This is the only correct recruiting strategy. [gif by Ace Anbender]
While I write this Michigan’s playing their first two softball games of the season, so excuse me if I get distracted. Freshman Alex Sobczak seems to have won the starting catcher position; so weird not to see Lauren Sweet back there. So far Betsa walked two and struck out three, and Sierra Lawrence reached on an error and Romero’s up.
Lol they walked Romero on 4 pitches. Scaredy-cocks!
Anyway, about all that reader-generated content:
Crootin. For some reason I guess recruiting was on diarists’ minds last week, so we got a lot of articles looking at it from different sides. Alum96 broke up top recruits by the major states that produce them. Among conclusions, Michigan’s home advantage is a lot like that of Clemson, IE we have an okay state but have to share it with another school with recent success. Ohio State, LSU and USC/UCLA have the most local talent with the least competition. Alum also had a primer on interested players for 2017, which has a lot more interesting players in Michigan, and still little interest in Michigan in Ohio.
Speaking of 2017 Alum96’s daily “Swim Lanes” were highly useful contributions during the stretch run (LSA Superstar jumped in to usurp his format once as well). Let’s see that thread go up for next class, man.
[Betsa’s shaky today. Hit a batter with bases loaded, then worked back from a 3-0 count for an inning-ending strikeout.]
Is it being addressed? NOLA Blue suggested an interesting method for analyzing recruiting: line up each position and call them wins or losses, though I couldn’t quite understand how his “eyeball” rating system worked. Anyway it gave me the idea to visualize the classes and STAR ratings I’ve been going on about by position.
Guys are listed by the final position they played (though now I’m wishing I moved Uche to SAM). I probably ought to have broken them out further for positions where you play more than a guy. The red balls are 4.5 or higher, the yellow ones are 3.8 to 4.4 stars, the green ones are that 3.5 to 3.7 range and the blues are the lower 3-stars and 2-stars and such. Ball size is scaled by the actual STAR rating squared.
Champswest also did a crootin comparison diary using total number of 4-stars and above (according to 247’s composite) acquired. The most interesting thing therein was the dichotomy between the Big Ten East (189 4- and 5-stars over the last 4 classes) and Big Ten West (39 total). Remove Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State, and the Big Ten East STILL has three more 4+ stars than the West. Good job, good effort Big Ten West.
Suggestion: Let’s make the B1G West a relegation division. Following last year’s performance Rutgers can move down to the West and Iowa jumps up to the East.
[Hit the jump for Beilein in context. Meanwhile Michigan’s already up 11-2 in the 4th, South Carolina just walked the bases loaded, and guess who’s coming up to bat? Hint: she’s the NCAA record-holder for career grand slams.]
GRAND SLAM ROMERO!
ROM-BOMB! Romero clears the fence and the bases with a blast in the bottom of the fourth! It's now 15-2 Michigan! pic.twitter.com/SDNinMJS6a
— Michigan Softball (@umichsoftball) February 12, 2016
[Like you didn’t see that coming.]
Where was I?
Oh right, relegation. Bklein posted his friend’s idea for a completely relegation-based conference season followed by a pick-your-poison playoff. I like the idea better for the NFL, where any given Sunday the abstrued football product you’re watching has only tenuous connections to the city its players were drafted to play for
For the NFL, the Superbowl is the best thing all year. For college football, declaring a national champion is like 10th on the list of a season’s priorities, after things like playing your rivals, coming back to visit your alma mater, traditions, etc. Ditto 20-team expansion plans.
Schedules, especially the big games, should be known about far ahead of time, and the teams you play should be familiar and reachable by car as much as possible. Within a conference relegation makes some sense because Michigan would be fine going 20 years between Rutgers games in order to see Iowa and Wisconsin more often. Eighty years. A hundred. Actually if we could just not have them exist at all that would be ideal kthx.
Biakabatuyourself. Alnigoblue is the latest human to find inspiration in the name of the great Eddie McDoom. He took it upon himself to make an all-names he loved hearing. Unbelievably he left off the greatest collection of syllables to ever vibrate Keith Jackson’s golden vocal chords:
Mmmm I can just hear a zero-YAC run ending right now.
[It’s the first inning of Game 2 and Michigan’s already batted around. We’re pretty good this year you guys.]
Why I put the Harbaugh Smirks gif at the top. It took years of contributions but alum96 finally wrote a diary I didn’t like. It addresses the likely fallout of Harbaugh’s intellectually opposed recruiting tactics of a) Taking camp commits on his satellite tour, and b) Making final calls on guys after their senior seasons.
