Friday, February 24, 2017

What Will The Title of Tuesday's Post Be?


As I won’t be able to post on Monday (My oldest daughter’s Ski Team, The Walled Lake Nothern Knights made the State Finals at Nubs Nob and they will be held on Monday!), I’m wondering aloud what Tuesday’s Title will be?


Michigan Protects Home Court!  Prevails Over Purdue!


The Revenge of SPIKE!!!

This game makes me nervous.  I’m sure Spike holds no ill will against Beilein and Michigan.  RIIIIIGHT……And you can bet he’s going to take (and probably make) whatever shots he can against his former team...I was stunned when Beilein let Albrecht go, but I also understand that this is college hoops.  Frankly, they should have a separate area somewhere in Crisler Arena or on campus where Spike’s NCAA Championship Game accomplishment is played on a continuous loop.  In case you need a reminder:



I could watch that 1:30 video once a day for the rest of my life and die a happy man!!  Dickie V on the call makes it even better…I feel like Spike did something that day that can make every “Too Short, Too Small and Too White to Play At The Next Level” guy out there feel proud and say, “Look at that!!!  See, we CAN play this game!”

And now he’s coming back for the only game Michigan will play against Purdue this season.  Yep, I’m more than a little nervous….

It’s Getting a Little Crazy

Michigan squeaked by a much improved Rutgers team that’s actually in the middle of the pack when you look at the B1G “last 5 games” stats.  They almost beat everyone they played in the last 5 games and will probably surprise someone in the games they have left.  And don’t be surprised if they win a B1G Tourney game also. 

In addition to Michigan, this past Wednesday produced drama in the college hoops world that we usually associate with March.  Big upsets of Top 25 teams by teams that are fighting to win their conferences or fighting for a seat at the 64-(8) team table.  In no particular order and ICYMI:

  1. The “BFF”  (Boeheim Fuck Factor) is alive and well!  Yep, a Syracuse team that is on the outside looking in on The Dance (but probably did a LOT to seal up a bid) beat the 10th ranked Blue Devils on a last second “BANK!” 3-pointer that Syracuse Guard Gillon launched from about the “S” that blazons the floor.  Even Boeheim commented afterward, “We got lucky!”  No shit……
  2. #22 Butler seems to be the only team that can beat #2 Villanova.  For the 2nd time this season, Butler found a way to knock off last years National Champions and secured a much higher seed in the Tourney than they would have received if they would have split with the Cats.  Butler probably moves to a 3-Seed (if they haven’t already) with that win. 
  3. The Golden Gophers continued the tradition of lower ranked B1G schools devouring their own by knocking off #24 Blue Blood Maryland on their home court.  And it wasn’t even close.  Gopher fans have to be loving life right about now as that win will certainly help their seeding.  I would even venture to say that the Gophers have a shot at winning the B1G Tourney if they stay hot on the offensive side of the ball…
  4. Providence defeated #23 Creighton in a last 2nd buzzer beater, 68-66 that kept their slim tourney hopes alive!
  5. UNC soundly defeated Louisville and Pitino might be feeling the pressure.  His reaction to this fan yelling, “Pitino – You Suck!” is quite telling that College Hoops coaches start to feel the pressure in late February.  Not saying Pitino should have ignored this guy…but c’mon!!!  It’s college hoops!  You gotta’ take some shit!!!
  6. Look at this Box Score:

 


Yes – you’re reading that correctly.  #6 Oregon only scored 16 1st half points and still found a way to come back (scoring 52!!!!) in the 2nd half and may have knocked any hopes or dreams that Cal had of making the Tourney completely out.

Whew….And that was just Wednesday night!!!

Last night, OSU continues to screw…well, everybody by beating the top 25 ranked Fraudgers.  That will destroy any chance of Wiscy busting up through and into the 4-seed level.  Assuming the Fraudgers drop to a 6-Seed switching with the Domers who might bump up, the B1G is going to end up with a plethora of middling seeds….



