pure, this time [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Oscillations Comment Count

Brian February 11th, 2019 at 12:26 PM

2/9/2019 – Michigan 61, Wisconsin 52 – 22-2, 11-2 Big Ten

I'm a person who looks a at lot of box scores. I look at a lot of tempo-free box scores, and a lot of bonus stats derived from play-by-play data, and then I watch the basketball. The thing that continually surprises me is just how neatly most basketball players can be defined by a deep enough dive into box score stats.

Just Shooters are just shooters. D'Mitrik Trice is a great example: he has about 10% of his shots at the rim, shoots a fair number of unassisted threes, and that is enough to paint a picture of Trice's offense exact enough to define him. In the last game the sheer loneliness of Geo Baker was neatly captured by his teammate's assist rate on his twos: under 5%. Ethan Happ, surely one of the most bizarre players in the last 20 years of college basketball, is a butterfly pinned to a board once tempo-free stats are applied.

Most of it is in there. Stats don't capture Simpson's sky hook or Charles Matthews's colossal leaping fadeaways, but they'll tell you the what and a lot of the how.

Charles Matthews's "what" has been wut:


I probably don't need to remind anyone reading this column of the above, specifically the bit that says 27%. It was 24% before this game.

The dissolution of Matthews's despair came gradually—he had two points in the first half—and then all at once. A second-half Matthews post-up got him to the rim, and hooray. The next possession, Matthews post up, Matthews elects to take a contested fadeaway baseline jumper. I did not think that was going in. It did. I didn't think the next one was going in, either. It did. So did the next one, and by the end of the game there was only one person who was going to take the bad-idea shot after Michigan ran the shot clock down. That, too, was a long fadeaway jumper. Swish.

Sure, what the hell. There's no reason Matthews's jumper fell apart this year so there's no reason it can't come back.


If combined with offensive contributions from anyone else, a consistent offensive output from Matthews gets Michigan back to what they were earlier in the season, when they were able to run away and hide from good teams. At Villanova: 19 points on 16 shot equivalents, run away and hide. Vs UNC: 21 points on 16 shot equivalents, run away and hide. There have been blips and bloops since but nothing resembling his finishing stretch last year.

It's hard to square the version of Matthews Michigan has had much of the season with the guy who was banging out a string of efficient tourney performances. Last year's post-season ORTGs: 120, 108, 130, 97, 90, 97, 138, 103, 120, and then a dud in the final: 47. Matthews seemed to be rounding into the final collegiate version of himself, a guy who wasn't ever going to rack up MVP numbers but would be a consistent source of moderately efficient points that Michigan could count on and build off of.

Instead a mid-season drought Atcaman in its intensity.

Matthews has cut his turnovers down and become a functional free throw shooter at the same time so his overall efficiency has been more or less what it was a year ago. But you do want more, because when he hits one of those fadeaways where he jumps so high his head's level with the rim he's a marvel. Matthews alternates between being "Bambi on ice," as Beilein famously described him, and looking like a robot hawk designed to kill God and play basketball. Sometimes when you're on, as the man said.

If Michigan could just bottle that Matthews and mass produce it for 12 or 13 or 16 games down the stretch… but no. Probably not. Matthews is riding back-to-back reasonably efficient games against major competition for the first time all year. There will be oscillations, like there are with Poole and Brazdeikis, and Michigan will hope to ride the waves such that they're able to navigate to post-season destinations.

[After THE JUMP: Happ comes back to the pack]




Straight downhill. Ethan Happ things started unwell. Michigan wasn't doubling, Happ was fresh, and Teske was playing a bit like he already had a foul:

Beilein wanted Jon Teske to play defense without committing bad fouls, and he made that clear to his center before the game. In hindsight, Beilein felt he may have overemphasized the importance of not fouling.

"I think he guarded him without being as physical as he could have guarded him," Beilein said. "In the second half, in the limited minutes Ethan played, Jon was much more physical with him and made him counter two or three times."

