Unverified Voracity Thumps Tigers

Submitted by Brian on November 22nd, 2011 at 11:30 AM


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NOM. So this was weird.


"This program's been starving for a while," Robinson said Monday. "It's time for us to make something happen.

"We've been starving. It's time for us to eat."


Michigan hasn't beaten the Buckeyes since 2003, when Robinson still was in the seventh grade at Deerfield Beach Middle School.

"Oh man, that's crazy!" Robinson said.

Kablam. Memphis: you officially suck worse than Western Illinois. Sorry.

This would likely not be true if Trey Burke wasn't as horrendously underrated as Tim Hardaway was last year. Check the postgame presser transcript at UMHoops for Trey Burke's opinion on that item.

The constant referencing of five-star Joe Jackson makes the lines to read between less than cryptic. Good thing Rivals dumped him lower after his Ohio Mr. Basketball high school season. Credibility: shot. ESPN is currently the worldwide leader in Michigan-basketball-related recuiting cred.

Anyway. Big win against a team whose flaws won't be exposed much against a Conference USA schedule and should end up a nice neutral-site feather in the cap when it comes tourney time. Most impressive aspect of it: defensive rebounding. Even with Morgan out big chunks of the game and Michigan playing with Smotrycz at the 5 a for a not-inconsiderable period of time, Michigan rebounded something like 80% of Memphis misses. That should mitigate your otherwise understandable Smotrycz frustration.

Chad Ford checked the game out and reported back on a couple of players the NBA finds notable. On Burke:

What stood out most was Burke's poise in the face of an athletic and aggressive defense from Memphis. A number of NBA scouts are keeping a close eye on Burke. While he's not an elite draft prospect yet, the potential -- thanks to a great NBA body, quickness and poise -- is there.

    On Hardaway:

Hardaway grew an inch to 6-foot-6 this summer, but where he's really grown is in his shot selection. Last season, Hardaway shot 42 percent from the field. He's now at 49 percent for the season and is playing under control more and more. While scouts saw him as a marginal pro prospect coming into the season, they are warming to him. Several told me after Michigan's practice on Saturday that they were impressed by his maturity and leadership. If he keeps playing like this all week, he could be a potential late first-round pick.

I've heard that the Hardaway plan is three and out, which makes sense in that context. Establishing yourself as maybe a late first rounder is usually not a reason to leave unless you're jumping into the weakest NBA draft in a long time, like Morris.

Ford also pointed out the various massively ranked Memphis players who struggled against Michigan, particularly post Tarik Black, who "should have dominated the Michigan bigs." He made one field goal.

Beilein owned Josh Pastner, which makes sense. Pastner is a glorified agent. Seriously:

"We're not a big zone team," said Memphis coach Josh Pastner, whose team went 19-for-57 from the floor. "(Michigan is) very good at what they do."

That is not about Memphis playing zone. It's about them playing against it. Josh Pastner: agent.

Other Memphis items: UMHoops recap and a David Merritt photo gallery. Michigan plays Duke at 7 tonight.

Seniors. The Daily on Michigan's seniors:

“There were rumors that Denard (Robinson) was going to transfer,” said fifth-year senior defensive end Ryan Van Bergen. “There was going to be people going all over the place. Everybody was going to jump ship.”

“We’ve seen it before — we saw it when coach (Lloyd) Carr left and Rich Rodriguez came in — where everyone who was on that swing fence, where they could either leave or stay, they left,” added fifth-year senior center David Molk. “And we kind of disbanded as a team. And it wasn’t good for our team in a lot of ways.”

In early January, Van Bergen and Molk called a team meeting to make sure everyone bought in — not to a coach, but to themselves.

“We didn’t really have (a coach),” Van Bergen said. “There was speculation it was going to be the coach from Stanford or LSU. And we’re just like, ‘We need to stick together. Whatever happens, we’ve got a good thing going that people don’t necessarily see.’

“We wanted to see this thing through.”

