Unverified Voracity Is Perfectly Calm

Unverified Voracity Is Perfectly Calm Comment Count

Brian December 6th, 2018 at 1:24 PM

The prayer forced. Michigan's communication and Jon Teske's unexpected switch and quick hands forced Northwestern into a chuck:

Anonymous quotes about basketball's defense. Right this way, via Jeff Borzello:

"They're so much further ahead of everyone right now, it's not even funny," one opposing Big Ten coach said, referencing their experience. "What they were doing at the end of the year has carried over." …

"They have an alpha male at the point in Simpson," a Big Ten assistant said. "He holds those guys to what I would call a gold standard. He doesn't allow them to slip. When they don't do something correctly, he makes sure they know about it."

"Zavier just plays his ass off," another opposing coach said. "He may be smaller, but he's dialed in every possession, and they put a lot of length around him. He's a junkyard dog."

Michigan's 23-1 run stretching back to last year would be the #1 efficiency D in the history of Kenpom if it was a single season. And it seems like the bit from last year is the "bad" part.

Beilein's greatest enemy returns. NBA draftniks have started talking up Ignas Brazdeikis, who slides in at the end of the first round in SI's latest mock draft:

27. IGNAS BRAZDEIKIS, F, MICHIGAN | FRESHMAN

Height: 6’7” | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: NR

As has been widely noted, Brazdeikis turns 20 in January and is only technically a freshman, after doing a prep year in Canada. The good news is, it doesn’t really matter. Brazdeikis has been Michigan’s most consistent scorer and impressed with his ability to hunt shots off the ball. He can shoot it from outside or face up and attack the basket, and profiles as a useful offensive-minded role guy in the pros. His competitiveness and feel stand out, The big question with him is perimeter defense, as he will probably need to be parked on fours in the NBA. Regardless, if the Wolverines continue to play this well, Brazdeikis won’t have to stick around long.

Matthews (#38) and Poole (#51) also show up in their top 60, though Poole is in the you-should-return range and the author admits even that is "speculative." 

The Athletic's Sam Vecenie is more skeptical of Iggy as a one and done, placing him 50th in his latest top 100 and causing a blizzard of HEY WHAT ABOUT IGGY comments that he responded to at length. A portion:

Here's where I'm worried: Athleticism here is still a pretty real NBA concern on defense. Iggy is smart on that end and has taken to what Yaklich/Beilein want him to do well. But it also says something, IMO, that Michigan has been better on defense with him off the floor as opposed to when he's been on it -- especially in their games against high-major competition (vs. Nova, PC, UNC, Purdue, NW, Michigan had a 74 DRTG with him off the floor, and an 88 DRTG with him on it). That's a bit noisy, and the overall number is still good at 88. But I think Michigan has done more to insulate him rather than him being a true difference maker on that end, too.

On offense, over 75% of his offense has come from spot-ups, transition opportunities, back-cuts, and O-Rebs. The spot-up stuff is useful obviously, as he's a terrific shooter who can put the ball on the deck and attack a closeout.

Brazdeikis has done good work as a college four checking guys like Paschall and Maye but might not have the lateral agility to keep up with NBA wings. The stat about his offense seems… wrong, though? That's probably from Synergy and is therefore meticulously charted but it certainly feels like Iggy's creating a lot of his own shots. He dug Michigan out of some trouble against Northwestern by getting to the rim with frequency.

Vecenie says that if Iggy can maintain his effectiveness once he's 1) scouted and 2) the primary focus of opponent defenses he'll shoot up his board. One thing that hurts his stock—his age, which is a year older than most freshmen—is the kind of thing that makes you leave instead of makes you stay.

Let us resolve to enjoy the rest of this season.

[After the JUMP: potentially better NFL draft news?]

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What Are You Gonna Do, Stab Me?

What Are You Gonna Do, Stab Me? Comment Count

Brian November 15th, 2018 at 12:24 PM

11/14/2018 – Michigan 73, Villanova 46 – 3-0

During the consumption-of-entrails portion of the game someone tweeted a question at me.

