Go ahead. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

The last time Michigan faced Maryland in Crisler was MLK Day of 2018. You know, the one when Michigan went cold in the first half, scrapped back from a double-digit deficit to open up one of their own on a spate of Moritz Wagner threes, and lost the lead with a few seconds left to set up the long pass to Abdur-Rahkman, the trip by Bruno Fernando, and two ice cold free throws to end it. You remember.

image_2240

Both of Michigan's heroes from that game were in the building today for a very different Michigan team, and a script that at times felt all too familiar.

Recently ejected John Beilein's squad came out in the first half looking more like the killers who left November covered in the viscera of Nova, UNC, and Purdue, and less like the guys who left State College this week with faces covered in frying pan marks. As they've done all season, the defense clamped down, forcing PG Anthony Cowan to give up the ball, forcing the Terps into a slew of turnovers, and frustrating UMD bigs Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith into a miserable 2/11 in the first half. With their top options not producing Maryland tried to go to their relatively low-usage wings and the wheels came off: SG Eric Ayala missed all seven shots (five from distance) he took in this game, and Darryl Morsell coughed up four turnovers.

Much of that was thanks to Wagner's heir, Jon Teske, who was as delightful on the defensive end in this game as he wasn't offensively. We'll start with the defensive job: after getting double help on Fernando for Maryland's first possession Teske went to work alone, absorbing Fernando's best shoulders and lean-ins, and anticipating every other post move. Iggy Brazdeikis was brilliant on the boards against a tough customer in Jalen Smith, and the rest of the pests helping Michigan combine for seven steals. Maryland did the rest themselves, turning the ball over 13 times in the game's first 20 minutes (they would finish with 16). With the set shooting off, the Wolverines were able to score mostly on the transition opportunities the Terp turnovers provided.

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Like this one. [Campredon from the magic cam]

Zavier Simpson's active work came at a cost. Trying one of his sneaky grabs on Cowan when running off a screen, X picked up his second foul with over six minutes left in the first half, triggering the Beilein autobench for Michigan's minutes leader. In his stead we were treated to our first extended minutes for David DeJulius. The freshman looked more comfortable than in any of his previous outings, scoring on a Simponesque 3 o'clock hook and forcing a UMD offensive foul off the ball. But DeJulius's contributions were offset by the defensive drop-off, as Maryland finally managed to get a couple of their own deadly freshman shooters clean looks. DeJulius would finish with 2 points on 2.5 shot equivalents and a steal. Simpson would finish with 12 points, a 163 ORtg, five rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and two fouls.

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Beilein said DeJulius is Michigan's backup point guard now. [Campredon]

As they did last year in both games against Turgeon's young team, the Michigan offense established itself with drives and kicks to create open three point attempts. But those kickouts often went to Teske, who was almost as off the mark this afternoon as announcer Tim Brando's music references. As Teske—whom Brando was calling "Testie" for some reason—opened at 0-4, 0-5, 0-6 from three, it was hard not to glance over at Wagner and think about a time when Turgeon threw up his hands in the Crisler Center media room and admitted "They're IMPOSSIBLE to guard." A dominant first half ended 27-18, but that felt like like a wasted chance to double up on the Terps, and Michigan's 3/15 mark from outside the arc was the glaring reason.

Teske finally got his first points in the second half on a dunk set up by X, who beat Cowan off the dribble then reached around Cowan's help, one of the most gorgeous assists of the year (though Simpson would top it later).

By then, however, things were getting tight. Early in the second half UMD's offense finally woke up, with Cowan sinking a pair of unassisted NBA three-pointers and Fernando surging. Michigan countered with Good Charles Matthews, whose signature falling J was only the most noticeable contribution. Michigan found extra possessions by Matthews sneaking in for a pair of running offensive rebounds under the basket, and covered Cowan by switching Matthews on him. Cowan and Fernando combined to go 5/5—all at the rim or three-pointers—before the under 12 timeout, but thanks to Matthews only managed to cut one point off the lead.

Coming out of the under 12 timeout Brandon Johns was inserted for Teske and Michigan picked up three quick defensive fouls on the same trip. Maryland trimmed the lead to 38-32 and Teske immediately returned. Despite drawing a difficult defensive matchup in long PF/C Jalen Smith, Brazdeikis did much of Michigan's offensive work in addition to the boards, sinking three timely three-pointers and adding a pair of assists off his drives.

