Unverified Voracity Bangs Nonexistent Pads

Unverified Voracity Bangs Nonexistent Pads Comment Count

Brian May 16th, 2018 at 3:57 PM

I'd probably ask for this at my wedding, too. It just makes sense.


You might have to watch the Nets? Jonathan Givony's post-lottery mock draft includes one Moe Wagner at #29:

The Nets don't have much in the way of shooting in the frontcourt and aren't really committed to any 4s or 5s long term besides promising rookie Jarrett Allen and the dead-weight contract of Timofey Mozgov.

Wagner brings floor spacing and a high-energy style of play. He was one of the breakout players of March, leading Michigan to a Big Ten title and a surprise run to the NCAA championship game.

The Raptors have traded that pick to the Nets, so that would mean Caris Levert, Nik Stauskas, and Wagner were all… uh… Nets. Since mock drafts are deadly accurate, NY-based Michigan grads should buy their season tickets now.

This is not a layup-focused point guard. IA PG DJ Carton's latest highlight video is mostly nasty contested dunks.

Michigan hasn't had a PG who dunked regularly since… Darius Morris? Except he couldn't really get to the rim?

Who needs long twos? Bart Torvik tracks a remarkable drop in non-rim twos over just a few years:

I preferred our previous ignorance about Crisler's scorer, because back in those innocent days I could point out that Michigan's defensive renassaince was in no small part because they were elite at forcing non-rim twos. Now I can only suspect that. Now I know that some part of that is a home scorer who thinks only uncontested dunks or layups are "at the rim."

Well, yeah. A slice of life from All Or Nothing:

One of the more telling sequences from Amazon’s behind-the-scenes look at Michigan’s 2017 season came during the Wolverines’ 42–13 loss at Penn State. After another failed drive, Michigan quarterback John O’Korn came to the sideline. “No blocking,” O’Korn told Harbaugh. “There’s no blocking.”

Andy Staples inserts that into a piece about Shea Patterson's attempt to save Michigan's offense. I do have an issue with Staples citing raw yards per carry numbers from Michigan's less successful outings on the ground:

Last season, they averaged 2.6 yards a carry against Michigan State, 2.5 yards a carry against Penn State, 1.5 yards a carry against Wisconsin, 2.8 yards a carry against Ohio State and 2.2 yards a carry against South Carolina. That places even more pressure on the quarterback, figuratively (because he’s expected to do it all) and literally (because blocking poorly leads to large humans in the quarterback’s face and the lack of a run game means defenses can dedicate more bodies to covering potential targets).

Once you move sacks to the correct bin, Michigan averaged 3.9, 4.3, 2.2, 4.6, and 2.9 YPC in those games, which is not good but is a considerably more accurate evaluation than sack-included numbers for the #117 pass pro team in the country.

And Staples gets the causation backwards in his final hypothetical. To pick one example from many, here's this site's take after Penn State:

Another thing to note on this one is the safety who eventually tackled Evans: he is rotated back by the motion and spends a second or two reading the play out before barreling downfield. That makes for a good gain instead of good blocks and three yards. The difference between that nine yard gain and this three yard one is evident:

PSU safety to top of screen

PSU also got a DT out there on a stunt, but that's just a thing that happened. It's not a trend. The trend is the safeties firing at Michigan's ground game with impunity. PSU's safety froze on the first one because he didn't know what he was looking at. Once he saw the play once he was able to fire because nobody cares about Michigan's passing game. That's a version of what happened to early Rodriguez offenses where the new stuff would work for a bit and then when the defense had seen it they curled up and died, because they could only do one thing.

Michigan's lack of a passing game stifled their run game, not vice versa. Patterson's worst case scenario is a thousand times better than what Michigan got from the spot a year ago. It'll all go to hell if Michigan can't pass protect better, but Patterson really does solve a swath of Michigan's issues just by being a proven P5 quarteback.

Speaking of. If you can stomach it, James Light highlighted a couple of Michigan's many, many missed opportnities against Ohio State:

Patterson certainly would have won that game, for one.

Can anyone catch up? A Jalen Wilson post-visit interview($) is mostly unrevealing, but he does omit UCLA as a contender and say he's going to commit before his school year starts.  Wilson's visit generated a big Michigan run on the crystal ball, with both Steve Lorenz and Josh Henschke joining various others.

Wilson has as-of-yet unscheduled visits he wants to take to Baylor, Marquette, Oklahoma State, and Kansas. Hopefully those remain vague.

Pitino flips! In the media! The Washington Post has an extensive story on new IU recruit Romeo Langford's college decision featuring one Rick Pitino:

In January 2017, Pitino said, two Adidas officials met with him to discuss their efforts to keep Nike and Under Armour from landing Langford, whom Pitino was recruiting. Pitino’s account was supported by text messages he shared with The Washington Post for a previous story.

“The way they phrased it, it was [whichever shoe company] was going to pay the dad’s AAU program the most money, gets it,” Pitino said in a recent phone interview. A few days later, Adidas’s league added a new team: Twenty Two Vision, featuring Romeo Langford on the court and Tim Langford as team director. Shoe company sponsorships can reach $100,000 to $150,000, and team directors who limit expenses can pay themselves salaries from those amounts.

“That’s the way that world works,” Pitino said. “Which is completely legal, by the way.”

This space is in full heighten the contradictions mode about college basketball and welcomes any and all revelations about how ineffectual the NCAA's attempts to prevent money from flowing to folks with marketable skills are. A pissed-off Rick Pitino napalming everyone he can in the Washington Post is a boon for everyone.

Etc.: A Villanova rematch looms.


The Enigma

The Enigma Comment Count

Ace April 5th, 2017 at 12:01 PM

Unorthodox. [Eric Upchurch, Marc-Gregor Campredon, Joseph Dressler]

Zak Irvin made six hundred field goals at Michigan. Each one seemed like a minor miracle.

