Unverified Voracity Is Getting The Harbaughs Back Together

Unverified Voracity Is Getting The Harbaughs Back Together Comment Count

Brian June 22nd, 2017 at 12:22 PM


Exit Jeff Meyer. Lavall Jordan's first act as Butler head coach was to snatch longtime Beilein assistant Jeff Meyer out from under Michigan's Walter White. The parting was amicable:

The list of guys Meyer recruited at Michigan is a long and impressive one; also he got bizarrely chewed out by Tom Crean that one time. He will be missed. Beilein's had a knack for finding new coaches of late, so the program probably won't take much of a hit. The most relevant bit of this for Michigan fans may be what it says about Jordan: being able to snag a high profile assistant from Michigan is impressive. If he can keep Butler at its current level, Michigan's post-Beilein coaching search may well be one phone call.

I haven't seen any names for Meyer's replacement yet, which is somewhat unusual. Saadi Washington was instantly a likely hire when Alexander and Jordan departed for head jobs elsewhere. There is someone available…


[Bryan Fuller]

Before you spit roast my head, consider that this would get Jim Harbaugh behind Michigan's bench at basketball games? And it would be really funny? And Crean might do it to get his furious revenge on Indiana? Yes? Maybe? No. Fine.

NORM. Here's something barely related to sports but good enough for this here site: Norm MacDonald infuriating a collection of Iowa honchos 20 years ago.

University of Iowa Athletic Department officials were teed off enough about Norm Macdonald’s Sunday night comedy act that they yanked his golf invitation for Monday.

Several members of the audience left during Macdonald’s act, which contained references to sex acts, AIDS and homosexuality. The comic alluded to the stream of people leaving the auditorium, but continued his set. “What do you want to talk about? Losing your luggage at the airport?” he asked as people left.

U of I Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby said Macdonald’s act “would be considered to be in very bad taste in nearly every venue in America.” Athletic Department spokesman Rick Klatt said the U of I was assured during contract negotiations that Macdonald could meet guidelines. “We were very explicit about the details of the event, and about the type of people who would be there,” Klatt said.

Mike Bridenstine, Los Angeles-based comedian/writer who grew up in Muscatine and attended the show as a teen:

“The joke that got the biggest/worst reaction was about bestiality porn. Old people and little kids were filing out. My mom felt so uncomfortable that she walked into the lobby, but complained, ‘They piped the sound out there too.’

“I physically hurt from laughing."

I went to a Norm MacDonald show at about the same time—maybe a couple of years later—and the main thing I remember from it is somehow Norm arrived at a point where it made sense to say "this cake here is my girlfriend. I f---ed it last night." I did not realize it at the time but I now know the show would have been greatly improved if Kirk Ferentz was there, fuming.

Norm himself:

“I didn’t even know anything was wrong. And then the next day these guys ... from some radio station or something, like I was sleeping, and they start asking these questions, you know. I didn’t know what to do, so I just tried to be funny. They go ‘Do you think your act is obscene?’ So I said ‘No, I think what’s obscene is there’s like kids dying in Vietnam, you know?’

“He goes ‘There’s no war in Vietnam!’ He like got all mad at me.”

I like Norm.

Angelique on Speight. He's been working to stay in front of Peters:

After returning from Michigan’s trip to Rome, Speight continued to watch every play from the entire season.

“I watched a little bit before spring ball, as well, but I got back to America and immediately went and clicked on the film and started watching that and knocked it all out,” Speight said. “Watched every game twice. There were certain plays in a few games at the end of the year that I wish I could have changed, but that’s what you live and learn from and you get better.”

He's imbibed the tao of Harbaugh when it comes to his injury:

He won’t be specific about the injury but said the shoulder is “back to 100 percent.” He also won’t say if he had surgery and turns coy when the subject comes up.

“I can’t remember,” Speight said, smiling. “That was way back in January, February, December.”

You know that thing where you turn into your father as you age? Yeah, that.

Catching up with Vincent Smith. Dan Murphy profiles Michigan's toughest running back in recent memory:

Vincent Smith is building momentum. He takes two short strides, sinking his hips like a retracting pinball plunger, and then launches himself clear over an 8-foot swath of freshly tilled and seeded earth. Smith gathers the five-gallon bucket of winter rye seeds next to his landing spot and moves on to the next patch of dirt.

