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12/13/2018 - 7:27pm It is not that.  It is 1)…

It is not that.  It is 1) downshifting the load on players during the final week of classes and exams to let them focus on studies and 2) not scheduling too many games during a period when students mostly won't be on campus and when attendance would suffer as a result.

This definitely isn't just a Beilein thing.  It's CBB wide.

Duke only plays two (!!) games between Dec 8 and Jan 5!! MSU also just plays three no names in the 3.5 weeks prior to resumption of Big Ten play. UNC plays only four games in the entire month of December.  You get the idea.

12/13/2018 - 2:23pm Either that or his feet are…

Either that or his feet are stapled to the floor.

In fairness,

1) He is 7'0, not 7'2

2) He is an ok shot blocker with a block rate of 4.6% of opponent shots (top 250 in the country).

3) Moe Wagner was 6'11 and very much Not A Shot Blocker.  His 2.0% block rate was less than half of Dugan's and in the range of an average shot-blocking wing player - barely higher than Duncan Robinson's rate of 1.7.  And it's not like Wagner is a lumbering behemoth. His inability to block shots (without fouling too much) always baffled me.

12/13/2018 - 2:00pm For a minute I thought this…

For a minute I thought this was Friday...damn.

12/12/2018 - 7:13pm The board is on fire today.

The board is on fire today.

12/12/2018 - 7:12pm He's usually given enough…

He's usually given enough space to do it too.

12/12/2018 - 7:10pm Comments like this are…

Comments like this are always hilarious. It's as if he isn't shooting thousands of shots on his own and hundreds in practice trying to figure it out.  But yeah, maybe if he shoots a few more with you watching on top of the hundreds he's shooting with you not watching, he'll suddenly figure something out.

12/12/2018 - 6:38pm He certainly does have…

He certainly does have something left to prove: that he can succeed as a HC.  Hopefully he doesn't want to prove that.

He's an East Coast guy too so its plausible to think there could be geographic reasons to think about leaving.

But don't leave, DB!

12/12/2018 - 6:35pm None of those other four…

None of those other four belong anywhere near the list.  They all contributed significantly to meaningful championships while at Michigan.  Stauskas, McGary and GR3 won a regional NCAA title to go to a final four AND a big ten regular season title the following year. Henson won the big ten title in 2000 (shared) and more importantly, and very depressingly, was the last Michigan QB to win at the Horseshoe.



Jamal Crawford

Daniel Horton

Lavell Blanchard

Chad Henne

DJ Wilson

That's my top 7 for "vaguely" disappointing, which should be noted is not at all the same as outright, definitively disappointing (as this would just be 5-star RB recruits).  These are guys that were good, but about whom you felt like their teams could have and should have done more and/or they left disappointingly or surprisingly early before they could accomplish something greater.

12/12/2018 - 6:17pm Those 5-star RBs don't fit…

Those 5-star RBs don't fit the criteria of "vaguely" unsatisfying though.  Their careers were distinctly and definitively unsatisfying.  That's a different list entirely.

12/12/2018 - 6:12pm He was the last QB to beat…

He was the last QB to beat OSU at the horseshoe which clinched a conference title (shared, but technically he became a champ), so nope.  He's on the list, but does not come close to #1.

12/12/2018 - 6:08pm Yeah, I don't know that they…

Yeah, I don't know that they're correct here.  I don't necessarily agree that if they drag their feet on this it will definitively drive a lot of fans away either (as you suggest).

But the scale of this is probably what is making it difficult on them.  Easy to bring the hammer down on one program and not be affected too badly, but 4, 5, 6 or more of the big programs?  That will cause a noticeable blip.

12/12/2018 - 2:21pm No the "rules" exist so they…

No the "rules" exist so they can pretend the competition is pure.  No one wants to watch something that is obviously rigged so they issue the occasional slaps on the wrist to give the impression that things aren't rigged.

The problem they're facing with this is that so many of their biggest institutions are in trouble that punishing them all could put a significant dent in viewership and interest.  The cons might outweigh the pros in this case when you view the NCAA for what it really is: an entity with sole purpose to make the most money for themselves and member institutions as possible.

The Gonzaga's and Michigan's of the CFB world that do things the right way don't have the following or money making ability for the NCAA to say, ok, we need to tank these shady programs to be fair to the rule abiding programs.  Probably more to lose by tanking the shady programs.

12/12/2018 - 2:13pm They wouldn't play MSU.  It…

They wouldn't play MSU.  It would be like 2013 when both teams were in Auburn Hills...playing other teams to get to the sweet 16.

At this point, it looks highly likely M would end up in Columbus for the first two rounds.

I'm personally hoping they end up in the West Region too.  Last year, Staples was like Crisler West and M would have a similarly strong showing of fan support in Anaheim.  Big numbers of alums in LA/SoCal that would rock the place again.

12/12/2018 - 1:06am Yeah, not a horrible loss. …

Yeah, not a horrible loss.  Penn will be NET top 100 after this and the game was at Penn.  That's a Q2 game, with the potential to move up to a Q1 game. 