Happ ripped out to a 5/6 start in the first eight minutes. Then a few things happened:

  • Michigan picked a few spots to dig on Happ's post-ups. These weren't doubles but momentary swipes at the ball to help throw him off or force him to kick it out to guys that Michigan could recover to.
  • Happ got tired. Banging with a 7'1" guy and dribbling into the post yourself takes a lot out of you when you're doing it literally every possession down the floor.
  • Teske was gradually able to get more aggressive, particularly in the second half.

Michigan was able to slow Happ down for the rest of the first half, limiting him to 2/4 from the floor and forcing four turnovers. The last was also Happ's second personal foul, when he shoved Teske to get a pass over the top.

Happ never got started in the second half thanks to a third foul and an autobench for the ages. By the time he came back with nine minutes left(!!!) Teske still just had the one foul and was able to play without restraint; Happ went 2/9.

The result was Happ's worst ORTG (80) of the year after 18 points on 19 shot equivalents, one assist, and five turnovers.


cumong man [Campredon]

AND IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A LOT WORSE. Always something when you play Wisconsin, and this time it was two blindingly obvious Happ fouls in the first ten minutes that were not called, first an arm grab on a Teske OREB putback and then a full-on cross-arm hack as Isaiah Livers went up for a transition bucket. Happ's first was far less obvious and didn't actually impact the game—it was one of those loose ball fouls that doesn't actually impact who gets the ball.

Also this:

I am pretty salty about this after Teske fouled out in 13 minutes against Iowa. At least Gard provided Happ with the virtual foul-out he deserved.



/goes into settings, turns "charge" off. It is amazing to see what Brad Davison has managed to do to Big Ten officiating in just over a year in the league. To the league's credit it has clearly decided enough is enough when it comes to [REDACTED]-ass floppery and explicitly told refs not to reward it. Sometimes they still do, as when a Matthews dunk was wiped off the board thanks to Trice hopping in front of Poole. But Davison went over, and got a block. Poole went over, and got ignored. This is a league-wide trend.

The needle may have in fact gone too far the other way—a few days ago Bruno Fernando went Kool-Aid Man on Nebraska's center, knocking him over, and there was no call. Fernando went on to explosively dunk and maybe step on his victim, causing some consternation, but the fact that he'd blasted into the guy while extending his elbow didn't come up for discussion:

Borchardt isn't leaning back when he takes that hit. Legit? I kind of think so.

But that's post stuff. The on-ball perimeter garbage Wisconsin partakes in should be excised from the game. Simpson and Matthews are A+ perimeter defenders, and how many flop charges have they taken this season? Zero? I think it's zero. They've drawn offensive fouls when guys extend their arms from time to time but always from an upright position.

I mean, this quote from Gard when Dakich had him on his show specifically to complain about a Davision flop that didn't get called against Matthews says it all:

“You’ve got to pick and choose when you do it. You’ve got to make sure you take the contact first before you fall. There’s an art to it."

You've got to make sure you're touched before you crumple to the ground like you've been hit by a truck. GTFO.

Getting bent, end of game edition. There are some who would suggest that this sequence…

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…was unnecessary. They are incorrect.

No, you can't have a turn. I wonder if this is some sort of record: for the third time this year a Michigan opponent has had a player with 50%+ usage in a game. Happ put up 58% to best Juwan Morgan(56%) and Carsen Edwards(50%).

Iggy, mercurial. Twitter find of the week is @5th_factor, which posts various college basketball data visualizations. Here's Iggy's offensive contributions, which range from spectacular to deflating:


That's before this most recent Wisconsin game, which added another marker to the bottom end of the range. By contrast, Jon Teske's offense is much less variable and much lower usage:


Brazdeikis stayed under control for the most part—just one turnover and that one head-down drive that led to the Clapping Incident after Happ blocked the shot. I wanted him to take the shots he took, mostly. He just didn't make any after that swooping layup on Happ that I thought was going to open the floodgates.

