Vanguard Of The Bug People

Submitted by Brian on February 11th, 2013 at 12:10 PM

2/9/2012 – Michigan 62, Wisconsin 65 (OT) – 21-3, 8-3 Big Ten


Bear with me here. What if Bo Ryan is actually from a small swampy planet in the general vicinity of Rigel?

His homeworld is a dire place full of pincered things with sensory appendages strongly reminiscent of tentacles covering their heads. If you carefully prepare the tentacles such that they are held in place they can resemble hair. They are an angry species, prone to fits of helpless rage. They have a legalistic bent; they take immense pleasure in exploiting their system of justice to temporarily soothe their seething hearts by jailing enemies on technicalities while escaping their crimes on other technicalities. Their only ethic is victory, no matter how appalling the method of its acquisition. Placed in the earthly taxonomic system they are technically bugs. They have a swampy game called swampball.

Bo Ryan is here on  a mission. He is here to prepare the planet for eventual conquest by making viewers of his particular brand of swampball clones of himself: legalistic raging things who feel like their hair cannot be real, who can only clasp and unclasp their grasping apparatuses helplessly in the face of an unfeeling monolith of miscarried justice. Once prepared adequately, victims of this process will hardly notice when the nations leaders shed their disguises and reveal themselves as horrible chittering pedants from another world.

I'm not saying this admittedly fanciful scenario is true. I'm saying that if it was, not one damn thing about Wisconsin basketball would be any different. To watch the Badgers is to both hate and become Bo Ryan.


This game made me crazy. Michigan acquired all of two free throws in forty-five minutes and Dan Dakich had spent most of the last minute pleading for anyone to use their bounty of spare fouls; both teams tried and neither could. In Michigan's case, they screwed up. In Wisconsin's, they hacked away but could not get the refs to acknowledge it.

For the bug-people to lose on that would have been justice. There is no justice.

Instead Michigan got that running half-court to force overtime and a spectacular series of no-calls—Nik Stauskas getting hacked from the side and then not touching the ball, getting neither a foul or the out of bounds call, Jared Berggren slapping at Mitch McGary's arms so hard it was audible on the broadcast—continued until finally Michigan slunk off the Kohl Center court, grasping their suddenly unreal hair and wondering how to do anything other than clench their fists.

I felt paranoid watching all of this. It was a temporary window into the world of a 9/11 truther, seeing what looked like an insane conspiracy by Big Ten refs to keep Bo Ryan in their ears, screaming unprintable things about their mothers. A full half-dozen of the calls they made seemed literally impossible, from the two mentioned above to another breakaway layup that Burke missed because a dude hit him on the head and the charge Burke took on Berggren late that went the other way for a critical three-point play. Am I sane? I thought we got a fair whistle at Indiana. I did think that.

I thought I'd be better by now; I'm not. I hated every minute of watching that, don't understand most of those calls, and find it impossible to believe that this has been happening for years. It sucks for the league, both aesthetically and when a team that got worked by every decent nonconference opponent suddenly starts winning a ton of Big Ten games.

I feel irrational about it and incapable of not being irrational about it, and then something else happens and I feel that the only thing irrational here is the ENTIRE DAMN CONSPIRACY and feel like finding a town hall meeting about building an apartment complex proposal and telling them all about the things I know to be true about the Wisconsin Illuminati.

At least I'm not alone. Anonymous Big Ten coaches are also considering informing their local governments about the threat:

If you set a pick, they take a dive. They cheat the game. Everybody raves about this defensive juggernaut, but that's bull. They dribble the clock out and mug you out of the building. Part of the reason they lost to Cornell and Davidson is because when you get into the tournament, refs outside the Big Ten don't fall for that.

I found that randomly looking for a picture of Bo Ryan, and this is what Google Image Search looks like for Bo Ryan:


A window into a twisted soul.

I don't understand anything about this and don't want to talk about it anymore; I can't imagine being a ref in a game coached by the above guy and actually being on his side, and yet here we are, considering a half-court shot and two free throws. Take me, swamp people of Rigel. You win.


Haters. You know who invented "haters gonna hate"? Hitler. Don't even get me started, Badger fans. Hate is a critical emotion that keeps things like Wisconsin basketball in check.