Not a killer for Nova by any means, and by extension doesn't hurt M much.

12/12/2018 - 12:24am There are smart, nerdy kids…

There are smart, nerdy kids at MSU and he'll probably find them, he'll just have to look harder than he would at Michigan (where everyone is a nerd to some degree). He may get frustrated with all the bros that will outnumber the nerds while he's looking, but placing into the right classes and getting involved with the right extracurriculars will speed the process.


12/11/2018 - 6:24pm Nope, dead wrong.  The…

Nope, dead wrong.  The coaches and players that were good enough to beat Nebraska by 46, when OSU only beat them by 5, and beat PSU by 35, when OSU only beat them by 1, and beat Maryland by 21 when OSU only beat them in OT were significantly better than OSU all season long, such that Michigan was favored by 4 at OSU.

Michigan has better coaches, and this year, had better talent.

It's possible that game was just a "mirage" to quote Winovich and that they just had a bad game.  OSU had a similarly bad game against Purdue that no one would deny was just a bad game and that OSU would probably beat Purdue if they played again.  But it's not a coincidence that M played badly against OSU and OSU played badly in a game that didn't mean much in the conference race.

M put too much emphasis and focus on making sure they won all those other games to the detriment of OSU preparation and focus.  All you had to do was listen to Don Brown and Devin Bush and others to know they didn't treat the OSU game with enough focus.  Don Brown talked about having nightmares and thinking about the 2017 PSU game every day. And then proceeded to try to shut them out.  Devin Bush said he hates MSU more than OSU and proceeded to fire up himself and his whole team for that game.

When this program starts to know they'll beat MSU and PSU and simply take care of business in those games with an eye on the OSU game all season long, then it will have taken the last step. 

OSU, on the other hand, lived with doing just enough to make it to The Game with a chance to win the division, because they're already there.  They know what game matters the most.

12/11/2018 - 3:27pm Thanks, I can see…

Thanks, I can see criticizing a guy for lack of effort or things under his control, but Davis works his butt off (watch him sprint back on defense as hard as he can at at 11:03 mark in the second half after going into the bench to try to get a loose ball) and does a really good job with what he can control.  He's also not that bad.  This team will go on runs with him on the floor.  He's a good screener and good OREB guy. 

12/11/2018 - 1:26pm But look at all the brackets…

But look at all the brackets from the perspective of the one seeds.  They all look highly manageable.

The West has Gonzaga as the 2 (they're not that good) and...Wisconsin as the 3?!?!

The Midwest has Tennesee as the 2 (also not that good) and UNC as the 3.

The East is MSU as the 2 and Texas Tech as the 3? Yes, please.

Per kenpom, the South has the best 2 seed in Nevada, the second best 3 seed in Auburn and the best four seed in Va Tech.

The thing is, this appears to be a pretty down year across CBB.  There is only one team currently with an Adj Efficiency Margin of 27 points or greater right now (Duke). In 2017 7 (!!) teams finished above 27 and in 2016 four teams finished above 29.

We very well could see another crazy tournament like last year when there were also not many really good teams.  Last year only 3 teams had an EM over 27 and chaos ensued (other than Nova being far and away the best team all season and running away with the title).

12/11/2018 - 1:28am you know, I was kind of…

you know, I was kind of nodding my head, agreeing that your original comment maybe wasn't "whiny" and then you go and make comments like "we played very poorly" and "our offense was okay", which is just....what? 

I mean, I'm not sure what your expectations have suddenly skyrocketed to, but M won by double digits, was never below a 92% win percentage per kenpom, and failed to cover a 17 point spread by just six points, i.e. they were just six points worse than what the #4 team in the country was expected to do on an average day.

I would call that a little below average.  It was an off day.  But to say they played very poorly?

The offense shot 60% from two, 42% from three, 77% FTs and scored 89 (!!) points in just 71 possessions - good for 1.25 points per possessions - against a decent defense.

The offense was better than okay, it was good.

The definition of whiny is "having a complaining tone" which kind of does sound like what you're doing as regards to the team's performance yesterday.

Completely agree with you that there's no way this team runs the table.  Way, way too much variance in performances (M probably will play an actual very poor game or three) and ball bounces.  Also, we're very good but not the kind of all-time dominant team that could even think about running tables.

This is the section where I predict the same thing kenpom does: M goes 26-5.

12/11/2018 - 1:06am 50 games is enough to beat…

50 games is enough to beat down the noise?  No.

Flip a coin 50 times. You're about as likely to get 56% or more heads or tails than you are to get between 44% and 56% of one or the other.

That said, games decided by 5 or 4 points or maybe even 3 points weren't coin flip games so of course the better coaches would tend to sit above 50% here.  They will win more games and some of those games will be decided by 5 or fewer points.

I imagine if this was done on 1 and 2 point games you'd see an almost perfect binomial distribution.

