackson had the misfortune of getting injured after coming back for his sophomore season, and he'd already been off to a stock-hurting start. Still, he's a talented player who made a solid impact as a freshman, and the Terps could be losing a lot depending on a couple other draft decisions.

MICHIGAN

C Moe Wagner — I don't need to tell you about the impact of this one for Michigan—we've covered it extensively and there will be plenty more to come. Wagner is currently a late first- or second-round prospect who's considered a safe pick without a ton of upside (his defense remains a sticking point).

MICHIGAN STATE

F Miles Bridges and F Jaren Jackson Jr. — Bridges was overdue to enter and probably slipped a few spots in a loaded draft year because he returned to jack up 25-footers over a 2-3 zone. Jackson, after taking a strangely long time to make a decision that seemed quite obvious after that Syracuse game, made the obvious choice—he could go as high as #3 overall. Both are obviously major losses for an MSU team that may end up starting Kenny Goins at the four. They could lose the third member of their starting frontcourt, too.

NEBRASKA

F Jack McVeigh — Is not an NBA prospect, to be frank. He barely played for the Huskers this year after being useful rotation piece in his first two seasons. Nebraska's fates are much more closely tied to the decisions of two players who haven't hired agents.

OHIO STATE

F Keita Bates-Diop — An expected departure as KBD put together a Player of the Year-caliber junior season that earned him first-round projections. The Bucks also lose Jae'Sean Tate and Kam Williams from the starting lineup. They're set to drop back after a shockingly good first year under Chris Holtmann.

PENN STATE

PG Tony Carr — Remember that brief moment when Penn State was a dark horse conference title contender for 2018-19? It's over now. Pat Chambers still has a team that could make some noise but they're going to have a very tough time replacing Carr's high-usage, high-efficiency offense. Carr should go in the second round.

RUTGERS

PG Corey Sanders — A huge loss for Rutgers, as Sanders dragged that offense out of the KenPom 300s in efficiency the last couple years by taking all the bad shots he could handle and making a respectable number of them given the circumstances. While bad-shot-making is an NBA trait, Sanders isn't expected to be drafted.

[Hit THE JUMP for the water-testers.]

Unverified Voracity Remembers Cajun Brady Hoke

Unverified Voracity Remembers Cajun Brady Hoke

Submitted by Brian on June 20th, 2017 at 2:42 PM

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[Bryan Fuller]

Naturally. If Harbaugh can't do camps he's going to do something:

Jim Harbaugh takes on clerk role in Genesee Probate Court

This will result in lawyers dorkin' out:

Flint Attorney Rick Hetherington, who appeared on a child support motion, on the way out asked: "Excuse me judge, but for clarification, I was wondering ... who has it better than us?"

Before the judge could respond, Harbaugh replied,

"I know the answer to that...Nobody!"

There's a 50% chance that guy has a username.

On the Go Blue Guarantee. Michigan has declared that instate students with family incomes of less than 65k a year will no longer pay tuition. This is a good thing. Maybe it's less of a "whoah" moment than it first appears since Michigan was already paying the bulk of costs for students in this income bracket, but taking it to zero means something. It also drops out a bunch of paperwork:

"The 'Go Blue Guarantee' cuts through the complexities of financial aid to help us reach talented students from all communities in our state. I have always believed that talent is ubiquitous in our society, but opportunity most certainly is not. The 'Go Blue Guarantee' helps us ensure wider opportunity."

I have Read The Comments on this, unfortunately, and one of the most common attempted gotchas is weeping for the family making 66k. They're not exactly boned by this move:

Tuition slides up gradually as income increases. As it would in any non-insane system. Concerns about families making twice the state median having problems shouldering their burden should be mitigated by the existence of 529 plans, which allow folks who have money to invest—ie, 120k-per-year households—to grow that money tax-free. You have to have a plan, but you can afford to have one at that point.

As state appropriations have shrunk as a portion of Michigan's budget, Michigan has responded by continually increasing costs for the wealthy. They've also tried to up their appeal to that segment of the population. If anything it's worked too well; Michigan's ability to enroll lower-income students has fallen off a cliff. This will help. It is unlikely to have a huge impact since ability to meet admissions standards is highly correlated with family income.

There's not much of a sports angle here unless Michigan starts covering large chunks of living costs as well. Those are estimated at about 15k annually and are covered by an athletic scholarship elsewhere. Since the sort of families covered by the guarantee are also the ones for whom 15k is a huge deal, this does not get Michigan a bunch of free scholarships for instate kids. If Michigan manages to extend this to room and board, then you might see a notably improved class of walk-on. Until then hold your birdman dot gifs about gaming the system.

Athletic budget notes. Michigan continues to live in the black after late Brandon shenanigans, projecting a two million dollar surplus this year. Athletic department budgets being what they are, a tiny profit is all that will ever be allowed. This helps schools cry poor when amateurism is questioned. Michigan can't quite disguise why a good year for the AD is always a 1% profit margin, because the way they make this happen is a PR boon:

Included in the department's projections is an increase in transfers to the university from $3.825 million in FY17 to $7.875 million in FY18.

Does the athletic department need to double the amount of money they transfer back to the general fund? No. Does the general fund need a four million dollar drop in a swimming pool of funding? No.

Michigan's also setting aside four million dollars into its deferred maintenance fund. They need to do this for major renovations—they cannot soak taxpayers by issuing bonds like pro teams—but that is also money that exits that they expensed away with some handwaving. Michigan expects to make at least 14 million dollars profit in 17-18.

That's due in no small part to this:

Conference distributions are projected to increase to $51.1 million in FY18 from $36.3 million in FY17 due mostly to a new conference media rights agreement.

You might be able to pay the players now instead of coming up with increasingly transparent ways of laundering the money.

Get hype for Gary. Peppers kind of talk about Mr. Gary from Don Brown:

Brown was asked Saturday after Michigan’s high school football camps how good Gary, a defensive end, can be.

“Best I’ve ever seen,” Brown said. “Best I’ve ever seen combining speed, strength, change of direction, and the mental curve. He’s unbelievable. The sky is the limit.

“The good thing is I think he understands that there’s a lot on his shoulders.”

It is rare to hear that kind of thing from a coach, and it portends good things.

Other minor roster notes from recent coach availabilities: Grant Perry won't play until his court issue is resolved and Grant Newsome is still expected to redshirt.

