Is Michigan Oversigning? No.

Is Michigan Oversigning? No. Comment Count

Brian March 3rd, 2017 at 11:43 AM

Brad-Hawkins

my favorite part of this conversation is people looking at Brad Hawkins and Brad Hawkins in consecutive recruiting classes and identifying them as separate people

Michigan's large recruiting classes the last couple years occasionally see grenades lobbed at Harbaugh and accusations that Michigan has "sold its soul" leveled. These accusations are dumb, whether they come from 'Bama hilljacks in my twitter mentions or Stewart Mandel.

The problem with oversigning is not that any year in particular has a lot of kids in one recruiting class but that certain schools used to go well over 85 on Signing Day and had to cut 8-10 kids by fall. (This was usually just Alabama.) The hue and cry about the practice was at least partially successful in reining it in, as Power 5 conferences initiated restrictions on the practice. The Big Ten allows it, but it allows just three and supposedly you have to explain where the scholarship is coming from. Michigan operates in that environment.

And in any case, the amount of attrition needed for Michigan to get under 85 despite back-to-back large classes is well within the bounds of normal. Michigan's roster is comprised of their last five recruiting classes:

2013. 27 recruits, with those remaining all redshirt seniors. There are 5: Patrick Kugler, Henry Poggi, Mike McCray, Maurice Hurst, and Khalid Hill. They have two fifth-year senior transfers, John O'Korn and Ty Isaac. Michigan also expects to bring back sixth year senior Drake Johnson.

2014. 17 recruits. One, Blake O'Neill, was a grad transfer with one year of eligibility. A second, Jabrill Peppers, was three-and-out to the NFL draft. That leaves 15 kids who could be on this year's team. 12 are.

2015. 14 recruits. All could be on this year's team. 12 are.

2016. 27 recruits who actually signed and/or enrolled. Dytarious Johnson and Brad Hawkins ended up going to prep school, with Hawkins joining the 2017 class. Ahmir Mitchell and Devin Asiasi transferred. The other 25 are on the roster.

2017. 30 recruits. Possible one or two might end up in the same boat as Hawkins.

8 + 15 + 14 + 27 + 30 is 94, meaning that Michigan had to lose nine players naturally over the course of the last four recruiting classes to avoid oversigning. Michigan's lost seven. You can be the judge of how natural they are:

  • Brady Pallante took a medical hardship scholarship.
  • Michael Ferns transferred to WVU after one year under Brady Hoke.
  • Freddy Canteen had injury issues and recently announced a grad transfer to Notre Dame.
  • Andrew David transferred to TCU to play baseball.
  • Brian Cole ran afoul of team rules, ended up at a JUCO, and will play at Mississippi State this fall.
  • Ahmir Mitchell transferred to Rutgers after one semester.
  • Devin Asiasi, depressingly, transferred after a highly promising freshman year.

That is far from an unreasonable amount of natural attrition for an 85-man football roster, especially because the latter three were highly ranked guys who lasted at most one year. Highly touted guys don't get run off that quickly.

That leaves two spots left, one of which is known and should be announced in the near future. I'm not sure of the second, but the worst case scenario is that Michigan does not bring back a fifth year senior who has a degree in hand and can use his final year of eligibility elsewhere. More likely is someone lighting out for greener pastures voluntarily.

If that's "selling your soul," we're going to have to invent some new lingo for Baylor. Michigan is only oversigning if you consider the practice of offering redshirted seniors a firm handshake instead of a fifth year to be oversigning. That's something literally every school in the country does annually, and is bad-faith pearl-clutching by anyone who would attempt to use that as a slam against Harbaugh.

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Unverified Voracity Thinks Of The Children

Unverified Voracity Thinks Of The Children Comment Count

Brian February 10th, 2016 at 12:26 PM

Crootin'. Here's a 35-minute video breakdown of the recruiting class from Scout.

Helen Lovejoy, commissioner. Obviously the SEC was going to get fusty about Michigan's plan to practice at IMG over spring break. They did not do so in a way that came off at all plausibly. Shot:

“Our primary reaction [is] that, in the face of the time-demand conversations, we've got one program taking what has been 'free time' away,” Sankey said. “Let's draw a line and say, ‘That's not appropriate.'"

Chaser:

“The net of that is to say the Southeastern Conference is not going to be outpaced in recruiting,” Sankey said. “If the national approach is that we want to have more aggressive summer camps and coaches touring around all summer, then we will not only engage in that behavior, we will certainly engage in that behavior more actively -- probably more effectively than others.”

Shorter Greg Sakey: we are concerned about the kids, but if we don't get our way screw the kids. Par for the course amongst lizard people. This is of course a conference that's completely fine with a baseball schedule that sees Northern teams literally spend a month straight in the South, but don't screw with a man's right to go to South Padre, brah.

Meanwhile, try not to burst out laughing at this one:

Sankey is also concerned Michigan would be at a “site full of prospects run by a business enterprise that has a lot of interests -- but one of those is sports agents. It seems like very much the wrong tone.”

The "wrong tone," says the comissioner of the League of Extraordinary Bagmen. I'm all for people getting whatever money they can out of college athletics but to turn around and wave the rulebook at Michigan's face while crapping on it daily is hypocrisy worthy of… well… a high-ranking NCAA official. I cannot top reality there.