Good God. Someone on twitter pointed out that Teske didn't get hit with a turnover in the box score for the extremely weak moving screen call he suffered, but even so. TAke a look y'all:

Kenpom has heights back to 2007; nobody taller than 6'8" has ever led the nation in TO rate. Both 6'8" guys played in the Big Ten: Indiana's Lance Stemler, a 10% usage gentleman, and the senior version Robbie Hummel. Hummel had 25% usage!

Speaking of: Teske's 17 points on 12 shot equivalents and zero turnovers (naturally) plus three blocks and a steal landed him the Kenpom MVP in this game. His conference numbers are bonkers: 129 ORTG on 18% usage, a 3.6 TO rate, and 61/39 shooting. All while being the best defensive center in the league.

A blip. Isaiah Livers again got to the basket on a drive from the perimeter, and this time he converted.

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He missed a few similar opportunities earlier this year. Encouraging to see his game continue to diversify, and more successfully this time around.

There aren't enough good teams out West. Jason Lisk returns to a topic that continues to bother: early-round NCAA games could be better placed.

Over the last decade, twice as many teams from Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio have been a top 4 seed in the NCAA tournament as those in the Pacific and Mountain time zones combined, yet twice as many first round venues are in the West. I applaud the NCAA for the change in the system, where you no longer have to go play games in the Midwest in the first week just because you were seeded in the Midwest Regional. I do think the general location of the four Regionals is fine. But if the NCAA wants to increase attendance and the friendliness for fans of the top teams in getting to tournament games, they would move toward providing only one far West venue in the opening round, and add another in the Midwest.

The entire Mountain and Pacific time zones have one power conference, Gonzaga, and the odd AAC or Mountain West team that pops up. It would be nice if the opening round sites were generally reflective of where teams are.

To wit: if this year's top 16 teams were slotted into the regionals, Michigan and Michigan state end up in Des Moines, Purdue ends up in Tulsa, Houston ends up in Jacksonville because Tulsa is full, Marquette and Louisville go to Hartford, ISU goes to Salt Lake, and Wisconsin ends up in San Jose.

Even a resurgent Pac-12 doesn't change the equation much since Houston and Nevada are unusually good; this is par for the course.

Related: what are your criteria? I get why Gonzaga is ahead of Michigan in the various tempo-free ranking systems. I don't get why they are in the committee's mock bracket exercise:

(This was before the Wisconsin game, FWIW.) It's not outrageous, but it does feel off. I think sports are best when You Play To Win The Game is the prime factor and injustices that arise from that are tolerated, so I like metrics like Wins Above Bubble and Strength Of Record as prime determinants. Michigan is #3 in SOR; Gonzaga is #7.

If the committee is explicitly using efficiency margin as the main determinant then the Zags do deserve to be a #1. If they're using NET more as a gauge of who you beat then they don't. I prefer the YPTWTG system. I also prefer a world in which this is clear.

The silver lining for… well, not Nebraska. In the aftermath of Isaac Copeland's season- and career-ending injury, Nebraska has turned to a Viking.


Or possibly a dwarf. I have just googled this and in a massive upset there is not a Tolkien dwarf named "Thorir". Just Thror, Thorin, and Thrain.

Weird MEAC team of the week! We dip into D-II because I think literally half of John Beilein's tweets are about the Le Moyne College Dolphins.

"You've got some good tweets, John" -Patrick Beilein.

For the record, LeMoyne is 11-5 in league play and is leading the Northeast 10's Southwest division.



February 11th, 2019 at 12:48 PM ^

I have maintained for a while that one of the big reasons Michigan teams under Beilein have generally done so well in the NCAA tournament is because we are free from the B1G official pool where his style of basketball is punished.   Look at the prototypical B1G teams like Wisconsin, Michigan State & Purdue.  Once they are placed in games with officials that dont reward flopping and actually call fouls on hacks from guys like Harp they get into BIG trouble.

