Initial Thoughts On Oregon

Initial Thoughts On Oregon

Submitted by Brian on March 22nd, 2017 at 12:38 PM

Oregon Ducks forward Chris Boucher (25) jumps to block the shot of Baylor Bears forward Johnathan Motley (5). The No. 25 Oregon Ducks take on the No. 20 Baylor Bears at Matthew Knight Arena on Nov. 11, 2015. (Adam Eberhardt/Emerald)

Boucher tore his ACL in the Pac-12 tournament

The absent man. Oregon post Chris Boucher is a major, major loss for the Ducks. Boucher played 20 minutes a game with excellent shooting (63/35) on high-ish usage; he has a top-ten block rate nationally; he is an excellent rebounder. In the three games since he went out, Oregon's given up

  • 1.19 PPP against Arizona, the #17 Kenpom offense,
  • 1.10 PPP against Iona, the #69 Kenpom offense, and
  • 1.13 PPP against Rhode Island,  the #59 Kenpom offense.

That looks like a major step back for a team with an adjusted D efficiency of 0.95 PPP.

In the aftermath, smallball. Oregon was already an up-and-down team playing one big, and now they are more so. 6'9" Jordan Bell is a terrific athlete who replicates most of what Boucher brings to the table except three-point shooting. With Boucher out, 6'11" Kavell Bigby-Williams is getting about 15 minutes a game as Bell's backup. Those are all the players taller than 6'7" with more than spot playing time.

This is kind of what they were doing before and now they're all-in on it. If that sounds like a recipe for more transition, you are correct. A quarter of Oregon shots come in the first ten seconds of the shot clock, which is a near-Oklahoma-State level of pushing the ball. Meanwhile their eFG% is a deadly 64%—exactly the same as Michigan. Their points are split about evenly between rim runs and three-pointers.

Stop me if you've heard this before: stopping transition is Michigan's #1 job in this game. Oregon goes from lethal from behind the arc (44%) to meh (36%) if you can just get them into the latter two thirds of the shot clock. Their eFG% plunges 11 points to 53%.

For what it's worth, Michigan could not prevent Oklahoma State from getting up a ton of transition looks—22 of their 64 shots—but held them to 48% eFG. Oklahoma State was vastly more effective in the halfcourt, ironically.

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[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Shot parity watch. Michigan can expect to win most games during which they take the same number of shots as their opponent does, and Oregon is no exception. Michigan's got a good chance to do so—better than they had in the first two games. Even with Boucher Oregon struggled to rebound in Pac-12 play, finishing 9th on the defensive boards and 7th on offense. Over the course of the season they finished 64th nationally on the offensive glass, which is good but a far cry from the two teams Michigan just beat.

It remains to be seen how much Michigan can take advantage of Oregon's middling-to-poor defensive rebounding. On the one hand, Iona(!) rebounded almost 40% of their misses and Rhode Island got 31% of theirs. On the other, Michigan will not be inclined to send extra guys to the boards given Oregon's deadly transition game. If Michigan can draw help defense they'll have an excellent shot to grab an offensive board since anyone rotating down is going to be either a bit shorter or a ton shorter than Wilson and Wagner.

Turnovers should be advantage Michigan. Oregon is good but not great at both ends. Michigan is Oregon's equal at forcing turnovers and is once again elite at preventing them.

DJ meets (hopefully) future DJ, on one end of the floor. Jordan Bell is a putback and roll-man on offense, almost exclusively. On the other end of the floor he is the same kind of versatile defender DJ Wilson is, except better. DX's scouting report on him dubs him an "enforcer," and that's about right:

If Oregon decides to switch everything it is in Michigan's best interest to go after Not Jordan Bell, who's the rare 6'9" guy who can significantly contest a Walton stepback three. Also, if Bell gets switched onto the perimeter Oregon's rim protection evaporates.

With Boucher out Bell has hamblasted the offensive boards. He had 7 against Iona and 6 against Rhode Island as Oregon rebounded about half their misses in both games. After watching Louisville bigs anticipate shots much better than Michigan's counterparts just a few days ago, it seems inevitable that Bell will get 6-10 points on putbacks. C'est la vie.

Bell's offensive game remains rudimentary. As of a month ago, when that DX video went up, he had attempted just 10 two-point jumpers all season. DX's summary of his post game consisted of a couple of tough fadeaways hit over larger personnel. This isn't a bad defensive matchup for Wagner, but Wilson has been occasionally rough when he tries to defend P&R from the five spot, and Bell is not a guy who's easy to recover on if you find yourself out of position.

DJ meets kinda-DJ on the other. Oregon 4 Dylan Brooks is a 6'7" dude with a smooth three-point stroke and the straight line drives that result from guys biting on pull-up three fakes.

That video shows a lot of Brooks exploiting traditional posts or guards who get matched up on him; he's a good player but one who seems like he might be susceptible to the things Wilson is good at right now. Wilson's length gives him the ability to bother pull-up threes without opening up lanes to the basket.

Brooks is also the kind of guy who Zak Irvin has been giving fits for about half the season. (See: Edwards, Vincent and Bridges, Miles.) Brooks will get his; if he does so by taking 20 shots to get 15 points Michigan is in good shape.

Guards! Guards! Sam Vimes veritably infests the roster. The rest of Oregon's rotation ranges from 6'2" to 6'4". Wilson no doubt remembers PG Dylan Ennis:

Wilson went to the bench with an injury after that game and ended up taking a redshirt. Since then circumstances have changed radically for both players. For one, you'll note that Ennis is playing for Villanova in that clip.

At Oregon he's nondescript statistically, with decent outside shooting (37%) propping up an otherwise meh profile. He gets to the rim a lot, where he's bad—52%—but there's a bunch of Jordan Bell Kobe assist potential lurking in those shots.

