Unverified Voracity Extracts Concessions

Unverified Voracity Extracts Concessions Comment Count

Brian February 19th, 2019 at 12:40 PM

Getting more out of Livers. It's a project that is underway:

“It’s something we’ve been talking with him a lot," said Michigan coach John Beilein. "He leaves a lot on the table. He shoots 3s well, but there’s another element to his game that he’s still developing. We’ve got to encourage it."

Livers has been an excellent complementary player during his first two seasons at Michigan. He won a starting job as a freshman last season as the Wolverines made it to the national title game. This season, though, he has come off the bench. Teammates have referred to him as a "glue guy."

He's already bumped his usage from 12.9 to 15.4; if he's able to do that again next year he'll be at ~18, and at that point he's enough of a contributor that you're not worried that his presence is pushing someone up to usage levels they're not efficient at.

Rebounding is variable. I know this John Gasaway assertion is true after several years in which Michigan took a top-50 DREB rate into conference play only to finish 10th in that department:

Defensive rebound rates can translate a bit better from whole-season to conference (cf. Maryland, Colorado, and Michigan), but even here you can’t just assume you’re hitting statistical bedrock every time. Take Kansas State, No. 17 nationally in defensive rebound percentage, more than 100 spots higher than its nearest in-conference competitor (Oklahoma, No. 132). Actual Big 12 play, however, has swiftly devolved into a vicious egalitarian struggle where every team’s virtually identical on the defensive glass and the Wildcats nominally rank No. 4 in the league in that category.

These numbers are in motion, of course, but this isn’t primarily a sample-size thing. It’s more of a basketball thing, or, better still, one more peculiarity of a mass-audience sport wherein the teams themselves select a sizable portion of their own opponents. There are few bread-and-butter box score numbers that vary as much as rebound percentages due merely to non-conference scheduling philosophies and/or to how certain coaches choose to change their look for conference play.

Those were usually Zack-Novak-at-power-forward teams that suffered when larger people entered the equation. Michigan's maintained much better the last two years. They finished last year 2nd in B10 DREBs and are fourth this year.

Also in that post, a bizarre thing going on at MSU:

Inverse-Michigan Factor (IMF)
Standard deviations above/below conference means
Conference games only

                          OR%     DR%     IMF
Michigan State    2019   1.75   -1.20    2.95
Rutgers           2017   1.62   -0.90    2.52
West Virginia     2019   1.11   -1.35    2.46
Providence        2019   1.07   -1.33    2.40           

These are the largest IMF numbers we’ve seen in the past five years in major-conference play. Purdue 2019 is not far behind.

MSU is the best offensive rebounding team in the conference… and 13th on the other end. MSU's block rate probably has something to do with this. They're #1 in conference play, and that's without anyone particularly large-huge and leapy. Surmise: MSU's trying to block everything and giving up OREBs when those attempts go awry.

[After THE JUMP: Mike Leggin' it]


Unverified Voracity Lived In A Monastery I Guess

Unverified Voracity Lived In A Monastery I Guess Comment Count

Brian February 7th, 2019 at 3:12 PM

Sponsor note. In addition to getting you out of trouble if you punch a police horse facilitating your small business through the vagaries of contracts and, uh, legal stuff, Richard Hoeg now has a podcast about law as it impacts the games business:

If that seems like your jam, subscribe away. If not, keep Hoeg in mind whenever you get a great idea for a small business or punch a horse

It has been stressed to me that if you punch a horse you're on your own, at least in re: Hoeg. I'm sure there are other lawyers for that kind of stuff. Ron Kunstler? 

So Signing Day is in December now. It was… yesterday? Tuesday? Something like that. Nothing happened except the ejection of Amauri Pesek-Hickson from the class; Pesek-Hickson landed at Kansas. Pesek-Hickson seems pretty pissed off. His coach is less so:

Coaches typically bring the hammer down on schools they feel have mistreated their players during the recruiting process. Pesek-Hickson has now publicly stated his belief that he was mistreated by Michigan. Yet when Sims was asked if there will be any issues with Harbaugh recruiting Blue Valley North in the future, he shot down the notion without equivocation.

