Grantland B1G Hoops Preview

Submitted by JeepinBen on November 7th, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Club Trillion (Former OSU Walk-on Mark Titus) has written up his B1G Basketball preview.

He makes the case that the B1G is an Elite Bball conference despite the fact that the B1G hasn't won a National Title since 2000 (that was a clean block!)

He thinks McGary is over-hyped, GRIII is going to be the best pro, and Spike is awesome. His anti-Michigan bias comes through a bit, but in general it's a good read. I'm hoping that McGary can be tournament McGary for the year, but we'll see what happens moving forward.



November 7th, 2013 at 4:32 PM ^

"This is my big hang-up with McGary and why I need to see a lot more from him before I jump on the bandwagon. At times he was the fifth scoring threat on the court for Michigan last season. It's a lot easier to be productive when defenses aren't keying in on you. This season, McGary isn't sneaking up on anybody. Can he be a go-to guy? So many of his points a year ago came from putbacks and drop-off passes from Michigan's guards. Can he create his own offense? Can he make plays that aren't considered "hustle plays"?"


Yinka Double Dare

November 7th, 2013 at 5:47 PM ^

I think the bigger issue is his back. Even if he has zero post moves (which I don't believe -- the bigger issue is whether he's developed a shot out to 15 feet and can make free throws so that he's playable in crunch time) he'll still be one of the better bigs in the country because of being a monster on the boards, an excellent passer (particularly for a big), generates steals that most bigs don't, and motor motor motor.  He'll still get plenty of put-backs even with Burke gone because that's what high-motor rebound machines do.

But he isn't any of that if he's sitting on the bench in street clothes, and a back problem can sap your explosiveness and really put a damper on your motor if he comes back but isn't 100%.  They're notoriously wonky, you think you're fine but you're not and then one false move and it's a setback.


November 7th, 2013 at 4:34 PM ^

the bias does come through a bit. We lost major, major pieces in Tim and Trey, and I don't think anyone can overestimate what they brought to the table.

But we were one of the youngest teams in the country last year, and we managed to do ok. We also have five pretty talented candidates for the sophomore leap, including at least player with no discernable ceiling.

biakabutuka ex…

November 7th, 2013 at 5:32 PM ^

His survey of teams that lost the previous year's POY is the definition of turning correlation into causation. I bet that most of those teams won precisely as many games as they were supposed to, as tends to happen (except of course Kentucky).


November 7th, 2013 at 6:33 PM ^

Is the claim that Michigan did not rely on Burke last year as in a give it to Trey and get the F out of the way. Well we did run a quality offense most of the year, i remember being frustrated in almost all late game situations that boiled down to exactly that.

Sure it worked out in the Tourney, but during the regular season it bit the team in ass a couple times. He may not have dominated the ball like a durant but to say Michigan wont spread more possessions around without him seems a stretch.


November 7th, 2013 at 6:56 PM ^

Yes, Michigan gave the ball to Burke on last second shots, but that does not mean Michigan over-relied on Burke to score.  In fact, it was only for last second shots that they went totally iso with Burke. Burke has a pretty low FGA per game compared to other NPotY.  A quick look at the last 10:

Burke: 14.4
Anthony Davis: 8.4
Jimmer Fredette: 20.7
Evan Turner: 14.7
Blake Griffin: 13.1
Tyler Hansbrough: 12.8
Kevin Durant: 18.5
JJ Redick: 17.9
Andrew Bogut: 12.9
Jameer Nelson: 15.4

The few that are under him are big men.  And that doesn't take into account that Burke had the highest assist per game of any of these guys.  Nelson had 5.3, Turner had 6.0.  Burke had 6.7.  I didn't bother to look up the others because obviously.




November 7th, 2013 at 7:31 PM ^

Yet it would suggest then that his point about losing the NPOY cratering the team the following year would be weakened by that information. If he isn't overly used, despite being the best player in the country he should be easier to replace (than other NPOYs). Despite some late steals, Burke wasn't known as an especially dominant defensive player, which accounts for some of the differences with the big men on that list.

I just find it interesting to make that claim on Grantland, a site famous for championing the Ewing Theory to argue the opposite direction. 


November 7th, 2013 at 7:50 PM ^

Trey Burke and THJ combined for 51.3% of the offensive possession and both are efficient with the ball in their hands.

Burke takes about 28.3% of the total team shots and THJ takes about 24.2% of the total team shots which would combine for over 50%.

It is a big loss in terms of production since they generated over 50% of the offense for the season.  Titus has valid points when questioning Michigan's success this year

biakabutuka ex…

November 7th, 2013 at 8:04 PM ^

He wrote a lot, sure, but I don't think he did enough to correlate any of these teams with Michigan. He didn't even say which of those teams we're most like, because if we're like none of them then there's no conclusion to be made. I actually think we're closer to that Ohio State team than he'd like to admit.

Also, I'm confused why it's a foregone conclusion to him that Texas should have been more successful without Kevin Effing Durant. So...Texas should have benched him that year? The Thunder should get rid of him now? Was I supposed to agree with that? Because I didn't.

And he didn't even look at why teams like Utah and Oklahoma were so much worse the next year (here's a clue: they didn't have future NBA players on their roster).

He's usually a good writer, but the Michigan part flat out didn't make sense to me.


November 7th, 2013 at 4:42 PM ^

I didn't realize that guy got a job writing for Grantland. Good for him. I remember when he went from folk hero to pariah overnight after writing a blog post during the NCAA investigation into the football program that basically said, "if you didn't know football players got free cars and stuff, you haven't been paying attention."


November 7th, 2013 at 5:09 PM ^

A little bit?

