Unverified Voracity Sows Chaos, Reaps The Wildcat

Submitted by Brian on January 30th, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Important (not important). This is a frog.


I have been exhorted to call this MGoFrog and make it a thing. I'm afraid that by doing so I will give Adidas an idea for a Michigan uniform, unfortunately.

Important (important). Will Heininger features in an Outside The Lines article on mental health issues for athletes:

"I had emotional pain that was overwhelming; I would wake up, and from morning until I feel asleep -- when I was able sleep -- I had troubling thoughts that were utterly consuming," said the 2011 Michigan honors graduate. "Not a minute would go by in a day, without my depression on my mind … this, this felt impossible."

One of the things CAPA is fighting for is better treatment for these sorts of issues; read the whole thing. Both of the whole things.


"Please enjoy this punch in the nuts." –DJ Newbill

CHAOS! Did you happen to watch the rote blowouts in the Big Ten last night? You did not, because Ohio State and Wisconsin lost to Penn State and Northwestern, respectively. At home. As our own BISB said:

Yes. They're trying to push each other into the lava, but yes. Or Adam Jacobi:

The Big Ten Is Full of Blood and Spiders

Jacboi has a nice table that indicates the upcoming "no days off in the Big Ten"/"this conference is so deep" announcer memes are in fact on point:

Year Conf. Rating Rank Avg. B1G Worst Team Rating
2003 .7688 5 No. 56 Penn State 210
2004 .7520 5 No. 62 Penn State 218
2005 .7862 3 No. 47 Penn State 215
2006 .7831 4 No. 54 Purdue 152
2007 .8058 4 No. 51 Minnesota 170
2008 .7625 5 No. 65 Northwestern 192
2009 .8144 5 No. 46 Indiana 209
2010 .7851 4 No. 60 Indiana 198
2011 .8527 1 No. 31 Iowa 92
2012 .8263 1 No. 32 Nebraska 150
2013 .8459 1 No. 34 Penn State 148
2014 .8310 1 No. 42 Northwestern 118

The closest thing to an easy out is the Northwestern team that is a half-game out of a first round bye in the Big Ten tourney; there's not even a last year's Penn State to kick around. There's a last year's Penn State plus Tim Frazier. See cliff above.

This is good and bad for Michigan. In the Kenpom world it's good since Michigan's beaten PSU handily and has yet to play OSU, but in the NCAA seeding world you get more credit for beating 6-seed OSU and terrible PSU than you get for beating 10-seed OSU and mediocre PSU. Neither of these effects are huge, so the correct reaction is probably just to point and laugh*. (And fume at how bad Big Ten refs are.)

*[But probably not at Aaron Craft. He got crossed over for the game winner, which was Newbill rushing a wrist-flick shot because Craft was coming. Meanwhile, Tim Frazier's statline: 8 points on 9 shot attempts, 7 assists, 6 TO. No offense to Derrick Walton, but put Craft on this Michigan team and they are a juggernaut. I shouldn't have mentioned this.]


Bill Carmody: gone, but not forgotten

The Wildcat conundrum. Meanwhile, we've been talking about how fascinating Northwestern is on the podcast for the last couple weeks. And boy, aren't they? Last year they were extremely bad, around 140th on both sides of the ball. The Wildcats then:

  • fired Bill Carmody
  • hired Chris Collins
  • graduated two low-usage, mediocre efficiency seniors
  • graduated a high usage, low efficiency senior
  • got Drew Crawford back
  • added a pretty terrible offensive player in freshman Sanjay Lumpkin, who they play starter's minutes

For some reason, the result is a massively unbalanced version of the team they were last year. Northwestern is 11th(!!!) in defensive efficiency on Kenpom for no discernable reason whatsoever. They have plummeted to 320th on offense. Their games are incredibly watchable for unwatchable games, because you're always trying to unravel the mystery of why the Wildcats are elite on defense. It makes no sense. No sense at all. Here's John Gasaway trying to figure it out.

Meanwhile, Northwestern is a half-game out of a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament and that gets BIG TENNNN, right? I think that's a BIG TENNNN.

By the way. Michigan shot 63% from two against the Wildcats and averaged 1.21 points per possession, and Alex Olah—Gasaway's best guess as to why NW is playing so much better D—was on the court for 30 minutes.

Recruiting battles past. OSU has a couple of guys on their team that Michigan pursued, and it's interesting to see their development. Or lack thereof, as the case may be.

Michigan stopped recruiting Amadeo Della Valle so they could go after Caris LeVert, who was right under OSU's nose. OSU grabs ADV; Michigan gets LeVert. In year two, Della Valle is a very poor man's LeVert: a skinny shooting guard with some ability to drive, but one who's only getting 30% of OSU's minutes as they struggle to generate anything on offense. LeVert generates a lot of assists; ADV is generating few. Hell, LeVert has replaced about 95% of Tim Hardaway's production a year after Michigan was trying to redshirt him.

