Wednesday News & Notes

Dylan Burkhardt

Latest Aerial

The Big Ten Geeks published their updated conference tempo free aerial yesterday.

John Gasaway points out that Michigan’s efficiency margin in conference play (+0.01) is actually better than last year’s (-0.02)*. Michigan finishing with the same 9-9 record in conference play doesn’t seem like out of the question. Remaining home games versus Penn State, Illinois, and Minnesota appear winnable on paper (Pomeroy takes Michigan in all three).

That being said, Michigan’s non-conference performance has already sealed their fate for the worst. Michigan just lost too many games before Big Ten play even tipped off. That being said it would be nice to see them finish the season by winning the games that they should.

Last ditch bubble hopes require a ridiculous hypothetical situation. Michigan would probably have to win out, which means winning at Ohio State and Michigan State. If they could manage to win one of those games and take care of business at home, they might leave the possibility of playing themselves into the tournament with a Big Ten tournament run.

In Beilein’s 2004-05 season that saw the Mountaineers make a run to the Elite 8, West Virginia played their way into the tournament. They finished the regular season on a 7-3 run and then won three games in the Big East tournament to make the final. So it’s not like Beilein has never been in this situation before. That was a miracle run though, and it’s tough to duplicate something like that especially when you remember that we are talking about a team on the NIT-bubble and not the NCAA tournament bubble.

However, winning their final three games at home for a 9-9 conference record and an NIT berth would certainly be a respectable way to finish the season.

*These stats are before the Iowa game.

The Big Ten Race

Things are heating up in the Big Ten championship race. Michigan State, Ohio State, and Purdue sit at the top of the standings with 3 losses each, with Wisconsin and Illinois one back with 4 losses.

Ballin’ is a Habit points out that several teams have the opportunity to seize control of the race this week.

Ohio State hosts Purdue tonight before heading to East Lansing on Sunday. A sweep would put them alone in first and give them the tiebreaker over Purdue and Michigan State.

Purdue plays at Ohio State and hosts Illinois on Saturday. A sweep would put them in great shape but the next week features a road game at Minnesota before a huge home rematch with Michigan State.

Michigan State hosts Ohio State this weekend before having a week to prepare for their rematch with Purdue. If they can win both of those games they are in great shape with a pair of home games with Penn State and Michigan remaining.

Wisconsin gets their leading scorer Jon Leuer back tomorrow night for a game versus Minnesota at The Barn. The Badgers play at Minnesota, vs. NW, at Indiana, vs. Iowa, and at Illinois. That’s by far the easiest remaining schedule of any Big Ten contender.

I don’t think Illinois plays into the equation. They were just waxed by Ohio State on their home floor and still have trips to Purdue, Michigan, and Ohio State with home games versus Minnesota and Wisconsin. They are playing to try to make the tournament at this point with an RPI of only 70.

We’ve got a four team race that should be fun to watch going down the stretch. It’s probably too early but I say that the winner of tonight’s Purdue/Ohio State game ends up winning at least a share of the crown.

The Big Lineup

sims gibson

Michigan went with their “big” lineup with DeShawn Sims and Zack Gibson both in the game at the same time for the first time in ages. This is because Anthony Wright was apparently unavailable but it gave fans a chance to see one of the lineup combinations that has been endlessly debated for the past two years.

Sims and Gibson played together for a 3 minute shift in both halves around the 8 minute mark where Beilein tries to rest his front court starters (Sims, Novak, and Harris). It wasn’t a huge sample size but it was noticeable.

  • 1st half: 10:11 to 7:10 — Allow 8, score 9 = +1. 1 block for Gibson.
  • 2nd half: 10:00 to 7:10. – Allow 3, score 2 = -2.

It’s obviously tough to take much from two three minute segments of a basketball game but I thought it was clear that neither Sims nor Gibson seemed to feel too comfortable in their roles playing together. Michigan scored a lot of points in the first shift but that was because Laval Lucas-Perry hit three consecutive threes more than anything that Sims or Gibson did.

Overall I’d probably give it an incomplete at this point but certainly not a passing grade. It’s important to note that Manny Harris missed a portion of both stretches. Vogrich played the three in the first half and Novak in the second. Here’s the full game plus/minus from StatSheet.