I was thisclose to turning into an SEC football–type fan and … gulp … cheering for Michigan in last season's title game just to halt the Big Ten criticism

Michigan might be the most overrated team in America.

Even if the latter were true, it rubs me the wrong way coming from him. I'm much more apt to believe a neutral party (or Michigan affiliated party)--if they were to say Michigan is overrated--than him.

Then he goes on for about the next 3 paragraphs about finishing 3rd in the Big Ten (behind, surprise, Ohio State) and a Sweet Sixteen exit.

Again, all of this would mean more for me if it wasn't someone from OSU.  That said, a lot of it made for a pretty good read.


November 7th, 2013 at 5:06 PM ^

I thought it was a rather fair and critical review all in one. Sorry people he is right about McGary at this point. A great hustler and did benefit from Trey and rebounds. It will be interesting to seew what happens if they choose to run the offense through him.

This team will be like an Izzo team to me, will probably start off slow and sluggish adjusting to life without Trey but come Feb when everything is in tune they could easily make another run.


November 7th, 2013 at 5:21 PM ^

"That Crean was not with Zeller and Victor Oladipo on draft night should tell you something. And Tom Izzo being the only guy in college basketball who seems to have good things to say about Crean should tell you something."

I have to admit that I chuckled some through the section on Crean. He really does seem like an insufferable individual. That aside, I would think that he does get some credit at least for taking on a program that could barely win at all when he got there to the Sweet Sixteen twice in a row. 


November 7th, 2013 at 5:23 PM ^

It wasn't a bad article and he might not be completely off about Michigan in the long run. His reasoning though is very negative and what rubs me the wrong way. A preview of Michigan this year without mentioning Stauskas and Levert should be ignored completely. Yes lossing Trey and Tim will hurt, but that team also had 5  freshmen play (3 starters) that played meaningful minutes. Sophomores aren't that young in College Basketball especially not when they are gifted as GR3 and McGary. The team is going to use 3 starters, 2 highly rated freshmen and 2 guys that proved they can compete at an elite level to replace 2 players. 

With that said, a Sweet 16 exit and a 3rd place finish in the Big Ten is about right for this team and shouldn't be considered under acheiving for a team predicted to finish 2nd in the coference as labeled as the 9th best team. 


November 7th, 2013 at 5:31 PM ^

Great write-up and if you didn't know Titus was a buckeye I don't think you would have detected any bias.

Any full and thorough B10 conference preview would have to talk quite a bit about Aaron Craft.

I was especially impressed with the research on teams that lost the NPotY. 



November 7th, 2013 at 5:41 PM ^

First, 3 out of 9 is not an "outlier" (man, I have been saying that a lot lately).

Second, I don't know about everyone else, but I would be happy with 2nd in Big Ten with sweet sixteen appearance. That is right in line with preseason (lofty) projections. If we can't be happy with that there is something wrong with us.

Colby Jax

November 7th, 2013 at 6:56 PM ^

I think Ohio State will be a little better than Michigan. That's because the Buckeyes' only departure was Deshaun Thomas, and as good as he was last season, LaQuinton Ross should be able to pick up much of the offensive load that Thomas carried. 

This is garbage from Titus. Ross is a junior. If he was capable of carrying the type of scoring load last year that Thomas did, he would have flashed this ability a lot more often than he did over the course of the last two years. This isn't football where guys can grow and come out of nowhere as upper classmen. In terms of offensive skills, if you can ball you can ball. Ross is not their answer.

It's also lazy analysis to just flatly say that "Michigan lost two first round picks" when Hardaway and his streaky scoring (but always shooting) was clearly a liability at times for this team last season. 

Pretty hacky stuff here. I'd much rather read a B1G preview from Pomeroy than White Trash Titus.




November 7th, 2013 at 6:59 PM ^

THJr carried this team many times.  Your comment is much more hacky than the article.

I don't know Ross that well, but if your analysis is "if you can ball you can ball and he didn't ball his sophomore year so he won't be able to ball his junior year" then I'm going to trust the guy that knows basketball and knows Ross better than anyone on this board.


November 7th, 2013 at 6:54 PM ^

The Crean hotseat talk surprised me.  I understand the logic, but Crean is pulling steady talent as good as any time in Indiana's history.  Indiana has become the Kentuckey of the B1G. 


November 7th, 2013 at 7:36 PM ^

Completely disagree about McGary vs. Robinson. People are saying Burke created all of McGary's baskets but if anything he created more shots for Robinson. Robinson's shots have either been assisted threes or assisted dunks. He is an incredible athlete with a solid, hopefully improving, shot but to date, hasn't shown any ability to beat his man off the dribble. I'd say Nik and Levert are both more capable. People just think he looks the part (not to mention he has the right last name) with his body type and freakish hops.

If you want to question whether McGary can continue playing at a level as he did in the tourney, fine. But his level of play in the tourney was outstanding. Not only does he make all the hustle plays, he can lead a fastbreak, he was developing a midrange jumper, and could beat a man from the free throw line. He's very athletic and has great body control. There's a good reason why he's preseason all american. If he's healthy this year, he's the reason I think our team is a little underrated at the moment. 


November 7th, 2013 at 7:37 PM ^

but I also don't think that who wins (or doesn't win the national championship) determines which conference is best. Faulty logic. The ACC/B1G challenge, although not foolproof, is a better argument.


November 7th, 2013 at 10:32 PM ^

Spike, Levert, McGary, and GR3 all were key pieces to our run.  I thought Burke was really good, but do not understand how we're going to crumble this year without him when we did fairly well when Spike and Levert were in against VCU, Florida, Syracuse, and Louisville 1st half.  If there's an overrated team, it's Ohio.  They have Aaron Craft who is only really good on defense and nobody else now that Deshuan Thomas is gone.