12/11/2018 - 12:28am You're absolutely, 100%…

You're absolutely, 100% correct that this is what he wanted.  Shares and clicks.  That's all this was.  I'm sure Duke fans are sharing and clicking.  Tennessee fans.  Kansas fans.

This was for shock value to get clicks, pure and simple.

12/10/2018 - 7:19pm I agree that M should be…

I agree that M should be ahead of Tenn and Gonzaga but Duke is the most talented, and has been the most impressive.  And Kansas has the best "resume" i.e. most quality wins so I can't argue too much with them being ranked ahead of M.  #3 would probably be about right.

12/10/2018 - 6:54pm Some teams might have to …

Some teams might have to "give up" an increased foul rate.  To keep 2 pt % down, you have to contest and block a high percentage of 2 pt shots.  That can come with a higher foul rate tradeoff but not at necessary.  All three of those teams Gasaway listed had better than average foul rates despite having #1 and #2 block rates.

I'm not really sure what your logic is about M being unlikely to be the #1 defense if they are also (or because they are?) #1 2pt% defense in the country?

If you're the #1 defense in the country, you are the most likely team in the country to be the #1 2 point % defense in the country without looking at anything else because that's the highest impact defensive attribute.  But it's still you vs. the field so "most likely" means you have, for example, a 5% chance of being the #1 2pt defense in the country and everyone else is incrementally less likely.

In 2018 UVA was the #1 defense and had the #3 two pt % defense.

In 2017, Gonzaga was the #1 defense and the #2 two pt % defense.

In 2016, Wich State was the #1 defense and the #8 two pt defense.

In 2015, the #1 defense was the aforementioned UK team that had the #2 two pt defense.

In 2014, Arizona was the #1 defense and they had the #2 two pt defense.

VERY HIGH correlation between good 2 pt defense and good defense.  (10th and 14th out of 350+ is very good, btw).  There is no tradeoff to good 2 pt defense that would make you not want to have good 2 pt defense.

12/10/2018 - 5:05pm Is this a real question? …

Is this a real question?  Yes, you absolutely, 100% want to be first in 2pt defense.  It means you're blocking shots the rim and/or are forcing the opponent to take a lot of low percentage long twos.

The former indicates you're probably running guys off the three point line which is what M is doing.

Out of those three charted teams that had the #1 2pt defense (2015 Texas, 2015 UK, 2018 MSU), they all had top 14 overall defenses.

2015 UK was 2nd in 2pt% d and FIRST in three point % defense which of course made them the best defensive team that year.

2015 Texas was just about exactly average at 3 pt % defense (which has been shown to be defense independent), and gave up fewer than the average number of three pt attempts. They were the 14th defensive team in the country on the strength of that 2pt defense despite creating very few turnovers.

2018 MSU was #1 in 2pt% defense, #10 overall defense, was better than average at prevening threes and held opponents to slightly under the average 3pt %.

Causing 2 point misses is literally the best thing you can do as a defense.

12/10/2018 - 4:48pm Beilein and everyone else…

Beilein and everyone else aren't waiting for Davis to get better.  He probably is what he is at this point.  They're waiting for Johns to develop. He'd be playing if he was ready.  It's a lot to ask for a freshman big to be ready this early.  Wagner wasn't, Teske wasn't, McGary wasn't, Morgan wasn't. They rarely are.  And now that someone is actually paying attention to defense, it's even more difficult to get on the court as a young guy.

I'm still of the opinion Davis doesn't deserve so much criticism.  It's like there's so little to criticize with this team so far that he's bearing the brunt of an entire fanbases need to criticize something.

He is almost always in the right spots and he works hard. That's what you ask for from a veteran backup.  His physical limitations hold him back from being anything more, but as a coach you live with that until the young guys are ready.

I also disagree that the offense bogged down with him in there, at least in this game. I "UFR'd" his possessions:

First half came in with M up 14-13, left with M up 16-15:

Offensive possessions:

1) Z drives and kicks for a wide open three from Livers, he missed and Iggy gets the OREB in small part because Davis had a crafty little seal of Frink under the basket so he had no angle to grab the DREB. Iggy got fouled and made both FTs.

2) Pick and roll with Iggy that got Brooks a wide open corner three that didn't go down but which Davis got the mansome OREB against two SC players. Kick out to Iggy and then to Livers for another wide open in-rhythm three that just didn't go down.

Defensive possessions:

1) in the right spots and good box out on Frink that drew an over-the-back foul

2) this was bad.  this was the play on which he kind of bit on a Frink shot fake and then got beat on a dribble drive.  I'm not sure if Yaklich dug into Frink's HS shooting history but as a 265 lb freshman that came into the game 0-2 from three, you don't fall for that fake. That's a shot you're happy to give up. Mental mistake there.

3) Quick offensive foul (moving screen-ish) on SC. Turnover.

First half came in with M up 34-29, left with M up 36-29.