“Oh no, no, no, no,” Sims replied.

“As far as my feelings with Coach Harbaugh, he has always been upfront and honest with me. He has always done an awesome job every time he has come into my school. He is a great coach from my vantage point.”

“So, I think moving forward, I don’t see any issues that would ever keep Coach Harbaugh out of any one of my schools.”

Webb asserts that Michigan made it clear that a grayshirt was a possibility, and… I mean, when they don't sign you in December* what do you think that implies? Do you receive this news and think "this is fine"?

Michigan probably shouldn't have offered the kid but rather encouraged him to keep his options open past the early period. But also the father's story doesn't pass the sniff test.

*[Quinten Johnson did sign, FWIW, but it was kept quiet so his high school could do a signing day thing.]

2019 basketball recruiting isn't done. Michigan's setting up a visit with Lester Quinones, a 6'5" shooting guard:

Among the schools on him the hardest?

“Maryland, LSU, Michigan, Memphis, Georgia, Ohio State, Pitt, and Miami, been texting a lot.”

Visit plans?

“Michigan is the next visit. It’s getting planned, there is no exact date."

Quinones has a commitment timeline of "late spring," which should give Michigan enough time to determine whether they're suffering attrition, whether it's NBA or otherwise, and thus have a spot for him.

[After THE JUMP: Kansas crocodile tears, Nik Stauskas as an NBA badminton, wyd Tim Drevno]


Unverified Voracity Says Watch Out For The Storm Duck

Unverified Voracity Says Watch Out For The Storm Duck Comment Count

Brian December 19th, 2018 at 2:49 PM

YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN SOMETHING IMPORTANT FOR A SPECIAL PERSON: a sponsor note. Need a last-second gift? How about an actual piece of the Big House? Friend of the blog Martin Vloet got his hands on the original redwood Big House benches—the ones installed in 1927 and used until 2005—and had them made into limited edition pens, cufflinks, pendants, and bottle openers. He also claimed the old plastic seats and cut them up into magnets or pendants. The first 99 pens are reserved for Michigan football players, past or present, that want like to claim their jersey number. The rest of the pens will ship, #100 through #1927, on a first-ordered basis.


Use the code MGBFREESHIP and save on domestic shipping of any size order placed by 11:59 pm TODAY. As long as it goes out tomorrow, USPS Priority Mail should be able to make it to any US address by December 24.

Follow this man. Eric Shap on Michigan's defensive issues in their last two outings:

A combination of a December lull against teams that don't really have Michigan's attention and a reversion seemingly well past the mean; if holding Eric Paschall to 3/13 from two without doubling wasn't a realistic picture of Michigan's D, well neither is that last set of clips above.

If NET's taken as seriously as RPI that's fine. Weird article in the Washington Post trashing the NET rankings, which are wonky as any NCAA hodgepodge is going to be but hardly a disaster waiting to happen for tournament seeding. The article has three wrong premises. One is that NET is the be-all and end-all of selection and seeding:

You might not think such a discrepancy in the rankings would mean much, but consider how this could affect the NCAA tournament, where a team like Texas Tech would be given a No. 1 seed via its NET ranking, but plays more like a No. 3 seed, per its consensus ranking.

The committee still exists. We're still talking about quadrant one wins. There are still teamsheets. NET will be followed no more blindly than RPI was. Which was a little blindly, if we're being honest, but not to the point where a team gets a one seed solely because of a single number on the sheet.

Two is that a hodge-podge of computer rankings is an appropriate comparison point. Many, if not most, of the rankings in the giant compilation the author cites are predictive rankings that are inappropriate for selecting and seeding the field. At this point in the season many still have a significant preseason component—Kenpom won't be fully preseason-free until the end of January. If the season ended today a field selected and seeded by Kenpom alone would give Purdue, which is 6-5 and has just two B-level wins, a five seed. NET ranks Purdue 31st instead of 17th. NET's deviation from the average here is a positive. The article cites Houston's NET ranking (10th) vs their computer composite (23rd), but you could cherry-pick a weird outlier for almost every one of these ranking systems. ESPN's BPI has Michigan 11th.