I say this out of admiration. Pick up a basketball, head to the park, and try to replicate Irvin's shot. To do this, stand pigeon-toed while holding the basketball low and in front of you like a hot casserole just out of the oven; with your hands on the sides of the ball, swing it above your head on a path that passes by your left front pocket; as the ball rises in front of your face, rotate your hands so your shooting hand is under the ball; lock your elbows at a 90-degree angle; flick your wrist to release at the apex of your jump; hold your follow-through at a 45-degree angle. It'll look something like this:

You won't make it. Certainly not the first time, and probably not on the hundredth, either.

Perhaps it shouldn't have been a surprise that Irvin's career was for a long time defined by its inconsistency.

After Irvin's freshman year, it was difficult to keep expectations in check. On a 2013-14 team loaded with NBA talent, he excelled in the role of unabashed gunner off the bench. He hoisted 146 three-pointers and made 43% of them, seamlessly replacing Nik Stauskas, who'd become the team's star, as the instant offense freshman who promised a whole lot more in the future. 

Irvin's game, however, was extremely limited. He recorded all of 13 assists in 37 games. His defensive rebound rate was lower than Spike Albrecht's. Nearly 75% of his shots came from beyond the arc; according to hoop-math, all ten of his makes at the rim were assisted.



The Midrange Game: Zak Irvin Vs. Everyone Else

The Midrange Game: Zak Irvin Vs. Everyone Else Comment Count

Ace November 19th, 2014 at 4:00 PM

You may have noticed, especially during the second half of Monday's thumping of Bucknell, that Michigan's offense has looked a little different this season. This season's shot chart, via Shot Analytics, puts it in picture form (green dots are makes, red misses):

A little over 34% of Michigan's shots this season have come from midrange, compared to just over 25% last season. It's not a good change, either; midrange jumpers are by nature the game's most inefficient, and the Wolverines are hitting just 33% of such shots this season, down from 39% in 2013-14. A higher volume and lower efficiency is obviously not a good thing.

A closer look reveals that there may be something here worth sticking with, however. With the usual sample size caveats applying, here's a simple breakdown of what's working and what's not:

(If you're wondering why it looks like a three is included in Irvin's chart, he had a foot on the line.)

Simply put, Zak Irvin is working, and a look at the tape reveals that this may be no fluke, especially since Irvin wasn't bad on midrange elbow jumpers last season (8/19). Here are all of Irvin's midrange attempts from this season:

He's getting these shots primarily in two ways: catch-and-shoot jumpers (3/3) and step-ins when defenders overplay his outside shot (2/4). The aborted drive to the rim off a curl-cut stands as the exception, not the rule.

[Hit THE JUMP for a look at why the rest of the team isn't shooting like Irvin, as well as a picture pages of how M is getting Irvin good midrange looks.]


Reinforce The Rafters

Reinforce The Rafters Comment Count

Brian March 3rd, 2014 at 11:04 AM

3/1/2014 – Michigan 66, Minnesota 56 – 21-7, 13-3, guaranteed share of Big Ten title


He moved it with his mind [Eric Upchurch]

Let us recalibrate ourselves.

I'm 34. Growing up, it was expected that Michigan won things. In football. And therefore in everything else, because football is everything except at, like, Kansas. (Kansas hired Charlie Weis on purpose. Basketball focus is kind of a disease.) That bled into other things, and then success was expected. This Is Michigan.

Success is still expected, in rhetoric and increasingly anachronistic Michigan-directed hate from fanbases around the Big Ten. Rivalry things I get. I don't get Iowa being livid about everything after taking five of six because of Bo, basically. Even after the key thing was eminently humbled, the new guy came in saying This Is Michigan, and yours truly and everyone else ate it up.

But the reality is that Michigan is in an increasingly demographically unfavored situation, waiting until water scarcity and global warming drives the people back into its bosom. Reputation and momentum worked in tandem to forestall the impact of these trends, and then: kaboom. First basketball, then football, and then sort of but pretty much hockey.

The dominion of Michigan is increasingly hard to see sustained. There is a lot of money and fanbase and these things should keep them above middling; Michigan fans expect any program fielded to be mentioned in the same breath with the elites. We are ill prepared to deal with anything but, what with infinite bowl streak that still defines our self-perception. 13 years into the post-Cooper era at OSU and it still feels like a cruel surprise.

Here's the thing.

Birthright fandom kind of sucks. You expect thing X and you must have thing X and anything slightly short of thing X is terrible. Being around OSU fans talking epic crap about every slightly deficient player on their team is both revelatory and probably a glimpse into what I thought in the immediate vicinity of 1997. See Kentucky basketball.

Hoping not to die is more fun. Ask an MSU fan about this, in re: Rose Bowl.

These things are inevitable historical trends that catch entire fanbases up and cannot be resisted. Success begets the expectation of more of that. What I am saying is that Michigan is now a hope-not-to-die set of programs with a birthright fanbase. We should recalibrate ourselves, for good fun.


When Michigan hired John Beilein they hadn't been to an NCAA tournament since 1998, when Robert Traylor and Louis Bullock were team leaders. The year before, Maurice Taylor joined those gentlemen on a team that didn't make it at all; Taylor left for the NBA draft, where the Knicks drafted him because they are the Knicks. He tooled around the NBA for a decade, shooting long twos and flinching from any loose ball that came within three feet of him.


John Beilein hates no one and makes self-depreciating jokes about subs being crazy and brings in Novaks and Burkes and Stauskases and Morgans. It is in fact cute when he loses his mind at the latest refereeing outrage he's been exposed to, even as it seems to get results these days.

He picks out random post-grad point guards from Indiana and leads them to double-digit A:TO ratios, and even when Michigan does happen to have a pile of NBA players on their roster it's by accident and development. Nobody's rushing to give these gentlemen shoe contracts until Beilein (and Alexander and Meyer and Jordan) reconfigure them.

This is one thing. This is a good thing. I supported Beilein's hire because I thought his floor was what he would do at West Virginia and Richmond and wherever he'd ever been, bringing in guys who would outperform recruiting expectations and enter many NCAA tournaments as the team you don't want as a Sweet 16 seed.