It's late October in Michigan, and Smith is doing what he can to prep his garden-in-progress for the cold months ahead. The vacant lot he is trying to repurpose sits two blocks from the infamous Flint River, which in recent years delivered lead-tainted waters to the citizens of one of the Rust Belt's most down-on-its-luck cities. The rest of the street is lined by houses that range from worn but loved to dilapidated. The house that once stood on Smith's lot caught fire, and the city ordered its demolition several years earlier. He and a band of helpers spent weeks picking pieces of the old house and other garbage out of the ground when they decided last year that it was a good candidate to be turned into a community garden.

DJ Wilson scouted. DX on Wilson:

It will be interesting to see how his frame develops as he matures, since he already possess the skill set of a stretch-4, but he needs to add toughness and competitiveness to not emerge as a one-dimensional player. With NBA teams continue to search for big men who can shoot, handle, pass and switch, Wilson is a strong first round pick candidate and should have plenty of chances to break into an NBA rotation. - Source:

That's why he's in the draft: he's perfect for the modern NBA, where centers are power forwards who are expected to switch onto point guards and shoot threes. There's a 0% chance someone doesn't take him in the first round, because if he continues developing he can be part of a devastating five-out offense. Also despite being 21 he's got the upside of a younger player. Beilein:

"He’s just on his way to being a really good player," Beilein said. "He can really shoot. Put it together with his defense … he’s 21 with a body of a 19-year-old. The best is yet to come for him. He’s a super kid on and off the court; very coachable.

"Whoever gets him is going to be very fortunate."

If we could stop with the "DJ got bad advice" thing that would be great. He supposedly has a promise from the Nets, even.

Nope. Texas OT Brandon Hodges is looking to grad transfer but if Barking Carnival is right about the reason for his departure this will be a non-starter for Michigan:

Hodges was projected to start at right tackle, but he was reportedly done in by grades. Eric Nahlin at Inside Texas alluded this news coming a couple of days ago.

Michigan's last best shot at a grad transfer was Sunny Odogwu.

Etc.: Former NFL RB Alfonso Smith is joining the program as a staffer. David Harris to the Patriots. Ann Arbor is expensive.


2016-17 B1G Basketball Preview: Indiana

2016-17 B1G Basketball Preview: Indiana Comment Count

Alex Cook September 29th, 2016 at 1:15 PM

[Ed-Seth: Yes, basketball season is approaching. We'll jump early though]

tom crean

Jim Harbaugh’s brother-in-law [SBNation]


After Indiana dropped two of three games (all against mediocre competition) in the Maui Invitational and were blown out in the ACC – Big Ten challenge by Duke, there was understandable unease among the Hoosier faithful; things took an even worse turn when their second-leading scorer, James Blackmon, Jr., was lost to a season-ending injury right before conference play. Because Tom Crean’s still at the helm of that particular ship, people started complaining about him again.

[More on the Hoosiers after the JUMP]


Unverified Voracity Hears The Lamentation Of Their Softballists

Unverified Voracity Hears The Lamentation Of Their Softballists Comment Count

Brian May 18th, 2015 at 1:45 PM

Kickstarter expiration imminent. Our Hail To The Victors kickstarter ends at 5 PM. If you have been procrastinating, you have run out of time. We'll have copies in the MGoStore for those who haven't been able to participate. Signed copies, Kickstarter-exclusive shirts, and the ability to get your name in the thing are only available until 5. Consume!


there was a lot of this last weekend [Bryan Fuller]

CROOOSH. Softball annihilated its regional over the weekend, coming up a single run short of mercy-ruling all three of its opponents. They draw #14 Georgia in the super regionals at Alumni Field in a Thursday/Friday series. Thursday's game is 9PM on ESPN2; Friday's is at 6 on ESPNU. South Bend Wolverine, who graciously previewed the regional for us, is planning on profiling Georgia on Wednesday.

Hiring the team mom. Andy Staples interviews Harbaugh about the Gwendolyn Bush hire:

Bush peppered the coach with the same kinds of questions she did when Harbaugh was recruiting Lyons to Stanford out of Fort Lauderdale’s Dillard High. The banter gave Harbaugh flashbacks to the lengthy questionnaire Bush asked all the coaches recruiting her son to complete in 2010. It also gave him an idea. No parent he’d dealt with had studied the recruiting process as thoroughly as Bush. “Some people don’t take the time to really learn the process,” Bush said. “They just let it happen.” Bush wouldn’t allow that for her son. Inspired by St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) High tailback James White, who sent coaches brief surveys before committing to Wisconsin, Bush and Lyons designed a 50-question exam for coaches to complete before they could recruit Lyons. 