The context of the team is important, but it seems like that Michigan made the right choice on that one.

The other guy on the OSU roster Michigan was involved with is Amir Williams, OSU's mercurial center. Williams has oven mitts for hands and gets pulled on the regular despite OSU's near total lack of post players to replace him with; he has seemingly not improved one whit from the absentminded freshman I remember from two years ago. Michigan was never really a consideration for Williams, but it's kind of amazing that OSU would probably trade him for Jordan Morgan without blinking.

Either way. In yesterday's post on Northwestern's prospective union I mentioned that the NLRB had flipped back and forth on the issue of student-employees being able to organize based on assertions from a 2006 paper. In that paper the most recent ruling had gone against the students trying to organize. Well, that has again flipped:

“There’s case law for the NLRB involving teaching assistants which supports their position,” Baum said. “There have been different decisions both ways. What they’re saying is that this really is a form of litigation to bring about change because they’re asking for something very similar.”

In December 2013, the American Arbitration Association announced that graduate teaching and research assistants at New York University had officially unionized. The group is the only graduate assistants’ union at a private university in the U.S.

Demonstrating the volatility of the NLRB, graduate assistants at NYU were granted the ability to negotiate a union contract and both improved health benefits and increased stipends in 2000. But in 2005 the ruling was switched following a case involving Brown graduate assistants in which the NLRB ruled that graduate assistants are students, not employees, and therefore cannot unionize.

The recent overturn of the 2005 ruling, though, is an encouraging sign for the newly formed CAPA.

One gets the sense that the NLRB tends to blow whichever way the White House does. In CAPA's case there seems to be no way to put the cat back in the bag if Northwestern does indeed get certified, so now is as good a time to strike as any.

Typical. FERPA means whatever Universities want it to mean, so the university says they will not release any details about Brendan Gibbons. This is in line with the university's general stance on releasing information—don't do it, because we have to cover our ass. Suspicious in most cases, here it verges on appalling given the fact that FERPA specifically states this:

The text of FERPA notes that the law shouldn’t “be construed to prohibit an institution of postsecondary education from disclosing the final results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by such institution against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of any crime of violence … or a nonforcible sex offense, if the institution determines as a result of that disciplinary proceeding that the student committed a violation of the institution’s rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense.”

With lurid conspiracy theories flying back and forth, everyone would be better off if Michigan came forth and showed everyone exactly what happened to expel a student four years after the incident that got him expelled transpired. This is not an athletic department thing, but rather a larger pattern of CYA secrecy that's beneath the university. Or at least should be.

Etc.: Spilly's quest for balls. Death to the neutral site game. Penn State is discounting season tickets for recent grads. Men's basketball standings. Michigan gets a 2016 D commit.



January 30th, 2014 at 12:56 PM ^

I wonder if there is something going on behind the scenes with that team, like chemestry issues.    If memory serves, they have had top recruiting classes for several years, yet they are playing like crap.  Or, did they just get a bad mix of top players that don't fit together very well?

Blue Mike

January 30th, 2014 at 1:32 PM ^

It looks like OSU's last good class was 2011, when they picked up Scott, Williams, and Ross (for comparison, that was the Brundidge/Burke class for us...)  Since then 2012 was in the 80s according to 247, and last year was in the 30s.  On top of that, they have only brought in 3 players in those two classes.

I think their biggest problem is that they expected Ross to elevate into the Sullinger/Thomas zone and carry them offensively, and he just isn't there.


January 30th, 2014 at 4:28 PM ^

I haven't watched enough of their games to tell if this has anything to do with it, but they were the worst team about handchecking in the conference last year, and we expected a dropoff from them because they're calling that now. But they weathered the first half of the season okay.

Hypothesis: OSU's handcheckiness was, as memory serves, something that got worse as the game progressed, until they were just copping feels all over the place at the end of the game. Now that they can't do that, they've been really bad at the end of games--both because they are a group of large-handed guys who lost the thing they were good at, and because they've falled apart late so often they don't trust themselves.



January 30th, 2014 at 12:58 PM ^

Della Valle is a decent offensive player. He's probably the best jumpshooter on the team and he's got that sneaky-deceptive Euro thing going on his drives to the basket. But he is an abhorrent defender, and I believe that is the reason he doesn't see more minutes.

Amir Williams has improved, albeit not a ton. He was legitimately clueless as a freshman. I remember him coming in to a home game against Illinois and Meyers Freaking Leonard just went around him like Williams was a fencepost in the ground, like, three straight possessions, and Thad took him out immediately. He is now a decent post defender. Not great, but average. On offense, he can finish at the rim, but for various reasons - chief among them the oven mitts Brian mentioned - he gets very few opportunities. He doesn't look as clueless as he did two years ago, but no, he is by no means "good."