Then there is the other thing. Beilein won a Big Ten title with Novak as his power forward, and went to the championship game the next year on the back of a Penn State decommit and an NBA legacy no one really seemed to want. And this year, down both of those first-round draft picks he and his assistants identified and developed, down the one super-blue-chip recruit Beilein has ever acquired, Michigan won the Big Ten. They are just about a lock to win it outright for the first time in almost 30 years.

I know you are inclined because of that drought, and I think I probably don't have to tell many people this thing, but I kind of have to tell myself. This is not normal. This is not something that can be expected. This is not Michigan, not in that sense.

It seems to be Michigan. And the Michigan it posits is a different, bizarre, wondrous thing. Not because of anything inherent. There are places better able to recruit with athletic departments better at creating an environment. This has nothing to do with institutional momentum, because there was none. This is whole cloth, from which they've made three banners in three years. And counting.

This is not This Is Michigan. This is better.


Randomness is random. Very frustrating start from behind the line as Michigan goes 2/12 on mostly high quality looks (there were a couple Stauskas jacks that were tough). Irvin in particular went 0/3 on three must-take shots. But things evened out with a hot streak that saw Michigan finish the game at 39%, just about on their season average.

I was about to start rage-shaking about another impossibly slow offensive start when Michigan kicked it into gear. So there's that.



GRIII doin' things. Figures that as soon as I say Robinson should basically never take anyone off the bounce he starts doing that rather effectively. He drove to the lane and dumped a pass off to Morgan for an and-one. I was all like "urk?" Then he drove Buggs to the baseline and set up Stauskas for the triple in Stauskas/LeVert Corner, and I was like "guuuurk?"

That is real progress. He's had three assists in consecutive games, a feat he only achieved once before this year, against Penn State, and he's generated at least a few of his own shots. It's still a work in progress, as the frustrating turnovers when he brings the ball up indicate, but at least the last four games (averaging 6/9 from two) provide a indication of that progress stuff.

And then there were the usual GRIII-is-destroying-Tokyo things. He re-enacted his game winner against Purdue and brought the house down on 1) a Stauskas alley oop and 2) a bang bang bang transition oop that had me waving myself with an elaborate hat and moaning "mercy!"

I do think he needs to have more impact on the boards on both ends. The OREB/putback after Minnesota had closed in the second half was awesome; it reinforced his ability in that department and the unfortunate rarity of things like that. He's got close to the same athleticism Braden Dawson does (Dawson is thicker) but is nowhere near Dawson's spectacular 13.2 OREB rate.

The zoom in. Ace pointed out that if you zoom in on one of Eric's GRIII-destroys-Tokyo images you get magic:


This contains the Horford/McGary dichotomy, the bench mob going off, Andrew Dakich like crane-kicking a dude, and John Beilein reacting exactly how I did, with a sort of stiff "okay hurray GET BACK ON DEFENSE."

Long twos! Argh! I don't mind a long two with 12 or 10 or 8 seconds on the shot clock. Once the clock gets much under that people start overplaying the shot you have to take, and your chances of finding something super is not great. Even 15 is tolerable. 25 sends me into conniption fits, especially against one of the worst defenses in the Big Ten, and it certainly seemed like Michigan was taking a ton of 'em.

That Stauskas aggressiveness thing does lead to a bunch of questionable shots, and I'm okay with it when the payoff is 3 points at like a 30 or 35 percent rate, two at a 35 or 40 percent rate drives me nuuuuuuts.

The elbow jumpers are fine, the threes are fine, it's just those shots a step inside the line that make me hear Bo Ryan cackling in the background.

Turned that off. Morgan and Horford got beat up a bit early as Elliot Eliason went 4/5 and got another layup that Horford had to foul on (he missed both FTs). And then Eliason ceased existing. Major credit to Morgan for preventing entry passes and ripping down several critical MANBOUNDS late.

Morgan didn't get many opportunities on the offensive end, partially because he had a rough game catching passes and the occasional offensive rebound, but the brief second-half section where Horford came in and got crushed by Mo Walker hammered home how well Morgan was cutting off the things Minnesota was trying to do inside. I am slightly worried that there will be a chemistry breakdown next year without him even if McGary comes back, and while that's probably an irrational fear borne of recent Merritt/Lee and Glendening departures, it is real.

Title chance update! Secured. Win @ Illinois or against Indiana and it's outright.

Seed update. The three seed is now unanimous amongst serious prognosticators. Algorithmic source Crashing The Dance was the last holdout, as it still has Creighton and Iowa State ahead of M, items which do not seem true to humans with good track records. Michigan's chance at a 2 is pretty slim, though. They are not likely to pass Syracuse or Duke, Villanova would have to drop some unexpected games, and Wisconsin is hard to pass with their wins over Florida and UVA. If only Michigan could have gotten six more points against Charlotte and Arizona they'd probably be a one, but alas and alack.


A Deeper Look At GRIII's Offensive Struggles

A Deeper Look At GRIII's Offensive Struggles Comment Count

Ace December 11th, 2013 at 1:35 PM

 Too many of these (Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog)

There's no question Glenn Robinson III is off to a rough start in his sophomore season. Tasked with creating more offense in the absence of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., he's struggled to do so, and his efficiency has plunged—he's shooting 44% from the field after hitting 57% of his shots last year. In Michigan's three losses, representing three of the four toughest teams they've played, he's all but disappeared, and only one of those (Charlotte, against which he played nine minutes before exiting the game after falling on his back) can be explained away by mitigating circumstances.

In a highly recommended stat-based look at Michigan's offensive issues so far this year, UMHoops cited a major reason for GRIII's regression—his lack of attempts at the rim [emphasis mine]:

Last year Robinson attempted 43.5% of his field goals at the rim and converted at a 78% rate. You remember those plays: Trey Burke penetrates and finds Robinson creeping along the baseline for an alley-oop or Robinson leaks out for an easy dunk in transition. Robinson was among the best finishers in the country a year and was the 10th most efficient offensive player in the country because of it.

This year, just 21.4% of Robinson’s field goal attempts have come at the rim. He’s finishing at an improved 88.9% rate but the opportunities aren’t nearly as plentiful. That’s a major problem because that’s what Robinson does best.