So here’s where it stands:

The Michigan Resume

Record:        18-10

BPI:              23  24  25

Kenpom:      28   27  27

RPI:              52   52  50

Opponent     Location       Date   Day and Time          Result

Indiana          Home             1-26    Thursday, 9:15        90-60 Blow-Out

Sparty             Away              1-29    Sunday, 1:00            70-62 Loss

Suckeyes     Home             2-4      Saturday, 6:00         70-66 Loss

Sparty            Home             2-7      Tuesday, 9:00         86-57 BLOW-OUT

Indiana          Away              2-12    Sunday, 1:00            75-63 SWEEP OF IU!!!!

Wiscy             Home             2-16    Thursday, 7:00        64-58 Win

Minnesota     Away              2-19    Sunday, 7:00               83-78  LOSE

Rutgers          Away              2-22    Wednesday, 6:30     68-64 WIN

Purdue          Home             2-25    Saturday, 4:00

Northwestern Away             3-1      Wednesday, 7:00

Nebraska       Away              3-5      Sunday, 8:00

Lunardi updated yesterday and Michigan is still solidly in as the 9 seed.  So nothing to update there…SMU and Marquette keep winning so that’s good. 



Michigan is still 7th overall in the B1G Standings.  Purdue is a huge game for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Michigan needs every Big Game Victory it can lay its hands on.  On top of that, Northwestern is slumping and Michigan could overtake them in the standings with a win Saturday and with a win in Evanston (Looks much easier now than it did a couple of weeks ago).  THAT would improve Michigan’s seeding in the NCAA tourney and possibly move them up to a 7-Seed.  Not that there’s much difference between 7-8-9-10 seeds…

So, what will Saturday bring?  If you watched the video, I know why you’re nervous, also.  But it is Michigan, it’s in Crisler (where they’ve dominated) and it’s Senior Day. 

GO BLUE!!!

Sparty’s win last night keeps them in the bracket for now.  Again, I assumed Sparty would win its home games and struggle on the road.  I may have to eat my words as it looks like Sparty will get to the 18 wins that everyone says will be “Good Enough” for Izzo based on the difficulty of the schedule, which, again, I dunno.  Seems like you have to beat somebody. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Big Game Tonight - An Early Look At March MADNESS!!!


Tune in for Michigan at upstart Rutgers tonight.  (Early Start!!!  6:30 ET) In case you didn’t see it, Rutgers gave the now stumbling Wildcats everything they could handle over the weekend and Doug Collins could be seen sitting in the stands riding the emotional roller coaster while watching his son coach on the sidelines.  I’m thinking that Rutgers might be better than their record, but part of Rutgers looking good over the last couple of games is the competition they were playing.  The Wildcats also lost at Lowly Illinois last night, only scoring 50 in the process against one of the B1G’s worst Defenses…Starting to wonder what happened to the Wildcat Team that beat Wiscy at Wiscy?  (Side Note:  Northwestern at the bottom of the B1G in overall adjusted efficiency - yikes)

Regardless, every game Michigan has left is a BIG GAME that they need to win.  Not saying desperate, yet.  Just saying they need to take care of business and win.

Sneak Peek

Instead of Cramming for the Final during Conference Championship Weekend, the MMPG thought you might find it interesting if I shared a little insight over what I’ve seen in college hoops over the last three or four weeks.  If you’ve been following college hoops at all (after the Super Bowl, of course), you’re getting a really good look at some teams that are going to make a difference in March and also a REALLY good look at who the pretenders are…

You can Thank the MMPG later for this insight when it comes to filling out your brackets (If it works, of course.  Follow my advice and lose and I’ll simply tell you to consider the source!!!!).  I’m only commenting on teams that I’ve watched in games for the last couple of weeks.  No statistical reasoning here (yet), just the eye test….

First, the MAJOR PRETENDERS (Also known as March Madness FRAUDS)!!!  I’m defining these as teams that currently have a projected high seed or a very high RPI, BPI and Kenpom but carry the burden of being a Blue Blood or Old School that are false gods and idols that should be avoided in the tourney at all costs! (or you should AT LEAST consider picking them to lose when the opportunity presents itself!)

