now playing CB for UNC

Unverified Voracity Says Watch Out For The Storm Duck Comment Count

Brian December 19th, 2018 at 2:49 PM

YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN SOMETHING IMPORTANT FOR A SPECIAL PERSON: a sponsor note. Need a last-second gift? How about an actual piece of the Big House? Friend of the blog Martin Vloet got his hands on the original redwood Big House benches—the ones installed in 1927 and used until 2005—and had them made into limited edition pens, cufflinks, pendants, and bottle openers. He also claimed the old plastic seats and cut them up into magnets or pendants. The first 99 pens are reserved for Michigan football players, past or present, that want like to claim their jersey number. The rest of the pens will ship, #100 through #1927, on a first-ordered basis.


Use the code MGBFREESHIP and save on domestic shipping of any size order placed by 11:59 pm TODAY. As long as it goes out tomorrow, USPS Priority Mail should be able to make it to any US address by December 24.

Follow this man. Eric Shap on Michigan's defensive issues in their last two outings:

A combination of a December lull against teams that don't really have Michigan's attention and a reversion seemingly well past the mean; if holding Eric Paschall to 3/13 from two without doubling wasn't a realistic picture of Michigan's D, well neither is that last set of clips above.

If NET's taken as seriously as RPI that's fine. Weird article in the Washington Post trashing the NET rankings, which are wonky as any NCAA hodgepodge is going to be but hardly a disaster waiting to happen for tournament seeding. The article has three wrong premises. One is that NET is the be-all and end-all of selection and seeding:

You might not think such a discrepancy in the rankings would mean much, but consider how this could affect the NCAA tournament, where a team like Texas Tech would be given a No. 1 seed via its NET ranking, but plays more like a No. 3 seed, per its consensus ranking.

The committee still exists. We're still talking about quadrant one wins. There are still teamsheets. NET will be followed no more blindly than RPI was. Which was a little blindly, if we're being honest, but not to the point where a team gets a one seed solely because of a single number on the sheet.

Two is that a hodge-podge of computer rankings is an appropriate comparison point. Many, if not most, of the rankings in the giant compilation the author cites are predictive rankings that are inappropriate for selecting and seeding the field. At this point in the season many still have a significant preseason component—Kenpom won't be fully preseason-free until the end of January. If the season ended today a field selected and seeded by Kenpom alone would give Purdue, which is 6-5 and has just two B-level wins, a five seed. NET ranks Purdue 31st instead of 17th. NET's deviation from the average here is a positive. The article cites Houston's NET ranking (10th) vs their computer composite (23rd), but you could cherry-pick a weird outlier for almost every one of these ranking systems. ESPN's BPI has Michigan 11th.

Three is that NET won't be able to better distinguish between teams given an additional half-season of data. This is an absurd comparison to make:

Based on last year’s consensus rankings, a top-four consensus team had an average RPI ranking of 3.3. This year the average NET ranking of a top-four team is 5.5, almost identical to a team ranked between No. 5 and No. 8 in the consensus group. In other words, the NET rankings are incapable of distinguishing between a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, a stark contrast compared to last year where, via RPI, there was a clear difference between the two.

For one, last year's RPI-influenced committee put Kenpom #9 Kansas and Kenpom #14(!!!) Xavier on the one line. As a group the two-seeds were stronger. For two, most teams have only played a third of their games so far. Of course there is going to be more disagreement amongst ranking systems when they have less data.

The only real question is "is NET better than RPI when tourney time nears?" Open question, but it would have to try real hard to be worse.

[After THE JUMP: more NCAA legal troubles, what is USC even doing, and a sudden 180]

Weird flex but ok. Rashan Gary gets dinged a bit by PFF based on counting numbers in an article on draft prospects who underperformed:


Hailing from Paramus, New Jersey, Gary was the consensus top-ranked player in the 2016 recruiting class. Unlike most players transitioning from high school to college, Gary actually lost weight at Michigan. The 290-pound high school defensive tackle is now listed as a 283-pound defensive end. The problem is his pass-rushing moves still resemble that of a defensive tackle as he’s collected a grand total of 74 pressures over the last two seasons (teammate Chase Winovich has 106 for comparison). The athleticism is evident, but he might have to transition back inside at the NFL level.

I don't disagree with some of this—Gary probably should have been a 3T at Michigan and will probably be a 3T in the NFL—but using raw counting numbers when Winovich almost literally never came off the field and Gary was rotated more, missed a number of games with shoulder issues, and played through those issues for much of the rest of his career. He's more of a risk than you'd think a #1 overall recruit would be but he's certainly done enough to go high unless you think the shoulder issue is chronic.

