Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Wisconsin, Big Ten Tournament

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Wisconsin, Big Ten Tournament Comment Count

Adam Schnepp March 7th, 2018 at 10:41 AM


[Bill Rapai]

Friday, March 2, 2018

#3 Michigan 6, #6 Wisconsin 5

[Note: numbers refer to BTT seeding]

1st period


UM 1 UW 0 EV 1:40 Assists: Marody & Cecconi

Cecconi puts some mustard on a backhanded clearing attempt and gets the puck out of Michigan’s defensive zone.

mich wisc btt fri 1-1

The puck stays more or less on the wall and looks like it’s about to be stopped by Tischke’s skates.

mich wisc btt fri 1-2

until it somehow gets through. You can see Marody locked onto the puck in the screencap above, and he’s in perfect position to pick it up and go once it gets past the UW skater. To Tischke’s credit, he makes the right move once the split second he realizes the puck is past him. He turns and moves to get into a position where he can take away Marody’s passing lane to his right.

mich wisc btt fri 1-3

That doesn’t mean Tischke’s actually able to take away said lane, though. Marody gets the pass through to Calderone, who’s perfectly aligned. This is extra dangerous for Wisconsin because Calderone is a right-handed shot, so he’s going to get the puck on his on hand.

mich wisc btt fri 1-4

It’s also extra dangerous because there aren’t many skaters at this level who can lift a puck from in tight like Calderone. This isn’t the closest to the net that I’ve seen him go top shelf this season, but it’s still impressive because he does it at full speed while allowing the puck to slide past the midpoint of his body to where he wants to shoot, slightly outside his frame to his right.

mich wisc btt fri 1-5

[Analysis of the other 743 goals after THE JUMP]


The Chaos Is Back In Town

The Chaos Is Back In Town Comment Count

Brian March 6th, 2018 at 2:36 PM

3/2/2018 – Michigan 6, Wisconsin 5 – 19-13-3, 11-10-3 Big Ten
3/3/2018 – Michigan 7, Wisconsin 4 – 20-13-3, 11-10-3 Big Ten


keystone flops [Bill Rapai]

Just when you think Michigan has banished chaos from its ranks, Wisconsin rolls into town. This weekend's playoff series was, in a word, bonkers. Michigan scored on their first shot Friday; Wisconsin scored on their first shot Saturday. In between there was a lot of hyper-aggressive forechecking from the Badgers, power play goals by Michigan, and wave after wave of odd-man rushes both ways. Your favorite and mine was a four on one(!) set up by Quinn Hughes and finished with authority by Dakota Raabe and Niko Porikos:

This is the hockey equivalent of Brent Hibbits throwing down that thunder-dunk on Isaac Haas. It was that kind of weekend.

In the aftermath, Wisconsin is wondering what happened to their season

“We expected more out of this group,” said sophomore center Trent Frederic, who led the team with 17 goals. “It is what it is. It’s hard to look back and say we could have won here, could have won here.

“I wouldn’t say we really ever got any bounces all year. Last year, some stuff went our way. Maybe we weren’t as fortunate or maybe that was ourselves. But it just felt like one of those years (where) we were always fighting it.”

…and your author agrees. Michigan played the Badgers four times in their Hey We're Good Now second half and got more or less run out of the building twice. That did not happen against anyone else. One of those times they got run was Friday, a 6-5 Michigan that saw Wisconsin pile up a 53-29 shot advantage. It was all for naught because Michigan was 4/5 on the power play. The only other team that's handed Michigan their ass like that this year is—sigh—Ohio State. OSU is fighting for a one seed. Wisconsin's season is over because they are 5 games below .500.


[JD Scott]

Wisconsin is almost terrifying. They're VCU on ice. They crippled Michigan's breakout Friday in a game that felt immediately out of hand, but Michigan scored first because one of their defensemen let a puck dribble by him and suddenly Michigan had a two-on-one gifted to them. It continued in this vein, which Michigan scoring slam-dunk PP goals as the Badgers got the puck to the left point and tried to shoot it through four or five bodies, with some success.

In the aftermath there was nothing to do but be glad those maniacs are done and hope that Michigan gained some valuable experience at breaking out of the zone against a heavy forecheck. I guess they were resilient? When Wisconsin punched, Michigan punched back. That they had to punch back after they flung the puck from their defensive zone directly to a Wisconsin stick and then fished the puck out of the net… well, they fixed that on Saturday, a much saner game by shot counts (but not goals). Nicholas Boka's return gave Michigan a second pair of defensemen who have the confidence and skill to break that forecheck, and the tables turned.

The bid's locked in now and the rest of the season is gravy. But also BC, BU, North Dakota, and Minnesota are down or flailing towards the finish line. There's no juggernaut this year, and now that Michigan's in they've got as good a shot as anyone. As long as they stay out of the box.

[After THE JUMP: a mercifully boring pairwise section and an invitation for small schools to jump in a lake.]