Above all else, this is the clear issue with Robinson this year; without Burke—and to a lesser extent, Hardaway—commanding the full attention of opposing defenses, the easy looks that were there last year aren't happening this year, and Robinson's attempts to create his own offense haven't been nearly as effective.

In an effort to expand on this, I went back to the Iowa State game film—the only game in which Michigan faced a quality opponent, GRIII played extensively and commanded at least 15% of the team's possessions, and the opposing defense wasn't face-guarding Nik Stauskas—to see how his shots were created. This is every shot attempt and turnover by Robinson before Michigan was down multiple possessions in the final two minutes; you should see a common thread:

Most of Robinson's attempts are happening in transition, obviously. When Michigan was in their halfcourt offense, he was almost entirely a non-factor. A few more observations from the tape above and this season as a whole after THE JUMP.

[JUMP for stat wonkery, what's not working, and reasons for hope.]


Unverified Voracity Mizzen Fizzen Wizzen Arr

Unverified Voracity Mizzen Fizzen Wizzen Arr Comment Count

Brian January 30th, 2013 at 3:24 PM

HHHHYARRRR! A reminder from BHGP why you should generally root for Iowa basketball:

Jan 27, 2013; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Fran McCaffery during the 2nd half against the Purdue Boilermakers atMackey Arena.   Mandatory Credit: Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Avast! Mizzen the wizzenhench and agglomerate the septicules! NAVAL SPEAK MEANS GET OUT OF MY BANNNNNNNNK

Our good feelings are not helping them reach the tournament, unfortunately.

I dare you to release that Big Ten Network poll, then. In other Big Ten Expansionfiasco news, athletic directors claim that everyone likes having to figure out which division they're in via mnemonic:

"When the Leaders and Legends were first announced, people were like, 'What the heck does that mean?'" said Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner. "I think people are starting to learn it, though. … I don't hear much from fans writing in and saying, 'You've got to change the names now,' or anything like that."

Some ADs, like Barta and Purdue's Morgan Burke, say they actually like the Leaders and Legends monikers.

We have a "faintest praise imaginable" winner. Men responsible for deciding to call something something admit—in public and everything!—that they like what they did. I bet 90% of the people who responded to the BTN's survey Strongly Agreed that "Leaders" and "Legends" were as good an idea as bringing Jim Bollman back to the Big Ten, but Morgan Burke probably likes that too.

Slight pessimism from Evanston. Rodger Sherman is not feeling the Wildcats' chances tonight. Reasons:

Even though Northwestern doesn't help heavily, Northwestern has a tendency of losing shooters: Hey, it's Nik Stauskas! Announcers like to mention that he's "not just a shooter!", because he sometimes does other stuff effectively, but that's like saying Rambo isn't "just an unkillable death machine" because he has lines of dialogue.

Northwestern's best defensive weapon is running the 1-3-1 to throw teams off: MICHIGAN RUNS THE 1-3-1 AND WILL DESTROY IT LIKE THE TASMANIAN DEVIL RUNNING THROUGH ONE OF THOSE BIGASS HAMS WITH THE BONE STICKING OUT OF IT. Even if they didn't run the 1-3-1 and know exactly what to do against it, they're one of the best teams in the nation at not turning the ball over and have a lot of guys who can shoot, so this would be an awful idea.

They do have Reggie Hearn tonight, and unlike last time the Michigan starter who's supposed to be out (Hardaway then, Morgan now) is actually going to be out. Even so, it's an extreme uphill battle that awaits them.

Power rankings. Luke Winn's latest power rankings have Michigan #1, leaping a Jayhawks team that had a close call against West Virginia, and focus on Trey Burke's jumpers off the dribble. Turns out he's good at basketball:


If Michigan wasn't the killer offensive team it is, the step-back twos that rubbed me the wrong way against Illinois might not be bad shots. 124 > 111, so they remain a little frustrating. Especially since there are threes going in at approximately the same rate as the twos mixed into the above chart that prop up the overall PPP.

If you've already run your offense and that's what you've got with five seconds on the clock, it's a great backup option. If you've got other avenues to try, like Nik Stauskas pick and rolls dumping in 1.6 PPP, you should try them.

When I rewatched the Illinois game it did seem that Burke adjusted more quickly than it felt live. He was robbed of a few assists by fouls, fumbles, and Jordan Morgan going down in a heap. Winn includes the step-back at the end of the first half as a GIF, which was both pretty and strategically a better idea than certain other shots since Michigan was holding for the last shot.

Other bits from Winn's power rankings:

  • Tim Hardaway is the nation's second-most-efficient scorer in transition.
  • Burke is ninth when it comes to transition possessions used per 40 minutes, which is pretty impressive given the pace Michigan plays at. I expect to see Arkansas's BJ Young at the top of that ranking; not so much the point guard for a team hovering in the mid-200s of pace rankings.
  • Duke's defense has collapsed without Ryan Kelly.
  • Somewhat indirectly: Winn mentioned a stat put together by TeamRankings that averages offensive and defensive rebounding together to get you an overall rebounding stat. Michigan is outside of the top ten, but only just, at 12th.
    #HotCaochTakes. Jeff Goodman assembles the always-entertaining anonymous opposing coach evaluation article on the Wolverines. Ace points out we have a Not Just A Shooter™ reference:

"Burke, but don't sleep on (Nik) Stauskas. He's not just a shooter. He much more than that. But Burke is the guy for them. You can't shut him down, but you need to find a way to slow him down."

The article is filled with lots of praise and some wishful thinking:

“They're not a very deep team. And if you take away their wide-open shots, and make them execute, that's when they'll struggle.”

“Try to get them in foul trouble. They don't want to have to think about picking up an early foul or two.”

The equivalent of telling someone you're going to stop the run when that run comes from Alabama: easier said than done. There's also a lot of stuff about how they are either tough enough or not as tough as last year. Winning ugly and that.

It is a concern, IME. Take that Nebraska game and make the opponent a Michigan State or a Wisconsin and I can see things going down to the wire.