Plus, Bush now also had the experience of a parent whose child had played high-level college football while completing a demanding degree program. As a bonus, she had worked in the Broward County school system in a variety of positions for 27 years. She had administrative experience. She would be perfect for Harbaugh’s version of the director of player development position. “With her credentials in the educational system, I thought she’d be a tremendous liaison to academics and also a voice for the moms,” Harbaugh said. “In the recruiting process, the mothers get very little airtime—even throughout the entire college experience.”

Wayne Lyons was headed to Michigan either way, and Harbaugh just took the opportunity provided by Bush getting back in touch to hire a person with that level of detail.

Seeya. The number of Indiana basketball players hitting the highways and byways of America, bindle over shoulder, swelled to five over the weekend with the dismissals of Devin Davis and Hanner Mosquera-Perea. The reason for their departure: Davis was cited for pot possession. Perea's offense was being in the room.

Kevin Trahan notes that the departure of these gentlemen on such a flimsy pretext likely means they were out the door no matter what:

…two Indiana players—Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson—failed multiple drug tests last fall, yet only received four-game suspensions that were more like two-game suspensions, given that two of the games were exhibition contests.

Why the Roger Goodell-like disciplinary inconsistency? It's hard not to wonder if Mosquera-Perea and Davis are less incorrigible embarrassments to Crean's team than a pair of inconvenient bench bodies, victims of scholarship oversigning. After all, Williams was a star for the Hoosiers and integral to their future success. Mosquera-Perea and Davis are not. Meanwhile, Crean needs an open scholarship as he looks to sign star high school big man Thon Maker—and surprise, two spots just become available.

Robinson got the ziggy earlier this offseason after demonstrating he can't shoot at all; Williams is still around, mean-mugging after he successfully makes tea.

Here's some perspective on this offseason's vigorous Creaning: for a football team to go through this much premature attrition they would have to lose 33 players. Tom Crean is the Houston Nutt of basketball. Giggity.

What about the other slot? A familiar name might fill it:

Michigan graduate transfer Max Bielfeldt, who won an appeal that will allow him to transfer within the Big Ten, will visit Indiana on Sunday according to a report from Jon Rothstein.

Bielfeldt confirmed his plans to visit in a text message to Inside the Hall on Saturday afternoon.

Inside the Hall optimistically lists Bielfeldt at 6'8" and most of the comments are along the lines of "he can't be worse than Perea." Which… okay, maybe.

Dave Brandon 2.0 has not been stopped yet. I feel for Texas fans with no light at the end of their terrible AD tunnel yet. Steve Patterson, the new Worst Athletic Director In America, on playing Texas A&M:

On playing in Mexico City:

Patterson is obsessed with the possibility people in Dubai or Mexico might buy a UT t-shirt because he is the kind of executive sociopath that is more concerned with putting a bullet point on a resume than actually figuring out what is a good idea.

Jerry Hinnen points out that playing at Azteca has historically been a nightmare for the USMNT due to the altitude, smog, and heat. Mexico plays all their games there specifically to discomfit visitors; Patterson wants to play a football game there in the vague hope it gives Texas recognition in a country that doesn't care even a little tiny bit about American football.

Etc.: Doug Skene and Mike Spath break down Rudock's game against Wisconsin. That is the next passing UFR on my list, and it projects to be an encouraging one. Get The Picture on the coming attendance dip. Angelique talks to Adidas. NoDak hockey coach Dave Hakstol hired by the Flyers in the same position.

AFC Ann Arbor beat Oakland United Sporting Real Dinamo Forest FC SC 4-0 to win their first-ever league game. Points to the rowdies for chanting "dos a cero" for the period of time that was a thing.


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:


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.)


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.


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.


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.


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?


SHON AND TOM: a short play in one act

SHON AND TOM: a short play in one act Comment Count

Brian March 16th, 2014 at 12:20 PM


via Land Grant Holy Land


A short play in one act


Tom, a basketball coach
Shon, a television color commentator


TOM: "Shon."

SHON: "Yes. Yes, Tom. What is it Tom."

T: "I just had a thought Shon."

S: "What is that thought Tom."

T: "There are millions of planets and some of them have life, Shon. Inevitably some of these societies are millions of years more advanced than ours. They have not visited. There is no evidence of their existence. We dream of traveling the stars, but we cannot. Otherwise someone would have visited us.

"The reason we have not been visited by any of these societies is that it is simply not possible. Physics is a dead end, Shon."