Yeah, I Godwin'd myself. Necessary.

THE BO RYAN INDEX. Take the first three rows of Google Image Search and calculate in what percentage of those shots is the coach looking enraged, incredulous, furious, or otherwise unpleasant to referees or his team. Bo Ryan's Bo Ryan Index: 65%, and I think some of the misses could be sarcastic smiling.

John Beilein…


…checks in at 25%, give or take a shot of Glenn Robinson III and how you interpret the pointing picture second from the left on the top (I filed that as a hit).

Tom Izzo's BRI is shockingly low:


I've got that at 19% and there are a couple borderline shots filed under rage with no borderline ones going the other way.

I love Bill Carmody's BRI:


It is zero, has a half dozen shots that remind me of Conan O'Brien, and includes a photoshopped Magnum PI mustache.

Like assist rate, BRI is something you want to be in the middle of possible distributions. Too high and you are a bug-man from Rigel; too low and you're not winning a lot of games.

THE BILL CARMODY INDEX: how many times on Google Image Search does your coach make a gesture of helplessness—for instance palms-up pleading or facepalming? Bill Carmody's BCI: 30%.

The prayer. In college basketball there is no reason for that ball to even get inbounded. The NBA rule where fouling on the out of bounds is two shots and the ball does not exist, so grab away on the out of bounds and send the opponent to the line. Also Beilein has to start guarding the inbounder. Mitch McGary would have been a lot more useful obscuring vision and making passes more difficult than ending up at the free throw line and then under the basket.

That said, most of that stuff gets filed under shit happens. That's, what, a 2% shot? Kenpom has Wisconsin's win probability there at 1.2%. Double that for successfully getting the ball to halfcourt, and…

To me the real error in the last minute of regulation was Burke stepping in and trying to draw that charge. Setting aside that he absolutely did, Michigan was up three and the shot clock was about to turn off. In that situation, anything other than a three puts you on the line trying to secure the win. The play there is to prevent all potential threes and if they get a drive to the hoop, just let them score.

The other option on that possession was refusing to let the Badgers even get into their offense by eating up a bunch of fouls and then putting Evans on the line, but that would require precise timing to not give Wisconsin a two-for-one. That possession started with around a full minute on the clock, and Wisconsin used most of the shot clock before getting their rage-inducing block/charge coinflip.

Morgan: missed. Horford killed Michigan in the opening minutes, going 0/3 from the floor and turning the ball over. Wisconsin was playing off the bigs and inviting them to shoot; Morgan is good at converting those opportunities and McGary came in to hit a couple buckets, forcing Wisconsin to adjust. Add in Glenn Robinson's continued struggles and not having Morgan as an option was probably decisive.

Bielfeldt did provide Michigan with some production; he was only 1/3 from the floor but picked up a couple of offensive rebounds and an assist in 18 minutes split about two thirds at the four and one third at the 5—it said volumes about Horford's rough night that Michigan put Bielfeldt out there as Michigan's only big for crunch-time minutes against Jared Berggren. Bielfeldt did about as well as he could against his much bigger defensive assignment, forcing a couple of tough jump shots that went down.

McGary: the usual plus a bonus. 6/10 from the floor and at least a couple of those were jumpers that looked smooth as they went down. Adding that to his arsenal is a minor bonus. Michigan won the board war and picked up another 2-0 advantage in team rebounds; McGary picked up a block and three steals. I wonder if the minutes will revert to a 50/50 split when Morgan returns.

Sure that's likely. Burke and Hardaway combined for 28 two point attempts and got two free throws out of them.

Robinson: scuffling. Four points on five shots and just three rebounds in 33 minutes. This is now a trend, a worrisome one. Shut off Michigan's transition and rebound and Robinson goes away. Not sure what Michigan can do about it—this is the downside of a guy who scores a quiet 15 points every night. When he goes actually quiet you can either change the stuff you do or live with it.

Wisconsin prevents threes? Michigan got off 18, which is a reasonable number, but OT + low turnovers means they also put up 53 twos—acquiring two free throws on these attempts. 25% of Michigan's shots came from behind the line then, and that's where they lost the game, hitting just five. Wisconsin was 9/23 on reasonable attempts and of course had the prayer.