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THIS time I'm sure it will…drurrr. [Campredon]

By the midpoint of the second half it was a game again. Maryland got the score to 42-39 when Poole missed a stepback three, and bench wing Aaron Wiggins sunk his response. Teske missed his sixth three-point attempt on the ensuing drive, dropping Michigan to 4/21 from the arc. Michigan fans had a momentary panic as Anthony Cowan got a clean look off a high ball screen and put what looked like a tie ballgame into the air. Instead it went off the foot, Livers moved the rebound upcourt, and Poole drove end-to-end, undressing a lone Wiggins for an important layup. Following a missed layup by Wiggins, Simpson found acres of space with a simple jab and nailed an NBA three, forcing Turgeon to call a timeout.

Michigan ended it with a couple of nifty assists. Matthews turned down an open-ish three, drove inside the foul line, faked a kickout, and Fernando bit to leave Teske open for a dunk. Then Simpson topped it, driving under the basket and spinning around like a lost Spike Albrecht, until Teske slipped behind the bewildered Terp and X put a no-look pass into…oh, just watch it:

UMD started crashing the boards and was rewarded with a boatload of extra possessions in the waning minutes, made all the more excruciating by Brando still trying very hard to fit the game's narrative to "Killing Me Softly with His Song." Before Brando could connect them, Teske *FINALLY* nailed a three-pointer, putting Michigan up 57-46. Simpson punctuated it with his signature hook to put us into Kenpom time, with Turgeon electing not to draw it out with fouls. Wagner clapped in that Teutonic Muppet way he does, Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman stared cooly, and the band played Mo Bamba over an important Big Ten victory.

[Box Score after the JUMP]

That's MGoPhotographer Patrick Barron, who does a lot more than MGoBlog stuff. Check out his Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/bluebarronphoto

I've been tracking changes in recruiting rankings at regular intervals, since sometimes the shift tells us more about the star than the brightness. I think the sites are done with their re-ranks after the all star games now, and several of the 2019s moved substantially.

Please remember the rules (even though they're theories):

  1. Gravity! Players will slowly drop as more players get scouted. Moving up means you did something; slowly dropping a few spots means the guy is the same.
  2. Climate! The rankings have more than player goodness in them. They'll overtly bump guys who went to their camps over those who didn't, for example. ESPN doesn't pretend to care about recruiting outside of the southeast, or bother to rank 2020 3-stars from the Midwest.
  3. Measurements! If you follow recruiting you know the various rating systems. Rivals uses the old National Recruiting Advisor system: 6.1 is a 5-star, 3.7 is a high three-star, etc. ESPN is on a 100 scale where the 70s are three-stars,. 247Sports is on 100-ish scale where the 80s are three-stars, and their composite is that but a percent.

Let's go to the re-ranks! I'll highlight big leaps up in green and big drops in red.

QB Cade McNamara

Service Feb 2019 Dec 2018 Aug 2018 Jun 2018 Mar 2018
247Sports 90 (#8 PRO)
#375 OVR
90 (#10 PRO)
#351 OVR
90 (#10 PRO)
#321 OVR
90 (#10 PRO)
#310 OVR
90 (#9 PRO)
#305 OVR
Rivals 5.8 (#8 PRO)
not ranked
5.8 (#8 PRO)
not ranked
5.8 (#10 PRO)
not ranked
5.8 (#9 PRO)
not ranked
5.8 (#9 PRO)
not ranked
ESPN 81 (#12 PRO)
#253 OVR
81 (#13 PRO)
#257 OVR
81 (#14 PRO)
#240 OVR
78 (#8 PRO)
#296 OVR
78 (#8 PRO)
#296 OVR
Composite 0.9052 (#7 PRO)
#268 OVR
0.9048 (#11 PRO)
#275 OVR
0.9067 (#10 PRO)
#269 OVR
0.9067 (#10 PRO)
#263 OVR
0.9004 (#9 PRO)
#316 OVR

Cade more or less ended up where he began. The only slight excitement over his rankings history was staying ahead of all the guys ESPN added as they filled in behind the other sites. He was the #45 player in the West to the Worldwide Leader when he committed, and finished #38. That site is the highest on McNamara, ranking him in their top 300 while 247 and Rivals have him hanging out just above the 4-stars line.

What's the delta say? That stability speaks to a guy who met expectations. I believe an early Michigan commitment also played a role in maintaining McNamara's status at the top of the wave of guys who are good but not elite.

