Unverified Voracity Is Red And Boring

Submitted by Brian on October 30th, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Yeah! Awwww. Kenpom's formula thing predicts Michigan will be 12th nationally! Sweet! They'll have the seventh-best offense and 25th-best defense!


They'll be undefeated in the nonconference pending matchups against two of Virginia, K-State, and Pitt!


They'll… go 10-8 in the Big Ten?


Whoah. Ah so:


Gonna be a year this year, man. Some other guy's formula has Michigan 44th but he acknowledges that's probably pessimistic. He explains on the new UMHoops podcast.

Yes, Michigan is overrated. Pretty much anyone who's ventured an opinion about the mainstream basketball polls has done so to note that Michigan is overrated at #5, a faction that includes John Gasaway($), Eamonn Brennan, Kenpom above, and myself. As related by Brennan, this is the main reason why I'm with the skeptics:

The first is that, on Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted per-possesion basis, Michigan finished last season ranked No. 29 overall. Their offense ranked No. 22 in the country; their defense No. 60. No other current top-five team ranked outside the top 15. (Louisville, that 15th-ranked team, rode the No. 1 defense in the country to the Final Four. No. 11 Indiana had the nation’s fourth-best offense.)

They were never as good as the teams they split the Big Ten title with and were probably overseeded—if I wasn't a Michigan fan that game against OHIO would have been an easy upset pick in NCAA pools.

Brennan also tacks this on:

The counterpoint to such a crude year-over-year comparison is obvious: Michigan is hardly the same team as last season. Very true. The next question is whether that’s a good thing.

In the offseason, Michigan lost Zack Novak (graduation), Stu Douglass (graduation), and Evan Smotrycz (transfer to Maryland). All three were outside shooting specialists, and a big reason why the Wolverines ranked No. 8 in the country in their rate of 3-pointers to overall field goal attempts. They were also three most efficient offensive players on the team.

I'm not too concerned about that. While we love Zack Novak and have shirts and everything, he was a 6'4" power forward. Smotrycz was only getting about half of available minutes and seemed to have a chemistry issue with the rest of the team; Douglass was a quality on-ball defender and good shooter, but a low-usage guy. Novak and Douglass both find themselves in the "limited roles" section of Kenpom, and while Novak was unbelievably efficient it's not that hard to replace an efficient low-usage player. Between Stauskas, GRIII, McGary, and the return of Horford Michigan should get some combination of rebounding, defense, and shooting to replace Novak.

While Michigan will have to adapt to an offense that isn't spacing you out with four shooters, they've been pick-and-roll heavy the last two years. It won't be a huge leap. They'll improve… but I'm not expecting them to being the thick of a fight for a one seed at the end of the year.


The good news. The AP top 25 is pretty good at IDing the right teams.

Yes please. Glenn Robinson's defense is getting talked up, which would be very nice:

"Glenn Robinson has shown some ability several times to really guard people," Michigan coach John Beilein said last week. "He's got instincts and he's really worked hard through the years to be a defender.

"That would be an easy way for him right now (to add to this team)." …

"We've been thinking about that," Beilein said. "You could switch on a ball screen (with the point guard) if his man is a bigger guy.

"I think he could do that."

Neither Burke or Hardaway has been a lockdown defender to this point and Michigan does need someone to go up against opponent's big time perimeter threats. Also you know how I feel about guys who contribute to teams without absorbing possessions. I like them—lots. If GRIII can be a plus player on defense and rebounding at both ends of the floor, he'll improve Michigan more than if he's doing equivalent stuff with the ball in his hands, because Michigan already has a lead ballhandler.

Sometimes uniforms are not crazy enough. 30 years ago, yeah, but whoah:


At least  that one guy has a belt. Also, hey, Art Schlichter!

Oh good. Denard is not aging backwards.

"He should be fine," Hoke reiterated Tuesday on the Big Ten coaches' teleconference. "It's just one of those things that flares up now and then depending on how he gets hit. He's better every day.

"We think he'll be fine."


It's official. The NCAA's long-awaited penalty system revamp is officially official. There are now four levels of infraction. Level four is "incidental" and roughly equivalent to old secondary violations. What used to be major violations are now binned into three different groups:

  • LEVEL 1: Big, big stuff. Violations that "seriously undermine" the NCAA model. Penn State, obviously. Maybe USC's agent stuff. Hopefully UNC's you never go to class thing.
  • LEVEL 2: Serious stuff, violations that "provide or are intended to provide more than a minimal but less than a substantial or extensive recruiting, competitive or other advantage." OSU's tatgate. South Carolina's hotel stuff.
  • LEVEL 3: "isolated or limited in nature; provide no more than a minimal recruiting, competitive or other advantage; and do not include more than a minimal impermissible benefit." Michigan's practice stuff.

Coaches now can't play see-no-evil and punishments are hypothetically ramped up, but we won't know for a while: anything that's happened before today will get the more lenient, older penalty structure.

Nope not happening. The CHLPA wants CHL players to be NCAA-eligible. This is not happening without significant concessions from the CHL. When the NCAA relaxed its standards for foreign player eligibility, hockey got together and had this inserted into the bylaws: Major Junior Ice Hockey. Ice hockey teams in the United States and Canada, classified by the Canadian Hockey Association as major junior teams, are considered professional teams under NCAA legislation.

That was inserted specifically to prevent CHL teams from getting their claws into players who would otherwise be ticketed to junior leagues that position themselves as college feeders. The USHL is now a fine feeder league for the NCAA and there's no reason to give CHL teams a marketing point that won't have any bearing in reality and will in fact encourage CHL teams to make sure their players are not eligible, whether it's for academic or amateurism reasons.