  1. Gonzaga – (WCC Conference)  Ever since The Zags “Shocked” the world and advanced to the elite 8 in 1998-99 as a 10-Seed, they’ve been an upset darling for Bracket Pickers all over the country.  Only problem is, they’ve since earned the respect of the hoops community and they get much higher seeding as a result, but have never made a Final 4.  I’ve seen the Zags play this season.  I know you CANNOT put all your picking eggs into one game.  But the game I saw convinced me that this is not Mark Few’s best team that he’s ever had.  I’m going to contradict myself as they have an extremely high BPI/Kenpom rank, but based on the visuals and the quality of their opponents, I will be looking to hop off the Zaga train early this season…As early as the 2nd round of 32, depending on the match-up.  For sure scrutinize the Sweet 16 opponent when you get to that decision…
  2. Virginia – (ACC) possibly the most overrated team in the tourney (if not the country at this point), IMHO.  Virginia started out on fire this season, but has taken a dive in the last 4 games.  I tuned into Monday night’s Miami-Virginia game and gleaned WAY TOO MUCH information on exactly how bad Virginia is (on offense).  Granted, they’re playing like beasts on the defensive side of the ball, but they can’t score for crap (right now).  They are scoring 0.85 Points per Possession in the last 4 games.  That’s the exact BOTTOM of the ACC right now.  And they just don’t look good on offense.  I know things can turn around quickly in hoops, but when I’m looking for momentum teams heading into March, Virginia does NOT fall into that category.  1st or 2nd round upset would be an easy pick here….But I may revisit this one after the ACC Tourney.
  3. Kentucky – (SEC) I shouldn’t say this, and I’ve learned my lesson about betting against Calipari in March.  But this is NOT a great Kentucky team.  They play down to the level of their competition and go long streaks without scoring.  Still, they’re the cream of the crop in the SEC and Calipari knows how to get to the FF.  But if I see a shaky match-up in the 64-team bracket, I’ll be looking or an early exit by the Wildcats….
  4. Saint Mary’sThe Gaels have only lost to Gonzaga and UTA, but they lost both times and they didn’t look that formidable in the loss that I tuned in for (I obviously have a bit of a bias AGAINST the WCC).  Also – They lost to University of Texas Arlington (UTA) early in the season.  Again, they have a high BPI/Kenpom, but I could easily be swayed if they come in as a 5-Seed where they’re projected to be one of my 12-5 upset picks….Depending on the match-up.

Also Considered:  Kansas.  Kansas is kind of a mess (both on and off the court) and while I respect Coach Self, this team has problems.  And Kansas has “Exiting in the First Weekend” Issues.  I’m sure the committee will give them an easy road, but I could be easily persuaded with statistical evidence to jump off the Jayhawks bandwagon when the time comes. 

MAJOR CONFERENCE Teams that will be High-Seeded Difficult OUTS!!!

  1.  Minnesota – I know Michigan just played them and there was a ton of fouls that shouldn’t have been called, but Minnesota could be an 8 or 9 seed that might upset a 1 seed, depending on the match-up.  If they sneak in as a 7-Seed, that would also make for an interesting 2nd round game against whatever 2-Seed they might face. 
  2. Michigan – IF THEY GET IN.  I know I’m putting the cart before the horse here, but I do think Michigan slips into the field of 64. And I’ve written enough about them so you all know what I’m thinking at this point, anyway…But as an 8-9 or 10-Seed, I think Michigan can do damage to higher seeds…Or at least give them headaches.
  3. USC – IF THEY GET IN.  This is a team I saw early against UCLA (where they won) and I came away very impressed.  Unfortunately, the PAC 12 grind has caught up with this middling, height challenged team and they were subsequently DESTROYED by UCLA, but again, they have good guard play and can easily get on a roll.  And let’s not forget that former FGC Coach Andy Enfeld’s wife Amanda was a “Hot Seat Mascot of the Week”

    and maybe I think that has something to do with what they might be able to pull off in the tourney….
  4. Syracuse – IF THEY GET IN.  I hate to write this as, at this point in time, but I really do believe that Syracuse is OUT OF THE TOURNEY!  Which in reality means that the BFF (Affectionately known to the readers of this blog as the “Boeheim Fuck Factor”) is in full effect. The Orange will probably make it in, have enough talent to make a run as a 12-Seed against whatever 5 they face, and somehow get to the Sweet 16.  You’ve been warned:  After being the first 10-Seed ever to make the Final 4 (in 2015), The BFF is real.  Deal with it.

