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Date Title Body
07/09/2018 - 5:36pm Didn't David Cone transfer…

Didn't David Cone transfer to Iowa for his last year?  He may have been a 4th year, but he still transferred. 

07/09/2018 - 9:26am I was wondering if Zak Irvin…

I was wondering if Zak Irvin found his way on to anyone's roster.  I'm a little surprised that Levert is on a summer league team given how much he played last year.  

07/05/2018 - 11:14am This will be the most…

This will be the most fascinating aspect of the offense next year.  How well does the ball-screen offense work when neither the PG or C is an effective outside shooter?  

I guess Darius Morris and Jordan Morgan were effective together.  But this will be an interesting off-season for Beilein to tinker with offense given that he has so few proven shooters on the court.  (Meanwhile they're drooling over this potential defense....)

06/22/2018 - 1:11pm While first round picks are…

While first round picks are the appropriate focus here, we shouldn't forget that Morris and GR3 both carved out decent NBA careers being early second round picks.  McGary falling from grace and Stauskas never being a contributor are the saddest part of the list.

I think Matthews gets drafted somewhere next year.  No clue about Poole.  I love the guys and have high hopes for him, but geez are we setting expectations high for a guy who was a minimal rotation player.  He has a long way to go and will get every chance....but it will be okay if he's just "good" and not "Stauskas 2.0".  

 

06/22/2018 - 1:09pm While first round picks are…

While first round picks are the appropriate focus here, we shouldn't forget that Morris and GR3 both carved out decent NBA careers being early second round picks.  McGary falling from grace and Stauskas never being a contributor are the saddest part of the list.

I think Matthews gets drafted somewhere next year.  No clue about Poole.  I love the guys and have high hopes for him, but geez are we setting expectations high for a guy who was a minimal rotation player.  He has a long way to go and will get every chance....but it will be okay if he's just "good" and not "Stauskas 2.0".  

 

05/03/2018 - 2:05pm Ryan Shazier

I'm surprised no one pointed out the lunacy that is the NFL celebrating the INSPIRATIONAL STORY of Ryan Shazier at the NFL Draft while treating Hurst like he has the plague.  Shazier was a perfectly healthy, young, dominant player who nearly died on the field last year and we're celebrating openly that he can almost walk 50-feet to the podium.  

I hope Shazier fully recovers and lives a long, normal life with or without football in it (preferably getting to see OSU lose to Michigan every year).  I also applaud his efforts to date in his recovery.  But the NFL trotting him out there as some sort of PR stunt about inspiration is just bad.  Your sport maimed him on national television, nearly paralyzed him, and could have killed him.  Congrats on almost learning how to walk again!  

I think NFL Group Think affected Hurst, but there clearly is some risk associated with drafting him.  I personally think the Raiders made smart decision to bring him in, spend time with medical experts, and determine his future.  They're not locked into a contract with him at this point and he has data from two top hospitals and four years of film suggesting this isn't a death sentence.  

04/27/2018 - 7:01pm Both?

We use Sam's due to location and have been happy. But we have some friends that use Costco and sometimes the wives will go to the other store with each other to take advantage of the benefits of both.

04/22/2018 - 8:19pm Fun young players

The goal for the season is to find a handful of young players that can be part of the future.  There are some names so far this season that are trending in the right direction, but too early to know yet.  But it has been better than expected - especially if you flip that opening day game to a win without the weird replay.  

04/19/2018 - 2:14pm Fun to argue which is our best recruit

For all the past complaints about Beilein recruiting, I love reading this comments with everyone throwing out which top-100 recruit is going to be the best or which is the most under-rated.  

This is the most complete, deepest, most talented class Beilein has ever had.  He recruited an entire starting 5 that would rival any past recruiting class at Michigan other that the two from the early 90s.  And that's not even factoring in that Beilein is excellent at developing talent - especially those prospects in that 50-150 range of ratings.  

  1. DeJulius - Late surge as a senior could only improve his ranking so much for a 6'1" guard.  Good news is that we don't need him to run the team right away with Z and Brooks around.  
  2. Nunez - Older player with limited athleticism but his best skill fits with exactly what Beilein wants - shooting.  Ranking doesn't matter as much, though it should be remembered if he doesn't play a lot early in his career.
  3. Iggy - One of the best pure scorers we've ever recruited.  His age, size, and position mean that he should be ready to contribute immediately.
  4. Johns - The highest rated recruit to some sites but overlooked by many fans.  
  5. Castleton - Maybe the highest ceiling of anyone on the list.