Tyler Dorsey is Oregon's second best scorer behind Brooks, a 41% three point shooter on excellent volume, who's reasonably effective at the rim. Payton Prichard and Casey Benson, the only reserve, are basically the same player: low usage Just A Shooters who occasionally decide to attack closeouts with middling-at-best results. Both guys assist at a reasonable rate but have TO rates uncomfortably high for gentlemen of their persuasion. Neither is particularly effective inside the arc.

Oregon is a catch and shoot team. Nobody has an appreciable number of unassisted threes other than Dillon, who's hit 15. The rest of the roster collectively has 25—8 fewer than Derrick Walton. This should mean that closeout-mad Michigan can restrict their deep attempts. When Oregon runs pick and roll they are not looking to rise up from any range (only Brooks is 40%+ on two point Js) so Michigan can hedge soft and recover.

Difficult to resist force versus not very moveable object. When Oregon is on offense this is a matchup between the team that takes the fewest two-point jumpers amongst major conference schools and the team that forces the second most*. 19% of Oregon's shots are two point jumpers, because everyone except Brooks is very bad at them. 45% of Michigan's ceded shots are two point jumpers.

Any time an Oregon guy gets run off the three point line and has to pull up that's a win.

*[Baylor passed Michigan this week. /shakes fist.]

Unverified Voracity Pleads Not Guilty To NBA Potato Mailing

Unverified Voracity Pleads Not Guilty To NBA Potato Mailing

Submitted by Brian on March 21st, 2017 at 12:41 PM

This is not me. I wish it was.

It turns out to be a wildly successful marketing stunt for a company that will send you image or message-emblazoned potatoes. This company is inexplicably not based in Ohio. The best thing to come out of this is the Wall Street Journal giving the headshot treatment to Dirk's tuber:

HC-GV055_Potato_G_20170319181518

Twitter did not find this nearly as amazing as I did, but rest assured this is incredibly entertaining.

Oregon: good matchup? The WaPo's Neil Greenberg seems to think so. He's using extremely small sample sizes, but given Chris Boucher's absence that's less unfortunate than it usually is. Transition is a major Oregon focus and Michigan's stepped up their stinginess:

In transition, Michigan has allowed opponents to score 39.1 percent of the time in the tournament, an improvement over their regular-season performance (46.3 percent) and a potential stumbling block for Oregon, who has scored almost two-thirds of the time in transition (63.6 percent) against their first two opponents. No other remaining tournament team has had better results on the break. Take that element away from Oregon, and it’s a big blow.

This item won't surprise you but will shock your January self:

The Ducks also won’t get as many open looks as they have through the first two rounds. Oregon has taken 24 of 32 (75 percent) catch-and-shoot opportunities unguarded, per Synergy Sports, scoring 1.08 points per shot. Michigan, however, has allowed just six of 22 (27 percent) catch-and-shoot attempts without a defender close by.

Oregon is was already a bit three-heavy with Boucher in the lineup and figure to be more so without him even if that hasn't shown up in the three games since his departure, and Michigan is very good at preventing threes from being launched.

They're 5'9" with big hair and one of them doesn't have a work visa. Welp, they've been found. Both DJ Wilson and Mo Wagner are major risers on Chad Ford's NBA draft board:

Moritz Wagner, F/C, So., Michigan

No one did more to help his draft stock over the weekend than Wagner. His career-best performance against Louisville -- 26 points on 11-for-14 shooting -- showed why he was been quickly moving up our Top 100 over the past month. Wagner is a fluid athlete at 6-foot-11 who can score off the bounce and on the block. He also has 3-point range.

When he's engaged and not in foul trouble, he can take over a game. The fact that he did it against a bunch of NBA-caliber athletes on Louisville impressed scouts. He sat at No. 40 on our Top 100 before the tournament and moves up to No. 21 in our latest rankings. That's a huge leap for any player, but if you watched his draft stock all month, it isn't just based on one game. It's just scouts getting more and more comfortable with the idea that he has all the skills he needs to be a good NBA player someday.

D.J. Wilson, F, Jr., Michigan

Wilson showed off all the strengths of his game against both Oklahoma State and Louisville. He's a terrific and versatile athlete who can stretch the floor, finish at the rim and block shots. He can even handle the ball and bring it up the floor.

However, his lack of toughness continues to bother some scouts who want to see him initiate and handle contact better. He grabbed only two boards against Louisville and at times seemed bothered by the physicality. Still, athletic 6-foot-10 guys who can shoot 3s and protect the rim don't come along every day and Wilson has made a strong case to be a first-round pick after hovering in the 30s in our Top 100 all season.

FWIW, I was talking to Sam Webb a month or two ago and at the time his impression was that the NBA was interested in both guys but that they were both likely a year away. Let's hope that's still the case, because I'm guessing Teske and Davis are going to need another year of grooming before they're ready. Also I really want to see weaponized versions of Wilson and Wagner.

If one or both does end up going this will be another situation where Beilein's astounding player development—despite almost no access to one-and-done types Michigan was 12th in NBA players produced entering the season—outpaces his recruiting. Nobody was expecting Trey Burke or Nik Stauskas to be two-and-out, and I don't think anyone thought Wilson or Wagner would have any chance of going to the league this year after the pair averaged two points a game in 2015-16.

Remember when Bernard Robinson sticking at the end of a roster for a year or two was notable to Michigan basketball fans? Slightly different situation these days.

Part of that development. Congrats to friend-of-blog Andrew Kahn for landing a WSJ byline. It's a look into some player development tools Michigan (and others) are using. Wagner has a bad day against Ohio State and Beilein set to work on his shot:

...Beilein set out to fix Wagner’s problems using one of basketball’s hottest new diagnostic tools: a machine that measures the arc of a shot as it reaches the hoop. ... [tool vendor] Noah’s data says the ideal shot comes in at about 45 degrees.

