BTN Big Ten Geeks: Best defenders in the Big 10

Submitted by Indonacious on January 28th, 2013 at 1:38 PM

There is a surprise selection for best big 10 defender, according to the "stops" metric utilized...Jordan Morgan!

McGary also scores very well, with only his tendency to foul holding him back.

At the very's an interesting read and underscores jordan morgan's importance to the team's rotation.



January 28th, 2013 at 1:53 PM ^

appreciated by UM fans, as this helps to confirm. He's also--for the third year in a row--among the top two players in field goal percentage in the B1G at the moment. Something about the guy doesn't translate for people, and I'm stumped as to just what it is. Incredible overachiever, valiant like hell under fire, and getting his freaking engineering degree in four years--what's not to admire about this kid? Is it just that he's not some classic NBA-style dominant center? 

Young John Beilein

January 28th, 2013 at 3:11 PM ^

Eloquently put.  Maybe it's because his dad didn't play in the NBA.  Even Ace and Brian on the podcast last week were calling him "not very athletic" which I roundly reject.  Through hard work he has become a physical specimen who can dunk with ease at 6'8 (maybe) and run the court tirelessly.  Yesterday showed just how difficult it is for our backup bigs to run, especially in a fast paced game.  


January 28th, 2013 at 3:03 PM ^

Completely agree that he is a great player, and very underrated. I've come to appreciate him more and more, but to answer your question I think the thing that frustrated me in the past is just all the wide open bunnies he seemed to miss right at the rim. He had a high field goal % because defenses are preoccupied with Michigan's other talented players and gets easy backdoors or pick & rolls. Easy dunks increase field goal % even if they weren't too hard to come by.

That said, his defense has been very impressive. Once I started paying careful attention to what he does on that end of the floor I have grown to appreciate him more and more. He's not an offensive juggernaut but with Burke, Hardaway, Stauskas, GR3, this team doesn't need another offensive threat, they need a defensive glue guy like Morgan.


January 28th, 2013 at 3:28 PM ^

Regarding the missed bunnies- I know exactly what you felt with all of those, and to be honest I have already felt that numerous times with McGary this year.  Even with fewer occurrences this year I find it more frustrating because it seems like he could be dunking those chances realitively easily.  That said, the improvement has been tremendous and the defensice effort from both is extremely important in order for our team to be successful this year.

Blue in Yarmouth

January 28th, 2013 at 3:16 PM ^

I think it's the lack of flash to his game. I am a Morgan supporter and think he should be in the starting 5, but he certainly isn't a very flashy player (NTTAWWT). I do< however, long for the days of a Chris Webber type big man who blocks shots and dunks everything within 10 feet of the basket.

Anyway, you asked why he doesn't get as much love as he should and that is just why I think people don't always rave about him. He's a solid player, but he does lack that flash that gets people out of their seats.


January 28th, 2013 at 4:03 PM ^

For me, the thing that drives me nuts about Morgan is his hesitancy on offense. He could be soo much more if when he gets the ball in the post he would immediately make a move to the rim. He always (ok, not always, but a lot) seems to either pump fake, allowing the defense to close in on him, or puts it on the floor which forces him to kick it back out or take a contested shot.

He's great on defense, and is an overall efficient player, but he has a lot more potential that remains untapped. IME.


January 28th, 2013 at 5:22 PM ^

Count me as someone who has never failed to appreciate what Jordan Morgan has done for the team.  He might not have stats, but he has great presence.  Michigan used to be weak up the middle, and it hurt them against better teams.  

Jordan Morgan has helped shore up one of the team's biggest weaknesses.  Teams playing Michigan used to have the luxury of ignoring the 5 on defense; now, they have to play honest.  It makes a difference.


January 28th, 2013 at 1:59 PM ^

Love this kid!! (a little biased since he went to my high school)

Morgan gets overlooked because a lot of stuff he does will never show up in the stat sheet.   In additional to the rebounding he gives us, his post defense is excellent (if The Illini had a good post on offense, that could have been trouble) and even on offense, I really think Hardaway/Burke/Stauskas, etc  come off Morgan's screens more open than when any other big sets that screen...So many contributors, I cannot wait for the Tourney this year!!!!

Avant's Hands

January 28th, 2013 at 2:18 PM ^

It's amazing to me how far Morgan has come since his freshman year. The only thing that frustrates me about him is his penchant for missing bunnies when he is being guarded, but I think that is going to be a pretty common problem for college centers. Hope he gets healthy soon.


January 28th, 2013 at 2:23 PM ^

One thing I noticed is Oladipo was the one that left Harris open on a lot of those 3s especially when they were in zone. He is a good on ball defender but he gets out of position quite a bit.


January 28th, 2013 at 2:41 PM ^

Morgan has always had a good motor and he is more than athletic enough for college.  I don't think he's the physical athlete you need to be successful in the pros, but for college his body and abilities are more than enough to be a good player.  I'm happy that people are recognizing him.


January 28th, 2013 at 3:12 PM ^

Stops = steals + blocks x FMwt x (1-1.07 x opp OR%) + DR + (1-FMwt)

"FMwt factors in the relative value of a missed shot compared to a defensive rebound based on the team’s ability to do both."

It's not intended to measure a talent for defense. The formula clearly feels that defense inside is more important that defense on the perimeter. That's not Craft's fault.

Nosce Te Ipsum

January 28th, 2013 at 3:05 PM ^

Love McGary but Morgan does work. I always talk to a friend about the games and they bitch and moan about Morgan starting even though I send them box scores showing the distribution of minutes and how it's about split between the two. I just sent them this link. Speaking of Morgan does anyone know how his ankle is doing?


January 28th, 2013 at 3:44 PM ^

Every Michigan fan should enjoy the time they get to watch Morgan and McGary on this team. They are very different players. Where as McGary's game may be more fun to watch for the average fan, watching the team play D and operate on O with Morgan on the floor is a real treat if you really understand the game. Hopefully we get two years of this, not many college teams have complimenting players like this.


January 28th, 2013 at 6:39 PM ^

I agree that Morgan seems to be underappreciated (by myself as well) as the last line of defense.  While the list merely addresses defense stats, when watching games I feel that McGary collects a large amount of rebounds Morgan does not.  Compund that with the amount of times J-mo seems to get stuck on the block without making a post move, bringing the offense to a crawl, and you can see why the debate is at least logical.


January 28th, 2013 at 9:01 PM ^

Morgan has far surpassed the expectations that services and fans had for him. I don't really buy that he is an elite defender b/c 1) he is not a shot blocker or alterer due to his height 2) not alot of skilled bigs in college these days (only has to matchup w/ Zeller, Mbakwe, and Nix/Payne in conference play; NC State bigs tore us up). 

I think Morgan does about as good as you can ask considering his physical limitations. And I'm damn thankful he's on our team. Great team player and pretty consistent.