The problem I have with his diary is it’s looking at those things in a vacuum when there are so many other factors involved in recruiting. Exempli gratia: sometimes you’ve been telling a guy fairly explicitly that he’s not in your class for months but since that would make schools lose interest his dad is going to the ends of the earth to make it seem like Michigan only dropped him very late.
He also ignores the very real benefit to borderline recruits of “committing” early. Rashad Weaver was getting interest from like Colgate before he jumped on a Michigan “offer.” He wound up at Pitt after a senior season that raised his ceiling to Matt Godin. Recruits know the score and use it to their own benefit.
Harbaugh is doing the best he can in the world he exists, i.e. a world where “commit” and “offer” don’t mean anything, while asking for change (he’s one of a very few coaches proposing early LOIs). Living by the letter of meaningless words when his school is the primary rival for both the biggest liar and biggest negative recruiter in the country is just surrender for superficial appearances sakes.
Be yourself at maximum volume. It’s the only way to live in the verse.
The sacred order of the backcourt calls forth the ghost of Spike [photo: Paul Sherman]
Hoops misses things. The first half of the season (yes this is now 2 weeks old) was reviewed by SpikeFan2016 and found wanting in mediocre Big Ten teams—we seem to be playing our doubles against the elites and the garbage while missing most of the middle. It’s also been noticeably lacking in baskets made at the rim, defensive rotations, athletes who can beat somebody off the dribble, and Spike Albrechts. AC1997:
Rahk has already played more minutes this season than all of last year. He's averaging over 32mpg since Caris got hurt. Meanwhile, Walton is averaging a stunning 35.6mpg in that time frame. For reference, that's more minutes per game than Burke in 2013 or Stauskas in 2014.
Perhaps Walton and Rahk are struggling on D somewhat because they're both tired and also very afraid of getting fouls since they have no back-up. Even though Spike is a poor defender aside from opportunistic steals, he would allow those guys more rest and the willingness to be physical knowing they can sit for a few minutes with foul trouble.
Taking Caris and Spike away from this squad has also affected Beilein’s lineup flexibility.
SMWilliams echoed my thinking on Coach B: he’s among the best coaches Michigan has ever had, but he also made some mistakes since the championship run that are hurting him now, and I don’t just mean the “mistake” of having his 3-stars blow up into Naismiths and lottery picks after just a few years on campus.
I would argue that in-game coaching has been one of the program’s strong suits under Beilein, and that’s nerfed by a having to stick to a predictable lineup of Walton-MAAR-Robinson/Dawkins-Irvin-Donnal/Doyle. Caris obviously changes everything from 2-4, and Spike would help take the pressure off of the backcourt and replace Dakich minutes. But that doesn’t fix the defense, or account for Doyle’s hands turning into turnips, or Dawkins’s woeful defense, or Wilson and Chatman not developing. Those issues didn’t leave a lot of room in the event Beilein lost all his seniors to injury.
EXP =/= YPC. Chops found an RB’s effectiveness doesn’t seem to increase much with carries. This jives with what we’ve thought for awhile.
EXP =/= Offense. alum96 followed up on Bill Connolly’s returning experience article posted last week, fixing the mistakes with Michigan (Bill C accidentally listed M’s RS juniors as gradated so like Chesson & Darboh weren’t counted). Michigan returns 53% of its offense and 73% of its defense.
You know my name; look up the number. Someone else is doing the thing I do every year where I try to guess the freshmen’s numbers based on what they’ve worn previously and the entrails of the poor high school students they faced in the process. I think Kareem Walker already announced he’s wearing 18; the rest of these are good guesses.
New Board Rule: if you don’t get the joke just assume it’s a Simpsons quote. This is a
ETC. Ifis looks at the 2016 class and how it addressed each position, giving 10-scale scores for addressing scheme and immediate depth needs: offense, defense. A not-brief essay that boils down to “Michigan ought to recruit the best players it can.” Alum96 tries to project how M gets down to 85 by fall without naming names (by my count, including one on twitter that wasn’t formally announced yet, they’re just 3 over counting Glasgow and Allen, meaning in all likelihood a couple more walk-ons will earn scholarships this year. The Big Ten now has 3 of the 9 black ADs in the Power 5. Ten years ago we were worried about losing Ron English to the Bears. MSU parody isn’t actually like what Spartans sound like, but then an actual lampoon of the RCMB would be like trying to write an Onion article about the Bundys: Reality is so much crazier than anything a satirist can come up with.
[Oh and Michigan won the 2nd game 12-0. We play Florida tomorrow at 11:45. I’d watch.]