Sort of but also no. "Death from above" is a particular genre of Beilein win where Nik Stauskas sticks contested threes in your face and no amount of scoring you manage is ever enough to climb up the Sisyphean treadmill that Michigan's offense presents you. Halfway through the first half your official twitter account issues a shruggie. The danger comes from the high-arcing artillery shells Michigan fires with unerring accuracy, and then a Lithuanian-Canadian dude dunks on your face.

That's Death From Above. This was different, except for the Lithuanian-Canadian dude. This was a shiv in the dark.

Michigan was most dangerous in the low places, where Zavier Simpson's fingers are stickiest and Ignas Brazdeikis's defense most implausible. The closest thing to a consistent perimeter threat Michigan presented came from Charles Matthews jumpers that started just outside the restricted circle and ended just inside the three-point line. The very, very burly Eric Paschall is going to hit 65% from two in conference play; he was just 3 of 13 against against a true freshman wing giving up 40 pounds.

At the same time Michigan was turning an All Big East C into a pumpkin they limited Villanova (VILLANOVA!) to 3 of 15 from behind the arc, on shots that were about 95% contested. Six different guys had steals. Zavier Simpson had five himself. Villanova had three turnovers for every assist.

At some point Gus Johnson said that Michigan was known for ferocious defense and a near-total lack of turnovers. I thought about tweeting out something in the "lol that's half-right" genre, and then stopped. Stopped like a wildebeest trying to drive the lane against Michigan. Maybe it's true. Or, at least, it's is going to be true.

And like, I don't know, fine? Let's go? I don't have the fingers to deal with this.

Never in the history of humanity has a program undergone such a dramatic 180 in how they get things done without losing its fundamental personality. And make no mistake: Zavier Simpson is as good of a Beilein-at-Michigan avatar as anyone despite the fact he'll hit 30% of his threes this year if he's lucky. He is not without precedent. He is the continuation of a theme. Seven years ago Darius Morris told Michigan State to "get the fuck off my court." Nik Stauskas terrified Kentucky fans despite Kentucky having 16 seven-foot jumping jacks. Charles Matthews?

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[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Charles Matthews spent the entire first half doing this to various Villanova Wildcats. Everyone wanted to punch him and someone almost did.

These guys have always been assassins. Just not this kind. They've been guys who line your head up in a targeting reticle from two miles away. Now they knock on the front door and ask if anyone wants to play with all these knives they brought. You can say no all you want. The question is rhetorical.

stabme

Yes. Michigan is going to stab you until a palpably depressed Gus Johnson can no longer inject any life into the game. And then they're going to stab you one last time, because maybe you deserved it.

[After THE JUMP: some bullets and react from elsewhere]

Comments

Open Practice Impressions

Open Practice Impressions Comment Count

Brian October 30th, 2018 at 12:19 PM

Michigan's annual basketball open practice was yesterday. Takes! You need takes!

Pick and roll focus. After a quick warmup the drills portion of the practice was largely pick and roll, with various managers simulating the various ways teams defend P&R and Michigan executing plays based on the opposition's reaction. There was also a fast break drill that started 3 v 2 or 3 v 1 with the defense getting extra players up to parity after an initial disadvantage.

Positional intrigue. Brooks played the two next to Simpson in the scrimmage; Beilein explicitly noted that a number of players were playing multiple positions. That's par for the course; the interesting bit was that Livers and Johns are both options at center. Michigan ran a little of Livers at C last year, where he looked lost on the offensive end. Johns looked pretty similar during the scrimmage. Despite that I'd expect to see him mostly at the 5. Beilein talked about his "four bigs" at one point and generally referenced Johns as a 5.

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[Campredon]

Scrimmage! Teams:

  • Maize was Simpson/Brooks/Nunez/Livers/Teske, with Castleton subbing in at the 5. CJ Baird also got a little run.
  • Blue was DeJulius/Poole/Matthews/Brazdeikis/Davis, with Johns subbing in at the 5.

Maize won by approximately 8 points (there was no scoreboard but Beilein had it in his head and kept exhorting blue to get some stops), largely on the strength of Simpson and Teske. Beilein was mic'd up and kept relaying items to the crowd—this was delightful—and one of them was a mention that Simpson and Teske had great chemistry in the pick and roll. This was borne out, as Simpson found Teske repeatedly with a series of slick pocket passes that set the Maize team up for easy buckets. Many of these drew "oooohs" from the assembled crowd.