Hello: Bush the Elder? Buzz has been building that Michigan would fill one of its open recruiting/analyst spots with Devin Bush Sr, who built the Flanagan program from nothing into a state champion. That had been constrained to subscription sites until this article:

Multiple sources have told the Miami Herald on Tuesday that Flanagan coach Devin Bush is on the verge of joining the staff at Michigan where three of his Falcons -- son and linebacker Devin Bush Jr. and safeties Devin Gil and Josh Metellus -- have signed.

An announcement is expected next week. Bush is obviously a natural for the spot Chris Partridge vacated when he got bumped up to linebackers coach. The two guys have very similar backgrounds. Both were/are HS head coaches who made previously lagging programs into powers by getting gents to transfer. Partridge was interviewed by the WSJ a few days ago, providing some insight into why his hire was so successful for Michigan's New Jersey recruiting efforts:

How much does your New Jersey background help you land recruits from there?

Shoot, some of these kids I’ve seen play football since the fifth and sixth grade. I know them, I know the guys that have coached them their whole lives, I know similarities in the styles that they play, you know people that know their families. Of course, it gives you an advantage because you’re just so familiar and because they feel comfortable. And ultimately, they know that I’m watching out for them.

Hopefully Bush can have a similar impact in a bigger pond.

Meanwhile Flanagan is set to replace Bush with Pretty Much Devin Bush. DC Stanford Samuels, another Florida State legacy whose son is a major recruit, is expected to get a promotion.

Oversigning, the coda. The oversigning thing doesn't get brought up anymore because people mad about it more or less won. Get The Picture has a list of SEC signees per team before and after the Houston Nutt cap was implemented that shows a big dropoff for the worst offenders:

SEC Average Signing Class Numbers
Team Average Class 2007-11 Average Class 2012-16 Difference
Auburn 30.2 24.2 -6.0
Ole Miss 28.0 24.0 -4.0
Mississippi State 28.0 23.6 -4.4
Alabama 27.2 25.8 -1.4
LSU 26.8 24.4 -2.4
Arkansas 26.6 23.8 -2.8
Kentucky 26.0 25.6 -0.4
South Carolina 25.6 24.4 -1.2
Florida 24.2 24.4 +0.2
Tennessee 24.2 25.4 +1.2
Missouri* 24.2 22.4 -1.8
Texas A&M* 23.8 24.2 +0.4
Georgia 20.8 24.6 +3.8
Vanderbilt 20.2 22.0 +1.8

(He's using that to show that Georgia is now fighting with both arms instead of one.) Even if the LOIs foregone were mostly sign-and-place type deals where a guy who's going to JUCO signs a letter of intent for funsies that's still an improvement since no longer is that guy restricted if he does get eligible—and he isn't signed with a team that doesn't even want him to qualify.

The NCAA should still move to a yearly cap with no limit on overall scholarships to remove the incentive to get rid of a guy entirely.

I thought this was the entire point of dodgeball. If this was the standard for psychologizing folks in my time, whole dang middle school would have been in a line going out the door of the psychologist's office:

Dude didn't dodge the ball. That's the name of the game, man. Can't hold Harbaugh accountable for that unless you're the SEC commissioner.

I want to see his review of Infinite Jest. Harbaugh went on a media tour at the Super Bowl, the highlight of which was this:

"You look like a writer!" Harbaugh says with enthusiasm as we shake hands.

Harbaugh saw a movie about a writer recently, on a flight a couple months back. It was calledThe End of the Tour. He loved it, loved the dialogue. And now he has just one question.

"Was that a real person, David Foster Wallace?"

I don't expect or even want my football coach to know the answer to that question because I expect that people who know the answer to that question are bad coaches. But I do think he should start with a Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again because it is the most accessible writing DFW did and that he'll probably think "oh, the NFL" after seeing the title.

Etc.: Shoe not effective when used as gun. Michigan is 6th in the post Signing Day S&P rankings. Austin Davis is tall. Children are not. Harbaugh has no unfinished business in the NFL. Wheatley in the Players' Tribune.

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Recruitin' Mailbag: Class Size, Camp Offers, Talent In Ohio

Recruitin' Mailbag: Class Size, Camp Offers, Talent In Ohio Comment Count

Ace July 6th, 2015 at 2:11 PM

Hello, I'm back, and very thankful to have missed the dumbest week of the offseason thus far. The long-promised recruiting mailbag is here, and I'll have a recruiting roundup tomorrow once I've caught up.


There may be in-class attrition. It probably won't include Mike Onwenu. [Rapai]

At long last, we've gone long enough—hold on...

[checks Twitter]
[checks three different message boards]
[checks Twitter again]

...we've gone long enough without a commitment for me to put together the recruiting mailbag I promised weeks ago.

It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. Michigan already sits at 21 commits in the class and they have several positions of need yet to fill: wide receiver, tight end, defensive tackle, BUCK linebacker, cornerback, probably one more offensive lineman, and maybe an additional inside linebacker. They may even take a kicker, though Quinn Nordin's recruitment is trending towards Penn State. That's seven or so more potential spots. If they find a way to make the numbers work, this class could conceivably reach 28 players, with the coaches backdating a few early enrollees to fit under the yearly cap of 25.