One more win.

We be having the moneys. Random bit of an enormous XKCD chart on money:


Injury whine. I try not to use the word whine, but Nebraska complaining about Michigan simulating injuries in Saturday's game is a straight-up no-evidence whine about getting annihilated. Michigan had all of two defensive injuries on Saturday. Jordan Kovacs went out. Kovacs:

  • is one of Michigan's best players
  • did not return for the rest of the drive
  • was clearly getting attended to on the sideline
  • had been on the field for like twenty plays all game because of Nebraska's offensive incompetence

Sure, that's definitely an injury Michigan faked. The other one was Brennen Beyer; I watched that happen from the stands and knew he was hurt as soon as it happened. This is not MSU falling over and winking about it in the postgame.

Why you should not be mad at Borges for Illinois. Is anyone? Probably not. In case you are, this bit from A Lion Eye in a post containing various items on their impending coach search emphasizes the wind conditions in Champaign:

Wind.  It plays a role in 60% of the games played in Memorial Stadium.  There are no hills in east central Illinois, and because of that, the wind rolls in off the plains unabated.  And the design of the stadium doesn’t help – the balconies concentrate the wind towards the center of the field.

As head football coach, I will make that wind my obsession.  The wind is there for nearly every October and November game, so when those games arrive, my team will have an advantage. 

I will have had my quarterbacks work on giving it a little extra and taking a little off.  I will train my punters to read the flags and set their angle accordingly.  And my returners – yes, I will pull my returners out to practice on a windy day, put them on the turf inside the stadium, and have each and every one of them learn how far a ball will drift (or die) because of the wind.  My kickoff returners will be ready at the 20 instead of the 8, my punt returners will never let a ball sail over their heads, and my field goal units will be well-versed in the wind swirl that sometimes happens at the south endzone.

Michigan played Illinois on a particular windy day even for that section of the country; after the MSU game and the way the defense set up against the Illini offense any complaints about play selection are complaining for complaining's sake.

Penn State bowl apocalypse scenario. I wondered why Jerry Palm had Penn State in the Hawaii bowl when they're going to be 9-3 at worst; Ryan Terpstra pointed out an article on CBS sports suggesting bowls will look at the Nittany Lions like poison.

I thought that was silly because this is not 'Nam. There are rules. Rules that I thought would preclude the Big Ten bowls from selecting a 7-5 team over a 9-3 team. There is a rule, but not one strong enough to help Penn State out:

CITRUS BOWL — Can select any eligible team after the BCS except a team that has two fewer wins or two more losses than another eligible team.

OUTBACK BOWL — Can select any eligible team after the Capital One Bowl except a team that has two fewer wins or two more losses than another eligible team. BUT if a second Big Ten team moves up to the BCS, the two-win/loss differential no longer applies.

There are no rules past those two bowls. Penn State is boned since Nebraska and the title game loser will be more attractive candidates.

Even so, I'll believe someone takes Purdue over Penn State when I see it and if I was Delany I'd be leaning on the Fiesta Jr. or Gator to take the Nittany Lions. Dropping them out of the bowl selection order will hurt the league's bowl slate and probably their record.

Worst cheer ever. You know that thing Akron State does when they sing about how they don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan? Yeah, somewhat dumb. One percent as dumb as this in the aftermath of Tennessee's OT win over Vandy:

The team goes on to sing, "Don't give a damn for the whole school of Vanderbilt, the whole school of Vanderbilt, the whole school of Vanderbilt. Don't give a damn about the whole school of Vanderbilt, we're from Tennessee." Catchy, right?

Tennessee would like you to know that their pathological hatred for Vanderbilt extends to the entirety of… Vanderbilt.

The game, understood. Ramzy on the weekend:

The reality is that like Notre Dame, Michigan has long been everyone's rival, and that's fine for everyone. But Michigan - not the recent odorous, incompetent Michigan, but the traditional pain-in-the-ass Michigan - cannot reciprocate. It can have big national games, it can even have a state championship, but it can only have one arch-rival.