S: "But what about when the sun…"

T: "All of this dies, Shon. We have an expiration date. Physics is a dead end."

S: "Physics is a dead end."

T: "I have a great sadness all about me, Shon. It overwhelms my being. It is as if we already do not exist."


My Floor Is The Ceiling

My Floor Is The Ceiling Comment Count

Brian March 10th, 2014 at 12:43 PM

3/6/2014 – Michigan 84, Indiana 80 – 23-7, 15-3 Big Ten


Hello. I shoot 69%. They gave me a hat. [Fuller]

Arizona's lost, Virginia's lost, Wisconsin's lost, Duke's lost, Michigan State's lost, everyone's lost. They've all done so against teams ranging from mediocre to horrible. Losing is not hard; not losing is super hard. Michigan hasn't lost but three times in an 18 game Big Ten schedule and won the league by a staggering three-game margin. That's hard.

Michigan's done this despite being "soft" by any reasonable definition. Poke an opposing fan in a bad mood and they will hurl this charge. It's hard to dispute. Michigan's defense hovers around 100th in Kenpom. Their rebounding is middling at best. They do not steal the ball or block shots; they're dead last in the league at preventing two pointers from going in. Tom Izzo looks ready to die and is throwing most of his team under the bus for being softbatch, and his outfit is second in the league.

Meanwhile, here are the conference records of teams that finished last in two-point defense in the past ten years: 4-14, 4-14, 7-11, 4-14, 9-9, 1-17, 2-14, 6-10, 1-15, 3-13, 2-14.

This is a parade of Carmody-era Northwestern teams and anybody-era Penn State with the occasional outlier thrown in. You may be familiar with one of those outliers. That 9-9 record was John Beilein's first tourney team at Michigan, Stu and Zack and Manny and a Crisler eruption. Michigan broke through with a statistical indicator that usually means you're Penn State. A bad version of Penn State. Michigan got to the second round of the tourney.

This year's league-worst two point defense annihilated what's statistically the best conference in the country. Last year Michigan took a defense that entered the NCAA tourney in the 70s and charged into the national title game.

This is not a normal thing. Every year, people pull profiles of past NCAA champions out and dismiss Michigan because they don't have enough defense. Michigan does not seem to notice. They are too busy playing NBA Jam.



Michigan must be approaching the practical limit of offensive efficiency. Sometimes, like first halves against Nebraska and Illinois, they approach the theoretical limit.

Over the past decade only a half-dozen teams exceeded Michigan's current output, and they are generally 30 win teams: Chris Paul at Wake Forest, the uber-loaded 2009 Carolina squad that dismantled MSU in the title game, that one year Jon Diebler hit 50% from three off of Jared Sullinger kickouts. These teams are juggernauts, charging through major-conference regular seasons with two or three losses.

This year, the teams scraping the ceiling are not juggernauts. Creighton, Duke, and Michigan are probing these heights with the aid of the sometimes-goofy new rules, but they've all lost at least six games already. None will be top seeds. All have defenses ranging from 80th to 100th on Kenpom. All have offenses that are otherworldly.

Together they comprise a new version of contender, a major-conference version of three-point sniping underdogs. Each takes 40% of their shots from behind the line and connects on 40% of their attempts. The other teams at the top of the the three-point-make charts are more often Utah State and Drake than they are major conference teams.

This year, the feisty 12 shooting down a five-seed has migrated into the protected seeds, with all the rights and privileges therein. Chaos beckons. I've got no idea what's going to happen, but I know that it is going to be crazy. Stock up on subs.


Hall of fame. If you get three encomiums in one career you're a MGoHall of Fame lock. Jordan Morgan has cleared the bar. He has been here for the entire building process and now stands at the top of the Big Ten, net in teeth. Those who stay will be champions. (And most of those who don't.) Hiring John Beilein was a good idea.

Anyway: Indiana came out with a gameplan that was essentially a Jordan Morgan diss track, starting 6'7" freshman Devin Davis and switching every screen. Morgan was not about to take that slap in the face on senior day. He posted, he rebounded, he kept Michigan in the game during the period where Indiana literally could not miss. He ended 7/8 from the floor with five offensive rebounds and a couple steals.

His makes showed an advanced knowledge of how to finish without the ability to play above the rim, especially the bucket on which one dribble led to a tight-angle layup around Vonleh. He just finished a season shooting 69% as a 6'8" non-leaper. Sure sure sure a lot of those were put on a platter for him, but there are a lot of guys who get things put on a platter for them who don't shoot anywhere near 69%. I mean, his ORtg is higher than anyone on the team other than Albrecht.