And now the most important part of Signing Day. Michigan did not land an All-Name teamer. Rough:

You blew it all up, you maniacs! [fist bump] The NCAA is preparing to lose the Shawne Alston case, which might set off a slow-motion avalanche. The theory behind this particular lawsuit against amateurism is that the conferences have conspired to set the value of a scholarship. If the lawsuit goes the plaintiff's way the NCAA could be prevented from setting a cap on the value of scholarships and then here we go.

Naturally, the manager class is freaking out:

If the plaintiffs win, there is concern among the Power Five that a Wild West culture could take hold. The last time conferences oversaw athlete compensation was 1956 before the advent of TV, rights fees, agents and riches from the NFL and NBA.

Ah yes. A "Wild West culture." One that is distinct from this one, where OSU keeps Urban Meyer despite his enablement of a domestic abuser, Louisville has no action taken against it despite a freakin' FBI investigation that clearly implicates their head coach despite already being on probation, and payments to recruits under the table are expected at virtually every school in the most successful football conference in the country.

I mean:

Example: If the plaintiffs win, as expected, the SEC could theoretically compensate athletes with cars.


Anyway, no time like the present to blow it all up and this may eventually be the thing that does it:

Privately, though, there seems to be a general a feeling the plaintiffs will win, setting off alarms with which the NCAA is familiar. Alston is not the first legal challenge to the NCAA's hide-bound amateurism model. But the cumulative effect of all those court cases may be a chipping away of the NCAA's DNA. Without that one-of-a-kind amateurism model that exists nowhere else in the world, critics have wondered whether the NCAA would have any remaining worth.

Does it have any currently? What's the point of having rules if you have no enforcement?

About face. Jim Delany went from discounting any idea of playoff expansion to this in the matter of a week:

“The Big Ten would be happy to discuss structure issues with colleagues,” Delany told The Athletic. “It’s probably a good idea, given all of the conversations and noise around the issue, to have discussions with our colleagues.

“The Big Ten would definitely have conversations.”

At this point it appears to be the SEC and ACC versus everyone else.

How to sabotage your athletic department in one easy step. How is this even possible in 2018?

I enjoy USC more as the bumbling post-cocaine-addiction version of itself.

Etc.: Zero ambiguity from Quinn Hughes about his plans: he gone. 2020 D recruit Jacob Truscott profiled. MSU CB Justin Layne and OSU RB Mike Weber declare for the draft. OSU won't miss Weber much but Layne was clearly a level above the rest of MSU's CBs. Kenpom on the randomness of three point D. Red enters the US Hockey Hall of Fame.


Blue Sharpie

December 19th, 2018 at 3:19 PM ^

Really loving the 2019 class!

What a complete class, strengthening both sides of the ball!  Added speed at skill positions and added prime beef on both lines.  Would like to add one more RB, and maybe  a transfer DT.  

Nice to finish with some fireworks!!💥 🧨 


December 19th, 2018 at 3:39 PM ^

We all know Quinn Hughes is signing after this year and I like hearing him be straightforward about it. Why not be up front about the reality?

In the meantime it's going to be fun watching him the rest of the year. 


December 19th, 2018 at 4:05 PM ^

I'm not positive on where I stand with the paying the players issue, but I can certainly appreciate the super saturation of irony in this comment

If the plaintiffs win, there is concern among the Power Five that a Wild West culture could take hold.

"Wild West culture" aka the free market, which is the same thing that has allowed the Power Five to rake in enormous amounts of TV money in recent years. 

matty blue

December 19th, 2018 at 4:10 PM ^

sheesh, mike weber?

i've watched a lot of mike weber over the last three years, and he never struck me as anything more than Just A Guy.  i never thought, "uh, oh, we better watch out for mike weber here."  not once.


December 19th, 2018 at 4:19 PM ^

Folks have to remember that the #Trojans support staff is all of three people these days. Alabama, Clemson and even Notre Dame are closer to 40.
Isn't this the same reason why the Reggie Bush scandal happened? If I remember correctly, part of what pissed the NCAA off is that USC's athletic department had a shockingly small compliance staff and very few people whose job it was to keep tabs on players outside of practice (especially in a city and an atmosphere that put them at greater risk of compliance issues).

The Oracle 2

December 19th, 2018 at 4:55 PM ^

PFF has it right. Gary’s production on the field never came close to his physical measureables. He played well, but was never dominant. If an NFL team takes him near the very top of the draft, they’re going to end up disappointed.