RB Zach Charbonnet

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I got this from MGoFish who got it from Bobby Curtis/Acorn Newspapers

Service Feb 2019 Dec 2018 Aug 2018 Jun 2018 Mar 2018
247Sports 97 (#4 RB) #38 OVR 97 (#3 RB) #26 OVR 95 (#4 RB) #40 OVR 91 (#9 RB) #220 OVR #209 OVR
Rivals 6.0 (#4 RB) #60 OVR 6.0 (#4 RB) #60 OVR 5.8 (#20 RB) not ranked 5.8 (#20 RB) not ranked  
ESPN 84 (#5 RB) #101 OVR 84 (#6 RB) #105 OVR 80 (#26 RB) not ranked 80 (#26 RB) not ranked  
Composite 0.9760 (#4 RB)#46 OVR 0.9800 (#3 RB)#42 OVR 0.9240 (#10 RB)#187 OVR 0.9000 (#15 RB)#302 OVR #277 OVR

After Michigan, 247Sports was the first to see Zach Charbonnet as an elite running back prospect. Rivals and ESPN were playing catch-up after the season, when 247 was even more enamored with him. Fortunately for those of us who were concerned about Michigan's luck with site-sanctioned running backs, a small injury held Charbonnet out of his All-Star game last month, and that prevented what seemed an inevitable push up the rankings and that dangerous fifth star.

What's the delta say? This is a borderline 5-star prospects that Michigan found early and the sites were slow to catch up, though catch up they did.

[After THE JUMP: Big guys who go up and little guys they don't know what to do with]

[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

THE ESSENTIALS

WHAT #6 Michigan (22-3) vs
#15 Maryland (19-6)
WHERE Crisler Arena
Ann Arbor, MI
WHEN Noon Saturday
LINE Michigan –7, 72% to win (Kenpom)
Michigan –6.8, 77% to win (Torvik)
TV FOX

THE US

All basketball teams not sporting historic combinations of NBA talent acquired entirely on the up-and-up will fart out the occasional game like Michigan's most recent one, an inexplicable first half against Penn State that Michigan couldn't quite overcome thanks to oh I don't know a JOHN BEILEIN EJECTION so absurd in its deployment that I can scarcely believe it happened days later.

Anyway here's home/road in college basketball: Michigan has basically an identical chance to win at home against #15 than on the road against #62. This is good, mostly: Michigan's got almost 3/4ths of the happy feelings after this one. Just forget about the last game. Immediately, and totally.

THE LINEUP CARD

Click for big.

image (26)

Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.

Pos. # Name Yr. Ht./Wt. %Min %Poss ORtg SIBMIHHAT
G 1 Anthony Cowan Jr. 6'0, 170 85 26 109 Meh
Mini-Carsen-Edwards in a bit of a funk shooting just 46/33 on season with reduced FT rate. Otherwise same player as last year.
G 5 Eric Ayala Fr. 6'5, 205 72 16 111 No
Composite #78 FR. 47% from three, worse inside arc with 24 TO rate. Get all his own shots inside arc though?
F 11 Darryl Morsell So. 6'5, 200 61 18 101 Meh
Miraculously low FT rate for guy with half his shots at the rim. Doesn't convert there, iffy on threes (30%), high TO rate. In sum: bleah.
C 25 Jalen Smith Fr. 6'10 215 64 23 117 Yes
Lanky goggled C playing a bit out of position most of the time thanks to Fernando. 56/27 from floor, rock bottom TO rate. Mostly assisted at rim; 66% there ain't great for 6'10 leaper.
C 23 Bruno Fernando So. 6'10, 240 73 24 121 Yes
Modern NBA C on track for late 1st round pick. 69% from floor, huge FT rate, hits 'em, rebound vacuum, TOs only major flaw.
F 2 Aaron Wiggins Fr. 6'6, 200 60 17 111 No
Composite #42 FR. May have bigger 2/3 eFG gap than anyone in the country: 32% from two with just 21 FTAs on year, 42% from three.
G 10 Serrel Smith Fr 6'4 170 33 16 99 Meh
Composite #154 FR. Poor shooting inside and out, 20 TO rate, low usage.
F 14 Ricky Lindo Fr. 6'8 200 33 11 90 Yes
#446 FR per 247, no composite. Does nothing except rebound.
F 13 Ivan Bender Sr 6'9 228 9 14 55 Yes
Deeeeep bench guy hasn't taken a shot since Jan. 5th and usually gets 1-3 MPG.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]

Another weekend with high-profile on-campus visitors, plus a look at Michigan's offensive line recruiting under Ed Warinner

Where have you gone Ted Valentine, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

Quinn Hughes carries the puck up ice against Minnesota

A look at two important factors in Michigan's final four regular-season games

in which John Beilein dons a hat 

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