Wagner’s practice session showed that he was shooting the ball far too high, coming in at around 53 degrees. Beilein knew they had no chance of going in and pressed Wagner to adjust by flattening his shot.

“By the time we were done, he was draining threes all over the place at 45 (degrees), 46, 47,” Beilein said. Wagner, a 41 percent three-point shooter for the season, shook his slump and nailed 8 of 17 (47%) from deep the next four games.

Beilein is still adapting and taking advantage of new tools being created even though he's "no spring chicken," which not every coaching in his 60s does. You can safely assume that Michigan is on the cutting edge with this stuff. The results are proof enough.

Two points. The Big Ten did pretty well in the first weekend of the tournament, sending three teams to the Sweet 16 and Shutting Up All The Haters, except not really. Mark Titus:

As soon as the buzzer sounded on no. 7 seed Michigan’s 73–69 victory over no. 2 seed Louisville on Sunday afternoon, the talk of the internet became whether the Big Ten, which was complete trash from November through early March, had been underrated all season. ... [The Big Ten got three S16 teams and the ACC was bad.] ... Clearly this had to mean something, right?

Of course not. You know what Michigan beating Louisville and Wisconsin beating Villanova proved? That Michigan outplayed Louisville and that Wisconsin outplayed Villanova. How come everyone who gets so wrapped up in conference-pride bullshit always seems to move the goalposts with these arguments?

Neither side of any conference superiority argument generally marshals anything resembling a coherent argument. It is talk-radio fodder.

While a few tournament games don't establish that the Big Ten was at the level it was a few years ago, neither was it "trash." They entered the NCAA tourney fifth out of six power conferences on Kenpom, all of two points behind the second-place ACC. That's roughly the difference between #20 Michigan and #24 Butler, or #37 Northwestern and #44 Illinois State—ie, barely any difference at all. The first two rounds should at least be sufficient to demonstrate that the Big Ten is in the same range as any other power conference (with the possible exception of the Big 12).

This weekend did matter in the computer rankings, sliding the Big Ten up to fourth, and it should influence our perception of the league this year. The real answer, though, is that the Big Ten was just slightly down. Titus seems to be projecting his feelings about Ohio State, which was so trash that many Michigan fans gave up on their season after losing to the Buckeyes*, to the wider league.

*[guilty]

Nice. 2017 PF Isaiah Livers won Mr. Basketball. He's a 6'8" stretch four with game and hair fairly reminiscent of DJ Wilson.

Wilson has a couple of inches of both height and hair on Livers, but hopefully he's able to step into the rotation next year.

Star-crossed Ricky Doyle. Remember how he was ill or injured seemingly perpetually? This has not abated, at all.

Ricky Doyle, a Bishop Verot Catholic High School alum, was forced to sit out this season after transferring from the University of Michigan due to NCAA rules, as well as a tumor.

“I just kept having these stomach pains for a long time and I just kind of pushed them off,” he said. “One day, I just had to go to the hospital and it turns out that my appendix has been burst for two months…they found a tumor about the size of a softball and they had to cut 6 inches of my colon out.”

The tumor was non cancerous, Doyle said, and his body formed it naturally around the burst appendix to prevent poison from seeping out and killing him.

Doctors believe the medicine Doyle is on for his sleep apnea dulled the pain to the point where he didn’t realize how severe the tumor was.

Poor kid.

Writing on the wall. There's a ton of football stuff that we'll get to in a week or two as part of a spring preview, but one roster note: Sam Webb replies to people asking about a lack of Shelton Johnson coverage that "he is not a part of [Scout's] defensive line preview." I would not expect him on the roster this spring.

Etc.: A lot of people say the tournament saps the importance of the college season. I don't buy that, because I like Big Ten championship banners. For an example of a season that truly doesn't matter, I give you the NBA.

Every Michigan 3 against Oklahoma State. Holdin' The Rope on the Louisville game. Five key plays from said game. We are #3 in Will Leitch's rootability rankings, because of "cattywampus." Leitch on the Brad Underwood hire. TTB talks to Kevin Koger. Jim Harbaugh promotes colon awareness.

How Michigan acquired Wagner. Salaries for newly hired staffers. Nigel Hayes vs the NCAA.

Dear Diary Would Take Russell

Dear Diary Would Take Russell

Submitted by Seth on April 10th, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Via WD, every snap of Jake Rudock vs. Michigan. It is quite unimpressive, though I remind you it was debilitatingly cold and windy for the 2013 Crimes Against Manpanda Redux game, and he was a sophomore. There were three long plays in there. The first Kevonte Martin-Manley was WIIIIIDE open and Rudock's pass floated in (against the wind) slowly and inaccurately so KMM had to step immediately out of bounds. The second his receiver made a great play while double covered. The third was the one Avery and C.Gordon botched extraordinarily. The last throw on there was his best.

UPDATE: There's also an every pass vs Wisconsin.

To answer the guy in the thread, yes that is the game that inspired our most depressing shirt ever. My original shirt idea in the discussion that became that shirt was "Fuck it man, let's go bowling".

Transfers are Only Rare in Peace Time. As I partially experienced when they tried to tell me regular courses at La Sorbonne weren't French enough to count as foreign language*, transferring credits to Michigan is a bitch.

A2WW2_SmallPromo
Transfer to Michigan for Victory! We're for winning the war too!

Local community colleges like WCC or OCC have transferred often enough that they've smoothed this over, but random Division I schools are at best a crap shoot, and JCs for guys Saban couldn't get through Alabama admissions are right out.

For that reason more than its coaches' tastes (Rodriguez and Hoke both recruited plenty of JuCos before coming here), Michigan has taken extraordinarily few transfers over the years.

With five (Isaac, Lyons, O'Korn, Rudock, O'Neill) projected to be at Michigan this fall, Wolverine Devotee tracked down every transfer he could.