It's a contract. The NCPA, an NCAA union with the minor problem of not having any officially-designated employees to unionize, is doing what it can in the current regulatory environment. They've introduced a binding contract that they say is kosher with the NCAA that covers various aspects of the player-school relationship not covered by the LOI. Highlights:

According to the contract document obtained by CBS Sports, the CAP Agreement can be used instead of the National Letter of Intent or with the NLI. Either way, it would cover several areas the letter of intent doesn't. …

A school could be bound to an all-encompassing transfer release for a prospect before enrollment. The document asks if an institution "agrees"  or "does not agree" "to comply with any request for transfer" and "to not restrict the ability" of a player to transfer to any other school. …

A school could not "cancel, reduce or fail to renew financial aid … due to injury or athletic performance." …

A player could negotiate the cost of a remaining scholarship to complete a degree at some point in the future should he/she leave early for a professional draft.

These things rarely get off the ground, unfortunately. High level players are deciding between competing under-the-table offers that supersede the relatively minor concerns this contract can cover, especially in basketball.

(Also, since I just rolled my eyes at Dennis Dodd I should point out that this is a good and interesting piece he got first.)

Da Coach D. I forgot that LSU hired Cajun Brady Hoke after running Les Miles out of town, and have been momentarily boggled by this once again. LSU has all the money in the world, and they hired an interim coach whose previous experience was crashing and burning at Ole Miss. Anyway, Orgeron is using the NCAA's new camp rules to shut the rest of the country out of Louisiana. Michigan canceled a scheduled camp of their own, but that pales in comparison to the hoops Texas has been trying to jump through:

This marks the third announced camp in Louisiana that Texas was scheduled to take part in. And it’s the third camp that LSU has worked hard behind the scenes to prevent from happening. In a phone interview earlier on Tuesday, the local high school coach who initially helped facilitate the field for the Baton Rouge camp expressed pessimism about it happening. “We're in LSU's backyard,” said Mike Roach, the coach at Madison Prep in Baton Rouge and the father of Texas player Malcolm Roach. “Louisiana home cooking may have played a part in it.”​ Roach, who initially tried to help facilitate the camp, declined to go into details on what LSU may have done to attempt to prevent the camp from being held at Memorial Stadium. But his comments proved to be prescient.

After camps affiliated with Texas got canceled at Louisiana College and Southeastern Louisiana in the past few weeks, Mumme acknowledged on Tuesday afternoon there was still a chance LSU or political officials in the state would attempt to thwart Texas’s presence. “Oh yeah,” Mumme said. “But it’s only a day away now. I don’t think there’s a lot they can do. The only thing that can kill it is if it rains.”

He was wrong.

A silly waste of time on their part, and one that does nothing to help anyone. It sucks most of all for the mid-level kids who might catch on at Cornell or Belhaven or wherever if they can just get in front of some coaches; top-level guys don't need and rarely work out at these satellite camps.

But Orgeron's mostly notable for being unintelligible, so that fits.

Somebody did it for me. Many thanks to the Crimson Quarry, which donned its fisking hat in response to this:

This saves me a couple hours of brow-furrowed typing. For real:

[Politi:] Big Ten rival Michigan

[CQ]: Ahh of course, that famous Rutger rival Michigan, against whom the games are always close.

This is a thing a person said and was paid for.

I do have assorted comments about the Rutgers thing three years in that will not reference the Politi column:

  • The huge uptick in dough raked in by the league is approximately zero percent Rutgers's doing. Rutgers was useful to Delany as he attempted to expand the Big Ten Network's footprint. The 15-million-dollar uplift this year is because of the Big Ten's new national contracts with FOX and ESPN. The Michigan-OSU game, which is on FOX for the first time this year, is a bigger reason for the uplift than every game Rutgers plays in every sport.
  • Rutgers is probably worth it in this brief window when they don't get a a full share and cable cutting has not been epidemic, which is all Jim Delany cares about since he's old and will never have any legacy other than dollar bills.
  • We should kick Rutgers out the instant they're supposed to get a full share.

Matt Brown addresses the elephant in the room for fans: we get zilch from the Big Ten's constant dollar chasing. We get less than that.

Does the difference between $51 million in conference payouts and $43 million in conference payouts change the fan experience, or even the trajectory of football or basketball programs in a meaningful way? It’s very hard to argue it does, especially if you’re a fan of an already rich program, like say, Ohio State.

Nobody gets a bowl invitation because they got the biggest conference check. There is no trophy for it. It’s a meaningless thing to brag about.

But the addition of Rutgers does impact the fan experience and day to day performance of football and basketball programs. It means fewer games between traditional opponents for your favorite teams. It means an RPI anchor in basketball and baseball. It means an expensive road trip. And it means a lot of unwatchable games.

Again, we should kick 'em out in three years just for the fun of it.

Oh okay. Sympathy for John Calipari is still reading zero:

"They need more inventory for their own network so you just play more league games and then you have more inventory for your network to put on," Calipari said via teleconference Tuesday. "Hopefully in our case in this league (the Southeastern Conference) we stay where we are and if we don't, we'll make it work."

"What you do is, you take away some of those kind of games that have been good to us," Calipari said. "North Carolina, for example: If they go to 20 games we won't have any more series with North Carolina, so I'm not for it."

Calipari cancelled the UK-Indiana rivalry because Indiana refused to play at a neutral site. He can pound rocks.

Some hockey recruiting stuff. Bob MacKenzie's annual poll of NHL scouts and GMs in the run-up to the draft is out. Incoming freshman Josh Norris is a late first round pick at #23; rising sophomore Luke Martin is #69, nicely slotted into the early third round. Michigan also picked up its first new commit of the Pearson era when Phillipe Lapointe jumped on board a couple days ago. Phillipe is former Red Wing Martin Lapointe's son

Etc.: Muckalt hire official. Hooray for (potential) (slight) changes in municipal bonds that would (hypothetically) make it tougher for billionaires to get public money for stadiums. All hail the double team.  Second string OSU TE out for season.

Oklahoma State's mascot is stranger than fiction. As college and NFL OL play diverges, busts become more common. Should be sent to all linemen considering M. Paris, London, and Normandy Beach on the docket next year. Obamas invited to be honorary captains. DJ made a good decision.

One Frame At A Time: Rutgers

One Frame At A Time: Rutgers

Submitted by Ace on October 11th, 2016 at 4:31 PM

Of note:

  1. Jabrill Peppers is going Norfleet-before-a-punt to keep the game entertaining.
  2. On defense.
  3. It is still the second quarter.
  4. Total yards are 311-3.

It only would've been slightly more insulting to Rutgers if Peppers had continued dancing during the play—not that doing so would've affected the outcome.

[Hit THE JUMP for so, so many Peppers GIFs.]

