Unverified Voracity Curses Cleveland State

Submitted by Brian on March 11th, 2009 at 11:29 AM

Actually. I may be excessively paranoid about Michigan's chances to make the tournament. Joe Sheehan of Basketball Prospects may be a whinging prat about the Big Ten, but I like his ordering of the bubble:

Texas A&M
Oklahoma State
Ohio State
Boston College
New Mexico
San Diego State
Temple …(and so on and so forth)

Leaving aside the idea that it's preposterous to put Auburn, which has done nothing in the nonconference except lose to Mercer and plays in an almost literally unbelievably bad SEC, ahead of Minnesota and its neutral court win over Louisville: Michigan in front of all those teams bodes well. That is lock-even-with-Iowa-loss right there.

But we have to return to the whinging. This is an incredibly stupid argument:

The middle of this conference is larded with mediocrity, not parity, with records inflated by the 1-17 team at the bottom (of the muddled middle, only Michigan was denied two free wins over the marginally Division I team)

…when combined with this argument:

I can't put excessive weight on the head-to-head matchup because of the lack of a return game. Hey, Big 11, here's an idea: instead of everyone playing two Horizon/MAC teams, play a full round-robin.

Every conference has a bottom feeder or three and the Big Ten's records aren't "inflated" any more than the Pac-10 records are by teams in Oregon or Big East records are by St Johns and Depaul and so forth and so on. Also, how can you bitch about the Big Ten's lack of a full round robin every power conference save the Pac-10 lacks one? The SEC and Big 12 don't even play 18 games! If you want to argue against the conference, fine, but please bring at least one non-idiotic reason. So suffice it to say I'm not putting a huge amount of stock into that ordering.

Anyway, the Joe Cribbs Car Wash doesn't even bother listing Michigan as a team with a bid to lose, mostly:

File under "duh": Cornell, ETSU, UNI, Radford, Morehead St., Siena, VCU, UT-Chattanooga, UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida St., Boston College, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma St., Michigan St., Illinois, Purdue, Ohio St., Wisconsin, Michigan, Washington, UCLA, Cal, Arizona St., UConn, Pitt, Louisville, 'Nova, Marquette, Syracuse, West Virginia, LSU, Tennessee, Xavier, Dayton, Memphis, Gonzaga, Butler, Utah, BYU.

That's 46 teams. A couple of these teams could conceivably miss (the Ohio St./Wisconsin loser, Michigan, maaaaaaaybe Dayton) but regardless I don't see any way Auburn "passes" any of them.

So that's good. Also, Western Kentucky did secure the Sun Belt autobid and remove their remote at-large hopes from relevance. Bad: Cleveland State took out Butler last night and secured themselves what appears to be a 13 seed. The bubble has shrunk by one team; from the sounds of it right now that's St Mary's spot. The spot of St Mary's. Attempting to turn a possessive into a possessive argh.

On the (slightly relieving) side of things, both Cincinnati and Georgetown saw their tourney aspirations die with thudding losses against Big East doormats. Notre Dame scraped by Rutgers, keeping their remote hopes alive.

Tonight's games of relevance, with your new favorite team bolded:

  • DePaul vs Providence, noon. DePaul sucks and went 0-18 in the league this year, but they took out Cinci yesterday and would put a stake through the heart of any Providence at-large hopes if they could pull another upset.
  • Baylor vs Nebraska, 12:30 PM. Epke Udoh will enjoy a view from the bench of a 5-11 Big 12 team; M would like Nebraska's faint at-large hopes to flatline.
  • West Virginia vs Notre Dame, 7 PM ESPN. The Nonconference Teams Who Hate Michigan Bowl tips at 7; Notre Dame's tourney hopes would go from flatline to vaguely-possible-with-one-more if they pull the upset.
  • Iowa State vs Oklahoma State, 7 PM. Eh… Oklahoma State is likely in but if they blow it here they could be in trouble.

Most of your mojo thoughts should be dedicated to a Notre Dame loss. I guess Providence imploding versus DePaul would be the most helpful, but your weird juju rituals are more likely* to swing the result of the ND game.

Tomorrow all this becomes almost totally irrelevant or very, very relevant indeed; if it stays relevant 1) want a blankie and possibly a gun and 2) there are a ton of relevant games.

*(and by this I mean, of course, "not more likely," or at least I did until Sri Lanka happened. Now I believe in everything. Aaargh! What's that! I don't know, but I'm terrified of it!)

Presserizing. Michigan's about to start spring practice and there have been a few injuries and roster adjustments:

Rodriguez confirmed the injuries reported recently — Jonas Mouton (shoulder) and Michael Shaw (sports hernia) — will miss the spring. Offensive lineman Ricky Barnum will play through a wrist problem. … Rodriguez said tight end Steve Watson is switching to defensive end.

No offense to Watson, but that sounds like the death knell for his future as a potential contributor. He's a longshot to ever see meaningful playing time, a la Quintin Patilla, fullback.

Also, uh:

Rodriguez said he’s thinking about trying to break the national attendance record for a spring game. Alabama reportedly had about 92,000 two years ago.

That would require… I don't know what. An actual game, for one. And good weather. And pretty much a 180 degree flip from the way the Spring Game was promoted and marketed under Carr, and by "promoted and marketed" I mean "detested and ignored."

