He looked rickety last night. Is he only 70%?

Agree on the ceiling for this team, but considering the resume so far...not even sniffing the top 25 is slightly confusing.

The UCLA win and then what they did after, I was hoping that a couple of B1G wins after that would have vaulted them into the top 25 this week...

Kenpom has them listed at no. 33. The adj off eff is only no. 46 and the strength of schedule is no. 181.

I don't know if having one of the slowest teams at no. 344 hurts their ranking or not.

N. Campus you might be the perfect person to ask, what with your adj off eff, and the like:

What do they mean when they say a player had 18 pts on 12 shot equivalents?

Short answer: Shot equivalents take free throws into account. So for simple math, look at the box score. Take each FGA and FTA. Each FGA is 1 equivalent (because duh) and every 2 FTA is 1 equivalent. So if a player has attempted 5 shots from the field, and 4 free throws, they have 7 “shot equivalents.” Essentially you are just mashing FGA and FTA into a single stat. Or in slightly more “advanced” terms, giving TS% while including the volume of shooting.

Then from there is is common sense-ish. 15 points on 15 shot equivalents is good, but 15 points on 25 shot equivalents is bad.

If you're fouled on a shot and then hit free throws, it doesn't count as a shot for purposes of the box score.  But if you're trying to determine how efficient an offensive player is, you really should include it as a shot attempt.  Thus, those nonexistent "shots" are included as such for purposes of determining your "shot equivalents."

we're 33rd in kenpom, 37th in RPI. We've lost to two unranked teams and haven't beaten any ranked teams.  We have a poor SOS.  It'd justifiably be a stretch for anyone to put us in their top 25.

But we are close and we sort of are sniffing it. We had a vote in the AP poll last week and 5 points in the coaches poll.  We went down to 0 and 1, respectively, this week but I guess that's what happens when you only play one game and that game is against a horrible team that we kind of didn't dominate.

If we take care of business against Illinois this week, we'll get enough votes to be in the top 30ish but still shouldn't be in the top 25.

It's annoying that we have a crucial stretch coming up in which we play Purdue, MSU and Maryland all in a tight 7 day span. But if we split against Purdue/MSU, we'll be ranked the following week.

After that stretch, the conference schedule gets very manageable.

Great read, but I'm not sure if I agree with shifting some usage away from Matthews unless you mean a fairly minimal amount. I'm fine with getting him down closer to 23-24% but wouldn't want to see it much lower than that. He can really create well, which is needed for our offense especially when we get into those unagressive lulls that sometimes occur. The pick and pop with him and wagner is something I love seeing, because that can easily develop further into an even more deadly combo.

if more useage goes to him, i'm all for it.  i think he is the most dependable guy on the team. i think he needs to take more control.  i'm not will to bank on simpson's usage on offense yet, but i am pleasantly surprised so far.

Agree. You pretty much know what you are going to get from MAAR. He is consistent, and he has gotten better every season. Enjoy him while we can.

will continue to get even better. The best depth that I can recall in some time.

Coach B is like a mad scientist..... more times than not the experiment ends up working.

I'm not worried about the rankings at this stage, even if the lunatics at ESPN are now listing "projected seeds" on their game previews in early January.  Win the games you're supposed to win and things will be fine - even if MSU crushes us on their court.

Another typical trait of Beilein teams is the shortening of the rotation.  We've seen Simmons vanish and neither Davis or Watson ever cracked the rotation.  Poole is likely hanging by a thread too, though his role as a bench gunner will always earn a few minutes (and more if he stops giving up back-door cuts).  The question is what to do with Brooks' minutes.  He's not a liability, but he's also adding zero to the game when he's on the floor.

One idea might be to give those back-up PG minutes when Z needs a rest to Rahk and bring in Poole.

Agreed about Poole. Competing with Rahk for minutes simply means he's not going to get a ton of PT, but he will be needed now and then. Watson and Davis are each 3rd in the pecking order for their respective spot.

is perfectly fine. Especially because he'll mostly be playing with a MAAR, Matthews, Robinson/Livers, Teske lineup.  Just don't turn it over, get the ball to those guys, and play adequate defense and that's enough from the backup PG. He or Simmons will remain in the rotation for 10-15 minutes, at least.