The short transfer list underscores the difficulty with admissions. In the last 30 years the only Michigan transfers not from like academic institutions (Stanford, USC, Georgia Tech, SDSU and Notre Dame), were freshmen from decent Ohio schools (Goodwin and Nienberg), one guy who was at Michigan previously (Evans), one guy from a local academic CC that sends a lot of students to Ann Arbor, and Russell Shaw, who is the lone exception to every conversation ever had about Michigan JCs and transfers.

It also has a bulge in the mid-1940s, when Michigan went all-in on active duty programs. Most notably the university created an intensive Japanese language school that took over East Quad, and was the wartime home of the national JAG program, which we housed in the Law Quad. Michigan gamely used these and the regular training school to siphon talent away from rivals in every sport. That's how we got Crazy Legs Hirsch out of Wisconsin, and Howard Yerges and J.T. White from Ohio State. Iowa Pre-Flight became a quasi-Big Ten team in the era by convincing stars from the region to enlist in the Air Corps.

Via the board there might be two more grad transfers en route before fall. Why is Michigan taking so many guys now (other than new coaches in non-Michigan places always bring in guys they recruited elsewhere to fill gaps?) Well one is grad transfers are a relatively recent phenomenon and are more like a normal admissions process for those schools.

For the rest, my best guess is during The Happening, Michigan had asked Harbaugh what ducks they need to be in what order, and one of his requests was admissions won't jerk him around. This happened at Stanford; in fact the school refusing to accept January enrollments cost him both RGIII and 2015 Heisman candidate Taysom Hill. This is just a wild theory, but "You could eff up our shot at Harbaugh" is probably one of the only football arguments you could ever make to admissions that they'd care about.

There is at least one transfer whom WD missed: 1997 co-captain Eric Mayes, who went to Xavier then transferred to Michigan and walked on, according to a certain co-worker of mine who's probably not ecstatic about me just pointing you to his old blogspot.

* (We acknowledge you read Voltaire in the original, but you weren't doing it to learn French!)

[Jump for Cazzie and a surprising stop in Brady Hoke's Offensive Vision Quest]

Unverified Voracity Is A Robot Programmed To Coach Football

Unverified Voracity Is A Robot Programmed To Coach Football

Submitted by Brian on January 14th, 2015 at 11:01 AM

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two point buckets are rare as unicorns these days [Bryan Fuller]

That was ugly. I don't have much to say about last night's demolition in Columbus. It's pretty much over as far as an NCAA bid is concerned—even 9-4 the rest of the way leaves Michigan with two horrendous, horrendous losses compared to the rest of the bubble and no real marquee wins.

I don't know what blew up. Obviously losing all three posts from last year is a big factor, as is the almost total lack of production from Kam Chatman (who is shooting an unbelievable 34%/25%). But there's something not right with the guys we thought were going to be the big guns. When your captains are saying you're in "coast mode" after a game that's nasty.

Walton's obvious: he's got turf toe. Irvin and LeVert are both doing okay; neither has become anything approximating a go-to guy. Both are shooting 44% from two with little in the way of free throws; Walton's even worse at 36%. With no one who can create two point shots consistently they've lost the crazy offensive efficiency of the last two years, and the defense hasn't improved nearly enough to keep their heads above water.

The only remaining hopes for the season is that they start getting better, make the NIT, and have a run in there that gives you some confidence.

Mattison back, officially. The latest in a long line of re-re-confirmations:

"Jack Harbaugh will always be one of the most influential coaches I've ever been with," he said. "I had the opportunity to coach with him for five years, just a tremendous football coach who taught me a lot about coaching.

"And I really respect (John Harbaugh), you always knew he'd be successful. ... And there's another Harbaugh (I'm close with), when we had our first child, Lisa, the only person she'd ever let babysit for her was Joanie (Jim's sister). That Harbaugh family, we've known for a long, long time."

Having Mattison around is going to be excellent for recruiting and continuity, and should allow Durkin to gradually adjust to being the man on that side of the ball after coaching under Will Muschamp at Florida.

Early signing may be happening. The Conference Commissioners Association was tasked with looking into an early signing date for football, and the proposal now has a shape:

On Tuesday at the American Football Coaches Association convention in Louisville, Susan Peal, NCAA associate director of operations who serves as a liaison between the collegiate governing body and the commissioners, revealed that the committee is leaning toward recommending a mid-December signing period. Peal said that window would likely coincide with the midyear junior college transfer signing date that occurs in the third week of December.

"Based on all of the feedback -- and there are all kinds of dates out there of what people want -- the most favorable option the committee has seen seems to be for an early signing day in December, something that's in line with the midyear junior college transfer signing date," Peal said.

I'm not a fan of early signing because it does nothing for the players, who get locked in earlier than they do now in exchange for bupkis. But at least that date is much better than the ridiculous August 1st date supported by the ACC, which the Big Ten somehow supported. Signing before official visits are even possible is some kind of dumb.

The darkest alternate timeline. Les Miles lost his excellent defensive coordinator to a conference rival and has now hired former Clemson DC Kevin Steele to replace him. The Kevin Steele whose last act as a DC was this, as Get The Picture points out:

image

Miles is also supposedly bringing in Ed Orgeron, a move that bodes well for local press conferences, Louisiana-set buddy cop movies, and recruiting but maybe not so much organization and the like. If Les farts around again next year I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the boot, because LSU fans have always been way more discontent than you'd think.

The competition to best describe Harbaugh is over. Former Stanford tackle Ben Muth:

"When I first met him, I honestly thought a lot of it was an act, it was like a robot who was programmed as a football coach," says Ben Muth, who played offensive tackle for Harbaugh at Stanford. "It's absurd stuff, but he believes it all. And after a while, so do you. Just the way he talks, his cadence and his deliverance. He talks like a normal football coach, but kicked up 50 percent and he's always on."

