Basketball UFR: Wisconsin Offense

Submitted by Ace on January 13th, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Previously: Wisconsin Defense UFR

Before I start, I'd like to pose a question to you all: Given the wealth of valuable offensive metrics out there, is it worth doing the offensive UFRs? I think the defensive UFRs will have great value moving forward, but I'm questioning the value of going through every offensive play as well when there are so many good offensive stats out there and I have other work (read: recruiting) that I could be spending more time on. Read on, and let me know what you think in the comments.

Anyway, as you know, Michigan dismantled Wisconsin on Sunday, but while the Wolverines had an outstanding defensive performance, the offense was merely mediocre, mostly due to a lack of quality inside looks and a fair amount of missed open shots. Even the best offensive play of the day was really more of an outstanding defensive effort:

Fantastic. Moving on, let's dive right in—if you need a primer, as well as a point of reference (that point being the Oakland game), go here.

Lineup: Burke, Novak, Hardaway, Smotrycz, Morgan
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
20:00 0-0 2-1-2 Man Novak 3-pt Miss
After Michigan wins the tip, Burke hands off on the right side to Smotrycz, who swings it to Morgan at the top of the key. Smotrycz (+0.5) sets a nice off-ball downscreen on Novak's man, freeing up Novak to take a handoff from Morgan. Novak gets an open look for three, but can't connect (3-pt, no contest, miss).
19:05 0-0 2-1-2 Man Morgan 2-pt Miss
Novak and Morgan end up running a high pick-and-roll with 10 seconds on the shot clock. Morgan sets a decent screen, but Novak's man is able to fight over it, so no points either way there. Novak (+1) slips a slick bounce pass to Morgan just inside the free throw line, but Morgan can't hit a pullup jumper as the Wisco D recovers (2-pt, heavy contest, miss).
18:17 0-0 2-1-2 Man Morgan 2-pt Make
It's Novak and Morgan again on the high P&R. This time, Morgan's screen is effective, as Novak draws both defenders when his man tries to go over the top again. Novak (+1) drives hard to his left, then delivers a nice jump-pass to Morgan, who pivots as his man flops while trying to take a charge that isn't there, then banks in a short fallaway J (+1.5, 2-pt, no contest, make).
17:29 2-0 2-1-2 Man Hardaway 2-pt Miss
Blergh. Hardaway takes the ball up the court after hauling in a defensive rebound, barely gives the offense time to set up, and jacks up a very long two after getting a quick screen from Morgan. Brick (Hardaway -2, 2-pt, late contest, miss). As Brian pointed out in the game column, Hardaway can get that shot off whenever he wants, and putting it up with 30 seconds on the shot clock is not at all ideal.
16:57 2-0 2-1-2 Man Novak 2-pt Miss/OReb/Layup Make
Burke gets a screen up top from Morgan, starts to drive, and pulls up for an open 18-footer that draws the back iron (2-pt, no contest, miss). The long rebound goes right back to Burke, who dishes off to Hardaway near the corner. Hardaway (+1) sees Novak open at the top of the key and gives it to him. Novak pumps, forcing a recovering Jordan Taylor to overrun him, then drives hard to the hoop and connects on a running one-hander (+2, dunk/layup, late contest, make).
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
16:09 4-0 2-1-2 Man Smotrycz 3-pt Miss
Douglass holds the ball at the top of the key as Smotrycz comes over from his center position towards Novak in the corner. Smotrycz fakes as if he's going to screen Novak's man, and instead pops out to the arc, where Douglass hits him with time to get off a shot before Berggren can get out there. Smotrycz can't connect (+0.5, 3-pt, late contest, miss), and while Novak GRITs his way to the rebound, he grabs it while his body is partly out of bounds. Really like the design of this play to get Smotrycz a clean look from deep.
15:28 4-2 2-1-2 Man Hardaway 2-pt Miss
Blergh the second. With 20 seconds left on the clock, Hardaway gets a half-hearted pick from Smotrycz (-0.5), pulls up at the elbow, and hits only backboard with a heavily-contested shot (-1, 2-pt, heavy contest, miss).
14:31 4-2 2-1-2 Man Burke Layup Make