Simpson didn't just find Teske; he was able to set up all manner of his teammates. His shot's still pretty broke; even so he looked like a guy who'd taken another largish leap forward. It felt like he'd be able to get to the lane with more consistency and pay that off more. Simpson's sophomore year already featured a 25% assist rate*, which was around 200th nationally. That was comparable to Derrick Walton's final two years. Trey Burke's Naismith year saw him rack up a 37% assist rate. Simpson could get to 30-32%, maybe? The kind of passes he was making felt like they'd work against a whole hell of a lot of folks.

*[IE, a quarter of Michigan's baskets when Simpson was on the floor were assisted by him.]

[After THE JUMP: a freshman who doesn't feel like one]

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MGoPodcast 10.9: John B's Defensive Juggernaut

MGoPodcast 10.9: John B's Defensive Juggernaut Comment Count

Seth October 29th, 2018 at 7:47 AM

Special Guest: Ace Anbender returns to the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown.

The Sponsors

he show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan nobody would get our jokes. Our other sponsors are also key to all of this: HomeSure Lending, Peak Wealth Management, Ann Arbor Elder Law, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Michigan Law Grad,Human Element, and Lantana Hummus

--------------------------------------------

1. The Backcourt

starts at 1:00

Optimistic about the defense: The two most important defensive positions are point guard and center, and everyone else is lanky. PG: Zavier Simpson was excluded from the All-B1G team so let’s revenge tour. Z’s shooting has to get better because can’t hide him as much. More defined role for Eli Brooks. DeJulius to come on later? SG: Poole is our shot at a lethal scorer on this team—can be average defender; no more getting back-cut. Nunez has a defined role. SF: Charles Matthews is still the Kentucky transfer, i.e. the least Beilein player ever, but he goes left sometimes now. More effective as a Beta dog. Can he get more Beilein-y?

The Frontcourt

starts at 29:53

PF: Iggy Buckets is a 40%+ spot-up shooter who took a lot of bad AAU shots. Could be a 1-and-done. Livers is a glue guy, but at 12% usage last year doesn’t bode well—lose the passivity or make an impact as a rebounder. Johns needs a year—do they push him at the 4 or 5? C: Teske is significantly more 1990s big man than Mo but if he can elbow-jump a bit he’s an excellent P&R guy, especially on the re-screen. Adds huge defensive value, including steals. What is Austin Davis? Gotta foul less but MSU went at him and it didn’t work. More on Johns, and some Mr. Basketball chip-on-the-shoulder games with MSU. Castleton is Mo 2.0 with shotblocking, but expecting a redshirt unless Davis is disappointing.

The Rest of the Conference

starts at 53:20

Not great. The unanimous conference favorite from everyone but us is Michigan State, who’s starting Nick Ward and Tillman, and they’re going to be playing Goens 20% of the time, plus McQuaid in a bigger role sans Bridges. Langford’s inefficient deep two game makes you wonder what Beilein would have made that guy. Leaning on Winston, and “Mr. Basketball” Foster Loyer. Then Michigan. Then the morass: IU brings in the biggest impact freshman in the conference in Lankford but making the dance is the goal. OSU lost most everybody from last year. Want to like Iowa—they’re like a parody of MSU; why is their defense so bad? Nebraska: Roby & Palmer & Copeland and experience—should have been a 9-seed last year. UW: what was that? Trying to remember who’s on the rest.

A moment to talk with Ace about what he’s doing now. The GoFundMe might’ve saved his life.

4. Around the Big Ten with Jamie Mac

Starts at 1:25:29

Marcus Ray now believes the best team in the Big Ten is Michigan State with Rocky Lombardi at quarterback. The Iowa 14, and Frames Janklin’s timeouts, attempted timeouts, and icing his own kicker. McSorley’s degradation. Maryland averaged a first down per play vs Lovie’s Lini. Go bowling Terps. Cats for the West! Jonathan Taylor (11 carries for 46 yards) is now a fumbler, Turtle punted on 4th and 2 again and invented the fullback two-minute drill. Northwestern could win the West or not go to a bowl game, or both? David Blough and Purdue got by the MSU ghosts and MSU rain—shoulda given D.J. Knox more carries. A very on-brand IU performance, even when they were down 31-9 Jamie never lost faith that the Hoosiers could come back to tie it then lose in heartbreaking fashion. Angry Minnesota Running Back Hating God. Daniel Faaele making an impact.