Thursday Recruitin' Tethers Self To Laptop

Thursday Recruitin' Tethers Self To Laptop

Submitted by Ace on August 4th, 2016 at 4:00 PM

BBQ Visitors: Offense

The weekend in which I can't leave my laptop for more than 30 seconds is nearly upon us. The BBQ at the Big House is on Saturday, and it features a visitor list absolutely loaded with top-end talent. 247's Steve Lorenz has the full, updated list posted for free, as well as an excellent VIP post that goes in-depth on each uncommitted 2017 and 2018 prospect who'll be on campus. I'll do my best to cover the highlights. Keep in mind that every 2017 Michigan commit save for Aubrey Solomon, Kai-Leon Herbert, and AJ Dillon is slated to be in attendance.

The headliner, of course, is #1 overall prospect Najee Harris, the California running back committed to Alabama. According to Lorenz, Bama insiders think Michigan is the top threat to flip him from his current commitment, and Harris will be accompanied by his mother on the trip. Harris won't be the only back at the BBQ; four-star UT RB Sione Heimuli-Lund is a Stanford commit who could wind up at RB, FB, or LB (or, given Harbaugh, all of them).

Michigan's top four targets at wide receiver will all be in attendance. Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins need no introduction at this point; Michigan leads for Collins and is the presumed leader for DPJ. Four-star IA WR Oliver Martin is ramping up his recruitment now that baseball season is over—this weekend should give us a good idea of where Michigan stands compared to MSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, and his other contenders. Four-star CT WR Tarik Black has Michigan in his top group, though Lorenz thinks Notre Dame and Stanford are out ahead at this point. Michigan's top tight end on the board, four-star CA TE Josh Falo, will also be at the BBQ.

With three-star AL OT Toryque Bateman naming Michigan his leading heading into his BBQ visit, the offensive line is the most likely (though far from only) source of a weekend commitment—Bateman pegged his chances of committing at 50% and potentially higher if the visit goes as well as his last trip to Ann Arbor. Four-star tackles Isaiah Wilson and Aaron Banks are also on the list; Wilson is a Michigan/Bama battle right now, while the Wolverines are hoping to lure Banks away from top-tier Pac-12 programs.

As I was writing this, Steve reported that four-star OT Henry Bainivalu will make the trip from Washington. This is the second unofficial for Bainivalu, which is especially notable for a prospect from the other side of the country—Michigan definitely has a shot, and...

...oh boy, we might have a situation here.

One prospect who'd been mentioned as a possible visitor who won't make it: five-star KY OT Jedrick Wills, who looks like a longshot at best.

In the 2018 class, four-star Oak Park OG Marquan McCall—who could also wind up at DT—will accompany his committed teammate, OT JaRaymond Hall. While I've avoided mentioning the 2019 class, early rankings have Belleville OT Devontae Dobbs as a five-star prospect; he'll be at the BBQ with a couple classmates from a program that's got a lot of young talent.

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

Unverified Voracity Got To Mars In Six Days

Unverified Voracity Got To Mars In Six Days

Submitted by Brian on May 11th, 2016 at 2:53 PM

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Team Gardens in Flint. If you're in the area and available this Saturday, the Alumni Association is working with Vincent Smith's Team Gardens to make a thing:

Each year, on Michigan Alumni Community Service Day, alumni clubs from all over the country give back to their local communities in a variety of ways. This year, our club is pleased to partner with Team Gardens #EATING Project to assist with the creation of a community garden at Potter Elementary School in Flint. Be sure to register for this event soon; attendance is limited to 35 volunteers and families are very welcome.

Plants! Plant them in planters, the plants. And the ground.

Go big or go bigger, home is just a distant memory. Michigan has now announced 28(!) satellite camps, including faintly ludicrous stops in Australia, Hawaii, and American Samoa—and Michigan will be at the latter two twice. I have a preview of Jay Harbaugh's future right here:

I have also traveled to and fro in time to acquire a piece of Jay's diary.

JULY 15TH—unnamed village 50 miles north-northwest of Almaty, Kazakhstan. The stink of refuse in the streets and the uncomprehending looks from the villagers wear on us daily. We say "football" ever slower only for the children to grab the balls and kick them about. The oblong shape does not bother them. They have never seen a soccer ball, either. I begin to wonder if they've ever seen a man-made toy.

Everything else is goats. Goat cheese. Goat moccasins. Goat yurts. Furtive in the streets, one day I think I see a goat wife. All is goats. We offer a class of 2019 wide receiver who does not know what a post route is, or his own name. We call him Goatley. He is probably a goat.

Tomorrow we're going to see the cosmodrome, for some reason.

JULY 21ST—Mons Olympus, Mars. There are no people here. We have been directed to form them from the dusty Martian soil. Every day I trudge up the ancient shield volcano to see if the crumbling forms have been imbued with a spark of life. They never are. I feel the radiation sleeting through space and Mars's thin atmosphere, into my bones. The nights are dark beyond belief.

In more ludicrous satellite camp news. The War On Rutgers continues. Our current situation: Michigan is ignoring Rutgers for the 150th consecutive year. Rutgers is offended that Michigan asked them to their Paramus camp because they didn't want to play second fiddle in their home state, so they announced a camp with Urban Meyer at the same time as Michigan's. I have a dank meme for this, you guys, that will prove I am hip with the snapchat youth.

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Noted rappist DJ Khaled will ensure I remain relevant for decades

Only the dankest of memes will appear in this space.

Anyway, by flipping the bird to Michigan, Rutgers and OSU have annoyed a bunch of local recruits who now have to choose which set of coaches to get exposure with. New Milford assistant and outstanding name Preston Lawyer:

It appears this has hit a vein of internal New Jersey high school politics, and that a number of NJ high school coaches are nuts. A NJ.com article quotes a number of coaches supporting the Rutgers camp with language that says more about the person speaking than the event they're commenting on:

"Obviously, Michigan wants to conspire with Paramus Catholic to do whatever they want to do,'' Campanile said. "So I don't think they're making friends from that standpoint with a lot of these schools. I really don't know what to say about it. But it is what it is. They're obviously aligned with those guys, and if that's what they want to do, it's their business."

I'm sorry if some of you experienced painful eye-rolling at that quote. There's plenty more in there if you're inclined. This guys sounds like a major piece of work. His brother in an assistant at BC, who will work the Paramus camp:

"I love my brother more than anything in the world. I just don't want anything to do with my kids going to a camp at Paramus Catholic.''

The good news is that per 247 this dude doesn't have a single recruitable player in either of the next two classes. The two other coaches in that article are from Don Bosco and St Peter's Prep, though, and that's going to be interesting: three of the top five guys in the 2018 class are at those schools and Michigan is thought to lead for the Ademilola twins and is up there for Tyler Friday. A dollar says at least one of these guys is hired by Rutgers in the near future.

