Monday Musings

Dylan Burkhardt
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Update: Per Andy Katz: Manny Harris will give an apology statement for his actions at practice that forced a suspension for PU game. Michigan’s players and coaches will meet with the media at 2pm today.

manny-harris

On Manny Harris

I’ve been away from the internet since the Harris suspension news broke but here’s my take on the situation. I have very little doubt that the suspension was warranted. John Beilein has plenty of quirks and idiosyncrasies that baffle the mind but he is definitely not an idiot. He would not suspend his best player for a game without a valid reason. Anyone who suggests otherwise is crazy.

Putting aside whether the suspension was warranted or not, there is a bigger issue here. The fact that Harris did something in practice that warranted suspension.

It’s been a tough couple weeks for Harris. He has been struggled for long stretches, played poor defense, and has just looked lost and out of sorts at times. Some pointed to his lingering hamstring injury but I think it was more the effects of frustrating season, personally and for this team. His struggles peaked versus Wisconsin in what was easily one of his worst games this season.

Harris’s frustration likely reached its boiling point during whatever incident occurred in Friday’s practice. At this point, the key is to figure out how to move on post-incident.

Reading between the lines in Beilein’s statement regarding Harris, it appears that the team will be involved in whatever decision is made. The team practiced Sunday and will meet with the media this afternoon so I assume we will find out more then. Here’s Beilein’s statement:

We will meet with Manny and the team again when we return to determine if he has learned enough from this suspension to rejoin the team for Tuesday’s game. I am confident that this learning experience will be valuable in the future to both Manny and our basketball program.

Harris has reacted well to discipline before, whether it was scoring 28 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds versus Penn State after his Purdue ejection, 27 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists after his Iowa benching, or more recently, his run at the end of the Indiana game after being benched early in the 2nd half. There’s at evidence to point toward the fact that Harris is capable of putting together a strong performance after an incident like this, that is, if he is reinstated.

“Luck”

Ken Pomeroy includes a luck statistic in his ranking system. Essentially it measures how far a team’s actual win/loss results differ from his projections based on their statistical performance.

As you might have guessed, Michigan has not been all that lucky this year. Their luck rating ranks 320th in the NCAA and explains why their overall Pomeroy ranking of 60 is only slightly worse than last year’s final ranking of 50. For comparison’s sake, Michigan’s luck ranking was a much more impressive 131st in 2009 as they finished just a touch above their projections.

Interestingly enough, Michigan isn’t even the most unlucky team in the Big Ten. Illinois (324), Minnesota (342), and Penn State (346) all show up further down the list. A pair of Big East opponents that Michigan faced show up as well, Connecticut comes in 325th while Marquette is dead last (347).

Speaking of which, how the hell did Connecticut beat Texas? I didn’t see the game but I would be shocked to see the team that faced Michigan a week earlier knock off the #1 team in the nation.

I think that “luck” is the wrong word to describe this statistic because things like winning close games and gutting out ugly performances are a staple of any good team. When Wisconsin came back versus Michigan last week (and did the same thing versus Penn State yesterday) it’s not luck, it’s mental toughness. Likewise, Michigan State didn’t get lucky in Minneapolis they were the grittier team down the stretch and made the clutch plays (another element that statistics can’t take into account).

I wrote a post about the “killer instinct” earlier this year when I went to the Gonzaga/Michigan State game and there is no denying that Michigan State has this instinct. Their "luck" is about average this year (164th) but last year’s Final Four team was the 8th “luckiest” team for a reason.

Kelvin’s Back

grady-012609_300It appears that Kelvin Grady is headed back to the basketball program. Beilein made it clear that Grady was brought back to boost the scout team and they would have to think long and hard about using Grady in a game and burning a year of eligibility.

Michigan’s point guard play has soured of late and it should be nice to have Grady back on the team, even just for practice. I doubt we will see him get much game action unless there are injuries or something along those lines.

This is really a no-loss situation for Michigan if Grady is willing to bust his ass in practice with the understanding that he is there to mostly be a scout team player.

  • Jeff

    Thanks Dylan. You do a great job on this site.

  • Matt

    Ask anyone who knows the game, Miller runs the best sets against man to man out there. Winning the A-10 with A-10 talent? They won it 4 years in a row? What else did he have to prove? To do it 8? 15? His teams went deep the past 2 years, and were a flagrant foul away from 16 in 2007.

  • Tweeter

    well he has certainly done a great job this year. 10-9 with what like 7 four star or better players on the roster. Shouldnt he be run out of town by now?

  • Jeff

    I think Miller is an excellent coach. I also think he just became the head coach at Arizona. I think most people in America would agree that Arizona has been a better program than Michigan the last 15 years. Why are we talking about him again?

    Tweeter, great point, although they will usually give you one year. He better make the tournament next year though. I think this is also Crean’s last year of getting a relatively free pass–I personally really like what he’s doing at IU though.

  • Tweeter

    Jeff I was just pointing out how these small few posters here want to run Beilein out of town for a guy like Miller, even though Beilein is doing better with less talent. Obviously Miller’s job is safe right now. I think he will end up doing a good job at Zona, but this coaching thing aint that easy even at a place like Arizona where my two-year old niece could recruit five star talent.

  • Deacon Blues

    The discussion about road performance got me wondering: Just how have Big Ten teams fared on the road in conference play since Beilein’s arrival?

    MSU: 14-7
    Wis: 13-9
    Pur: 12-10
    Ill: 7-14
    IU: 7-14
    Minn: 7-15
    OSU: 7-15
    U-M: 6-16
    NU: 5-16
    PSU: 5-17
    Iowa: 3-18

    Pretty big chasm between the big three and everyone else. But at least we’re in the same ballpark as everyone else.

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