Tennessee And Other Things

Submitted by Brian on March 13th, 2011 at 7:34 PM

in case you missed it, or in case you didn't

Assorted items off the top of the head.

Kenpom or conspiracy. The Big Ten got a wet sloppy kiss from the committee this year. While they scored the expected Sweet Sixteen seeds, where eyebrows cocked was about the other four teams. Michigan got an eight, Illinois a nine, Penn State and Michigan State tens. For all the bubble talk over the last month when it came down to it no Big Ten team was one of the last seven(!) in, and Michigan wasn't even on the bubble.

Talk radio in Boulder, Colorado will center around the fact that OSU's AD was the head of the committee, but I wonder if people in the room actually paid attention to how well the Big Ten represented in Kenpom and other computer rankings. They definitely didn't do this on a team level—Kenpom #17 Utah State got rewarded with a 12 seed, #19 Belmont a 13—so maybe it's just a coincidence and the conspiracy theorists are closer to right.

As far as Michigan specifically, I also wonder if Michigan's narrow losses to Kansas, Ohio State, Syracuse, and Wisconsin were an influence. At first blush they look way overseeded. Narrow losses and a blazing finish might explain the difference between Michigan's resume and its seed.

The opponent. It's "hey, look at this coach who should definitely be fired" week on MGoBlog as Michigan draws dead man walking Bruce Pearl and his Tennessee probably-not-Volunteers.


Q: how many tournament appearances do you have left
A: plenty, ask Tim Floyd

Despite seeming to be overseeded, Michigan caught an opponent that's equally, if not more, uninspiring on paper. Tennessee was 8-8 in the crappy SEC and had a violently mixed nonconference schedule that features wins over Pitt, Villanova, VCU, and Belmont (twice, albeit the second time by just one) and losses against Oakland, Charleston, and Charlotte. In the SEC tournament they beat Arkansas before losing to Florida.

Kenpom has them 55th. Michigan's up to 40th after splitting their pair at the BTT, so Michigan will be about a 60% favorite according to the system. Tennessee's most outlying statistical points are great offensive rebounding (12th nationally at almost 38%) and terrible three point shooting (30%, 315th). They're vaguely in the middle of the pack in everything else, above average at most things except getting their shots blocked.


crap, he can drive past white guys

The stars. Tennessee's offense revolves around SF Scotty Hopson and and PF Tobias Harris to about the same extent Michigan's revolves around Harris and Hardaway, except for the fact that Hopson and Harris actually get some time on the bench. They're kind of meh as far as efficiency goes; Hopson is a good three point shooter (38%) but no one else on the team is much of a threat.

The guy you're going to be screaming "AAAARGH REBOUND" at is Brian Williams (not that Bison Dele), who's ninth nationally in OREB%. He's a foul machine averaging 5.5 per 40 minutes and only gets about 20 per game but his backup is just a slightly worse version of him: John Fields is a foul machine averaging 7.2 per 40 who vacuums up offensive rebounds at only a slightly less monstrous rate.

The best team ever, for a given definition. Yes: right now this team is better than the Sims/Harris '09 team that slid into the tournament for the first time in forever by both Kenpom and tourney seeding metrics. This has been a remarkable job by Beilein; if he can build on it the next couple years Michigan will have an actual program again.



March 13th, 2011 at 7:52 PM ^

the Big 10 was #2 in conference RPI. 

Gottlieb thinks we got an 8 because the Committee was struggling to slot all 11 Big East teams in.  That could be true too.  

Either way, not happy about being the team that everyone's considering the biggest overseed in the tourney.  Beating Tennessee would shut people up nicely.  


March 13th, 2011 at 7:55 PM ^

If we win on Friday, I will be driving up to Charlotte for the game on Sunday.  I haven't been this excited about college basketball in 15 years.


March 13th, 2011 at 8:09 PM ^

My fear is that too many members of the Fab Five will twitter bomb current members on the team about payback on Duke, and thereby overlooking the Vols.

BEEZER will not let that happen. Like 2 years ago, a disciplned team plays a loosey-goosey one that takes a lot of crappy shots. LOVE this matchup. Still, Vols bring a lot of talent, should be a fun game, but I like Michigan's chances.