Er. Nyet. GRIII is up to 18th on Chad Ford's NBA draft board. That's a rise from 25th and starting to get into that guaranteed-first-round area that gets scary. Ford still acknowledges he could benefit from another year:

Robinson is still scratching the surface as a basketball player. But his elite athletic ability (YouTube his 360 dunk versus Minnesota last week), rebounding ability and improved shooting touch all have scouts drooling. If teams are looking for a player who could be a home run down the road, Robinson could easily end up in the lottery. He's not ready yet, but all the pieces are there.

Hardaway doesn't show up in Ford's first round or his "next five in," FWIW.

Etc.: Top tailbacks seem to have two outcomes: great and headcase. I'll take those chances when the average NFL draft slot is a second-rounder. Kenpom continues crusade to have three-point defense recognized as pretty dang random. Michigan State is not their usual selves this year.

Ten Year War II hype? Ten Year War II hype. Also, more Ten Year War II hype, indirectly.

Hockey : (


Preview: Purdue

Preview: Purdue Comment Count

Ace January 24th, 2013 at 4:23 PM


WHAT Purdue at Michigan
WHERE Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan
WHEN 7:00 PM Eastern, Thursday
LINE Michigan –17 (Kenpom)

Right: From 2010: "Purdue is redesigning their mascot, after many complaints about scared children." Incredibly, this did not go well, and the old Pete is still terrorizing young and old alike.


Purdue came to Ann Arbor for last year's Senior Night and spoiled Michigan's chances at an outright Big Ten title. While this Michigan outfit has markedly improved from last year's version, the Boilermakers have gone in the opposite direction without Robbie Hummel, Lewis Jackson, and Ryne Smith.

6'2" guard Terone Johnson, Purdue's leading scorer, takes over 27% of the team's shots when he's on the floor, and they aren't all good ones: according to hoop-math, 52% of his shots are two-point jumpers, of which he makes just 33%. He's a decent finisher around the basket and can knock down threes (35.2%), but shot selection is obviously an issue, one exacerbated on a team lacking viable shot creators. His overall efficiency is salvaged somewhat by a healthy number of assists and a low turnover rate, at least.

Freshman starting point guard Ronnie Johnson has much the same statistical profile as older brother Terone—right down to 52% of his shots being two-point jumpers, of which he makes 33%—except with a high turnover rate. Oh, and he's shooting 3-for-26 on three-pointers this year. Efficient, he is not. 

Rounding out the starting backcourt is 6'5" guard Raphael Davis, though he's only playing about 35% of the team's minutes. Davis is one of the team's most effective shooters, hitting 56% of his twos and going 5-for-13 from downtown, and he's also a solid defensive rebounder. For some reason, he doesn't play more—I'm guessing because he also struggles with turnovers.

6'5" senior DJ Byrd is listed as a guard/forward but spends nearly all his time on the perimeter—70% of his shots come from beyond the arc. After hitting 43% of his threes last year, Byrd is down to 36.5% this season as defenses are able to devote far more attention to him. He's not much of a rebounder on either end despite playing the four at times.

Seven-footer AJ Hammons has quietly put together one of the best freshman campaigns in the conference, averaging a hair over ten points in 23 minutes per game while doing solid board work on both ends. He's very effective around the basket, where he hits 75% of his shots, but like the Johnson brothers often settles for too many two-point jumpers—those comprise 56% of his shots, and he's hitting them at a 35% rate. On the defensive end, Hammons is a very good shot-blocker and a major reason why Purdue boasts the conference's best two-point defense (39.3 2P% allowed).

6'3" sixth man Anthony Johnson is not related to the two starters of the same name, but he joins the low-efficiency party anyway, connecting on 42.7% of his twos and 24.2% of his threes. Forwards Jacob Lawson, Donnie Hale, and Travis Carroll provide good size off the bench (all are in the 6'8"-6'9" range). Lawson is a stellar defensive rebounder and decent finisher around the hoop. Carroll doesn't hit the defensive boards hard but rebounds well on offense and has started the season 15-for-21 from the field. Hale doesn't rebound at all and has hit 27 of his 69 shots this year, so naturally he gets more minutes than Carroll and is a higher-usage player than Lawson.


The Boilermakers went just 7-6 in non-conference play, with their lone KP100 win coming on the road against #65 Clemson. Other games against KP100 teams didn't go so well, with losses to Bucknell and Xavier at home and Villanova and Notre Dame at neutral sites. They also lost at Eastern Michigan, a team Michigan destroyed to the tune of 39 points.

Purdue does have a 3-2 record in the Big Ten, including a seven-point win at home over Illinois, but wins over Penn State and Nebraska are nothing to write home about. Michigan State crushed them by 23 at Breslin, while Ohio State pulled away late at Purdue for a ten-point margin.


Four factors, now conference-only (small sample, yes, but numbers are equally skewed by various cupcakes on the non-conference schedule):

  eFG% Turnover % Off. Reb. % FTA/FGA
Offense 45.4 (8) 16.3 (4) 35.6 (3) 30.4 (8)
Defense 43.7 (3) 15.7 (12) 32.5 (8) 24.8 (2)

Offensively, Purdue doesn't shoot the rock well, but they manage a just-below-average offense thanks to offensive rebounding and not turning the ball over. They're hitting their threes in Big Ten play (37.7%) but the numbers inside the arc are ugly (42.6%) and they've been terrible from the line (54.4 FT%(!)).

Strong interior defense has been a constant for the Boilermakers, as their impressive 2P% against has held steady from non-conference to conference play. Big Ten opponents have caught fire from outside, but Purdue actually allows the second-fewest attempts in the conference, so that is likely a fluke.


Don't give Byrd open looks. The only way I see Michigan losing this game is if Purdue catches fire from downtown, and Byrd is their best outside shooter. He's seen his shooting percentage plummet (albeit from "ridiculous" to merely "quite good") now that defenses don't have to worry about Robbie Hummel and Ryne Smith lighting them up from the outside; if Michigan devotes the same level of attention as Purdue's previous opponents, they should be able to limit his output.

