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Date Title Body
02/15/2019 - 2:12pm Ah, arbitrary endpoints and…

Ah, arbitrary endpoints and small sample size.

This team is 22-3, but I'm supposed to expect them to be blown out, at home, by Maryland -- a team who's lost a neutral-site game to Illinois and a home game to Seton Hall?

Blown out by a team that is averaging.. 65 points over its last 8 games?

Look, it's entirely possible that Maryland wins Saturday, but it's a 7-point KenPom spread for a reason.  Michigan isn't as good of a team as they looked like at Villanova, and they're not as bad of a team as they looked like at Iowa.  That is true for every team in the country -- the truth is always somewhere between the best and worst performances.

02/14/2019 - 12:11pm (in my best Arnold..)

It's…

(in my best Arnold..)

It's not a glaaaaa-zier!

02/14/2019 - 12:39am I don't have stats on this,…

I don't have stats on this, but from memory, I'd estimate that at least half of Michigan's possessions against the trap used a superficially similar attack, with three ball handlers advancing in a V formation while the 4 and 5 had already run down the court and were establishing position.  I'm sure there were nuances, but I wasn't able to make them out.

Michigan consistently crossed the time line with about 21 seconds on the shot clock. Indeed, I was surprised that PSU didn't trap more aggressively; it seemed to me that they backed off and set up their half-court defense when the shot clock hit 22.  I honestly thought that they could have caused a ten-second violation or a backcourt violation if they'd stayed with it a little bit longer.

The second half was better, in large part because PSU stopped making such a high percentage of their shots.  I don't recall much -- if any -- trapping off of misses.

02/13/2019 - 11:19pm Only if a Michigan player…

Only if a Michigan player set it. Otherwise..

(ducking)

02/13/2019 - 11:16pm KenPom includes conference…

KenPom includes conference SoS to date on the conference page, and you're correct; Michigan has played the weakest schedule so far, with a value of +14.84.  Purdue has played the most difficult, at +18.96.  MSU is 11th, with +17.20.  (The #13 schedule is +16.54; Michigan has played a way easier schedule than anyone else).

For context -- these numbers are the AdjEM of a team that would be expected to go .500 against that schedule.  So, if you took a team with a +14.84 on KenPom -- St. Mary's is closest; Syracuse and Indiana are right behind -- you'd expect that team to be 7-7 with Michigan's schedule.

02/13/2019 - 11:12pm Every game is a potential…

Every game is a potential loss in the Big Ten, but that doesn't make 1-6 a realistic outcome.  Bart Torvik provides a nice little tool on his site for simulating a range of outcomes; here's the Big Ten.  He gives Michigan a 0.2% chance of going 0-6 the rest of the way, and a 2.0% chance of going 1-5, matching your number (obviously, the PSU game is a loss).  This is approximately half the chance of a 6-0 finish (4.1%).

Michigan has also won road games at Villanova and Indiana.  By 20+ points each!  I don't care how bad the Hoosiers are this year, Michigan just doesn't win in Assembly Hall, and certainly not in that fashion.  6-0 is more realistic than 1-5, but the most realistic is 3-3 or 4-2.  And that hasn't really changed, honestly; early in the season, KenPom had a 15-5 projection for Michigan; as of today, it's.. a 15-5 projection for Michigan.

02/13/2019 - 11:02pm No, of course "just bad" isn…

No, of course "just bad" isn't good enough.  I want good officials, both for philosophical and pragmatic reasons -- it's the right thing to do, and it would also benefit Michigan.

The bias argument might make sense if the guy who worked all of Michigan's losses was the guy who called the Ts.  He wasn't.  So now, either you have a bunch of biased guys -- two of whom hadn't been able to cause a Michigan loss yet this year -- or they get together before the game and agree to favor a certain team.  Remember, basketball referees don't work as crews; while they presumably knew each other from the referee community, they might never have worked together before.  Certainly, while each of these officials has worked several Michigan games this year -- four each, in fact -- this was the first time that even two of them had done a Michigan game together this year.

02/13/2019 - 10:50pm You can't handle the truth!…

You can't handle the truth! No truth-handler, you! Bah! I deride your truth-handling abilities!

02/13/2019 - 4:43pm He definitely got Teske on…

He definitely got Teske on the arm when he was going up for a rebound prior to one of the blocks.  The block itself was clean, but he should already have been whistled.