Smotrycz (+0.5) gets the ball up top, waits for someone to come open, then hands off to Burke while also setting a screen on Taylor, who is forced to go over the top and can't keep up with Burke. Burke doesn't stop and takes it right to the hoop, where he hits a layup over Berggren (+1, dunk/layup, heavy contest, make). Burke did a fantastic job getting the shot up quickly before Berggren could position himself for a strong challenge—he had little choice but to put up his hands and hope Burke missed.
13:46 6-2 2-1-2 Man Novak Layup Make
Burke gets the ball at the top of the key, and unlike earlier, Smotrycz (+0.5) actually sets a screen when he heads to Novak in the corner. Novak (+1) makes a great cut to the lane, where Burke (+1) hits him in stride with a perfect bounce pass. The defense is late getting over, and Novak hits the layup (dunk/layup, late contest, make).
13:00 8-2 FB FB Hardaway Foul (2/2)
Novak spearheads a semi-transition possession after a defensive board. Michigan spreads the floor with all five players outside the 3-pt line, and Novak passes off to Hardaway, who drives hard to the left with no help coming and draws a shooting foul when he gets past his man (+1, dunk/layup, late contest, foul).
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Vogrich, Smotrycz, Morgan
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
12:33 10-4 1-4 High Man Morgan Turnover
Morgan (-2) sets a blatantly moving screen on Burke's man, and is called for it. Sloppy.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Vogrich, Smotrycz, McLimans
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
11:58 10-7 2-1-2 Man Smotrycz Layup Miss (Block)
McLimans (+0.5) sets a good off-ball screen to briefly free up Smotrycz, who curl-cuts to the basket from the corner. Douglass feeds him and Smotrycz goes up for a lefty layup, but Evans makes a fantastic play to recover from behind and block the shot (dunk/layup, heavy contest, miss). Not going to fault Smotrycz there—he had an open lane and Evans just made a great play.
11:14 10-10 2-1-2 Man Smotrycz Turnover
Smotrycz (-3) comes off an off-ball screen, gets it at the top of the key, then sends a really lazy pass in the direction of Burke. Taylor easily cuts it off and is ahead of the pack on the break, and he'll make an uncontested layup. You just can't make that pass.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Vogrich, Novak, McLimans
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
10:56 10-12 2-1-2 Man McLimans 3-pt Make
Great play design out of a timeout by Beilein. Burke runs a high screen with McLimans (+1), who immediately turns and sets another pick for Douglass, who comes from the baseline and is wide open for three. Burke (+0.5) finds him, and Douglass buries the trey (+0.5, 3-pt, no contest, make).
10:09 13-12 2-1-2 Man Burke Layup Miss/OReb/Foul
Burke (+2) comes off a screen, puts on a sweet hesitation move, and gets to the basket, but he can't hit a tough running layup (dunk/layup, heavy contest, miss). McLimans (+1) fights hard for the rebound between three defenders, and though he can't bring it in cleanly he draws a foul.
9:55 13-12 OOB Man McLimans 2-pt Miss/OReb/3-pt Miss
Nice play design off the inbounds frees up Vogrich for an open 18-footer, but he can't connect (2-pt, late contest, miss). The long rebound bounces out to Novak. Douglass ends up with the ball up top and McLimans pops out for a decent look from three, but he misses as well (3-pt, late contest, miss).
9:05 13-14 2-1-2 Man Burke Layup Miss
Burke gets a screen from McLimans, but McLimans (-0.5) isn't in great position and Taylor is able to go cleanly over the top. Burke still goes hard to the left and tries to get up a layup, but Taylor is right in his pocket and Burke's shot is short (Burke -1, dunk/layup, heavy contest, miss). With 16 seconds on the clock, Burke had time to reset there.
Lineup: Brundidge, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
8:00 13-14 FB FB Smotrycz 3-pt Miss
Brundidge pulls in a tough rebound on the other end and, while falling over, gets it to Hardaway, who breaks out with Smotrycz. Both head to the right side and nobody picks up Smotrycz (+0.5) as he drifts towards the corner. Hardaway feeds him and Smot has all day, but he misses the open three (3-pt, no contest, miss). Nice breakout off the miss, just couldn't knock down the shot.
7:26 13-14 1-4 High Man Hardaway Layup Miss
Hardaway (-1) comes off a good off-ball screen from Smotrycz (+0.5), who then pops out and is wide open for three. Hardaway instead drives right at Berggren and tries to scoop the ball in... brick (dunk/layup, heavy contest, miss). No need for Hardaway to be so hasty in getting up a shot, since there were over 20 seconds left on the clock.