BONKERS. Speaking of ORTG, the worst on the team still belongs to Derrick Walton, and his number is 110, up 11 points from midseason. Indiana has one guy above that—Ferrell, obvs. Vonleh is just about tied with Walton.

Michigan's offense is just bonkers this year.

Obligatory photo of everyone else smiling because they did something spectacular and difficult as Jon Horford mediates or something. We would not let you down in a matter this important.


you may be on the court at Crisler after winning the Big Ten by three games
I am on the court as well
but I am also under the Banyan tree
inventing the world anew every moment [Fuller]


Will Sheehey can't check this no mo [Fuller]

Point guard on Stauskas: dead. Hail the Beilein adjustment matrix. Michigan started out against Michigan State by obliterating MSU's previous defensive strategy. A collection of back cuts and down screens got Michigan a bunch of looks at the basket and forced MSU to stop denying the perimeter. At that point Michigan could just run their offense, which was their offense and therefore ridiculous.

Michigan's Borg-like ability to adapt to phaser frequencies was also on display in this one. We spent the better part of a month fretting about opponents shutting down Nik Stauskas by sticking their point guards on him. This strategy was initiated in Michigan's loss at Assembly Hall (Yes That Assembly Hall). Stauskas again drew Ferrell. Results: 21 points on 17 shot equivalents, two assists, one turnover. Stauskas got quick post ups for buckets, drove past Ferrell, shot over Ferrell. Etc.

Stauskas has put up 25, 15, 21, 24, and 21 in his last five games. He's adapted to little guys in his grill, mostly by raining it in from three, but here the drives were also effective.

Zone. The 1-3-1 was the difference in the game. It shot Indiana's uncharacteristically low turnover rate into the stratosphere and didn't give up any worse shots than the man to man was. The 1-3-1 is inherently a high risk, high reward defense that does give up a lot of GRAHHHHH dunks, offensive rebounds, and open threes. It compensates by turning the opponent over. So when you're giving up a lot of GRAHHHHH dunks and open threes anyway, you might as well get some turnovers.

It is frustrating that Michigan did not try out a packed-in 2-3 and dare anyone not named Ferrell to raise up over it. They only have so much time to work on things, I guess, but given Indiana's struggles against a 2-3 it seems like it would have been something to try once it became apparent that dribble penetration was there for anyone who wanted it. 

Instead, the 1-3-1 worked just fine. Indiana had 12 second half turnovers, many of them forced by the zone and specifically Caris LeVert's ever-extending hands. He's only credited with two steals in the box score but his impact was much larger than that as the flypaper dude at the top.

Entering the tourney, having the 1-3-1 in Michigan's back pocket is a major asset, especially given that they're down to 93rd in defense on Kenpom. They may have to change what they're doing at some point when the man to man just isn't working.


coachin' in a van down by the river [Bryan Fuller]

Clap on, Clappy. Michigan got the ball back up three with 39 seconds left. Indiana did not trap or press; they eventually fouled Spike Albrecht with 17 seconds left on the shot clock. Crean was apparently screaming at his team to foul for a good 10 seconds of that delay, even so that's just… wow. Let's just say I can't see a Beilein team not knowing that you should try to steal the ball and foul quickly in that situation.

GET OFF THE COURT, SCHRUTE. Crean actually shoved one of his players then forced the referee to box him out on one Indiana possession. Beilein had already been hit with a technical for saying something along the lines of "dagnabit," and Crean's on the court affecting the play. Nothing.

They've got to do something about this in the offseason. Dump your horrible charge changes* and actually enforce technicals against coaches who show up on the court. For the love of pants.

*[Semi-weekly charge bitching goes here. Adriean Payne had been set for a good two seconds on this "block":

Meanwhile, Spike Albrecht can't get a call because he's tiny and flies halfway across the arena when a 6'8" guy puts his shoulder into him. It looks like a flop because Spike Albrecht is tiny. And then Morgan gets a call on the 1-3-1 as he slides under Troy Williams after Williams is already in the air. They need to simplify the call, because the refs simply cannot make it.]

"DAGNABIT" works. Indiana got called for a bunch of travels in the second half after Beilein's tech. I hate coach ref histrionics, but they apparently work.