Stauskas's reversion to the mean is getting rough. He was 1/5 on the night and IIRC they were all at least decent looks. He did carry Michigan through a rough spot in the first half with a couple of assists and his one make; just five points from him in 39 minutes, though. Michigan is leaning on Burke and Hardaway hard as the defenses toughen up and it's hard for two guys plus bigs rolling to the basket to be an elite offense.

"Unfortunately, we could not get to our other creatively homophobic cheers." Aaand on Michigan's two free throw attempts the student section "Trey Burke swallows." Just imagine what they would have had in store had Michigan gone to the free throw line more than twice.

HORSE: you failed us. In a shooting contest, Michigan did not win. I have sadness.

Caris: HANDS UP. The decisive Brust three featured a closeout by Caris LeVert with his hands at his sides late in the shot clock against Ben Brust, who shoots more threes than twos, was 0/3 from two in this game, and 3/6 from three including the game-tying prayer against one Caris LeVert. Cumong man.



February 11th, 2013 at 12:28 PM ^

If there is one thing I cannot stand about watching basketball games its seeing the coaches act like idiots on the sideline.  Creen at IU and this d-bag at Wisconsin are so animated that it almost makes me want to turn off the TV.  Seriously, standing up is fine but some of the antics are ridiculous.  That Google Image search speaks volumes.  I'm just thankful that Michigan has a normal coach (extraordinary coaching skill, normal demeanor).

Ali G Bomaye

February 11th, 2013 at 12:37 PM ^

I was astonished at how much contact Wisconsin was able to get away with.  Not only the obvious stuff, like hard reach-ins or mid-air contact on layup attempts, but arm-bars on guys trying to drive on the perimeter.  Every single time Burke tried to drive, his man would grab him or put an arm in front of him.  Which, in every universe except the one in the Kohl Center, is a foul.

Sure, maybe the refs were "calling it evenly" and "letting them play."  But when one team consists almost entirely out of large unathletic jump-shooters, allowing contact certainly hurts the team of athletic slashers more.


February 11th, 2013 at 2:51 PM ^

Am I correct to presume that you've recently returned to watching B1G basketball as Beilein has made UM relevant once more?

Because for the entirety of Bo Ryan's tenure (and Tom Izzo's, for that matter), Wisconsin (and MSU) have done little more than thug it up on the thesis that the refs can't call everything, and eventually they'll learn to stop worrying and love the (uncalled) foul.

kevin holt

February 11th, 2013 at 9:36 PM ^

Yeah, can't they review that shit? Do you mean the time a Wiscy player flopped to the ground, then our player got the rebound and dropped/dribbled the ball off some part of the Wiscy player's body? And the ball shot straight to the sideline which is only physically possible if it went off our guy's foot or their guy, who was right on the ground at the point the ball changed direction?

Yeah, moments like that make me really upset that I live in a house of non-Michigan fans. I can't fucking vent to someone and when I yell, they assume I'm crying wolf or some shit. They saw it with their eyes, but they want to be dicks and pretend I'm not right. I miss my college housemates. I have to text them furiously and it's not the same.


February 11th, 2013 at 12:40 PM ^

to egg Brust's house Saturday night.  His parents live in the same development as my dad and stepmom and apparently they're all friends.  I haven't met the guy, but I was extremely tempted to drive over to my dad's development and bring some eggs saturday.  To have lost a game this way was so heartbreaking and so unncessary.

Question - if the Big Ten's refs suck so horribly that everyone knows it and talks about it, even the color commentators on the games, then why the hell doesn't Delany & co do anything about it?  The officiating I've seen this year has been atrocious.


February 11th, 2013 at 12:49 PM ^

I often wonder about the same thing myself.  However, while home court advantage is definitely a real occurrence, I have to think that the refs allowing Wisconsin to get away with what they do at home to be a huge advantage, paricularly with their style of play.  They are hardly the same team on the road.



