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12/04/2018 - 4:15pm Was going to post this also…

Was going to post this also. I'm not saying NW can't suddenly break out a zone for Michigan tonight, but unless Synergy (or Dylan, I guess) is spectacularly wrong, playing zone is not something NW has done at all this year.

11/15/2018 - 5:24pm Luke Yaklich

Luke Yaklich

11/09/2018 - 4:54pm So I'm not saying I'm…

So I'm not saying I'm worried, but...

Does this not remind anyone else of the 2013 Akron Preview?

I thought we agreed never to do that again? I guess I'm happy to be feeling that level of confident as a program again, and I repeat, I'm not saying I'm actually worried, but... I thought we agreed never to do that again?

11/05/2018 - 6:24pm Oh, hell yes! I've been a…

Oh, hell yes! I've been a UMHoops subscriber since they moved to Patreon, so I'd encourage everyone to contribute. New hoops podcast is an awesome bonus!

11/05/2018 - 6:12pm Yeah, I was there too and…

Yeah, I was there too and thought turnout was pretty decent for an exhibition. I'd really love to see Crisler packed this year. Basketball is just good times, people: go watch a game.

11/03/2018 - 7:44pm A pig in a cage on…

A pig in a cage on antibiotics.

10/22/2018 - 12:32pm I still don't understand how…

I still don't understand how anyone can look at Michigan and Michigan State last year, look at who each team lost, look at who each team added, and then proceed to rank Michigan State above Michigan.

10/10/2018 - 9:16am How is DPJ not the best or…

How is DPJ not the best or second best dunker on the team? I have to say, I'm beginning to question how thorough Bell's analysis of this situation really is.

10/06/2018 - 4:37pm It's almost like trying to…

It's almost like trying to condition your players by showing them animal violence imagery is a bad idea or something...

10/02/2018 - 10:30pm Yeah, I mean, I don't think…

Yeah, I mean, I don't think people should hate this as much as they do, especially since the factor still decreases with time, as it should. Should we really be that surprised that quality of recruiting classes, recent team history, and experience level of the team, which are the factors that go into the preseason projections, should continue to provide explanatory power as the season unfolds? No, not at all. People really like to think that each instance of a team is some sort of special magical snowflake, with all sorts of inexplicable, unique phenomena that power it to wins or doom it to losses, at that's certainly true to some extent, but at the end of the day mean reversion is real, and it is a bitch.

10/02/2018 - 9:05pm 100% agree. The website…

100% agree. The website publishing method was so much more aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate.

10/02/2018 - 8:56pm Keep in mind that preseason…

Keep in mind that preseason projections are still part of S&P+ until about week 7, with the percent they make up decreasing each week.

Actually, I believe Bill said that he's leaving them in all year now.

Preseason projections will remain in the formulas all season. Fans hate this — it’s the biggest complaint I’ve heard regarding ESPN’s FPI formulas. Instinctively, I hate it, too. But here’s the thing: it makes projections more accurate. Our sample size for determining quality in a given season is tiny, and incorporating projection factors found in the preseason rankings decreases the overall error in projections. So I’m doing it.

10/02/2018 - 12:51pm The way the Big Ten is…

The way the Big Ten is currently configured, basically any title won by any team is going to be somewhat lucky. Between the gauntlet that is the Big Ten East, the way West division crossovers work, the home/road breakdown, and all the random crap that can happen in any football game, the team from the East that gets to the Big Ten title game is almost always going to have benefited from some good fortune.

Now good luck definitely isn't sufficient. But I think at this point it's damn well necessary.

09/29/2018 - 9:49am Countercounterpunt:…

Countercounterpunt: Northwestern plays in the Big Ten West.

09/28/2018 - 3:28pm Same, only it came full…

Same, only it came full circle for me. It was so depressing, we just started laughing. What else could you do? It was so, so bad.

09/25/2018 - 9:06pm Nah, but you can bet John O…

Nah, but you can bet John O'Neill's crew all do.