Offensive possessions:

1) Pick and roll with Poole in which he kind of backed up/pivoted into Gravett which got Poole an open three that he got fouled on (actually a bad call but another open three - this one directly created by Davis).

2) This was the fumbled pass which was mostly on Iggy.  Davis does well to get into a good spot when Iggy gets doubled, put his hands where he wanted the ball and Iggy rifled it a bit too hard high of his hands at his face.  Could he have made this play? Yes, but he's a big and you're 5 feet away.  It's like a QB throwing a laser to a FB from 5 yards away. Could he catch it?  Yes.  Is it the right pass? No. You gotta make a softer pass there.

Defensive possessions:

1) Tries to front Silva but loses a little bit of position, Silva gets the pass right where he needs it and Davis is forced to foul.  This isn't great but this is your backup C getting beat by a guy that was All-SEC last year. It'll happen. Smart to foul and Silva missed both FTs.

2) Iggy gets a block, Davis not really involved but did block out Kotsar per his job.

Second half, comes in with M up 65-52, leaves with M up 65-56.

Offensive possessions:

1) Choppy possession early but Matthews passed up a wide open corner three that Iggy set up with a drive and kick. Possession ended on a 50/50 charge/block call that went against Iggy (and otherwise would have been an and one).

2) Livers drives baseline, kicks to Matthews for a wide open three, misses it.  DREB by SC.

Defensive possessions: 

1) Short possession on which Poole's guy drives baseline, Poole tries to draw an offensive foul (a la Northwestern), doesn't get it (correct no call) and the guy hits a 12 foot jumper with Poole on the ground.  Davis not involved, wasn't even a bad shot to give up, guy hit it.

2) Frink misses a three, Davis blocks out Silva but Matthews badly whiffs on his block out attempt, his guy scoops it up, Davis comes over to help as is his job and gets his hands up, but the guy is able to score.  Bad play by Matthews.

TL;DR: So he was -2 on the day.  He did make one very bad defensive play, was otherwise good on that end, and was mostly just the victim of M going 0-4 on wide open threes (with another one on which Poole got fouled and another passed up by Matthews) while he was in the game. Survey says: offense didn't bog down.  The very awkward looking missed catch was only about 30% his fault.

He's not a plus player, and that's why he is just a limited minutes backup.  I maintain that he's fine for 5-10 min a game when the opponent is playing traditional bigs. And Beilein certainly wouldn't be playing him if there was a better option.

It would be great to get Johns up to speed but the situation isn't dire. And with Davis, this is only a small sample size to us but it's not to John Beilien.  He has data on 1000s of practice possessions and knows what Davis is and isn't capable of.   When Johns becomes the better option, he'll play more.

12/10/2018 - 1:06am They're already a final four…

They're already a final four favorite.

12/09/2018 - 10:58pm Not quite, but it's been…

Not quite, but it's been more recent than that!

When M was 15-0 that season they were ranked 2nd behind Duke, won on a Wednesday over Nebraska to go to 16-0 but they lost at OSU on that Sunday (by three on that rim out three by Trey).  They dropped to #5 the following week but climbed up to #1 (in the AP poll) two weeks later at 19-1 after some other teams lost one or two more times.

Then #1 M played at #3 IU and lost and that's the last time M was #1.

12/07/2018 - 3:17am Yeah, I had two immediate…

Yeah, I had two immediate counters to that guys take:

1) He's being replaced by Isaiah Livers who is an elite college defender.  Livers took the starting spot from a 5th year senior sharp shooter who just earned a two way NBA deal because his defense is so good.  This guy is correct that Iggy isn't going to be a defensive difference maker in the NBA but the fact that he's worse than Livers doesn't say he's bad at all.  I will say that his relative lack of blocks and steals is concerning.  That's probably a lack of arm length which could hurt him a bit as block and steal rates in college are pretty good predictors of NBA defensive ability.

2) He may be getting a lot (relatively, I guess) of his offense on back cuts and in transition but that doesn't mean those are uncontested, necessarily.  The guy has a really high foul drawn rate.  He finishes and/or gets fouled in traffic in transition and off those back cuts.  That's a really valuable ability.  And the fact that he doesn't have to create to much is partially because he plays with Z, Matthews and Poole who all have creative ability.  And that step back three against Purdue (or was it NW?)...

His profile is actually a bit like James Harden in college and he reminds me of Harden they way he finishes so craftily around the basket without elite athleticism.  They have that old man game that makes you wonder how in the world they drew contact and still finished. 

As freshmen, they had almost identical foul rates (6.0 fouls drawn for Harden per 40, 5.6 for Iggy), FT% (75% for Harden, 78% for Iggy), 2 pt % (57% for Harden, 58% for Iggy), 3 pt % (40% for Harden, 44% for Iggy), 3PA/2PA (~40% for both) and both took about exactly 27% of their teams shots.

The biggest differences in their high level stats are that Harden had a healthy assist rate as more of a point forward, and Harden had a really high steal rate (so yeah, there are red flags about Iggy's defense - he's not going to be plus on that end).

