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03/18/2019 - 5:42pm Some good arguments here…

Some good arguments here. Some thoughts:

I'm saying if a team is set up to defend the 3, 4, and 5 spots well, Poole isn't going to shoot Michigan to a victory in a close contest. At this point, if you can shut off the P&R, keep Simpson out of the paint, and defend Iggy 1 on 1, Poole isn't going to pull Michigan far because he's coming back down to earth from deep and throws in the consistent turnovers and bad plays. The more he has the ball in his hands, the worse the outcomes.

"Defend the 3, 4, and 5 spots well" can mean different things, some of which Michigan can exploit. I think your point is that if Michigan is getting blocked from the PnR by 1/5 switches and Iggy and Matthews aren't doing well, Poole is not good enough to put Michigan over the top without squandering too many possessions. I generally agree with this, but there's a lot of pile-on on Poole that's overdone. He doesn't turn it over as much as you think, he can finish at the rim if he can get to it (which is rare), and he shoots fine when he takes a smart shot. The problem is that he takes a lot of dumb shots and Michigan frankly can't trust him to finish possessions frequently. This is also a problem with Matthews, who receives the ball and invariably probes his way into the lane and then spins and takes a jump shot that he hits less than 50% of the time.

 He has 2/6, 1/5 and 0/3 type games far more often than his 2/3 or 3/4 type games. He actually is more likely to have 0/0 or 0/1 type games because a lot of the time when teams go under he doesn't shoot at all. I guess not shooting is preferable to throwing up a brick, but him not shooting doesn't necessarily equal a good possession either.

Generally agree, though regarding ducking under screens, while I don't have video to verify this, I believe they changed their approach and welcomed switches. Ducking is a good way to keep Winston on Z, but Tillman on Z became MSU's preferred option, and it was effective. 

Simpson, getting into the lane on the P&R is what drives the offense. He can hit contested layups and hooks with some consistency, but he also can kick to shooters or Teske. Problem is, when teams go under, force him out of the lane, and the shooters just sit at the 3 point line, the offense goes nowhere unless Iggy is hot and decides to just take the ball and do it himself.

Simpson is a good player with a hard ceiling on offense. He hasn't been given a good hand either as he's playing in an offense that basically requires a good shooting PG like Burke or Walton to be fully operational against good defenses.

Going under alone isn't the issue. MSU in particular is good about clogging Simpson's passing lanes--they are a good defense. 

"Just sitting at the 3-point line" isn't a bad strategy when the pick and roll is attacking the lane. Defensive adjustments often free up shooters. There is a fair amount of hand-wringing about McQuaid being left open, for example, and he was... basically standing at the 3-point line. 

Simpson has limitations, but all players have limitations. That's why he's still in college and not playing for the Grizzlies or something. The larger problem, IMO, is that Michigan doesn't have a guy that can punish switches with isolation. Z can't get off efficient distance shots quickly; Iggy can't pass; Matthews isn't explosive enough; Poole takes dumb shots; the team isn't great at feeding Teske in the post when he's got a guard on him. 

He'll be good against most tournament teams, until Michigan runs into a good defensive team that doesn't have a doorknob for a coach. Going under screens, switching if necessary with mobile guys, and forcing shots that aren't Teske at the rim or Iggy/Livers on a catch and shoot 3 is the recipe for beating Michigan. Not everyone can do it, but there are 3-4 teams in the region that could slow them down enough to win a rock fight.

Simpson can still be good in this scenario. He brings a lot to the table. But you're right, there will be rock fights. 


03/18/2019 - 4:47pm If your fanbase is in a…

If your fanbase is in a place where two or three wins, a deep run, is a great result, MSU's bracket is better. If your fanbase is hungry for the Final Four and a national title, Duke's presence in the bracket is a massive problem. MSU fans (like we are now) are interested in Final Four appearances, which makes Duke a serious problem. 

03/18/2019 - 4:44pm Your analysis of defensive…

Your analysis of defensive problems (switching, etc) is pretty good.

Your last paragraph is uninformed. For starters, nobody is expecting any one player, particularly Poole, to "win a game." And your analysis of Simpson is mystifying. Simpson impacts games in many ways. And the team would welcome teams going under screens or sagging significantly; that both opens up passing lanes that he can and does use to pick teams apart, and allows him to shoot without rushing.

