Hoops Mailbag: Robinson vs. Irvin, Stretch Run, The Tech

Submitted by Ace on February 21st, 2017 at 4:33 PM

Irvin or Robinson?


Choosing between defense and offense. [Left: Campredon; right: Barron]

I put out a call for hoops mailbag questions over the weekend. A theme emerged:

With Duncan Robinson's semi-emergence on defense (feels weird saying that), why is Coach Beilein not inserting him into the clutch-time lineup for Zak Irvin? I live in constant fear of Irvin hero-ball and I just don't trust him to make shot these days, let alone the right decision.

I'd feel much more comfortable with a Walton-MAAR-Robinson-Wilson-Wagner lineup offensively at the end of the game, and if the defense only takes a small step back isn't it worth it?

Go Blue,

Christian
UM '15

The first two questions are slightly different from the third. To address those first: Zak Irvin is going to remain in the starting lineup. I agree with that choice because of the difference Irvin makes on defense. I disagree with the premise in the first question; the defense can get substantially worse—we all saw as much in January—and Irvin is a big reason why Michigan has improved on that end.

Irvin's versatility on defense is more important than people seem to think. He can do everything from stay in front of two-guards to play passable post defense; did we already forget about this? (And this? And this too?) Michigan doesn't have another wing (DJ Wilson, if you're inclined to count him, excluded) with anything resembling Irvin's combination of strength and quickness; his presence allows M to switch on defense without creating too many mismatches. He's one of Michigan's better on-the-ball defenders, too.

Robinson has made strides on defense; he's still far from a good defender. SI posted anonymous coach quotes today on several potential tourney teams. From the Michigan section, which was critical but fair:

If [senior guard Duncan] Robinson is in the game you want to attack him defensively. Everybody knows that.

Robinson hasn't been caught out of position as often as he was earlier in the season. He's still susceptible to being attacked off the dribble by quicker guards/wings and he doesn't have Irvin's strength to hold up when he's switched onto a post player. Yes, Robinson is the superior offensive player; Irvin, in my opinion, has as much of an edge on defense.

A straight-up comparison between the two isn't sufficient; this is, after all, a team sport. You can gameplan to hide a struggling offensive player, especially when the rest of the offense is clicking like Michigan's. Irvin, in fact, is playing a decreased role in the offense over the course of this slump. This mathematical approach isn't perfect, but Irvin averaged a 27% usage rate over M's first seven conference games, with a high mark of 32% (Maryland) and a low of 21% (Illinois). That average is down to 17% over M's last seven games, in which he's surpassed the 20% only three times, topping out at 24% in the Wisconsin win; he's gone as low at 8% in that span, using only five possessions in the MSU win. Walton and MAAR have been able to pick up the slack.

It's much more difficult to hide a weak defender; you don't get to choose what set the opposing team runs. Robinson has been such an effective offensive player this season in part because John Beilein can cherry-pick his matchup on both ends. Robinson wasn't nearly as efficient as a starter last year (107.7 ORating in B1G games) compared to what he's done as the sixth man this year (122.8 ORating in B1G); while correlation doesn't equal causation, I don't believe that's a coincidence.

If Irvin continues to take on big late-game possessions—I'll admit I cringed when he waved off Derrick Walton in a second-half late-clock situation at Minnesota—then I wouldn't mind seeing Beilein use Robinson over Irvin in certain late-game situations, as Christian suggests, especially if he can go offense-defense with his substitutions. Benching Irvin is a step too far; Michigan still has the best offensive efficiency in the conference with him playing 89% of the available minutes, and he's played a major role in the defensive improvement of the last month. Another stat of note: Robinson averages 22.3 minutes per game in Michigan's seven conference losses; he's at 17.6 in their seven conference wins.

[Hit THE JUMP for the path to the tourney, Minnesota technical explanation, and more.]

(1) Win The Easy Ones
(2) Dance?