Three is that NET won't be able to better distinguish between teams given an additional half-season of data. This is an absurd comparison to make:

Based on last year’s consensus rankings, a top-four consensus team had an average RPI ranking of 3.3. This year the average NET ranking of a top-four team is 5.5, almost identical to a team ranked between No. 5 and No. 8 in the consensus group. In other words, the NET rankings are incapable of distinguishing between a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, a stark contrast compared to last year where, via RPI, there was a clear difference between the two.

For one, last year's RPI-influenced committee put Kenpom #9 Kansas and Kenpom #14(!!!) Xavier on the one line. As a group the two-seeds were stronger. For two, most teams have only played a third of their games so far. Of course there is going to be more disagreement amongst ranking systems when they have less data.

The only real question is "is NET better than RPI when tourney time nears?" Open question, but it would have to try real hard to be worse.

[After THE JUMP: more NCAA legal troubles, what is USC even doing, and a sudden 180]


Unverified Voracity Embiggens

Unverified Voracity Embiggens Comment Count

Brian December 12th, 2018 at 1:05 PM

Uh. Don Brown is reputedly a finalist for the Temple job:

Elko has turned it down, which is strange for a 41-year-old guy with a decent but not great resume and may indicate that the job's not particularly attractive. Brown is 63 and if offered would have to decide between what's probably his last shot at a head coaching job and a potential playoff-level team at Michigan going forward in the event they ever beat OSU.

FWIW, Brett McMurphy just reported that Diaz is next up.

Finding guys 8 and 9. That's what the next three games are about for basketball, and it sounds like Brandon Johns is on the verge:

Leading up to Michigan's latest game, Johns played the role of South Carolina's Chris Silva on the scout team. Silva was first team All-SEC last season, and Johns did his best to impersonate him.

According to Michigan assistant coach DeAndre Haynes, Johns was banging in the paint, dunking, and knocking down 15-footers. He had his best two days of practice.

"But when he's Brandon Johns for Michigan, he's not doing it," Haynes said. "We told him, 'You shouldn't have to be Silva for you to play this way. You have the same game.'"

Beilein asserts that Michigan "dummies it down" for young players on offense and that the issue with their playing time is executing consistently on defense, which is quite a statement from John Frickin' Beilein.

Gonna need a whole new tournament just for us. Joe Lunardi's latest bracketology has ten(!) Big Ten teams in and Northwestern on his "next four out" list. That is the whole league aside from PSU, Illinois, and Rutgers, and includes two teams projected to have losing conference records (Iowa and Minnesota).

Michigan gets a 1-seed, naturally, and is shipped to Columbus along with Michigan State. Lunardi dumps Louisville and Kentucky outside of the South, which might be on accident since early in the year Lunardi does some sloppy stuff, but you have to figure that if Michigan is indeed the #1 in a regional in Louisville they won't set up a potential road game.

That's well down the road but the point is that the team that wins this league is probably getting a one seed.

[After THE JUMP: Hugh Freeze!]


Unverified Voracity Is Perfectly Calm

Unverified Voracity Is Perfectly Calm Comment Count

Brian December 6th, 2018 at 1:24 PM

The prayer forced. Michigan's communication and Jon Teske's unexpected switch and quick hands forced Northwestern into a chuck:

Anonymous quotes about basketball's defense. Right this way, via Jeff Borzello:

"They're so much further ahead of everyone right now, it's not even funny," one opposing Big Ten coach said, referencing their experience. "What they were doing at the end of the year has carried over." …

"They have an alpha male at the point in Simpson," a Big Ten assistant said. "He holds those guys to what I would call a gold standard. He doesn't allow them to slip. When they don't do something correctly, he makes sure they know about it."

"Zavier just plays his ass off," another opposing coach said. "He may be smaller, but he's dialed in every possession, and they put a lot of length around him. He's a junkyard dog."

Michigan's 23-1 run stretching back to last year would be the #1 efficiency D in the history of Kenpom if it was a single season. And it seems like the bit from last year is the "bad" part.