Can Michigan make this work without oversigning? I think so. Brian covered part of the numbers outlook in his recent mailbag, noting two areas where scholarships should open up:

  • There are 4-6 current redshirt juniors who are candidates for unrenewed fifth years. They'll have spent four years in the program and will leave with degrees in hand.
  • There are a couple potential medical redshirts, not including the now known to the public effort to get Ondre Pipkins to agree to take one. Pipkins, a senior, wouldn't have affected the 2016 scholarship count regardless.

There's another huge factor: the impending depth chart crunch. Michigan is set to have seven scholarship quarterbacks on the roster in 2016; they'll also have seven scholarship running backs. That's 14 players for two starting positions (three if M goes RB-by-committee), and there's a good chance underclassmen pass an upperclassman or two. Depending upon how the depth chart shakes out, there could be 3-4 transfer candidates just from those two position groups. As the pecking order is established in fall camp and during the season, some players will look for playing time elsewhere.

In addition, I looked at Stanford's 2010 class for a reason. Any class that fills this many spots this early is likely to have attrition, and while Stanford's 2010 class had an unusual number of decommitments even for Harbaugh, it'd surprise me more if Michigan held onto every current commit than if they lost at least a couple. David Reese is looking at Louisville and Notre Dame. Dele' Harding camped at West Virginia recently. In-class attrition should be expected.

For those looking at the number of highly ranked targets on Michigan's board and wondering where those spots will come from, that should help provide an answer, as should this: always remember that fans tend to overestimate their team's chances of landing top-ranked commits. Is Michigan going to pull in some four-stars and perhaps even a five-star or two down the stretch? Yes. Are they going to add Rashan Gary, both Kellys, Dontavious Jackson, Terrance Davis, Ahmir Mitchell, and Nasier Upshur to round out the class? No. While Michigan is in very good shape with each of those prospects, anyone who's followed recruiting for a while knows that a class never wraps up so neatly, let alone so spectacularly—especially when dealing with so many out-of-region prospects.

At this point, I'm not too concerned about the numbers. There's still an entire fall camp and football season to play before Signing Day, and Michigan is in their first year under a demanding coach with a markedly different style from his predecessor. If M has to "free up" a half-dozen scholarships in February, we have a problem; I don't anticipate this being a problem.

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

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Pipkins To Transfer, Says He Was Pressured To Sign Medical Hardship Papers

Pipkins To Transfer, Says He Was Pressured To Sign Medical Hardship Papers Comment Count

Brian June 26th, 2015 at 1:55 PM

14902659768_9c04a0d69f_z

Pipkins got on the field late in the opener last year [Bryan Fuller]

Ondre Pipkins will attempt to use his last year(s) of eligibility elsewhere and he is not happy about it:

"I feel I'm healthy and ready to play," said Pipkins, who played last season after he was cleared to return from a torn knee ligament. "I don't want to sign the form. I wanted to play for my seniors and for the team. Coach Harbaugh said, 'I recommend you take the medical.'"

Pipkins said he felt constant pressure to retire. …

Harbaugh told him that he wanted "to make sure you graduate from Michigan" and that the coach did not plan to invite him to fall camp due in part to medical concerns. The lineman added that Harbaugh told him that he did not believe he would be drafted into the NFL for medical reasons.

"I feel bad I wasn't able to complete this journey with my classmates," Pipkins told ESPN. "I feel I am healthy and without pain. I believe Michigan wanted to free up the scholarship. I felt I was practicing well and could compete at a high level at the nose tackle and tackle positions."

First off, good for Pipkins for saying something about it—and apparently painting Harbaugh in a somewhat sympathetic light.

But this is a strange situation for a lot of reasons. I can't really figure out why Harbaugh would want to run Pipkins out of town:

  • He was scheduled to be a senior and Michigan is at 85 scholarships right now, with the three former walk-ons (Kerridge, Glasgow, Glasgow) we think will get scholarships in 2015 accounted for.
  • Pipkins thus doesn't impact the numbers in the 2016 class; the only reason he'd need to go this year is if Michigan was going to bring in yet more transfers.
  • ND DE transfer Jhonathan Williams was just told no by Michigan.
  • I'm sure at least one other player has a very legit medical hardship-inducing injury they haven't announced yet.

There were some rumors Michigan was looking at fifth year wide receivers that haven't come to fruition as of yet, but none of this really makes sense. Michigan seems to have room for him, and the move would appear to be a redshirt (that he should have gotten as a freshman /shakes fist at Hoke) so that he can be a fifth year somewhere else after getting his degree. That is unless he actually shouldn't play football.

Pipkins asserts in the article that Michigan wanted the scholarship… but for what?

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The Considerable Attrition of Stanford's 2010 Recruiting Class

The Considerable Attrition of Stanford's 2010 Recruiting Class Comment Count

Ace June 23rd, 2015 at 1:26 PM

Tony Jefferson (L) and Kain Colter (R) left Stanford's class for very different reasons.

I swear I'll be posting a full recruiting mailbag this week, but when looking at Michael Spath's article on Jim Harbaugh's recruiting style, this merited a closer examination:

At Stanford, The Cardinal produced a slew of decommitments during Harbaugh's tenure (18 alone in 2010), and we've been told that when Harbaugh accepts a commitment, it is often the early stages of the vetting process, and that over the next few months both coaching staff and recruit could come to the conclusion it is not the right fit. 