Simpson won't destroy teams shooting, but he's over 30% (32% since the beginning of the meat of the B1G schedule, 35% in the last five games), which is enough to clear the 1.00 ppg level. When MSU ducked under screens early against us in Crisler, Zavier made them pay. 

Simpson will be fine. Perhaps even deadly, as good PG play often is in the tournament. The coaches just have to keep working on Poole; he has games where he fits well in the offense, and games where he doesn't. The way people zero in on him is getting tiresome, though. 

03/18/2019 - 3:40pm This makes a lot more sense…

This makes a lot more sense than what Chase said last week. 

03/18/2019 - 2:18pm I agree, FSU is the biggest…

I agree, FSU is the biggest non-1 concern on that side of the bracket. Long, athletic, deep. They were a nightmare last year. 

I think Texas Tech will be a real problem if we get that far, too. 

03/18/2019 - 12:12pm It could happen. 2s get…

It could happen. 2s get upset. Michigan has an offense that can stall in a bad way, perfect for a dog that has a player that can get hot and make shots. 

This week is a week where people write about brackets. Where people pick upsets. Everyone is looking to identify, in advance, what the upsets are. Of course Michigan is going to get on that list; it's not surprising or a big deal.

It could happen, but it probably won't. 

03/18/2019 - 12:32am Texas Tech is really good…

Texas Tech is really good. Tough defensively, right up there with us. They’ve got a better offensive option than us. 

FSU is the alternative to Gonzaga in our region, too. Length and athleticism. Switch city. We almost lost to them last year. 

Of the one seeds I’d rather have Gonzaga. But TT and FSU really worry me. Our offense is vulnerable. 

03/17/2019 - 10:24pm I wish the staff would read…

I wish the staff would read this—could make the difference next weekend. Maybe you should send them an email. 

03/17/2019 - 10:23pm Wow, people are really…

Wow, people are really overcooking this. “Mentality of a 3rd grader,” etc. Just angry people looking for a scapegoat.

Yeah, Poole has not been great. The idea that he’s a “bad” defender is mystifying, though—he’d be the best defender on a number of early Beilein teams. He’s flawed and occasionally misses stuff. But he can also get in front of people well and has lots of good stretches where he works at it. 

People suggesting a lineup with Iggy at the 4 and Livers at the 3 are... not watching closely. When Matthews was out, Livers played the 3 and Iggy stayed at the 4. If you want to force a guy into the 2, it’s Matthews with Livers at the 3 and Iggy at the 4. But why would you replace a guy who takes poor shots with a guy who takes poor shots? What is gained?

Not much. It’s frustrating, because Poole shows real talent for finishing at the basket but never gets there, and has the talent to be a good spot-up shooter but tries to take circus shots instead. 

Iggy is a good counter-example. He struggled mid season, and there are still things he can’t do. But he cut down on the drives into three guys, learned to back out, and takes smart 3-point shots that are almost always shots you want taken. He has learned and grown in response to a challenge. Poole makes progress in areas like defense but his shot selection is mind-boggling. 

03/17/2019 - 10:12pm I was wondering which…

I was wondering which account you would fire up to spam your anger, Shawn. 

Of course you’ve never liked Beilein, so this is predictable. 

03/17/2019 - 4:26pm We’ve been in good shape at…

We’ve been in good shape at each halftime so far. 

It’s time for the team to take the next step. 

03/17/2019 - 3:37pm Which ones?

Which ones?

03/17/2019 - 3:07pm And turning the ball over…

And turning the ball over like a hot potato and playing no defense. 

03/17/2019 - 2:35pm He is not an never will be…

He is not and never will be anything like Trae Young. Hard to describe players in the same position with similar sizes that are more different. 

Z is not a prospect for the NBA right now. 

03/16/2019 - 11:36pm The last time Gonzaga made…

The last time Gonzaga made the Final Four, John Tyler’s grandkids were still alive. 

03/16/2019 - 12:38am Other than 3s, nothing about…

Other than 3s, nothing about this team is remarkably different. We did not play against Cassius Winston or Xavier Tillman. Aside from playing MSU, Michigan has been playing well the last few weeks. 

03/15/2019 - 6:17pm I think one or two people…

I think one or two people brought it up in this thread. 

And I think that's quite plausible. Especially with all the guys we've lost. 