Look at Michigan's foul differential in OOC games versus conference games.  For some odd reason we seem to foul a LOT more frequently under the watchful eye of B1G officials than those from other conferences.  

Glad to have that game behind us.


February 11th, 2019 at 3:40 PM ^

Ironically, everyone's favorite scapegoat Jim Whymer was the one who nailed Brad Davidson with a block when he went down on Saturday. Looked like the other ref was ready to give the charge. Probably was a charge, though Davidson deserves exactly 0 calls.

If you look closely a lot of officials that work the midwest (basketball officials aren't crews and a single official will work several, if not many, different conferences) will be working the tournament. 

I'm sure there's a little something to your point - if anything getting away from Tom Izzo's tirades will lead to better officiating, sad but true. Plus, your random official working the UM-PSU game tomorrow may or may not make the cut for the NCAA tournament. After those first two days, you're down to the best officials just like you're down to the best teams.

Still, I'll give Beilein the credit, not having different officials. Beilein is one of the superior tacticians in the game and that's what really counts come tourney time.


February 11th, 2019 at 5:05 PM ^

I want that called a block every time. Davison has an opportunity to just keep moving his feet to contain Poole's drive. He's going down out of a deliberate choice to do so, not because Poole drives his shoulder or extends his off arm into him.

Playing defense should be about moving your feet and contesting in the vertical plain, not just trying to get your chest at a 90 degree angle to the guy you're guarding for .3 seconds and then falling down.


February 11th, 2019 at 6:00 PM ^

No.  That's not correct, per se. I'm not saying anything about this particular play, but an offensive player is not entitled to simply drive right at a defender and argue that the defender could have moved his feet to "contain" the drive.  Requiring the defender to move with the driving offender is quite literally not allowing him to contain the drive.  The offensive player could just drive at him, make him move his feet all the way to the basket and then simply shoot a layup or dunk.

The defender is absolutely entitled to his position on the court.  In fact, not moving ones feet is a requirement for establishing your vertical position as a defender.  If you have your feet set, you are entitled to that space.  The offensive player must go around you and not through you.


February 12th, 2019 at 7:42 AM ^

Counter-counter point:

The charge/block call or no call is the most subjective, yet game changing call in sports. Probably 90% of the time it should be a play on instead of some bald fat middle aged dork blowing his whistle to stop play for the 943rd time in a game, but no.

Basketball is virtually unwatchable (I'm a fan, so I do watch), but the main negative is players foul out on these shitbird calls and teams lose because of them. Sad.


February 11th, 2019 at 4:55 PM ^

I actually looked at this yesterday and, honestly, it's not that much.  Michigan has been called for 1 more foul a game in-conference than out.  The difference is that Michigan's opponents are getting called for far fewer (17 OOC compared to 14 IC).  The bigger difference is in foul shots; Michigan shoots about 5 less a game in-conference compared to OOC.  Opponents shoot 1 less a game, but either way you slice it UM's opponents don't shoot a ton (12 vs 11).  And yes, I factored out games against your Binghamtons and Norfolk States of the world; including them didn't really matter either way.

What seems to get me (and others) is that the fouls tend to come in bunches and can affect the game in ways you can't immediately quantify.  Iowa had such a rash of early fouls that the Hawkeyes were able to capitalize on that it didn't much matter the game was called more liberally in the second half.  The damage was done.  That's been my big issue with the conference overall; they have refs that aren't predictable.  If you're going to be a tight-ass, then do it for all 40 minutes.  If you're going to let guys bang, then let everyone do it.  But more times than not it's 5 minutes of intense fouls and then nothing for the rest of the half.  


February 11th, 2019 at 5:53 PM ^

This is a little overly conspiratorial.