If such were to happen at Michigan, fans would have to ask themselves if they are OK with a recruiting strategy in which players are recruited and offered a scholarship but ultimately told prior to Signing Day that it would be best for all involved to part ways. 

Stanford's elite admissions turned away a few prospects, and one could argue it was the school not Harbaugh that had final say, but a staff should have a pretty good feel from the onset which players have the grades to be admitted and those that do not. At Stanford, Harbaugh was willing to accept pledges from an abundance of borderline prospects.

18 decommitments in one class! On its face, that's alarming, especially in the context of Michigan taking this many early commitments. To get a clearer picture of what happened at Stanford and what we can expect from Harbaugh at Michigan, I took a look at the decommitment stories of every one-time 2010 Stanford commit I could find to see what really occurred.

The good news: Harbaugh didn't just kick 18 players out of his class to make room for better players. In fact, a good number of these decommits were players Harbaugh didn't want to lose. There was no Elliott Porter situation. The bad news: while Harbaugh didn't seem to go so far as to yank anyone's scholarship outright, a couple of the tactics he used probably won't sit well with Michigan fans, and understandably so.

I've separated out the 2010 decommits into categories. I believe Spath's source for the 18 decommits figure is this Bleacher Report article. There's only one player on the list (Tyler Brosius) whom I couldn't verify was ever a Stanford commit in the first place; neither Rivals nor Scout even listed him as holding an offer. Here's the rest:

Prospect Chose A Better Opportunity

Several of Stanford's 2010 commits had one of the more common reasons for a commitment flip: they got what they found to be a better offer from another program and made the switch.

  • Four-star CA S/LB Tony Jefferson, now on the Arizona Cardinals, committed to Stanford in September of his junior season. He backed off the following January, saying he wanted to keep his options open while citing concerns over Stanford's strict admissions, and ended up at Oklahoma.
  • Four-star CA LB Jordan Zumwalt fielded heavy interest from both Los Angeles schools while he was a Stanford commit, and on Signing Day he switched to UCLA, in part because it was closer to home.
  • Four-star MD CB Louis Young committed to Stanford without taking a visit, had second thoughts, recommitted, had second thoughts again, and eventually wound up at Georgia Tech.
  • Three one-time Stanford commits—four-star GA WR TJ Jones, three-star UT S Chris Badger, and three-star KY OL Tate Nichols—flipped to Notre Dame during the process. Jones switched after an official visit to South Bend, while the other two made their decisions shortly after receiving Irish offers.
  • Three-star OH CB Courtney Avery changed his commitment to Michigan after earning a camp offer in the spring.
  • Three-star TX DT Will Hampton started fielding increased interest, decided he wanted to take visits, narrowed his choices to Notre Dame and Northwestern, and eventually chose the Wildcats.

That's eight of the 18 who simply decided to pursue what they found to be a better opportunity elsewhere.

Standard Recruitment Issues

For one reason or another, something came up during the course of these players' recruitments that led them to end up elsewhere:

  • Four-star FL OL Torrian Wilson changed his commitment to Louisville when his primary recruiter at Stanford, Willie Taggart, took the head coaching job at Western Kentucky. He also said his mom wanted him closer to home. There's good evidence that was the driving factor—he'd later flip his commitment again, this time to UCF.
  • Four-star TE Blake Barker, who hailed from Cambridge, MA, changed his commitment to Harvard, telling Rivals he wanted the right combination of academics and proximity to home.
  • Four-star MO RB Brandon Bourbon also decided he wanted to play close to home, swiching to Kansas just days before NSD after being committed to Stanford for six months.

Senior Year Injury

This is where things start getting uncomfortable. In two documented cases, Stanford stopped contacting recruits after they suffered injuries during their season season. That's how Kain Colter, a three-star athlete, wound up at Northwestern instead of heading to Palo Alto:

During his first game that fall, Colter heard a "pop" after throwing a post route. An MRI revealed a torn labrum and biceps, but he kept playing as a running back and receiver while rehabbing a shoulder that eventually needed surgery.

Stanford originally stuck by him, but then their correspondences dwindled. They wanted his MRI results and claimed he would have to wait for clearance from the admissions office. Interesting for a kid who carried a 4.2 grade-point average.

Finally, Spencer said, "They just stopped calling. It was a bad situation. I wanted them to man up and talk to Kain."

Colter decommitted in late December. Three-star FL OG Joe McNamara had a similar experience:

The 6-foot-2, 270-pound McNamara, a three-star prospect rated the 28th-best offensive guard in the country by Scout.com, was excited to become a Cardinal. That's when his recruitment started taking a turn for the worse.

Tearing his ACL roughly a week before the season started, forcing McNamara to sit out his entire senior season, McNamara wanted to be sure Stanford was still behind him. After no returned calls or emails, McNamara had to start from scratch.

"The thing that took the longest was finding out if Stanford was in or out," McNamara told Badger Nation Monday. "They never came out and said I was out of the picture but at the same time, there was no communication. I would say probably November was when I re-opened the recruiting process."

McNamara wound up at Wisconsin. If there's a positive to be found in these two cases, it's that Harbaugh never formally pulled either player's scholarship, and both opened up their recruitments with enough time left in the process to find suitable landing spots. It's tough to sugarcoat the complete lack of communication from Stanford's end, however.