Beilein's greatest enemy returns. NBA draftniks have started talking up Ignas Brazdeikis, who slides in at the end of the first round in SI's latest mock draft:


Height: 6’7” | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: NR

As has been widely noted, Brazdeikis turns 20 in January and is only technically a freshman, after doing a prep year in Canada. The good news is, it doesn’t really matter. Brazdeikis has been Michigan’s most consistent scorer and impressed with his ability to hunt shots off the ball. He can shoot it from outside or face up and attack the basket, and profiles as a useful offensive-minded role guy in the pros. His competitiveness and feel stand out, The big question with him is perimeter defense, as he will probably need to be parked on fours in the NBA. Regardless, if the Wolverines continue to play this well, Brazdeikis won’t have to stick around long.

Matthews (#38) and Poole (#51) also show up in their top 60, though Poole is in the you-should-return range and the author admits even that is "speculative." 

The Athletic's Sam Vecenie is more skeptical of Iggy as a one and done, placing him 50th in his latest top 100 and causing a blizzard of HEY WHAT ABOUT IGGY comments that he responded to at length. A portion:

Here's where I'm worried: Athleticism here is still a pretty real NBA concern on defense. Iggy is smart on that end and has taken to what Yaklich/Beilein want him to do well. But it also says something, IMO, that Michigan has been better on defense with him off the floor as opposed to when he's been on it -- especially in their games against high-major competition (vs. Nova, PC, UNC, Purdue, NW, Michigan had a 74 DRTG with him off the floor, and an 88 DRTG with him on it). That's a bit noisy, and the overall number is still good at 88. But I think Michigan has done more to insulate him rather than him being a true difference maker on that end, too.

On offense, over 75% of his offense has come from spot-ups, transition opportunities, back-cuts, and O-Rebs. The spot-up stuff is useful obviously, as he's a terrific shooter who can put the ball on the deck and attack a closeout.

Brazdeikis has done good work as a college four checking guys like Paschall and Maye but might not have the lateral agility to keep up with NBA wings. The stat about his offense seems… wrong, though? That's probably from Synergy and is therefore meticulously charted but it certainly feels like Iggy's creating a lot of his own shots. He dug Michigan out of some trouble against Northwestern by getting to the rim with frequency.

Vecenie says that if Iggy can maintain his effectiveness once he's 1) scouted and 2) the primary focus of opponent defenses he'll shoot up his board. One thing that hurts his stock—his age, which is a year older than most freshmen—is the kind of thing that makes you leave instead of makes you stay.

Let us resolve to enjoy the rest of this season.

[After the JUMP: potentially better NFL draft news?]


Unverified Voracity Throws Some First Down Markers, As Per Tradition

Unverified Voracity Throws Some First Down Markers, As Per Tradition Comment Count

Brian November 20th, 2018 at 3:02 PM

Sponsor note. Let's say you've got some nice first down markers. Got a big X on them. Some orange bits, a pole. You know: the real nice stuff. And let's just say an absurd person gets so angry about something completely unrelated to your markers that he tears them up! You know, hypothetically.

Well, what then? Well, do you have any contracts that might stipulate monetary penalties for this gentleman? No? Do you regret that? Yes? Maybe you should have called Richard Hoeg.


Yes, even though Richard Hoeg was an infant(ish) during this hypothetical event, he may have craftily crafted a legal framework that would allow you to recoup your first down marker costs. Or anything else related to your small business of standing on the sideline with a down marker and something about police horses.

Call today! Or maybe next week, we're all hyperventilating quite hard right now.

A lunatic. Woody Hayes at the end of the Game in 1971:

At the link above MVictors has handily gif'd crucial portions of Hayes's meltdown that you can send to loved ones during moments of crisis. Need to remind your brother-in-law that he may be a grown-ass man but he's got the emotional stability of a toddler who missed his nap? There you go.

Ohio State's current coach has a slightly different approach:

There needs to be an equivalent of the Vince McMahon gif that's just smash cuts to increasingly distressed versions of Meyer culminating in that.

A smooth operator. Bill Bonds fulminates about the overweening importance of The Game, and you know what? He's right.

