The prayer forced. Michigan's communication and Jon Teske's unexpected switch and quick hands forced Northwestern into a chuck:
**Video Breakdown: How Michigan stifled Northwestern’s final possession in their road victory over the Wildcats** pic.twitter.com/serXxvl4lw
— Eric S (@eric_shap) December 6, 2018
Anonymous quotes about basketball's defense. Right this way, via Jeff Borzello:
"They're so much further ahead of everyone right now, it's not even funny," one opposing Big Ten coach said, referencing their experience. "What they were doing at the end of the year has carried over." …
"They have an alpha male at the point in Simpson," a Big Ten assistant said. "He holds those guys to what I would call a gold standard. He doesn't allow them to slip. When they don't do something correctly, he makes sure they know about it."
"Zavier just plays his ass off," another opposing coach said. "He may be smaller, but he's dialed in every possession, and they put a lot of length around him. He's a junkyard dog."
Michigan's 23-1 run stretching back to last year would be the #1 efficiency D in the history of Kenpom if it was a single season. And it seems like the bit from last year is the "bad" part.
Beilein's greatest enemy returns. NBA draftniks have started talking up Ignas Brazdeikis, who slides in at the end of the first round in SI's latest mock draft:
27. IGNAS BRAZDEIKIS, F, MICHIGAN | FRESHMAN
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: NR
As has been widely noted, Brazdeikis turns 20 in January and is only technically a freshman, after doing a prep year in Canada. The good news is, it doesn’t really matter. Brazdeikis has been Michigan’s most consistent scorer and impressed with his ability to hunt shots off the ball. He can shoot it from outside or face up and attack the basket, and profiles as a useful offensive-minded role guy in the pros. His competitiveness and feel stand out, The big question with him is perimeter defense, as he will probably need to be parked on fours in the NBA. Regardless, if the Wolverines continue to play this well, Brazdeikis won’t have to stick around long.
Matthews (#38) and Poole (#51) also show up in their top 60, though Poole is in the you-should-return range and the author admits even that is "speculative."
The Athletic's Sam Vecenie is more skeptical of Iggy as a one and done, placing him 50th in his latest top 100 and causing a blizzard of HEY WHAT ABOUT IGGY comments that he responded to at length. A portion:
Here's where I'm worried: Athleticism here is still a pretty real NBA concern on defense. Iggy is smart on that end and has taken to what Yaklich/Beilein want him to do well. But it also says something, IMO, that Michigan has been better on defense with him off the floor as opposed to when he's been on it -- especially in their games against high-major competition (vs. Nova, PC, UNC, Purdue, NW, Michigan had a 74 DRTG with him off the floor, and an 88 DRTG with him on it). That's a bit noisy, and the overall number is still good at 88. But I think Michigan has done more to insulate him rather than him being a true difference maker on that end, too.
On offense, over 75% of his offense has come from spot-ups, transition opportunities, back-cuts, and O-Rebs. The spot-up stuff is useful obviously, as he's a terrific shooter who can put the ball on the deck and attack a closeout.
Brazdeikis has done good work as a college four checking guys like Paschall and Maye but might not have the lateral agility to keep up with NBA wings. The stat about his offense seems… wrong, though? That's probably from Synergy and is therefore meticulously charted but it certainly feels like Iggy's creating a lot of his own shots. He dug Michigan out of some trouble against Northwestern by getting to the rim with frequency.
Vecenie says that if Iggy can maintain his effectiveness once he's 1) scouted and 2) the primary focus of opponent defenses he'll shoot up his board. One thing that hurts his stock—his age, which is a year older than most freshmen—is the kind of thing that makes you leave instead of makes you stay.
Let us resolve to enjoy the rest of this season.
[After the JUMP: potentially better NFL draft news?]
Shea advised to return. Todd McShay:
“He has the physical tools,” McShay said. “The best thing that Shea Patterson could do is to go back to school and continue to learn pro-style offense and continue to develop. He has the potential to develop into an NFL quarterback. If I were advising Shea, I would say it’s mandatory to go back to school for another year, because he has a great opportunity that not many quarterbacks in the country have, to work under multiple coaches -- not just the head coach -- that have spent many years in the NFL. There’s experience there."
This was not the Pattersons' thinking at the beginning of the year. That may have changed.