03/15/2019 - 6:15pm That's a good all-freshman…

That's a good all-freshman team.

That Hart video took me off-guard: It is, to date, the last Michigan home game I have attended.

He really was something. I was in favor of him from the moment he started getting carries (the SDSU game, for example), but it took a couple games for it to really be clear he was The Guy. But he was definitely The Guy.

Remains amazing that we had that kind of young talent in 2004 and underachieved with it the way we did. Grumble. 

03/15/2019 - 6:06pm Showed up fine for me. 

Showed up fine for me. 

03/15/2019 - 5:57pm I would think so as well. He…

I would think so as well. He's not a guy you would want covering anyone. He'd be useful: 1. Plowing into the D Line; 2. Perhaps he can do something in zone defense. 

Furbush basically receded once teams realized that he was just a fourth DL. Not clear to me that Mason would be any different, but perhaps that's the only way to get on the field. 

03/15/2019 - 3:40pm Also relevant: our dramatic…

Also relevant: our dramatic DL shortage this coming year may result in a commitment to a 3-3 stack front, which would benefit from Furbush types. 

03/15/2019 - 12:48pm Michigan stopped producing …

Michigan stopped producing #2 jerseys. There might still be some #1s around, but mostly they produce #4 (they already employ a man who prominently wore that jersey) and jerseys for the current year. 

They used to produce jerseys with prominent numbers of a given season. I have a #7 jersey from the Henson days. Of course, #7 has been a significant number for other players as well. It pretty much stopped with the Obannon decision. 

03/15/2019 - 12:45pm This post really stands well…

This post really stands well on its own.

There is leverage here, though. The NCAA makes $1 billion a year from the NCAA tournament. The Big Ten makes hundreds of millions; Michigan makes more from its conference payout (primarily tv money) than it does from ticket sales. 

All of that money would be taxable at the front end, as the conferences and the NCAA make it. 

So it makes for a significant revenue hit. 

Given that much of the NCAA power structure revolves around the inequality between revenue schools and just-getting-by schools, this may prompt organizational changes. For example, if small schools don't get hit much by this, they may choose to stand pat... but then the bigger schools have a large incentive to set up a separate system. If the small schools get hurt by this (I don't know how much NCAA money they get) it could allow the bigger schools, many of whom are supposedly in favor of greater player compensation, to get more leeway. 

03/15/2019 - 10:52am That's a good point; the…

That's a good point; the wording doesn't appear to affect the universities at large, but rather "amateur sport organizations" that already have a separate carve-out. The NCAA and conferences, in other words. 

Which isn't to say that there won't be big-time lobbying going on anyway. 

03/15/2019 - 12:58am The Wednesday games are all…

The Wednesday games are all single A and don’t sell out. Not even close, typically; a couple of years ago when the tournament broke its attendance record the Wednesday sessions drew ~5k. 

It’s not terribly relevant except that it sounds like you don’t actually know what it’s like and are ignoring data that doesn’t conform to your preset opinion. 

These questions absolutely deserve to be asked. Minnesota has been the premiere college program in the state for generations and basically remains that way (Motzko left SCSU for Minnie, remember). There are enough fans to fill Mariucci and the X (and arenas around the state) at the same time. The question is why they have not done so. 

03/14/2019 - 11:03pm How about a full-time…

How about a full-time compliance department?

Here's LSU's 5-member compliance department listing.

North Carolina's compliance department listing includes 6 people.

Louisville has 7 people listed as compliance staff. 

And so does Ole Miss.

None of those compliance departments with MULTIPLE full-time staff members were able to prevent serious NCAA violations at those schools. 

The NCAA has no subpoena power. It has no mechanism to ensure cooperation by offending athletes, coaches, or institutions. 

There are multiple teams that have been identified on tape and in sworn testimony that are involved with or have players currently playing involved with serious NCAA violations. They will play in the NCAA tournament. The NCAA cannot enforce its rules, and it is simply unserious to think otherwise. 

03/14/2019 - 9:25pm 1. Michigan doesn't keep up…

1. Michigan doesn't keep up with the 5-10 top teams now. 

2. There is a belief here that Michigan tries to be "as clean as it can." At the very least, we don't think we are totally over the cliff the way the SEC is. If so, this allows Michigan, which has revenue consistent with a top 5 team, to level the playing field. 