Basketbullets: Brackets, Shot Volume, Wisconsin, Stephening

Basketbullets: Brackets, Shot Volume, Wisconsin, Stephening Comment Count

Brian February 13th, 2018 at 2:19 PM



Brackets: large differences. Michigan is a 9 seed on the Bracket Matrix, but Joe Lunardi has a more optimistic take:


Lunardi doesn't pay enough attention to avoid rematches in the first two rounds, thus the potential UNC game in round two. Let's hope he's right, and not everyone else. (Everyone else is probably right.)

I don't dive into the numbers like bracket guys do, but it's completely bonkers to me that a team like Alabama is ahead of Michigan on the matrix. Alabama has Ls to Minnesota, UCF, and Texas in the nonconference and is 7-5 in the SEC. They've got a smattering of good wins but they're 43rd in Kenpom.

Sucks being a Big Ten team this year, I guess. Crashing The Dance's entirely algorithmic take barely has Michigan out of the first four—they're the #29 at large—and has them as a ten-seed. Woof. (It's missing Michigan's most recent win, but I don't think Wisconsin is moving that needle very much.)

Let's all try to not think about what Michigan's tourney profile with one of those games against Purdue in the W column.

Shot volume: we have some of it. Michigan's always been okay at getting shots up, and this year they're fairly good. Via John Gasaway:

Gluttonous	         TO%     OR%     SVI
1.  North Carolina      16.1    41.0    102.8
2.  Villanova           12.9    28.4    100.7
3.  Duke                17.2    37.4     99.8
4.  Ole Miss            15.9    32.9     99.8
5.  Florida State       16.2    34.2     99.5
6.  USC                 14.4    29.5     99.5
7.  TCU                 16.8    34.9     99.1
8.  Notre Dame          16.7    34.0     98.8
9.  Arizona State       14.1    27.1     98.7
10. Auburn              15.7    30.8     98.6
11. West Virginia       18.1    36.9     98.5

Normal                   TO%     OR%     SVI
12. Florida             14.5    27.2     98.3
13. Virginia            14.2    26.3     98.2
14. Iowa State          16.9    33.2     98.2
15. NC State            16.8    32.5     98.0
16. Michigan            13.9    25.0     97.9
17. Ohio State          15.5    28.6     97.8
18. Purdue              14.3    25.4     97.7
19. South Carolina      17.4    33.4     97.7
20. Butler              14.3    25.2     97.6

Michigan checks in 16th amongst 75 major-conference teams, largely on the strength of their TO rate, which is typical Beilein, and an OREB rate that, while last in the Big Ten, is not cripplingly low. Teams like Creighton and VT and their sub 20% OREB rates get sucked into the bottom here despite solid TO rates. And TO rate is where it's at:

Since turnovers are way more important to shot volume than offensive boards (you can’t rebound your miss if you’ve already coughed up the ball), you can generate a UNC-like shot volume with nowhere near the Chapel Hill-variety emphasis on the offensive glass. Shot volume is small-c catholic on how you get the job done, it just measures results.

Michigan doesn't focus on OREBs, exchanging them for excellent transition defense, but they're not hurting themselves on offense much by doing son.

I'd be interested to see a defensive version of this, especially to see Michigan's uptick in it over the last couple seasons.


Cowan and Mason are UA3 shooters [Paul Sherman/Marc-Gregor Campredon]

The Stephening. Kevin Pelton takes a look at Trae Young, the insane-usage Oklahoma guard who is the face of a vanguard of players. Curry has created a subclass of three-point launchers unprecedented in NBA history...

Curry's 3-point attempts increased only marginally to 7.9 per game in 2013-14, albeit in fewer minutes. It wasn't until two seasons later, after winning MVP, that Curry fully unleashed his full 3-point arsenal. In 2015-16, Curry zoomed past double-digit 3-point attempts, averaging an incredible 11.2 per game ... and becoming the first player in NBA history to be voted MVP unanimously.

Curry's success helped pave the way for other stars to shoot 3s more frequently. This season, his 10.0 3-point attempts per game rank second in the league behind MVP favorite James Harden of the Houston Rockets, who is attempting 10.7 per game. Each of the past two seasons, both Harden and teammate Eric Gordon have attempted more 3s per game than any player in league history before Curry.

...and naturally the college game has also noticed.

The website Hoop-Math.com has used play-by-play data to track assisted and unassisted field goals at the college level back through 2011-12. The leaderboard of unassisted 3s is dominated by the past two seasons, and Young has an excellent chance to post the highest total in that span.

Young is on pace to hit around 100 unassisted threes this season. That is on another level from Derrick Walton's ability in this department; he hit 34 last year. It's on another level from everyone, but these kinds of guys are about to be a lot more common. Maryland's Anthony Cowan, who you may remember making some very frustrating shots against Michigan earlier this year, is hitting 40% from deep despite half of his makes coming unassisted. PSU's Tony Carr is hitting 46% despite having 38% of his makes unassisted; Minnesota's Nate Mason is at 42% and on 45% unassisted threes.