These are certainly decisions you can make. Central Michigan took Jim McElwain off of Michigan's hands a few days ago, opening up a slot for a WR coach who will almost certainly be a recruiting upgrade. The actual position coaching quality he brought is unknowable in just a year's time—Michigan's WRs improved but they were going from freshmen to sophomores and were going to improve a lot with any minimally competent WR coach.
In similar news, Maryland hired Mike Locksley, a guy who went 2-26 at New Mexico and was axed midseason after an "altercation" with one of his assistants. Three years as Alabama's offensive coordinator apparently re-habbed him enough to get a head coaching job. Okay.
The Panthers also fired defensive line coach Brady Hoke and assistant secondary/cornerbacks coach Jeff Imamura. The moves were announced after Rivera met with new owner David Tepper and general manager Marty Hurney on Monday morning.
…I mean, you know?
Hockey commits. Many. Of most immediate relevance is NTDP defenseman Cam York flipping from Boston College. York is likely to be a first round pick…
5⭐️Cam York to Michigan. Two-way defender with elite feet, smooth hands and high hockey IQ. Anticipates plays and is able to defend and start transition very quickly, Balance and leverage are unmatched. First round NHL talent with a high ceiling.
— Neutral Zone (@_Neutral_Zone) November 27, 2018
…and will be on campus next year. York is ranked 7th overall by Scott Wheeler:
7. Cam York: LHD, USDP, 5-foot-11
The more I watch York, the less worried I grow about his lack of a shot (it’s a real issue) because of how dynamic he is in virtually every other facet of the game. Does it help to have a point shot that’s a real scoring threat in today’s NHL game? Absolutely. Does not having one prevent players from becoming dangerous offensive threats? Absolutely not. As much as I like Bowen Byram and Anttoni Honka, York has established himself as the top defenceman in the class for me by virtue of the way he skates, breaks the puck in as a handler and breaks the puck out as a passer. He’s unfazed by pressure, the perfect playmaker on the power play and a constantly-improving defender who rarely gets burned despite lacking the size and strength typical of most other high-end D prospects.
Sportsnet.ca has him 22nd; Dobber Prospects has him 11th. That is obviously a massive pickup late in the day as Michigan takes advantage of some turmoil on the Heights. York will slot right in as a top-pairing PP defenseman, filling Quinn Hughes's shoes nicely. The Daily caught up with him:
“With (Boston College) losing their defensive head coach, that was a big reason why I went there in the first place, so it was disappointing to me,” York said. “I decommitted from there and looked at other options and Michigan was the place for me. I think with their coaching staff and their facilities and what they have to offer, I knew that Michigan was the right choice.”
While he was leaning toward Michigan, York was still uncommitted when the NTDP played at Yost in October.
But it didn’t take too long during that game for the crowd to show him what Michigan hockey is all about.
“I think that was kind of the cherry on top,” York said. “That’s what kind of sold me, for sure. Just the atmosphere of that place and just the way that Michigan fans support their team. It’s a special place.”
The other guys are further down the road. Eric Ciccolini decommitted from Colgate when it became clear he had a higher ceiling and recently joined Michigan's 2020 class:
3.75⭐️Eric Ciccolini to Michigan. Explosive first few steps. Pounces on chances and separates quickly. Soft hands with the ability to dangle opponents. Changes pace to create on the rush and will take hits to make plays. Good net front. Touch in tight.
— Neutral Zone (@_Neutral_Zone) December 3, 2018
Michigan gets commit from Eric Ciccolini ‘01 (TO Jr Cans-OJHL). Avg size fwd, good speed/quick feet, strong shot in release & accuracy, offensive thoughts and puck skills. Leads team 18-22-40 in 29gp, 2nd in league. Originally Colgate recruit. #2019NHLDraft
— Russ Bitely (@russbites) December 2, 2018
Ciccolini is draft eligible this year and got a C ranking in the early CSB list, which means he's tracking as a mid to late round pick. D Ethan Edwards and F Seamus Casey are both highly touted but down the road a bit. Casey's an '04 birthdate.
Seriously, BC. Something's wrong with BC hockey. They haven't won a nonconference game since two years ago and that commit list is getting raided up and down:
They lost that assistant to the NHL but that seems bad.
Etc.: No FBI investigation penalties for involved schools this year. Brazdeikis impressed Chris Collins. Jordan Poole is calmer than you are. Beilein on Michigan's two 2019 recruits. Titus on this basketball team.