Brackets. Palm hasn't budged on Michigan as the #2 in the West with Arizona despite the carnage around them. Brad Evans of Yahoo has Michigan fifth overall, presumably matched with Villanova in the East. Lunardi has Michigan the #2 in the South opposite Florida. Crashing the Dance's algorithm has Michigan, Kansas, Syracuse, and Wichita State in a veritable dead heat for spots 4-7.

While it's unlikely Wichita is in any danger of dropping off the one line—algorithms are having slight issues with a 33-0 MVC team—it's anyone's guess how the twos get ordered. At this point it looks like Michigan is a lock to get one; hopefully they can play themselves out of the West. Indianapolis is obviously ideal for the regionals, and it does seem like Michigan can play themselves there by winning the BTT. Kansas and Virginia losses in their tournaments would help.

One thing that seems assured: Michigan will be in Milwaukee for the first weekend. Save Wisconsin, their competitors for that spot (Creighton, Iowa State, Cincinnati, MSU) are probably incapable of passing M on the S-curve.

Meanwhile, the Big Ten tournament sets up nicely for Michigan with Iowa, Michigan State, and Wisconsin on the other side of the bracket:


Indiana is clearly a bad matchup for M; everyone else they could meet before the final is manageable.

The most interesting bracketology debate, by the way, is Duke. Palm had them a 5 seed before their win over UNC, citing a near-total lack of accomplishments on the road. They're now a weak 4 on his bracket. Lunardi still has them a 2. Lunardi's got a rep for not being particularly good until late, when he talks to people close to the committee. If Duke does end up a fringe Sweet 16 seed, that is point Palm.

Congratsketball. Well done, Nebrasketball. By beating Wisconsin you've moved yourselves definitively off the bubble and finished a near-undefeated home season. And the only thing you lose this offseason is Ray Gallegos.


Oversigning Bites Indiana Back

Oversigning Bites Indiana Back Comment Count

Brian January 31st, 2014 at 3:24 PM


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.


Unverified Voracity Rides Elephant

Unverified Voracity Rides Elephant Comment Count

Brian April 16th, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Kickstarter, eh! After many requests we have added a couple of kickstarter tiers for international folks: 20 bucks for one mag, 40 for both, and we'll eat the extra costs for anyone who goes for the 50+ tiers.

Reminder: we have made our base goal and are now shooting for the 50k stretch goal, whereupon the basketball/hockey preview mag is a real thing on paper.

Meanwhile if you're in the giving mood check out Marlin Jackson's Fight For Life charity. Very good cause. Seth posted extensively on what they do this morning.

Our linemen are a wonderful freak show. They're all having huge lumberjack beards and looking like Freddie Mercury and, uh, this:


That's walk-on Dan Gibbs's twitter avatar. We probably should have started him against Jesse Williams, who Gibbs is seen riding. Equal to the task is Gibbs's twitter avatar: DJBunyan.

Speaking of offensive linemen, Elliott Mealer has shaved the beard.

as if millions of follicles suddenly cried out in terror

We will always remember you, ZZ Top beard.


This year's OL has a lot to live up to. They are off to a good start, at least.


Michigan has a five star basketball recruit for the second straight year. (isportsweb)

It's too bad he can't compete with the big boys. Rivals has given Zak Irvin the GRIII bump, moving up ten spots after his Mr. Basketball season in Indiana. This nets him the coveted fifth star. Walton is #37—also a ten-spot bump—while Mark Donnal is #111, one of the last four-stars. IIRC Donnal was just inside the top 100 last time. He got one of those "you stay the same and we find twelve guys we like a lot" downgrades.

Indiana's six-person oversigning extravaganza is the best class in the Big Ten according to the sites. Michigan is second, #13 nationally at ESPN. Illinois and Wisconsin are next, but it's always hard to figure out how to rank basketball classes because they're so divergent in terms of numbers.

Speaking of Tom Crean…

You're Nick Saban, dude. A year after Indiana signee Ron Patterson was told he couldn't enroll at Indiana in August—ie, the Les Miles—Tom Crean signs six players and is oversigned by one going into the late signing period. Out you go, Remy Abell. Indiana currently has 13 players. They've just offered Jaren Sina, the former Northwestern commit who opened up his recruitment when Bill Carmody was fired.

Now is the time on Sprockets when brows are furrowed about young men and how it's disappointing they've left the program and etc. etc. etc. It's not disappointing, it is mathematically required by Coach Schrute's recruiting. Someone was going to leave, full stop. There's no difference between what's going down at Indiana and Nick Saban's annual purge. In this, OSU and Michigan fans are united.