When the pull-up three is a good shot that changes your late clock offense significantly; not only do you get a decent shot at three points but the defense has to respect it, opening up other things.

(FWIW, Michigan's dip in late-clock offense this year is a little about reduced efficiency from three—Walton hit 40% on 64 late threes last year; Zavier Simpson is at 33%; as a team Michigan's FG% on late threes has dipped 4 points. But it's more about an inability to get anyone to hit a jumper inside the line. Michigan is at 22% on late two point jumpers; last year they were at 36%.)

This is particularly relevant for Michigan because you can't throw a brick around here without hitting a game video of David DeJulius in which he pulls up for a three, several times.

The evolution of this from BS high school offense to something you really want to have on your team has been fascinating, and rapid.

What's going on with Wisconsin. This doesn't have a ton to do with Michigan but I found this conversation about Wisconsin basketball to be interesting all the same. This is an excellent point:


I do not think that Gard is intentionally changing the Ryan system—but I do think the formula may be outdated. Not because it doesn’t work, but because everyone is using it now. Bo was at the vanguard, and used shot volume to wring wins out [for] lesser-talented teams. After about ten years of doing this, other coaches finally grudgingly admitted that it was ingenious and started doing it (namely: protecting the defensive glass and limiting turnovers) themselves. At around the same time, however, Wisconsin got super talented and put together its best sustained run ever. So we didn’t notice that the underlying formula might not work as well without elite talent.

Let me explain this a little further. You correctly point out that Wisconsin used to rank among the elite in turnover percentage and defensive rebounding percentage, and now they rank as mediocre. That is correct, but it obscures the fact their actual performance hasn’t changed much. Look at the turnover numbers:

Year   TO% Rank

2018  18.0  120

2005  17.9   22

An even starker example, using last year’s full year numbers:

Year   TO% Rank

2017  17.0   71

2006  17.4    9

In other words, a turnover percentage that used to rank among the elite, now ranks among the mediocre. Wisconsin hasn’t really gotten that much worse at committing turnovers, it’s just that literally everybody else has gotten better.

A similar thing is happening with defensive rebounding.

Michigan's managed to stay ahead of these trends. They're still 4th in TO rate nationally, and their DREBs have improved a great deal this year. Wisconsin got a sudden reality check this year. Which is nice when you're playing at the Trohl Center. But I'm not sure it's good for the league overall. Wisconsin putting together a good program comprised largely of random kids from Fond Du Lac helped the league perform without upping their recruiting. And there's really no way to up the Big Ten's recruiting without activating the Bag Man Wonder Powers that have an even bigger influence on basketball recruiting than they do football.

Who fills Wisconsin's spot in the league? Nobody, in all probability. And then you get slotted in as a nine seed despite being 20-7 with a win at MSU.

Finally. A dream too beautiful and vision-blocking to live.


Unverified Voracity Didn't Call On Your Birthday

Unverified Voracity Didn't Call On Your Birthday Comment Count

Brian November 7th, 2017 at 11:57 AM


It's-a me! Chase-io! [Patrick Barron]

Trick or *is sacked.* This is the kind of spectacularly lazy Halloween costume that I can get behind.

"Chase dressed up as himself. So yeah, that probably doesn't surprise any of you guys," Hurst said on Monday, drawing laughs from a group of reporters inside Schembechler Hall.

I once printed out the word "BIRD" on a piece of paper and taped it to myself. For Halloween. Not on a regular Tuesday. Except that one time when I needed to be a bird. On a Tuesday.

Spanellis has words! Stephen Spanellis has been getting a significant amount of run as a bonus OL over the past two weeks, and now people are beginning to discover his vocabulary:

The story in question is offensive coordinator Tim Drevno's tale of perseverance. The story he told reporters earlier this season about his battle with an old outdoor water pump during his days as a groundskeeper in Montana more than 20 years ago.

The lesson: Keep pumping. Eventually, water's going to come.

"(Ben) Bredeson had seen (one of those pumps) before, he's more of a country boy than I am," Spanellis, a redshirt freshman guard said this week. "So, when Ben confirmed that they exist (I believed it).

"Though I have no personal empirical evidence that they do." 


In addition to his strength, Spanellis’ intelligence has stood out. Last week, Harbaugh also called the sophomore one of the smartest players on the team.

“Football is a cerebral game,” Spanellis said. “You have to be very smart to understand offense and analyze defenses. I think it helps me out because when I go out there I know, generally speaking, what the look is — I don’t have to think about it — I just go out and I see what the front is and then I know exactly what to do.”

Spanellis has done well since emerging into the sixth OL; with Ruiz getting the start minus Onwenu Michigan looks to have a ton of interior linemen who can play now, and next year. About those tackles, though.