Side note - here's an interesting history of MIchigan's top recruits since 2000 from 247.  Does humble you to think about the few misses in Beilein's past (Smotrycz, Chatman, Brundidge, etc.)  

https://247sports.com/college/michigan/Sport/Basketball/AllTimeRecruits

 

04/18/2018 - 3:42pm Purdue example

I like your thinking on Purdue having a great offense with Haas - worth discussing.  My worry is that Purdue surrounded him with 4 great shooters and Michigan has.....one?  And as much as we all love Poole, he shot 36%, not 42%.  It is also a lot easier to sag off one shooter than it is four like Purdue had.  

Less important, but worth mentioning is that Purdue utilized an inside-out offense frequently where they would throw it to Hass, force a double, and find the open man.  Michigan is not going to post up anyone to initiate offense - including Teske.  I think Teske would thrive with a tall ball-screen PG like Morris or Stauskas.  Maybe they can work some Poole/Teske pick-and-roll.  

04/18/2018 - 3:39pm Comments, not post

I saw the 30mpg in the comments, not the original post.  It usually comes in conjunction with "Davis is barely going to play and will get passed by Castleton".  

04/18/2018 - 2:34pm Bigs....

Lots of good stuff here, but need to correct a few thoughts:

  1. Even the best Beilein bigs don't play 30mpg like some project for Teske.  Not McGary either year (19-Fr, 24-So), not Morgan even when he was clearly the best option (max of 24.4mpg), not Wagner (26mpg last year), and not all the mediocre guys along the way.  Teske is also bigger than all of those guys.  Pencil him in for 25mpg.
     
  2. Freshmen bigs usually suck.  McGary struggled throughout his freshmen year until the end when he took off.  Wagner and Wilson couldn't even see the floor.  Teske looked lost last season.  Morgan was mediocre out of necessity in his REDSHIRT freshman year.  Castleton looks great....but expecting a lot from him next year is foolish.  
     
  3. Beilein hates mistakes.  One of the reasons that Morgan played so much despite his limitations was because he didn't screw up.  Wagner, Wilson, Donnal, Doyle, Horford, and even McGary were frequently in and out of the lineup throughout their careers because of mistakes.  One of the big advantages Davis will have initially is that he's been in the program two years and doesn't ever try to do too much.  

 

04/18/2018 - 12:56pm Small Ball

I think you're going to see ~5mpg with Johns or Livers playing the 5 against smaller teams in an effort to generate more offense and spread the floor for guys like Iggy, Poole, etc. to attack.  I think Johns will see the floor quickest as a platoon with Davis for those 10-15 minutes backing up Teske.  

04/17/2018 - 1:36pm OL

To me this entire post and the entire season still centers around the mess at OL....even though I liked hearing the other bits. My take on your takes:

  • QB - Patterson if he's eligible, but Peters still a contender.  Both need help to succeed and both will have limitations.
  • RB - Potential to be amazing with a little OL/QB help.
  • WR - Saying all the right things.  I assume Perry has been hurt?  He's the one guy you could count on to catch what was thrown to him and that's a skill needed in the rotation.  Crawford is a decent piece for depth but didn't bring any one skill to the table that stood out so far.  McDoom brings one skill to the table....but it doesn't involve running a route or catching a pass so it is hard to fit him into the mix.  
  • TE - Use them effectively as part of a balanced offense....and don't hand the ball to them.  
  • OL - I agree with your take on the letter grades.  This is a position group where you always want to have solid depth and competition in the spring.  But this still reeks of "we have no true tackle on the roster".  If JBB or Runyan lock down RT then I feel "okay" with that.  They're fine.  But it is hard to see upside or more than a C+/B- there.  If they lost the job to Filiaga then you worry about freshmen mistakes but are dreaming of the upside that comes with youth.  At LT we're either putting in an "ok RT", we're hoping for the converted DT to be good as a RS-FR, or we're hoping for a medical miracle with Newsome.  I think the odds of any of those happening are low enough for the coaches to consider JBB a contentender there because he's a known commodity.  
04/16/2018 - 2:54pm Livers

I was very high on Livers before last season because he fit the 4 position so well for Beilein.  This time last year we heard about Poole, Matthews, Robinson, etc. but there was healthy skepticism (even from Ace & Brian) about Livers ability to have an immediate impact.  