MUSIC

  • "None Shall Pass"—Aesop Rock
  • "I'm Slowly Turning Into You"—The White Stripes
  • "Play It Right"—Sylvan Esso
  • “Across 110th Street”

THE USUAL LINKS

Thank you for sharing your voice and your nipples with us.

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Hoops Mailbag: Shooting Breakouts, Crootin After Carton, Sellouts?

Hoops Mailbag: Shooting Breakouts, Crootin After Carton, Sellouts? Comment Count

Ace July 17th, 2018 at 1:50 PM

Can this be fixed? [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

This edition of the hoops mailbag begins with a question that ended up being far tougher to answer than I expected.

What are the biggest 3P% jumps over a career for Beilein at Michigan? Is it reasonable to hope that X and Matthews can get up to that 35 percent head-above-water mark?

While there are several examples of players whose three-point percentage improved at Michigan, the nature of high-level college basketball makes it very tough to draw wide-ranging conclusions. Many of the players in that group—Caris LeVert, DJ Wilson, Moe Wagner, to name just a few—posted tiny samples in their first year.

Even among the Beilein players who have more of a statistical base with which to work, it's tough to pick out his impact without a seriously deep dive. Glenn Robinson III never shot the ball very well from the outside at Michigan but he's grown into a decent NBA marksman; would we have seen that if he stuck around another year or two? The same question applies to Kam Chatman, a 26% 3P shooter in two seasons at Michigan who canned 41% on five attempts per game following his transfer to Detroit. Some of Beilein's skill development work surely played into the improvement of each player, but it's impossible to measure the precise impact.

We're left with cherrypicking examples. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman has an encouraging combination; his volume and percentage both went up substantially and he had to rework his mechanics. That last bit of of particular relevance since Zavier Simpson is going back to "ground zero" to fix his shot. MAAR also went from purely a spot-up shooter to a player capable of drilling a solid percentage off the bounce, which is definitely relevant to Charles Matthews, who's likely to take on more pick-and-roll possessions.

We've seen a lot of evidence that Beilein can identify and develop good shooters even if they're not necessarily tearing it up from beyond the arc in high school—MAAR, Wagner, and Wilson went from prospects whose range was questioned to integral pieces of one of the country's most lethal shooting teams in 2016-17. It's tougher to say, on a case-by-case basis, if Beilein can always fully tap that potential in the short window a player is on campus; as Jason Kidd can attest, a reliable outside shot can take a long time to develop. For every MAAR there's a Darius Morris.

This isn't a complete punt on the question. I believe Matthews will end up in the passably decent range this season; his form is solid and he knows that's the main thing between him and an NBA career. I don't have as much confidence in Simpson making that breakthrough in 2018-19; he's overhauling his mechanics and his peripherals aren't encouraging—namely, he's a career 55% free-throw shooter. (This is admittedly a concern for Matthews, as well, but at least his free-throw shooting improved from his woeful Kentucky mark. Simpson went the wrong way last year.)

I should note this isn't a death knell for the offense by any means. Michigan made the title game with both of those players starting, after all, and they each should be more effective in the pick-and-roll (here's more detail on that with a focus on Simpson and Jon Teske).

[Hit THE JUMP for the recruiting focus after DJ Carton and more.]

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Maximizing Zavier Simpson

Maximizing Zavier Simpson Comment Count

Matt Way July 5th, 2018 at 9:35 AM

[Photo: Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Fresh off a Title Game run, Michigan and John Beilein have plenty of re-tooling to do. Losing several rotation members, the team’s likely starting lineup of Zavier Simpson, Jordan Poole, Charles Matthews, Isaiah Livers, and Jon Teske played only 29 possessions together (15 on offense, 14 on defense) last season per Hoop Lens. That particular lineup struggled mightily, but given the sample size, there’s little real conclusions that can be drawn from those minutes.

We can, however, look at each player and their successes in 2017-18 for clues as to how next season’s starting lineup might operate.