Concerns of scale are overblown. We don't know what the "real" market is, but Michigan is likely to be near the top of it if there are real differences in scale.

3. The current rules are not being enforced and cannot be enforced.

03/14/2019 - 8:29pm That's the beauty here. This…

That's the beauty here. This preserves the current system; it doesn't require universities to pay anything. It merely allows certain athletes to make additional money through endorsements and such, because the market can afford it. 

Third-rung tennis players and redshirting wrestlers and mid-roster field hockey players continue to make the same on scholarships that they did before. 

03/14/2019 - 7:50pm He announced it a week or so…

He announced it a week or so ago. Now he has actually submitted the legislation, which means that we can understand the legislative mechanism (stripping non-compliant institutions of their tax exemption) and better evaluate the proposal. 

03/14/2019 - 7:39pm 1. They already get benefits…

1. They already get benefits;

2. If they pay $1 million to, say, a QB, they won't have much left over to pay for offensive linemen to protect him. Car dealerships have money, but not unlimited cash.

3. I think it would be great if, instead of under-the-table stuff, a guy like Tua Tagovailoa could be featured on Dodge dealership billboards and on local tv commercials, drive a dealership car, and pocket $25-$50k for it. Imagine DPJ putting on Mel Farr's cape in a dealership commercial up here, or Shea Patterson on tv saying "when I've got a hunger craving, I get a Hot N Ready Little Caesars Pizza!" or something like that. 

The market will kinda figure itself out. A lot of this money that was going under the table will move above it. 

03/14/2019 - 3:35pm Do you live here?

The HS…

Do you live here?

The HS hockey tournament draws a lot of attention. It doesn't blot out the sun.

St. Cloud hosted a two-game series against UMD the same weekend and drew capacity both nights.

MSU-Mankato hosted a playoff series (same issue Minnesota has with tickets) and outdrew Minnesota both nights.

North Dakota, right across the border, drew over 10,000 as usual. 

Last year Minnesota-Duluth hosted a playoff series the same weekend as the HS tournament. Duluth East made a run to the HS final, with its stunning upset of Edina and the final against Minnetonka both taking place at the same time as the college games. UMD drew respectably in the mid 4k range for both games (80% of capacity or so, just a few hundred below what they draw for run-of-the-mill regular season games). 

Minnesota's issues are way deeper than it just being the HS tournament. 

03/14/2019 - 12:41pm That could be plausible at a…

That could be plausible at a program with high ticket demand, but Indiana does not sell all of its available tickets in any circumstance. They won't gain any extra standard fee tickets to sell this way. 

03/14/2019 - 12:34pm Easy example of this:…

Easy example of this: Michigan State, which used to have an incredible sellout streak for hockey. That set of fans got too old to attend or died off, and nobody replaced them; tickets are now readily available at Munn, and Michigan fans were famously able to pack the place in 2010 for that road playoff series. What happened? They didn't develop a younger fanbase, particularly with student enthusiasm so diverted to Breslin for their perennially contending basketball team. 

I think the same thing could happen to Michigan hockey down the road. 

03/14/2019 - 12:24pm Yes, that was the one UM-MSU…

Yes, that was the one UM-MSU game that was televised. The event continues to do reasonably well; 15,000 went this year, and I imagine that in a season when both UM and MSU are strong in hockey they could sell out again. Perhaps. The trophy is relatively new, but playing on the home ice of the Red Wings is not, and it remains a good thing. 

03/14/2019 - 12:22pm Here's an article bemoaning…

Here's an article bemoaning the policy for documentation; it's not clear to me if this policy is still in effect. Indiana is known to do this for basketball tickets. 

The issue is that there is higher demand, but lower supply, for sports like hockey and basketball at certain schools. Minnesota has something like 25,000 available student seats at football games, but they are rarely able to fill up that space. 

03/14/2019 - 12:10pm Just went through the…

Just went through the schedule. I counted 14 games on tv, a distinction without a difference. Mostly BTN but also NBC Sports (part of Notre Dame's contract) FS1 and a couple on Fox Sports or FSD plus. 

No Michigan hockey game, including a series against Michigan State, was on television prior to the December home series against Minnesota. At least 6 games after New Year's day, when football no longer obstructs the schedule and hockey at its best, were not available on television. That includes another game against MSU.