Other news from the press conference concerned medical redshirts: Junior Hemingway has his, which we knew, and they applied for redshirts for Kenny Demens and Adam Patterson but haven't heard back yet. Those things are mostly a formality, AFAIK; that would make Demens a freshman and Patterson a junior. There have been rumors Patterson will move inside given the lack of depth at DT, but there's a similar lack of depth at DE. Also:

Vince Helmuth could move from DT to DE if he gets in shape — playing DT gave him “the free reign to eat,” and he “went overboard.”

Also, there is a "noticeable difference" in the size and strength of the guys on the OL according to Barwis. Eeee. Liveblogging at the Daily for more details.



March 11th, 2009 at 11:46 AM ^

I thought a few weeks ago that Michigan would need 20 wins to guarantee themselves a spot in the tourney. It's simple, really. Just beat Iowa like you're supposed to. If they lose tomorrow, then Michigan has nobody to blame but themselves if they are left out of the big dance on Sunday evening.


March 11th, 2009 at 11:54 AM ^

Seems to me that there is a lot of promise from his HS days (below) - maybe he's not big will jr, but no reason he shouldn't contribute at some point in the future either at DE or DT.

"three-year starter at defensive line and fullback ... finished prep career with 110 tackles, 11 sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions... tallied 36 tackles, seven sacks and two interceptions during senior campaign ... selected first-team all-state at linebacker by The Detroit News... first-team all-state defensive lineman and running back by the Detroit Free Press... Ann Arbor News Player of the Year and was named all-league on offense and defense by the newspaper... two-time Division I state champion in the discus... won the state title in the shot put..."


March 11th, 2009 at 11:56 AM ^

That would require… I don't know what. An actual game, for one. And good weather. And pretty much a 180 degree flip from the way the Spring Game was promoted and marketed under Carr

Well, we are en route to the last point. As for the first, the game promises, at least, to be more palatable than a fair number of our games from last season. People paid to see those!

The weather, now, that could be tricky. Let's hope the God-Who-Hates-Michigan-Students-Stuck-In-The-Library-Preparing-For-Finals-And-Torments-Them-With-Nice-Weather-When-They-Can't-Be-Outside pulls through for us this year. Dealing with that one, you never know what the right move is... traditional deity-brown-nosing or reverse psychology? What a dilemma.


March 11th, 2009 at 12:48 PM ^

....is on my list.

These shots at IU are unnacceptable!!!

Of course, Brian is dead on about other league's bottom feeders.....it's the only reason Providence is even in the discussion with their 10-8 BE record.....how about Arizona's two layups against the Ducks.....not to mention, the Big 12 gimmes against Colorado and Texas Tech.

Whatever. I guess it means even if run an amazing Stat Site like BP, you're still prone to ignorant, non-anecdotal arguments.


March 11th, 2009 at 1:45 PM ^

To talk about Big Ten records inflated by two shots at Indiana while ignoring the awful bottom four in the Big East (who combined for a 5-53 record against the rest of the conference) is just stupid.

He's been bashing the Big Ten as long as I've been reading at Prospectus. (It was almost justifiable last year. Almost. Not this year.) I just can't take him seriously.

Yinka Double Dare

March 11th, 2009 at 2:43 PM ^

Yeah, he was pretty stupid yesterday, and his braying about how everyone who cares even a little bit about PEDs in baseball is an idiot gets old too.

He does like your team though. And in his chat yesterday he said he thinks in a couple of years (when Beilein is running the system with all his guys, Crean has rebuilt IU, Purdue's loaded with good juniors and especially seniors, etc) the conference could be "ridiculous".

But he again repeated the stupid "the middle of the conference has inflated records" junk when that just as easily, or more easily, applies to some other leagues (I'm looking at you, Big East, first round tourney results notwithstanding). His biggest problem seems to be with Penn State. I agree with Brian that his placement of Minnesota is ridiculous considering they've got a real win on a neutral court against the Big East regular season champ, a team that Sheehan himself thinks is definitely going to the Final Four. And some of the teams he's placed ahead of Minnesota don't have anything resembling that kind of OOC win.


March 11th, 2009 at 6:57 PM ^

I think RichRod sees it as another thing to use in recruiting. And yes, we do often compete with Alabama, a team ranked in the top 5 all last year and probably next year for recruits.

As for making the game a fan draw, Forcer, D Robinson and Devon Gardner all competing in next years game would be a lot more interesting. This year watching Forcer with the first teamers would be greater interest for me. If they split up the offense we are probably not going to see that.


March 11th, 2009 at 7:04 PM ^

I think his main point was that Big Ten isn't as good as the number of bids it's going to get and he's probably right about that. It was poorly explained.

The Big East is going to have 7 teams seeded in the top half of the bracket. It's both deep and strong. The Big Ten will have 3 and then, as of this moment, it has SIX teams on the bubble. His belief that the conference is "mediocre" seems accurate to me, particularly when watching the games. In any other year, the Big Ten gets five, maybe six, if some team goes on a run. This year it will potentially get 8 and maybe even 9 if Northwestern goes on a serious run.

The Big Ten is just a better version of the SEC which has no Michigan State, two locks (LSU and Tennessee) and 6 high-seeded NIT teams (Auburn, Florida, S. Carolina, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State).