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 1:51 PM ^

I was in the Basketball Band from 1995-1997 and during that time loathed the refs as if they were Satan himself - specifically Ted Valentine and Ed Hightower.  Who would have thought that 17 years later we're still using the same referees and asking these old men to run up and down the court and try to officiate the impossible? 

I hate bashing the refs and even partially blaming them for the outcome of a game because I feel like that's one of the stereotypes about Michigan fans that our rivals point to about why we're so annoying.  But in this case it is hard not to be frustrated.....especially when EVERYONE realizes what's going on. 

Even if you ignore the block/charge calls that are impossible to make and usually favor the home team 75% of the time (I thought Burke's was a blocking foul but others weren't), the blatant incompetence astounds me.  The ball that bounced off the WI player's face while he was lying on the ground went to them and the other refs didn't even discuss it.  The Craft flagrant and the OSU goal-tend.  Mind-boggling obvious calls that were blown. 

The stat that tells the story is the 28 2-point shots from Hardaway and Burke (someone can probably find the actual number from inside the paint) with only two free throw attempts.  The consensus POY candidate and the best back-court in the country can't buy a call. 


February 11th, 2013 at 1:54 PM ^

must we live with Ryan's insufferable visiage on the front page yet again? How much longer must you display this most unpleasent site every time we logon, which is way too frequent?

please have pity and do something about this ASAP. I enjoy the content, as much as can be expected what with the fact that the topic itself makes me want to eat poison.

Edit the foto out, or bump, or doodle some black eyes, pirate patch, arrow thru the head, major mustashe. something.

help us out here we suffered with this all last week!


February 11th, 2013 at 2:18 PM ^

He seems like the kind of guy that would be cool to hang with till you put your beer bottle in the "cans" recycling bin, when he would immediatley ragescream, "DONT YOU CARE ABOUT THE DELICATE SORTING EQUIPMENT AT THE RECYCLING CENTER?!? RAAAAGH! YOU CAN'T JUST MIX THIS UP DON'T YOU KNOW CANS ARE SHREDDED AND BOTTLES ARE CRUSHED?!?" Then he would tell you politely that he was pleased you were making an effort for the environment.

Hence the oddly low BRI. He only yelled 30% of the time, but it was 100% of the yelling available.


February 11th, 2013 at 2:16 PM ^

It's the Hate State of the Great Lakes.  Illinoians keep Wisconsin's economy afloat with tourisim, and they're labeled FIBs.  I think they've been pissed off ever since people realized Wisconsin cheese pretty much sucks ass.   


February 11th, 2013 at 2:21 PM ^

Kate Upton, northern pike po' boys, and the thought of Kalis playing alongside Lewan this Spring combine to make the world a better place.  Don't worry, do do do da da da, be happy.

Space Coyote

February 11th, 2013 at 2:57 PM ^

Though he made the shot, Hardaway should have never left 2.5 seconds or whatever on the clock. That wasn't really a big deal because he made it, but in a tie situation like that you don't want allow the other team to get a rebound and get a chance at the win. In this case, maybe he's guarded tighter if he waits and it goes to OT anyway, but nevertheless.


February 11th, 2013 at 3:28 PM ^

I don't know. I liked the shot going up when it did. If he misses it with 2.5 seconds left, you've still got the chance to get a put back and about the best Wisconsin's going to get there is the ball with 2 seconds left (figuring time to control the rebound and call TO) on the baseline out of bounds. Obviously, they made that work for them, but I feel like that the possibility of a put back are greater than the chances of Wisconsin cleanly securing the rebound and scoring at the other end, therefore slightly raising your winning %. 


February 11th, 2013 at 3:47 PM ^

I am a die hard Spartan fan of 50, and truly do hate the wolverines, yet I am drawn to this site over and over to read Brian's posts, and to a lesser extent those of others.  Bo Ryan was Izzo's nemesis for years and I truly hate Wisconsin football and basketball.  Brian's elucidation of this hatred made my day and truly had me cracking up to the point of hysteria.  Keep up the good work truly make a difference in the quality of people's lives and don't let anybody tell you differently.  You obviously know that already but I hope this kudo from the enemy makes your day a little better.

Till we meet tomorrow night!


February 11th, 2013 at 5:38 PM ^

"I thought I'd be better by now; I'm not."  Sounds like it's the same for everyone...but I'm surprised that for most on the board the lingering emotions are aimed at the refs.  I didn't like the officiating, but I still felt like Michigan lost the game.  Why did we stop running plays with 3.00 left?!? 


February 11th, 2013 at 6:02 PM ^

Coach K's BRI is 33%.  He must have the people all over that.  (By the way, it's the same for both "Coach K" and "Mike Krzyzewski")

Coach K's mentor, Bob Knight, 57% for Bob Knight, it goes to 67% on Bobby Knight.

And since I wondered if it applied to football, four examples:

Brady Hoke is about 31.5%

Mark Dantonio is 45%, provided you only count the pictures where we can PROVE he's angry.

Urban Meyer is 14%, but I mean, I can't even decide what emotion is on his face most of the time.

Jim Tressel is 0%.  I wouldn't have believed it, but there it is.

kevin holt

February 11th, 2013 at 10:07 PM ^

Playing Wisconsin is like playing a team of Aaron Crafts. Only good at defense because of how terrible they are at offense, how much the refs look the other way when they are defending, and how punchable their faces are.

I should not have read this albeit amazing post. I am exponentially angrier because now I realize I am not the only one who saw what I thought I saw. Fucking livid right now. I did not realize how much I hate Wisconsin.