But his arms are way too short and he's definitely not a first rounder.

12/07/2018 - 2:59am It wasn't really dink and…

It wasn't really dink and dunk so much as Michigan threw literally half the number of passes as air raid and faster paced teams which means you run half as many routes, get targeted half as many times, make half as many catches and TDs and your numbers look like crap.

There is a positive and that's a lot of NFL coaches on the offensive side and NFL style routes/offense.  I also think the 2016 class was so good it wasn't as attractive to recruits to have to sit behind them for a couple years.  We'll see if they're able to bring in some top end guys as this class nears departure.

12/07/2018 - 2:54am Is there anything to be said…

Is there anything to be said other than 1) It probably makes one of Michigan's crucial division games each year easier (but just probably) 2) It probably makes OSU a less dominant team in the short term (but just probably) and 3) it probably gives everyone else a better chance to win the conference (but just probably).

That's it and it's all speculation.

12/06/2018 - 6:02pm I don't follow hockey until…

I don't follow hockey until the Frozen Four, and this is a really bad way to get a sample of mgoblog representation because those who do watch hockey are far more likely to click into this thread.

I read title and initially went, nope, don't follow so not gonna click in and then realized you're trying to take a poll and since I do market research as part of my job, I just couldn't resist pointing out the flaw in method here.

What I would suggest doing to get an idea of relative popularity amongst this blogs readers is comparing the number of comments on game recaps.

I'm ballparking here, but I feel like football recaps get about 250 comments, basketball 50 and hockey like 10.  And that's probably a relatively accurate comparison of popularity of the respective sports.  M Football 5x more popular than Bball and Bball 5x more popular than hockey.

EDIT: just went back and looked at recent hockey posts and they're getting 0-3 comments per.  Yikes.

Other ways to compare without introducing so much bias: facebook likes for Michigan Football (1.6 Million) vs. Michigan Hockey (147k) compare TV ratings for comparable games, etc.

12/06/2018 - 1:50am Yeah, they update that…

Yeah, they update that almost every year and I'm not sure why they only do it on an absolute basis (which rewards longevity as much as success).

Definitely should also do it on a per tourney appearance basis.

Startling to see Tommy Amaker 40th on the list, considering he couldn't get Michigan to the tournament. 

12/05/2018 - 1:42pm Yeah, overall Northwestern…

Yeah, overall Northwestern made a lot of tough shots, several guys on Michigan had bad games (Matthews was AWFUL, Livers wasn't himself, Z had a bad second half), I thought the offense was too rushed and sloppy in the second half (Z was shooting threes too early in the shot clock), and Northwestern is a good defensive team plus it's a road conference game.

Oh, and the refereeing was really bad in the second half (questionable travel on Matthews, very bad moving screen call to give Teske his third, no call on a mugging of Braz, phantom foul call on Davis, and the worst one of all: a called foul on Braz when he ran into a screen and the screener fell over because their knees hit).

Michigan failed to cover by 4 points.  That's it.  It feels weird that it wasn't a blowout, but it felt good that so many things went wrong and the team still pulled out a road win against a top 50 kenpom team. I certainly don't think any new issues were exposed.  The depth is a little iffy, mostly because an injury to the top 7 would be pretty impactful, but that's a known issue.  One or more of the the non-Iggy freshmen should be ready to give some minutes by midseason per usual.

12/05/2018 - 3:04am Davis is taking a lot of…

Davis is taking a lot of unfair heat for that NW run.  He was fine.  None of the NW baskets were on him and Teske wouldn't have been able to do anything about them either.  Their scoring went like this:

35: Taylor hit a contested pull up three off the dribble in Poole's eye. Tip your hat.  Made a tough shot.

37: FTs after a foul on a fast break set up by a terrrrrrible three by Poole that got blocked (he shot a 25 foot three with 11 seconds on the shot clock that got blocked - you just can't do that).

40: Law makes an and one on Livers that is part great play by Law, part bad play by Livers/Poole (I think it was more on Poole as he probably needed to switch the screen there).

42: OREB put back by Gaines after a missed block out by Z (off a Vic Law miss).

45: Turner and one on a fast break after a terrrrrrible attempt at an alley oop by Z which was in transition, not a half court set that even involved Davis.

Again, nothing even close to Davis' fault.

As for M possessions, there was a bad 15 foot baseline fall away by Braz in an attempt to draw a foul, there was the aforementioned terrible three by Poole, the bad alley oop by Z (intended for Braz but went right to the defender).  There was the failed alley oop to Davis but that's more on Brazdeikis.  As the passer you need to know who you're throwing to and what he's capable of.

Obviously the offense isn't as dynamic with him in there and it puts a little more pressure on other guys, but I thought he did fine setting ball screens and rolling. He kept moving.  He had a nice "Teske-seal" on the one Brazdeikis basket during the run.  His teammates were just not good during that stretch.