Higdon profiled. In the Daily:

When Sarasota, a town in southwestern Florida, was rated America’s meanest city in 2006, Karan Higdon was just a nine-year-old kid who wore size nine-and-a-half shoes. He was a big kid, no doubt, who went to the Boys and Girls Club most days after school and sometimes met his friends for kickball outside in the neighborhood. He played Pee Wee football for the Port Charlotte Bandits, and even back then he was running over every tackler in his path.

Todd Johnson, though, spent that year with the Chicago Bears. Then in his late 20s, the professional defensive back was in his fourth season in the National Football League since getting drafted out of the University of Florida. After games, Johnson would pick up leftover football gloves and shoes from the Bears’ locker room to send back to Sarasota’s Riverview High School, his alma mater.

It was also the year Karan’s mother, Samantha Christian, decided the family should move out of Newtown. On the outskirts of Sarasota’s inner city, Newtown was a tight-knit community where everyone knew everyone, but it was also an area where you didn’t want to make a wrong turn.

Higdon, Johnson and Christian are just three characters in a bigger story of how one boy from Florida did what so many others couldn’t  — get out. Higdon’s story is one of motivation, hard work and commitment. It’s a story about someone who made the right choices when others didn’t and stuck by them against adversity. It’s a story about a protagonist and a supporting cast that never left each other’s side.

This story begins in Sarasota.

Injury updates. Harbaugh was relatively optimistic about getting Grant Perry, Mike Onwenu, Ty Isaac, and Ty Wheatley back this weekend. All missed the Minnesota game. No update on Nico Collins, who went to the locker room late.

Happy birthday to the worst game ever. M00N was three years ago today.

I just went back to check the game column and it is titled "Infamy Is Immortality Too," which is extremely appropriate since we're mentioning a game from the Dead Hoke era on its third anniversary. Also:

When you bring up the M00N game to your buddy you will probably be making a point about the descent into unwatchable dreck that was the last two years of the mercifully short Hoke era.

I would like us to consider the disappointments from this year and compare them to those from 2014, and then sit quietly in contemplation.

Should we go to the playoff, Other Barry? Yes, Barry. Barry Alvarez on rumbles that Wisconsin would be left out of the playoff if they go undefeated:

“I think that would be very difficult to do,” said Alvarez, whose term with the committee expired in 2017. “There’s no part of me that says if you go undefeated as a Power 5 and win your conference championship, and you’re not going to be in the final four? I don’t see that. That would shock me.”

Well, Barry, you play in the Big Ten West, which is bad, and your nonconference schedule is three horrible teams. If, say, Georgia runs the table and loses to Alabama in the SEC Championship game, why shouldn't their win over Notre Dame be considered as much as Wisconsin's still-hypothetical win in the Big Ten championship game? "Undefeated" is a crap metric and it's good the committee has seen through Wisconsin's thin claim to being a top team this year.

Other fall sports doing work. Field hockey got the #3 overall seed in the NCAA tournament:

Ranked No. 11 at the beginning of the season, the Michigan field hockey team has proven that ranking was far too low. The Wolverines rattled off 16 wins in a row with 13 shutouts to finish off their season. Then, Michigan dispatched Ohio State, No. 9 Northwestern and No. 5 Penn State to win the Big Ten Tournament, securing an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

They host Syracuse on Saturday in the opening round.

And soccer won its first-round game in the Big Ten tournament with a 4-1 win over Northwestern.

They move on to the semifinal versus five seed Wisconsin. For Reasons the semi is Somewhere In Indiana; it's noon on BTN with a potential final Sunday at noon.

Representation in the first round should continue. It will be a less spectacular draft for Michigan this year, but that's a good thing because they're only losing five starters. One will be a first rounder for certain: Mo Hurst. PFF has been raving about him about as long as I have and have not stopped. He's in the top ten of their first mock draft of the year:

DI Maurice Hurst, Michigan

The nation’s top-graded defensive player at 95.5 overall, Hurst is disruptive against the run and as a pass-rusher. He’s built in the mold of current Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, but it can’t hurt to have two disruptors up front, especially in the age of multiple defensive fronts and high subpackage usage. Hurst has been dominant in his 1,233 career snaps and an interior havoc-creator is coveted in today’s NFL.

Mason Cole, the only other guy who is vaguely in the mix as a first rounder, isn't listed. He's probably a second day pick.

More feathers for the camel. The NCAA is about to be shocked, shocked that the dude who took over for Calipari at Memphis has been accused of working with a bagman type guy, by the guy. The numbers here are not spectacular...

According to the school, Jackson accepted benefits totaling less than $525 while Okogie accepted benefits totaling less than $750. ...

But Bell insists they do not tell the full story.

He said he also spent "about $500" on groceries for the players when they stayed at his house from May 9-13, and he provided photo evidence of Okogie and Jackson in his swimming pool. The NCAA should also be considering, he said, a 220-mile roundtrip ride from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to Bell's house in Tucson, which Bell said he provided for both players, as an impermissible benefit.

