Just Take The Shot

Just Take The Shot

Submitted by Brian on January 12th, 2018 at 1:21 PM

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this shot was just tooken [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

I've been poking around Hoop Math a bit and saw something that jumped out at me: Michigan's late clock offense (ie: shots that go up with 5 or fewer seconds on the clock). There's a lot of it, and it's awful. This is a significant departure from previous seasons and is probably where the various problems with Michigan's offense collect and express themselves. Here's a chart:

YEAR % LATE NT EFG LATE EFG
2018 21 54 42
2017 26 56 50
2016 22 53 49
2015 15 48 49
2014 13 53 47
2013 11 52 50
2012 12 52 43

(NT: non-transition.)

The only Hoop Math Era team with a late EFG anywhere near as bad as this year's team was the frosh Burke team in 2012, and that offense had significantly fewer shots fall into the Bin Of Crap Late Offense. This year's team is humping up a fifth of their shots in a 0.84 PPP bin.

Everything else is fine. (Almost.) Michigan doesn't turn the ball over, they are hitting 56% from two, and their meh team three point shooting is heavily influenced by a bunch of these terrible late shots. They're hitting 28% on 96 late threes, down from 35% last year. Threes in the first 25 seconds of the clock are dropping at a 40% rate. If Michigan was converting late clock opportunities at the rate they have over the past five years, the only thing separating them from their usual lethal offense would be free throw shooting.

Unfortunately, I don't think there's a simple Give The Ball To Player X answer to this. No Michigan player has been at all efficient late except Jordan Poole, who's just taking threes other people set up. MAAR: 46% on 45 FGA. Wagner: 42% on 39 FGA. Matthews: 36% on 39 FGA. The closest player to efficiency has been Zavier Simpson, of all people, who's at 48% and has a huge number of his shots (40%!) in the crappy late clock bin.

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if this was late in the clock it was a good shot [Bryan Fuller]

Michigan just isn't as good at creating good shots as they usually are, and unlike last year they don't have a guy like Walton who can rise up for a good-idea contested three, or a guy like Hardaway who can get a decent look at a long two whenever he wants. Even the "have Matthews thunder at the rim because he's a great athlete" approach is seriously compromised by his free throw shooting.

Unfortunately this feels like an "it is what it is" situation. Michigan should be more open to taking decent-but-not-great shots earlier in the shot clock, because chances are that is going to be the best look they get. Other than that, they just have to live with too many offensive possessions that bog down into nothing at all.

The good news is that this should be a blip, not a trend: Jordan Poole is an unassisted 3 point shooter who figures to inherit most of MAAR's minutes next year and the next recruiting class has a couple of unapologetic in-your-face-Charlie-Murphy shooters in David DeJulius and Adrian Nunez. Also you have to figure that continued development of the point guards—and everyone else—should get Michigan better, earlier shots.

For now, Michigan should take anything that comes their way. Pull-up threes against Purdue switches? Yes. A good look at a long two with 15 seconds on the clock? Sure. A semi-contested three? Okay. Whatever it takes to get the ball up before the doom of the world kicks in 25 seconds into the shot clock.

Moving the (Stati)Sticks: Oregon State

Moving the (Stati)Sticks: Oregon State

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 17th, 2015 at 12:13 PM

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[Upchurch]

Looking at last week’s data was an exercise in finding where the minute differences were; this week’s data is an exercise in finding where there aren’t massive ones. Michigan gave up a long, low play-count drive to begin the game and then shut down the Oregon State offense. It shows in the number of plays run (M: 76, OSU: 55) and in yards per play and scoring opportunities and so on, all the way up to the final score. Michigan turned into 2007 Ohio State in the second half and experienced a strikingly similar result.

Michigan’s domination of Oregon State did have a few bumps along the way. The first drive was as bad as it looked. Oregon State averaged 7.9 yards per play and had three explosive plays (two rushes and one pass) in a seven-play drive. The drive was anything but methodical; their success rate was just 42.9%, but the two long runs and one long pass counteracted their inability to stay in favorable down-and-distance situations. Michigan wasn’t bled to death, but was definitely bludgeoned. A low success rate proved to be foreshadowing Oregon State’s undoing as their explosiveness fizzled after the first drive, and that alone was enough to take them out of the game.

Oregon State followed up their big first drive with a two-play drive that ended in a turnover and a three and out that gave Michigan the ball at their 32 yard line, which is a pretty favorable place to start. OSU pulled things together momentarily, however, and had three eight-play drives through the rest of the first half. The problem with those three drives is that only one of them ended in Michigan territory, and that resulted in a turnover on downs after moving the ball 50 yards (6.25 YPP). The other two drives went 31 yards (3.87 YPP) and –17 yards (-2.125 YPP), with the negative yardage drive the result of the snap so high above the punter’s head that it almost hit the hanging camera.

[After THE JUMP: There’s a field position section so of course I used the crazy sky snap gif]