Also considered: 

K-State – I wanted to put them in, but they went on a 3-game slide after losing a close rivalry game to Kansas (which I watched and came away impressed).  However, they barely squeaked by Texas to get back to winning and I would probably treat K-State very Chalky at this point when it comes to tourney picks…

Georgia - This is a pretty good team that has lost a lot of close games to the top heavy SEC where they lucked out and had to play everybody twice.  With the loss of their leading scorer (Monte Teyam) I doubt they make the tourney at this point but they would have been a nice upset pick …

Mid-Major Dark Horses That You Need To Be Aware Of  

This is the section where I try to call out the previously unknown but make a lot of March Noise George Masons, Butlers, Middle Tennessee State U’s, and Florida Gulf Coasts of the world!

  1. Cincinnati – While not EXACTLY under the radar, the Bearcats are always a tough out and have enough weapons on offense to make a deep run, in my opinion.   I watched them play and blow out South Florida and that was no competition. Depending on their seed, Cinci will be another in vogue pick to make the Sweet 16.  If they get the 4-Seed, It’ll be very tempting indeed.  IF they get the 5-Seed, the road will be a little trickier….
  2. Akron – A solid, gritty team that is not an unknown to a lot of March Madness experts and novices alike, but they are kind of a sleeper they may become an oft talked about upset pick depending on their seed and match-up.   
  3. Marquette IF THEY MAKE IT IN.  Marquette has some great wins on their resume, but they were also destroyed by a hot shooting Michigan team early in the season. Still, they beat Villanova (that’s worth something) and you’ll hear every pundit talking about these guys like they are the best kept secret of the tourney.  Very high RPI (81!!!) but better BPI and Kenpom ranking.  Beware the opponent and choose wisely with the Golden Eagles. 
  4. UTA  (Sun Belt) IF THEY MAKE IT IN.  This is a team I have NOT SEEN PLAY, but I’ve read and heard things…This is a pretty good Mid-Major that has owned some teams early (but lost) and needs to win their conference to get to the dance.  IF they get in, I’ll get you more details….

Tourney Coaches You Should Never Bet Against    

Ranked by EXPECTED WINNING PERCENTAGE based on Seeding expectation. This is a stat that looks at more than winning percentage in the NCAA Tourney. It actually looks at your seeding and whether or not you over or underachieve based on that seeding.   In other words, depending on your Seed, you have a projected win percentage.  A 16-Seed has a 0 wins expectation factored into their percentage and a 1-Seed has 4 wins expected factored into their percentage that count as additional appearances.   If you’re a 2-seed, the expectation would be 3.5, for a 3 seed 3.25, and a 4-Seed, 3 wins on down to the 16-Seed.  Everything after 4 wins in any tournament for any Seed is gravy (meaning if you were a total overachiever, you could be over 100% winning percentage!).  Michigan’s Beilein has one of highest percentages due to upsets (from being ranked a lower seed) and his Championship run in 2013.  Coach K has a lower winning percentage than what you’ll see for his “Tourney Record Percentage” (around 86%) due to the fact that he was upset as a high seed many times.  Vice Versa for a coach that doesn’t get there a lot, but makes the most of it. 

EXAMPLE:  Steve Fisher was at 185% with this stat!!!

When he won every game in 1989!!!  (6 wins out of the expected 3.25 wins when Michigan was a 3-Seed!)

  1. I’ve already mentioned him: Michigan’s Beilein (76.5%) is one of the winningest NCAA Tourney Coaches by Expected Winning Percentage when factoring in Seeding!
  2. Krzyzewski (74%) – How do I remember how to spell that name?  Easy.  Krazy Zewski.  Take out the “a” and you’ve got it!  You’re welcome.  Coach “K” is another coach you really shouldn’t bet against in the tourney and that’s partly due to his Final 4 appearances and NCAA Championships. 
  3. Calipari (74%) – Already mentioned, but his expected wins vs. his results is also offset by his multiple Final 4’s and Championships.  I believe the website I use also looks at the vacated appearances, because, let’s face it:  He’s probably still cheating at Kentucky….
  4. Roy Williams – (71%)  I can’t pick Roy Williams to win…Anything.  But his UNC Tarheels are poised to win the ACC and will end up with the ACC Tourney 1-Seed and a 1-Seed overall in the field of 64.  That DOESN’T MEAN I like UNC at this point.  When shit happens to you like what happened in the NCAA Championship last year against Villanova…Well, You’re Jinxed.  Just sayin’…..