This already happened. To you. As recently as it's possible for this to happen. Elsewhere in incorrect braggadocio:

"I may get myself in trouble for this: For people that want to come to Alabama and have a camp, I think it's great, because they're helping the quality of football in the state of Alabama," Horton told the Ledger-Enquirer. "(But) no one is coming to this state and getting a player from Auburn or Alabama. That's not going to happen. So hey, I'm for, if they want to come to our state and have it, that's going to help the quality of high school football."

Not quite Alabama, but Elysee Mbem-Bosse went to high school less than two hours away from Auburn, was widely expected to go to Auburn, and then Harbaugh went "yoink." Michigan's recruiting efforts are not going to have a material impact on any out-of-region school; pretending that Harbaugh can't go pick off kids you want is sticking your fingers in your ears and going "la la la."

Pack line is music to the ears. Quinn profiles Billy Donlon in a long piece. They key bit for people blanching at triple-digit Kenpom D efficiencies:

At Wright State, Donlon primarily played a true pack line defense (a variation of man-to-man), while showing some 2-3 and 1-3-1 zones over the years. His team ranked in the top three in defensive efficiency in five of six years in the Horizon.

Over the last three seasons, Michigan has ranked 9th, 11th and 10th in the Big Ten in defensive efficiency.

"He has a great basketball mind in general, but the way he coaches defenses -- that's kind of his thing," said AJ Pacher, a Wright State center during Donlon's first four seasons. "He did a lot of film, and a lot scouting, and he'd implement a lot of against specific teams in specific games."

The foul tension will be fascinating to see unfold next year. Here's hoping Michigan is a lot more annoying, a lot more effective, and autobench is at least somewhat warranted.

As a side note:

As Tuesday afternoon wrapped up, Donlon declined to answer if he'll serve as a sort of pseudo-defensive coordinator at Michigan.

Dank meme questions bros.

An easy way to get fired. Like a lot of coaches, Charlie Strong has a twitter hashtag he uses to announce commits, albeit anonymously. Would you believe the Texas guy for Scout has trademarked this hashtag and is now selling merch featuring it? You would not. But it happened anyway:

Texas officials were surprised Monday after learning that a reporter who covers Longhorns recruiting had trademarked Strong’s phrase in March 2015 and recently started selling #Letsride T-shirts.

Jason Higdon, the lead recruiting analyst for Horns Digest, filed two federal trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last year to use the phrase on various sports apparel and wristbands.

If this guy had any connect with the coaching staff he doesn't have it any longer, and if the reaction to this news is any indication he might not have a job much longer. There is now a JasonHigdon.com run by one of the Barking Carnival guys, because the internet is like that.

Etc.: Mount Hot Take has been discovered. Excellent summary of the A&M twitter disaster. Ditto the Tunsil situation. Basketball has a home and home scheduled with UCLA. SMSB director appreciates Harbaugh's advocacy.

Baumgardner profiles David Long. Please have all future profile posted before the 2016 recruiting profile for that player, pls thx. Also profiled: Jourdan Lewis. Bama is comin' to our citayyyy. Don't hire the son of a famous coach before he's done something to prove he's not a total buffoon. See also: Derek Dooley.

On Notre Dame Hockey To The Big Ten

On Notre Dame Hockey To The Big Ten

Submitted by Brian on March 23rd, 2016 at 3:21 PM

So this happened, and it's kind of a big deal if you like hockey:

Assorted takes to follow.

Yes, it's a good idea

NCAA Frozen Four — Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. UMD Bulldogs

[Tony Webster/flickr]

There's been a ton of bitching about this move on both sides, which I expect from NDNationers literally still upset about something that happened in 1910. I expected less of that from the Michigan side of things but our thread here is about 80% "f*** Notre Dame." I wish Bo had never said "to hell with Notre Dame." It is the crying Jordan of things Bo said.

I downvote all of you metaphorically. Michigan and Notre Dame should play. In hockey, in football, in whatever. Curling. Sure, curling. They have a strong AD and quality revenue programs, they are a historical rival, they are a geographic fit. Not playing them—not wanting to play them—is juvenile.

This goes double for hockey given the situation the Big Ten finds itself in. Simply put, the schedule is much better off with four games against the Irish than it is without those games. (Especially because those will be home-and-home weekends.) The league is much better off with Jeff Jackson in it than outside of it.

The downside is… what, exactly? Notre Dame will feel less pressure to join the Big Ten in all sports? If you think hockey factors into that decision one iota I have news for you.

No, don't add Arizona State

A seven team conference is a bit odd but is doable. The league schedule expands to 24 games, one team is on a bye they can fill with a nonconference series every week, it's fine. FWIW, Brad Traviola says an eighth team is not currently on the table:

Notre Dame makes seven, and Big Ten deputy commissioner Brad Traviolia said there are no current plans to expand to eight. Some Illinois and Nebraska fans wish their club team would upgrade to varsity, but such a move requires major funding and proper facilities.

Moving to eight gets tricky. Options:

  • 28 game conference schedule. With 28 conference games your nonconference gets very restricted. Michigan and MSU are in the GLI every year and the cap is 34, leaving just four slots for new teams. This was the worst thing about the 12-team CCHA.
  • 14 game conference schedule. Opposite problem, nowhere near enough.
  • Two divisions of four, 20 game conference schedule. This was more or less the CCHA's solution after they went to 12. They rotated pairs of teams through groups of four so the schedule did change up.
  • Play everyone three times, 21 game conference schedule. Logistically difficult. Some of the odd games could be taken care of in switch weekends like the old College Hockey Showcase. M would travel to Minnesota for Friday and head to Wisconsin on Saturday while MSU did the opposite, that sort of thing. The eighth team would probably have to be a geographic pair for Penn State, though, and there isn't one that makes sense. I mean, Robert Morris is in Pittsburgh but do we want to add Robert Morris?

All of these have costs in a way that adding team #7 does not, and so the hypothetical eighth team had better be worth it. A team in freakin' Arizona with zero history is not worth it, especially when the Big Ten does not need another RPI anchor. Arizona State doesn't have a name brand in any sport, let alone hockey.

Yes maybe add someone else

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There are teams that would be worth it if they were amenable. Foremost is North Dakota, a fierce rival of Minnesota and Wisconsin who Michigan also has a ton of history with. North Dakota is an incredibly well-supported program that would bring a buzz to Yost every time they showed up.