His big minus in this game was just a result of being in at a time when the other team hit some tough shots and his teammates played like crap.  I think he's an adequate backup big for 5-8 minutes a game. He's not the disaster that he's being made out to be.

12/04/2018 - 6:53pm I think my favorite running…

I think my favorite running stat of this season is that Michigan has blown everyone out so badly they've had a 0.000 luck score on Kenpom for the entirety of the season.

Let's see how long they can keep that up.  I also don't want to know how close it has to get to register on the luck scale. #winbyseventeenplus

12/04/2018 - 5:47pm He's already getting NBA…

He's already getting NBA interest.  There was an Athletic article this week about how GM's are buzzing a bit about him after this past week.

Your assertion that he's not an NBA athlete is just your own perception because he doesn't look like an NBA athlete.  He's a classic "Moneyball" type player that is highly effective after you get past the fact that he doesn't "look" the way you expect.  He's staying with guys after pick and roll switches, he's blocking a lot of shots without fouling, he's logging a lot of minutes without needing too much rest.  To avoid falling into bias, these teams put a lot of weight in block rate, steal rate, and foul rate and Teske has one of the best combinations of those three stats in basketball.

Those are very strong indicators that he could hold his own or be a plus defender in the NBA.  He can obviously finish off pick and rolls.  If you can defend and finish at 7' plus, that's enough to get a look.  If he adds outside shooting, he could actually stick.

If he keeps this up (close to the way he played against UNC and Purdue), the question won't be whether he's getting looks, the question would just be whether he's a projected first or second rounder.

Compare him to some other recent bigs that weren't super athletes/highly regarded recruits but ended up drafted in the top half of the first round:

Domantas Sabonis: Wasn't a 3pt shooter (made 5 his final year in college), terrible rim protector/defender, better FT shooter that Teske but that's about it.

Zach Collins (Gonzaga has a near monopoly on guys like this): Higher block rate than Teske but against inferior competition. Lower steal rate.  Didn't shoot threes.  Drafted 10th!

Justin Patton: Lower block rate than Teske but just one year at Creighton. Didn't shoot many threes (but was amazingly 8-14, have him shoot more!).  Also not a good FT shooter.  Not an elite rebounder like you expect from a 7 footer (so numbers are more in the Teske range). Drafted 16th.

He is getting looks and he will get a look.  Not saying he'll be a first rounder this year or even next but it's not a stretch to think he could be.



12/04/2018 - 3:17pm His stamina and ability to…

His stamina and ability to stay out of foul trouble has been critical and totally unexpected.  Like you said, it's rare that guys his size go that many minutes.

12/04/2018 - 3:12pm When a guy has proven to be…

When a guy has proven to be one of the top 3 defensive coaches (maybe even the top?) in all of college basketball and is the primary reason for M so vastly exceeding expectations the past two years AND has shown good recruiting chops, you absolutely, 100% want to lock him up if you can.

His ceiling is limitless and his floor is very high because even if his offenses took a step back, his defenses will be good enough to keep the team at a top 25 level.  His floor is probably Beilein pre-Yaklich. And even if he doesn't have the chops to keep the offense elite, he'd be smart enough to hire an "OC".  Yaklich as HC, Patrick Beilein as OC.

When you're not a top tier blue blood basketball factory, that's the perfect guy to lock up.  A potential HOF'r that is (somewhat) homegrown.  I hate to make the comparison but he could be Michigan's Tom Izzo.

I don't have much trust in Beilein assistants prior to 2016ish.  The offenses of those teams were all Beilein, of course, and the defenses were terrible.  Considering how bad Bacari Alexander was as a HC, it seems like those guys were around for recruiting purposes only.  Mayyybe LaVall Jordan turns out to be ok as a HC, but he was bad his one year in Milwaukee (albeit in a bad situation but he certainly didn't Chris Holtmann that job), and he's not off to a great start in year 2 (the post Wile E Coyote year) at Butler.  His ceiling is probably much lower than Yaklich's.

To put it another way: if Brad Underwood doesn't make the tourney in year 3 at Illinois, they'll almost certainly take a shot at Yaklich if he's still an assistant at Michigan and not getting paid coach-in-waiting money.  How afraid are you of having to face Yaklich on the opposite bench? (I'm very afraid) And how likely do you think it is that Michigan could get him back? Not very because Illinois would pay to keep him and they're a solid destination, especially given his history in downstate Illinois.

The problem with letting him leave is that people are assuming he'd be an option whenever we wanted to replace Beilein.  I think the risk that he becomes not an option (i.e. hired away and kept happy by another good school) is larger than the risk that he's not an adequate replacement.

12/04/2018 - 2:44pm This was a really good one,…

This was a really good one, gents.  Talking about dominant sports teams is fun!

Pure gold: "But I trust any basketball coach who looks like he cuts his own hair on the way to the arena to watch film."

Couldn't agree more with Ace and Brian about Simpson as well.  This is his team, he is the heart and soul of it.  Yaklich admitted last year in all the fluff pieces in the tourney that Z deserves a huge amount of credit for leading this team on the floor, keeping the intensity up, holding guys accountable, etc.