Then he comes out and struggles mightily from three, going 4-for-17 to start the season.  Then he goes 16-for-his-next-29 from three and rips the starting job away from Robinson.  Then he finishes 2-12.  So who is he? 

Someone who can defend well, rebound, and hit corner 3s is going to be a stud at the PF spot for Beilein.  Livers showed that for about a third of the season and will get every minute he can handle if he can do just those things whether he creates for himself or not.  But the problem is the other two thirds of the season.  

I like Livers a lot and he'll get every chance to own the 4 spot next season.  I actually see the roster makeup driving Iggy to start and Livers come off the bench, similar to what happened this year with Livers/Robinson.  This season they started Rahk and Wagner so having Livers' D and intangibles worked as a starter with Duncan giving the bench spark.  Next year they need scoring to start (Iggy) and Livers can bring the stability to the bench unit.  Just my theory for mid-season.  

04/14/2018 - 6:47pm Iggy...due to position

I am excited for all of them and think DDJ will play plenty of minutes backing up Z and Poole.

But my answer is Iggy. the team will be lacking offense and will also need diversity at forward. I think there will be 10 minutes backing up Mathews and maybe 20 splitting with Livers. While I like Johns, I think the scoring and maturity Iggy brings will earn him the biggest role and most immediate impact.

04/14/2018 - 8:57am Livers hype

I have high hopes for Livers.  I was always hyping him up in the comments last summer when I didn't think Ace and Brian were talking about him enough.  I would argue he's the best true Beilein-4 recruit depending on how you compare him to DJ and Kam as recruits.  

I thiink Livers was good on D, he avoiding any bad mistakes, he rebounded pretty well, and he did a lot of the hustle stuff you want from a role player.  But he needs to step up and show more next year.  His shot was broken to start the year and to end the year and that's critical for a 3&D guy.  

The reason I think Iggy is going to take his starting spot is less about Livers and more about roster management.  Z, Matthews, and Teske are not shooters.  I think if you put Iggy on the floor with them, even if he plays the 15mpg that Livers did this season, helps you get some floor spacing out there.  Then when you need some stability, defense, or size you bring in Livers.  

I would also like to see LIvers work on that small-ball-5 role since I think they will want that for a few minutes per game.

04/13/2018 - 5:59pm Brooks vs. DDJ

I think your take is very fair.  The sophomore leap for Beilein PGs is working heavily in Brooks favor.  I think Beilein will trust him a lot more too.  DDJ may come in with a bit of Poole swagger to him that will take time to endear itself to Beilein.  

I think Brooks still has untapped potential and could easily work into those 10-20 minutes at the 1&2 spots.  However, I think what Michigan will be searching for most often next year is offense and specifically outside shooting.  The reason I think Iggy will start over Livers is because I think they want to mix offense/defense more in the starting lineup.  That's the same reason why I could see DDJ getting some minutes in a 2-PG lineup because he can light it up.  Brooks hasn't shown that in high school much or college ever.  

I think it will play out like this year.  Brooks gets a lot of back-up PG minutes to start the season and maybe a few at SG since he knows the system and won't make a lot of mistakes.  But if he doesn't hit shots or initiate offense you'll see the door open for DDJ.  If he's as good as we think, he'll serve the Freshman-Walton role of "park in the corner, nail 3s, be a secondary ball-handler as needed."  

04/13/2018 - 5:55pm Johns is a wildcard

I think Johns/Livers is going to be interesting.  I think they are somewhat similar so they will fight for minutes.  Both are very talented and may be primed for more minutes than you think.  Livers clearly has the edge being a sophomore, but he didn't really show anything that cements him into 20-30 minutes.  I think he'll probably get those minutes, split time with Iggy, and then Johns will be that "extra big" role at the 4 or 5 when we need it for ~5-8 minutes here and there.  

04/13/2018 - 2:08pm DeJulius / Nunez / Iggy / Brooks

This past season when Matthews would have one of his bad moments during games and came out of the lineup, it was POOLE who replaced him.  The option of doing that next year still exists for the 10 or so minutes Matthews will need to rest.  For that reason, I think there are a bunch of minutes available at the 2 & 3 for whichever guy (DDJ, Nunez, Iggy, Brooks) shows they deserved them.  