Also: hooray spring game fun? As part of Harbaugh's insane competitiveness, he turned Stanford's spring game into a full on draft-win-die thing:

At Stanford, his spring games featured full-scale drafts. The coaching staff was split down the middle into two groups, and inside the team meeting room, every player was drafted to a side for the game.

They weren't just glorified practices, they were full-scale competitions. Nothing was wasted or viewed as insignificant.

If that format's announced and Michigan pushes it back to best roll the dice on the weather that would be guaranteed to be Michigan's best-attended spring game ever.

Why do you hate turkey? I get most of what Oregon's trying to say here.

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I'm down with most of it, as well (though tradition generally wears two colors unless you want to count white). But what's with the shot at turkey on Thanksgiving? Surely you would prefer us to eat that instead of duck, right?

Whiskey the dog. In case you were like "WTF" when Brandon brought up Whiskey during his My Personality Is To The Best Of My Ability tour:

Sap and MVictors have more details over there.

Whatever this is. OSU and Michigan are listed 1-2 in "intrinsic value" thanks to improved cash flows:

image

Note that OSU is bringing in 20 million less than Michigan this year, and Michigan is above everyone except Alabama and Texas in revenue. Oregon's 18th. Brandon's relentless focus on dollars above everything else was unnecessary.

Etc.: Michigan is getting a visit from 2015 megaprospect Jaylen Brown.

Ultimate Ennui Showdown 2: Ennui Harder

Ultimate Ennui Showdown 2: Ennui Harder

Submitted by BiSB on July 25th, 2013 at 9:07 AM

We’re back. No need to thank us.

Henri, I’m not sure we’re welcome here anymore…

In case you missed Part One, we’re on the quest for the ultimate low point of the Michigan sports fan in recent history. I’ll present you with the terrible moment/period/whatever, as well as an argument or two in favor of it being the worst moment, and an argument or two for it not being as bad as you remember. I’ll also include the flip-side of the karma coin; if the ennui moment was the Yin, I’ll try to look on the bright side of life by finding the Yang.

We’re looking at the period starting in the 1990’s until today. We already looked at the ultimate killer dong-blows, as well as the I-coulda-been-a-contenda moments. Today, we consider the generally miserable experiences in the Well That Was Unpleasant Region, as well as the catch-all General FML Region. Read this, then vote HERE.

You’ll be happy to know that this will be the final front page of this here series. I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the bracket in the Twitterverse posts in the coming weeks.

Again, remember to vote your pain here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PN9LXST

[For the protection of the childrens, all the gore after the jump].

Oklahaters Be Hatin' Unverified Voracity

Oklahaters Be Hatin' Unverified Voracity

Submitted by Brian on August 21st, 2012 at 4:02 PM

The new Yost. Photos from inside the barn during its renovation:

yost_north_end[1]

The visual effect of those windows won't be as huge since games are invariably played after the sun goes down. It should be interesting all the same. Where do the NCAA/GLI banners go now?

(Via United States of Hockey)

Pipkins back on the field. The scare was only that. I have a good source who says it was just a stinger.

More Mealer. The Daily revisits Brock Mealer's ongoing recovery, finding this sign provided by Tom at Barwis Methods:

image

He's getting married. Article is a dust factory, be warned.

You guys should put together a banner. ND's secondary is verging on Never Forget territory with yesterday's news that projected starting quarterback Lo Wood* was lost for the season with an achilles injury. This leaves Notre Dame with two players on their roster who were recruited at CB. They've got a few more converted types.

The Irish Illustrated guys believe they won't move starting safety Jamoris Slaughter($) and will probably turn to true freshman KeiVarae Russell, a 3.5 star player who most sites ranked as a tailback (but did think he could play corner). Slaughter moves down to the nickel for them, FWIW.

*[Who you may remember as the nadir of Michigan's recruiting success against the Irish; Wood maintained Michigan as his leader for months before committing to Charlie Weis and Corwin Brown in June of 2009.]

Extra crispy? The Bylaw Blog thinks Oregon will get hammered by the NCAA for a blatant violation of the NCAA's prohibition against "impermissible scouting services" since Penn State means new era and the rest of the membership isn't afraid of getting nailed on vague technicalities since the NCAA now has a clearinghouse for permissible services. Intent is not relevant here:

What it means for Oregon is that even if the NCAA never proves that Oregon’s coaching staff intended the purchase of Lyles’ recruiting service to get them access to prospects or had much contact with Lyles, the school could still face severe penalties. All the enforcement staff might need to prove is that Oregon paid for a recruiting service that did not meet the requirements. The fact that prospects connected to the owner of the recruiting service enrolled at Oregon would be an aggravating factor.

Legally, the case sets up poorly for Oregon. Politically, the case sets up even worse. Oregon’s alleged violation can easily be cast as something most people want to stop: paying off a third party in order to secure a recruit’s enrollment.

I'm not hopeful but Infante knows this material a lot better than I do.

Adorable moppet is probably a part of a gang that smokes pipes and plots the overthrow of Kaiser Wilhem. State of Oklahoma, what is up?

Cooper_MichT[1]

Young Cooper Barton wore his favorite Michigan shirt to Wilson Elementary in Oklahoma City and was told it violated the Oklahoma City Public Schools dress code and was asked to turn the shirt inside out. According to the dress code, students are only allowed to wear Oklahoma, Oklahoma State or apparel from another Oklahoma-state school. …

"They should really worry about academics. It wasn't offensive. He's five," Cooper's mother Shannon Barton told News9.com. …

According to the television station, the dress code was created in 2005 as part of a way to rid schools of gangs and gang apparel.

Sounds like someone high up in the food chain of the Oklahoma City school system has a burr up his butt about Texas. Or this five-year-old passes for witheringly intimidating in Oklahoma.