Hoke understood that, and he's given each opponent the appropriate focus and esteem. This isn't great news for Ohio State, who had made this rivalry one-sided in part because Tressel also understood the philosophy that Hoke has clearly embraced.

He is now at the brink of a ten-win season in what had been scheduled to be a year of cleaning up the wreckage of the last three years. Neutralize Ohio State to end his first run and the tone for the Hoke era is established. It would be the ultimate validation of his stewardship and confirmation of his methods.

Should Michigan lose - as an 8.5-point favorite at home to an Ohio State team that is as listless as it is lacking any cohesion - then not only is Hoke's eventual legend weakened, but the success of the 2011 season will be questioned.

This game is ripe for Michigan to take, and convincingly. Failing to do so would lacerate healing wounds. Schembechler won his first Ohio State game. So did Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr. Rodriguez did not, annually losing in a disastrous manner so abysmal it practically had style points.

Whole thing recommended.

Tagged. OSU's Mirror Lake, where people will jump in stuff on Friday:


Via a reader. SWAT teams are been deployed to erase this as we speak.

Etc.: Alumni Association interview with Desmond Howard. Dave Brandon talks economics and stuff, but the Daily's four page transcript gives you access denied after page one. WSJ bombs Paterno with an interview with a "former chief disciplinarian" who Paterno got fired for wanting to, like, discipline people and stuff. Rich Rodriguez hired at Arizona.



November 22nd, 2011 at 11:56 AM ^

The injury complaint is maddening. I don't know if it's too distracting from a UFR viewing, but maybe someone can mesh their memory with mine - it seemed to me there were a LOT more Nebraska players injuried enough to stop the clock and get a tv timeout than there were Michigan players going down.  Now, I thought all of the Huskers injuries were legit, and didn't have any problem with it. But it seemed like the game was delayed a lot more for them than us.  And yes, sometimes when our offense was rolling (which was most of the day, so it wasn't hard...complain about that fake Bo).  So to say we were faking, while all their stoppages were "real injuries" is kinda ridiculous. And insulting.

Considering the only times their offense wasn't stopped was when we had 3 defenders fall down; turned it over in our own territory (and actually pushed them back); and when a 196 yard punt put us back inside the 10, we could have started shooting our own defensive players when they went down and they still would have needed a month to score.  I mean, their first string couldn't score on our second string at the end.  I'd be more worried about that...but I don't think the Big Ten can legislate against sucking.

Edit: The Penn State article is interesting, because the suggested Hawaii bowl game makes sense because most media outlets other than the majors would be too cheap to send anyone all the way out there to cover it...and even those that have to would send less people, so less "noise."  Still think PSU would be better to escape the scrutiny and decline a bowl bid this year. But conference $$$ will probably override that.


November 22nd, 2011 at 12:26 PM ^

I think the most common excuse you hear from spread teams that fail to execute is that they can't get into a rhythm. There were two times all game that Nebraska got into a rhythm offensively. On one, Kovacs got hurt. On the other, our defense called time out. I was really impressed that they were able to realize they were out of sync and needed to make adjustments. We came back from the time out and stopped that drive. That never happened under GERG because we were constantly out of sync. 


November 22nd, 2011 at 12:56 PM ^

I was listening to the radio call while watching the game, and Brandstatter went into a lengthy bit praising Kovacs for deliberating getting an injury timeout to slow Nebraska's momentum during that one drive. He wasn't claiming that Kovacs was faking an injury, but that he went down instead of limping off the field to force a stoppage in play. I don't know how it looked in the stadium, but on TV that's exactly the way it appeared to me. 

I'm not taking Nebraska's side here. Kovacs was clearly hurt--he wasn't faking an injury. But he may have been faking how severe it was in an attempt to stop Nebraska's momentum.