And, you're right, easy is an overstatement.  But I will take 26 points on 29 shots.  I like Michigan's chances when they make another team one-dimensional.  I will give him credit for the assists, though, because he definitely punished Michigan once or twice for a late rotation.

02/13/2019 - 4:29pm I don't have access to…

I don't have access to splits based on player assignments, or on/off floor data.  I saw the same thing you did, but I know better than to trust my own judgment, because the eyes can deceive.  If I did have that access, I would love it, because it would help me to understand things better.

That said, if "Stevens made every piece of crap he threw up there and he did in fact dominate Jon Teske" is true, then we're going to have to agree to disagree.  Making poor shots isn't dominance; it's a side-effect of good defense.  Sometimes the shot goes in anyway, but it's unlikely to continue to happen.  Eventually, if you take enough bad shots, you will likely end up with a bad stat line.

02/13/2019 - 3:48pm And I wonder if durr... math…

And I wonder if durr... math iz hard... people like you ever actually understand what you're watching or if your vocabulary is limited to "he wanted it more," "give it to the hot hand," and "live by the three, die by the three."

The purpose of advanced stats is to gain a better understanding of the game. The more I understand a sport, the more enjoyment I get out of watching it.  Despite what you may think, the point is not to create statistics for their own sake -- they tell a story that may not be obvious.

02/13/2019 - 3:33pm One thing to keep in mind:…

One thing to keep in mind: true, unbiased referee incompetence almost always favors the lesser-skilled team.  The team with more skill generally just needs the referees to get out of the way.

Since Michigan is more skilled than the vast majority of teams in the country, any incompetence is likely to favor their opponents, all else being equal.

The referees don't have to be biased to hurt Michigan.  They just need to be bad.

02/13/2019 - 3:29pm Oh, it was a terrible night…

Oh, it was a terrible night.  I simply question whether or not it was representative of anything more than being a terrible night.

02/13/2019 - 3:09pm He needed 29 shot…

He needed 29 shot equivalents to get his 26 points.  I will take that every time.  Shut down Dread and Michigan wins.  Stevens's O-rating was 111 -- the same as Iggy's, although on a lot more usage.  Dread's was 141.

02/13/2019 - 2:59pm Except for turnovers, they…

Except for turnovers, they didn't really struggle on offense.  They got 0.9 ppp in the first half and 1.1 ppp in the second half prior to desperation time (29 points on the first 26 second-half possessions, and then 13 on the final 9).  That's not great offense, but it would have been good enough to win most games this year.

The majority of the struggles were on defense.  The PSU three-point percentage is a little deceiving, because they also drew two fouls on threes (and made 2 of 3 free throws each time).  If you think those were bad calls and count them as misses, then PSU was 35% on threes.  If you think they were good calls, then they were effectively 47%.

In many respects, this was just one of those games.  PSU got multiple OREBs from catching airballs.  Sometimes it's just not your night.

I think people are obsessed with PSU's Big Ten record and think that they're this awful team.  They're really not.  They're not a great team, but they're a good team -- per KenPom, they'd be an above-.500 team in Big East play, AAC, or Pac 12 play.  They're better than their record indicated, they got some calls and some lucky bounces.  Michigan needs to put this one in the rearview mirror and hope things go better Saturday.

02/13/2019 - 1:25pm I will happily give every…

I will happily give every big guy 26 points on 29 shot equivalents, especially if over-the-back is called properly.  Myles Dread was a bigger factor in the win than Lamar Stevens.  He's a 37% three-point shooter, and they needed to do a better job closing out on him (although, in fairness, he did make a couple of ridiculous contested shots too).

The sky isn't falling.

02/13/2019 - 1:22pm Wow.  Upon further review, I…

Wow.  Upon further review, I think that was a double-dribble, traveling, and a shot-clock violation.  The rare trifecta!

02/13/2019 - 1:19pm No -- they attacked the trap…

No -- they attacked the trap at least one other time, possibly twice, and turned the ball over as a result. (I say "possibly twice" because the second turnover I'm thinking of seemed to be in transition, and it wasn't clear to me whether PSU was setting up the trap or not).