My current prediction is that Iggy wins the starting PF job to get more offense into the starting lineup and Livers turns into an energy guy off the bench.  I also think that DeJulius and his shooting + ball handling are going to earn minutes.  So my prediction is this:

  1. Simpson (30), DeJulius (10), Brooks (as needed)
  2. Poole (25), DeJulius (10), Brooks/Nunez (as needed)
  3. Matthews (30), Poole (5), Iggy (5)
  4. Iggy (15), Livers (15), Johns (10)
  5. Teske (25), Davis (10), Livers (5)

 

04/12/2018 - 1:04pm Not really....

Actually, under Beilein his established starters (especially guys returning) often play more than 30 minutes unless they're a center.  Typically centers, even the best ones, top out around 25.  Mo last year, despite being our best player, hit about 26.  

To be fair, you're right that I don't think Beilein has ever had this much depth before.  Rarely has he filled all 13 scholarships and this will be his most talented recruiting class at Michigan.  So maybe things will change.  But even Izzo doesn't play more than 10 guys regularly an Beilein historically has limited minutes to freshmen.  So I expect a 9-man rotation with the 10-12 guys getting the <5mpg you saw Watson/Davis get this year.  

Anyone who thinks Teske is playing 30mpg is probably crazy because rarely do centers do that since they get tired faster, they pick up fouls more often, etc.  That's why I see Teske at 25mpg, Davis at 10mpg, and a small-ball option like Livers/Johns/Castleton at 5mpg.  

04/11/2018 - 9:06pm Minutes battle...

I think there's a scenario that Brian didn't mention.  Poole was the primary back-up to Mathews at the 3 this season and I think he could play a few minutes at that spot next year too.  I think it is safe to pencil in the following:

  1. Simpson - 30mpg
  2. Poole - 30mpg (unless he spends 5 at the SF position)
  3. Matthews - 30mpg
  4. Livers - 20mpg
  5. Teske - 25mpg

So I think the freshmen plus Brooks are going to have a battle for the following:

  • There are 10-25 minutes available at the PG/SG positions that DeJulius, Brooks, and Nunez can fight for.
  • There are 20-30 minutes available for Iggy/Johns/Livers/Watson to fight over at the SF/PF position.  
  • I don't see Teske playing more than 25mpg next year, which even Mo barely surpassed this year.  That leaves 15mpg for either a traditional center like Davis to take or maybe they play small-ball to get more offense with Livers or Johns playing 5-10mpg.  

I'm still not sure if Castleton will redshirt or not, but even though the main rotation will not get above 9 guys I think there are minutes to be had out there.  

04/10/2018 - 7:27pm But I will play along....

I think Mo is gone, I think Charles might submit his name but think he will stay (even if GR3 is an interesting comparison), I think Davis and Brooks stay to try and beat the freshmen for PT, and I think Watson is your wildcard. If he is on track to graduate early he might look to find a small school with playing time.

04/10/2018 - 7:24pm Premature reaction

This sounds highly unconfirmed at the moment. With all the freshmen signed and no obvious roster spot I think this is at worst just Beilein kicking the tires on an emergency plan. Combine the lack of a roster spot, this kid being a decent but not great shooter and the recent struggles of Simmons fitting in the rotation despite a lot more success at a higher level and I don't think anything comes of this.

04/10/2018 - 6:08pm OL response...

From my viewing last year I thought Onwenu was as good or better than Ruiz and I struggled to grasp why he lost his job to him.  Neither were perfect for sure, but I thought Ruiz made just as many mental/youth errors and yet Onwenu is still not locked in at starter.  Maybe that's a credit to the depth on the interior OL or maybe it is pass-pro.  

As to your comment about RS-FR tackles, I was surprised about the shortness of that list.  Jon Jansen played 50 games in 4 years, though at Right Tackle.  I couldn't find Jon Runyan Sr.'s stats, but he was a beast too.  I guess my memory of Michigan's OL of yore didn't really include 2nd year players because there were always strong upper classmen ahead of them.  

04/04/2018 - 6:35pm Z starts

anyone who thinks a true freshman point guard in a John beilein offense is going to replace the incumbent starter who just let us to a national title game is crazy. As much as I like the future with DDJ, this is Simpson's team. We were a bubble team until he took control of the starting spot and took us to the title game.

but the good news for you fans of the new recruits or haters of Simpsons flaws is that I believe there are 25 minutes per game available to the winner of the Brooks/ DeJulius/Nunez competition. (10 at PG, 15 at SG). I think DDJ is going to get a majority of those minutes because of his offense just in the way that Spike always had a role on the team despite playing behind Burke or Walton.