It is no coincidence that the team took off last year when he asserted himself as the starting PG and he's a huge reason the team is better this year than last year and will be elite again next year (unless Teske and Poole follow Iggy and Matthews to the NBA such that the team might fall back to "very good" please don't, please come back).

Also, basically every guy except Poole has played as well as any reasonable person could have hoped, with Iggy probably exceeding a hypothetical ceiling.

And Poole mostly isn't meeting lofty expectations (yet) because 1) he just started cold and 2) he's not needed to be the ball-dominant alpha we thought he would have to be with the existence of Iggy (and that's fine!).  He's now settled into a comfortable groove as the outside assassin that benefits from all the creators on the team and is stepping into the creator role nicely when Iggy and/or Matthews are off the floor.  I still think the team would benefit from him cutting into Matthews usage and I expect that to organically happen.

12/03/2018 - 7:14pm For the record, I said going…

For the record, I said going to 8 probably wouldn't kill the regular season...much.  Your assertions are incorrect though.

1. Depends which conference title game.  The SEC game this year would have been rendered a lot less meaningful because both teams would have already been in. Stakes would be identical in the Big12, B1G ten and ACC games. Sure, the PAC12 game would have mattered but does anyone really care about which PAC12 team is going to get destroyed by Bama?  Not really. Certainly not worth the tradeoff of diminishing the SEC title game which was a quarterfinal under the current system but would have become essentially an exhibition game with a field of 8.

2. No. No. No.  Absolutely not, dude!  If you get an auto-bid for winning your conference, it makes your OOC schedule much less meaningful.  The committee literally can't hold conference champs accountable for non-conference scheduling.  It's possible that because teams can still get in with a conference title, some would schedule more appealing opponents but 1) those games would only be scheduled because they would have become meaningless which is exactly the kind of dilution I'm talking about.  An opening weekend game against ND wouldn't matter at all, whereas this year, it did matter a lot. It was a virtual CFP elimination game. Big stakes.

3. You're absolutely are letting 3-loss (and 4-loss and maybe even 5-loss teams in) if you give auto-bids. Auto-bids have a major affect on the regular season. Any team clinching a division title before their last game would be playing meaningless games until their conference title game.  Rest guys up, keep them healthy for the game that gets you in.  Again, imagine if OSU had lost to Maryland this year (inches away from happening).  The stakes on The Game would have been absolutely nothing.  OSU couldn't have kept M out of the playoff by knocking them out of at-large position, and M would still be in the title game with only the need to beat Northwestern to ensure they'd go. 

Why wouldn't they rest guys against OSU in prep for the title game? If "tradition" is your answer, it's a bad one.  Because after one QB gets hurt in a meaningless game and kills a teams chance of winning the playoff, you won't see "pride" being the reason coaches play their best players in meaningless games.

4. Yes, this is something that would be really fun and does make the 8-team scenario fine in my book (but again, 16 would be a disaster to the regular season).

5. This isn't really a new point, it's the same as #4. I think rewarding the top four partially mitigates the effect of allowing four more teams in, but to your comment about it being fun to to see a warm weather team play in December:  Well, M would have to finish in the top 4 to host a game in an 8-team playoff.  And at that point, no, I think I'd rather they already be in the semi like they currently would be. Let that 5-8 ranked SEC team stay home and put M through to the semis to reward them for the stellar regular season.

12/03/2018 - 6:30pm That's what they said about…

That's what they said about the Rose Bowl, and lo...

Imagine the 2016 game (or the 2006 game as well) with both teams having already clinched a spot in the playoff.

Why wouldn't it become like the NFL where you're resting your best guys/partially injured players? Is there any chance Wilton Speight gives it a go in 2016 when there's a certain playoff game M would be in the following week?

12/03/2018 - 5:35pm I agree with your…

I agree with your disagreement.

I think the any non-homer college football fan is very curious to see the Oklahoma's offense against an actual good defense.  A top 10 unit this year and the gold standard of defense for the past decade in college football.

Notre Dame brings the kind of interest that the Yankees bring to any event: a big following themselves and a lot of haters that want to see Notre Dame get put in their place.

And while some may be getting tired of Clemson-Bama, there's no doubt that dynasties create interest, frequent meetings create rivalries and back stories and both teams have been so dominant, it's always satisfying if the two best teams in a sport that have been equally good, get to settle it in the title game.

I would argue this is FAR better than last years rendition which had two SEC teams (and you can't get more national apathy than two SEC teams in the final like last year because there wasn't even a team for everyone to root against).

The season before featured an OSU team that didn't deserve to be there, limped in, and got crushed.

12/03/2018 - 5:24pm Who in their right mind…

Who in their right mind thinks there's parity in college football? No one thinks that.  No one claims that. That's ridiculous.

Hey, here's a concept for an article.  Let's propose a false premise and then debunk it by stating what everyone already knows.