As a Midwest-ish state flagship school, North Dakota fits the Big Ten reasonably well. Bringing them in would mitigate some of the Minnesota hate for the new arrangement. It would improve the overall quality of play. It avoids some of the optics problems with adding a school with a bunch of other D-I programs—North Dakota is D-II in everything else. [Update: this is no longer true.] If they want in the Big Ten would be dumb to say no.

Would they? I think they probably would. Despite being perennially one of college hockey's best teams, just four North Dakota games were on national TV this year. From the Big Ten's perspective you do get a small bump by adding North Dakota, the state, to the footprint. And as mentioned, UND-Minnesota was the fiercest rivalry in college hockey once Michigan State went into the crapper. (And probably before that.) NoDak is the easy #1 choice.

If the Artists Formerly Known As Sioux don't want to come, there are other programs that would be worth it:

  1. Miami. Quality program with a new rink. Hating on Enrico Blasi is great fun. Geographic fit makes three-game league configuration feasible.
  2. Whichever Minnesota program the Gophers want. St. Cloud, UMD, whatever. Good programs that will be good in the future. Mitigates Gopher hatred of new league. Geographic fit.
  3. Western or Ferris. Neither team is going to knock your socks off with their on-ice performance but they are a geographic fit and old CCHA rivals.

Let's Play Hockey suggested Miami along with Arizona State, UConn, and UNO. Only Miami should be a viable contender amongst those schools. UConn has most of the baggage ASU does and is already in Hockey East. The only reason they would join the Big Ten is in the faint hope that would be a prelude to joining in all sports, and see Notre-Dame-to-the-Big-Ten-in-all-sports above for my take on that. UNO is a good program vaguely in the footprint but it's not much better or worse than a lot of schools a lot closer.

Notre Dame keeping its NBC contract is good

This is not the right take at all:

This isn't basketball or football. The BTN cannot televise all of its hockey. Other channels pick up games for the rest of the league all the time; there is no reason not to allow Notre Dame to do the same. Meanwhile now I know two road games will definitely be on a channel I get. From a fan's perspective anything that gets a game on TV is good; the NBC contract takes pressure off the Big Ten Network's limited programming space.

Now we can definitely do the State Championship thing

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Trophies are good [Patrick Barron]

Notre Dame now becomes an obvious choice to fill out the field for the Michigan hockey championship I've been advocating since the dissolution of the CCHA. There are seven hockey programs in Michigan spread across three conferences now; they should play each other, and they should give someone a trophy for it.

Add Notre Dame in now and divide the eight teams into groups of four that switch annually. Michigan and MSU are never in the same group. Two WCHA teams are in each group. Hypothetical groups:

Group A Group B
Michigan Michigan State
Ferris State Michigan Tech
Western Michigan LSSU
Northern Michigan Notre Dame

Each team plays the others twice. Teams in the same conference have an early-season conference series that counts towards the standings without adding additional nonconference commitments. The top two in each group advance to the GLI. The bottom two play a consolation round at the Joe either a couple days before or at the same time. Hand out a big ass trophy to the winner.

This is a:

  • Six-game commitment for the WCHA teams, ND, and one of M/MSU.
  • Eight-game commitment for M/MSU every other year and WMU.

Michigan, MSU, and MTU have already committed two of those games with their annual participation in the GLI. With a 24 game conference schedule Michigan would have 2-4 dates to play with annually and could still go out to Boston, play a tomato can, that sort of thing.

It is doable, and it would make the GLI a bigger event. It would provide a semblance of the old CCHA and amp up early season nonconference games. It's more or less adding an FA Cup to the college hockey schedule. The state of Minnesota would probably follow suit in short order.

Maybe things can start making sense now

ND to the Big Ten makes sense. Could this be a new era of not shooting yourself in the foot in college hockey? Please Tiny Jesus make it so:

No regional sites have been selected past 2017. And, according to Kristin Fasbender, the NCAA’s director of championships and alliances, the committee and the college hockey body as a whole will explore whether a new structure to the regional portion of the tournament, which could include playing games at campus sites, is a more viable option.

“I think there is continued conversation about [changing the regionals],” said Fasbender. “The committee keeps talking about what [the tournament] looks like when we go forward.

“We’re in a year here where at our four regional sites, none of our host institutions are in them. So I think we’ll continue to have this conversation as we get into the championship in Tampa and at the coaches’ association meetings in April and the [NCAA Division I men's ice hockey] committee meetings in June and trying to talk more about what we want to continue to look at globally for the whole tournament as we go forward.”

It's long past time to move to campus sites. North Dakota earned the opportunity to host a regional. Instead they're in Cincinnati, playing in front of nobody. But I'm a broken record about neutral site college hockey.

Don't overlook this sick Rutgers burn

Red on the move:

“Expansion is brought up every time the Big Ten is mentioned so (the move) is a good step in the right direction,” Berenson said. “It makes sense geographically. It’s not like we’re going out to play Rutgers or something. We’re playing a team that is in the Big Ten footprint.”

Oh snap, Delany.

Michigan 68, Rutgers 57

Michigan 68, Rutgers 57

Submitted by Ace on January 27th, 2016 at 9:09 PM

You need to know four things about this game:

1. Michigan couldn't hit a shot. They dug an early hole after starting 0/5 from the field and finished the first half 6/18 from three. The outside shots started falling in the second half, but the Wolverines still finished only 20/49 from the field—not for lack of open looks, but much like the Minnesota game, they missed a lot of shots they'd normally make.

2. Mark Donnal sparked the run Michigan needed. With Michigan losing by three with 5:30 left in the first half, Donnal stuffed a shot by Jonathan Laurent, assisted Aubrey Dawkins for a three on the other end, took a charge, drew a foul and hit both free throws, then took another charge. After that sequence, Zak Irvin hit a three, and Michigan suddenly had an eight-point lead. Rutgers couldn't pull closer than five points for the duration.

3. With 1:30 left in a ten-point game, Rutgers committed a shot-clock violation. That is not ideal.

4. On the next Michigan possession, Irvin missed the front end of a one-and-one, Rutgers center Greg Lewis rebounded the miss... and passed the ball to the official standing out of bounds. It took a while, but we hit peak Rutgers.

Duncan Robinson (18 points, 4/9 3P) and Aubrey Dawkins (11 points, 3/4 3P, one spectacular missed dunk) were the two players who found any consistency with their shot. Zak Irvin went 2/8 from the field but hauled in 12 boards and dished out eight assists.

This was Minnesota 2.0: Michigan proved fortunate to play a bad team when they had an off night. Because that team was Rutgers, they won by double-digits anyway.