6:57 13-14 FB FB Novak 3-pt Make
Smotrycz leads a breakout after hauling in a rebound, with Michigan going 3-on-3 against Wisconsin. Smot passes off to Novak (+2), who drives towards the lane, draws attention from three defenders, then looks off a defender in order to free up Hardaway (+1), trailing on the play, for three. Hardaway drills it (3-pt, late contest, make).
Lineup: Burke, Akunne, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
6:14 16-14 2-1-2 Man Smotrycz Foul/3-pt Make
Smotrycz (+1) comes off a pick and roll with Burke, gets the pass, and makes a nice move to get to the basket, where he draws a non-shooting foul just before he makes a layup—that probably counts if this is the NBA. Off the inbounds, Burke gives to Hardaway, who draws three defenders near the lane, and Smotrycz pops to the arc, gets the pass, and hits a three (3-pt, late contest, make).
5:19 19-16 2-1-2 Man Novak 2-pt Miss
Akunne gets the ball up top and Smotrycz (+0.5) again sets that off-ball screen in the corner for Novak. Akunne gives it up, and Novak gets a good look on a pullup at the free-throw line, but it bounces off the back iron (2-pt, late contest, miss). Smotrycz stupidly commits a foul on a rebound he has no chance at.
4:40 19-16 2-1-2 Man Burke 2-pt Make
Burke runs a high pick and pop with Smotrycz (+0.5), and both end up open as Burke gets by his man and Smotrycz drifts open for three. Burke takes the open look at the free throw line and knocks it down (+1, 2-pt, no contest, make).
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
3:26 21-16 FB FB Burke Layup Block/Foul/2-pt Make
Hardaway (+1) sees an opening after a Wisconsin miss and drives hard to the basket, and though his layup attempt is blocked (dunk/layup, heavy contest, miss), it probably should've been a foul and there's an immediate make-up call as he brings in his own rebound. After the inbounds, Hardaway gets it up top, and Smotrycz (+0.5) picks off Taylor in the corner and frees up Burke, who gets the pass from THJ, steps inside the arc, and drills a long two (+1, 2-pt, late contest, make).
2:37 23-16 2-1-2 Man Burke Turnover
Burke gets a pick from Smotrycz but crosses over in front instead of going around and using the pick. He tries a quick drive to the bucket, but Taylor slaps the ball out and steals as Burke (-1) picks up his dribble to go up for a layup.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, McLimans
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
2:04 23-19 2-1-2 Man Novak 2-pt Make
Lots of motion here. Burke (+0.5) starts the play by giving to McLimans at the top of the key, then goes to the corner and sets a pick for Hardaway, who comes over the top and gets it from McLimans as he gets another pick along the way from Douglass (+0.5). Hardaway (+1) drives hard to the right, three defenders collapse on him, and this frees up Novak to curl around from the right corner and take a pass on the run from THJ. Novak (+1) pump-fakes a three and gets Evans to bite, then dribbles into the lane and hits a pull-up J from the free-throw line (2-pt, late contest, make).
1:14 25-19 2-1-2 Man Novak 3-pt Miss
Pretty bleh possession here. Michigan cycles the ball around the perimeter until McLimans ends up with it at the top of the key. Novak, with no help from a screen, pops out to the 3-pt line and gets it, but can't hit the three with Evans right there to contest (Novak -1, 3-pt, heavy contest, miss). Too early in the clock for that shot.
0:35 25-19 2-1-2 Man Burke 2-pt Miss
Burke holds as Michigan can kill the rest of the clock for the half. With 8 seconds left, he drives, doesn't get anything, and jumps along the baseline to get the ball to Novak in the corner. Novak dribbles into the lane and has no choice but to put up a tough fallaway with a hand in his face (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). Not a fantastic play, so no positives, but not the worst end of half possession, either, so no negatives.
Lineup: Burke, Novak, Hardaway, Smotrycz, Morgan
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
20:00 25-19 2-1-2 Man Morgan 2-pt Miss
Burke starts to drive from right to left on Taylor, but doesn't have a step and gives to Morgan at the FT line. Morgan fakes a handoff back to Burke and drives right into Burggren, turning his back, pivoting, and then putting up a tough righty shot off the glass that bounces out (-1, 2-pt, heavy contest, miss). This really wasn't there, and Morgan probably should've kicked it back out.
