Some North Carolina Central Chatter

Submitted by Brian on December 30th, 2008 at 12:56 PM

This is not a column, but I did take in most of the North Carolina Central game and should share some impressions:

Eh. The team looked sloppy, and I'm torn as to whether that's just disinterest or if it's an indication this team is not quite a top-25 squad—which would be a 6 seed—and is more of an 8-10 or, shudder, a #1 in the NIT. At this point we know they're going to get killed on the boards and struggle defending big teams man-to-man. They can survive this with good three-point shooting and low turnovers. Those two items led to a blowout over Eastern and a comfortable win over a pretty decent Oakland team; the lack of them made for a couple of uninspiring games in which Michigan probably would have lost if it wasn't playing a truly horrific team.

You hear that "anything can happen" in all sports at all times, but Michigan will be more random than most given their predilection for three pointers. When they go in, Michigan can beat anyone. When they don't, they can lose to anyone, especially in this year's Big Ten, where everyone save Indiana and Iowa have quality wins.

RPI disaster. Michigan would have been better off if it had never played NCCU. Dylan noted the huge drop in Michigan's shiny RPI number immediately after the game went off:

The final thing that’s frustrating about tonight’s game was that our RPI fell from the mid teens all the way to 37th. Our strength of schedule also took a huge fall down to 87. The Big Ten season will help the numbers but a game like this shows why it is so important to play teams that are going to fall in the 100-200 RPI range rather than the 300+.

Cosigned. That's a major flaw in the RPI, BTW: the chances of NCCU beating Michigan were essentially zero and Michigan should be punished for that, but the team at #183 or whatever would also have an essentially zero chance of beating Michigan. If M had played that random team they'd be considerably better off today. Also, Michigan's got a Big Ten opener in two days.

Slight trend. I complained about the PG minute distribution yesterday just in time for Grady to get 27 minutes to Merritt's 13, a significant shift towards Grady. He rewarded Beilein's faith by going 0-4 from the floor (all threes) and missing his only free throw. Sigh. (He did have four assists and zero turnovers, FWIW.)

PA guy. Remains an abomination. WHO WANTS SOME FREE PIIIIIIIZZAAAAAA?

Someone make this movie. Apparently one of the Beastie Boys has a documentary out about some high-profile high school game at Rucker Park. I think a more interesting documentary is about North Carolina Central, kind of a Hoop Dreams II that follows the guy who ended up at some horrific JUCO named "Arkansas State Mining College"* in my head, except in this case it's the worst team in D-I. Who are these guys? How did they get where they are? What do they think about their futures? Is that point guard actually smaller than Avery Queen? Etc.

*(He ended up doing okay.)

Wisconsin/Illinois. Michigan starts off the Big Ten season with two winnable home games that will set the tone for the rest of the Big Ten season. Are they legit, or were those games flukes? Can they rebound well enough against Actual Teams? Are Harris and Sims going to keep up the ridiculous production against a steady diet of non-cupcakes? Much will be answered in the next week.

Comments

Chrisgocomment

December 30th, 2008 at 1:13 PM ^

I got the feeling they didn't take NCC to seriously. This game was wedged in between all the fanfare from beating UCLA and Duke and the Big Ten schedule so It's understandable. They were just jacking up some pretty crappy 3's. This game did show how much Manny can control a game. I think in the 2nd half he said "whoops, this is too close for comfort" and went wild. He finished with 29 points I think.

imafreak1

December 30th, 2008 at 1:12 PM ^

The RPI and strength of schedule should not be completely linear and equally weighted. On the linearity, it is as Brian says. The realtionship between the #1 and #30 team should not be the same as that between #300 and #330. There reaches a point where all teams below a certain line are just shit and effectively much the same shit. On the weighting, playing an RPI 300 team is only one game (one W) and shouldn't so completely outweigh so many harder games. With equally weighting playing #1 and #300 is the same as playing #149 and #151.

In conclusion, I do not know the actual equations used to determine the RPI or strength of schedule but included some assumptions, based on observation and Brian's post, in my post.

medals

December 30th, 2008 at 1:19 PM ^

on the terrible announcer at Crisler. It is a freaking joke. I think that we should have a monotone announcer like the Lakers had(/have?). I always thought that was cool. Let the Pistons corner the market on corny p.a. announcers.

jmblue

December 30th, 2008 at 1:32 PM ^

NC Central probably isn't really the worst team in D-I. They played without Bryan Ayala, one of their starting guards, for the first 13 games of the season. Ayala averaged 13 points and 4 assists last season, so that was a significant loss. With him in the lineup they'd probably have won a couple of games by now. (I note that they only lost to Florida Gulf Coast by eight without him; IMO, FGCU looked like a worse team.)

As for the PA guy, I could live with him if he'd just stop rolling his "r's" on the word "three." I can't stand that.

Yinka Double Dare

December 30th, 2008 at 2:05 PM ^

Is the PA guy still the same guy who does the Tigers PA? Because I hated that guy at Tigers games, and was disappointed to hear him at Michigan basketball games.

Even one of those And 1 Mixtape guys would be better.

BlockM

December 30th, 2008 at 2:31 PM ^

I haven't been to a game at Crisler since I was 6 years old, but I did go to the Oakland game... is the announcer at Crisler worse than him? I just remember wanting to blow my brains out every time Oakland made a freethrow and he would scream out "sgood!"

wfzimmerman

December 30th, 2008 at 3:09 PM ^

Manny Harris looked great when he turned it on. I thought he took some time off at different portions of the game.

Sims had an effective game, but could have done more against NCCU's big men, I thought.

they are not going to go .500 in the Big Ten unless some of the other guys play better.

Yinka Double Dare

December 30th, 2008 at 4:07 PM ^

I admit that I'm spoiled by the PA announcer I listen to most -- I most often go to White Sox and Blackhawks games, and Gene Honda is the guy for both. He's the one the NCAA uses for the Final Four these days.

But the Tigers/MBasketball guy objectively sucks.

tdeshetler

December 30th, 2008 at 5:22 PM ^

...the guy that announces the Dallas Mavericks.

Based on what I’ve seen this year, you need someone to have some excitement in that arena. The old, sit on your hands curmudgeons don't seem to want to make noise (other than the intermediate gas they accidently release). The 10 guys in the student section can't do it all themselves, so I must be one of the minority that feels the free pizza/free shirt/gay looking kids riding tricycles for $50 bucks/etc over annunciating is a good thing.

As for the team, it was pretty obvious M had superior talent, taking quick 10-20 point leads. What concerned me was the inability to put both Florida Atlantic and NCC away. Maybe it's youth, maybe it's the lack of a killer instinct. Once the BT schedule starts, I say they turn it back on. That doesn't necessarily mean M won't lose their share of games, but I sense they will surprise us just as much as they have the first half of the season.

bronxblue

December 31st, 2008 at 12:29 AM ^

Losing a big lead doesn't really bother me too much, but the inability of this team to rebound effectively is going to be hard to overcome against teams like MSU, Illinois, and Wisconsin. .500 in the Big 10 would probably get UM into the tournament, and 9-7 would stamp the ticket. This league looks pretty tough, though, and I am surprised by Illinois more than any other team save for UM, which just beat Purdue on the road. Purdue may be a little overrated, but I really thought the Illini were going to continue to suffer from Dee Brown Hangover for at least one more season; they look like a solid top-25 team right now.