Preview: Rutgers

Preview: Rutgers

Submitted by Ace on January 27th, 2016 at 4:42 PM

THE ESSENTIALS


WHAT Michigan (15-5, 5-2 B1G) vs
Rutgers (6-14, 0-7)
WHERE Crisler Center
Ann Arbor, Michigan
WHEN 7 pm ET, Wednesday
LINE Michigan -22 (KenPom)
TV BTN
PBP: Joe Davis
Analyst: Jon Crispin

Right: Sadly, this was still less mean than including a picture of actual Rutgers basketball.

THE US

Caris LeVert still won't be in the lineup tonight, but John Beilein told the media yesterday that there's a timeline—one he won't reveal—for his return:

"Caris has had more testing," he said. "Things continue to go in the right direction, but he is not ready yet. We hope it is very soon, but he is moving in the right direction."

LeVert has not met with local reporters since sustaining the injury. Beilein has repeatedly declined to expand on the specifics, other than to say the program is being "overly cautious" and that it's a "lower left leg injury."

 

Of the aforementioned timeline, Beilein would only say, "For the first time we met and said, 'OK, let's start looking at this date.'"

Michigan plays Penn State at Madison Square Garden on Saturday; ideally, he could work his way back in that game and return to his normal role for next week's home games against Indiana and Michigan State, but that would be a best-case scenario at this point.

THE LINEUP CARD

Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.

Pos. # Name Yr. Ht./Wt. %Min %Poss SIBMIHHAT
G 3 Corey Sanders Fr. 6'2, 175 80 26 Not Really
High usage, high turnover rate, decent outside shot, poor finisher.
G 5 Mike Williams So. 6'2, 190 68 23 Yes
Takes most threes on the team, hits... 28% of them.
G 2 Bishop Daniels Sr. 6'3, 185 64 24 Kinda
44/30/70 shooting splits, most attempts from two. Turnover-prone.
F 1 DJ Foreman So. 6'8, 230 65 19 Yes
Only 47% shooter, draws a ton of fouls but only makes 58% of FTs.
C 35 Greg Lewis Sr. 6'9, 245 52 17 Very
Decent rebounder and shot-blocker shooting woeful 37% FG, 45% FT.
G 31 Omari Greer Gr. 6'4, 180 46 18 No
A legit shooter! 44% from beyond the arc.
G 10 Justin Goode Fr. 6'2, 185 37 8 Yes
Tiny usage, pretty much only shoots threes, has made 6/26 on the year.

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

Unverified Voracity Is In The Computer

Unverified Voracity Is In The Computer

Submitted by Brian on September 15th, 2015 at 11:33 AM

Radio mishap. Sorry to streaming listeners who ended up getting a nonstop pile of ads about halfway through the show. We don't know what happened there; we've reached out to WTKA and they say that should not recur. Podcasts should be coming, possibly tomorrow. We're still working out the kinks.

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[Eric Upchurch]

RAGE now comes with official approval. The Big Ten said "whoops" on the punt flag:

Harbaugh asked the Big Ten for an explanation on the call, and during his radio show Monday night, said the league basically offered an apology for an officiating error.

"You just want to be able to know what to tell your team, that's why we ask, that's why we inquire," Harbaugh said. "Once the punter goes outside the tackle box, you don't know if he's a runner or he's going to punt the ball. He's afforded the same protection a quarterback would be when he's outside the pocket. If he throws the ball, he can be hit like a quarterback.

"They would've rather not thrown a flag on that. ... That's what they said."

They have not as yet apologized for the various other errors this crew inflicted on Michigan: the opening-play PI against Darboh is blatant, as is a hold on James Ross that sprung one of Oregon State's big runs on their touchdown drive. Michigan got hoooooosed on Saturday and still won 35-7.

Chris Brown on Power. An excellent primer on something Michigan's going to be running a ton of for the foreseeable future:

“There is nothing magical about the Power play,” Paul Alexander, the Cincinnati Bengals’ longtime offensive line coach, said at a coaching clinic in 2012. Almost every NFL team runs Power, though some (like the Seahawks, Vikings, Steelers, and Bills) will emphasize it more than others, and it has produced some of the most dramatic plays in recent memory, including Marshawn Lynch’s infamous Beast Mode run. The idea behind Power is as old as football itself, as having an overwhelming force at the point of attack was an obvious strategy as soon as someone first picked up a football; versions of the play pop up as far back as in Michigan coach Fielding Yost’s playbook from 1905. But NFL coaches have spent the past 20 years tweaking and adjusting the play, and now the proper form is gospel.

Brown details the various responsibilities the players have. This one in particular is something De'Veon Smith had trouble with in week one:

Running back: Veteran NFL offensive line coach Mike Solari, who’s currently with the Green Bay Packers, says he prefers to tell the running back to “read the alphabet: Read from the playside A to B to C to D gaps for a running lane.” But the running back’s real key to success on Power is to let the blocking develop. “People ask me what I tell our running backs,” said Shaw at the 2013 clinic. “Mostly what we tell our running backs is [have] patience.”

He improved a considerable amount in week two.

Staples on the State of Michigan. SI's Andy Staples took in the doubleheader this weekend:

Graham Glasgow has just finished explaining the importance of pad level as it relates to play along the line of scrimmage—short version: the low man wins—when the Michigan fifth-year senior center says something telling. "I felt better in this loss," Glasgow says, "than I would after some of our wins last year."

Five days earlier, the Wolverines lost their season opener at Utah. Four days from now, Michigan will make its home debut under coach Jim Harbaugh against Oregon State. As Glasgow says those words, he stands in the Towsley Family Museum in Schembechler Hall. He is a few feet from the "Win Wall," a massive glass enclosure that, on this particular Tuesday, features a football representing each of Michigan's 915 all-time wins. In another part of the room, the words of former Michigan coach Fritz Crisler are carved into wood.

"Tradition is something you can't bottle. You can't buy it at the corner store. But it is there to sustain you when you need it most. I've called upon it time and time again. And so have countless other Michigan athletes and coaches. There is nothing like it. I hope it never dies."

Glasgow's words suggest that in 2014 Michigan's football tradition was dying.

Whole thing is worth a read.

This week in good quotes. Blake O'Neill quizzed about his modeling career:

"All sorts of things,"he said Monday at Michigan's weekly news conference. "Fashion modeling, catwalk, anything.

"I was a little budding Zoolander."

He does not have a "Blue Steel" look.

Who will I scoff at now? Texas deep-sixes Brandon 2.0:

University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves is expected to fire embattled athletic director Steve Patterson, and the move could come this morning, a Houston-based source with knowledge of the situation told the American-Statesman.

Fenves and Patterson are meeting Tuesday morning, the Statesman learned.