Watson played 2 minutes last night although I'm surprised he even played at all.  He's been passed by Poole for backup wing and there are so few minutes as it is, we should be giving all of the backup 2/3 minutes to Poole.  And Davis is the 3rd C.  He only played while Wagner was out because of necessity.  He wasn't in the rotation before the injury and he won't be as long as Wagner and Teske are healthy enough to play.

is going to be fun to watch.  They have a chance to go places.

Realistically, I think this team could finish 2nd or 3rd in the B1G this year.

MSU will likely roll through undefeated, because nobody has the depth and talent at the 4 and 5 to compete with MSU.

But it would be awesome to steal second in the B1G away from Purdue. We had their number last year, and I think Mo likes being matched up against the Ents that Purdue sends out there.

If we can avoid blowing 15 point leads, we could finish in 2nd. And that would be incredible.

likely roll through the BIG undefeated?  can i bet against that action?  the BIG is too tough to win on the road.  hell, when wisky won the BIG a couple years ago, they lost to rutgers!  i give sparty < 10% chance at running the table; likely 3 losses, imo.

OSU
Illinois
Maryland
Indiana
Iowa
Minnesota
NW
Wisconsin

The hardest road game is @ Minnesota and @ Wisconsin. Neither team should beat MSU, but those have to be the hardest road games.

MSU gets Purdue once, at home, between going to Iowa and going to Minnesota.

MSU's best chance for a loss in the B1G (in order):

Home vs Purdue
@ Minnesota
@ Wisconsin
Home vs Michigan
@ Indiana
@ OSU
Home vs IU
Home vs Wisconsin

I don't see any of those games being much of a challenge for MSU. Unless the sleepwalk against PSU or Maryland and lose a game because they didn't show up, MSU will go undefeated in the B1G this year.

And in my opinion, if they don't go at least 16-2, win the BTT, and go to the Championship game, then this season would be a failure for MSU. It's Champions or bust for them. They are too talented, too much depth, too much experience, for anyone in the country to compete with them.

No one is going to argue that MSU will be favored in almost any given B1G game, but even if you give them a 95% chance in every game left, that's only a 40% chance at going undefeated. Drop that to 90% and the number goes to 15%. Odds are very much against them going undefeated.

any team can have an off night.  heck, if msu misses 2 or 3 threes more than normal and their opponent makes 2 or 3 more than normal, that's a 12-18 point swing.  it's going to happen; likely multiple times.

I can tell you haven't watched much basketball this year because you think Wisconsin and IU are better than MD and OSU.

is that despite them being on the forefront of "RPI gaming" they played a worse non-conf schedule than we did and after games against Southern Utah, Houston Baptist, Clev St. Savannah St., No Florida, etc. they are ranked just 27th (!!) in RPI and have just 3 (!!!) games left against current RPI top 50 teams (one each against Mich, Purdue and OSU).

The only away game they've even played thus far is @Rutgers.

Their wins against UNC and Notre Dame are looking worse by the day (and ND is in big trouble with Colson out now).  If the committee goes on resume and not talent/margin based rankings, I'd be shocked if MSU gets a #1 seed.  They almost have to win out to do so.

Btw, per kenpom their toughest remaining game is @Maryland with a 66% win probability:

1. @Maryland 66%

2. Purdue 68%

3. @Minnesota 73%

4. @OSU 73%

5. @NW 78%

6. @Wisc 78%

7. Michigan 84%

They have a much better chance of competing with MSU for the title than we have of getting second, IMO.  They're playing lights out and are projected to win 5 (!!) more Big Ten games than we are.

I do think we can beat them at home because we're becoming a good team, but Wagner has actually been shut down after his first half of the first game against Purdue.  Did nothing in the second half of that first game and only played 17 of 45 min in the BTT game because he was so ineffective (and foul prone).  He hit some threes on Swanigan but once Painter made the adjustment to put Edwards on him, he was basically unplayable for the next three halves.

I actually think we'll see Teske more than Wagner in that game (like we did last night) because of Teske's ability to match up defensively with the Ents.

I really like how this team is coming together. Livers and Simpson are starting to step up and should make an impact the rest of the season.

One thing that's amazed me this year is how quickly Teske has turned the corner into a contributor.  Historically big men take a while to develop and that can be especially true when they're giant and not athletic freaks.  I started thinking and I can't remember a true 7-footer contributing for Michigan in the last 30 years. Here are some names I thought of:

• Ben Cronin - injuries ended his career
• Pete Vignier - may have been 6'11" and was never more than a role player
• Josh Moore - looked like Shaq....played like a shack
• Josh Asselin - only 6'11"
• Eric Riley - I guess this is the answer from the early 90's
• Roy Tarpley - probably the only "star" on this list

Did I miss anyone?