09/24/2018 - 8:16pm Will I get online and get…

Will I get online and get mad about it? Oh, probably.


But dude: that fantasy sounds so much more delicious than anything we've even remotely experienced recently with Michigan football that I can't imagine being that upset. Big Ten champs? Beat Ohio State in Columbus? Dude. I'd wake up with a smile on my face everyday from the beginning of December until the end of August.

09/24/2018 - 7:58pm Honest to God, if we went 12…

Honest to God, if we went 12-1 and missed the CFP, I would not be bummed out at all. I would be friggin' ecstatic. There's nothing we can do about what the CFP committee decides other than win the games in front of us, and a season that includes winning a Big Ten championship while beating both MSU and OSU on the road would be the greatest thing basically ever. And if that's not good enough for the CFP, fuck 'em. We'll destroy whoever we play in the Rose Bowl as consolation.

Anyway, I'm sure that's what you mean when you say "I guess I'll take it," but I can't underscore enough how much I could not care about what some cabal of idiots thinks relative to taking care of our own business. =P

09/21/2018 - 9:54am Bill C mentioned a couple…

Bill C mentioned a couple weeks ago that they would be up after a few weeks had gone by. I'd been hunting for them too. I'd check again after this week's games. We should be getting close now.

09/17/2018 - 3:55pm Can confirm. One of the…

Can confirm. One of the stupidest damn games I have ever seen from a viewing perspective. It wasn't that fun to watch, even from the comfort of my couch. It was *insane* how many stoppages there were. I did think this game was abnormally bad. I do wish we could put the cat back in the bag with respect to the overabundance of replays, commercials, and other nonsense, but since we can't, we can at least acknowledge that this game was bad even by modern standards.

09/09/2018 - 11:42am *sigh*

This is the…


This is the unfortunate goddamn truth.

09/08/2018 - 9:02pm "Necessary but not…

"Necessary but not sufficient" was the exact reaction I had. I don't think anyone is kidding themselves that we're suddenly CoFoPoff contenders, but surely demolishing a team like WMU is better than Hoking it up? Michigan should never have the outcome of a game against a MAC team in doubt. For years, that wasn't true. Today was evidence that it remains true under Harbaugh. That's not the final goal, but it is the necessary first step.

09/08/2018 - 3:55pm I had a thought like the OP:…

I had a thought like the OP: Evans looks like Barry if Barry had to slow down when he cut. Evans definitely had that stop/start thing going, but what separated Barry from everyone is it just never seemed like he had to slow down when he was doing it. Everyone else stopped to deal with his change of direction, and he went right by them, like they were playing waist deep in water and he wasn't. Evans doesn't have that. No one has that. But I get the OP's impression of similiarity.

08/09/2018 - 1:37pm Little details can make a…

Little details can make a big difference, I think. I certainly know how to use the "hamburger" button. But going to the boards from the main page is so massively, massively more common than *any* other activity under the menu there that it deserves special attention. No, it doesn't make the site unusable to have to click multiple times (and I note that the menus are a bit weird, so I misclick with some frequency), but not-unusable is a pretty low bar.

08/09/2018 - 12:31pm I think this is important…

I think this is important too. If you had a quick access button for the board that was visible the moment you hit the front page and autoscrolled with you, the mobile version of the site would level up dramatically.

07/27/2018 - 7:19am YNWA


07/18/2018 - 12:34pm Gabriel's is The Truth.

Gabriel's is The Truth.

07/10/2018 - 9:53am Interesting. I admit to not…

Interesting. I admit to not being super familiar with the frequentist interpretation of probability. I certainly would have described my viewpoint as generally Bayesian though; I have no beef with priors (everyone has them), I just prefer that they be called out explicitly.