Stanford Ceased Contact

Somewhat related to the above, the main way it seems Harbaugh indicated to recruits it was best for both parties to go their separate ways was to stop talking to them.

  • Three-star GA S Daunte Carr opened up his recruitment because he hadn't heard back from the admissions department with less than a month to go before Signing Day. He later committed to Arkansas.
  • Three-star NV LB Evan Palelei committed in the spring of his junior year, then decommitted in early September of his senior year because he "lost contact with them over the summer." Palelei eventually signed with Navy.

The Late Grayshirt

  • In arguably the most concerning situation of them all, the Stanford staff informed three-star TX TE Zachary Swanson that he'd have to take a grayshirt with about a month to go before Signing Day. He chose instead to sign with Virginia.

I can't find anywhere what happened in the case of three-star OG Harris Williams, who flipped to Boston College in July after originally pledging to the Cardinal in late April.

So?

A lot of the attrition in this class occurred for reasons outside Harbaugh's control, but there are definitely red flags that come up. Falling out of contact with recruits as a way of not-so-subtly pushing them out the door isn't a great look, especially in the case of injury; even worse is blindsiding a prospect with a late grayshirt.

We'll see if Harbaugh operates in a different way at Michigan, where he won't have to worry as much about potential attrition within his classes due to problems with admissions. While this stuff doesn't quite rise to the SEC level of recruiting malfeasance, it's not going to go over well in Ann Arbor if Harbaugh isn't more open with recruits about their place in the class as the process moves along.

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Unverified Voracity Is Tested Regularly

Unverified Voracity Is Tested Regularly Comment Count

Brian April 8th, 2015 at 12:34 PM

Not literally a comic book. 28 minutes of Charles Woodson highlights from high school do not quite feature him bounding over a tall building:

 

Full go minus one decision. John Beilein doesn't see anyone transferring this offseason:

"Everybody seems to be all onboard 100 percent," Beilein said Monday after attending a USBWA Final Four luncheon honoring freshman Austin Hatch. "Obviously, we're not with them 24 hours a day, but I love their attitude right now."

That does not include Caris LeVert, who is deciding on the NBA draft. It seems that people around the program are cautiously optimistic he will stay for his senior year, but we won't have certainty until the early entry deadline, April 26th.

That would leave Michigan with zero scholarships this year and two plus any attrition after next season in 2016. Unless Hatch goes on a medical scholarship that would cut out Mike Edwards, the various transfers looking at Michigan, and Jaylen Brown.

In related news, it looks like Max Bielfeldt will spend his grad transfer year at Bradley.

Meanwhile, another one bites the dust at Indiana. The Hoosiers get a commitment from prep post Thomas Bryant, bringing the number of Indiana players guaranteed to get run off this offseason to three. Someone please fire Tom Crean.

Spike surgery. Spike Albrecht will have surgery on both hips to eliminate the pain he played through this season. His projected return is in four or five months, which cuts him out of all the summer stuff but should have him back on the court a couple months before the season. That should be enough time to knock off the rust.

Soon, a fully healthy Spike will also be dunking on fools.

Out go the successories posters. Harbaugh on the weight room:

"It was shiny, like somebody from Chicago came in [from a ] P.R. firm," Harbaugh said. ""This isn't a slide show.

"This is work."

Don't get a DUI and then fail your probation. Harbaugh on Glasgow:

"The legal system has got as much hanging over his head as anybody else could possibly put on him," Harbaugh said. "There's nothing more that I, or the football program or the university could have on Graham right now than what (the courts) have.

"This is somebody who is taking a breathalyzer every morning and every night. He's got to be clean, 100 percent clean, not a drop of alcohol. And he'll either do it, or he won't. I believe in him, I believe he will. But we'll all know, there will be no secrets on that. Whether he does it or he doesn't, it'll be for public consumption."

He will have to do this through January, so he will either be clean as a whistle or you'll know he wasn't.

This is a lovely shot chart. Aubrey Dawkins did two things last year:

dawkins[1]

Threes and throwdowns. He was excellent at the threes, average at the throwdowns, which still means he was extremely efficient. Next year's project is getting some of those hexagons to be larger without changing their distribution. Oh, and doing the defense and rebounding stuff.

Okay, let's do it. Kenpom looks at the effect the 30-second shot clock (and expanded no-charge circle) had on the tournaments that used it:

Adjusting for the matchups and expected points in each game, scoring in the smaller tournaments has been about 5.6 ppg more than the NCAA tournament. This is 2.4 ppg higher than the typical difference in these events. That's not something that will transform the game, but if you assume that boost applies to the entire 2015-16 season, it would take the sport to scoring levels not seen since 2003. (That statement excludes last season, when scoring increased dramatically, partly because a bunch of fouls were called.)

Pace

Not surprisingly, most of the scoring increase can be attributed to an increase in pace. Accounting for the teams involved and the increase in tempo normally seen in lower-level events, there have been two additional possessions per 40 minutes than we'd expect under normal rules. This is a more modest change compared to scoring and only turns the clock back to 2011 in terms of pace. This suggests simply reducing the shot clock to 30 won't produce significantly more up-and-down basketball. A surprising finding here is that slow-paced teams were affected as much as fast-paced teams were.