The thing is: Crean's just flat out saying they're oversigning, which is at least more honest than Saban's approach.

Again, this was not unexpected, and IU coach Tom Crean admitted as much when he spoke with assembled media in Bloomington, Ind., Thursday afternoon. He knew he might have two guys leaving early, in addition to three seniors (Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford, Derek Elston) which is, Crean told the Indianapolis Star, "one of the reasons we oversigned."

Wait ... what?

Yes, the Hoosiers enter the second straight summer with more players signed than scholarships to give out — this time 14 for 13. (Last season, IU's 15 signed players ended with senior guard Matt Roth's seemingly confused, thensuddenly uber-positive, departure, and a fortuitous turn in freshman Ron Patterson's academic ineligibility.)

Even without further departures Michigan will go into next year with an open scholarship. Purdue's down to ten. Schrute is looking for more guys to run off. Hard to have the moral high ground as a conference when you… uh… don't have it.

Godspeed, Tom Hammond. The Great and Powerful Hammond is being replaced by some guy named Hicks on Notre Dame broadcasts. A tip of the cap to a man who overcame his fear of cameras to be on television, like, all the time. We'll always have the picture and the tie.


See you around the rhythmic gymnastics odeon. /brohug

Baseball making it happen. Rich Maloney's ouster last year was sudden and controversial. So far it looks to have been the right move as the previously moribund base-to-ball team is currently 7-2 in the Big Ten behind freshman starting pitcher Evan Hill's dominating 1.89 ERA. Baseball America takes note:

The future looks bright for Michigan, which has a strong freshman core leading its resurgence this spring. Michigan’s best starter has been freshman lefthander Evan Hill (6-1, 1.89), whose projectable 6-foot-5 frame helped him rank No. 165 on the BA 500 heading into last year’s draft. Hill still is just scratching the surface of his potential, but he is maturing quickly and has settled nicely into the Saturday starter role.

“He still is a projection guy—his best years are ahead of him,” Bakich said. “But he’s very talented, he works extremely hard. The mental game has been critical for him, because he’s learned how to breathe and focus on executing the next pitch, that’s been a big part of his development mentally. But he’s still a long, lean, tall, thin guy who has a good fastball, and he’s got good offspeed pitches. He just doesn’t always have the command that he’s going to have in the future of his secondary stuff. But a lot of his success has come from pitching off his fastball. He throws a cutter and a curveball, and when those are on, he usually does pretty well.”

Two other freshmen have earned starting jobs on the left side of the infield and in the top half of the batting order. Travis Maezes (.308/.396/.421) has shown good athleticism, instincts and arm strength at shortstop while hitting in the No. 2 hole. And third baseman Jacob Cronenworth (.339/.397/.460 with two homers and a team-leading 26 RBIs) has been very steady in the cleanup spot. He has a balanced, line-drive approach from the left side of the plate to go along with good speed. Cronenworth also has a strong arm at the hot corner, and he can run his fastball up to 92 mph off the mound, where he has emerged as Michigan’s closer, posting a 1.06 ERA, six saves and a 16-3 strikeout-walk mark in 17 innings.

That's a hell of a freshman class.

Michigan's coming off consecutive sweeps of MSU and Penn State; they take on ND today at 4, with Eastern coming in tomorrow at 6. If you're in Chicago, Michigan plays Northwestern at Wrigley Saturday.

It was a bet with Zak Irvin. A picture of a displeased Gary Harris wearing a Maize Rage t-shirt made the rounds on twitter recently, and I was all like "dude lost a bet with Zak Irvin?"

Dude did lose a bet with Zak Irvin:

M&GB: Can you tell us about that picture of Gary Harris that surfaced on twitter of him wearing a Maize Rage t-shirt?

Irvin: (Laughs) As a matter of fact I was just talking with him about that a couple hours ago but that was from last year. When Michigan played Michigan State we had a bet that whichever team won, the loser had to wear that team’s shirt to school the next day, and Michigan won so Gary had to wear a Michigan t-shirt all the next day.

Just not a recent one.

Not playing coy about Dymonte Thomas. Courtney Avery's job is officially in serious danger given the way Michigan usually talks about freshmen. No one's bothering to say Dymonte Thomas is a long way off or whatever:

"He’s a very conscientious young man. For a guy that comes that should have been at his prom to be here the whole time, and for him to pick it up like he did ... Dymonte Thomas had a very, very good spring for a freshman.”

So there's that. He's playing. Starting? We'll see.