As far as my complaint about preconceptions being baked into models based on real world data, I agree that in principle one should be able to account for these biases or assumptions. However, in practice, I think it's more common that bias is introduced because the author of the model is very often blind to the bias in the first place; it may be a factor the author hasn't even considered or is unaware of or simply sees as common sense. It often takes someone with a completely different point of view to notice these things. Ideally, that's what peer review is for; alas, in the real world, group-think is also a thing.

tl;dr: Bayes: good; cognitive bias: bad and stubbornly pernicious.

07/09/2018 - 11:19pm Haha, no, for sure. You're…

Haha, no, for sure. You're totally right. But that doesn't mean we all have to link to it and cite it as if it were actually proof of anything. It's the fact that other people are going to hold this up as evidence that bothers me.

07/09/2018 - 9:35pm This is one of the most…

This is one of the most amazing ideas I have ever heard in my entire life.

07/09/2018 - 9:33pm Thank you for your comments…

Thank you for your comments. Like I said, I'm not presuming that NFL coaches do have the right mix. I just think that the data as presented here is so inadequate as to make it near worthless for decision making.

With respect to the availability of data from controlled, randomized experiments, I agree: this data is not common. However, the lack of availability of good data doesn't make the data that remains useful. To engage is some wild analogy, if I require a life raft to escape a sinking ship, but all I have on hand is a blender, it won't do to say "Yes, it would be nice to have a life raft, but that is not realistic, so this blender will be fine." I might just be screwed. Similarly, in real life we aren't guaranteed to ever have useful real world data, even though we might like to. The data that we have are either sufficient or they aren't, on their own merits, just as a blender is either a good flotation device or it isn't. That it is all we have on hand doesn't mean anything.

My issue with the way people use real world data is two-fold:

  1. It usually requires the construction of models that can bake in the author's preconceptions about the problem in subtle ways.
  2. I think people are generally unaware of exactly how subtle problems of selection bias (among other biases) can be.

I will admit: I am more than a bit of a skeptic. I have read good arguments made from real world data, but they are all much more sophisticated than this, of necessity.

So in broad strokes, I agree with you: real world data can be made to be useful (though this is not a guarantee), but it requires a tremendous amount of care to do so, at a level which is rarely present. I think we can both agree that the requisite level of care is not present in this instance. In the end, the proof is in the pudding: if you construct a model from real data that yields actionable information that consistently produces good outcomes, then you have found something useful. That's just a really hard process, and not one conducive to tweets at NFL coaches.

07/09/2018 - 6:15pm I'm not a fan of studies…

I'm not a fan of studies like the two point conversion study referenced here. Let's leave aside that (believe it or not) it's not really a large enough sample once you break it down into micro-categories like the author does. The more salient point is this: in general, trying to draw broad conclusions like this from non-randomized data without a control group is a fool's errand.

For example, are we really to believe that coaches would call for nearly three times the number of passing plays as running plays if that running plays were truly nearly 50% more successful than passing plays? It's possible NFL coaches are this stupid, but most likely they aren't. Most likely the entire reason that running plays are so successful is precisely because they are called so much less frequently. You can't suddenly start converting 60+% of your two point conversions just by running the ball. Opposing teams would adjust. The most likely explanation from the data given is that defenses play the pass, since that's what offenses want to do, and so runs are more successful, but less common.

And that's just the start of the problems with this kind of analysis. Teams' play selection is highly non-random. Teams are going to play to their strengths. The opportunity for selection bias is everywhere. For example, it's entirely possible that bad offensive teams throw more fades because they know that they are relatively safe and their other options are terrible, where as good offensive teams with more balance diversify their play-calling. In that scenario, fades looks bad not because they are inherently bad but because bad teams *correctly* run them more; the causality could run entirely (or just partially) the other way. And again, perhaps other types of passes or runs are effective precisely because other teams have to guard against the fade. Teams could easily choose to sacrifice some efficiency on fades to set up greater efficiency on other plays. It's very, very possible that by drastically cutting the number of fades you throw, you greatly reduce the efficiency of the other plays you run instead.