Efficiency

One of the concerns of the 30-second clock is that it may make offenses less efficient, but the postseason experiment isn't providing much evidence of that. Accounting for the quality of the teams and the usual increase in efficiency seen in the lower-level events, efficiency was actually up, though by a miniscule 0.6 points per 100 possessions.

The efficiency thing is almost certainly noise, but it looks like any effects are going to be minimal in that department. I don't think there's much wrong with college basketball other than the fact that block/charge is impossible to call and the refs are hilariously bad in general—but that's not something you can wave a wand and fix.

Final CSS rankings out. Minor movement for most players. Zach Werenski is 9th, down from 6th. Kyle Connor moves up a spot to 13th. 2016 recruit Cooper Marody moves up ten spots to 53rd. There were some more significant moves:

  • NTDP forward Brendan Warren dropped from 34th to 66th, which is an early third round pick to the fifth or sixth. He had an okay year only with the U18s.
  • Incoming defenders Joe Cecconi and Nick Boka went in opposite directions; Cecconi dropped from 70 to 88 and Boka shot up from 176 to 117.

Given Michigan's needs next year I'm happy that Boka's stock has apparently surged, even if Warren is less of a prospect than you think he might be. I wonder if Michigan will try to bring Marody or another 2016 recruit in now given Copp's departure.

The Hockey Writers have an extensive breakdown of Werenski that compares him to Trouba. I know I'm seeing Werenski a year younger, but he is not Trouba. Trouba was a commanding defenseman at both ends of the ice. Werenski really came on in the offensive zone late in the year but was a significant source of defensive problems.

Etc.: 1914 All-American ring for "Maully," which is either John Maulbetsch's nickname or a cartoon hammer. Bacari Alexander is up for the UW-Green Bay job, which is a pretty good mid-major posting. Various OMG Harbaugh stories on spring from ESPN, MLive, MVictors, etc.

Sports "donations" are still tax-deductible. Alabama assistant salaries have gone up 60% in four years(!). Michigan's are probably in the same range.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Opens Wide For Some Soccer

Unverified Voracity Opens Wide For Some Soccer Comment Count

Brian March 27th, 2015 at 4:12 PM

AFCAA_FinalWebHello: AFC Ann Arbor. We are getting a minor league soccer team that I am inordinately excited about, and tickets have just gone on sale. I already hate Oakland United FC for having both "United" and "FC" in their name. I bet their crest doesn't even have a tree. Or stripes. I do not know how these tossers deign to call themselves any sort of organization. Down with United Sporting Real FC Oakland Dinamo.

Anyway.

AFCAA has an eight game home schedule over the summer; in year one they're playing at Pioneer. Plenty of current and former Wolverines are on the team, and it sounds like they're importing some food carts (Mark's carts?) for games. I'll be at the home opener May 1st, stop by and say hi.

Jim Harbaugh has the best twitter feed. Tips for identifying good coaching twitter feeds:

GOOD: odd capitalization and grammar, random shoutouts to Cracker Barrel and Judge Judy
BAD: hashtags, motivational sayings, motivational sayings embedded in hashtags

Harbaugh is on the good side of the equation:

Amongst many people saying "don't forget X" I declare Derek Moore the winner for reminding Harbaugh that he should not forget the legend of Tony Pape, AKA "Fat Elvis."

Spring Creaning time. A couple days after Stanford Robinson said "I'm not going anywhere" to media in the IU locker room, the university announced his transfer. Today he was followed by freshman wing Max Hoetzel.

This annual exodus has the same impetus all of Tom Crean's other annual exoduses have: someone must leave (or not show up) because Crean drastically oversigned. This year Indiana has zero seniors, a full roster, and two recruits. And they are still recruiting various players for the late period. To their credit, a lot of Indiana fans hate this.

Every coach is going to have some attrition from guys who don't work out. Few sign multiple guys in November knowing that this means someone on the current team is going to be forcibly ejected from the program as a result. And for what? For a ten seed because your incompetent self can't count or recruit a post player.

We poke at Tom Izzo around here because he's easy to poke at, but he is a legitimate coach and seemingly good dude; Crean is another level of detestable. For everybody's sake let's hope that buyout comes down enough to get rid of him soon. The Big Ten is ill-served by his presence at a basketball mecca.

I'm very disappointed in 61 of you. You guys are jerks.

Upon further review, there is not enough football in episodes of "Coach" to do this.

I guess this is official now? Or at least official-ish:

247 and Rivals are confirming and I'm not sure this is a thing that gets a press release, so… done? Let's call it done.

I'd rather have the inverse but I'm not too bent out of shape about it. I like the clean look the decal-less helmets have and thought the legends jerseys were a good way to remind people that the Wisterts were great and Gerald Ford was an All-American. Hopefully they can do something for the retired numbers other than just put them back in mothballs.

Also semi-official? I can't remember if Wayne Lyons's transfer was already semi-official or has just become slightly more so, but the big news from Mike Zordich's press conference was Zordich accidentally letting the cat out of the bag about Lyons's imminent arrival. Except that Lyons himself said it in February and we already have a Hello post for him.

Nevermind then?

Spike was hurting. Spike Albrecht was not fully right last year:

Albrecht is wrestling with the decision whether to undergo off-season surgery on both of his ailing hips, procedures that would leave him rehabilitating for "probably four to five months, at least."