There are two primary differences between M's conference schedule and M's non-conference schedule:

1) Road vs Home mix is even in conference. Michigan played one true road in the non-conference.  When you play road games, the refs are going to be less friendly, regardless of conference or anything.

2) Bad teams vs. Good teams.  Michigan plays a ton of bad teams in the non-conference.  Bad teams tend to have difficulty drawing fouls against vastly superior teams for obvious reasons.  It is more difficult to stop Ethan Happ and Luka Garza and Juwan Morgan without fouling that it is to stop whichever guy from Norfolk St. has the ball.

I do think that simply playing on neutral courts does remove some of the extreme home team bias that you see in the big ten and probably other conferences in which fans actually show up and behave like they're going to meet you outside at your car if you make a bad call.  In that sense, you get less variance and upsets become a little less likely because the inferior team doesn't have that home-cooking.

In this game, the first 10 minutes were bad, but I would argue that the refs were good, and probably even favored Michigan after the initial terrible start (as one would expect at home).


February 11th, 2019 at 4:00 PM ^

Beilein wants the players to take open threes. He gets after them when they don't.

Perhaps the distance isn't great, but guys who can shoot should shoot in Beilein's system. 

If they're covered, fine, pass and reset. Bad shots should be avoided early. But a lot of the "quick shots" taken, particularly in transition, are actually very good shots that you want to take. If the guys aren't hitting, as Saturday, it's frustrating, but they're still good shots. 

It is a misconception that guys who are taking shots are being selfish. A guy who can shoot taking shots is doing what's best for the team, and Beilein will chastise them for not doing so.


February 11th, 2019 at 6:05 PM ^

This.  This is exactly why Michigan deserved to rub that one in.  Was it necessary to win?  No.  Was it even risky on Livers ankle?  Probably.  Did Michigan deserve to rub salt in Wisconsin's wound after they had it done to them in Madison? Did they even owe it to the Badgers? Absolutely.

Wisconsin did almost the exact same thing by dunking on a wide open fast break up 6 with less than 10 seconds left in the game at Madison.  They could have dribbled out the clock but they wanted the celebratory emphatic dunk.

So did Michigan.

matty blue

February 11th, 2019 at 2:09 PM ^

holy crap, who was complaining about the livers dunk?  i'm seriously asking - who complained?

i'll say this - i'm not above bitching about running up the score...i do believe that there are times when it's totally appropriate to take your foot off the gas.  this wasn't one of them.  wisconsin had scored AND PRESSED with ten seconds left.  if they're in your face, you run the floor.  if you just turtle up the ball, they're fouling (oh, sweet lord, are they fouling) and you're taking free throws.  if they don't press, fine.  but come on.


February 11th, 2019 at 2:41 PM ^

Who complained?  My friend, Shorty, complained - that's who. 

He is your typical, badger-colored-glasses-wearing, Wisco fan who cries at every real or imaginary injustice that befalls his team... and IMMEDIATELY after Livers' dunk texted me that Michigan had no class and would rue the day they dunked on Wisco to end the game.



February 11th, 2019 at 6:15 PM ^

They weren't pressing so much as all-out denying the inbounds to try to get a steal.  Had they gotten a steal and hit a quick three, they could have had a tiny, tiny chance.

Once Michigan successfully inbounded, it was over and Wisconsin largely did stop.  They wouldn't have come after him to steal it or foul had he just dribbled it out.  One guy just ran after him after he realized Poole might try to score.  Poole could have stopped and just done the "classy" thing.

HOWEVER, like I said above, Wisconsin did the same thing in Madison.  Michigan had to do it back. Cuz F the Badgers.

Reggie Dunlop

February 11th, 2019 at 5:56 PM ^

As everybody else stated, that dunk is perfectly fine. Happ was clearly trying to foul Poole on the inbound. He escaped and then Reuvers and Happ were closing right down on him again when he threw the lob.

It looked like he was about to get fouled. Why would you not take the sure thing and opt for free throws?