It could bring an end to a tumultuous 22-month journey for the athletic department during which fans grew outraged over higher ticket prices and Patterson battled the perception that his cool demeanor simply does not fit UT’s style.

"Cool demeanor" is the nice way of saying it.

Good on Texas for dumping their version of the buzzword-spewing Emperor's New CEO after less than two years. That Patterson got himself fired after making what look to be excellent hires in both football and basketball speaks to just how hated he was by just about everyone. Justifiably. Hell, I have no connection to Texas whatsoever and I hated him because he was bad for college football, all of it.

Hopefully they've got a Hackett hanging around.

That would be a terrible idea, but on the other hand I would no longer have to listen to him relentlessly praise every coach in every situation. ("Not many coaches would feed their quarterback to an alligator at halftime, Rece, but Tim Beckman is an innovative thinker.") I approve.

Oh right. The legend:

I'm sure that will last.

Injuries and more injuries and Rutgers. Michigan's gotten through the first couple weeks of the season without anything serious happening to their players; other than Bryan Mone they're as close to completely healthy as a group of people playing football can be. This is not the case for a number of upcoming Michigan opponents.

BYU is of course down Taysom Hill and relying on freshman-ish Tanner Mangum, who was a big recruit a couple years back and is just off his Mormon mission. On the other hand, that linebacker who bingle-bangled a Boise State player right in the dingle-dangle will somehow not be suspended—nice to not have a conference sometimes. Michigan players will have to keep an eye on the family jewels.

Minnesota has a number of guys out with relatively minor issues but may have lost WR KJ Maye to a broken rib.

And then of course Rutgers. Star WR Leonte Caroo was the latest Scarlet Knight to get arrested. He's been suspended indefinitely for an "altercation" outside the stadium Saturday night that resulted in a domestic violence arrest. What exactly went down is still unclear, but if you poke around On The Banks the impression their comments give is that Rutgers insider types think it's pretty serious and we may not see Carroo for a while. Oh and they didn't list Darius Hamilton on their most recent depth chart because he has an undisclosed injury of some variety. And of course five guys got arrested for armed robbery and transferred to Michigan State before the season started.

Rutgers fans are now calling this "their darkest hour," which may be true if the history of Rutgers football started with Greg Schiano. It does not.

Speaking of Rutgers. Julie Herrmann has a job! Still! She is employed and everything! She probably has a company car and a dental plan!

Unhappy Moeller. Via Dr. Sap:

How the Norfleet thing went down. Via the man himself:

“To be honest, everything caught me off-guard,” Norfleet said. “It just happened. (Harbaugh and I) weren’t seeing eye to eye. Nothing real big. We had disagreements but nothing serious. He thought I was going to be ineligible, and I wasn’t. He is real big on academics. That’s one thing I can say about Jim Harbaugh — he’s going to make sure these players are going to class.”

Norfleet said Harbaugh never told him he wanted him on the team.

“I never got that at all,” Norfleet said. “The only thing I got was, come back a semester to get a degree. Not play football. He wanted me to use my scholarship. I still love Michigan, though, as a whole. Sometimes, you’ve got to move on.”

Unfortunate all around, but it seems like Michigan was willing to have him around even if he wasn't going to play. That seems to have smoothed over things with Detroit King.

image

whoops

It's not a crisis if you complain about it every year and things are just fine. The only person more prone to complain about spread offenses than NFL scouts and coaches is Gary Danielson, and the arguments the NFL has are about as good as Danielson's:

…if current trends continue, NFL insiders say, quarterbacks who have the sophistication to outfox NFL defenses to deliver the ball to open receivers are “going to be on the endangered species list,” said Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine. “The quarterback may not be gone yet,” he added, “but if you have one, protect it.”

“It’s doomsday if we don’t adapt and evolve,” said St. Louis Rams general manager Les Snead.

These people are just in charge of things for no reason and should be given the Patterson/Brandon treatment. Half of the top ten rookie QB seasons in NFL history have come since 2011. Those five seasons came from Robert Griffin, Russell Wilson, Teddy Bridgewater, Cam Newton, and Mike Glennon. Three of those guys came from out-and-out spread offenses. After one game Marcus Mariota looks set to join them.

I mean:

A parade of general managers, like Pittsburgh’s Kevin Colbert, think that if the current model holds, the notion of drafting a quarterback to start right away will need to be scrapped.

And:

Cleveland’s Farmer has one idea: What if you could design an offense to minimize the passing deficiencies of modern quarterback prospects?

WHAT WOULD THAT EVEN LOOK LIKE?

Etc.: Mike Riley literally has his team yelling "hip hip hooray" after games. Flanders, the coach. Local news talking with El Harberino. Jake Lourim with a longform on ECA, Freddy Canteen and Brandon Watson's school. Wide pin down. Harbaugh profile (autoplaying audio warning). SMH NCAA. UNLV is not good. Holdin' The Rope.

Unverified Voracity Is Rather Obvious

Unverified Voracity Is Rather Obvious

Submitted by Brian on April 9th, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Hype video. Summing up the last two years in the tourney:

Paperwork. Michigan's three NBA draft candidates have submitted their paperwork for evaluation. This is a non-event, as they were always going to see what the NBA says. Unless they come back saying something different than expectation (yes Stauskas, maybe GRIII, probably not McGary). Which they probably won't.

SCOUR THE STREETS OF TIMBUKTU. Block/charge is broken but danged if Michigan wouldn't do well with one of those extreme defensive centers whose main job is to intimidate and throw down dunks. John Beilein may agree:

Oh really. The Penn State game will be at night, as anyone who had looked at the 2014 home schedule could have told you. Prediction: I mutter about pom-poms in the aftermath.

Oh really, but in a good way. Hockey has already named its captains for next year and I bet you can get the C and one A without even thinking a little and the other A after a brief pause.

Bkom0OcCMAAu8oC[1]

Copp will join Jed Ortmeyer and Carl Hagelin as two-year captains since I've been aware of Michigan hockey, and if he drives Michigan back to the tournament with authority he'll end up on my personal Michigan hockey Mount Rushmore with those two gentlemen. (Shawn Hunwick is the fourth.) I don't mean for this to turn into another discussion of Mount Rushmores like twitter was inexplicably doing a month back. Just let it go. No Rushmores.

OHL draft update. It was not a dramatic year for Michigan in the OHL draft, as every one of their commitments was picked in the late flier range. With James Sanchez's commitment to the NTDP, three of their four commits will be on the U17s next year. The NTDP contract has a financial penalty for early departure, so the window OHL teams have will be very small. It's not impossible, but generally NTDP guys who defect are staring down top-ten draft picks and decided they don't have to play school or are terrified by the prospect of competing with Shawn Hunwick.