Life imitates terrible jokes. Ace told you that camp sleeper commit Channing Stribling is "blowing up," as the kids say, after a strong two-way performance in his opening game of the season. But Tom just posted an article at Wolverine Nation($) that contains.. well:

“I see more Ohio State fans in my area than anything,” he said. “My pizza man came by and saw I had my Michigan shirt on and he said he was an Ohio State fan and yelled, ‘Go Buckeyes!’ ”

I don't even to know how to add anything here.

Etc.: STUFFING THE PASSER. Gasaway has an insider article on ACC/Big Ten Challenge opponent NC State($). The Daily breaks down the hockey roster. I am extremely dubious of Guptill anywhere but the top line, but otherwise solid. Smart Football on packaged run/pass concepts. The NCAA is considering radically altering the structure of football staffs by allowing non-coaches to find and contact players. I'm not the only person who doesn't like Dave Brandon's vision for the AD.

Unverified Voracity Answered Botswana

Unverified Voracity Answered Botswana

Submitted by Brian on July 6th, 2011 at 11:25 AM

The second-worst game ever. Wolverine Historian has digitized the 1995 Purdue game, which was played in miserable conditions and ended 5-0 to the Wolverines:

so I herd you like mudkips

It's not 2008 Northwestern because the team didn't finish 3-9 and won that game, but it's probably the second-worst game of the last twenty years to attend. I didn't; I was playing Quiz Bowl in high school.

A man after Lloyd's own heart. Don't bother asking incoming freshman OL Jack Miller any uncomfortable questions. His presser-fu is unassailable:

"On the Buckeyes, they're a great program and they will be resilient. But we need to take this opportunity as a team to move forward and keep getting better."

Rich Rodriguez: call this man for pointers.

Heavens to Betsy. Maryland hit with violations essentially identical to those of Michigan:

Maryland self-reported the violations and recommended penalties — which the NCAA has accepted — that will include the loss of 2 ½ hours of the normal 20 hours a week maximum for practices and games. The penalties will be enforced during the 2011 season. Maryland officials confirmed details Friday in response to inquiries. …

"Specifically, 30 minutes of meeting sessions and 30 minutes of practice on Mondays and one hour of weightlifting on Wednesdays were not accurately reported," Maryland said in a May 5 letter to Chris Strobel, NCAA director of enforcement for secondary violations. "During the review it was apparent that the coaches and staff at the time believed those activities were voluntary in nature; however, when reviewed in detail, the institution determined the activities to be mandatory."

Yeah, you read that right: secondary violations. I'm not sure why these are secondary. It seems Michigan got hit with a major violation because its problems were persistent, not isolated, and that that was enough to trigger all the stuff Michigan dealt with the last two offseasons. Here Maryland did almost exactly the same thing and gets almost exactly the same punishment but doesn't get the black mark.

It's mostly important for semantics, but goddamn if the NCAA had hit Michigan with the exact penalties they did but only secondary violations that would have been epic win for the internet in Internet vs. Free Press. Maybe the sensational nature of the original article caused the NCAA investigation and prevented Michigan from self-reporting the results of the audit they'd already done.

Oregon stuff. So… yeah, that thing about the NCAA having to make an inference a fourth-grader could make and this being an important thing for them to do: nevermind all that. Unusually for a dude who received a big check for acting as a "street agent," Lyles has taken the opportunity presented by an NCAA investigation to launch a media blitz.

You know about the Yahoo article. That in and of itself isn't unusual. What's unusual is what happened the next day: instead of recanting after people threatened to burn him at the stake (or offered him dollars) Lyles said more stuff. He called up a local columnist who had called him "scum" and a "slimeball" and offered an extensive interview with quotes like this:

Lyles said he’s willing to fully cooperate with NCAA investigators. Said Lyles: “What did coach Kelly say to the NCAA? What did he say to the administration? That’s going to be a key piece of information for them. I keep things. I don’t throw things away. It bodes well in this circumstance.”

He also did an interview with the Register-Guard and was on The Morning Jones this morning. He is very talkative for a street-agent-type-guy.

His defense isn't totally unbelievable insofar as it doesn't seem like Lyles is a terrible guy. He's inserted himself as a middleman in a market created because of NCAA restrictions and got some football players to go to some colleges, for which he got paid. If not for NCAA regulations he'd just be a guy doing a job.

But those NCAA regulations do exist and Oregon paid 25k to a representative of their athletic interests who got to act outside said regulations, so they've got to suffer. How much will be fascinating. This isn't an extra benefits case so the USC benchmark doesn't apply.

Throwdown. YELLING IS WARRANTED

Tim Hardaway is fifth on the USA U19s in scoring; they're 5-1 in pool play after avenging a blowout loss to these same Lithuanians in a tourney tuneup. They just lost to Croatia today. Two more games until the quarterfinals.

This is what it sounds like when no one has any idea of anything. If this whole hockey superconference-insofar-as-you-can-call-an-eight-team-conference-that thing comes to fruition and some CCHA teams fold and everyone blames the Big Ten that's going to be annoying. Nebraska fans feel me on this after being blamed for the Big 12's dissolution when there was going to be a Pac-16.

But it might happen. North Dakota is the latest school sporting the initials ND to make noises about it:

UND is having formal discussions about pulling out of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and joining several other schools in creating a new power hockey league, multiple sources have told the Herald. … It is believed that eight teams are involved in the talks to some degree.

UNO, Miami, Notre Dame, and Western Michigan(!) are specifically mentioned in the article. Add UND, CC, DU, and Fortunate Minnesota Team Pretty Much Indistinguishable From The Ones Left Behind and that's an eight-team conference that has a lot of traditional or nouveau powers, no geographical sense at all, no home base, and some chance of keeping pace with the Big Ten.

