Michigan #1 in ESPN Power Rankings

Submitted by Mike Damone on January 15th, 2019 at 7:58 AM

The best summary I have read on this so far by Jeff Borzello at ESPN in putting Michigan at #1 in ESPN's hoops Power Rankings:

There are really only three top candidates right now: Michigan, Tennessee and Virginia.

We'll likely have a more detailed debate come Sunday, after Michigan plays at Wisconsin, Virginia plays at Duke and Tennessee finishes up home games against Arkansas and Alabama, but for now, it goes to Michigan.

The Wolverines arguably have been the nation's most consistent team since the start of the season, with only two of their 15 wins being decided by single digits. They have won 31 of their past 32 games dating to last season, the lone loss coming in the national championship game against Villanova.

Despite all that, they haven't moved to No. 1 at all during that stretch ... until now.

 

Well said and written - Go Blue!

Comments

UMfan21

January 15th, 2019 at 10:03 AM ^

I would argue we actually have several "chinks" in the armor:

-team FT shooting

-Zaviers 3 pts shooting

-lack of depth at the 5

-Bradzekis streaky offense

-struggle against zone defense

But we have enough flexibility and talent in other areas to cover for these so far.  We will eventually lose a game, and I think that will tell us more about this team.  I am interested to see how a team accomplishes this.

 

 

stephenrjking

January 15th, 2019 at 11:49 AM ^

I'd be interested in someone Who Knows taking a deeper dive into this. Teske is a terrific defender in most circumstances. However, we are frighteningly shallow at the 5; elsewhere, Michigan specializes in forcing low-percentage shots.

So I wonder if the strong play of opponent 5s is due to a conscious choice. Either:
1. Teske deliberately going light on the throttle to avoid picking up fouls that could hurt us all game long, or;
2. A deliberate choice to let opposing big men get a bit more run to clamp down on the rest of the opposing offense.

Either of those might be decent choices against most teams. My memory on this isn't great, but it feels like opposing big men aren't getting much success when Michigan throws a double team their way, but often find Michigan declining to do so. Which would favor option 2. 

LostInACoinToss

January 15th, 2019 at 1:37 PM ^

I have been wondering the same thing all season. Excellent analysis as to why this may be happening, SRJK. My thoughts:

3. Could it be both?

4. Do we have proof that Teske is or has ever been a solid defender in iso post up situations? i.e. could it be that he's still developing this part of his game.

Going into the season I think I just assumed he played good iso D in the post. But that's admittedly an assumption, likely bias. My guess is that statistically he's an above average defender overall.

Saludo a los v…

January 15th, 2019 at 2:48 PM ^

Except that is not really true because you are only remembering the few instances in which Michigan has allowed a big to go off against them.

A comment about the information below.  I am using ORTG by opposing bigs rather than a another stat because I am not aware of a good way to measure team defense against a single individual player aside from ORTG.

I took a look at Torvik's numbers and here is a list of opposing bigs who logged more than 15 minutes (so we don't include scrubs benefitting from a small sample), had an ORTG greater than 100 (average performance),  and usage greater than 20% (to exclude guys that just do all their scoring off of putbacks).

NW: Derek Pardon    ORTG: 117.1   Usage: 25.8 (second game)
PSU: Mike Watkins    ORTG: 136.0   Usage: 28.0
NW: Dererk Pardon   ORTG: 132.6   Usage: 24.1 (1st game)
SC: Chris Silva          ORTG: 124.2   Usage: 29.7
PROV: Nate Watson ORTG:  115.0   Usage: 31.1 (in 17 minutes)

 

 

GoBlueSean

January 15th, 2019 at 8:13 AM ^

This team is scary good and what I mean by that is... Even as a huge fan and pulling for them each and every game, I am also afraid of them... Very, very afraid...

1VaBlue1

January 15th, 2019 at 8:15 AM ^

I don't know what is your writing, or if you quoted anything from the story (it's clear you did, but jeez).  What is so hard about using quotes?  I mean, there's a quote mark icon on the toolbar above the comment box, and it works just like MS Word - click the quote icon, type the quoted text, and click the quote icon again.  WTF is so hard about using the tools provided?  They're as basic as basic gets!

You can even get fancy and highlight the quoted text, then click the italicized I on the toolbar, and it will put all of the highlighted, quoted text into italics!

oriental andrew

January 15th, 2019 at 8:22 AM ^

As long as we're complaining about the OP, how about a link?  (also, hint - almost the entire OP is a quote).

http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/25379665/college-basketball-power-rankings

There are really only three top candidates right now: Michigan, Tennessee and Virginia.

We'll likely have a more detailed debate come Sunday, after Michigan plays at Wisconsin, Virginia plays at Duke and Tennessee finishes up home games against Arkansas and Alabama, but for now, it goes to Michigan.

The Wolverines arguably have been the nation's most consistent team since the start of the season, with only two of their 15 wins being decided by single digits. They have won 31 of their past 32 games dating to last season, the lone loss coming in the national championship game against Villanova.

Despite all that, they haven't moved to No. 1 at all during that stretch ... until now.

For the record, UVA also plays AP #9 VT tomorrow night, in addition to Duke on Saturday. UVA wins both those games, I don't think it matters what Michigan does against Wisco. UVA will be the new #1. 

EDIT

UVA and VT play tonight. I thought today was still Monday. Yikes. 

DrMantisToboggan

January 15th, 2019 at 8:29 AM ^

As long as we get a 1 seed in March, any institution can give us whatever ranking suits them right now. Among the other top teams, I really don't fear a Rick Barnes or Tony Bennett team in the tournament. Get us the 1 seed and, if we can get to the finals, I like us against pretty much anyone other than Duke. Yes, Duke just lost at home, but they have so much talent, and Coach K is so great, that I really don't want to see them in the Final Four. If they make it out of the second round they usually are playing on the last weekend. 