...but every little bit helps the general untenability of the NCAA's rules become more widely known.

Meanwhile this Bell guy is arguing that he's offered further impermissible benefits like he's looking to wring six more dollars out of his tax return, because he's mad at Pastner for whatever reason. Never piss off the bagman. Also never have a bagman who is a delicate flower.

Why would Bell turn on Pastner -- the man he once described as a brother, the man he many times said saved his life -- in such a vindictive and public way? Asked that question several times, Bell explained it in a variety of ways. He said he feels Pastner has failed to compensate him properly for the "work" he's done. He said Pastner didn't call him on his birthday this year, which is something he interpreted as disrespectful.

I have now added "will forget to call bagmen on their birthdays" to the infinitely long list of reasons why I would be a bad college basketball coach. It's just below "refuses to call timeouts on principle" and just above "does not know how to coach basketball."

Etc.: Norris vs Norris last weekend at Yost. Michigan favored by 14 over Maryland. Longform piece on autograph fraud in SI is just so weird. I can't imagine paying for a signature of any variety. Jordan Poole learning when to shoot. The Rams' punter is good?


Hoops Preview: Wisconsin, Part 1

Hoops Preview: Wisconsin, Part 1 Comment Count

Brian January 17th, 2017 at 4:58 PM


WHAT Michigan (12-6, 2-3 B1G) at
Wisconsin (14-3, 3-1)
WHERE Kohl Center
Madison, Wisconsin
WHEN 9 pm ET, Tuesday
LINE Wisconsin -10 (KenPom)
Wisconsin -11 (Vegas)
PBP: Dave Flemming
Analyst: Dan Dakich

Right: cheese. Cheese never changes.


Michigan exits the easy bit of their schedule at 2-3 in the Big  Ten and now stares down a gauntlet-like substance. Since this is the worst Big Ten in a while—just two teams in the Kenpom top 25—that gauntlet isn't the death sentence it might have been a few years ago. It's still not good, and Michigan kicks it off with the Big Ten's one elite tempo-free team: eternal, unchangeable Wisconsin.

Good news: Michigan's the best offense in the league and by a bit of distance. Bad news: Michigan is the worst defense in the league by a thousand miles. They are currently on pace to be the worst Big Ten defense in the Kenpom era, which stretches back to 2002.

But you knew that already. You can see with your eyes.


Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.

Pos. # Name Yr. Ht./Wt. %Min %Poss ORtg SIBMIHHAT
G 3 Zak Showalter Sr. 6'3, 185 67 14 130 No
Barely shoots, low assist rate, good defender
G 24 Bronson Koenig Sr. 6'3, 190 72 21 122 Not At All
Primary sniper, 40% on 119 3s. Efficient inside arc as well.
F 30 Vitto Brown Sr. 6'8, 235 53 19 107 No
Low usage, high efficiency stretch 4. TO prone.
F 10 Nigel Hayes Sr. 6'8, 240 74 25 115 Not Really
Lead dog shoots a ton of midrange jumpers w/ decent efficiency. Good passer. Gets to the line a lot, converts at only 63%
C 20 Ethan Happ So. 6'10, 232 63 26 120 Very
Efficient, high-usage post scorer, passes well, dismal FT%
G 0 D'Mitrik Trice Fr. 6'0, 178 45 16 123 Not At All
Clone of his brother Travis. Ululating woman on FTs will be his mom.
G 21 Khalil Iverson So. 6'5, 212 40 18 111 Very
Petway-esque jumping-jack swingman will get his on putbacks mostly
F 25 Alex Illakainen So. 6'9, 232 25 11 104 Not Really
Bit player

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


Unverified Voracity Ain't No Jive Turkey

Unverified Voracity Ain't No Jive Turkey Comment Count

Brian December 14th, 2016 at 4:03 PM


[Bill Rapai]

Bust items. Michigan's annual football bust was last night. The most important thing arising from it was either Harbaugh emphatically stating he was not leaving Michigan and that three "jive turkeys" were spreading rumors to damage the program...

...or this photobomb.

Better men than me will have to parse a winner between those two items. I mean.

Split those hairs, if you will.

Other bits and pieces:

  • John O'Korn's status is up in the air: you "may see him back here next year."
  • Also in fifth year limbo: Wyatt Shallman, Patrick Kugler, David Dawson. We've been assuming Shallman gets a firm handshake since RB and FB are both full of guys and he hasn't been able to stay healthy. Michigan will probably need the OL depth Kugler and Dawson provide. It wouldn't be much of a surprise to see one or both start, but last year Michigan went into spring camp over 85 and without various exits the axe could have fallen on a guy like Matt Godin.
  • Maurice Hurst was not present—some guys had class commitments—and Harbaugh urged people to @ him to encourage him to return. Hurst's publicly stated he is leaning towards a return. Obviously that decision is not made yet.
  • Harbaugh further stumped for a sixth year for Jeremy Clark.