You've also got flailing WCHA and CCHA remnants trying to figure out how to survive. The WCHA schools might be able to grab Air Force* for an eighth team; the shattered rump of the CCHA would probably grab a handful of Atlantic Hockey schools who want to offer maximum scholarships. The financial viability of the WCHA schools isn't much in question—most have just put a lot of money into infrastructure and hockey is king in Minnesota. The CCHA would be in some trouble, though.

If I was Michigan I'd be rattling my saber at anyone eyeing this new superconference, promising to play any local nonconference games against the teams who don't get raptured up into the Engelstad Conference.

Ugh—I just realized we have two more years of this before the Big Ten even exists.

*["Might" because the conventional wisdom in the hockey community is that priority #1 for AF is being in the same conference as Army and Atlantic Hockey's scholarship restrictions and general lack of behemoths makes them more competitive.]

Barnett shelved. TX TE Chris Barnett was one of Brady Hoke's biggest recruits in the brief window he had to acquire dudes before Signing Day, and he plays a position of desperate need now that Michigan's going all pro-style and stuff. Unfortunately, this does not sound like a guy who is going to be ready to play this fall:

I tore my ACL in early October, and I didn't have surgery for it until December, because like I said, me and my mom, we struggle. We don't have a whole bunch of money. So the injury thing wasn't to the point where I could go get surgery. But I've been working out really hard...I came up on the spring game, and I was 295 [lbs]. Right now, I'm 272. Coach wants me to be 280 -- no [not any] more than 280. But at the same time, I'm getting stronger. I'm crisp [while] running. My knee that I had surgery on still isn't 100%, so I go about 80/85%. But talking to Coach, I still have 2 months [before the season starts] to rehab with them

That sucks in four different ways. Hopefully he makes it back but December surgery plus generally being a freshman seems like a recipe for a redshirt.

Etc.: Bill Connolly reminisces about the 2000 Northwestern game (yes, the 54-51 one). Shorter Andy Staples: watch The Wire, college football coaches. OH DE commit Tom Strobel tells twitter he'll play strongside defensive end and hopes to get up to "at least 270"—if that's by the time he hits campus, whoah. Also, paging Matt Godin to aisle defensive tackle.

This Northwestern-ish blog is updated about every three months but has the most fantastic blog name ever: Bring Your Champions, They're Our Meat. Nik Stauskas is finally loose on the AAU circuit and is impressing with more than his three-ball.

How do you list a home with a waterfall and not include a picture of said waterfall? Boo, Edward Surovell retailers. Boo.

Unverified Voracity Returns To Eeee

Unverified Voracity Returns To Eeee

Submitted by Brian on June 22nd, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Prepare the little girl screams. Tom broke OH OL Kyle Kalis's upcoming Michigan visit, then Kalis decommitted from Ohio State, and now guys who work for OSU's 247 affiliate (specifically Dave Biddle) are writing off not only Kalis but still-committed OH RB Bri'onte Dunn:

Source: OSU has "no chance" at Dunn or Kalis

Wow. This coming from the family member of an OSU player. These guys aren't just decommitting, they have written off going to OSU. Remember, there are current and former OSU players who went to the same high school as Kalis and Dunn respectively. Word going around at both St. Eds and GlenOak are that the Buckeyes have "no chance" at landing either of them.

What a complete 180 for Kalis. I'm not surprised in the least about Dunn. When I interviewed him two months ago and he said he was "opening things back up" that told me he was basically decommitting. But Kalis was Mr. Buckeye talking about how much he loved OSU and that he was going to recruit like crazy to get other top prospects to join him in Columbus. He reminded me of Brewster and Justin Zwick in that respect.

"Wow" doesn't quite cover it unless it's the sort of wow that goes along with a fondness for hot dogs. Flipping Dunn and Kalis would see Michigan graduate from drinking MSU's milkshake to drinking OSU's. It's gotten so bad for the Buckeyes that the Spartans are drinking OSU's milkshake, nabbing Se'Von Pittman. If Aldophus Washington commits to Purdue next week put the entire state of Ohio on suicide watch.

What are Michigan's chances of flipping the decommit(-ish) duo? Well, Kalis's visit in particular seems to coincide with last weekend's OL visit madness—if he is going to jump ship he's got to do it quickly and it appears Michigan is pretty much his list outside of OSU, about whom see above. Dunn is wobblier since he hasn't actually committed yet and Penn State is a factor, but if the above is reliable Michigan would have to be the favorites.

Later Biddle says Brady Hoke is "negatively recruiting the hell out of OSU," which causes the requisite amount of swooning from the daintier folks in the thread. Specifically:

He's telling these guys that OSU will get hit harder than USC and they "shouldn't fall for the same (stuff) Lane Kiffen sold all those SC recruits."

Heavens to Betsy.

NFL not so much. The National Football Post has a really interesting, extensive piece in which Michigan's seniors are evaluated for NFL potential. No one other than Mike Martin rates highly, but some of that is because of Michigan's zone system. David Molk:

A shorter, compact lineman who looks nearly maxed out physically, despite weighing 288-pounds. Looks a little tight hipped trying to sit into his stance, but has a quick first step and snaps and steps very quickly. Creates leverage for himself consistently, extends his arms and can easily reach and seal on the plays off his frame. Displays a compact, sturdy punch and can stun defenders at the point. Looks really natural when asked to quickly reach block on runs to the perimeter, as he’s coordinated getting his feet around and can seal the edge routinely. Displays natural range/balance getting into blocks at the second level as well. Breakdowns well showcases the ability to routinely seal on contact.

This is three years of UFR on Molk in one paragraph. Molk is praised as a "perfect fit" for Michigan's run-first spread offense but only a potential starter in a zone scheme. If he's big enough he could end up one of those guys who gets drafted in the seventh round and plays for a long time for a good team whilst remaining totally anonymous.