02/13/2019 - 1:16pm I was thinking of twelve…

I was thinking of twelve free throws in particular: the four technicals, two from the phantom call on Iggy (18' jump shot where he didn't touch the guy), and the six on the two fouls called against three point shooters.  IIRC, they made 9 of those 12 free throws.

Of the two three-shot fouls, the first call was awful -- Matthews was clearly avoiding the guy, and the shooter twisted his body in the air to force contact.  The second call was borderline, but not awful -- Iggy was way late closing out and did make legitimate contact, although the guy exaggerated it Poole-style.  The biggest problem I had with the second one was that PSU was able to do the same thing to a Michigan shooter -- I think it was Iggy, but it might have been Poole -- and there was no call.

PSU had a 60-54 lead with 5 minutes left -- well before desperation time -- so it's not unreasonable to say that the free throws had as much to do with the outcome as the OREBs.

Anyway, the point was that this game wasn't lost due to Teske not jumping or failing to alter shots. :)

02/13/2019 - 10:39am It takes all of five seconds…

It takes all of five seconds on KenPom.  But, that's OK.  Go back to RCMB.

02/13/2019 - 10:38am Considering that Beilein has…

Considering that Beilein has never lost an opening game in the Big Ten Tournament, that's nearly as bad of a take.

It was a bad game.  They happen. Michigan went into the game with a 25% chance to lose, per KenPom.  That's higher than their chance to win was when they went into Villanova (21%, IIRC).  It's silly to extrapolate the entire season from one game.

02/13/2019 - 2:19am Actually, I think Teske's…

Actually, I think Teske's ability to defend without jumping is one of his strengths.  He's able to alter shots without fouling in large part because he's set and can stay vertical.  Also, he's relatively immune to shot fakes.  He's 63rd in the country in block rate, at 8.1%; he's fourth in conference games at 7.3%.

PSU did not win this game on two-point shooting.  They shot 40% on 3s and 48% on 2s.  And they did not win this game on two-point shooting defense -- Michigan shot 62% (!) on 2s.

They won this game at the line and on the offensive glass, and Teske jumping wasn't going to help with either of those.  As Alex pointed out -- quite a few of the offensive rebounds were airballs that they caught.  Heck, PSU had one sequence where I couldn't tell if it was the worst alley-oop ever or the worst shot ever -- the guy sort of passed it at the basket; it hit the rim and bounced right to Stevens, who slammed it down.  There's not much you can do about that kind of thing.

02/13/2019 - 1:32am IMO, Stevens didn't have an…

IMO, Stevens didn't have an impressive game at all.  It's easy to score 26 points on 29 shot equivalents.  The one thing I found interesting, though, is that he finished with twelve rebounds and zero fouls.

He's now deep into his junior year.  He's at 2.7 FC/40 this year, 2.9 last year, and 3.9 his freshman year.  In all that time, he's finished with zero fouls five times: his freshman year against Wright State and Illinois, last year against Fairleigh Dickinson and Oral Roberts, and tonight.  Suddenly, he's able to play an entire game without using his off arm to push off, without fouling on a layup or putback attempt, and without going over the back even once.  Well done, sir.  I'm sure that was legitimate.

02/13/2019 - 1:16am I'm fairly certain that your…

I'm fairly certain that your original predicate may be flawed, but, you know what?  Let's go with it. :)

02/13/2019 - 1:14am Thank you for this.  I don't…

Thank you for this.  I don't know that I could pick any of the referees out of a lineup.

I don't think Garrison has some deep-seated Michigan hatred.  I think he's just called three wildly inconsistent games, where the definition of a foul changes on each possession.  Those are the type of games that frustrate everyone -- players, coaches, and fans alike.

02/13/2019 - 1:10am Not funny.  Try harder.

Not funny.  Try harder.

02/13/2019 - 1:10am I had to laugh when I saw…

I had to laugh when I saw BTN's Stevens "highlights."  One of them showed him slapping Teske's arm as he was going up for an offensive board.  I'm guessing that made it just a little bit easier for him to block the shot when Teske put it back up.

Stevens allegedly didn't commit a single foul in the entire game.

While I understand that Michigan doesn't run an awful lot of offense through the post.. that also means he got his 12 rebounds without a single over-the-back call.

02/13/2019 - 1:07am Really?  There are some…

Really?  There are some great 15 seeds out there this year, huh?

Try harder.