Forego post touches. Brian has covered in detail why Michigan doesn't need to try and establish their post players as back-to-the-basket scoring threats, and with Hammons patrolling the paint this isn't the game to try and do that, anyway. Expect the centers to spend much of the night setting picks as the Wolverines try to draw Hammons away from the basket—if they can get a few ticky-tack fouls on him, that's a bonus.

Cede the jumper to anyone named Johnson. The numbers speak for themselves. Michigan should be able to get their transition game going given the volume of jump shots that Purdue usually misses. Terone Johnson pulling up from 18 feet, as he is wont to do, is about as likely to result in a Michigan basket going the other way as it is one for Purdue.

Get Stauskas going again. Just for my own sanity, it'd be nice to see Mr. Swag crack 50% from downtown after struggling in the last couple games.


Michigan by 17.

I'll stick to KenPom here with that kind of a margin. As stated above, Purdue's proclivity for taking—and missing—the worst shot in basketball should spark more than a couple fast break opportunities. If Michigan can find a way to score inside the arc—and we're talking about the nation's best offense by a decent margin here—they should be able to run away with this one.


UMHoops preview. Maize & Brew preview. Purdue perspective from Hammer & Rails:

As much as I would love to say I have a good feeling about this game (and I kind of do), realistically it is hard to see us winning this. Maybe later on in West Lafayette if everything goes right Purdue can stun them, but we're asking a team that is still very young to go into Ann Arbor and knock off one of the best teams in the country. I think it only happens if Hammons stays out of foul trouble while delivering a 20-10-5 game, Davis or TJ also has a big game, and Purdue hassles them into an uncharacteristically bad game.

BoilerTMill predicts a 15-point Michigan win despite the admitted optimism.


Dion Harris On The Other Foot

Dion Harris On The Other Foot Comment Count

Brian January 10th, 2013 at 1:08 PM

1/9/2013 – Michigan 62, Nebraska 47 – 16-0, 3-0 Big Ten


on mah grind (Bryan Fuller)
also note all five Nebraska players are in this shot looking at Burke

Yesterday's game was an ugly slow-it-down slugfest that brought one particular game to mind: Michigan's matchup with that 2005 Illinois team everyone brings up when they attempt to put this year's offense in historical context. The Illini were 23 games undefeated, Michigan was 3-6 in the league and so injury-wracked that walk-ons Sherrod Harrell, Ashtyn Bell, and John Andrews got 51 minutes between them. Collectively they attempted three shots.

Michigan's strategy consisted of taking the air out of the ball, giving it to Dion Harris with the shot clock winding down, and vaguely hoping. It darn near worked. Michigan kept contact the whole night, leading at points, and eventually went down to a narrow six-point defeat. It was an extreme underdog kind of strategy willing to trade possession-to-possession efficiency for increased variance, because over time Michigan was just going to die.

Better to up the randomness: no turnovers, no transition buckets, all half-court jump shots which can do things like rim out. If basketball had innings, you'd lose by more, on average. It doesn't.

So Nebraska came out determined to make this basketball game an exercise in half-court blithering. Michigan obliged, clanking a series of threes and free throws. They were never really threatened and pulled away for a comfortable win at the end—more comfortable than those amazing Illini, by some distance. By the end they'd fallen a few points short of Kenpom/Vegas, understandable in a game with a mere 57 possessions. By comparison, Michigan's only other game in the 50s this year was Binghamton. Give them the extra ten opportunities at the basket they had against Iowa or Northwestern, and change the tempo of the game to get them, and… well, yeah.

This is what it's like to be the overdog against a team that knows they're nowhere near your level. The opponent tries to whittle down the time and opportunities you have to display your superiority, and when your keep coming up craps on your shots things get a little sticky. This game serves as a reminder that the great hand of fate is waiting to crush you, but shouldn't impact expectations going forward much, if at all.

Anyway, bullets:

Redundant Bullets Header Section

Photos. From Bryan Fuller:

Concerns: do we have them should we have them what? Yeah, a couple. One: Michigan had only six assists on 21 makes. At times it seemed like too much of the offense was guys going one on one. Maybe that was just Nebraska's defensive philosophy? I don't recall much help defense or switching. Six is a really low number, though, and I don't think that was all on shots that usually go down not doing so.

Two: Nebraska was able to keep their turnovers way down (just six). Turnover avoidance is the only bright spot on their offense, so again this may be part of their extreme underdog philosophy. It would be nice to have a defense that could pick up steals to spur Michigan's excellent transition offense; at this point that does not seem to be in the cards.

Pounding the glass. Michigan's offense actually reached a respectable 1.1 PPP by the game's end despite subpar shooting everywhere because they had their usual lack of turnovers and they pounded the offensive boards. Michigan grabbed 41% of their misses, with three to each of the frontcourt guys (McGary, Morgan, Robinson) and a whopping five "team" offensive rebounds that IIRC were mostly Mitch McGary being a possession-generating animal. Like that one where he was roaring out of bounds and flung it off a Nebraska player. That's probably a "team" rebound.

Because of that, McGary's impact on the box score was considerably lower than I expected it would be after watching the game: 1/4 shooting, three OREB, three DREB, a block, a steal, 18 minutes. That looks like not much, but my eyes are all like "he is rounding into form as a monster possession-generator." Back to back with the Iowa game it's exciting to see him round into a guy who makes an impact whenever he hits the floor, which he will do literally at times. Frequently, even. I bet he dives at squirrels on the Diag if they're orange enough.

8365486645_c119789620_b[1]UHN. Tweet of the night:

Chantel Jennings@ChantelJennings

Remember when Zack Novak won the Michigan dunk contest?

Tweet of the night #2:


I feel like I just watched a Michigan State football game

Tweet of the night #3, in response to #2:


@Bry_Mac Let's make T Shirts!! #WhataGame

[ed: reference to this]

Tweet of the night #4, in re: Minnesota:


Please write your own term papers, please write your own term papers, please write your own term papers... #gophers

And Tweet of the night #5, in re lol:


via Kyle Lenderman

Periodic Hardaway complete player alert. Just one assist in this game, which is not a huge surprise with six total, but made up with an 11-DREB double-double. Nebraska got just 18% of their misses, which is fantastic. Also it is perhaps further evidence of extreme underdog strategy: the Cornpack was so focused on getting back to prevent transition opportunities that there was almost never anyone on the glass.