19:27 25-19 2-1-2 Man Morgan 3-pt Miss/OReb/3-pt Make
Burke runs a high P&R with Morgan, but Morgan doesn't hold his ground long enough to actually affect Taylor (guarding Burke). Burke kicks out to Novak, who gets a decent look from deep but can't hit (3-pt, late contest, miss). Morgan (+0.5, with a half-minus for the crappy pick) is initially boxed out but backs Burggren right under the basket and gets his hands on the rebound. The ball is knocked around and Smotrycz (+0.5) ends up with it and kicks it out to a wide-open Hardaway, who buries a three (3-pt, no contest, make).
18:24 28-19 FB FB Burke Turnover
Hardaway (+0.5) hits Burke with a nice outlet pass after a rebound and Michigan has a 3-on-2 with Burke charging down the right side, Morgan (+0.5) cutting to the basket, and Smotrycz (+0.5) fading to the corner—great spacing here frees up Morgan. Burke (-2), instead of making a simple bounce pass that would almost assuredly result in a dunk, tries to hit Morgan with a lob; Gasser is able to get a hand on the pass and Evans grabs it.
17:24 28-19 2-1-2 Man Burke 3-pt Miss
Burke (+2) gets a good pick from Morgan (+0.5) and manages to split between three players, causing Evans to come over from Smotrycz in the corner. Burke immediately gets it out to Smotrycz for an open look, but Smotrycz completely air-mails the three, missing everything (3-pt, late contest, miss). Yikes.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Morgan
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
16:39 28-19 FB FB Burke Foul (2/2)
Burke (+2) comes flying out of the gate after pulling in a defensive rebound. He nearly blows by Taylor, takes a bump, and draws the two Wisconsin defenders as he stops inside the FT line and dishes to Hardaway under the basket. Taylor recovers, but only in time to foul Hardaway, who does a great job switching hands to make sure he gets up a shot and draws a shooting foul (+1 Hardaway, dunk/layup, late contest, foul).
15:44 30-19 FB FB Morgan 2-pt Miss/OReb/Layup Make
Burke (+1) again pushes the pace after a turnover, and with Michigan 3-on-3 he creates space by pulling up inside the FT line, where he gets an open look but misses (2-pt, no contest, miss). Novak (+1) bats the rebound off the glass, and Morgan (+2) comes from beyond the 3-pt line to grab the rebound inside the lane. He goes right back up with the left hand and hits the putback layup (dunk/layup, late contest, make). Great hustle from Morgan to even get into the play.
14:59 32-22 2-1-2 Man Morgan Turnover
Morgan gets the ball in the high post, Burke runs by him with Morgan faking a handoff, then Burke stops and curls back around, this time taking the ball as he gets a step on Taylor. Morgan's man is forced to step over to stop the drive, and Burke (+1) dishes it off to Morgan, who's diving to the hoop. Morgan (-1) gets stripped by Taylor, however—get the ball up!—and Wisconsin comes up with the loose ball.
14:13 32-22 2-1-2 Man Burke 2-pt Miss
Burke gets a good screen from Morgan (+0.5) up top, freeing him up for an open 15-footer, but it rims out (2-pt, no contest, miss).
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, McLimans
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
13:01 32-23 2-1-2 Man Hardaway 2-pt Make
Hardaway gets the ball and drives around a pretty half-hearted pick from McLimans (-0.5), but still gets a half-step on his man, pulls up at the free-throw line, and nails a jumper (+1, 2-pt, late contest, make). Would like to see him attack for that shot more often.
12:15 34-23 FB FB Douglass Foul (2/2)
After getting a steal, Douglass leads a 2-on-2 fast break with Burke on the other side. Burke is well-covered by Taylor so Douglass goes hard at Kaminsky, drawing contact and getting to the line (Douglass +1, dunk/layup, heavy contest, foul).
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Morgan
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
11:41 36-26 2-1-2 Man Hardaway Layup Make
Hardaway gets the ball on the left side and drives over the top of a Morgan screen, but Morgan (-0.5) rolls before he actually picks off Jackson, who's able to stay right with THJ. Hardaway gets to the right block and starts backing Jackson down, does a slow spin to the middle of the lane, and is able to get to the left side of the basket and body out Jackson as he goes up strong for a layup (+2, dunk/layup, late contest, make). Nice work by Hardaway to use his frame to get himself a great look.