Here, we start with the returning floor general.

Simpson made significant strides in his sophomore season, especially on the offensive end of the floor. The Ohio native doubled his two-point field goal attempts per 100 possessions while improving his shooting on those attempts from 45.8 percent in his freshman year to 56.2 percent last season.

The point guard’s increased efficiency resulted largely from his masterful work in the pick-and-roll. Simpson’s operation on high screens was important due to the less reliable outside shooting around him – Michigan’s three-point shooting dropped from 38.5 percent in 2016-17 to 35.7 percent a year ago. Losing Duncan Robinson, Moe Wagner, and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Michigan will rely on Simpson off the dribble even more in the fall.

Simpson’s most valuable asset is his first step and general quickness. His quickness is particularly advantageous when there are fewer defenders that can potentially impede his route to the basket. That primarily comes in two forms – in space and along the short side of the court. The latter is perhaps less intuitive because it results in less space to operate. But defenses generally commit less manpower to those areas.

[Hit THE JUMP for Simpson torching MSU, his growing rapport with Jon Teske, and much more.]

Comments

One Frame At A Time: Houston and Texas A&M

One Frame At A Time: Houston and Texas A&M Comment Count

Ace May 1st, 2018 at 4:07 PM

I think I've waited long enough that I can post this now.

It's taken me a while to get around to tournament GIFs for a number of reasons, some NCAA-related and some not, but I finally made it through the Houston and Texas A&M games. (As per blog policy, there was no Montana game. It's just a figment of your imagination.) It'll take me a bit longer to get around to Florida State and Loyola Chicago, but I'll get to those too.

One thing I apparently won't get to: a supercut of three-pointers against Texas A&M, as this is what happened when I attempted to put that together with my normally unfailing GIF software:

In the words of the Texas twitter account: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

[Hit THE JUMP for every conceivable angle of the Poole Party, CJ Baird Tha Gawd, and much more.]

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The 2017-18 Basketball Season In Photos

The 2017-18 Basketball Season In Photos Comment Count

Ace April 10th, 2018 at 11:26 AM

Ed-Ace: Our primary basketball photographer and #1 MGoFrenchman Marc-Gregor Campredon put together this look back at the season in photos. I've made some minor edits but left it in MG's voice—he has a way with words that I don't want to disrupt. Without further ado...

Part 1

Et voila: The first month of 2018 seasons in photos with some dull opponent (I did not say boring) and some very good ones!

Oh, I took the liberty to illustrate the away game with others games images because I will never pass on the op’ to showcase our work.

If not precise with another’s name photographs are by Marc-Gregor Campredon! Quotes are from the game recap mostly by Ace but also by many other talented guys.

Exhibition vs Grand Valley State victory 82-50

Teske’d !

vs North Florida victory 86-66

Robinson is elated while dunking.

vs Central Michigan victory 72-65

“It's me again, the guy who tells you not to pay too close attention to the final score”.

Charles Matthews is already a solid starter for Michigan.

vs Southern Mississippi victory 61-47

“Michigan's coaches and players started calling sophomore Jon Teske "Big Nasty." They hoped that would replace "Big Sleep".”

Teske’d again – It will never gets old.

The tourney in Hawaii

vs LSU defeat 75-77

“It took the team most of the first half to find this offense, however, and they strayed from it at times in the second; I'm excited about the future of a team that makes this their identity.”

Already, a lot’s of John Beilein is emerging in Yaklich.

vs Chaminade victory 102-64

“Poole looked good in his first extended action, doing what he's supposed to do: get buckets (…) He should cut into Ibi Watson's minutes if he keeps hitting jumpers.”

Toat's m'goats

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the season in photos.]

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Let's Start Again: Point Guard

Let's Start Again: Point Guard Comment Count

Brian April 4th, 2018 at 1:12 PM

an irregular series about next year's basketball team

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[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

ROSTER

Zavier Simpson (Jr): Defensive maestro was head of the spear for #3 defense in the country. 105 ORTG isn't bad considering FT/3P issues, but 56% from two feels like a ceiling for a guy his size.

Eli Brooks (So): Started 12 games early in the year before receding. First season not real promising: 15% usage, A:TO ratio of 1:1, 41/25 shooting.