  • The Pulse, Part 2
    Yet Another Basketball Blog breaks down what teams are hot or not going into the last month of the season before March Madness.
  • College Basketball Plus/Minus Part I
    Stat Sheet is rolling out +/- stats so we haven’t been updating them here. Robbie has all sorts of cool stuff there with more to come. I’ll try to get an update together soon.
  • Amir Williams posted a triple double in a blowout win over Davison. 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks.

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  • KDavis

    Next year’s crop of kids does look good. At this stage, other than Gilchrist, it seems difficult to compare. Not saying it’s a given, but if you can absolutely sign Horford now, don’t you take him instead of risking it next year?

    Also…watching ND/L’ville (and wishing it would end so I can watch UT/Mizz) and Ben Hansbrough has no left hand whatsoever. Even when he goes left, he’ll do anything possible to switch back right (by spinning, or going behind his back, or crossing over in front). Just a pointless observation. Sorry.

  • At this point it’s a waiting game for Horford. We’ll see how it plays out. Whole situation seems a little weird right now, yes, but we’ll see. He can’t sign for a while anyways.

  • other steve

    of course northwestern cant hit the broad side of a barn tonight against a horrible PSU team. goodness some of the games id like to have back…

  • Alex

    We may have to worry about more than Battle on Saturday. This D. Jackson’s line looks really good. I hope we blow them out.

  • AG2

    I’m glad PSU is winning. Get it out of their system before Saturday. Plus, this is pretty much the only way we overtake NW for that #6 spot.

  • AG2

    As for where Michigan might end up this season. I’d love the NCAA tournament, but honestly if they televised a pickup game at the court outside South Quad I’d watch it. I just love these guys and will always pull for ’em.

  • Alex

    I hope the team is ready Saturday. I have a feeling PSU comes to play. If Michigan for whatever reason decides to overlook PSU we could be in trouble. That is the true value of PSU’s win tonight: we hopefully will not overlook them now.

    Congrats to PSU on their first win in the Big Ten.

  • AG2

    Is there a more overrated coach in college basketball than Rick Barnes? I mean, I have never seen a team that unwilling to play defense before. And I’ve watched my share of ACC games!

  • KDavis

    Mizzou’s mascot costume is the dingiest mess of matted fake fur I have ever seen. That thing hasn’t been cleaned since Melvin Booker played there. I’m ashamed to be a Missourian.

    Do you think Texas listens to “Free Falling” in their locker room?

  • Giddings

    Love what Stat Sheet has done with the +/-, very cool to see (not that the UMHoops version wasn’t, but I guess it saves you guys some work).

  • KDavis

    Yeah, but Giddings, seriously, have you seen Mizzou’s mascot? That poor Tiger has been neglected for so long it’s beyond Bissell. They’re gonna have to rent a Rainbow.

    Sorry. Proceed.

  • KDavis

    Wait, one more thing. JT Tiller has ridges in his head like Abdullah the Butcher. Not cool.

    Mizzou, Pitt, or Texas to join the Big Ten…who you taking and why?

  • Alex

    Pitt because there is a possibility of them coming. I know Texas expressed interest but I think the logistics will prove to be too difficult to overcome. Maybe Mizzou comes over but I think Pitt is the best option if we can convince Dixon that it would not hurt their basketball program to come to the Big Ten.

    I’m not sure I want Nebraska but apparently they expressed interest.

  • KDavis

    Sorry for watering down the comments section with my stupidity tonight. Dylan, no hard feelings if you delete. Since I don’t really value my time on this earth I’m gonna go ahead and watch this La Tech/Utah St game.

    Have a good night, all.

  • ZRL

    If UM can somehow finish 10-8 the 5th seed is still in play. Would need Illinois to lose @Purdue and @OSU (both very likely), and then one of either Wisconsin/Minnesota at home.

  • Tweeter

    Plus lose to us ZRL. They would have to go 1-4 the rest of the way, which means they would be 1-5 over their last 6. Dont think I see that kind of slump happenning. Not to mention we would need Northwestern also to not finish at 10-8.