[After THE JUMP: Don Brown! Luke Yaklich! THE BROTHERS KARA-NAH-SOV]


Unverified Voracity Wonders What You Checked

Unverified Voracity Wonders What You Checked Comment Count

Brian November 13th, 2018 at 2:10 PM

The Mark Dantonio background check. Michigan State "vetted" Auston Robertson after this incident:

Michigan State officials have said the university was aware of two criminal charges in Robertson's past. One was sexual in nature, and the other was not. He was charged in January 2016 with misdemeanor battery related to an incident during school in which he "rubbed and grabbed" a female classmate's groin area against her will in the fall of his senior year.

Robertson had "several other police reports documenting alleged sexual violence and misconduct" just waiting to be asked after. Two were for attempted rape. The victim in the misdemeanor described above told police of two earlier incidents. There were no fewer than five incidents of sexual assault during Robertson's high school career, described in police reports. MSU didn't bother looking for them.

No one from Michigan State requested information about Robertson's criminal history in Fort Wayne through formal records requests during the school's vetting process, according to the city's records department. …

Allen County (Indiana) Prosecutor Karen Richards said no one from Michigan State contacted her or her office for records or discussion about Robertson during the time that Michigan State was vetting him

What is the first thing you'd do if you were serious about vetting someone? That. Instead, Michigan State went through a sham process that put Robertson on campus. Predictably, he sexually assaulted someone within the first year. He's now facing three years in prison.

Mark Dantonio put the MSU student body at risk because he didn't care one iota whether or not Robertson was a threat. If you don't think the Larry Nassar attitude extends to football and basketball, you are wrong.

In related news, Curtis Blackwell is suing various MSU people after being made the fall guy for the three guys who got expelled for a sexual assault that got pled down to "seduction" and a former employee is suing after MSU was unresponsive to harassment allegations against a union head.

This seems good. The Solid Verbal compiles points per drive stats in conference play:

Michigan near the top of both lists; OSU near the bottom. Maryland vastly improved! Every other weekend.

Press conferences have gotten weird. Mostly talkin' snakes these days:

Junior running back Tru Wilson, who finished with eight carries for a career-high 58 yards on Saturday, faced the media. Wilson didn’t receive any questions about his previous game.

But he got plenty about his pet snake, Mako.

“He’s just getting done shedding, so I haven’t been able to play with him for the last week or so,” Wilson said. “I guess he’s blind when he sheds, so I guess it’s kinda dangerous — not dangerous, he’s not gonna kill me. The ball pythons are a very defensive creature.”

Doesn't Higdon have a snake, too? How many Michigan running backs have snakes?

[After THE JUMP: PFF stats, maybe they make waffles, sketchy Zach Smith stuff]


Unverified Voracity Got That Email, Too

Unverified Voracity Got That Email, Too Comment Count

Brian November 6th, 2018 at 12:34 PM

Wouldn't it be nice. Rivals already published a slightly altered version of an email we received from an established insider, but hell we got it too: per Someone Who Would Know, Shea Patterson is planning on returning for his senior year. He's likely to submit his name to the draft committee for an evaluation, get a mid-round grade, and return.

As this space mentioned a couple weeks back, he's in the heart of the distribution of guys for whom a return makes sense even when the criteria are strictly financial bottom line stuff: draftable but with first round upside if he can just refine his reads.

If that does come to pass Michigan's offense will return every major contributor except Karan Higdon, Juwann Bushell-Beatty, and Grant Perry. A senior Patterson throwing to Collins, DPJ, Martin, Black, and Gentry could be something.

The road to 800. Andrew Kahn goes back in the Beilein archive:


Beilein coaching during a Le Moyne game (Photo: Le Moyne College Athletics)

No. 100

Beilein started his coaching career at Newfane (New York) High School before moving on to Erie Community College, where he won 75 games over four seasons, and Nazareth College (one season, 20 wins). Staying in Western New York, Beilein was hired at Le Moyne College before the 1983-84 season. On Dec. 3, the Dolphins earned their fifth win of that season and Beilein's 100th, beating visiting Bloomsburg State 66-58.