12/03/2018 - 5:17pm While it's true that the…

While it's true that the postseason is bad, it directly creates the best regular season in American sports.  By far.  And that's the idea.  There would be a tradeoff if the playoff were expanded. 

Might not be totally ruined by an 8-team playoff, but 16 teams?  The Game would mean basically nothing, frequently.

12/03/2018 - 3:24pm In football there isn't a…

In football there isn't a first/second round "cliff" like there is in basketball and contract size is market based, not set on a rookie scale.

So in football, the guys getting drafted top 5 usually make at least twice as much as guys drafted in the 20-30 range on their rookie contracts.  It would be unusual for an ILB to move into the top 5, and I agree that he probably can't help his stock further, but there is a ton of value to be had by going from late first round to early first round. 

Again, it's not like basketball where the goal is to get into the first round.  There's a lot of marginal value to moving up in the first round in football.

There's also personal reasons to come back.  Unfinished business.  It happens with first rounders (see the Clemson D Line, Jake Long, etc).  And you have to think these Michigan players want another crack at ND and OSU at home in a season in which the offense should be really, really good.  Hopefully, that's reason enough for a lot of these guys to come back.  I don't have a lot of hope that Bush will come back (because again, he's about as high as is reasonable for his position), but hopefully one or both of the corners do come back.

12/03/2018 - 1:33pm If it was about greed,…

If it was about greed, wouldn't they actually lower the price to market and make some money instead of allowing them to go unsold.

If this is actually happening as you say - 99% of these season tickets going unsold (!) - than it's some combo of laziness (put them up at face and not actively lowering the price until they sell), ignorance (of the market and concept of sunk costs) or pettiness (not wanting someone else to go for lower than face just because they have to pay face?).

11/30/2018 - 6:52pm But why take a dropoff at…

But why take a dropoff at all?  You play the best QB.  The best QB on the roster is almost certainly going to be Shea if he comes back.  We'll still have a year or two with Dylan.

It would be great if Shea came back.

11/30/2018 - 6:40pm They weren't entirely…

They weren't entirely incorrect about Beilein hitting his personal ceiling.  Had he not totally shifted his philosophy and delegated defensive responsibilities, the last two years of Michigan basketball would be very different.  Major credit to him for introspecting and adapting and bringing in players and coaches to help him lift the teams ceiling.

I think Harbaugh probably needs to do something similar.  And I think he will in the form of an offensive coaching shakeup and more delegation of that side of the ball.

Anyone wanting Harbaugh gone, and I honestly don't see or hear any of that, is crazy.  But they're also probably not wrong to criticize the offense over the past four years.  Harbaugh would be the first to say they can do better.  And he will.

11/30/2018 - 5:57pm This is true, but Beilein…

This is true, but Beilein inherited a program that hadn't made the tournament in what, like 15 years? A 64ish team tournament.

Harbaugh came to one of the biggest names in football and inherited a sophomore class that was ranked 4th in the country and a junior class that was ranked 6th in the country.

I absolutely agree with your overall point though.  Patience is required.

And for even more perspective, I would argue that the differences in recent history of both programs merely comes down to luck.

Harbaugh's football teams are going to finish in the top 10 in three of his first four seasons! That's even better than any stretch under Beilein.

Harbaugh hasn't won a division title but was plenty good enough and inches away twice in four years (the spot, and the failed Maryland 2pt conversion away).  So Harbaugh is a couple flukes away from having the hardware to match the high quality of his teams.

Beilein, on the other hand, is two flukes away from being a highly disappointing tournament coach at Michigan (the KU comeback and the Poole party).  Imagine if those miracle shots didn't happen? The narrative around the history of Beilein would be quite different.

Both programs are in very good places.  Although it does look like Yaklich has turned the basketball team from very good to elite.  Football just needs an OC to do the same. 

11/30/2018 - 2:50pm It is better than RPI at…

It is better than RPI at this point, probably.  The reason people are freaking out is that no one talked about the RPI in November so no one knew how bad it was at this point in the season.  Well, the replicator RPI sites still spit out RPI so let's check in there:

RPI top 20 per through Nov 29 games:

1. Kansas

2. Duke

3. Oklahoma (!!)

4. Tennessee

5. Wisconsin

6. Texas

7. Gonzaga

8. Iowa

9. Radford (!!!)

10. Michigan

11. Loyola Marymount (!!)

12. Belmont (!)

13. FSU

14. Auburn

15. Nevada

16. UCF

17. Texas Tech

18. UVA

19. Citadel (!!!) 3-2 Citadel!!!!!

20. Kansas St.

In theory, it seems like they threw a bunch of things at the wall for NET and to me it makes no sense that they would us an unadjusted efficiency margin because it does the last two things the committee has wanted in the past: 1) encourages easy home scheduling because it 2) simply rewards blowouts.

It is a bad ranking system no doubt.

But in practice so far, it seems (slightly) better than RPI.