For RPI purposes, M could use a strong finish from Wisconsin. [Bryan Fuller]

I think so. Despite to loss at Minnesota, the last week was a net positive for Michigan's tournament chances. They're the top ten-seed in the latest update of the Bracket Matrix with eight at-large teams, including a Michigan State squad that just lost Eron Harris for the year, in the field behind them. They're a nine-seed to both CBS's Jerry Palm and ESPN's Joe Lunardi, both of whom have updated their projections to account for the Minnesota loss, as well as on Crashing The Dance. SI's Michael Beller thinks the above scenario should be enough to get Michigan in the tournament:

Michigan’s three-game winning streak came to an end when they lost at Minnesota in overtime on Sunday, but the Wolverines likely made their season over the last two weeks. Those three straight wins included impressive showings against fellow bubble teams Michigan State and Indiana, and a headline-grabbing triumph over Wisconsin. They won’t get a ton of help from their RPI, which is just outside the top 50 for now, but they’re 27th on kenpom.com. The Wolverines have two wins against tournament locks, Wisconsin and SMU, and one loss outside the top 100. They’ve put themselves in a position to get an invite simply by staying the course. So long as they win the games they’re supposed to, they should go dancing.

ESPN's Eamonn Brennan concurs, saying "the Wolverines' defeat at the Barn on Sunday need not be regarded as even a half-step back from the three-game winning streak (over Michigan State, Indiana and Wisconsin) that got them off the fringe and into the bracket over the course of the past two weeks."

My main concern is the NCAA selection committee's continued use of RPI, which ranks Michigan just 55th. With Wisconsin slipping to 24th, the Wolverines are in danger of losing a quality win in the RPI 1-25 metric, and the only pre-BTT chance to make up for that is on Sunday against Purdue. They should be fine as long as they take care of Rutgers and Nebraska on the road; they can feel truly good if they add one more win, either against Purdue or Northwestern, before the conference tournament.

Explain Yourselves


¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Let me preface this explanation from MLive's Brendan Quinn, who covered the game and asked for clarification on the technical, by pointing out that because of the raised court at The Barn the only way for a coach to talk to his team is to jump up onto the apron:

Michigan was also called for technical issued -- it's 28th total foul -- in the second half. With 4:39 remaining and Michigan down 58-57, Mark Donnal was called for a foul when Minnesota's Amir Coffey appeared to fall down. Beilein, livid, yelled to the floor, then paced down the sideline. Referee Ted Valentine called a technical on the Michigan bench, later telling Big Ten Network that an assistant, Saddi Washington, jumped up to the apron of the elevated floor at Williams Arena.

Asked in his postgame press conference for the explanation he was given by officials, Beilein said: "How do I say this without throwing anyone under the bench? It wasn't on me."

MLive requested a comment or clarification regarding the technical. Via a Minnesota spokesman, the Big Ten stated that the technical was a judgment call and, thus, the night's head official, Rob Riley, would not be made available for comment.

Surprise! Ted Valentine got his TV Tighty Whities in a bunch, nobody is accountable for anything, and the college basketball world keeps spinning.

Yep.

Next Year's Defense Could Be... Good?


Added bulk would help Wagner's post defense and rebounding. [Barron]

I have an odd sense of comfort about the defense after the last several games, and even more so when thinking about next year’s team. Am I crazy or am I crazy?

X replacing Walton would be an upgrade and additional years of experience in Donlon’s system for Rahk/Wilson/Wagner should make them pretty effective. While losing Irvin on the wing will be a setback, the potential of Charles Matthews seems like he could cover what is lost.

I’m thinking next year could potentially be Beilein’s best defensive team at Michigan… for however much that means. Am I way off-base?

Austin

I must be taking crazy pills, too, because I agree with this premise. Xavier Simpson, if he can cut down on fouls, will be a better and more disruptive defender than Walton; Matthews can hopefully cancel out the loss of Irvin; most importantly, another year of strength and conditioning—and Jon Teske getting comfortable in the system—should go a long way towards shoring up the interior defense.

"Beilein's best defensive team" is, of course, a relative measure: only two of his Michigan squads (2010-11 and 2013-14) have cracked the top 50 on KenPom, and they finished in the high 30s. The combination of two athletic bigs, one of whom (Wilson) has major shot-blocking potential, and Billy Donlon's coaching could get them into that range again. This year's team is on pace to record their highest turnover rate since 2010; it's feasible for them to maintain that aggressiveness while making gains with more sound positional defense.

Listed at 5'11", Which Means I'm 8'4"

Fred Wright-Jones.

Comments

TrueBlue2003

February 21st, 2017 at 4:41 PM ^

freudian slip/typo by saying Irvin is playing a deceased role on offense.  