And, I think two things factored into the seeding. The overall math complications with 11 Big East teams might have upset some numbers and, of course, what you said with michigan losing so many close games against great teams.

This seed reminds me of the 1999-2000 Wisco team. They closed 12-4 down the stretch and all four losses were to MSU, including in the Big 10 Champ game and the Final Four. The Badgers came out of the 8/9 game despite not really wowing anyone. Not exactly the same, but Michigan is on a 9-4 closing run with the four losses by a combined 18 points, with two of those by a combined 16 points to the tourney's top seed. One-third of their overall losses were to the top-2 teams seeded in this field by a combined, what, 27 points.

Here's hoping Michigan's similar profile to Wisco that year parlays itself the same way over the next couple of weeks.


March 14th, 2011 at 9:45 AM ^

have been that our seed was pushed up some because of the logistics of seeding all of the Big East teams and having them avoid each other.  We probably are overseeded, and purposely so.

Other than the ego stroke, I'm not sure we were done any favors.  But here we are.



March 13th, 2011 at 8:10 PM ^

Not that I care deeply about the Buckeyes or anything, but did anyone else feel that having UNC as the #2 in their bracket was a lousy reward for being the overall #1? If I were them I'd much rather play one of the other 2s (SDSU / ND / whoever the third one is).


March 13th, 2011 at 8:20 PM ^

Yeah, I think UNC is probably the best of those four (if only because I think the Big East is overrated this year: I think it's more like the Big Ten, except they grabbed a few other mediocre teams and tried to make them all look like top-25 teams). Tough break for OSU, but then if they're the overall #1, does it really matter who they play in the regional final? They're supposed to beat everyone anyway.


March 13th, 2011 at 8:51 PM ^

... after the Vols lose to Michigan and his inevitable firing, he can spend his buyout on his mega-pontoon boat on some man-made lake with the other sons of the Confederacy.

... and his latest wife.




Michigan Arrogance

March 13th, 2011 at 9:42 PM ^

i think this might be a good match up... M is a great team re: turnovers & fouling & shooting (recently). UT seems a bit poor in all those, and their strength (rebounding) doesn't seem to hurt us as long as we win the other battles. I like the DUKE match up in round to to hit.


March 14th, 2011 at 1:24 AM ^

Rather than crediting the bon bon or whatever it is called for 09, or saying it was ignored this time, look at the strength of the overall conference and Michigan being .500 in it. This year it is considered stronger than 09 (it was still decently regarded.) In that year, we supplemented with a couple big non-conference wins.   

A .500 league record and a hard non-conference schedule where we hold our own will do it any year as long as we aren't talking more than 14 total losses. Beyond that looks too gross.

There are visual non-scientific, non-statistical elements to this too. 

Yinka Double Dare

March 14th, 2011 at 11:35 AM ^

I'm still laughing at the "Illinois Coaches Subregional" -- the committee managed to match them against former coach Lon Kruger in round one, and if they win they get Bill Self in the next round.  Although I would have loved it if they instead had Illinois playing Tennessee.  Illinois fans HATE Bruce Pearl with the fire of a thousand suns.  The Illinois fans would have been all over him the entire game, worse than anything he could have received in the SEC arenas.

I do like playing a team that's been playing like crap.  The ballhandling of Morris and Stu will be important against the press.  Take care of the ball, and this game is a win unless they have an unfathomably bad shooting night.


March 14th, 2011 at 11:52 AM ^

"Despite seeming to be overseeded, Michigan caught an opponent that's equally, if not more, uninspiring on paper."

That implies that, due to their 8-seed, Michigan should be playing a tougher opponent in the first round than, say, they would as a 10-seed but got a good draw. If you take it solely by seeding, this can't be true, since the whole point of receiving a higher seed is that the first-round opponent (and most probable later-round opponents) gets easier. Thus, it holds natural that Tennessee, as a 9-seed, is an easier opponent for Michigan than if Michigan played UCLA or Texas A&M as 7-seeds in the first round.