"That's a tough situation," Albrecht said. "I don't want to sit out, but I also don't want to go through another season like I went through this year, but if that's the only option and that's the best option, then I'll do it."

Apparently those surgeries have to be scheduled consecutively and involve—bleah—"shaving down an area of hip bone." A 4-5 month recovery period is likely, which would make him whole in August or September. Tough decision to weigh a lack of pain against whatever rustiness getting laid up like that would induce.

Meanwhile, Alejandro Zuniga evaluated Albrecht.

Gordon Bell, 1975. Via Dr. Sap:

Also Ufer calling a pretty spectacular Bell touchdown run against Purdue.

Etc.: Sauce Castillo. Sauce Castillo. Neeeerd baseball hits the Daily. On John Calipari. Tattoos ranked by how bad of an idea they are. Jack Miller's decision to quit football was about concussions a bit, unless it wasn't.

In defense of Tim Beckman?

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Mailbag: Heartbaugh, Super Bowl Game Theory, Demoralization List(!), Beilein Recruiting

Mailbag: Heartbaugh, Super Bowl Game Theory, Demoralization List(!), Beilein Recruiting Comment Count

Brian February 16th, 2015 at 10:18 AM

Okay

Good Morning (Afternoon in Ann Arbor) MGoBlog Team,

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, the attached picture was being passed around by the 49ers fans here in my office.  One had the insight to share with me.

Go Blue.

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I want to see a version of this with the MVictors glare photo.

Not at all timely response to Super Bowl question.

Brian,

You briefly mentioned how you believe Belichick not using a timeout at the end of the Super Bowl was a colossal overlooked mistake, and that the ends don't justify the means.  In almost all cases I agree with you on coaches' inability to properly use timeouts (e.g. Hoke giving up a free hail mary).  However, in this particular case, I disagree and I think the statistics and "feels" may bear out that Belichick didn't necessarily just get lucky.

Everyone knew that, at some point, Lynch was going to get the ball.  With only one timeout left, Belichick knew that Seattle couldn't run it three straight times. In addition, Lynch had not been very good, going only 45% successful in short yardage situations all season, and 1/5(!) at goal to go from the 1.  Belichick had to know that, and was potentially making a statistical gamble on being able to stop the run there.  There is also something to be said in the "feels" category with putting pressure on the other
team to make a decision they may not otherwise make.  It was also made clear by Butler that they were ready for that exact situation.  Belichick knew they could defend it.  I think even though it may appear that Belichick got lucky, he in fact knew exactly what he was doing.  It may look like high risk, but in fact the season statistics and his preparation tell me that he knew the odds were in his favor by letting the clock run and limiting Seattle's choices.

Thanks, and I love the blog as well as discussions like this.
-Kyle (Carolina Blue)

I think that's dubious at best. Seattle snapped the ball on second down with a timeout and 26 seconds after having run the clock down from just under a minute. Seattle has the option to run on either second or third down. By not calling timeout you get to impose that constraint on their playcalling.

But that's all, and that's not much. You cite some stats that have been floating around; those are not serious. (Five attempts? Cumong man.) Football Outsiders' OL rankings have Seattle the #2 team in the league in their "power success" stat, which is defined like so:

Percentage of runs on third or fourth down, two yards or less to go, that achieved a first down or touchdown. Also includes runs on first-and-goal or second-and-goal from the two-yard line or closer.

Lynch and Seattle had in fact been excellent at punching the ball in, and forcing a pass is a good idea. You give up some expectation when you throw on the doorstep of the end zone.

Meanwhile, the Patriots were dead last with an identical rate: 81% of the time Seattle tried a short conversion they got it; 81% of the time the Patriots tried to stop one they failed. Even leaving aside the passing down, 19% squared is about 4%. Without a miracle—the first goal-line interception thrown by an NFL team all year—the Patriots go home losers. How likely is that miracle? Not likely. Russell Wilson had seven interceptions on 495 throws this year.

Your win percentage is unbelievably grim in the situations the Pats put themselves in. But how grim is it

  • down three with a minute left with a TO
  • on your 20
  • with a unanimous first-ballot HOF QB

Not nearly as grim, I think.

[After the JUMP: demoralizing: we're experts]

Comments

NSD Fallout: What's Worth The Outrage?

NSD Fallout: What's Worth The Outrage? Comment Count

Ace February 6th, 2015 at 2:03 PM


"Remember, don't say a damn thing."

It's been barely 36 hours since National Signing Day, and it's clear the top question on everyone's mind is this: What should we be outraged over?

Since message boards (yes, including ours) seem to indicate EVERYTHING, I'm here to attempt a more even-handed approach.

RAGE ON: Bait-and-Switch Coaches

Seth covered much of this in today's Dear Diary, so I'll keep this short. Yes, it's grossly disingenuous for coaches who've spent years selling recruits on the prospect of playing for their program to take other jobs the moment the ink dries on their letter of intent. I was not born yesterday, and therefore refuse to believe that now-ex OSU RBs coach Stan Drayton just happened to field an out-of-the-blue job offer from the Chicago Bears yesterday, or that UCLA DC Jeff Ulbrich is still wrestling with the decision of whether or not to take a job with the Atlanta Falcons.