04/04/2018 - 2:34pm Brooks/DDJ/Nunez battle for 2-guard

Lots to respond to here:

  • Highly unlikely that Z gets above 35% or develops a pull-up shot, but reasonable to say he could get into the 30-35% and hit those wide open shots he's going to get like he did early in the year.  
  • I think it will help Z in all phases of his game to play closer to 27-30 minutes.  He expends so much energy on D and the offense relies so much on the PG that it is hard to do both.  So I think there's some PT available.
  • Beilein always likes to have his SG initiate offense and help break the press.  Rahk actually did a lot of that this year.  Who besides Poole can play SG minutes next year?  Watson is more of a 3-and-D wing.  So even if our dreams come true and Poole makes a huge leap, we need minutes backing him up.  Likewise, Poole can back-up Mathews at the 3 as well.  So I think DDJ, Brooks, and Nunez are going to battle for those 20-25 minutes in the rotation.  
  • Brooks didn't show me much this year that gets me excited about his ceiling, but I think he can be a reliable role player.  Unlike Z, however, I think Brooks can become a reliable outside shooter and hit ~38% of his 3s.  
  • DDJ looks like a stud and I think they could play him in a freshman-Walton role at times.  
  • Nunez will likely be a good shooter and that's what the team needs, but I don't know the he brings enough other traits to the table to break through as a freshman. 
03/23/2018 - 8:55am Mark Titus interviews CJ

Here is a fun clip of The Ringer's Mark Titus (former manager/walk-on at OSU) interviewing CJ after the game:

https://www.theringer.com/video/2018/3/23/17154912/cj-baird-michigan-sw…

 

03/22/2018 - 5:25pm Old Stauskas plays....

The other day in the piece about which Beilein player had the most clutch plays I was fascinated watching the Stauskas plays again for the first time in a while.  I know that the players all have different strengths and that teams have no doubt adjusted....but when was the last time you saw a back-door cut or alley-oop in the regular half-court offense?  There were so many examples of beautiful open layups/dunks in those clips and we don't see much that anymore it feels like - aside from some Wagner cuts to the hoop.  

Maybe we just don't have the right combination of creator/shooter like we had with Burke and Stauskas to put that pressure on the D.  Here's hoping Coach has something sinister dialed up for A&M tonight.....

03/21/2018 - 12:56pm Love this stuff...

Anything resembling UFR is something I enjoy reading.  I am sure there are things we haven't mentioned yet that could factor in (someone said that the ball is different than what the B10 uses for example).  But this give me hope.  

One suggestion might be to compare the outcome to an expected outcome.  You sort of did that for the team overall (27% vs 36%) but a majority of those looks were good and from our best shooters.  If each shooter hit their average on the quality of shots you listed....what would have happened?  I'm guessing it might even be more than your 6-8 point prediction.

My statement all year has been this - If Michigan hits 35% from Three and 65% from FT we'll win.  Only one epic ref job and a scortching night from Purdue has beaten us this year with those stats.  

03/14/2018 - 2:38pm Unlock Josh Moore....

Josh Moore, partnered with Avery Queen on the promotional posters, was amazing to think about.  A 7'2" 300 pound Shaq look-a-like?!?!  Sure, he was horrible at basketball and flamed out early....but that's nitpicking.  

Jarod Ward before his knees gave out or Maceo Baston might also be interesting.  

03/14/2018 - 12:44pm Matthews D

I actually think Charles Matthews is getting short-changed for his defense.  I think we look the other way with him because of his offensive struggles and because of how well Z is playing.  Look at these results:

  • Dakota Mathias - 11 pts on 12 shots, 1-5 from 3
  • Miles Bridges - 17 pts on 18 shots, most long 2s or 3s
  • James Palmer - 16 points on 3-9 shooting thanks to 9 FTs
  • Kevin Huerter - 12 points on 15 shots, 1-5 from 3
  • Keita Bates-Diop - 17 points on 21 shots

I realize he's not the only one guarding those guys, but Z wasn't the only one guarding Edwards either. 

I think the best example of how well Matthews plays is Mathias.  I think after he killed us in the first half in the first game they changed assignments and had Matthews guard him more than Robinson and it showed then and for sure in the second game.  