General Observations (I will be repeating these and more stuff like this A LOT as we get closer to Tourney Time):

  1. Nationally, the B1G gets “ZERO” Respect when Sparty and the Hoosiers suck.  Don’t let that fool you come tourney time!  Wiscy is Wiscy and Purdue is Purdue this season.  Maryland will also be a pain and difficult to beat.  Sort of like when the MMPG (along with everybody else)  dissed the Beast last season and Villanova wins the whole thing, I would NOT BE SURPRISED to see a B1G Final Four team this season (depending on seeding).  Advice:  Two Brackets – One B1G Centric and One with whatever everyone else will be doing.  Actually, that’s never bad advice. If you believe there’s a conference that’s unusually strong, lean towards a conference in 1 bracket.  Last year:  the ACC for example….
  2. While I was sort of right on the Beast last season (everyone but Villanova was OUT after the first weekend), the ACC is giving me the same feelings this season.  The top is strong, but the rest…I dunno.  (Although the ACC did get 6 teams to the Sweet 16 last season!)
  3. Last Season (first time ever), 9(x3), 10(x2), 11(x3!), 12(x2), 13, 14, and 15-Seeds (THANKS AGAIN Middle Tennessee State!!!) won games.  Keep that in mind when filling out your brackets, but know that picking 13,14, and 15 seeds will always be against the oddsbut if you can pick your 9-12 seeds correctly (with the upsets last season prevailing), you’re going to have an edge on the field. And Don’t Forget: two years ago in 2015, TWO 14-Seeds made it to the Sweet 16!!!
  4. The Big 12 is also quite top heavy and if they get 6-7 in, I don’t expect any more than 3 to the round of 32.  Less to the Sweet-16.
     

So, that’s enough before we actually see brackets unless I see a game that I think you should know about. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Bubble On, Bubble Off....Repeat




I’d like to say that I’ve calmed down from last night’s aberration. 

I’d “like” to say that.

I’d be lying, so I won’t say it. 

A feeling of dread overwhelmed me when I heard we had Valentine and his crew officiating this game.  Valentine’s crew should not be allowed to referee any game where anything is at stake.  Meaning never…. 

I will say something that I’ve said in the past and TO THIS DAY do not understand how (and I use this term loosely) Mr. Valentine is still a B1G referee and how any of his crew can still be at it as well. 

I cannot STAND Teddy Valentine.  I hate everything about him.  When he dies, a small part of me will be very glad.  (Kind of like when Drew Sharp died.)  Yes, I’ll feel sorry for their families and relatives, but the world I live in will be a much, MUCH Better place as a result.

I’ve always felt that blaming referees for the outcome of a game is stupid.  And all the pundits are correct:  Michigan had plenty of chances to win the game.  Only going a very non-characteristic 9-18 from the charity stripe is an easy one to point to.  Michigan was also called for a record number of fouls this season, 27 to be exact.  27 Fouls  from a team that AVERAGES less than 10 a game…Which brings me back to Valentine.

I’ve searched the airwaves for the sequence of events that has me as pissed off as John Beilein appeared to be after the phantom foul was called on (I think) Wagner and then Michigan Assistant coach Saddi Washington apparently “Hopped Up” on the raised floor at the Williams center (which I guess is two coaches on the floor?) to better address the team.  And Valentine dished out the Technical.

For an assistant standing up when play was stopped. 

Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot.  ARE YOU F@$#%ING KIDDING ME????

I know, I know.  Michigan led after that point and the atrocity had been overcome.  The Gophers stormed ahead to what appeared to be an insurmountable 8 point lead with 1:30 left in regulation, but then they became very “Gopherish”.  Turning the ball over twice resulting in easy scores for Michigan brought it down to a 4 point game.  A Three, a Gopher score and then Wilson’s game tier made if fell as if the Wolverines had momentum heading into the extra session.

But alas, the Gophers and the home crowd were simply too much in the end.  Walton’s 3-pointer to tie was off by that much and the result was the same as it’s been all season for the Wolverines on the road…..

But I go back to that foul and subsequent Technical.  Take those out of the equation and Michigan might win in regulation. 