    If they did, then it would go to a 3 team tiebreaker and NW would win that tiebreaker b/c they would be 3-1 against both UM and Ill. Whereas Ill would be 1-2 and we would be 1-2. We would also lose the next tiebreaker to Ill in that scenario unless we beat MSU at the Bres (the next tiebreaker would be record against top team on down. So right now MSU first, Ill beat them once already. Then Purdue, we both lost only game. Then Wisky or OSU, Ill beat Wisky lost to OSU. So if OSU won the big ten and UM beat them again in Columbus or Ill loses again to them, then we woukd be the sixth seed otherwise 7).

    Really only chance to get the 5 seed at this point is to finish ahead of Illinois or have it be only a two team tie with us and them and have OSU finish ahead of MSU, and Illinois not beat OSU.

    The only other possibility would be if Minnesota also ended up tied with us and Ill (excluding NW, they are 1-1 against Minny). Then we would win the three team tiebreaker assuming we beat Illinois.

    All of that considered, I think the five seed is out of the question even if UM wins out.

  • Northwestern won’t finish better than 9-9… At best.

    Illinois should beat Minnesota at home but I think their game in Ann Arbor is a toss up. If they want to make the tourney, they at least have to beat Wisconsin at home but I don’t see it.

    If Michigan were to finish 10-8, which I don’t see… They would have a shot at the 5th seed I think.

    Regardless, it’s a ridiculous hypothetical with so much left in the season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Big Ten get four teams in the dance at this point.

  • ZRL


    When I said that Michigan finish 10-8 I was implying that they beat Illinois as I highly doubt they lose to Illinois at home but beat MSU and OSU on the road. Northwestern already has 8 conference losses and they’re not winning @Wisconsin, so 9-9 is the best they can do.

    Basically what I am saying is that IF we somehow win out at home and steal another road game, all we would need to get the 5 seed is have Illinois lose @Purdue, @OSU, and either vs Wisconsin or Minnesota. I’d say there’s about a 40% chance that Illinois loses 3 of those 4 games. Therefore, If we get to 10-8 we have about a 40% chance of getting the 5 seed.

  • Tweeter

    ahh, your right for the most part. When I looked at the standings they were not updated and I didnt realize that NW loss tonight was not in there. So the three team tie seems less likely. Still I dont see Illinois losing that many games, but clearly my winning out and not getting the five seed statement is wrong.

  • Alex

    Would people rather have blowouts or nailbiters at OSU and MSU? I think it could increase the team’s confidence if we can win the games that are winnable and keep the others close.

  • Tweeter

    what kind of question is that Alex? Ofcourse we would rather have close games . . . is there ever a situation where you want your team to get blown out?

  • ToBlav

    Well Tweeter, maybe Alex is thinking some people may be worried about their tickers or ulcers. You guys need to get more sleep.

  • This a little late… but that Taylor dunk over Jamie Feick was awesome. I always liked him, even though he was an underachieving softy.

  • AG2

    I think if Michigan managed to finish 9-9 in the Big Ten and 16-14 this season wouldn’t have been a total loss. That being said, the most frustrating thing about this team is that the only teams they really matchup well against are the ones that miss wide open shots. That’s why teams like Iowa, OSU, NW, and Wisconsin make me nervous, because the only way we can stop them is by preventing them from taking shots at all through forcing turnovers. Illinois *can* be a good jumpshooting team but they’re dangerously inconsistent. You never know who you’re going to get.

  • Mike

    We have no one to guard Mike Davis so I think were in trouble. Course he has been playin awful lately and has barely taken any shots over the last couple games

  • JJ

    Does anybody know when the last time Michigan shot 50% from the 3 pt line for 2 games in a row.

  • AG2

    I do remember Michigan got torched by Tisdale in last year’s meeting @ Illinois, but the key to handling Tisdale from what I’ve seen is to get him in foul trouble.

  • Junderground

    I can see us winning our way into the NIT.

  • maxwell’s demon

    AG2 – Completely on board with Rick Barnes. They are totally incapable of playing a half court offense. If it’s not a score in transition it’s give the ball to James or Pittman and jack up a shot in 10 seconds.

  • AG2

    You know, off topic and all, but considering our need for size, is it possible that DeShonte Riley could transfer to Michigan if he doesn’t think he’s getting playing time?

  • COLBlue

    I’d like to see Michigan finish well. I don’t see them making the NCAA, but the NIT remains a possibility. I actually would almost rather see them play in the CBI – might be kind of fun! I hope they get an invite if they don’t get into the NIT…