If Wisconsin didnt want that dunk, then they could've just pulled off. Reuvers retreat to the paint, Happ back off and Poole would've dribbled it out.


February 11th, 2019 at 12:56 PM ^

It looks/looked to me now and then that Borchardt closed his feet around Fernando's right leg prior to Fernando going up for the slam.  Fernando then pulls the feet up as he takes the small jump.  Does anyone else see that?

Just standing there

February 11th, 2019 at 1:19 PM ^

Agreed.  It was hard to see if you weren't looking for it, but you're right.  Borchardt definitely locks Fernando's leg with his shins.  It was a pretty dangerous thing to do, and Fernando's reaction is understandable.  

Still should have been an offensive foul for the all the contact, including the elbow, before he went up for the dunk.

matty blue

February 11th, 2019 at 2:13 PM ^

okay, i'm seeing it now, but...the bruno play almost seems worse to me.  it's as blatant and cheap-shotty an offensive foul as you'll ever see, and i can't completely blame borchardt for trying to shoot back.

i wish to god that zach novak would've done something like that to blake griffin in that tournament game - unfortunately, he would've had to do it from the third row.


February 11th, 2019 at 1:05 PM ^

I am shocked the play post a rebound where happ just shoulder an M go for no reason (I don't think either had the ball), feigned helping him up and ran away, wasn't covered extensively 


February 11th, 2019 at 6:23 PM ^

That play wasn't dirty goonery (it was an accident) but it absolutely should have been called a foul if the Poole offensive foul two steps after he passed to Matthews for the dunk was a foul.  Happ plowed over a Michigan guy that was entitled to his space, accident or not.  That was worse than Poole's "charge" in which he lightly bumped Trice and Trice flopped to the ground.


February 11th, 2019 at 1:24 PM ^

Your voice-to-text isn't the best so that's some garbled stuff there. Am I understanding what you're saying and thinking of the same play where Teske was knocked down by Happ? Iggy and one other UM player shouldered Happ out of the way when he tried to help up Teske. That's how I saw it anyway. The camera zoomed in as Happ reached down and in the closeup Iggy got himself between Happ and Teske and kind of moved Happ out of the way. 


February 11th, 2019 at 7:12 PM ^

EDIT: I stand corrected, Brooks was doubling Happ.  Happ scored and then turned to run down the court without looking where he was going (was kind of looking back at the ball going through the hoop while already running the other way) and plowed over Brooks who was waiting to receive the inbounds pass.  Typical spot for a PG to be after a made basket. Brooks wasn't looking at Happ because he was looking at the inbounder, got plowed over.

It did look entirely accidental to me and I would have been entirely fine with them not calling it but for the fact that they had just called a worse foul on Poole on which Poole passed and he took a couple steps to slow down and just bumped into Trice and they called the foul there.  They should not have called that, but since they did, they should have called this one on Happ for consistency sake.



February 12th, 2019 at 12:55 AM ^

It was much more bang-bang than you make it seem and it seems you're looking for a reason to hate on the kid.  He wasn't showboating after a made layup it was a literal turn around from his shot and right into Brooks.  No one's fault, just an incidental contact play...I guess by Happ, but nonetheless pure nothingness as far as malice.


February 12th, 2019 at 2:13 AM ^

Are you responding to the correct person? Seth made the comment that he did it to look "purposefully accidental" and I argued that it was accidental.  Watching the ball through the hoop wasn't showboating.  He was making sure it went in and that he didn't have to follow it for an OREB.  That's typical.  I'm merely pointing out why he wasn't looking to make the point that it was accidental. It's not like he saw Brooks and then plowed into him.  He just turned without looking and plowed into him. Definitely bang-bang.


February 11th, 2019 at 1:15 PM ^

Has Happ always been the prick he was in this game? 

I remember several Wisconsin players being assholes, but I don't remember Happ being that way in past games. He should've been T'd up for several transgressions in this game.