11:03 38-26 2-1-2 Man Burke Layup Make
Trey Burke! Burke gets the ball on the left side and gets a screen from Morgan, and this time Morgan (+0.5) sticks around just long enough to throw Taylor off-course. Burke gets into the lane, hesitates, then goes right at Berggren, getting into his chest and hitting a righty layup as he falls over (+2, dunk/layup, heavy contest, make). Impressive.
10:19 40-26 FB FB Burke Layup Make + Foul (1/1)
After a steal, Burke pushes up the court as he's one-on-one with Taylor, who is retreating quickly and can't get turned around until he hits the paint. Burke (+2) gets into the lane, executes a textbook jump-stop, and hits the layup while Taylor raps him on the arm for an and-one (dunk/layup, heavy contest, make). The CBS mic picks up a very excited/spastic Novak screaming "AAAAAAND ONE!" as he chest-bumps the freshman. Man, I love this team.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Smotrycz, Morgan
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
9:52 43-29 2-1-2 Man Smotrycz 3-pt Miss/OReb/3-pt Miss/OReb/Turnover
Smotrycz gets the ball on the elbow, picks up his dribble, and is just kinda stuck there for a couple seconds. Douglass comes over and gets the ball, and Smotrycz (+0.5) sets a nice pick for him, then pops out to the corner. Douglass draws both defenders and passes out to Smotrycz, who can't hit the three (3-pt, late contest, miss). Hardaway (+1) uses his leaping ability to grab the rebound, and he's fouled as he comes down with it. After the inbounds, Burke eventually works his way into the lane, then kicks out to Hardaway, who fires from deep and misses (3-pt, heavy contest, miss). Morgan (+0.5) tips the rebound and Smotrycz grabs it, then loses it, but Morgan recovers and gets it out to Burke. After M kills clock, Burke (+0.5) gets the lane and kicks out to Smotrycz (-1), who travels while making a ball-fake. At least we killed a lot of clock.
8:13 43-31 2-1-2 Man Morgan 2-pt Miss/OReb
Burke gets the ball on the left wing and drives baseline, attempting a tough right-handed runner from just outside the paint and missing (-1, 2-pt, heavy contest, miss). No need for that shot with 20 seconds on the shot clock. Morgan (+1) goes up strong, bats the ball off the backboard, and nearly grabs it before it goes OOB off a Wisconsin defender. TV timeout.
Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz
Time Score Off Set Defense Player Result
7:51 43-31 OOB Man Novak Foul (2/2)
Hardaway takes it on the left side, sees an opening in the middle of the lane, and drives there, drawing Evans, who was guarding Novak on the right. Hardaway (+1) dishes to Novak, who pump-fakes and gets by a recovering Evans, then is fouled as he pulls up and shoots a jumper on Bruesewitz (Novak +1, 2-pt, late contest, foul).
7:11 45-33 2-1-2 Man Novak 3-pt Miss/OReb/Layup Make
Burke gets the ball on the wing and gets a great screen from Smotrycz (+0.5), and Burke gets a wide-open look from three, but can't hit (3-pt, late contest, miss). Novak (+2) comes flying over to grab the long rebound, dribbles into the lane after his man trips going for the board, and hits a layup before the defense can react (dunk/layup, late contest, make). MOAR GRIT.
6:22 47-33 FB FB Novak Layup Make
Novak (+2), after diving on a loose ball at halfcourt, makes a beautiful flip over his head to a streaking Burke (+1), who runs by everyone and hits a finger roll as Uncle Verne has an aneurysm (dunk/layup, no contest, make). Fantastic play.
5:59 49-35 2-1-2 Man Novak Turnover
Burke penetrates after getting a handoff from Novak and coming around a screen from Morgan, but Taylor stonewalls the drive and Burke passes back out top to Novak. Novak (-2) pump-fakes, drives, and then travels as he tries to turn around and kick it back out again.
5:27 49-35 2-1-2 Man Novak Layup Make
Michigan works the clock down below 10, Burke gives it to Hardaway on the left wing, and Hardaway (+1) makes a nice skip pass to Novak in the opposite corner. Novak pumps the three and drives hard baseline, getting into the lane and hitting the game-sealing layup (+2, dunk/layup, late contest, make). That's how you put the final nail in the coffin. Charting ceases for the ensuing foul-fest.