I guess what I'm saying is, yes, I would take Jordan Morgan in a heartbeat.


January 30th, 2014 at 2:00 PM ^

First off, I would take Morgan too, but we're talking about a 5th year senior who plays very very smart and knows his coach/system well.  [I've said several times he does more with less than any player I can remember, including Zack Novack.]

Williams is two classes behind and clearly has more physical talent and plays a significant role in what kenpom ranks as the 4th best D in the country.  I know it's nice to credit the gritty hustler but that's not all Craft's shine. (Note: I do think Craft is very very good at D, but being a top 5 outfit is a team effort.)

Also, I bet JB would have traded Morgan for Williams if he could have.  Lets not forget Michigan offered Williams and definitely wanted him. Sometimes it's good to be lucky and I think that's what JB got in Morgan - a guy we wouldn't even be talking about if McGary was still healthy.  Fate has made Morgan a more productive and valuable player but that's how fate sometimes goes.

Come tourney time when someone like Julius Randle shows up across the court, we might feel differently.  For now, I'm happy to enjoy watching Morgan be so successful.

turd ferguson

January 30th, 2014 at 2:16 PM ^

It could be luck or fate.  It also could be development.  It could be that Michigan would have developed Williams better than OSU has and/or OSU would have developed Morgan worse than Michigan has.

I have a diary in mind that I'm hoping to get to at some point.  It's about teasing apart some possible explanations for Beilein's success.  One explanation is that he has a superior eye for talent than his peers.  Another explanation is that he develops talent better.  A third explanation is that he runs an effective system or otherwise prepares players well for game action.  (Some combination of these, and other, explanations is obviously possible.)  

I think we could start to tease those apart by looking at the guys Beilein offered who went elsewhere and comparing them to (1) similarly ranked guys who went to other schools and (2) similarly ranked guys who came to Michigan (or WVU).  If the guys Beilein offered who went elsewhere consistently outperform their recruiting ratings, that suggests that he has a good eye for talent.  If the guys Beilein offered who went elsewhere don't perform as well as similarly ranked guys who ultimately play for Beilein, that suggests that he's good at developing talent once he gets it.

That might not make sense and I'll have a lot more to say about it when I get some time to dig in.


January 30th, 2014 at 2:40 PM ^

Agreed.  I'd argue it's development more than talent identification but I actually think the biggest thing is coaching to a player's strengths.  He put's people in a position to succeed.  Limits their exposure for things they're not good at and plays up their areas of strength. He optimizes production from his player in general and puts different pieces around that fit together (shooters with people who can drive and/or defend.)

Some coaches mold players to a predetermined vision - the "system" thing you mentioned, but I don't think that fits JB (other than his use of the 4, but even that is bordering on conventional these days).  He seems more flexibile than a typical "system guy", adapting to his personnel.

If we had a dynamic shot-blocking defensive presence like Williams, I think you'd see our defensive strategy change.


January 30th, 2014 at 2:34 PM ^

I don't think OSU's lofty defensive rank is an indicator that he's anything more than adequate. OSU's 2-point defense and defensive rebounding rate are essentially league average. The two areas where the defense excels are three-point defense (going into last night's game, the only B1G team better at preventing opponents' three-point attempts was Wisconsin) and turnover rate (best in the conference). As I said, defensively he's adequate; nothing more, nothing less. Which is much better than he was as a freshman, and which in no way makes up for how terrible he is offensively. He's a 'B' defender and a 'D' offensive player.

Low Key Recidivist

January 30th, 2014 at 6:22 PM ^

Don't think it was between Levert and Della Valle but DV and Spike.  But I'm not so sure that UM didn't decide to go with Spike, feet dragging or not.  

That aligns with JB's comments to Spike that he'll either make him look like a genius or get him fired.  Plus DV is basically a very poor man's Stauskas who's never seen a shot he doesn't like, certainly not anyone who can run the point; UM was looking for a point guard to bridge the gap between Burke and Walton; as I recall, Burke hadn't decided whether to come back at the time the recruitment was taking place.



January 30th, 2014 at 1:05 PM ^

Have you ever played a pickup game of basketball, where one team has all the good players and the other team's a bunch of scrubs? And for some inexplicable reason, when it's so clear the other team's a bunch of scrubs, the good team settles for crappy shots and finesse stuff instead of just going after it? And for some reason, nothing seems to fall for the "good" team, and the scrubs stay in the game?