But you're absolutely correct in this analysis.  Even bad offensive Irvin is about a push with Duncan because of defense so it definitely makes sense to play him and hope for good offense Irvin or even mediocre offense Irvin.  And yes, not only is it impossible to hide bad defensive players in a man-to-man, the other team can attack and leverage the weak link.

wayneandgarth

February 21st, 2017 at 4:47 PM ^

With a short bench,, both Irvin and Robinson are going to need to play plenty.  But, in a 45 minute game to have Irvin play 39 minutes and Robinson 15 (eventually fouled out), doesn't make sense to me. 

Irvin was lucky for 4 of his 13 shots to drop.  A couple were rather wild, roll around the rim baskets.

As mentioned, I'd definately want Robinson in when we are down late.

TrueBlue2003

February 21st, 2017 at 7:54 PM ^

could have given the foul trouble.  He got his fourth with 9:16 remaining and Beilein still subbed him into offensive possessions - at first for DJ, then for MAAR.  I was a little surprised they weren't taking out Irvin there, given the effectiveness of DJ and MAAR, but it's been very clear from coaches comments and subsititution patterns that they're betting on a return of Irvin's shot - winning or losing that bet is likely to be the determinant of whether this team makes a run or fizzles out in the first round of the tourney or worse.

All that being said, we got a bad game from BOTH Walton Jr and Irvin, we shot poorly from FT, and we didn't rebound very well, and we STILL should have won a road game against a good team if not for the refs.  That's how many offensive weapons we have and how improved the defense is.

TrueBlue2003

February 21st, 2017 at 5:17 PM ^

the question is why wouldn't he play in Germany?  The only reason he'd stay in school is if he really, really likes playing school.  He could make a lot more money, focus on basketball, have no limit to instruction time, etc. in Germany.  Probably the better choice for his pro basketball prospects.

I'm very worried that this is going to happen.  Beilien made weird comments about wanting to get Teske back in the game after the disastrous Wisconsin showing - claiming that he can learn more in games than in practice.  While that is the case, it doesn't seem like you'd want to hurt the team in the short run for a guy that is third string this year, and would be second string next year. He isn't putting Ibi Watson in the game to teach him despite both being far from ready. I think there is a very good chance that Beilien knows it might have to be Teske and/or Davis next year.  

Begs the question of whether we could/would have the time to give Donnal his fifth year if Mo leaves...which ugh.  Donnal or Teske is not an ideal choice.

ryholly

February 21st, 2017 at 5:29 PM ^

Not sure why more people aren't talking about this.  It sounds more than likely that Wagner will go pro in Germany next year.  Get paid 6 figures and train 24/7 will help get him to the league much faster.

Bertello NC

February 22nd, 2017 at 2:21 PM ^

It is scary. One of the gambles when you take an international guy I suppose. Without Wagner next year it would mean Teske and Davis would have to really make some strides. Or get lucky and Bamba signs. Really hope he decides to come back. It may sound selfish but with him in the lineup I really like the looks of the team next year.

MGolem

February 21st, 2017 at 4:57 PM ^

But I think MAAR should start at the point next year over X. Maybe X puts it together during the offseason but so far he does not look ready to lead the team night in and night out. We know MAAR can handle the ball and now he can shoot too. With him, Mathews, Robinson, Wilson, and Wagner you have a ton of experience and length. With that lineup and some time to work on it our zone defense could be very effective. I like Robinson's instant offense off the bench but he seems like the better starting option than an unproven undersized point guard.

TrueBlue2003

February 21st, 2017 at 5:41 PM ^

he's in the perfect role for himself when Beilien can pick and choose his matchups to minimize his negative impact on defense.

And X has looked much better recently.  I feel confident by next year he'll be more than ready to lead the team such that a backcourt of X, MAAR and Matthews will be much preferred to MAAR playing out of position, Mathews, and Robinson getting torched by starting wings.

RetireJB

February 21st, 2017 at 6:47 PM ^

X doesn't look any better now than he did 2 months ago.  He scored 7 pts in one game and everyone gave him the Kam Chatman treatment like he turned some corner...

X is equivalent to a decent D2 point guard.  He would get zero minutes on any other team not named Rutgers in the Big Ten.  Big misevaluation by everyone.

Michifornia

February 21st, 2017 at 5:12 PM ^

Unfortunately, Irvin will not recover from whatever is in his head.  He wasn't great to start with and now he's completely broken.  Robinson plays just as hard on defense if not harder and I don't think Irvin is a better defender by any stretch.  And Robinson is a shooter.  I think at this point it's a no brainer.