Imagine an analyst looking at a the performance of a baseball pitcher's repertoire, noticing that he performs a lot better on his slider than on his fastball, and so recommending that the pitcher stop throwing his fastball entirely, and start throwing his slider almost all the time. I think we would correctly recognize why that is nonsense: pitches aren't throw in isolation; it's a dynamic, evolving equilibrium with a lot of feedback and response from the actors involved.

It's so incredibly hard to draw valid inferences from data like this. I'm not saying that NFL play callers necessarily have the right mix, but it's really, really naive to treat numbers like this as any sort of conclusive, or even highly suggestive, evidence. Selection bias is a very, very powerful force.

06/29/2018 - 3:46pm Having been using the new…

Having been using the new site for a while now, I think the two big design things that bother me are:

  1. The banner and tiles at the top of the main page take up WAY too much space. I'd halve the size of both. I think the tiles themselves are fine, but I'd like to see them deemphasized. Here's what it looks like when I hit the main page:

    main mgoblog page.PNG

    I can't even see the headline for the newest article. That really rubs me the wrong way. Ideally, I'd like to see the headline above the lead image instead of below it. A front page that is tightened up like this:

    main mgoblog page_0.PNG

    Just reads sooooooooooooooooooooo much nicer to me. As soon as I hit the main page, I see the most recent relevant content in the titles, the main banner and menus, and also the title, lead image, and date of the most recent post. Yay.
  2. I know this is the dumbest thing ever but: I really, really, really like having the tags lead the article instead of following it after the jump. The goofy tags were one of the things that give MGoBlog its character, and now I basically never see them. The tags served as a funny little preview of what the post was going to contain. They had a nice priming effect. You could often tell the attitude of the post just from them alone. Priming is pretty important in presenting material to people; it frames things for us, and allows us to anticipate what's coming. Anyway, mostly I just liked laughing at the tags as my introduction to the article, and that never happens now.
06/18/2018 - 1:57pm I was skeptical when these…

I was skeptical when these were announced, but these look awesome. Well done.

06/13/2018 - 12:00pm Matt D runs a recruiting…

Matt D runs a recruiting site, Endless Motor Sports, and he/they have McDaniels ranked #1 overall.

05/21/2018 - 7:15pm YNWA


04/28/2018 - 1:47pm EECS 482

EECS 482 (Operating Systems) was far and away the most useful real-world course I took during my CS degree. If you think you're interested in any kind of systems or high performance programming, it's a pretty important course. I wish I had taken the compilers course; that material is useful just for teaching you how to think about code. I skipped EECS 381 and I'm happy I did. The best way to learn a language or its features is to try them in a "real" project on your own. EECS 481 seems practical, but I'm not sure if it really helps, because software engineering practices vary so widely and are all crap.

04/20/2018 - 12:08am That puts the class at #8

That puts the class at #8 nationally in the composite, just behind #7 Maryland for #2 in the Big Ten. Very nice. MSU is #14 nationally, and then Indiana, Illinois, OSU, and Northwestern are #21-24.

04/13/2018 - 2:00pm Huh? In this article, a "Way

Huh? In this article, a "Way Too Early" Top 25 which went up on April 2nd, they had Michigan as the #12 team in the country. They had us behind MSU, which is the ridiculous part, and certainly enough bulletin board material in its own right, but they definitely included us.

Anyway, to your larger point: HELL YEAH, so fired up for next year already!

04/11/2018 - 5:19pm Adrien Nunez

Why no mention of Adrien Nunez? I know he'll be a true freshman, and not as ready to be a major contributor as Iggy, but surely the fact that he'll actually be a shooting guard on the roster is relevant? Or are you projecting him as a three, not a two?

04/10/2018 - 7:46pm I was visiting a friend in

I was visiting a friend in England when this game happened. We took the evening off from standard tourism stuff to watch the match. It was the first soccer match I'd ever watched in its entirety. Been a fan of Liverpool and soccer in general ever since. What an incredible night. YNWA.