Next year with Z, Matthews, and Teske all starting we could be an amazing defensive team.....if any of those guys could hit 60% of their FTs we'd appreciate it though.

03/07/2018 - 9:43am PG Genius

I was thinking after reading this just about how adaptive and amazing Beilein is with Point-Guards.  Look at how different these origin stories are:

  • Darius Morris - Couldn't shoot, but was huge and very good at passing in the ball screen game.  Turned into an early-entry NBA guy without a jump shot.  
  • Trey Burke - Middling ratings as a recruit, small, not athletically gifted in any real way.  Turns him into a POY and alpha-dog who leaves early for the NBA.
  • Nik Stauskas - Not a PG at all, but functioned at one when Burke left and Walton was a role-player as a freshman.  Went from role playing wing freshman to alpha-dog soph pseudo-PG who leaves early for the NBA.
  • Derrick Walton - Brought the ball up the court and hid in the corner much of his freshman year.  Never a great defender and poor finisher near the rim for 3.5 years. Very good shooter.  Turned into an NBA prospect and alpha-dog as a senior who could suddenly finish at the rim.  
  • Zavier Simpson - Doesn't have a jump shot and doesn't have any height, but somehow can finish at the rim and getting better at running the offense despite what should be physical/shooting limitations.  

None of those players are really the same, many of them started as middling prospects and yet all of them played in the NBA so far.  Beilein grew each player into the best of themselves and adapted the offense to what they did well.  

(While I think Brooks is going to be a combo-guard back-up much of his career you never know. I do think DeJulius will be a fascinating ingredient for Dr. Beilein to play with in the lab.)

02/28/2018 - 2:52pm Offense vs. Defense

As discussed in the PodCast, I share the enthusiasm for Beilein finding his Don Brown this year and making our team a contender without having a fire-breathing dragon of an offense.  

I do see a potential concern for next year hidden among the hype surrounding Poole, the freshmen, and the sudden competency on D.  Who shoots the ball next year besides Poole?  

Our starting five will include the following:

  • Simpson - Wide open jumpers only
  • Poole - Any shot any time
  • Matthews - Okay shooter, more of a slasher
  • Livers - Okay shooter who will get better, not his primary skill
  • Teske - Not a shooter

I see a very good defensive team in that list but I wonder where the points will come from without Wagner, Robinson, and Rahk.  The freshmen will bring some reinforcements, but how many will play meaningful minutes?  

02/28/2018 - 2:47pm Small lineups

One of the few things that still frustrates me greatly about our offense this year is the inability to feed the post or even shallow cuts inside the line.  While post-offense is notoriously inefficient in general, I refuse to believe that "Mo Wagner posting a 6'1" guard" will end in anything other than a GIF.  Yet when we face those lineups our guards often stare at that matchup and get scared off from making that pass.  

02/27/2018 - 4:59pm That's even more dumb....

That just underscores further the lunacy of that situation all around:

  1. Mitch was stupid for getting high on that trip
  2. Mitch and Michigan should have kept him in street clothes
  3. The NCAA shouldn't have different rules for different times
  4. The punishment for a first time pot offense shouldn't be year-long suspension

(And I didn't even mention the more complicated question of whether pot should be a banned substance at all.....)

02/27/2018 - 12:31pm Burn it after punishing them....

My point was that they should indeed go ahead and burn it down with something rebuilt in its place.....but please punish these offenders before they light the fire.

02/24/2018 - 6:07pm Fab Five, Jamal Crawford, and Mitch McGary

In my lifetime of fandom there have been three times our program ran into an issue with the NCAA. I won't debate the merit of the evidence other than to say that Michigan wasn't totally clean in any case.

But in each case the NCAA threw the book at Michigan and penalized them more than they have for any other similar infraction. In this case the Jamal Crawford situation is probably the closest parallel. He sat out half a season and could only regain eligibility if he paid his former guardian $10k back.

Yet so far all of these guys walk scot free. WTF?

02/23/2018 - 5:51pm Huerter defense

While I can't argue against a quick hook for Matthews in favor of Poole....I do think that a significant reason that Heurter struggled in the first game was that Matthews was in his face all game.  I think Matthews is a great defender, especially against guys like Huerter and I think he should get minutes for that reason alone.  Maybe we just don't run as many plays for him while he's out there - or make those plays "lob to Matthews for a dunk."  