KNITTING LADIES OF CRISLER, WE SALUTE YOU. A Michigan woman comes prepared for commercial breaks.


yeah you know I made this scarf myself

This is becoming a thing.

Periodic bitching about long twos. Gonna do it: in this game there were several instances in which it seemed a player—Burke and Hardaway generally—passed up a good look at a three for a two just inside the line that was at least as difficult a shot. Burke in particular can get that eighteen footer whenever he wants, so unless the shot clock's under ten keep working.

Also in complaints: it seemed like Nebraska went under screens all night and Burke too frequently allowed them to do this instead of pulling up for the three. No hedge and guy goes under screen means that screen is not disrupting the balance of the defense, and the driving lane isn't great since the guy isn't trying to fight through over the top. I'll take an open three from Burke any time.

Stauskas. I'm watching Stauskas get to the basket and dish impressive assists and wonder a bit about next year. If Burke and Hardaway are gone, isn't he going to be the primary creator on offense? I guess it'll depend on how good Derrick Walton is and how much GRIII develops his handle. Smooth out some of Stauskas's rough edges with an offseason, though, and he's a credible shot creator.

Gauntlet: now. The next month of Michigan's season:

  • @ OSU
  • @ Minnesota
  • Purdue
  • @ Illinois
  • Northwestern
  • @ Indiana
  • OSU
  • @ Wisconsin
  • @ Michigan State

Here it is. Purdue and Northwestern should be slam dunks, and I'm not too worried about Wisconsin no matter where it is this year. Then you've got a couple should-wins (OSU at home, @ Illinois) and the four road games that will decide damn near everything. Win all the should-wins and go 2-2 there and you've got to be feeling good about winning the league. In all likelihood there are three losses in this stretch, though, and it'll come down to holding down home court against Illinois, State, and Indiana to finish out the year.

Ah yup. I've seen this in my twitter feed a half-dozen times but if you don't have it, here's Chris Paul apropos of nothing:

@Trey_Burke3 I see that move u hit em with 2nite #niiiice

Honestly, if Burke went in the top ten would you blink? I would be like "yep."

I regret I only have but one life to give for excessively elaborate charge calls. Ed Hightower is fine after an incident in which, well:


Dustin Johnston/UMHoops 

If there's a purple heart for referees, there shouldn't be one. Also Hightower has it.

Point schedule. Hey, Pitt engrobulated Georgetown 73-45. Fraudmeter: descending. And West Virginia beat Texas.

Last night West Virginia shot 15% on their 3s and 38% on their 2s on the road. And won.

Texas is horrible. Meanwhile, Illinois is all like OH NO NOT AGAIN:

Since Maui, #Illini are shooting just under 32% from 3. Over 1.0 PPP in 4 of 10 games#zerodimensionaloffense

Illinois just crested 1.0 in that OSU game, BTW. They kind of are thrash.


The Kobe Assist: Another Way Trey Burke Is Good At Basketball

The Kobe Assist: Another Way Trey Burke Is Good At Basketball Comment Count

Ace December 11th, 2012 at 2:01 PM

All missed shots are not created equal.

That's the premise of this article by Grantland's Kirk Goldsberry, who examines the work of the NBA's foremost volume shooter, Kobe Bryant, and comes up with a very interesting new statistic. The background [emphasis mine]:

[J]ust like shot outcomes, rebounding outcomes also depend on who is shooting, where they are shooting from, the stratagems of each team, the rebounding abilities of each player, and the precise spatial configuration of the 10 players on the court; as a result, there is a less apparent tenet of basketball: All missed shots are not created equal, and their DNA is inherently dependent upon their ancestral events — some missed shots are good for the defensive team, and some benefit the offense, as many misses actually extend offensive possessions with the proverbial "fresh 24."

Goldsberry coins the name "Kobe Pass" for any shot that is rebounded by the offense—an individual statistic for the shooter, as offensive rebounds is obviously a stat that exists. This leads to the "Kobe Assist":

In fact, league-wide, 34 percent of the time Kobe passes results in points right away because the recipient of the Kobe Pass, a.k.a. the offensive rebounder, frequently scores immediately after acquiring the basketball. In such cases, I define the Kobe Assist as an achievement credited to a player or a team missing a basket that in a way leads directly to the kind of field goal generally referred to as a put-back, tip-in, or follow.

In case you haven't caught on, Kobe Bryant is the master of the Kobe Assist, putting up the best numbers even before the Lakers brought in rebounding force Dwight Howard (having Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum helped, of course).

While Kobe Assists depend in no small part on a player's supporting cast—the guys going up for the rebound, especially—there is still an art to their creation. Much of this has to do with where on the floor a player takes his shot; as a general rule, the closer to the basket a shot originates, the more likely an offensive rebound will occur:

There is one notable exception: three-pointers are rebounded at a lightly higher clip than long twos. This is an NBA chart, so the stats for college may be slightly different, but the point remains that long twos are the worst shots in basketball—often a waste of possession not only because of their low-percentage nature and lack of the upside of a potential extra point, but also because they're usually the last shot of a possession.

[Hit THE JUMP to see the best Wolverines at producing Kobe Assists as well as a new advanced metric, adj. points per shot]


Unverified Voracity Has Opinion On Long Twos

Unverified Voracity Has Opinion On Long Twos Comment Count

Brian July 18th, 2012 at 12:14 PM


I really wish you hadn't asked me about that thing, you know, that
I know let's talk about bunnies
I like bunnies they are fun
sometimes I call them funnies

But what will actually happen to Penn State? This space has talked at length about what should happen to Penn State, but what actually will is an open question. NCAA president Mark Emmert certainly made it sound like something is coming down the pipe in an interview with PBS, because, yeah, PBS!