Hell, take 1/3 of the fouls on Michigan (which, by my count, that’s an underestimate of what fouls really occurred) and Michigan wins by a bunch. 

The B1G seriously needs to review refereeing for integrity, accuracy of calls, and most importantly, letting the game play out on its own merit and the officiating not being “part of the game.”

Teddy isn’t happy unless were talking about him the next day. 

And he we are, making Teddy Happy.


As giddy as I’m sure the Gopher fans are reading about my laments….Minnesota is NOT a basketball rivalry.  Michigan has owned that team.  Pitino had not beat Michigan in his entire tenure as the Gophers head coach. 

Michigan’s biggest Rival:  Right here

 



 

The Michigan Resume

Record:        17-10

BPI:              23  24

Kenpom:      28   27

RPI:              52   52

Opponent     Location       Date   Day and Time          Result

Indiana          Home             1-26    Thursday, 9:15        90-60 Blow-Out

Sparty             Away              1-29    Sunday, 1:00            70-62 Loss

Suckeyes     Home             2-4      Saturday, 6:00         70-66 Loss

Sparty            Home             2-7      Tuesday, 9:00         86-57 BLOW-OUT

Indiana          Away              2-12    Sunday, 1:00             75-63 SWEEP OF IU!!!!

Wiscy             Home             2-16    Thursday, 7:00        64-58 Win

Minnesota     Away              2-19    Sunday, 7:00               83-78  LOSE

Rutgers          Away              2-22    Wednesday, 6:30    

Purdue          Home             2-25    Saturday, 4:00

Northwestern Away             3-1      Wednesday, 7:00

Nebraska       Away              3-5      Sunday, 8:00

 Lunardi updated this AM and here’s the bracket with Michigan in solidly as a 9-Seed.

 


Michigan is still 7th overall in the B1G Standings with what should be a winnable road game against Rutgers on Wednesday, even though Rutgers gave Northwestern everything they could handle in Evanston on Saturday.  I wish Rutgers hoops would be more like their football team and just lay down, for pete’s sake....

Then Michigan gets the Purdue Juggernaut at home.  I’m nervous about that game.  Purdue truly looked, to me anyway, like a Final Four team with the trouncing of Sparty on Saturday.  I know, Sparty didn’t look good, but Purdue took advantage of that and looked freaking awesome.  Beating Purdue Saturday will definitely help Michigan’s overall chances.

Sparty lost so much more than a game on Saturday.   Eron Harris, senior, went up for a lay-up and came down on his right foot awkwardly.  If you watched the game, you heard him scream through the announcers microphones.  Even Dakich knew it was bad…It’s sad to see anyone’s season end like that and hopefully, that wasn’t career ending.

However, I will say this:  Sparty Fans, I wouldn’t normally take such delight in your failures, but the memories of 2008 and 2009, not to mention all the other years of your recent “State Domination” in the big sports, football and basketball.  (Michigan’s Final Four and NCAA Championship Appearance in 2013 notwithstanding)

I remembered having to endure comments and statements along the lines of “Michigan athletics is dead.  Michigan will never be good again. Michigan will be rivals to Northwestern and Illinois as the balance of power has shifted.”

Yeah…’Bout that.  KARMA’S A BITCH!!!

4-8 football record.  Hoops team hanging onto to NCAA hopes by a thread and will more than likely need to win out to have any shot of making the tourney. 

Yep, what comes around goes around.  Sparty, that light you see coming around is on the front of a Michigan Freight Train.  And if history holds, the athletic dip you’re about to go into should last somewhere between 30-40 years. 

So there’s that, which is nice!

Friday, February 17, 2017

THAT'S How You Play Michigan Basketball!!!




IF you didn’t get a chance to see it, you missed a great one in Ann Arbor!  Crisler was rockin’ and the mood was electric.  I have said that the hate for Bucky the Badger (in hoops) by Michigan fans is real and it might rival that of Sparty (naw) and the suckeyes (close). 

Those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it or something like that….Wiscy has thrown more deadly daggers in the hearts of Michigan fans than I care to remember, but last night, no demon named Brust would arise and toss in a half courter... (I can post this now as it's history and I feel good enough to do so after last night's victory!!!) 