...be stronger down low on offense. He has been too ‘gentle’ at times close to the basket. Go up strong and dunk the ball, young man!

If you count all of our 6'11" players, it becomes an interesting list. Some of them contributed right away, others took time to develop.

Eric Riley was a good contributor. Josh Moore was the worst. The only other 7 footer I remember (barely) playing was Jon Antonides in the early 80s.

Tarpley seems to be listed everywhere at 6'11".  I saw that Antonides guy listed in the Bentley database but I've never heard of him.  Josh Moore looked like he was potentially going to be a stud with his size and strength.  But he was so bad at everything other than "being big".  I remember a poster that came out with him and Avery Queen (the shortest player ever) from that same recruiting class.  Ah the Ellerbe days....

I don't think changing to 6'11" makes it much better.  You get Courtney Sims but who else?  Webber, Howard, McGary, Baston, Taylor, Traylor, Vaught, Mills, etc. were all 6'10" or less.

At 6'11" We had McCormick, who was very good, Asselin, who developed into a decent player, Vignier, who was functional only as a senior, Chris Hunter, who didn't play like a big,

Josh Moore was the most frustrating player I've seen in a Michigan uniform. A lot of potential, but seemingly unmotivated on the court and in the classroom. Only Ellerbe would have brought him here. Antonides was the same size, but it was obvious he was unathletic. He always seemed like a longshot to contribute. He looked like a walkon, maybe he was. We had a couple more walkons around 6'11".

As a caveat, listed heights are not exactly reliable.

Courtney Sims was 6'11. He had a couple great games, I remember one vs. OSU with Oden I believe, but on the whole he was too inconsistent.

I'm still amazed Purdue is the #3 team in the country per KenPom.  They are a good squad no doubt, but for some reason it just doesn't seem real.

Still, this team has one two-game stretch where a split would be fantastic, then they just need to hold serve the rest of the year.

they have no holes right now.  Shot blocking, great perimeter defense, good post play, great outside shooting...

I do think that ranking is a little inflated by racking up some recent wins at home by large margins and the loss to WKU is a head-scratcher, but they're going to compete with MSU for the conf title.  The fact they don't host the Spartans might be the only thing keeping them from at least tying for it.

Sports are fun again!

MAAR quietly becoming a complete player and dramatically improving his rebounding and passing is another major factor in our improvement thus far.

I like seeing how this team is evolving. Part of that comes from Beilein willing to play his freshman. I'm very happy to see Livers getting more time over Robinson and how Simpson has responded to Brooks getting the starter role.

when they get going.  Glad to see it coming around.  Would love to see Michigan knock out MSU or Purdue.

Hopefully no bad losses the rest of the way.  I'm hoping that OSU loss was the kick in the pants they needed this year.

I may be the only one, but I really enjoyed reading this year-t0-date summary. Thank you Brian. This type of post is where your strengths come through. Taking an early season game, summarizing nicely, referring to past events, and allowing me to forget the football past. Congrats! Please do this again and again.

It is great to take a break away from football at the moment.......

If looks matter, then Michigan had the game last night won at the National Anthem. In Iowa they line up across the court. Michigan was all in uniform with all of them with their hands on their heart and attentive (excusing Mo Wagner for reason). Iowa on the other hand did not look particulary attentive and only three players had their hands on their heart. I think some still had sweats on, but I could be mistaken. This is not a political statement. The difference was apparent in discipline and presence. Michigan was ready and looked confident.

At that moment the stench from the bowl game began to recede from my nostrils. As an alum in an opponents home, I was proud to wear the colors.

The rest of the game just completed the beating. Michigan's passing just wore down their will to defend. My Iowa friends were muttering the entire night, particularly about their shattered defense. It was wonderful.

and that is the team that returns a lot of guys from a solid previous year but just doesn't have a good PG/leader.  That was the 09-10 year 3 team with Jr Manny Harris, but couldn't cope with Fr Darius Morris and surprisingly took a step back from the previous years tourney team despite losing only the CJ Lee/David Merritt/Kelvin Grady triumvirate (who were great leaders but not players you'd expect missing so much).