Double-D

January 15th, 2019 at 9:02 AM ^

I would like to a avoid Syracuse in our bracket.  I’m sure Beilein would have a good plan but team is designed to upset better teams. 

The MSU matchup story line is beginning to look pretty interesting.  Maybe the most important series to date between Beilein and Izzo.  If we could sweep those guys Izzo might unravel.   

StephenRKass

January 15th, 2019 at 9:02 AM ^

I was curious, so I looked at kenpom to see where it has us. Currently, we are at number 6. Adjusted defense is #3, which is very good. Adjusted offense is currently #20. I'm wondering if the offense is on the rise, but has a ceiling because of Beilein's style of play and the focus on defense? It really doesn't matter. The balance between offense and defense makes a huge difference.

Regarding Duke, they are going to be affected with the loss of their guard. I'm wondering if that shifts the advantage to Virginia in their game this coming weekend.

Michigan, as always, just needs to take care of business. It always has been rough on the road in Wisconsin. This is the first real challenge on the road, and we already almost lost to Northwestern in our first real away game. If we can beat Wisconsin at Wisconsin handily, we might be favored in every game all the way to the last two games.

EDIT:  Just noticed that Dylan at umhoops is predicting Michigan will lose to Wisconsin. Dylan mentions on "The Moving Screen" podcast that Michigan has not had hardly any "tier 1" wins so far this season. The gauntlet is coming up.

J.

January 15th, 2019 at 10:49 AM ^

Well, before their first real away game at Northwestern, they had a fake away game at Villanova.  I seem to remember that went pretty well. ;)

KenPom has Saturday's game basically a coin flip.  Wisconsin has a very KenPom-friendly résumé, though; they've stomped bad teams and lost close games to good teams.  They do have a set of good wins -- vs. Oklahoma on a neutral court, vs. NC State, and at Iowa.  However, they've been absolutely brutal since their surprising loss at Western Kentucky -- they've lost four out of five.  Last night's game was a mess: they were down 33-15 at halftime -- neither team scored for the last four minutes of the first half -- and then they went through a stretch where they seemingly couldn't miss (32 points in 18 possessions) to take the lead, 60-59!  And then they decided they'd scored enough and lost 64-60.

If Michigan can shut down two of Nate Reuvers, Brad Davison, and D'Mitrick Trice, I like their chances.  Let Happ get his points -- preferably, inefficiently -- and try to shut down the outside game.  All three of those guys shoot 38% or better on 3s with a large number of attempts.  But that's easier said than done, particularly in Madison.  Michigan just hasn't played well there.  They're 26-34 since 1950 (2-13 since 2000).

Monk

January 15th, 2019 at 3:10 PM ^

not sure what tier-1 wins mean, but UM has a five quadrant 1 and four quadrant 2 wins which the committee values.  The key is of course is being 9-0 against them, but some of the teams around UM have played more Q1 and Q2 games, UM non-conference SOS is 149, only UVA has a worse at 169, but KU, Duke, Oklahoma are all top 10, that's where it could hurt wrt committee. 

UMAmaizinBlue

January 15th, 2019 at 9:17 AM ^

Well-balanced teams without superstars seem to get the shaft more than teams with superstar talent. I'm starting to just accept it as fact and they throw this shit at me? I prefer less respekt please.

MNWolverine2

January 15th, 2019 at 9:34 AM ^

We're about to find out how good this team really is over the next 3 to 4 weeks.  Don't get me wrong, Michigan is VERY good.  With that said, we've only played 4 Top 50 teams, adjusted for home/road.  Duke has played 8, Michigan State 7, and Maryland, despite their awful non-con, has played 5.  We have really played a soft schedule, driven by playing the dregs of the Big Ten to start the season.

11 of our next 14 are Top 50 teams.  If we can go 11-3 or 10-4, a 1 seed is for sure what we deserve.  

HireWayne

January 15th, 2019 at 9:54 AM ^

Yeah, Big Ten sched gets way harder from here on out. 

I see a 17-3 ceiling and 14-6 floor in the Big Ten.  Home and home with Sparty, Maryland, and Minnesota.  Road games with teams who are desperate for a signature win in Wisky, Indy, and Iowa.  Home game with a tough Nebraska and decent Ohio State.  

Reggie Dunlop

January 15th, 2019 at 10:31 AM ^

Exactly. The three-game stretch of beatdowns against Villanova, UNC & Purdue were eye-opening. And they're still really good wins. But all three of them have taken more lumps since. Those wins aren't quite what we thought they were at the time.

And outside of those games, our schedule is pretty thin. Besides Purdue, our other 5 B1G wins have come against teams that are a combined 4-18 in conference. Illinois, Northwestern & Penn State are below RUTGERS in the conference standings.

I believe we are as good as we think we are. But our schedule is about to take a serious step up in difficulty. We'll see how ready this team is for the Big Ten meat grinder.

Duq

January 15th, 2019 at 12:58 PM ^

Plagerism aside this basketball team has been truly amazing to watch.  Teams come at them and they always find a way to win!  Beilein is a master to have improved on the team from last year after losing some impact players.  This shit is fun!!

SFBlue

January 15th, 2019 at 1:19 PM ^

A nice recognition, but nothing is won in January. Crucible road test coming this weekend. Duke was down two of their best three players for most of that 'Cuse game. 

Michifornia

January 16th, 2019 at 12:21 PM ^

Even with 2 losses, hard to keep Duke out of the conversation.  Love our team and they are getting what they deserve as far as rankings.  But kind of love coming from a lower seed in the Tourney.  Not gonna complain though.  B1G champs next on the agenda.

GO BLUE!!