February 11th, 2013 at 2:08 PM ^

I've almost gotta think that's ESPN telling him to quit his harping on the officiating.  He was pretty opinionated on them earlier in the season, even Tirico during a few broadcasts would sarcastically say something to the effect of "It's not a broadcast without you nailing the referees".  And then Sunday, he's praising the guys (well, the one in particular, the guy with the Itialian sounding last name).

Kermits Blue Key

February 11th, 2013 at 3:44 PM ^

Mr. Turkentine: Charlie Bucket, how many did you open?
Charlie Bucket: Two.
Mr. Turkentine: That's easy. 200 is twice 100...
Charlie Bucket: Not 200, just two.
Mr. Turkentine: Two? What do you mean you only opened two?
Charlie Bucket: I don't care very much for chocolate.
Mr. Turkentine: Well, I can't figure out just two! So let's pretend you opened 200. Now, if you opened 200 Wonka bars, apart from being dreadfully sick, you'd have used up 20% of 1,000, which is 15% half over again, 10%...  

Mr. Turkentine: Chray Burket, how many did you shoot?
Chray Burket: Two.
Mr. Turkentine: That's easy. 20 is twice 10...
Chray Burket: Not 20, just two.
Mr. Turkentine: Two? What do you mean you only shot two?
Chray Burket: I don't care very much for free throws.
Mr. Turkentine: Well, I can't figure out just two! So let's pretend you shot 20. Now, if you shot 20 free throws, apart from not making Brian dreadfully sick, you'd have used up 20% of 100, which is 15% half over again, 10%... 


February 11th, 2013 at 12:49 PM ^

There was also a sign that said "Wolver-Queens."  It was clever if you're an idiot.

Brian's write-up of the game reads like something written by William S. Burroughs - and I mean that as a big compliment.  It captures the hate that still lingers in my heart for that vile game and that vile team.  I hope so much that Michigan plays them in the Big Ten Tournament.  I want so badly for Michigan to crush them and drive them from their homes and hear the lamentation of their women.


February 11th, 2013 at 4:54 PM ^

For a long period of time, I would watch Michigan football and it would ruin my weekend if they lost.  That cannot not be said of basketball a while ago.   Sure many years ago, the fab five caused me to wear my shorts long and choose number 4 whenever I played on a team.  Over the past few years I would check out a game if they were on T.V. and still cheer and wear my Michigan basketball t-shirt, but I was never too bothered if they loose. I still wanted them to win, but it did not affect my mood for longer than ten minutes.  

I think I picked Michigan basketball up again during Manny Harris' first year.  I hoped that they would somehow reach 20 wins and at least make it to the NCAA tournament and not hear the Not In Tournament overused jokes.  I cheered audibly when they made it.  

Now, Michigan basketball is appointment viewing.  I look forward to the games, and watch them with the same fervor I normally reserve for football.  When the last second Michigan three fell, I got up out of my seat and danced around the room still moving when I saw the heave.  

When I saw the splash of the net, it felt like somebody kicked me in the gut.  I can still feel it.  I had to be careful not to let my mood affect my interaction with my children.

I did not like the way the game was called.  I think Michigan can still do well if they win their home games with so called friendly refs.  But I do think this loss will be worth it if they can beat Michigan State, especially in their place.

Go blue.



February 11th, 2013 at 12:55 PM ^

I so wish Beilein would start saying something about the officiating BEFORE it happens instead of quietly hoping it stops.  I know that's not his style but dammit enough's enough.  I wish he'd go on the record TODAY and start saying publically what everybody saw which is "we got hosed and hosed good by the officials Saturday (again) and I sure as Hell hope Tuesday we get a fair shake in the game."  He should show clips (with audio) of the non-fouls and he should point out the TWO free thows we took despite our frequent drives to the basket.

Maybe if the B1G officials got a bit embarrassed publically they would actually do something about this and not just simply act like it's a non-issue.  Maybe putting them on notice that everybody is watching will help balance the scales just a little bit.    I fear though we wont and come Tuesday night, say about 11:30pm or so, we're going to go through this again cause Breslin is going to be more noisy, more hostile and more intimidating than Ohio State, Indiana and Wisconsin combined and the refs cant handle those home crowds they are likely to shit themselves in fear tomorrow.