Though the arena was only half full, the 1,000 fans who witnessed win No. 100 were "boisterous" according to the Le Moyne student newspaper. Bloomsburg's star player, Barry "Slam" Francisco, missed a dunk late in the first half, "the crowd got on his case, and he played poorly the rest of the game."

Various other milestones are detailed. Beilein goes for win #800 against Norfolk State.

Which is tonight! Basketball season tips off for real against a MEAC team. Here is a one sentence summary of the MEAC from UMHoops:

Norfolk State didn’t win a Division I game until December 30th, but went on to finish 11-5 in the MEAC.

8:30 on BTN.

[After THE JUMP: around the league]


Unverified Voracity Swiftly Reverses Dumb Decision

Unverified Voracity Swiftly Reverses Dumb Decision Comment Count

Brian November 1st, 2018 at 2:11 PM

Reminder. Tom VH will hold you at Literati tomorrow at 7. He'll also be on MGoRadio. Pat pat, there there. I'll be there, too, but I didn't write a book

So that happened, and then un-happened. Maryland retained DJ Durkin, and then fired DJ Durkin, because people are just in charge of things for no reason. Like Michigan State, the people in charge of things in this case are the regents. Reports that president Wallace Loh wanted to axe everyone were likely true, and after everyone from the student government to both candidate for governor publicly complained Maryland admitted what every adult American other than their board members already knew: DJ Durkin's career is toast.

Anyway, now's a good time to reflect on the colossal failure Big Ten expansion has been:

Let’s start with rutger. I don’t know if I need to say anything more about these guys that hasn’t been said in the past four years. They’re terrible at the major sports. They’ve embarrassingly brought down the strength of the Big Ten schedule. A few months after their Big Ten membership became official, the basketball coach was caught on video throwing basketballs and yelling homophobic slurs at players. Ex-AD Julie Hermann was routinely making shocking statements to the media and embroiled in controversy at her former schools. Ex-football coach Kyle Flood once threatened a professor if he wouldn’t change a player’s grade. The list goes on. rutger remains an easy target. We’ve already covered them extensively on this blog. Oh yeah, this [a Rutgers player being kicked off the team for a failed double-homicide] happened yesterday as well. Not great, Piscataway!

Moving onto Maryland. Until recently, the frustration with the Terps was a little more subtle than their New Jersey counterparts. The football team employed Randy Edsall. The basketball team hasn’t reached the heights it did under Gary Williams, attendance is down after a post-B1G boost, and an FBI investigation looms over the program. At least men’s lacrosse and women’s hoops have been reliable, though.

But then there is the situation with head football coach DJ Durkin, which after months of investigations regarding McNair’s death, was seemingly resolved yesterday. The Maryland Board of Regents overruled outgoing university president Wallace Loh, who seemingly wanted Durkin fired, and reinstated Durkin as the coach, despite the release of a 200-page report that illustrated the abusive behavior of the coaching staff under his watch. After all of this, one startling fact remains: a 19 year-old student-athlete died, and the head coach has been allowed to keep his job. Unsurprisingly, Jordan McNair’s family was angry about this decision, and at least 3 players walked out of a team meeting with Durkin yesterday. Now, the university administration has received tons of criticism, and is facing backlash from Maryland lawmakers as well as UMD students, who plan to hold a rally Thursday.

Great job, Jim Delany. Hope the brief surge in television revenue was worth it.

Urban's head. Meyer's strange behavior on the sideline has a cause:

Since kneeling down on the sideline in a game against Indiana on Oct. 6 because of severe headaches, Meyer has been peppered with questions about his health and future in coaching. He said the cause of the discomfort links back to a congenital arachnoid cyst in his brain, which has led to severe headaches at times in his career.

“The past four years, we’ve been working closely with coach Meyer to monitor and manage the symptoms that have risen from his enlarged congenital arachnoid cyst,” said Dr. Andrew Thomas, Meyer’s personal physician and the chief clinical officer at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center. “This includes aggressive headaches, which have particularly flared up the past two years.”

That sucks for him and does not excuse his conduct with Zach Smith. Verdict: still a bad dude. Not the kind that saves the president. An expired coupon kind of guy.

[After THE JUMP: secret scrimmages, ooooooh]