Agreed. Zack Novak is pretty awesome at this basketball thing. Other than a late derp that resulted in a travel, he played as well as you could ask of him.


Gritscream. Also, Trey Burke covers ground with alacrity:


Sure. It's Friday afternoon. Scream all you want.



Offensive Creation
Player + - T Notes
Burke 18.5 5 13.5 Not at all his best offensive performance (14 points on 6-15 shooting, 2 assists, 2 turnovers), but he still had a largely positive offensive impact to go along with his stellar defending of Taylor. Gets into trouble when he tries to do too much, but remember, freshman point guard and all.
Hardaway 12.5 4 8.5 Takes some dumb shots and disappears for stretches, then does something awesome that reminds you why he's an NBA-caliber player. Had 17 points on 10 shots with zero turnovers—if his in-game streakiness results in stat lines like that (he also had 10 rebounds, two on offense), I'm totally cool with it.
Novak 16 3 13 His ruthless efficiency may be a result of his relatively low usage, but I'd still like to see Michigan test that theory and get him the ball more. Novak has become very effective with his pump-fake and drive, and he's finishing well, too.
Smotrycz 7.5 4.5 3 Pretty quiet day for Smotrycz, who racked up almost all of his positives on screens, then had one awful turnover account for three of his negative points. His three points on 1-6 shooting with one assist and two turnovers jives with the small point total.
Morgan 8 5 3 Only played 19 minutes and did most of his damage on the boards, hauling in five offensive rebounds. Three turnovers is a little disconcerting considering he barely handled the ball.
Douglass 2 0 2 With Burke playing 37 minutes, Douglass spent most of the game as a spot-up shooter and Michigan didn't run many plays through him. No negatives means no bad shots, which is nice to see from Stu.
Horford - - - DNP (foot)
Akunne - - - Not even sure he touched the ball during his brief cameo.
Christian - - - One minute in uncharted garbage time.
Vogrich - - - Got up a shot during his short stint off the bench, but otherwise a non-factor.
McLimans 2.5 1 1.5 Set some good screens, set some bad screens. Looks like Big Bird.
Team - - - Like with the defensive UFR, the "Team" category will disappear next time, as it was a total cop-out. May introduce an RPS metric in its place.
TOTAL 67 22.5 44.5 Solid day against a tough Wisconsin defense—1.09 points per possession is very good against the Badgers. Michigan didn't shoot well, but held down their turnovers and did great work on the offensive glass.

Okay, I've calmed down. That looks... good?

Yes, it does. As we'll see in the video breakdown, Beilein did his usual stellar job of setting the team up for success with his offensive ingenuity. The guards limited mistakes against a very good Wisconsin outfit—the team turned it over on 16.7% of their possessions—and the offensive rebounding was superb.

But Jordan Morgan is no longer getting a +23!

This is true. I toned down the points for successful picks—those really should've been worth a half-point from the beginning—and also Morgan only played 19 minutes. Smotrycz got most of his points setting the picks that Morgan didn't this game.

What about magic invisible Stu?

I'm really still trying to get a handle on Douglass and what he brings to the team. He scored very well (+10.5, third on the team) in the defensive UFR, and watching him in detail I think people are right in saying he's the squad's best perimeter defender. He did almost nothing—positive or negative—on offense, however, despite playing 30 minutes. With Burke handling point guard duties for nearly the entire duration of the game, I think this is mostly a function of his role in the offense. When Burke is running the point, Douglass is mostly a spot-up shooter, and with the emergence of Novak as both a very solid outside shooter and a threat to drive to the basket, any plays run for guys other than Burke, Hardaway, or Smotrycz (Morgan mostly just sets picks and crashes the boards) go to Novak. I'm totally fine with this—Stu had one open look from three this game, and he knocked it down. Keep doing that and there will be no complaints from me.

Speaking of shooting...

Yep, another chart.

  Dunk/Layup 2-point 3-point Total
Burke 1/1 - 3/5 (1F) 1/4 1/1 0/1 - 0/1 - 1/5 1/2 3/6 (1F) 5/13 (1F)
Hardaway - 1/1 (2F) 0/2 - 1/2 0/1 1/1 1/1 0/1 1/1 3/4 (2F) 0/4 4/9  (2F)
Novak - 4/4 - - 1/2 (1F) 0/1 0/1 0/1 0/1 0/1 5/7 (1F) 0/2 5/10 (1F)
Smotrycz - - 0/1 - - - 0/1 1/4 - 0/1 1/4 0/1 1/6
Morgan - 1/1 - 1/1 - 0/2 - - - 1/1 1/1 0/2 2/4
Douglass - - (1F) - - - 1/1 - - 1/1 - (1F) 1/1 (1F)
Horford - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Akunne - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Christian - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Vogrich - - - - 0/1 - - - - - 0/1 - 0/1
McLimans - - - - - - - 0/1 - - 0/1 - 0/1
TOTAL 1/1 6/6 (2F) 3/8 (1F) 2/5 3/6 (1F) 0/5 2/4 2/8 0/2 5/10 11/20 (3F) 3/15 (1F) 19/45 (4F)

Michigan didn't have the easiest time finding open looks, especially inside, and while they hit the lion's share of their layups, open jumpers were an issue. That 2/8 number on late-contest threes is especially disconcerting, as those are exactly the type of shots this offense is designed to create. Still, those shots were created, and the Wolverines didn't force too much, so I'm not worried about this performance. The shots will fall if they play like this on most nights, and it's always good to remember that Wisconsin is very good defensively.