Michigan's three gentlemen are highly regarded, but not in that range. They're probably safe, except for the whole looming Berenson retirement thing. But there's nothing you can do about that.

Simple, but more complicated. Morris on the differences between Nussmeier and Borges:

"We have to know a lot more this year. We have to know what lineman do on every play, who the back blocks on every play so we know who our (hot routes) are; stuff like that. It's definitely helping us out and making us more aware of the defense."

Morris, who completed 5-of-11 passes for 73 yards on Saturday, summed up the changes as "having to study defenses more" and knowing "the ins and outs of every play."

As long as there is less stuff this can work out, and it sounds like there's less stuff. Hopefully more stuff than Morris claims, though:

What's hoped for is improvement via simplification. Under Borges, the Wolverines struggled in an intricate, extensive offense.

Nussmeier's offense is the converse.

"That's how every coach should be," Morris said. "The stuff we run, we want to be perfect. I think Vince Lombardi, when he was coaching the Packers, they ran about three plays, but they ran them perfectly. That's why they won. That's what we're trying to do this year."

I want my amount of stuff porridge to be just right. Last year was too hot, and that would be too cold. But after last year we might have to settle for dully banging face for uninspiring yardage.

/rolls eyes, makes wanking gesture. If that's bolded I must be talking about Jason Whitlock.

"I'm not a big Shane Morris guy, Devin Gardner struggles during adversity," Whitlock said. "Devin Gardner handles adversity worse than others, in my opinion. …

"I don't want to beat the kid up, but that play against Michigan State when he's one yard away from a first down and he fell down," Whitlock recalled. "When you're a competitor and the leader of the team, that doesn't happen."

…which is probably why he threw for 451 yards on a broken foot against Ohio State. We could extrapolate from one play on which he made a mental error, or we could look at a season in which he was massacred weekly and still came out until—in fact after—his body literally would not let him.

It's a miracle Whitlock's made it as far as he has in the world without ever being even on the same planet as correctness.

Okay? Jeff Goodman flings Caris LeVert on his Way Too Early First-Team All-American list($). There's not much content and Goodman claims LeVert is a "terrific defender," which he's not yet…

G Caris LeVert, 6-6, Jr., Michigan
Stats:
12.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.9 apg
Nik Stauskas made the huge jump last season, and look for LeVert to do it next year. He's long, can score in a variety of ways and is also a terrific defender.

…but we have officially reached the point where people in the media point at a random Michigan player and expect him to morph into a beast because John Beilein. Michigan's actually got three candidates to make this morph—LeVert, Walton, and Irvin—who are sorta kinda making freshman to sophomore leaps. (LeVert is not but is very young for his grade.)

Yes please. The Northwestern union ruling is far from final but if things go like it looks like they're going to go—every time the NCAA runs up a judge these days the judge goes LOL NO—major changes are coming. If it does go the CAPA route, things will get interesting because public schools are going to be beholden to state law, not the NLRB. Ohio seeks to disadvantage itself:

COLUMBUS, Ohio — College athletes in Ohio would not be considered employees under state law, under changes to the state’s budget review made by a legislative committee on Monday.

Michigan, meanwhile, has what I'm pretty sure are strong grad student and lecturer unions. They are emphatically extant, at the least. It'll probably take Ohio one look at the stuff Michigan is handing their athletes to reverse course here, but never underestimate human stupidity.

Why bother with an early signing period? The entire concept of the "signing period" is uselessly anachronistic, but people keep trying to fix it by introducing early signing or late signing or whatever. Bylaw Blog's John Infante is the latest:

An early signing period should be in early December. It should be as close to the end of the regular season as possible to minimize the effect on bowl preparation. That means the Wednesday after conference championship games are played. This is one week earlier than the current initial signing date for midyear junior college transfers. The signing period would be open for one week; it would include prospects enrolling that January and the following fall.

There's no reason to have a signing day at all, but it's now a TV event so it will persist forever and ever amen. There is a way to both ease the burden on coaches and players who have come to an agreement: provide a non-binding letter of intent. Players can sign it at any time and withdraw it at any time. Once they sign it other coaches can't contact them and they can't take officials except to the school they signed with. They have to make it official on signing day.

That system would provide players a way to opt out of the recruiting process whenever they wanted without locking them in if their coach gets whacked. Importantly for its chances of passage, it reduces workload for coaches, who no longer have to babysit their commits so hard and have a more limited range of poaching options.

People are just in charge of things, part LXVII. You may remember Rutgers AD Julie Hermann from such events as "it is revealed that Rutgers, reeling from a scandal in which it was revealed that their basketball coach was a violent psychopath, hires person claimed to be violent psychopath by former players, then experiences mass football decommitment spree after football coach is claimed to be violent psychopath." And then nothing else because Rutgers.

Hermann is now back in the news, which can't be good.

“If they’re not writing headlines that are getting our attention, they’re not selling ads – and they die,” Hermann told the Media Ethics and Law class. “And the Ledger almost died in June, right?”

“They might die again next month,” a student said.

“That would be great,” she replied. “I’m going to do all I can to not give them a headline to keep them alive.”

Good job, good effort, Hermann.

I'd say the stink of Rutgers would harm the image of the Big Ten, but… hey, yeah we're a basketball conference now. The stink of Rutgers will harm the image of the Big Ten.

AND STAY OUT. The greatest collapse in NBA GM history is complete, as Joe Dumars will resign after creating the unlikeliest NBA champion in recent history, a team that was a bounce or two away from a second title. Then he traded Chauncey Billups for a broken-down Allen Iverson and spent the money saved on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, at which point it was over.

Eventually Dumars started making decisions seemingly to spite Pistons fans; aside from the fortune of having a franchise center slide to him in the draft there is literally no good thing Dumars has done since he broke bad with Iverson. The Pistons have been stuck in NBA purgatory, never any good but never bad enough to secure one of the top picks in the draft. This year's desperate attempt to get into the playoffs secured them the worst three point shooter in NBA history on a team with two promising young bigs. And of course, Trey Burke. Though Burke's not shooting well this year the difference made by his presence in Utah's lineup is obvious in their record. The guy Dumars picked over him picked up three consecutive trillions.

But you know what they always say: when you can draft a guy who dragged his team to a .500 SEC record you gotta do it.

Anyway, Dumars dug his own grave and I'm mad at him for… uh… being the dumbest person. But at one point he was a genius, so thanks for that.

Etc.: We're the saddest. Bacon on the Northwestern ruling. Wisconsin players have contempt for the NCAA. Josh Furman will spend his grad year at Oklahoma State.