The CHLPA is trying, though, and an extremely long post by Guy Flaming indicates there has been some movement on the whole amateurism front—the CHL has gone from specifically defining itself as professional to specifically defining itself as amateur. The fact that signed NHL players can still participate is an issue that has not been resolved—and it's hard to see it getting resolved. A large part of the CHL's appeal is having a bunch of first round picks around. They've built that into the NHL CBA by prohibiting junior kids from playing in the AHL until they're 20.

Meanwhile, the CHL can call itself whatever it wants and the NCAA can still reject players from that league. Unless the NCAA sees a benefit, they will not change their stance. The only way I could see something happening is if the CHL gives significantly and agrees to not poach players signed to LOIs, or poach guys mid-year, etc.

The only reason they'd do that is to stop this ramshackle insurrection they have on their hands. Right now it's just bad PR and erratic Georges Laraque appearances. We're a long way from what would be a seismic shift in college hockey.

Etc.: Oregon's using double stacks, too. More Michael Ferns tribute. Bring kleenex. Why does the NCAA want basketball coaches to explode? Hockey series against Miami recap. Don't be mean to Russell Bellomy or Lewan will eat you. Wolverine Historian puts up 2007 Minnesota.



October 30th, 2012 at 6:57 PM ^

you can say the same for other teams who have to rely on freshmen to contribute like Indiana, MSU, Kentucky, etc.  The thing is Michigan don't need them to be the star, but merely an excellent complimentary players to Burke and THJ.  Burke is arguably the best PG in the country and top PG tends to lead the best team.  Throw in 2 top 25 recruits in GRIII and McGary, you have an excellent team.  Stauskas provides size and shooting that will easily replace Douglass and Novak offensive production.  Then there's Horford who supposedly is outplaying Morgan pre-season that he started over him early on before he got hurt.

If any, I think Michigan is rated correctly if they are rating IU, MSU, OSU, Kentucky based on their criterias.  Indiana is relying on Yogi Ferrell to be the PG for the team which is no easy task.  MSU is relying on Gary Harris to be the man that replaces Draymond Green, again no easy task.  Kentucky will have super frosh and transfers getting the majority of the minutes.  Yes, Calipari have done it in the past, but it's a different group of personalities.  Can they work together to become a great team? That remains to be seen.

True Blue Grit

October 30th, 2012 at 6:42 PM ^

This U-M hoops team has a lot of talent and although it's young talent, I can see the Beilein-coaching factor having us RIGHT THERE at the end of the season.  As is always the case when you have a big influx of young talented freshmen mixing with some good upperclassmen, there will be a period of growth until the team falls into a "groove".  How long that takes, we'll have to see.


October 30th, 2012 at 7:33 PM ^

I cannot understand how Kenpom can rank UK that high with the entire team consisting of freshmen.  As for UM, I am worried that the chemistry may not be there with the two seniors graduating. Two seniors who were willing to accept secondary roles but to play crucial roles at the right time -- remember MSU and OSU games.


October 30th, 2012 at 8:58 PM ^

Although Novak and Douglass were great leader who will be missed, I don't think that will be needed as much this year as last year. 

Last year we had a very young team outside of our two seniors.  Our starting 5 (to start the season) was a frosh, two sophomores, and a RS soph plus Novak.  It was important to have Douglass and Novak in there to help lead the younger guys. 

This year, the core of our team will be older, with THJ, Morgan, Horford and Vogrich who are juniors or above and a soph returning starter who is beyond his years.  Maybe no one of those guys is Zack Novak, but together they will be the leaders the team needs.


October 30th, 2012 at 7:20 PM ^

I think there are a few reasons for optimism regarding this team being ranked about right (as far as often wildly inaccurate pre-season polls can be anyway).

1.  Burke - he's very talented and should be better.  He wore down last year which led to the dropoff.  He was still very green and made a lot of Freshman mistakes.  It's possible he regresses but I'm doubting it.

2.  Hardaway - he just wasn't right most of last year.  I think he's more likely to have a year at least as good as his Fresh. year than he is to have a year like last year.  I think with more talent around him he'll relax a bit and play better

3.  Rebounding - we may actually be able to get a few this year.   

4. Less one dimensional with more depth.  What Beilein did with that group was amazing.  We were small, couldn't rebound and had to play everyone far too many minutes.  Unless all the incoming Frosh are poor we should have more depth, more lineup possibilities to match up to the competition.  That puts less pressure on guys like Burke and Hardaway which should make them better.


Of course anything can happen.  Most didn't see M missing the tournament when Manny was returning, but we lost good role players and lacked chemistry.  So far reports are good regarding that, and if a single player is off we have a lot more options with this group.   I'm pretty excited to see this group and I think they have a really good shot at winning the Big 10.


October 31st, 2012 at 12:31 AM ^

Yes, this is what I wanna hear about!  The Double-Stack (not the hidden, not-on-the-menu burger Wendy's serves) would be neat to hear about.  Although I'm sure a large faction of people would be dismissive because in order to talk about it one would have to resort to what the possibilities of the play are, because we sure as hell aren't utilizing the play to full affect, which would lead to discussion on how a certain coach in Arizona would utilize the play, and then all hell breaks loose.  Anyway, I also noticed Arizona using it against USC last Saturday.  It's nothing new by any means but the fact Michigan uses, well shows the formation and runs a play or two out of it (pure conjecture), is kind relevent stuff.