AC1997

February 21st, 2017 at 5:51 PM ^

Are there any blogs or website that track the performance of refs using even basic statistics?  It seems we're never going to get them to speak to the media and take responsibility for what they did on the court.  They have to realize that their performance in that game was a 10 year outlier for fouls called - regardless of what type of basketall Michigan plays.  And the next time Wagner does a fancy move and gets called for traveling because the 65 year old ref THOUGHT he saw him shuffle his feet I am going to puke.

I was in basketball band sitting on the floor of Crisler from 1994-1997 and TV Teddy threatened to have us ejected from the arena for yelling at him.  It is 20+ years later and that guy is somehow still considered a top official for this league. WTF?

ST3

February 21st, 2017 at 5:57 PM ^

I watched him play defense during the first half of the Minnesota game. This amounted to standing in the corner guarding Minnesota's 5th option, and failing to box out. Duncan can do that just as well as Irvin. I think Ace is right that his defense is better than Duncan's, but he had a real bad night against Minnesota if defense includes defensive rebounding, which it does.

TrueBlue2003

February 21st, 2017 at 8:10 PM ^

Amir Coffey?  In which case, he held Minnesota's most efficient player (in conference play) to just a 97 Ortg (less than a point per possession) on 1-4 FG shooting after the guy had scored in double digits in seven straight games and he gave up ZERO offensive rebounds to him.

If you can take out the opposing teams most efficient player and render him ineffective, that's a pretty good defensive performance, no?  When you turn a guy who should be the second or third option into the fifth option, that's excellent.

AC1997

February 21st, 2017 at 6:00 PM ^

Ace - do you think Donlon sticks around for next year or will he be looking for a mid-major to take over?  

As for the roster, I think there's hope.  I'm not worried about Simpson's fouls because I think he goes into the game right now trying to make a difference on D and knowing he's only playing about 8-10 minutes no matter what.  Next year he'll pick his spots for those steal attempts.  

My concerns, however, would be as follows:

  • Wilson is a good help defener, but he's not a good 1-on-1 defender yet.  
  • Matthews might be a good wing defender and do a potentially good job of locking down some opposing scorers....but who fills in for Irvin's versatility being able to defend 4-5 positions on the floor?  
  • What happens at the 4 when Wilson sits on the bench?  Matthews?  Livers?
  • Simpson's offense is going to determine how much he plays and even though he's a pest on defense, he's not even 6' tall.  So there's a ceiling for him right now.
  • Teske has a long way to go.  
  • Poole and/or Brooks is going to have to play back-up minutes at guard - freshmen usually suck at defense.

Overall there's hope for mediocrity, which is all we can ask.  There will be a ton of pressure on Simpson to make a sophomore leap and get decent support from Brooks and/or Poole.  

Low Key Recidivist

February 21st, 2017 at 6:12 PM ^

Agree with just about everything you had to say.  

One thing which doesn't get discussed is that Irvin has not let his offensive issue dictate his defense.  He's turned into a plus on-ball defender and can cover 3 different positions.  He struggled a bit in the Minnie game, but that wasn't what cost them.

I'll go one further with the second question; I think they'll be a significantly better defensive team next year.  Coaching transitions take at least a year to sink in, and this is no exception.  The team will have had a full year and two offseasons to incorporate Donlon's scheme.  Matthews and Simpson are plus defenders and I believe Wagner and Wilson will take the next step (Wagner already has the make-up of an excellent defensive player, just needs to get a bit stronger). 

MGlobules

February 21st, 2017 at 6:53 PM ^

to two points. How many points is that worth to the team? Night after night he takes on the other team's best or second-best shooter. It's a little ironic that some of the same people who piss and moan about Michigan and defense pay so little attention not to notice that he kills it on D. 

Another thing: there needs to be a law for the internet that nails the human foible that assumes that however a player is playing RIGHT NOW, is how s/he is going to play forever. Zak is a guy who has had huge offensive games for us, and Beilein has to assume that he can once again get uncorked (as in fact w. Wisconsin). He just wants him playing well once we get to the tournaments, IMO. 

I'm a huge Robinson fan, but give him Zak's minutes I can guarantee his production is disappointing. Beilein is doing everything he can to show Zak he believes in him. 