Whole piece is worth a read; it's really interesting to see a professional break down Michigan players after you've formed your own opinions of them. Nothing seems particularly off base.

Hybrid until you die. I've tried to make the case that the 4-3 under is halfway between a conventional 4-3 and 3-4. My basis for the assertion usually revolves around the idea the strongside defensive end and three-tech defensive tackle are more alike than the three-tech and the nose tackle or the SDE and the weakside end. Here's a bit more ammo for that POV from an interview on Touch The Banner with Matt Godin:

"We have the main position which I'm going to play, which is the 5-technique. I guess you'd consider it more D-tackle, but I'll also play outside...I'm only going to have one guy blocking me. It's more of an outside position, actually, but I'm going to be run stopping a lot, too."

The confusion in that statement is considerable, but when he says "outside" he probably means he's going to get a look at WDE. I'm guessing that look will be brief since he's already 270 and with Roh/Beyer/Black/Ojemudia/Brown hanging out at that spot he's probably not going to bring as much pass rush as the winner of that derby.

So when you're looking at the recruiting class you can roughly bin the three-tech DTs with the SDEs; many of those guys will flip from one to the other like Ryan Van Bergen and Brandon Graham before them. If Michigan's two committed SDEs, Godin and Tom Strobel, are really 6'6" each they're a bit taller than you'd like at the three tech, which should leave a spot open for a Danny O'Brien who's more of a fit there, but rumor has it that's not the case. Like everyone else on the internet I'd much rather have a DT than a fullback or a sixth OL, but the internet does not call the shots.

This institution is mad under control, yo. The 65-page Notice of Allegations lodged against UNC yesterday contains many, many allegations headlined by one of their assistant coaches acting as a runner for an NFL agent. It does not allege the dreaded lack of institutional control, which should have Trojan fans running to Los Angeles Torch & Pitchfork.

Stewart Mandel notes this and suggests Butch Davis could keep his job as a result:

Blake's nefarious role in all this (which includes his own unethical conduct charge for withholding information from investigators) is the biggest source of mystery as to how his boss, Davis, managed to avoid the NCAA's wrath. In a document outlining its Principles of Institutional Control, one of the acts the Committee cites as "likely to demonstrate lack of institutional control" is if "A head coach ... fails to monitor the activities of assistant coaches regarding compliance." But it then follows that up with: " ... the head coach cannot be charged with the secretive activities of an assistant bent on violating NCAA rules." Apparently the school did a bang-up job portraying Blake as just such a character, absolving Davis and the school for failing to uncover his secret employer.

Because of that, North Carolina may have staved off the most severe imaginable penalties, but you have to imagine they're still going to be pretty rough. Maybe it's a one-year postseason ban instead of two. Maybe it's 10 docked scholarships instead of 20. Either way, three years' worth of wins are about to be vacated.

The biggest question: Will Davis keep his job? That one will be entirely up to the school.

I'm baffled. I'm not sure how you can possibly suggest anything was under control at UNC. I'm also in favor of removing that bit on not charging the head coach for secretive activities of his assistants. Here the canard about how you can't follow 100 college-age kids around is even more ridiculous: Butch Davis has nine assistant coaches. He should be expected to know whether one of them is working for Gary Wichard.

Mandel's just speculating when he says the UNC case will cause a smaller ripple than those of OSU and USC. I think he's likely to be wrong about OSU if only because we've already got a meaty notice of allegations in the UNC case and until that document hits for OSU we've got no idea what the NCAA will decide is impermissible in Columbus. But if he's right it's going to be a blow to this whole We're Serious Now, You Guys, Seriously campaign Mark Emmert is running. The document the NCAA produced on UNC should be enough for a firebombing.

Meanwhile, Oregon has managed to dig up some more stuff they got from Will Lyles: four spreadsheets with erratically reliable information about 2012 and 2013 recruits sent in February and March of this year, more than ten months after Oregon wrote him a check. The NCAA can't possibly buy what Oregon's selling, can they?

The next year is when the NCAA decides whether implausible deniability is a proper defense. Here's hoping the answer is

batmanbitchslap

Reverse Righthaven. Rivals' Tom Dienhart sat down with Rich Rodriguez for an interview. It's the same boilerplate you'd find in any interview with a guy who'd like a head coaching job in the near future save for this small bit on Pryor:

Are you surprised by what is going on at Ohio State?

"I know some of it because we were close to the situation when I was at Michigan and part of the rivalry, the recruitment of Terrelle Pryor and all of that."

Ok, then.

It's about 1500 words. The Detroit News took 750 of them as an "excerpt" for an article in the paper without so much as linking the original piece or writing anything around it. The News just up and took half of a published article and republished it. The only explanation is there's some sort of content sharing agreement, but since Scout's Sam Webb writes for the news and Rivals' Josh Helmholdt for the Free Press, that doesn't seem likely. The News is so internet hood, yo.

The best part is that when I C&Ped the News article into Live Writer to get a word count it automatically inserted a "read more" link to the News. False.

Request. MVictors has a request, and a reward:

I summarized my take on the mascot situation in one tweet: The Michigan mascot in my head wears fierce armor made from pieces of the stadium halo, and the ’93 Final Four banner as a cape.  

Make that happen and I’ll sign on.  Someone sketch that out for me and I owe you a beer.

Etc.: Via Michigan Hockey Net, OSU hockey's schedule release says Michigan will visit Columbus for a series. Presumably this means the outdoor game is off.

Lonnie White got paid at USC back in the 80s. Also, The Daily (not that Daily) figured out this ASCII thing.

Grantland commissions Brian Phillips to write on Roger Federer, a great example of the site picking the cream of blogging-type people and not just the Klostermans of the world. Only problem is the obvious one when writing a footnote-laced article about Federer: you have giant posthumous looming competition.

Um. This happened. Why does Eastern have a football team again?