You forgot to mention the Hardaway thing.

Ah, yes, the Hardaway thing. Brian expressed his frustration with Hardaway jacking up long twos early in the shot clock, and, well, it's a legitimate gripe:

That's bad, mmmkay? Hardaway's length and athleticism allow him to rise above the defense for a pretty clean look whenever he wants to shoot a jump shot. It is never necessary for that shot to come from 18 feet with 30 seconds on the shot clock. I counted two pretty terrible early-clock jumpers from THJ, and he forced the issue a couple times when he drove inside, as well. It looks like he's getting frustrated by his recent shooting struggles (keeping Michigan afloat against Northwestern notwithstanding) and when he tries to jump-start his own offense, it comes at the expense of the team. Northwestern was an improvement on the shooting front, so hopefully this kind of stuff mostly goes away as the season progresses. It probably won't go away entirely.

Meanwhile, Beilein is a magician.

Yes. Michigan set a ton of high screens for Burke, and also had the center head over to the corner to set off-ball screens for the guard in the corner. Because the team almost exclusively sets up in that 2-1-2 before plays, making the start of every possession look pretty much the same, they are able to do some pretty simple things that can completely confound a defense when they're looking for x and Beilein calls for y. Here, instead of having the center go out and screen the guy in the corner, Douglass (playing up top without the ball) dives into the paint, then curls back around to get a screen from McLimans:

The screen gets Douglass wide open at the top of the key, and he drills the three. It's a really simple play that doesn't ask for too much, other than a pair of solid screens from the center, and when executed properly it creates a great look for three points.

Finally, some obligatory love for Trey Burke, who continues to impress even when his jump shot is a little off.

Burke uses picks very well, making sure to rub close to the screener and get as much separation as possible, and his quickness makes it so that few players will be able to recover once that happens. On the above play, he's even able to throw in a little hesitation move at the free-throw line before going hard in the paint, getting right into Bruesewitz and hitting the layup while attacking in a way that makes it tough to alter the shot. He just keeps getting better, and I'm starting to just hope he'll be around for more than two years.


Novak and Burke. Novak's efficiency definitely calls for further exploration of his role in the offense—I think he needs to get the ball more, as he's proven he can take it inside and finish well. Novak attempted four layups, all before the defense could properly contest, and while part of that is picking his spots well, it's also because the defense has to respect his outside shot.

As for Burke, he's not making many errors while creating a lot of shots for both himself and his teammates. His shot is still relatively inconsistent, but I think that will work itself out in time—his free-throw shooting (75% on the season) and great form lead me to believe he'll only improve in that regard.


There's no way I can call Hardaway a goat when he's putting up 17 points on 10 shots. No other player really qualifies for consideration—Smotrycz was forced to play center for much of the game due to Horford's absence, so he mostly set screens, and Morgan's five offensive rebounds more than offset his three turnovers.

Anything else?

Again, please let me know what you think of the offensive (and defensive, for that matter) UFR in the comments. This is really time-consuming and it'd be really valuable to know whether or not this is worth the effort. I'm pretty committed to the defensive UFR, but this one seems like it could be covered by a summary of the advanced metics and some picture-pages. Your input is greatly appreciated.



January 13th, 2012 at 2:55 PM ^

Ace - I say this with respect for the work you're doing. It's great effort, it looks like a lot of work, a lot of time, a lot of effort, and the end product is very nice.

I don't think this exercise is of much use for anyone who has watched or played basketball, or your target audience (Michigan fans who are aware of Beilein's style of play). By about the third or fourth game of the conference season we all know how Beilein is going to use his rotation, we know the playcalls, we know the sets on O and D. There are really only minor tweaks based on opposition personnel.

The major difference I see between football and basketball UFRs is that with football, most people are watching the ball and not watching the other 10 folks on the field, or the line play which normally determines a play's success. With only 5 players on the court, it's usually pretty easy to figure out what directly leads to a play's success or failure, or, it's easy to back up 2 or 3 passes and figure out where things fall apart. You also don't have things like special teams, field position, weather that play into how the game is being played.