Ty Butterfield

February 21st, 2017 at 7:30 PM ^

What I am really curious about is if people actually think next season will be any better? Maybe if Wagner stays but I have a feeling he heads back to Germany. Are any of the incoming freshman guys who can have a huge impact? Unless Beilein gets very lucky in recruiting I feel like Michigan will be like this every season. Giving us 2 or 3 games where it looks like they could beat any team in the country as well as a couple of outings where they completely shit the bed. Then, at the end of the season they are sweating it out on the bubble.

TrueBlue2003

February 21st, 2017 at 8:23 PM ^

it will almost certainly be better if you believe any of the Matthews hype.

And remember, we're top 30 in kenpom right now with a "luck" metric in the 300s, meaning we've lost more than our share of close "tossup" games, such that our record is probably worse than our level of play.  Those things have a tendency of evening out year-over-year.

AC1997

February 21st, 2017 at 8:37 PM ^

Great points TrueBlue2003.  I always struggle with how to feel about the "luck" factor.  Wisconsin is 5-0 in close games and we're about 2-5.  You'd expect most teams to settle in about .500 in coin flip games so that's a big swing right there.  Michigan lost their only two OT games, both were on the road with Michigan a huge underdog with FTA in both games.  

 

Then again, is there something to be said for truly good teams winning close games?  How much of those results are luck and how much are Michigan choking it away?  Imagine if Michigan wins the VTech, Iowa, and MN games alone - games that they had a legit chance to win.  Now they're a conference title contender almost and a lock for a decent seed.  

 

Michigan has to hold serve against the bad teams and I'd like to see them split the NU/PU games.  That would be a great situation heading into the conference tourny.  

TrueBlue2003

February 21st, 2017 at 11:15 PM ^

It was clsoe most of the way, but it was an 8 point game with four minutes to go and from that point on, we never had less than a 95 percent chance to win.  It wasn't a blow out but certainly not a coin flip game near the end.

I would argue the Furman game was sort of close as we were only up three for most of the last five minutes before winning by six.

And the Maryland loss was similarly close, despite the final margin being seven.  We were down 3-4 for most of the last five minutes with most plays being high leverage until they extended it with FTs at the very end.

And ugh, just went back at looked the Va Tech game.  We controlled that whole game, up double digits the whole first half. They clawed back slowly but we still had a 90 percent chance to win with less than three minutes. Fuuu....

AC1997

February 21st, 2017 at 11:49 PM ^

I arbitrariy used a 5 point spread or OT as a "close game" definition.  You could argue that @WI and @MSU were close games that we lost as well.  Regardless of your definition, Wisconsin has a crazy-good (lucky?) run this year and we've lost far more than we've won.  

If I'm Beilein I think I show Wagner a bunch of film of how Frank Kaminsky kept getting better, had a blast in college, became the POY, made a run toward the title, and still got drafted high in the NBA.  Wagner isn't quite as big as he is yet, but probably far more skilled at this stage of his career.

TrueBlue2003

February 22nd, 2017 at 1:09 AM ^

define "close" game is arbitrary.  Your main point is correct that we've lost more close games than won, whatever the definition of "close".  I believe there have been a lot of studies to try to figure out if certain qualities about a team or individual players make them more "clutch" or likely to come through in close games and I'm pretty sure nothing has ever been found to indicate certain teams or players just have a "knack" for coming through in close games.

The conclusion has always been, to my knowledge, if you've played close with a team for 38 minutes, there's no reason to think you won't continue to play close enough for the last two minutes such that the outcome is a coin flip.

As for Wagner, I hope he stays, but for a European, I just don't know that he'd have as much fun in college as Kaminsky when his friends and family are all back in Germany or that he'd care as much about winning an NCAA title or being POY in college when those things don't mean anything in his culture.  I fear that it'd be more appealing to try to win awards in the Bundesliga.

He might be having an awesome time in Ann Arbor. UofM is a beautifully international school so it might not be as lonely as it typically is to live in another country when there is a language barrier.  And one could possibly make an argument that he's receiving higher quality instruction here (I don't about the quality of coaching in Germany though), so even if he's not getting as much instruction time, maybe it's valuable enough to keep going. He was willing to come here in the first place so there's something appealing enough about being here. Hope he gives it another year at least.  

Heteroskedastic

February 22nd, 2017 at 10:23 AM ^

KenPom had a pretty good blog two weeks ago on Maryland BBall and their "skill" in closing out close games. 