Literally, every UM-MSU game at a home arena, where there is a great atmosphere and it's fun to watch, was unavailable on tv.

I honestly wouldn't mind much if the streams were free. Hockey is a niche sport, I'm a big boy and can watch a stream.

But I won't pay extra for it. 

03/14/2019 - 12:02pm So the math question there…

So the math question there is interesting.

On the one hand, it's not $50,000 extra, because some young alumni will decline to renew at that price. Let's say that 25% don't renew; they wind up netting an extra $25,000. Even smaller.

However, they DO get multiple games. So we're talking about, say, $150,000. Still not huge, but not nothing. It's enough to understand why they might think that's a good idea, even though you wind up alienating fans that aren't that numerous to begin with. Oh well.

Elsewhere: There is nothing, no sporting event, no one-off random important game, that has come close to even tempting me to pay for BTN+. That they're showing hockey on there verges on a crime. They have BTN "extra" channels on many cable networks. I pay for them. I should get to watch hockey (and wrestling, and softball, and other stuff) that is already produced without paying extra. 

03/14/2019 - 11:54am I went to the UM-MSU game on…

I went to the UM-MSU game on day two. Tech travels well (when I drove in I was behind a Tech fan, according to their license plate) to the GLI every year. 

It was, um, telling that they didn't even bother to open the balcony. The arena was great, though. 

03/14/2019 - 11:51am It hasn't been great.


It hasn't been great.

One oft-ignored factor: The formation of B1G hockey coincided with multiple programs enduring HISTORIC low periods in the history of their programs. Wisconsin and MSU still haven't recovered; Michigan has interspersed the CCM line's quarterfinal and last year's Frozen Four with years of missing the tournament altogether after making so many in a row. 

But TV coverage has not grown appreciably (it was better but not exceptional in the second half of the season, but the first half was awful). 

I favored the B1G formation when it happened, and I still like that Michigan plays near me in Minneapolis every year (and generally after New Year's, when watching hockey is the best). But things have not been great. 

03/14/2019 - 11:40am I was skeptical about the …

I was skeptical about the "not playing rivals" thing when the B1G started hockey, but it has absolutely made a difference. One thing that matters: North Dakota fans travel really well. They invade every arena in Minnesota when NoDak plays there. 

This creates demand, scarcity, and environment. You know it's going to be live, you know the game is going to be good, you know that it'll be hard to get into--it drives you to want to go. 

And the more you go to stuff like that the more you go to other games, too.

Minnesota still has Wisconsin on the schedule every year, but Wisconsin has stunk for ten years. Rivalry with a bad team just isn't nearly as fun. Big Ten teams are still Big Ten teams with name recognition, but there just isn't the friction that you get with other sports or with the smaller schools that are more local. 

College hockey fans are niche hockey fans, and fans of programs like Michigan and Minnesota are smart college hockey fans, too. When I first encountered college hockey and wondered what "CCHA" meant, I thought it was weird that Michigan was playing teams like Ferris State and Illinois-Chicago and so on. But smart fans get that stuff and learn to enjoy it. Minnesota hockey fans don't think playing UMD or Mankato is below them. They think it's cool. 

Or they would if Minnesota played them every year. 

03/14/2019 - 11:22am Exactly what I'm doing now,…

Exactly what I'm doing now, except I'd start earlier. 

03/14/2019 - 11:20am There were signs of this a…

There were signs of this a couple of years ago at the second B1G tournament in St. Paul. I went to the Michigan-Penn State game, which was the early matchup, and it was a tomb. And there weren't that many more for Minnesota's game there. Granted, the B1G tournament was a dramatic step down from the Final Five, but Minnesota is finding itself un-exempt from the wider trend of decreasing interest in attending live sporting events.

So, why is that? 

It starts with prices. I went to the Friday regular season Michigan-Minnesota game at Mariucci with a bunch of my friends. The cost? $40 per ticket. Want food? You're spending over $50 per person. We carpooled, so we only spend $20 for two vehicles to park, but we still spent $20 for two vehicles to park. 

I can pay a cable/internet bill for scarcely more than the cost of two people to attend a game.

Now, that's an enjoyable experience for a one-time thing. Building memories, taking in the experience, all that. Mariucci is a fantastic arena.