I LOVED seeing Zak Irvin find his game last night and for a minute I thought he had hit a season high in scoring until I looked it up this AM.  Irvin actually scored 20…Against Wiscy in the Kohl Center about a month ago!  So maybe it’s a cheesehead thing, but let’s hope he’s turned a corner of some sort and is back on permanent track.

Love #2:  Wagner is becoming the inside guy I thought he could be.  While his defense is at times unwatchable, on the other end of the court he’s doing things inside and outside that will give other coaches fits as this season continues. 

And Walton is the steady rock right now guiding this team

I recall someone once saying that high scoring teams with great PG play that also shoot free throws well are a team to watch out for come March.  Let’s see,

High Scoring – Check!

Point Guard Play – Check!

Team Free Throws    - Check!

Add to that but Michigan actually is forcing turnovers on defense!!!

Some will say that Wiscy wasn’t at full strength….well, it’s late February and there’s a lot of teams that are gassing or fighting injury.  It’s how you manage it right now, boys and girls.  March Madness is right around the corner and the time for excuses is GONE!

 

The Michigan Resume

Record:        17-9

BPI:              23

Kenpom:      28  

RPI:              52

Opponent     Location       Date   Day and Time          Result

Indiana          Home             1-26    Thursday, 9:15        90-60 Blow-Out

Sparty             Away              1-29    Sunday, 1:00                        70-62 Loss

Suckeyes     Home             2-4      Saturday, 6:00         70-66 Loss

Sparty            Home             2-7      Tuesday, 9:00         86-57 BLOW-OUT

Indiana          Away              2-12    Sunday, 1:00                        75-63 SWEEP OF IU!!!!

Wiscy             Home             2-16    Thursday, 7:00        64-58 Win

Minnesota     Away              2-19    Sunday, 7:00           

Rutgers          Away              2-22    Wednesday, 6:30    

Purdue          Home             2-25    Saturday, 4:00

Northwestern Away             3-1      Wednesday, 7:00

Nebraska       Away              3-5      Sunday, 8:00

 


Michigan is 7th overall in the B1G Standings and has a unique opportunity to take over 6th place with a win at Minnesota in Williams Arena on Sunday night.  (that’s an EST 7:00 start  - 6:00 Local).

That game will probably be a toss –up or have the Gophers slightly favored.  Minnesota, by most projections, is solidly in the field of 64 (68 – whatever) but don’t think they don’t want to win this game.  Should be a good one….

Some of you texted or e-mailed regarding my take on RPI, BPI and Kenpom stating that the committee has to look at RPI and in particular, Sparty LOSING those big games is what will get Sparty into the field of 64 regardless of their BPI/Kenpom rank.  I hear what you’re saying but respectfully disagree. There are at least 5 AT LARGE teams that Lunardi has IN the Bracket with RPI’s worse than Michigan’s…

The Worst:  Lunardi has Marquette in as an at large 12 Seed with an RPI of 81. 

Marquette Kenpom:  41   Sparty:  50

BPI:  40      Sparty:  54

Here are the lowest RPI teams that were DISSED over the years that didn’t make the field of 64!!!!  (From one of my favorite little websites):


The highest rated team left out: #21 Missouri St, #30 Hofstra (2006), #30 Air Force (2007)... among the big six: #40 Cincinnati (2006).

 

Therefore, Dismissing Sparty as a 41 RPI is not inconceivable….But then there’s this:

Most losses to get an ALB: 14 (Arizona - 2008, five teams in 2011).

Worst record to get an ALB: 18-14 .563 (Arizona - 2008, Michigan St - 2011)

Number of times a team with at least 20 wins has been left out: 215 ... among the big six: 37

 

So as a Sparty, you can keep saying that the other indices DON’T MATTER, but be careful…They have to make at large slots available somehow and teams with respectable RPI’s with crappy records sometimes get hosed…If Sparty wins out, I believe they’re in.  Lose a couple, it’ll be Izzo’s charm and Mark Hollis being the 2017 Director of the Selection Committee that will prevail and nothing else.

Of course, someone MAY bring up last season’s 2-15 MTSU Upset victory and ruin Sparty’s day!!!

 Lunardi won’t update today, but with the Wiscy win, I would think things would be better for Michigan regarding his forecast.  Obviously better than losing that game…Michigan’s RPI is SLOWLY Creeping down as it plays better teams.