Also, you can see all players on the TV screen as opposed to football, which simply makes it easier to know what's happening. 

I applaud your effort here, but I think there is a time v. utility argument that you should do other things of benefit to the blog since the main imports of what you're doing can be found elsewhere.

I take all this back if you attempt a hockey UFR, however.


January 13th, 2012 at 2:56 PM ^

The play-by-play breakdown adds depth that isn't available from summary statistics but I think everyone understands that this is a busy recriuting season, and you're looking for a break after football.  Maybe you could focus on ufr-ing "interesting" games (like this one), probably games where something either went really well or horribly wrong, on either side of the ball.


January 13th, 2012 at 3:01 PM ^

Ace - Love the effort, but I wonder if the time investment is worth it.  As you mentioned, there are some great basketball metrics available.  Also, a dedicated UFR may not be completed before the next game.  By the time this is posted Michigan may have gone from a low possession game to a more up tempo oppenent and the specific takeaways may not apply immediately.

Trending features (similar to UMHoops "Inside the Play") might be more helpful.  Couple ideas:

Pick and Roll - Trey Burke versus Darius Morris.  How to incorporate the roll man.  More pick and pop with Burke/Hardaway or Burke/Smotrycz?

Designed First Look - In set plays, how is Beilein drawing up the primary option?

Lineups - How does the offense vary when Michigan goes small (Smotrycz at the 5)?

You address a lot of these in the UFRs, but having a couple games video and different examples make it easier to understand the creativity of Beilein.


January 13th, 2012 at 3:12 PM ^

Continuing the Defensive UFR will be a good exercise for the year. You should dump the offensive one, but I would suggest at least tracking the shot chart if it is not too much effort. I'd be curious to see the trends during the year. Pairing the shot chart with some explained advanced metrics and key plays should provide guidance for people watching basketball and looking for something different information-wise.

Also, I'm glad to see you remembered I have noticed some issues with their possession statistic during games lately, though.


January 13th, 2012 at 3:35 PM ^

I'm with the others. Keep the defensive one as I think it holds things that stats don't. I also like the idea of more recruiting coverage and, to me, it reads like you do too. 


January 13th, 2012 at 3:44 PM ^

UFR-ing the whole offense seems a bit daunting with games at least twice a week, but I really liked your insight to the Stu Douglass screen play in this UFR. Personally, I would love to see a few videos of plays explained with why they work, namely how the master technician sets up and capitalizes on a teams created weakness.

I normally can't see why each play works, so if you have the ability to show two plays side by side and and the connection between them that would be awesome!


January 13th, 2012 at 4:08 PM ^

so I won't complain if you continue doing the Offensive UFRs. However, I would understand it if your duties with the defensive UFR and as TomVH Jr are too demanding to justify it. This wouldn't be an issue if Brian had an extra Ace up his sleeve.


January 13th, 2012 at 4:30 PM ^

I actually really appreciate the UFR's. If you believe your time can be better spent then so be it, but I think it really is helpful to just get an idea of the teams performance besides points and final score. I learn a decent amount from these and think they are very interesting, but again if you believe you are wasting your time then by all means, feel free to spend it on something else.


January 13th, 2012 at 4:57 PM ^

Something that might save you a lot of time and be still very interesting to the blog is to do picture pages.  Say we just killed Wisconsin with something related to basketball (I know nothing about this sport).  You could picture page that.  Or maybe pick a couple of things each game that were important factors in deciding the outcome of the game.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I love the football picture pages, I think doing it for basketball would be well worth the drastically reduced effort on your part.

That being said, as others have pointed out, this is excellent work, just not sure that it is worth your time.  Basketball is a much simpler game than football, albeit with a much more complicated UFR endeavour.


January 14th, 2012 at 8:45 AM ^

I think you got the point by now, but to add to the pile: the offensive UFRs are something that I just skip over completely.  No need to waste your time.


January 14th, 2012 at 9:30 AM ^

     Selfishly, I am always going to want every bit of basketball analysis you can provide.  But I recognize that, "This aint no perfect world'.  If by some trick of time travel you were able to put together the Defensive Shot Prevention, Defensive Shot Chart, Offensive Creation Chart, and Shooting Chart, and maybe forego the individual play breakdown(that would save a little time right?) I think that would maximize the quantitave information we'd have on each game, while minimizing the overlap of information we gain from simply watching the game.

     As an aside, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your "I remember Danny Wohl" piece.  I wish I'd known about your blog when it was active.  Sometimes it is nice to know you weren't the only one suffering.