It is possible to take recruiting rankings too seriously. We take them seriously around here, but not this seriously:

FSU has the talent advantage in the game at every position except the offensive line.

That's a Tallahassee Democrat article titled "It's Experience versus Talent" in the Orange Bowl, which, uh

Because of the Michigan offensive line, the Michigan offense has a higher average recruiting ranking than the Seminoles despite the Seminoles having the edge at the skill positions and quarterback.

So not really. Also Michigan's defense has a walk-on at nose tackle... a walk-on who will be a mid-round draft pick. The moral of the article is that the recruiting rankings are close to a wash and Michigan is a bunch older, which helps explain why Michigan is a touchdown favorite.

Harbaugh's fourth down decisions analyzed. Long piece on Harbaugh's punt or go-for-it decision from Big House Analytics finds that somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of the time Harbaugh agrees with math dorks:

Ultimately, we have a 77.8% “success rate” here, if you will — out of Michigan’s 45 non-garbage-time punts and their nine non-garbage-time fourth-down conversion attempts, Harbaugh’s decision to punt or go was Romer-approved or at least defensible given the complexion of the game (in my opinion) 77.8% of the time. If you want to go by the book (meaning the punts I deemed as defensible but not Romer-approved counting against our success rate instead of for it), our score is 59.3%.

This analysis doesn't get into anything team specific, so Michigan's iffy running game and killer defense don't factor in. Both of those argue for a more conservative tack. Only a couple of Harbaugh's decisions stood out to me as poor: punting on fourth and five from the OSU 36 early was pretty bad. On the other hand, that set up a first half where OSU was constantly pinned back and Michigan eventually cracked their D for a TD. It was very Ten Year War, and you could see why people tended to play that way back in the day.

Meanwhile on that FSU OL. Sometime OL starter Wilson Bell was arrested for failure to appear after a hit-and-run on property. No word yet on whether that affects his availability for the bowl game. I'd guess that it doesn't since no announcement has been made yet.

Hitching your revenue model to the cable bundle was foolish. It's going to take some time, but not as much as some people thought it would. ESPN is already becoming a bit of a boat anchor for Disney:

ESPN was thrust into the spotlight in November when the ratings company Nielsen predicted the sports juggernaut would lose 621,000 cable subscribers that month. Nielsen estimated the sports network would lose another 555,000 subscribers in December.

The staggering losses have led to calls by analysts for Disney to spin off or sell the beleaguered network, which has lost 9 million subscribers in three years, according to company filings.

The cable bundle is going to dissolve. That is inevitable. I sure as hell wouldn't have cable if I didn't watch sports, and about 100% of people younger than me have the same opinion. Since sports is by far the most expensive thing in the cable bundle, grandmas who just want to watch HGTV will bolt and we'll be the only ones left. At that point you don't get to put your hand in New York's pocket just because you added Rutgers, and then Rutgers is a barnacle on the Big Ten.

Maybe they can just eject them like the Big East ejected Temple? That's the ticket?

Draft split. Todd McShay's first mock draft has Peppers 4th; he fell out of PFF's first round mock. I'd split the difference there: Peppers obviously has some things to work on, but no athlete as outrageous as he is will fall to the second round.

McShay also has Taco Charlton(24th) and Jourdan Lewis(28th) in his first round. Hopefully Charlton does go in the first round, because then I will be less peeved about his lack of a redshirt. Also he deserves it.

Also of note for Michigan fans: McShay has OSU CB Marshon Lattimore and UW OT Ryan Ramczyk in his first round. Both guys could return to school; Michigan would obviously prefer it if they did not.

Russell Wilson part 2? 247 reports that Wisconsin is looking like the landing spot for ND grad transfer QB Malik Zaire. Zaire has about 100 career attempts to his name over the last three years and brings Devin Gardner-esque athleticism. He's not a slam dunk, but he's looked better than Alex Hornibrook. Would give Wisconsin another element.

The life of an analyst. Fascinating article on the guys who get their foot in the door for Bill Belichick:

Daboll was well prepared. He had spent two years as a grad assistant at Michigan State under Saban, so could speak semi-comfortably about scheme, self-scout, all that. Then Scarnecchia asked him about salary.

What do you think you should make?

Daboll had researched this, too. He had made calls to colleagues, and had dug up salary surveys from the NFL Coaches Association. He believed the average annual salary was around $65,000. He also thought, having worked for Saban, that he was a tad better than average.

"So I say 70," Daboll recalled. "And Brad Seely leans over and says, 'Would you take 15?' I go, 'Yessir.'"

NFL teams lowballing QC types like they're newspapers out here. Article also has a bunch of details on what breaking into football coaching is actually like. It is a ton of yes/no game charting.

Etc.: Carol Hutchins wins the inaugural Pat Summitt award. Well deserved. Minnesota suspends ten(!) players indefinitely. They decline to say why because of "privacy restrictions relating to student educational data," which tells you why. [UPDATE: Nevermind. Very bad.]