November 22nd, 2011 at 1:05 PM ^

What he was saying was rather than staying in and playing injured, and risk getting beat, or hobbling off the field and having someone substituted in late, he fell down and allowed the defense to get set with a healthy defender.

And in the Stadium, he hobbled, tried limping off, stopped with hands on hips, went to a knee, then went down.  Could he have gotten off? Probably. Would it have meant some other player scrambling to get into the game and on the field? Definitely.

It all became something because Spielman opened his stupid trap during the game. I was there, so I didn't know what people were complaining about him (and Meyer), but after watching the replay, I saw what everyone was talking about. They were infuriating.


November 22nd, 2011 at 1:18 PM ^

That is one well written article. Better than any pre-game one we will see in the MSM. Between Brian and Ramzy they both write better than any newspaper sports columnist around.


November 22nd, 2011 at 3:17 PM ^

And I would say we do much less in the corporate sponsor area than virtually any other college program that I know of. And certainly in the Big Ten.

“And the reason we do much less — we are pretty much the same as everybody with hockey; we’re the same as everybody with basketball. But the thing that distinguishes us as particularly different is we don’t allow advertising in Michigan Stadium. And that’s at a cost.

“In fact, based on what happens at Ohio State and Penn State and the bigger venues in our conference, if we were to decide to display advertising opportunities or commercial advertising opportunities on those video boards in Michigan Stadium, it would probably generate somewhere between five and six million dollars of incremental general. Which, for a $125 million business would be huge.

“So there’s a part of me that would like to do that. But there’s another part of me that knows I’d need police protection to get back and forth to work. Because, I’m a big believer, Sam Walton said, ‘If you don’t know what to do, ask your customer.’ And every bit of customer research that we’ve done with our fan base at Michigan Stadium tells us, ‘We’ll pretty much put up with everything but please don’t play commercials and please don’t commercialize the place.’

“So I’ve made a silent deal with out ticket holders and that is, I won’t put advertising in there and I’ll walk away from those revenue streams, but I’ve got to keep increasing your ticket prices. Because I have to be competitive. 


November 22nd, 2011 at 3:49 PM ^

Did Lloyd Carr go 1-5 against OSU (under Tressel) b/c he didn't "position Michigan as Ohio State's challenger" or didn't run a "program with a purpose"?  Did he not sufficiently recruit the state of Ohio?  Did he not "get" the rivalry?

This type of garbage like "Hoke's given each opponent the appropriate focus and esteem" has little to do with whether Michigan will beat OSU this weekend.  You know what will - something else mentioned in the article - that outside the crazy win over Wisconsin, OSU has beat five teams with a grand total of 12 wins.  They are not a good football team w/o Tressel and Pryor. 

Contrast all this Ramzy verbiage with our loss this year to MSU - did Hoke not properly focus on MSU, want to give up primacy in the state of Michigan etc and that's why we lost 28-14?  Or was it maybe Michigan simply got outplayed by a team that was better prepared, at home, and executed at key moments (both in terms of coaches and players)?

The UM-OSU rivalry is very important.  It is true an OSU win would, in many ways, validate OSU's season and cast a cloud over Michigan's.  Ramzy's words do a good job of at least expressing that. 

But Michigan will want to win this Saturday just as much as they wanted to win last year and the 10 years before that.  But they SHOULD win this Saturday b/c we have a significantly better team than them and are playing at home -- not b/c Hoke refers to them as "Ohio", has a countdown clock or anything like that.  That should be "understood."


November 22nd, 2011 at 4:27 PM ^

you were in the guy's corner for 3 years (rightly so, in my mind, until the Gator).  I know 3&Out and all, but...

You're happy for the kid, right?  He looks happy in the AD photo


November 23rd, 2011 at 10:29 AM ^

Well we do have a big game coming up this week, maybe Brian's just waiting until after this weekend to put a piece on it.

And a few people have already said this, but I bet one of the biggest debates here on the blog the next few years will be whether to mark "Arizona Football" OT or not