A mature discussion about Maryland

 

That leaves the Terps 14-6 in games decided by four points or less over the past three seasons. That doesn’t look as nice as 30-7 but it’s still quite good, tied for 17th in the country with the same record as Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, UNC Wilmington, Valparaiso, and Wright State. Right behind DePaul and Auburn. And everyone is chasing Houston Baptist, who is 10-2 over that time. It’s a weird list of teams ahead of Maryland. Some have been pretty decent – there’s Providence and Oregon and Miami FL – and some are completely random like those mentioned above and also Tennessee-Martin, Sacramento State and Fresno State. Which should tell you something about the utility of this particular stat.

The Squid

February 21st, 2017 at 7:51 PM ^

Just to be clear, my question (the 2nd from the top) was meant to be much more Irvin-positive than it ended up seeming (because I phrased it poorly). What I was trying to get at is: would Irvin as the 6th man give him the opportunity to get his game going against weaker defenders in a situation where he also doesn't have to carry the psychological burden of a starter. Would that potential benefit be a reasonable trade-off for the downgrade of having Robinson play defense against starters? Like I said, that's not going to happen so it's only a thought-experiment, although I sure wish that Beilein had tried it somewhere in the last 6 weeks, just to see if it could jumpstart Irvin's game.

TrueBlue2003

February 21st, 2017 at 8:19 PM ^

it isn't a psycological burden to start. Guys want to start.  He clearly wants to be the guy. It would be more psycologically frustrating to get benched.  He plays enough that he's getting enough time against backups for that not to matter.  Besides, he's just missing a lot of wide open threes.  That's 100% mental and defense agnostic.  Just needs to knock them down with better accuracy.

Year of Revenge II

March 11th, 2017 at 8:40 AM ^

It's much more than just missing threes. He is prone to bad shot selection, momentum-changing bonehead plays, inopportune turnovers, forcing play, taking high risk with low reward, etc., even on a good shooting night, which are now about as frequent as Haley's Comet.  Those attributes are not going away even if he hits ten shots in a row.  In fact, they increase because he is "feelin it".

To generalize, his on-court basketball IQ is really low for a somewhat talented guy and a team leader.  The difference between him and say, Jok of Iowa, is frightening from a decision-making standpoint.

I agree with your thought that having him come off the bench at this point risks whatever fragile confidence remains, and could disrupt team and locker-room chemistry.  Further, Robinson is not a starter on a good team. His defense is too weak, and his game is much more suited to coming off the bench, particularly if we need offense, or to bust a zone.  

Irvin's liabilities outweigh his assets.  We will not see Freshman and Sophomore Irvin again because he was complimentary then versus primary now.  In a vacuum, I would sit him down at the start of a couple games in an attempt to get him to focus on eliminating his mistakes rather than worrying about if his shot falls.  He has been playing basketball all his life. You don't just forget how to shoot.  It's mental, like golf and tennis can be primarily mental.

I doubt if Beilein does this, because (1) our options for a starter are limited and not too attractive---Robinson, 3 guards on an already weak rebounding team, or Simpson, a freshman with not enough minutes under his belt.  I'd go 3 guards as starters for a game or two as starters, and emphasize to Irvin that it had nothing to do with his shooting.

If he would let the game come to him like did when he was complimentary, his shot would start to fall (or at least draw iron, lol). The shock of the change might get through to him. The reality is that we need him to be a starter and leader on this team, but his play the last couple of seasons has steadily progressed downward to almost comical levels.  It is not about his shot per se (although his head is causing his shot to go awry), it is about his head.  He seems like an intelligent guy; somehow he has to adjust, or we cannot really be an effective team.  

Walton raised his level, mostly by mental focus and will.  Irvin must follow suit, or hello NIT or first round loss in NCAA.

MichiganTeacher

February 21st, 2017 at 8:03 PM ^

They should have been teaching Robinson to play post D all summer and fall. I think he has potential there. You don't have to be as quick, intelligence is a bigger asset, and when Duncan is down there I like his fundamentals better than anyone else on the team. That would have let us play Duncan more than Irvin. Frankly, I still think they should do that. As Ace points out, it's not easy to hide a defender - but it is possible - and I think we could do it well enough to make it worth it.

Rufus X

February 21st, 2017 at 10:48 PM ^

Can we please stop using them? Neither is "Miggy" by the way. Why Michigan sports media love to do this to perfectly good names like "Minnesota", "Wisconsin" and "Miguel" is beyond me.  "Kirky Gibby" even thinks these are stupid.