Bubble Talk with Crashing The Dance’s Andy Cox


Bracketology is a relatively saturated internet market but Andy Cox has carved out his own niche. Cox has created a computer system that uses statistical machine learning techniques to predict how the selection committee will select and seed teams for the tournament. The system has improved for five consecutive years, most recently selecting 33 of 34 at larges, and it provides a different and more educational perspective on tournament selection.

As someone that studies the past behavior of the selection committee, we like to probe Andy’s mind come March and see what he thinks about the current bubble situation. The most recent Crashing the Dance projections (as of Tuesday morning) have Michigan listed as the third to last team in. Now here’s what Andy had to say about Michigan, the bubble, and more. (Photo: Freep)

What are the basic strengths and weaknesses of Michigan’s resume?


  • Good road wins, including Michigan State (likely in) and Clemson (bubble)
  • Nine wins over RPI top 100 teams, and not the RPI-fooling kind of top 100 wins. Eight of them are against the top 67. That’s pretty good among bubble teams.
  • Four good road wins against teams ranked 67 or better.


  • No “signature” wins. Their best RPI win (Harvard – RPI #35) was at home over a team that may not make the field
  • Only one game over .500 against the RPI top 200.
  • Most bubble teams have at least one loss to a team outside the top 100, but their loss at Indiana (RPI #176) is lower than you’d like to see.

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Video: Nick Stauskas 2010-11 Prep Highlights

Here are two videos from Nick Stauskas‘ junior season at St. Mark’s. The first is a compilation of highlights from five games and the second (after the jump) is full video from St. Mark’s NEPSAC Class AA Final loss to Tilton (courtesy of FriarBasketball.net). Stauskas is a 2012 prospect that holds offers from Kansas, Michigan, Wake Forest, and Iowa State.

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2011 All-Big Ten Teams Announced

We released our picks earlier today but the Big Ten officially announced this year’s All-Big Ten teams. Darius Morris was named to the third team by both the coaches and media.  Tim Hardaway Jr. was a unanimous selection to the All-Freshman team and also picked up honorable mention All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and media. Full teams after the jump.

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Life on the Bubble: March 7th, 2011

Michigan needed to beat Michigan State to keep its bubble hopes alive and managed to get it done. Now, with just six days until Selection Sunday, things start to get interesting. As things stand today, Michigan would very likely have a spot in the tournament. Unfortunately the next six days of basketball tend to be some of the most dramatic in the sport, outside of the NCAA Tournament itself. Mid-major schools will steal bids and major conference schools will make surprising conference tournament runs. The bubble will change significantly by Selection Sunday.

Michigan’s bye puts the Wolverines in a precarious situation. Several other bubble teams will play games against much lower ranked foes. Those games present the opportunity for a disastrous loss but easy wins also have a treading water effect that can be helpful – see Michigan’s win over Iowa two years ago. Michigan’s situation is different entirely. The Wolverines open the tournament in the quarterfinals against a fellow bubble team, Illinois. This is not only a great position to start a legitimate tournament run, it’s also a great spot to bolster the bubble resume with a win over a fellow bubble team. A loss gives the committee easy ammunition to say “they had their chance to prove something, and let it slip away”. Michigan might not need a win on Friday but it would certainly make things a lot easier.

We have a full rundown of the latest bracketology updates after the jump.

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2011 UM Hoops All-Big Ten Teams

The Big Ten will announce the official All-Big Ten teams live at 7:00 PM tonight on the Big Ten Network. For now, we decided it would be a good time to put together our own teams with a bit of a twist. These teams were picked based on conference only statistics. This helps level the playing field and provides a fair estimate of how players played against each other. Sticking with that theme, all stats listed below are conference-only numbers. The players on each team are listed in order with player of the year honors in bold.

First Team

PPG RPG APG Ortg Usage eFG%
JaJuan Johnson
20.7 8.3 2.5 (blks) 113.0 27.5 49.8
Jordan Taylor 20.1 4.1 4.9 132.8 28.4 55.1
Jared Sullinger 17.1 9.4 1.2 117.0 26.6 53.8
Jon Leuer 18.3 7.3 1.4 113.8 30.2 50.5
E’Twaun Moore 17.7 4.7 3.4 113.4 26.1 52.0

The five selections for this team were relatively routine and I fully expect to see the same five names on the official teams. Selecting the player of the year was much more difficult. I eventually opted with JaJuan Johnson because he’s the most balanced player on the list. He might not be the most efficient offensive player of the bunch but he is arguably the best defender, and still put up very impressive numbers. Jordan Taylor is a statistical marvel, but closing the season with 8 points in a blowout loss to Ohio State leaves a bitter taste. Sullinger finishes third but as the best player on the best team, he was tough to move out of the way as well.

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2011 Big Ten Tournament Bracket

This is an old Big Ten Tournament bracket. For the current 2012 Big Ten Tournament Bracket, click here.

The Big Ten Tournament bracket has been finalized. Michigan will play around 2:30 p.m. on Friday as the #4 seed versus #5 Illinois. Michigan’s last first round bye was 7 years ago in 2004, when the Wolverines knocked off Iowa.


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