03/26/2018 - 9:57am Not just you.

There might be some credence to the idea that FSU's length was bothering our three-point shooting, but you have to put a *lot* of credence into the idea that being bothered on one shot throws off your rhythm on a different shot, because some of those were completely uncontested and still missed. I feel like a normal three point shooting day nets us a pretty boring, convincing win, and no one is talking about FSU's D.

03/12/2018 - 2:09pm Yeah, I do think it's fair to

Yeah, I do think it's fair to call out the committee for ex-post rationalization of their selections. As human beings, they are hardly unique in that aspect. I just would rather people not use MTSU as their poster child.

03/12/2018 - 2:07pm I understand this point of

I understand this point of view. I definitely think the tournament would be more *interesting* if you had St. Mary's and MTSU and other better mid-majors over the major conference teams on the bubble. But I'm pretty sure "interesting-ness" isn't the criteria the committee is using. As long as they are supposed to be looking at team quality, that's what I think they should be judged on.

03/12/2018 - 12:20pm I really do not understand

I really do not understand why MTSU is suddenly the hill everyone is willing to die on with respect to NCAA tourney selection. I know KenPom isn't the final word on this stuff, but MTSU is the #52 team on KenPom. They are behing Maryland, USC, Baylor, Louisville, Notre Dame, Penn State, and St. Mary's. It's really fine that they aren't in the tourney.

What major conference teams got a real gift from the committee? Again per KenPom, Providence is about the only truly eggregious selection. And if you want to complain about Syracuse, Alabama, UCLA, Oklahoma, and Arizona State, fine. But if you're really trying to be objective about this, you aren't replacing those teams with MTSU. You're replacing them with Penn State, Notre Dame, Louisville, Baylor, USC, Maryland, and St. Mary's, almost exclusively other major conference teams.

So yes. St. Mary's got fucked. Let's go die on that hill. MTSU? No. And Nebraska? Get out. I'm never gonna feel bad if the #57 team on KenPom gets "snubbed" from the tourney. Come on.

You want to look at things other than KenPom? Cool, that's fine. Again, I'm not saying KenPom has to be gospel. But his rankings are probably *close enough* to an objective assessment that people shouldn't be getting their dander up if a marginal team gets snubbed in favor of another marginal team.

03/02/2018 - 9:10pm Why was Tate riding the bench

Why was Tate riding the bench for the entire end of the game while Dakich was on the floor? Does anyone know? Dakich is so weak defensively that OSU had to double Carr, which led to the game winning dunk. Tate had only four fouls and he's one of OSU's critical players. Really want an explanation on that one. And then OSU's "play" with three seconds left was total trash. Holtmann did an amazing job this year, but he has some questions to answer about the end of this game.


03/02/2018 - 7:56am Yup

I have these same thoughts every single time Michigan is in a position like this. With 0.9 left, just softly lob the ball at your tallest player, standing at mid-court (or heck, even farther), and have him try to set the thing like a volleyball, as high in the air as he can. Even if you turn it over in that situation, it's going to be *impossible* for the opposing team to gather the ball and shoot it in 0.9 seconds. If your guy sets it, 0.9 will elapse before the ball hits the ground. Even if it just grazes him, 0.9 will elapse before the ball can go anywhere. And even if the opposing team somehow flies in and intercepts, their only option is to immediately chuck a half-court shot without even really being able to come set. UVa's only real shot is to force a turnover without any time running off, like a five second violation. All you have to do is make sure that one thing doesn't happen, and it's *so* easy to do that if you just think about it for even a split second.


Glorious. Fuck Louisville.

02/18/2018 - 5:55pm The UCLA game was a vital

The UCLA game was a vital game for our tourney chances that we won in overtime after mounting an incredible comeback in regulation. Muppets totally justified.

02/16/2018 - 4:44pm You're welcome!

The incessant negativity around here is really starting to get to me.

02/16/2018 - 4:44pm (No subject)

boo this man