Peppers and mom in NYC. Some Don Brown twist stuff. Will Lockwood will be out for some time thanks to an obvious boarding incident that went uncalled but still separated his shoulder. "Christmas camp." Sounds fun!


Photos from Michigan vs. Wisconsin

Photos from Michigan vs. Wisconsin Comment Count

Eric October 2nd, 2016 at 8:54 PM


No caption needed (Patrick Barron/MGoBlog)


A blur of maize and blue (Patrick Barron/MGoBlog) 


The Train (Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog)


You're not getting out of this one (Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog)


Holding was not called (Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog) 


Darboh TD (Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog)

Full Galleries

Eric Upchurch

Michigan vs. Wisconsin (Eric Upchurch)

Bryan Fuller

Michigan vs Wisconsin Football 10-1-16 (Bryan Fuller)

Patrick Barron

Michigan vs Wisconsin (Patrick Barron)


Unverified Voracity Embeds Epic Oskee Again

Unverified Voracity Embeds Epic Oskee Again Comment Count

Brian August 24th, 2016 at 2:58 PM

Ace took the best joke for this section. Tim Beck Man returns!

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — As the one-year anniversary of his firing at Illinois approaches, Tim Beckman has a new gig.

North Carolina officials confirmed Tuesday that Beckman is a volunteer assistant on Larry Fedora’s staff.

The Tar Heels play at Memorial Stadium in a prime-time game on Sept. 10.

Since Beck Man was referenced we are obligated to embed his greatest achievement despite the fact that nobody seems to watch this when we do:

That has just 8500 views and most of them are from the MGoStaff. Anyway:

The K stands for the coffee he fetches.

Around the league some more. More things keep happening. They're mostly not great for the opposition because the only solid news coming out of camp concerns guys who aren't going to play anymore:

  • Wisconsin OL Dan Voltz is forced to retire due to injury. Voltz was very good as a underclassman before an injury-wracked junior year saw a major dropoff. He was slated to start at guard.
  • Nebraska lost projected starting left guard Jerald Foster to an ACL tear.
  • Redshirt freshman DE Cassius Peat transferred away from Michigan State. Peat was a 3.5 star recruit. Academics appear to be the issue.
  • MSU QBs are going to run more this year, because they are bad at throwing.
  • Kirk Ferentz is a bit peeved that Drew Ott didn't get a fifth year despite the fact he was in the exact same situation as Mario Ojemudia. Both got injured a few snaps after they could not get an injury redshirt, and the NCAA doesn't bend on that.
  • On the other hand, this Tanner Lee thing is weird. The Nebraska QB and Tulane transfer got a sixth year of eligibility. Ferentz says it's because Tulane changed OCs, but it's a bit more complicated. Lee used a bylaw that "addresses student-athletes who feel they were 'run off' by a school." If he actually did not have a scholarship any more that would be a legit reason to give him the year he lost by transferring.
  • Indiana blog Punt John Punt projects JUCO transfer Richard Lagow as IU's starting QB.

BEHOLD THE THROW-GODDENING. Trevor Siemian has broken out of the funk where he is only an unstoppable throw-god when I am watching him play. Now he is unstoppable throw god 24/7:

The Broncos are going to die this season, aren't they?

The decline of daily fantasy. Long feature article from Outside The Lines on that brief period when every ad on ESPN was from DraftKings or FanDuel. Things got so oversaturated that we were annoyed with them despite the fact that DraftKings was paying us. I still have no problem with the business model—I played online poker successfully for years until a late rider was inserted into a port security bill that banned it. (I played in the WSOP main event, which was fun until it wasn't late on day two.) Daily fantasy was very, very close to that model. This kind of negative…

Yet they relentlessly promoted their games as a means to get rich quick when they knew only a tiny percentage of their customers were winning more often than losing.

…is something literally every state is guilty of with their lottery programs, and this one…

They failed to aggressively move against big-bankrolled players who dominated newer players, sometimes with predatory behavior or technological advantages.

…is actually an argument that daily fantasy is a game of skill.

But those companies were run by guys with huge blindspots and questionable ethics, so they blew it all up. This is indefensible:

And they allowed their own employees to play -- and win millions -- on their rivals' sites, despite their having access to odds-improving proprietary data.

During the online poker boom there were always new sites popping up and scamming people, so the big players strove to be as transparent and honest as possible. Daily Fantasy is poker if PokerStars and PartyPoker were rife with actual cheats, and the one thing you cannot do when collecting a rake is allow any impropriety that will sic attorneys general on you. This is on point:

"This industry blew up so quickly -- no one adequately planned or prepared for it," says Gabriel Harber, 29, a former high-volume player at DraftKings and FanDuel. "[The executives] didn't make the substantial investment on self-regulation and the regulatory side that was obviously needed. ... Every PR person and lawyer should be fired. How could you let your client engage in this kind of crazy advertising if every legal loophole wasn't closed? How stupid can you be?"