David DeJulius (Fr): Smallish sniper has mad Steph-alike game. Badly underrated by scouting services. Probably, anyway.

I HAVE SOME QUESTIONS

Can Simpson learn to shoot some?

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[Campredon]

Simpson's tour of destruction over the last third of the season culminated in a hamblasting of Naismith winner Jalen Brunson (9 points on 13 shot attempts, 2 A, 2 TO, 80 ORTG). He is a plus player and will be a starter for the rest of his career unless something crazy happens. That's good—see the TO-riddled bodies he left strewn in his wake—and bad—imagine a free throw.

Michigan's offensive ceiling is capped unless Simpson can ratchet up his shooting from the line and from three. There is precedent for this sort of thing under John Beilein. Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman hit 29% of his 41 threes as a freshman; the next year he hit 36% and stuck there for the duration of his career. However, the quantity of those shots kept increasing. MAAR went from 41 to 83 to 111 to 191 threes over the course of his career.

Simpson's already taken step one by going from a nonexistent three point shooter to an extant one, but the trend here isn't super encouraging. Simpson started the year hitting nearly half his shots; he finished it at 29%. His well-documented free throw struggles imply that his true shooting talent is real bad. The glimmer of hope here is that Simpson's new form at the end of the year saw him finish 24/42—57%—after starting 23/49—47%. That's pretty thin.

Does Eli Brooks take a sophomore Beilein point guard leap?

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[JD Scott]

Few things are as consistent as a second-year Beilein point guard taking a quantum leap forward. Darius Morris, Trey Burke, and Zavier Simpson all improved radically as sophomores; the only reason Derrick Walton did not is that foot injury that first hampered him and then knocked him out midseason.

All those guys had a clear path to playing time, though. Brooks does not. He got only about 8 minutes a game last year, with the majority of those early in the season when the PG spot was still unsettled. Brooks could emerge into a solid rotation option… or flounder and get passed.

Jay Wright did confirm, apropos of nothing, that Villanova was after him hard and thought he was in the boat. So he's got that going for him. But if it doesn't happen now it's late early, because of the next guy.

How well, and how quickly, does David DeJulius translate?

Before Zavier Simpson's tour of destruction kicked off, most of the mutterings about Michigan's future at point guard were about DeJulius. This was because of Simpson's clear limitations and the crazy string of single-game highlight videos that DeJulius was pumping out:

DeJulius is a different kind of cat than Simpson. He evidently took the vast majority of his threes off the bounce as a senior, and while nobody covering high school basketball ever gives you a denominator, he is at least a large upgrade on Simpson from the free throw line.

I'm not saying he's Trey Burke, but… uh, the pattern here is pretty similar. Burke got dumped in the three star bin because of AAU struggles on a poor team and then torched Ohio as a senior. Nobody noticed and his ranking diverged from his talent. DDJ shot poorly for a version of The Family that was pretty short on talent before torching the state of Michigan. Nobody with a ranking wand has noticed. The main difference thus far is that Michigan voters are willing to overlook DDJ's head to head torching of Foster Loyer while Ohio takes its Mr. Basketball award seriously.

DeJulius isn't going to push Simpson out of a starting spot unless he actually is Trey Burke. It still seems likely that he's got a role to play. Maybe that's ten minutes, maybe that's 20.

OUTLOOK

Michigan's worst case scenario here is a static version of Simpson playing 35 minutes a game because his backups can't hack it. That's still pretty good—obligatory mention of Michigan's ranking on Torvik after he emerged as the starter—but if Wagner ends up entering the draft Michigan faces the prospect of starting three tenuous shooters in Simpson, Matthews, and Teske. That could make Michigan's offense tough to watch.

Excellent Scenario 1 is that Simpson inches up his shooting numbers to 60% from the line and 35% from three. Those are relatively modest gains that would make hack-an-X unprofitable and punish switching defenses more effectively.

Excellent Scenario 2 is that one of Brooks or DDJ is able to dent Simpson's minutes by being enough of an offensive upgrade to sustain the defensive downgrade. That would give Michigan options if they're down and need some offense or the opposition point guard isn't much of a threat or X is just having an off game. A Simpson that stays static but only has to play 20-25 minutes because Michigan has a second quality player would be fine.