Mike Weber got unlucky; he found out about Drayton after he'd signed his LOI. Roquan Smith was fortunate; Georgia coaches—out of the purity of their souls, I'm sure—alerted him to Ulbrich's potential flight before he'd put pen to paper, and now Smith will take a week to reassess his decision.

The lesson here isn't that recruits shouldn't go to a school based on their coaches. That's just stupid. They'll spend more time with their coaches—and specifically, their position coach—than any professor or faculty member over the next four years. Having a good relationship with their coaches is hugely important for their sanity; getting quality coaching equally so for their dreams of making it to the next level. Yes, they should take into account potential flight risks and hopefully choose a school they'd enjoy attending regardless of sports, but it's hard to see the bait-and-switch coming when a coach is telling you stuff like this and this.

Just as I was finishing up this post, news broke that Texas' D-line coach took the same job at Florida, despite assurances from Texas head coach Charlie Strong to just-signed recruits that he wasn't going anywhere:

A day later, not so much.

The real lesson here is to not sign LOIs. They're binding only from the prospect's end, and while everyone signs them, they're totally unnecessary; a financial aid agreement serves the same purpose while giving a prospective student-athlete the ability to avoid just this situation.

[Hit THE JUMP for sketchy media members, sketchy greyshirts, unfortunate fan reactions, Thomas Wilcher's strong words about OSU, and something we actually shouldn't be harping on the Buckeyes about. Oh, and Graham Couch being Graham Couch.]

Comments

Oversigning Bites Indiana Back

Oversigning Bites Indiana Back Comment Count

Brian January 31st, 2014 at 3:24 PM

940x[1]7b80375039f3eb6cd62b7122498a1edc[1]

Indiana could have used Creek (#1, left) or Abell (right)

Michigan's next Big Ten opponent is Indiana, an outfit that's 3-5 in conference, 13-8 overall, headed for an NIT bid at best. While Indiana lost buckets of talent to graduation, they didn't have to be this bad. Tom Crean screwed himself.

I give Tom Izzo a lot of crap around these parts for his constant histrionics, but 90% of that is pure rivalry spiciness. I hate Tom Izzo, because he is extraordinarily easy to hate. But I simultaneously treasure Tom Izzo because he is easy to hate in that way. When not indulging in rivalry business, I don't actually mind the guy. He is clean. Full stop. I don't want to hear anything about Appling and Payne; we've got our own issues in that department. I hate the fact that he gets away with being on the court and his kids can grab without the Big Ten reacting, but that's just basketball stuff.

I hate two Big Ten coaches more than Izzo. One is obvious: Bo Ryan, promulgator of murderously slow swampball and headman of a program that just accidentally happens to put more feet under jumpshooters' ankles than anyone else in the country. But y'all know that because you've read one thing I've said about Wisconsin basketball.

The second is Tom Crean, who brought SEC-style oversigning to the Big Ten. Last year he shuffled off a recruit who met NCAA regulations but ended up at a prep school and is now at Syracuse. This year he needed to dump another guy and ended up ejecting two, Remy Abell and Maurice Creek. But unlike Calipari or Saban, Tom Crean is so inept that his callous disregard of the whole college thing is actually hurting his team.

You see, Rudy, Indiana can't shoot worth two damns. They're 223rd in three point percentage; they are 308th in 3PA/FGA. They're only being kept that high because Yogi Ferrell made an unexpected and impressive burst from a 30% shooter to a 41% shooter. Nobody else on their team can shoot. The only guy who even bothers to try is Will Sheehey, the mediocre senior-to-be who didn't get cut.

The rest of the team occasionally chucks one up in an unsuccessful attempt to keep 'em honest, with results much like the ones Michigan saw against Purdue, their most recent opponent and the other team in the state of Indiana that couldn't hit the broad side of that dude named Pork Chop in eight tries. This is the main reason Indiana is adrift. Teams pack it in against them with impunity.

You did it to yourself

The help Indiana needs was sitting on Indiana's bench last year.

Abell's currently sitting out a year before getting on the court for Xavier, a 15-5 Big East team currrently ranked about 40 spots above Indiana on Kenpom. Abell hit 16 of 33 three-pointers as a 12-minute-per-game sophomore last year; he had a healthy FT rate and an ORTG of 116. This would be a close second to Ferrell this year in terms of IU ORTG, and if Abell's three point shooting was anywhere near what it seemed like it might be he would be a 30 minute per game staple just to spread the floor.

Meanwhile, Maurice Creek was as a fifth-year grad student and therefore immediately eligible at George Washington. Last year the Colonials were below .500 and out of the KP100; this year they are 17-3, in the top 40, and a clear Bracket Matrix at-large. Maurice Creek starts. He takes more shots than anyone on the team, hits threes at a nearly 40% rate, and is nationally ranked in eFG%. He is exactly what Clappy needs on his team of tall athletic guys who seem to be encountering a basketball for the first time every night.

Creek could have been a sentimental legend at Indiana, the guy who came back from injury after injury to spearhead the team as a fifth year senior and preserve their tourney streak. Instead, he's a vastly improved GW's go-to guy as Tom Crean's inept Hoosiers founder.

There isn't really a point here except maybe you should run around in circles and go "eeee" a bit because sometimes the universe does poke the right people in the eye. Clap on, Clappy, as Mo Creek plays in a tournament you won't get invited to.

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