February 11th, 2013 at 4:25 PM ^

to finish on those frequent drives to the basket.  I think we got screwed on a few calls on Saturday but the fact is that we missed like 7 layups.  Nobody is finishing.  Morgan usually puts things away when he gets the ball in position but right now everybody is tentative.  It is like they are trying to get the ball out of their hand before something bad happens.  Michigan bigs need to start using better footwork, pump fakes, and making strong certain moves to the basket.  And it is not like ANYBODY is making free throws when we get to the line anyway.  I am pissed too but I am pissed because Michigan let a game slip through their fingers.  That was an incredibly winnable game and they let it get away.  Enough about officiating.


February 11th, 2013 at 12:54 PM ^

I love how Steratore worked that game and then the next day worked a game with 42 fouls including 5 on Craft.  Other two refs weren't the same, so maybe it was them calling all of the fouls.


February 11th, 2013 at 12:58 PM ^

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I thought the Burke charge/block at the end of the game was obviously a block.  I think Burke needs to realize the situation there and just give up the two points.  Eventhough it worked out fine with the Hardaway three the next possession.


The rest of the officiating was terrible though.

The Squid

February 11th, 2013 at 3:53 PM ^

It was a block. Given the way blocks are called now, which is to say that the defender cannot moving laterally at all. It wasn't immediately visible from the main game camera but when they showed it from a different angle, Burke got to a spot and then tried to slide a little more to his left because Berggren had seen him and was going to get by him.

matty blue

February 11th, 2013 at 1:05 PM ^ simply terrific, but man, did his constant blather about the refereeing crew get old.  he usually sees stuff i don't, but this time it was the complete opposite.

...and what is it about wisconsin sports?  between a run-it-up meathead like bielema (and don't think it's going to get any better with andersen, by the way - he's got some bigmouth in him, too), a dickhead like ryan, homophobic chants in the stands and a truly epically douchebaggy marching band, i just want to burn madison to the fucking ground every time we play any sport.


February 11th, 2013 at 1:16 PM ^

I'm surprised Stauskas was able to mantain some composure on the court rush given his animated style, his rough shooting performance and two out of bounds calls that were completely absurd.  First on the missed three, self rebound where a Badgers player dives and takes out both the ball and his feet and secondly the afformentioned botched call at 62 a piece which led to the curshing 3.


Also, if at any point in time you on your television set can hear a slap, I find it difficult to believe the ref 3 feet away can not.

Other Andrew

February 11th, 2013 at 1:22 PM ^

Brian, I believe that place you describe is Venezuela. Not a political comment at all. But if you have ever played any sport against Venezuelans, you know they are fiercly "caradura" competitors, and will work any angle to their advantage.


February 11th, 2013 at 1:33 PM ^

i knew what was going to happen.  I still watched every minute of the wisconsin python slowly constrict the soul from our basketball team and from life itself .  I knew it would ruin my day, which it did, but i watched anyway.  the only comfort i have is that they apply their formula of soul ripping basketball to others in the big ten.

Who is going to stop this disease?  no one, because no one can.  the light is just swallowed by the void, and there is no hope for life where Bo Ryan is concerned.


February 11th, 2013 at 1:36 PM ^

I'm not sweating this loss. It will just make us tougher come March. Tournament games will be officiated more evenly.

Anyway, why was Mitch in the paint and not defending the inbounder? At bare minimum, he should've been helping on one of their best shooters.

As I haven't been able to watch the games, I want to know how Craft fouled out against IU and had no problems against us, even in AA. Was it the officiating or was it something schematic IU did. Surely Burke has to be more difficult to defend than any IU guard.


February 11th, 2013 at 1:38 PM ^

I understand why Bo Ryan makes you mad.


The other option on that possession was refusing to let the Badgers even get into their offense by eating up a bunch of fouls and then putting Evans on the line


This is true, but, in 2011...


CBS Sports - ...The Wolverines (17-12, 7-9 Big Ten) led by two, but Darius Morris missed the front end of a one-and-one with 30.8 seconds remaining. Michigan still had four fouls to give and used them all, forcing Wisconsin to inbound the ball again each time. ...


Bo Ryan's insect race has clearly mastered controling random chance.