Cumong, NCAA man. Oregon and the NCAA agree that Oregon paid Willie Lyles 25k to help recruit players. Also this:

There is no information," according to the NCAA, "in the record that Lyles coerced or directed any prospect to ultimately choose Oregon. That said, Lyles did provide a meaningful recruiting advantage by orally providing background information about prospects to the coaching staff and also by serving as a conduit to facilitate communication with prospective student-athletes."

I hate you, NCAA enforcement. Oregon has proposed two years of probation and one lost scholarship for a few years. Seriously. Sic 'em, Get The Picture.

Etc.: A tribute to Trey Burke. His finest moments. Oh yes "Roger Federer as a Religious Experience" reference in regards to Trey Burke, oh yes. HSR on the end of basketball season.

UMHoops talks to 2015 SG recruit Luke Kennard. MSU is selling spots in the press box for their spring game. How much? Next question. The definition of amateurism is "whatever the NCAA says it is," and changes constantly. Four(!) Michigan players make John Gasaway's final top 25 freshmen($), with Spike Albrecht making the tail end of the list at 25. That's for show, man. David Allen Grier gets Trey Burke to smile. It is possible. Drake Harris "commitment" scarequotes are unbecoming.


Dear Diary's 2013 Tour du Vengeance

Dear Diary's 2013 Tour du Vengeance Comment Count

Seth March 15th, 2013 at 9:56 AM


Officiating that even closely approximated what could plausibly described as normal, a breeze from a passing mosquito on a rim-balancing rock, a half-court prayer by the last guys you'd expect to get one of those answered…pick any two things that should or could have happened this year and that's the difference between the 1 seed in the Big Ten Tourney and the 5th.

As I lay in the middle of the B1G's final season standings, trying to will my defense out of entropy, I could see the faces of the weasels that did this to me and the hair cream aficionados responsible. When fortune smiles on something as violent and ugly as revenge, it seems proof like no other, that not only does God exist, you're doing His will.

Michigan shouldn't by all rights be taking the long way through the Big Ten Tournament. But fortune has seen fit to at least make that path go right through those whose ledgers with us are most in the red: Penn State yesterday, Wisconsin today, and pending survival there, almost certainly Indiana. That's our worst loss and then the only two teams who finished with winning records against us. In Indiana's case that won't change unless we meet in the NCAAs.

Can Wisconsin beat us again? I mean it's basketball: weird things happen even without the increased chaos of fewer possessions. Like for example sometimes the boryanstripes inexplicably side with the harbingers of Rigelian swamp ball:

I felt paranoid watching all of this. It was a temporary window into the world of a 9/11 truther, seeing what looked like an insane conspiracy by Big Ten refs to keep Bo Ryan in their ears, screaming unprintable things about their mothers. A full half-dozen of the calls they made seemed literally impossible, from the two mentioned above to another breakaway layup that Burke missed because a dude hit him on the head and the charge Burke took on Berggren late that went the other way for a critical three-point play. Am I sane? I thought we got a fair whistle at Indiana. I did think that.

At this point a clunky start and a million defensive breakdowns by the freshmen and THJ wouldn't even be filed as weird things. Another weird thing would be an an outfit as attuned to profit margins as this Big Ten allowing a Rigelian sympathizer any kind of access to a whistle. If you need more than "it wouldn't fit the Kill Bill narrative" for reasons to be optimistic, Wisconsin in their own building needed probably the worst complete ref job in the conference's history and an impossible half-court buzzer shot to fall to beat us the first time. Those are thoughts. Here are diaries:

philcollinsHistory lessons. Remember the funny Year in Review (with pics) things that saveferris used to write? Here he goes back to 1989, a time when the Simpsons was that new cartoon your mom didn't want you to watch, lest you turn into a spiky-haired scamp child who tells people to not have a cow, man. Most hilarious thing in the world in 1989 according to 1989 me: a nose tackle named Teeter. Teeter you all! Bad memories: the Tigers, kicking it to Rocket Ismail, and Phil Collins. Good memories: Berenson was just beginning to turn the hockey program around. Yzerman scored 155 points for the Wings, who won the Norris Division. The Pistons were at the peak of the Bad Boys period. Bo's last squad (and one of his best) with that backfield of Tony Boles, Leroy Hoard, Jarrod Bunch and Burnie Legette. And Glenn Rice, obvs.

Speaking of Bunch, he just popped up on the blog this week after someone noticed he was in the latest Tarantino film…

[After the jump]