December 19th, 2018 at 6:36 PM ^

While I appreciate the film cutting by that Eric S guy, I had some different takes on a lot of these plays.

One thing about sports analysis, particularly basketball, is the be overly critical of a process when the outcome is not desired even though that outcome was the result of randomness.  Here he seems to do that a lot.

On the first clipped play of Davis' pick and roll defense, if you pause it at the exact moment Printy rises up for the shot, you see that Davis' front foot is about one foot behind the 3 pt line (this dude estimates four feet) and Printy is taking a step back three off the dribble from 5 feet behind the line.  That's a shot you'll absolutely take.  Davis doesn't allow a drive, doesn't allow hit to hit the roll man, and forces a tough step-back jumper.

On the second clip where he also plays a Flowers pick and roll well and forces a tough, off-the-dribble jumper (on which he's falling a bit to the side because Z is contesting) he admits Davis played it well, but thought he should have played it better or differently somehow, I guess, because he says "Flowers was hot at this point".  It was literally Flowers FIRST MADE BASKET OF THE GAME. Huh?

He does have it correct that the holy grail for a big on a hedge/switch is to both prevent a drive and prevent a pull up (and I would also add you'd ideally want your big to be able to put enough pressure on the ball to make a pass to the roll guy tough), but there's a reason big that can defend pick and rolls perfectly are highly valued by the NBA.  Its really hard to do!

Davis is not the kind of the athlete that is going to be able to get right up on a guard on the perimeter to prevent a shot entirely AND be able to keep the guy from going around him. So when you're not that kind of athlete, you have to make tradeoffs. He does that and forces two tough shots which is better than just about any other event.  The shots went in.  The result doesn't mean the process was flawed.  Credit to the offense.

If the point was to say that Davis is not an elite, Isaiah Roby level pick and roll defender, well of course.  But you don't want him to play these any differently, and he's excellent at executing what his athleticism allows him to do.

Couple other examples:

1) The slip screen on which Z gets beat that he says Livers didn't come over or help?  Livers absolutely helped and forced an absolute circus shot.  It happened to go in.  Livers played this perfectly.  Z did play this really, really badly.  Just flat out got beat and did commit a foul.  Livers did well here though.

2) The drive on which he indicates Poole didn't provide enough help to Iggy I completely disagree with.  One of the worst things you can do in modern basketball is help off a shooter when help is needed. Unless you're running a really aggressive pack line defense (which Michigan doesn't do because they want to prevent threes), you don't help to "deter" drives as he writes, you put yourself in position to help if a perimeter player is beaten.  Michigan's defense is set up to trust that defenders will win one-on-one battles and force tough shots while keeping close enough the perimeter to prevent threes.  Iggy wasn't never really beaten. Poole correctly stayed in position and trusted Iggy to do his thing.  That Iggy got a little body on the contest is not Poole's fault.

He does get a lot right, though.



December 20th, 2018 at 9:13 AM ^

I think he's spot on with the Printy 3FG. First, Davis should know from watching film that the first thing Printy is looking for on a ball-screen is to shoot the 3. Second, that's not a step back 3. It's a slide/shuffle dribble where Printy is able to square his shoulders and feet. Third, as soon as Davis sees Printy taking that shuffle he should be closing immediately (really should have been tighter to Printy from the start given the first point). Instead Davis is actually moving back toward the paint. 

Bad recognition of both the opponent and the action. Davis compounds that with poor execution.


December 20th, 2018 at 9:46 AM ^

I really hate an 8 team playoff. A hybrid system would be much better. 

1. Four Teams minimum
2. 1-loss Power 5 conference champs get an auto-bid
3. Two teams from a conference cannot be included if the 2nd team lost to the 1st team on the field. 
4. 1 Undefeated G5 team can be included if there is an odd number of P5 teams. 

2014: (5) Alabama, Oregon, Florida St, with an Ohio St./Baylor play in game. 
2015: (4) Clemson, Alabama, MSU, Oklahoma
2016: (4) Alabama, Clemson, OSU, Washington
2017: (6) Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, Alabama, Wisconsin, UCF. Arguably, you could have left this at 4, but when in doubt, the more the merrier. 
2018: (6) Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ohio St, UCF. 

An 8 team playoff includes multiple 2 loss teams each and every year. That completely diminishes the regular season. Could you imagine Michigan getting into the playoff after not beating OSU or winning the B1G? What a sham. Georgia played the exact same schedule as Michigan, and with extremely similar results, but are rated as the fifth best team? What is the point of playing games like the SEC Championship game if they don't matter?