02/13/2019 - 12:48am I'd definitely like to see…

I'd definitely like to see Livers take more shots.  The difference in 2013 was volume -- Stauskas, Trey, and THJ each averaged close to five attempts per game.  This year, only Poole is at that pace; Livers and Iggy are both attempting about three per game.

You're absolutely right about Poole wasting some possessions in tonight's game, and I'm sure he'll be coached about it.  He seems to get rushed and feel he needs to take on a big burden.  In fact, Michigan is 1-3 in games where his usage is above 25% and 21-0 otherwise.  (The one win is North Carolina, and he was at exactly 25% in the South Carolina game).  Basically, I think Poole tries too hard when things aren't going well; the team is best when it's balanced.

The challenge for Beilein is to get him to play smarter while staying aggressive.  Here's hoping the lesson's a success.

02/13/2019 - 12:12am Trey Burke shot 38.4% from 3…

Trey Burke shot 38.4% from 3 in 2013.  Tim Hardaway shot 37.4%.  Nik Stauskas shot 44.0%

Ignas Brazdeikis is shooting 37.9% this year.  Jordan Poole, 38.8%.  Isiah Livers, 43.8%.

(Oh, and it's admittedly a small sample size, but Jon Teske (!) is 18th in the Big Ten, with a 38.7% three-point percentage in conference play).

Michigan's offensive efficiency improved after this game.  If I had offered you 69 points in 66 possessions, you'd have taken it, no questions asked.

02/12/2019 - 11:52pm I assume that he must have…

I assume that he must have graded out well?

He's done 12 Big Ten conference games this year; Michigan has been in three of them.  Last year, he did 6, plus one in the Big Ten Tournament.  In '16-17, he did 8, plus one in the Big Ten Tournament.  In '15-16, he did 9 Big Ten games.

Now, the Big Ten does have more games this year, but it still seems like he's trending upwards in terms of the amount of work he's offered.

02/12/2019 - 11:47pm They are now #58 in KenPom. …

They are now #58 in KenPom.  They are a good team.  They are not a great team, but they are a good team.  Michigan was a 75% favorite to win.  Against a bad team, they'd have been a 95% favorite to win.

Also, don't look now, but Duke came back from 23 down to win at Louisville. (??!)

02/12/2019 - 11:43pm KenPom only has records…

KenPom only has records going back four seasons.  1-3 this year (Norfolk State); 1-0 last year (Alabama A&M); 1-0 the year before (that horrible game at Rutgers, 68-64). None in 2015-'16.

02/12/2019 - 11:41pm Basketball refs aren't…

Basketball refs aren't affiliated with conferences and won't work as crews.  I mean, yes, the Big Ten hires them, but they each work games across the country.

02/12/2019 - 11:34pm Basketball officiating isn't…

Basketball officiating isn't done with crews.  They're individuals.

Michigan is 1-3 in '18-19 when Lewis Garrison is a referee.  (He worked the Norfolk State game).  They were 1-0 last year (Alabama A&M), 1-0 in '16-17 (that horrible game @Rutgers), and he didn't work any of their games in '15-16.  That's as far back as KenPom's referee charts go.  He hasn't worked an NCAA Tournament game in the past three seasons.

They are 3-1 this year when Robert Riley is a referee: the Providence, Binghamton, and Minnesota games.  And they are 3-1 this year when Paul Szelc is a referee: Purdue, the first PSU game, and the home game vs. Northwestern.

 

02/12/2019 - 11:27pm Yes. Norfolk State.  That's…

Yes. Norfolk State.  That's the only one.

02/12/2019 - 11:25pm Per barttorvik.com:

Since…

Per barttorvik.com:

Since December 15, Michigan is 47th in offense and 8th in defense.  There are 353 teams.

02/12/2019 - 11:21pm This isn't football.

Penn…

This isn't football.

Penn State is a good team.  They're not a great team, by any means, but Michigan was an 8-point favorite, not a 20 point favorite.  1-11 in conference is misleading: lost by 7 at Maryland, by 2 at Indiana, by 6 at Nebraska, by 7 vs Iowa, by 1 at Minnesota, by 4 to Rutgers, by 9 in overtime to Purdue, and by 4 at Ohio State.

If they get a few more bounces -- or tonight's referees -- they're 6-6 instead of 1-11.