Your author's guess is that Scenario 2 is the likely outcome, with DeJulius immediately demanding minutes.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Is Clearing Tabs, Killing Time

Unverified Voracity Is Clearing Tabs, Killing Time Comment Count

Brian April 2nd, 2018 at 3:11 PM

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[Bryan Fuller]

Nice face. The Ringer's Paolo Uggetti on Michigan's expressive star:

“I’m shook. I’m a very nervous person before games,” Wagner says. “I’m a wreck, and I don’t allow myself to relax. On the court, it’s gone, but before, I can’t stand it.”

The court is Wagner’s comfort zone, and with good reason. Once the headphones and warm-ups come off and the clock begins to run, Wagner is a different person. On this particular night, he puts together his best game of the Dance, tallying 21 points and draining all three of his shots from deep in 30 minutes. Michigan beats Texas A&M by 27 to advance to the Elite Eight—it’s the type of game Wagner loves most: a blowout. “It’s better for the nerves.”

Very same. Maybe there's actually something to the First Wagner Three theory?

Don't try this at home, if you have a lamp post in your home. The South U scene post-game:

Hangin' with Sister Jean. Jordan Poole on his post-game interaction with the most famous nun in America:

"She got those guys," Poole told reporters afterward. "She had their back the entire time and everybody talks about them being a Cinderella story and she was getting a lot of attention.

"But being able to build a fan base how she did, and being able to have Loyola have so many fans out here and travel well, and I just thought the entire concept and everything that she brought to the table, and being able to have such a a big impact on the team, being in a situation like this, I thought it was amazing."

Charles Matthews probably still doesn't know who she is.

Various videos. All makes in the semi:

Individual reels for Wagner…

…and Charles Matthews are also available.

Contest all the shots. This is extraordinary after Michigan contested all but three of FSU's attempts in the Elite Eight:

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Michigan contested 24 of Loyola's 27 shot attempts from the field in the second half, including the first 16 Ramblers shots. Loyola didn't record an "open" shot until 4:43 remained in the game, by which time the Wolverines held a five-point lead.

Do that against Villanova and you've got a real shot.

Building X. [Editor's note: dad calls him X, I'm calling him X. X is the coolest letter.] Andrew Kahn dives into what makes Zavier Simpson such an effective defender:

"If we trained him like we do Moe (Wagner), he'd look like a fullback on the football team," Sanderson said.

But Simpson was a bit of a "waddler" with tight hips. Sanderson worked to increase his joint flexibility, allowing for further range of motion and better defensive technique. That, along with not fouling nearly as much as last year, has turned Simpson into an elite defender.

"He not only takes in what our coaching staff will tell him about a player, but he has his own little tricks," Michigan's Rico Ozuna-Harrison said. Like Wilson, Ozuna-Harrison is a freshman walk-on who often plays on the scout team that faces the starters. "He knows what hand to guard when you're doing a move. He knows where to place his feet. How to bump you and where. Small stuff that really makes a difference."

Paintball oral history? Okay, sure:

Kapustka: (Beilein) was the first guy taken out. Got hit right in the head.

Abdur-Rahkman: Bounced off his head. Paint all over his face.

Kapustka: It came from the ground. Someone just fired a perfect shot. It was pretty crazy.

Ibi Watson, freshman forward: It was (Eli) Brooks who got him.

Eli Brooks, freshman point guard: /makes exaggerated hand gun motion

Don't miss a titanic Charles Matthews-Jon Sanderson showdown.

A mind-bending counterfactual. Jay Wright, Rutgers coach:

There’s one more minor connection that neither coach may even know about. When Villanova went after Hofstra’s coach, Wright was the school’s sole target. Former athletic director Vince Nicastro used the word “exclusively” in describing whom they were going after.

However, just in case Wright decided the big Rutgers offer was the one he would take, Villanova needed a backup plan. Everyone has to have a list. The name on top of that list, John Beilein.

Not that any sane person is taking the Rutgers job over… literally any other high major school? I think that's true.

Etc.: Two fairly silly reasons Nova will win. Andrew Kahn on Wagner's performance. Andy Staples on the game. Max Marcovitch on Jordan Poole's halftime talk.

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