That's NW in a nutshell. They simply allow a lot of mid-range shots, are sort of OK at defending the rim, and man up on the "good" shooters. Other than that, it's like an in-game regression to the mean, where NW just craters the mean by being so terrible offensively. I don't think it's so much their "elite" defense as it is the other team playing lazy against a clearly overmatched opponent, and settling for what NW gives them. 


January 30th, 2014 at 1:10 PM ^

about what a genius Matta is for a while. But in re: Gibbons, I'm sort of feeling that as unhappy as I am that somebody who clearly did something crappy to a woman continued to play, the basic explanation sorta basically explains it. (Almost more interested in hearing about Lewan.)

These guys won Michigan football games, though; that seems incontestible. 


January 30th, 2014 at 8:43 PM ^

Shannon Scott over Trey Burke despite Trey is in his backyard.  OSU never offered him.  Obviously, Trey committed to PSU but coaching depature has changed things. Luckily, he committed to Michigan after it.  Michigan really lucked out on that recruiting.  If the coach hadn't left for Navy, Trey would be playing for PSU. 


January 30th, 2014 at 1:17 PM ^

Could it be that Coach B is just better at developing players?  I've never really been impressed with Matta's ability to develop players on the offensive end.   Matta's teams at OSU seem to usually have one real good scorer and a decent supporting cast .  Their defense is usually very good.  This year though, they seem to be missing that good go-to scorer. 

Maybe Lavert wasn't necessarily the better guy than ADV, it's just that Coach B has done a better job of developing and getting the most out of Lavert than Matta has with ADV.


January 30th, 2014 at 1:46 PM ^

Michigan didn't so much CHOOSE LeVert over ADV as they didn't bother to wait around for him.  ADV was offered first and Michigan wanted him, but he was touring around mulling things over while Caris was ready to go.  Bird in hand.

Had ADV come here I fully believe he'd be a comparable player to LeVert. His skillset probably wouldn't fit quite as well on this team, maybe he'd just be Nik's backup, but I think he'd be a better player than the guy you see on OSU.  Ditto for most other guys M wanted but ended up elsewhere (Prather, Zeigler, McCallum, Lubick, etc.)

In other words - I agree.  Beilein is really the whole package:  A+ for player development, A for talent identification, A+ for character/leadership, A for strategy.  His only weakness is with closing the deal on recruits (especially elite ones) - but when your Plan B is guys like Tim Hardaway, Plan C is Caris LeVert and Plan D is Spike welll...the downside to getting the first guy you offer isn't so bad.


January 30th, 2014 at 1:25 PM ^

...Michigan can release much about the Gibbons investigation.   20 USC 1232g(b)(6)(C) goes on to say this:


(C) For the purpose of this paragraph, the final results of any disciplinary proceeding-

(i) shall include only the name of the student, the violation committed, and any sanction imposed by the institution on that student; and

(ii) may include the name of any other student, such as a victim or witness, only with the written consent of that other student.

(I added the emphasis on "only.")



January 30th, 2014 at 1:44 PM ^

In the criminal world, that's still unconstitutional. 

Per Justice Stevens in Carnell: "Laws that lower the burden of proof and laws that reduce the quantum of evidence necessary to meet the burden are indistinguishable in all meaningful ways relevant to the concerns of the Ex Post Facto Clause."

However, since this is not a criminal proceeding, the Ex Post Facto Clause does not apply.


January 30th, 2014 at 4:24 PM ^

I think you are misreading FERPA.  The cited provision is referencing Title 18, which involves "Crimes and Criminal Procedure."  The way I read it, the University may only disclose such information on a disciplinary proceeding if the student is an alleged pepetrator of any crime in addition to the allegations being levied against him the Univeristy.  This makes some intuitive sense as the public availability of the charges against him would mitigate a concern for student privacy.

Brendan Gibbons is not an alleged perpetrator of any crime of violence (defined at 18 U.S.C. 16) or nonforcible sex offense.  Accordingly, I still don't think UM can discuss his expulsion.

French West Indian

January 30th, 2014 at 1:37 PM ^

The corporate takeover of the University means that the President, Regents and Athletic Director are all likely alien reptoid Annunnaki.  They clearly conspired with Gibbons to keep him on the football team until his usefulness was over and then hid under the cover of the new sex laws to protect their diabolical "Sugar" Bowl win (which wasn't real sugar but probably high fructose corn syrup as a substitute and we totally fell for it!)

Hoke, like most of the fans, are just pawns in this scheme and we should all just go back to slaving away at our  own business as if nothing happened because it's not like they are going to invite us on their spaceships back to planet Nibiru when the Earth is finally destroyed.  We're f'ed so we might as well just keep watching the games.

PS...I just put my life at risk by telling the truth so if I disappear now then you'll all know waht happened to me.  Be well my Wolverine friends.