02/12/2019 - 11:16pm I do agree that PSU's…

I do agree that PSU's defense deserves some of the credit.  Michigan's guards seemed content to stop and pass the ball backwards whenever they approached the defender.  You lose one entire action when you start the play with 15 seconds on the clock instead of 20.

I was surprised that Michigan didn't try to pass over the trap instead of behind it, but the BTN camera angles were so narrow that I couldn't really tell if they had anyone open.  When X tried to dribble through, it was either very good (easy layup) or very bad (turnover), so I'm sure the two steps forward, one step back approach was intentional.

The rest of the credit -- besides the officiating, I mean -- has to go to PSU making shots that they had no business making.  Yes, they had a couple of open 3s, and the offensive rebounds were a real problem (note: it's easier to get offensive rebounds when you can climb over opposing players to get them, but I digress).  But mostly, they had shots that hit the front iron and rolled over, or running, off-balance hook shots from the lane... or, my personal favorite, Myles Dread hit a three where I swear his feet were pointed at the sideline.  I've never seen such an awkward shot go in.

Meanwhile, X is having shots go halfway down and come back out; Poole is missing wide-open threes, etc.

Without the combination of all of these factors, Michigan wins and we grumble because it wasn't very pretty.  (They almost won anyway).  It was the perfect storm, but all of the team's goals are still ahead of them, and they just need to pick it up for Saturday.  They have no margin for error.

02/12/2019 - 11:05pm The clock wasn't supposed to…

The clock wasn't supposed to stop. It only stops for a made basket when there is less than one minute left.  There was about a minute and ten seconds.

That said, the officials have it in their power to stop the clock -- and even to call a technical foul -- if they feel that a team is deliberately delaying the game, which PSU clearly was... but if you think that crew was making that call...

02/12/2019 - 11:03pm #62 in KenPom Penn State, on…

#62 in KenPom Penn State, on the road.  A Quadrant 1 / KenPom A game.

The 1-11 is incredibly misleading.

02/12/2019 - 11:02pm Michigan played much better…

Michigan played much better basketball in the second half.  The first technical was absolutely intentional -- Beilein was using it as a motivational tactic.  The second one presumably surprised him.

Beilein was right to be steamed, though.  It's one thing to call nonsense fouls on three-point attempts, but not calling the moving screen was inexcusable.  It's dangerous.  The referees sent a clear signal that it was OK to injure the opponent.

02/12/2019 - 11:00pm No.  You have no credibility…

No.  You have no credibility, especially after a loss.

02/12/2019 - 10:56pm Stevens was awful tonight. …

Stevens was awful tonight.  Sure, he got 26 points -- on 23 shots plus 13 free throws.  He also got called for no personal fouls, which is ludicrous because I'm not sure any of his blocks were clean.  He did pick up 12 rebounds, although several of them were of the right place, right time variety.

Michigan didn't lose this game because of Stevens' "beast"-like play.  If you want to credit anybody other than the referees, it should be Myles Dread.  5/8 from 3 (but somehow 2/4 from the line).

02/12/2019 - 9:40pm This is the last you will…

This is the last you will hear from me.

You promise?  Oh, happy day!

Please leave.  Nobody wants to read anything you have to say.

02/12/2019 - 9:39pm It does happen.  This isn't…

It does happen.  This isn't football.  Michigan's chances of getting a 1 seed are better if they win, obviously.  But no single loss derails that; it just makes the rest of the road harder.

02/12/2019 - 9:37pm Actually, you can -- McGary…

Actually, you can -- McGary did it on Trey Burke's three.

The difference is, McGary stopped and set a screen.  (Well -- mostly.  If I were a Kansas fan, I'd probably think it was an offensive foul.  But it was borderline, not egregious like this one).  This guy just kept running.

02/12/2019 - 9:34pm When's Michigan going to…

When's Michigan going to play a 14 seed?  In the Sweet 16 or the Elite 8?

Luckily, the committee tends to look past one half of one road game when they make their seeding decisions.

Also, Penn State isn't McNeese State.  Their record isn't great, but they're not a terrible team.  This is a Q1 game.

02/12/2019 - 9:30pm There are three certainties…

There are three certainties in life: Death, taxes, and Ham being a "fan" when Michigan basketball falls short of perfection.

02/12/2019 - 9:28pm I assume he got tired of…

I assume he got tired of seeing his players put at risk of injury with no repercussions.