But who wants to do that 20 times a year? The answer is, not as many people as used to want to do it when it was cheaper. And then you have to pay extra ($30 per seat, in this case) for playoff tickets. For a first-round game between mediocre teams. When you could stay at home at flip between that game and the high school tournament (Greenway was a great story in single A, and the AA final was very exciting) on your big-screen television.

Sports franchises have found the market limit for what they can make off of fans who attend their events. Since they think only in short-term results, they're fine with losing some attendance in exchange for making some extra cash. 

But they are also weaning people off of attending games regularly. And, in some cases, weaning people off of being fans at all.

These choices will be regretted. 

03/13/2019 - 6:48pm Postscript:

Highlight of…


Highlight of the year? The new road jerseys. Best ever, IMO.

03/13/2019 - 4:36pm This year is kind of what I…

This year is kind of what I expected last year to be. The 16-17 team was hopelessly overmatched in almost every game, only winning shots/corsi a handful of times all year. Only Slaker and Lockwood even hit 20 points on the year (Marody was out for most of the season) and they netted 21 and 20, respectively. 

So I thought last year scoring and talent would be a challenge and the team would float around 18-20 in PWR for a while and drift off. Instead, Marody and Calderone were scoring a point a game or more, Hughes was a boy genius, and they went to the Frozen Four.

And now, this year, we have a team struggling with talent shortages that hung out in the low 20s of PWR and then faded at the end.

The irony is that the team in 16-17 was actually really lucky to win 13 games with how much it got outshot and outplayed. This team frequently outplayed teams by statistical metrics and lost. 

The noticeable difference? Michigan goalies couldn't even hit .900 in save percentage this year.

In 16-17, Michigan evenly split starts between Zach Nagelvoort, Hayden Lavigne, and Jack Lafontaine. Their numbers? .921, .912, and .911.

Gonna take some work on multiple fronts to get the team back into the tournament territory it belongs next year. 

03/13/2019 - 12:10pm *most cable / satellite…

*most cable / satellite providers

I use Charter for both internet and television. I would lean to satellite if I had unlimited money, but Charter offers me something irreplaceable: Cost-free cancellation. I can walk in on any day and cancel and there's no extra cost, and I still get my internet from them for between $50 and $60 depending upon what deals are available. When I want tv I just start again; the last two times I've done this I haven't even needed an "install" since I have everything ready to go. 

The quality still beats the streaming services I've used (Vue and Sling) by a significant margin. And the price varies between almost no more (when I'm on my "discount" cycle) and not that much more anyway (when I'm paying full price). 


03/12/2019 - 8:13pm Peppers showed very well…

Peppers showed very well this year, but Cleveland has some assets on the back end and OBJ is a real difference-maker. 

A trade like this is always risky. And Cleveland’s locker room might be a bit of a tinderbox, especially with the ownership being what it is. 

But Baker looks like he’s for real, and his fiery personality could be perfect for OBJ if they can mesh well on the field. 

Exciting time to be a Browns fan. 

03/12/2019 - 2:05pm Fake news. My gas car doors…

Fake news. My gas car doors freeze when I wash my car in -20 temps. 

03/12/2019 - 12:20pm Since this is the car thread…

Since this is the car thread, here's a video of the decidedly non-electric Renault Espace van that had Renault's 800-hp world championship F1 engine installed. Skip ahead a few minutes for the actual driving.

03/12/2019 - 12:14pm I'm a bit of an electric…

I'm a bit of an electric skeptic at this point, but things can change. And I think they probably will--I suspect that we have still yet to see the critical innovation and/or refinements that will make alternative power really practical in automobiles. 

To use an analogy for technology that is now familiar: If the endgame of alternative power for cars is that they will be as ubiquitous as touchscreen smartphones, I think we're still at the "palm pilot with stylus / RIM has some cool pagers" stage of that tech tree. 

03/11/2019 - 1:04am Some people would rather…

Some people would rather that players lie and pretend that they’re just there for school and sports is a hobby. 

I’m in favor of truth. Which Quinn has told basically the entirety of the past year. He openly said that he’d make his decision whether to go pro last summer based upon what the NHL franchise wanted. He spoke pretty frankly about going pro after this season while the year was in progress.

Michigan lost, he signed, he’s going to go on and keep playing. Everyone was an open book about it.