02/22/2018 - 5:07pm Steratore and the first Purdue game

The more basketball I watch the more I realize just how horrific the call was from the first Purdue game where they changed possession after looking at 1-2 frames of the video when the ball was slapped away from Matthews.

A significant majority of plays where the defender makes contact with the ball to send it out of bounds could be overruled the same way if they looked at super-slow-mo.  It is simple physics of one player holding the ball and the other momentarily impacting it with force.  Yet **NEVER** have I seen a call given to the defense where the ball doesn't hit the player on another body part (knee, foot, body).  

TLDR - Steratore boned us big time.  Flip that call to what they called originally, make the last basket on that possession, Michigan is 1 game behind MSU for the title and a solit 4-seed.  

02/22/2018 - 5:03pm Matthews

The best thing about Matthews right now is that he'll be back next year.  He showed early in the season that he has immense talent. Right now he's in a mental funk and has to adjust to the scouting report.  

Brian's comment about GR3 makes me wonder about coaching too.  Beilein said the other day that they realized they didn't have enough plays designed for Rahk.  Well, I feel like they found a few plays early in the year for Matthews and haven't revisited that much.  He has to work so hard for his shots - iso plays driving into traffic.  How can we get him some of those open corner 3s or lob dunks that our wing players have had in past years?  Maybe run some ball-screen plays for him where he's the screener.  

I do think he gets hit on the hands and arms more than any player I've seen in recent years without a call.  Part of it is that the ball flies away and he has a reputation.  But it is bad when you watch replays.  Maybe the whistle will turn his way a little next year like it did for Wagner this year, Walton as a senior, and Burke....oh wait, Burke never got calls in the lane.  

02/21/2018 - 3:52pm 3 & D

Michigan is a 3&D team this year the way I see it.  If we hit 35% of our threes, we'll win.  Why?  Because our D is solid.  We have 7 losses and the five non-Purdue losses were all due to horribly 3pt shooting as much as anything.  

I'd probably start with Z on Carr and tempt him into some inefficient post-ups instead of creating off the dribble.  I would mix Matthews on him some as well.  

I'd like to see this be a Wagner pick-and-pop game where they get PSU's defense messed up. 

I'm emotionally prepared for a frustrating loss, hoping for a win.  

02/19/2018 - 2:19pm Palm is confusing.

Palm has a crappy Kentucky team ahead of us as a 6 seed. They are just 18-9.

He also has Oklahoma and Seton Hall as 7 seeds even though they are under .500 in their conferences.

02/19/2018 - 9:46am Just win baby!

In the immortal words of Mitch McGary - Win the Game!  

I could see a 1-1 finish for Michigan, which would be slightly annoying but understandable.  If there's a way we could get Nebraska in the BTT that would be great because I'd like to stomp them for another "solid" win and revenge.  

There has been too much chaos this season to accurately predict seeds ahead of time.  (42 upsets of top 10 teams by unranked teams)  Michigan you'd think would be off the 8/9 line barring a losing streak to end the season and that's the most important thing.  

02/15/2018 - 4:50pm Aggressive versus Risk Averse

I think the challenge Simmons continues to have is that he's been benched in large part because he's made so many mistakes (gambling on defense, turnovers, etc.).  But he's too talented to just be conservative and he's only going to help the team by being somewhat aggressive.  I think Eli Brooks got benched because he wasn't taking ANY chances and added nothing on the court.  Finding the right mix is the challenge.

I also like what I've seen lately and I think there might be a big game hiding in there still this season.  

02/15/2018 - 2:08pm Other thoughts....

I know there was a lot of clammoring for more Poole the other day on this site.  While I do think he's going to be a star, it is hard to justify more playing time when he made two late blunders against Wisconsin an is now in a prolonged shooting slump at 20% from three over his last ~25 attempts.  

It was nice to have Livers back just to give Beilein more options to play with.  I liked how he tried some unique lineups last night with his forwards and even a Rahk at the point.  Livers was a star for a few games off the bench and has done little as a starter but he adds hustle, open shots, and size.  I think he got yanked a couple times for losing his man on D though.  

I'm excited about Teske's progress and future, but I'm not where Brian is.  I think next year with Z, Matthews, and Teske all being mediocre shooters we're going to see some struggles on offense at times.  Livers isn't exactly Glen Rice either.  I think the freshmen who can shoot will get the most minutes.

02/15/2018 - 2:04pm The plus side of Matthews....