The execs brought it all on themselves.

Etc.: OSU blogs will post literally anything. That's the ticket, Rutgers basketball. WTKA adds an afternoon show with Jamie Morris and Marcus Ray. They've gone from four hours of live local content to nine over the past month. Not bad. LSSU faculty head wants hockey to drop down to D-III. #disrespekt will never die. Hugh Freeze created a mock funeral for himself, because motivation? Don Brown says his defense isn't high risk because it isn't.


Unverified Voracity Is Mostly About Hockey Coaches

Unverified Voracity Is Mostly About Hockey Coaches Comment Count

Brian March 30th, 2016 at 3:00 PM

So pumped for the Don Brown era. Half because of his defense, and half because dude is on Harbaugh's level when it comes to photos:

Don Brown's seen some things. Some things better left buried. But the law doesn't work like that. The law just keeps bringing things back, like a cat with a hairball.

Basketball roster not exactly set yet. Michigan has lost Spike Albrecht and Ricky Doyle, bringing their 2013 roster to 13. But they don't appear entirely settled with their roster yet:

Mullins, a combo-guard, was super-efficient in the Ivy League last year (36th nationally in ORTG, 44% from three, lots of FTs at 83%) on a team that looks a lot like Michigan, statistically. Michigan also reached out to Sacred Heart transfer Cane Broome, though it doesn't look like anything is coming of that.

What's the deal with that as regards Spike, then? I don't know. Maybe Spike isn't likely to be the same player, or Xavier Simpson was going to take his minutes. Or Michigan is just keeping options open in case someone who has not decided to transfer does so in the future.

Red status not set either. Red's offered some quotes to news organizations about his impending decision, which seems honestly yet to be determined:

“I’m going to talk to [Manuel]…I don’t want to make an emotional decision because I’m mad at somebody or something, I want to make a decision that’s good for the program,” Berenson said.

Who or what he would be mad at is unknown. This in the Free Press doesn't really sound like a guy who was planning to come back but wanted to anyway:

“There’s no question ... the start of the year, I was pretty much resigned to the fact this would be the last year,” Berenson said. “But as the year went on, it got better and better. I thought it made more sense and it was working.

“I don’t want to be in the way, that’s the other thing. If I’m going to coach, I want to coach.”

The relative success of the team might extend his desire to coach. So… yeah. I said my bit on what should happen already.

Not bad. Wisconsin hired Tony Granato as their new head coach. Granato is a former NHL head coach who is a Wisconsin alum who had a prolific NHL career; he was a Wings assistant. He's bringing his brother Don, the NTDP head coach, and former OSU coach Mark Osiecki with him. Osiecki was doing a not-bad job with OSU when his tenure was suddenly and inexplicably terminated just three years in.

That is a lot of coaching firepower for one program. Wisconsin is going to bounce back just fine. With the addition of Notre Dame this early blip in Big Ten hockey is going to look like just that—a blip. The league has four historical powerhouses; those programs don't just stay down.

Well, most of them…

Not good. Meanwhile in erstwhile Big Ten hockey powers, Tom Anastos still has a job because apparently Sunil Gulati is running MSU's athletic department now. Mark Hollis is making statements that are downright delusional:

I feel really good about where we’re at,” Hollis said. “…I’m also an AD that has to look at, ‘OK, what’s the next five years going to look like, based upon the past five years?’ And from all the assessments I’ve put into this and all the folks I’ve talked to, I’m very confident we’re going to have success here next year and in the immediate future.”

That is the most insane thing I've heard an athletic director say, and I was exposed to years of Dave Brandon. Anastos's teams have gotten worse every year, and this is year five. You can no longer say these things in year five:

Comley left the program bare, though Anastos has been careful not be be overly critical publicly. Most of the players he inherited were not highly recruited.

And guess what… most of the players Anastos is recruiting are not highly recruited. Their recruiting class is bulked up with 20-year-olds like MSU is Merrimack or something, and the guy they seem the most hyped about coming in next year is an overage forward out of the BCHL named Taro Hirose.

Hirose does have a nice line (15-56-71 in 58 games). It probably won't translate. Dexter Dancs came out of that league two years ago with 67 points in 56 games and has mostly been a fourth-liner at Michigan. Before him, Ben Winnett had 58 points in just 39 games; his career high in four years at Michigan was 14 points.

Meanwhile Anastos will not have the services of leading scorer MacKenzie MacEachern, former third round pick and the most Scottish thing not in a bottle. His lone returning draftee at F was –30 last year. I mean… what does it take to fire this guy?

I look forward to having the "Tom Anastos still has a job?" conversation again next year after Wisconsin gets instantly better with their new staff. I'm sorry I'm a broken record about this but keeping Anastos is brutal for the league and what used to be my favorite rivalry in sports.

Etc.: just some dude trying to create Lionel Messi goal, the dessert. OSU's highly touted class has already seen four of five dudes transfer. Willie Henry an underrated draft prospect.