"This is completely different than an impermissible benefits scandal like (what) happened at SMU, or anything else we've dealt with," Emmert told Smiley. "This is as systemic a cultural problem as it is a football problem. There have been people that said this wasn't a football scandal.

"Well, it was more than a football scandal, much more than a football scandal. It was that but much more. And we'll have to figure out exactly what the right penalties are. I don't know that past precedent makes particularly good sense in this case, because it's really an unprecedented problem."

He said that after refusing to dismiss the application of the death penalty out of hand. So… there will be some sort of action. Michael Buckner has been quoted

"Even though there's no authority under the [NCAA manual], I could see President Emmert still proposing to do something," said Michael Buckner, a Florida-based attorney who specializes in sports law. "I could see some kind of sanctions, and Penn State would be hard-pressed to fight it. Imagine Penn State trying to argue that the NCAA doesn't have the authority in the realm of public pressure?"

…stuff is going down.

The Bylaw Blog points out that the NCAA is in a lose-lose situation here, what with New York Times columnists blasting it and demanding Penn State's head on a platter, an advocacy group for athletes has announced it would like Penn State players to be able to transfer without penalty—which everyone learned was automatic when postseason bans got handed down in the USC case—and people of Facebook are not sane.



You will now think "ERMAHGERD" whenever Denard does a Denard thing this fall.

Via EDSBS and /r/cfb. Explanation.

Michigan hockey summer: the funnest summer. I think we thought we were out of the woods after losing Chris Brown to Phoenix and Connor Carrick to a bout of insanity, but it seems like Merrill is not 100% to return based on this NHL.com article:

"I'm happy with the way my game has developed," Merrill said. "Everything they do at Michigan, I stand by, and have no complaints. If I go back to school, I can develop in a great university and if I leave, I'm in a great organization like New Jersey; so it's a win-win."

Michigan coach Red Berenson, who left Michigan after his junior year to play with the Montreal Canadiens, has traditionally encouraged players to remain in school rather than signing minor-league contracts. The Devils don't seem to be pressing Merrill on the issue.

"It's undecided right now," Lamoriello said. "He's here for the week and we'll sit down at the end of the week."

It does sound like all parties are leaning towards Merrill's return, but Michigan hockey + summer  == doom.

Berenson exit imminent. Not like, imminent-imminent, but Red said he's probably not going to have another contract after this one:

“I mean let’s face it, I’ll be 76 when this contract is over. So I would say it’s the last contract,” Berenson said. “In theory, you would say this will be the last contract. I would be surprised if there would be another one after this.”

…“The way I look at it, I’m not picking a goal or a situation to retire. The thing I’m looking at is what’s good for our program, are we moving forward, are we competitive, are we living up to the expectations of Michigan and are we one of the dominant players in college hockey?” Berenson said.

When Red does retire I think it's time to put his name on the building. Something, anyway.

"More?" An Alabama legend called out Auburn for its dirty recruiting tactics after GA LB Rueben Foster ostentatiously flipped from 'Bama to AU recently. He might want to pick his words better:

“Because Reuben was paid more (by Auburn) than Alabama was willing to pay him. We got boosters out there that weren’t willing to pay Reuben Foster and boosters willing to pay him in Auburn.”

Where rebounds go. An analytics company has found out and put together a cool flash application so you can see where rebounds go off NBA shots.


Morals of the story:

  • They mostly go long.
  • Boy, people try a lot of layups.
  • Offensive rebounds are far more common on those layup attempts than anything else.
  • Long twos are horrible, horrible shots: there are a couple zones beyond the arc near the corners. Threes from the corners go in at a 36.6% rate. Step inside the line and it's a 37.6 rate for one less point. The differences are greater from what I'll call the Aarghaway zone but still very slim: long twos around the top of the key go in at just under 39%; threes from the top going at around 33%. These are NBA numbers and can't be directly transported to the college game but since the main difference is that a chunk of the long two space in the NBA is worth three in college I'd guess those shooting percentages are even more compressed.

Long twos are horrible! Long twos are hoooooorrrrrrible! Long twos with 25 seconds on the shot clock are grounds for a civil lawsuit based on pain and suffering!

I dislike long twos.

[Via @kjonthebanks]

And nevermind all that also. Nevermind all the thats. Raising the bowl eligibility threshold to 7-5 has seemed like a thing that would happen for a while now, but now the Big Ten is backing off of that, too:

Delany said he has “heard from friends in different parts of the country, some of the major conferences, that they are in favor of (keeping it at) six. I suggested that maybe there’s middle ground. If a program hasn’t been to a bowl in five years … it’s an exciting thing.”

As long as the bowls at the bottom are prevented from acting as parasites on college football, whatever. The existence of the Illinois-UCLA Fight Hunger Bowl is at worst an opportunity to launch zingers… as long as those two schools aren't forking over 500k for tickets they know they can't sell.

Additional doo-dad. It must be fun being a Big Ten athletic director these days. Every year the conference is like "whoops, forgot to give you these three million dollars," the Rose Bowl is suddenly worth triple what it was, the Big Ten Network is steadily increasing in value, and maybe the guy before you built a giant cash factory on top of the football stadium. MSU doesn't even have the last item in that list (or at least hasn't added it recently) and they've been dumping money into football. An ESPN article recently boggled at the money Indiana is flat-out burning in a futile attempt to keep up with the meekest and most humble of the Joneses by way of noting that everyone in college football is building everything.

One of many results at Michigan:

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon is putting forward a proposal to the school's Board of Regents on Thursday asking for $2.8 million for an "informational marquee" that can be viewed from Stadium Boulevard. The plan is to use "visual and audio technology" for information on upcoming events and welcoming guests to the facilities.

I'm a little leery about audio being included in this thing but whatever. It'll be a big billboard type thing on Stadium that will announce things. It costs money, and it is being done because it can be.

Etc.: Red signs three-year extension, as expected. Syracuse fans are sad about leaving the Big East. CHN on the Kitchener nuisance lawsuit. M seems to lead for 2015 IN G Chandler White. Obviously a long way out there. Scouting the Adidas Invitational. Zak Irvin scouting video.