The fact that Matthews has hit the wall this year is frustrating since it puts a huge limit on what Michigan's offense can become.  With that being said, I wanted to list a few reasons to be optimistic about Matthews:

  1. He's definitely coming back next year!  While I love our recruiting class, having Matthews return will be a huge benefit to the team.  
  2. We know he's capable of being an all-around star.  We've seen him have great games, we've seen him shoot, we've seen him get his own shot, etc.  He may never be the most efficient player on the team, but he's capable of being a star.
  3. His problems seem as much mental as anything else.  His finishing around the rim has been awful lately and that isn't logical.  He needs to make the extra pass or live to fight another day instead of trying to fight through so much traffic.  I think he has another great game left in him this season and I think he's going to be a huge part of our success next year.  

 

02/15/2018 - 12:39pm What's going on?!?

So much to digest here:

  • Brian's negativity and avoidance of all things football lately is concerning.  When Spring Practice starts I hope he is back to his usual stuff with some realistic if not positive coverage......but I'm concerned.
  • Hiring McElwain itself is somewhat of a disappointment.  He isn't a recruiting expert, his Florida years are a stain, and his personality isn't easy to like.
  • Demoting Pep & Drevno is a positive.  They can focus on what they do best and improve the two areas we most sucked last year....and this is their last chance before being shown the door.  
  • One theory I have is that Harbaugh was hoping Pep and/or Drevno would get a new job this offseason so he could replace them without firing them.  When that didn't happen he had to come up with this new plan to demote them and bring in someone to help.
  • Hiring an old ex-HC in this position might be a function of needing a quick fix for 2018.  He is also hiring someone outside of his coaching tree for once on offense - something that might be beneficial.  
  • I think I like the idea of Mcelwain more than Enos or Cameron.  
  • Thanks for the heads up about Brian's attitude on this round table - now I don't have to listen.  
02/14/2018 - 1:30pm It's the 3s

I still contend it is all tied to 3pt shooting - some luck and some quality of shots.  Z has fallen off a cliff after a hot start, DRob is not himself, Poole gets tentative if he misses a couple, Matthews is being asked to attack and not sit in the corner like some Beilein wings, etc.  If Michigan hits 35% of their threes they are going to win.  

Michigan has 7 losses.  The two Purdue losses were essentially coin-flip games against a top-5 team where Michigan played well enough to win.  The other 5 losses are varying degrees of frustrating.  Here are the stats:

  • In those 5 losses Michigan shot 26% from 3.
  • In the other 22 games Michigan has hit 39% from 3, even including some recent clunkers that turned into victories.  

All of the other factors do play a role here (Z's shooting, free throws, Livers hurt, ball screen inefficiencies, Matthews hitting a wall, etc.).....but if they just hit a nominal rate of 3s around 33-37% then they will beat everyone but the very elite.  

02/14/2018 - 1:23pm So many thoughts....

This post elicited a lot of thoughts from me.  I will try (and probably fail) to provide a concise summary:

  • Funny how we dominated MSU and played great against Purdue twice but now we're in "second round is about it" mode.  The roller coaster of basketball.  I still think that Beilein in a tournament setting against unfamiliar teams (and refs) gives us an edge.  
  • I agree that "this is who we are" is probably valid mostly with the exception of MORE POOLE.....except for one point.  Why are we settling for Matthews being who he is?  We've seen him, even against decent teams, be efficient and effective and now we want to bench him for Poole?  I think Matthews is in a slump around the rim with finishing and we need to find him some of those easy GR3 points rather than ask him to work so hard fighting into the lane for his points.  
  • I love Poole and can't wait to see him start next year.  But in the last game I saw he nearly blew the game by himself because he got the ball stolen right out of his hands and then fouled a three point shooter a foot behind the line.  Let's not pretend he's perfect just yet.  
  • I know that post touches are slow and inefficient and that Wagner, for all his gifts, isn't great on the low block consistently.  But holy jalapenos does it infuriate me when he has a 6-foot guard on him that no one passes him the ball.  Why is our "we got a mismatch" offense turn into Z or Rahk jacking an unassisted three against the big guy instead of Wagner dunking on the little guy????
  • Free throws are indeed a problem that will hurt us....but I don't think they are a huge component of the issue.  If Matthews and Z were both shooting around 70% from the line we'd get maybe 2-4 more points per game.  Helpful....not amazing.