Getting more out of Livers. It's a project that is underway:
“It’s something we’ve been talking with him a lot," said Michigan coach John Beilein. "He leaves a lot on the table. He shoots 3s well, but there’s another element to his game that he’s still developing. We’ve got to encourage it."
Livers has been an excellent complementary player during his first two seasons at Michigan. He won a starting job as a freshman last season as the Wolverines made it to the national title game. This season, though, he has come off the bench. Teammates have referred to him as a "glue guy."
He's already bumped his usage from 12.9 to 15.4; if he's able to do that again next year he'll be at ~18, and at that point he's enough of a contributor that you're not worried that his presence is pushing someone up to usage levels they're not efficient at.
Rebounding is variable. I know this John Gasaway assertion is true after several years in which Michigan took a top-50 DREB rate into conference play only to finish 10th in that department:
Defensive rebound rates can translate a bit better from whole-season to conference (cf. Maryland, Colorado, and Michigan), but even here you can’t just assume you’re hitting statistical bedrock every time. Take Kansas State, No. 17 nationally in defensive rebound percentage, more than 100 spots higher than its nearest in-conference competitor (Oklahoma, No. 132). Actual Big 12 play, however, has swiftly devolved into a vicious egalitarian struggle where every team’s virtually identical on the defensive glass and the Wildcats nominally rank No. 4 in the league in that category.
These numbers are in motion, of course, but this isn’t primarily a sample-size thing. It’s more of a basketball thing, or, better still, one more peculiarity of a mass-audience sport wherein the teams themselves select a sizable portion of their own opponents. There are few bread-and-butter box score numbers that vary as much as rebound percentages due merely to non-conference scheduling philosophies and/or to how certain coaches choose to change their look for conference play.
Those were usually Zack-Novak-at-power-forward teams that suffered when larger people entered the equation. Michigan's maintained much better the last two years. They finished last year 2nd in B10 DREBs and are fourth this year.
Also in that post, a bizarre thing going on at MSU:
Inverse-Michigan Factor (IMF)
Standard deviations above/below conference means
Conference games onlyOR% DR% IMF Michigan State 2019 1.75 -1.20 2.95 Rutgers 2017 1.62 -0.90 2.52 West Virginia 2019 1.11 -1.35 2.46 Providence 2019 1.07 -1.33 2.40
These are the largest IMF numbers we’ve seen in the past five years in major-conference play. Purdue 2019 is not far behind.
MSU is the best offensive rebounding team in the conference… and 13th on the other end. MSU's block rate probably has something to do with this. They're #1 in conference play, and that's without anyone particularly large-huge and leapy. Surmise: MSU's trying to block everything and giving up OREBs when those attempts go awry.
[After THE JUMP: Mike Leggin' it]
Pending visit. Per Endless Motor, Nimari Burnett will make an unofficial visit on the 24th. He's a combo guard who's the #25 composite 2020 player; Michigan already has Zeb Jackson in a class that's probably going to be 5+ players (Simpson, Teske plus Iggy and Poole NBA possibilities, a potential firm handshake for Austin Davis's fifth year, and maybe a playing time transfer).
For more basketball recruiting I recommend this thread on the board.
A standoff for the wrong reason? Baseball is trying to get an extra coach approved by the NCAA. Big Ten ADs are apparently dead-set against this:
Several Big Ten coaches confirmed to D1Baseball that their ADs told coaches that they had taken a straw poll on the proposal at a recent meeting — and that ADs had opposed it 13-1. That is not a binding vote, and there’s still time for B1G athletic directors to reverse course before the NCAA Board of Directors’ official vote on the matter in April, but the conference as a whole must vote yes or no. And as a Power Five league, the Big Ten has outsized voting power — its vote has double the weight of the “Group of Five” conferences, and four times the weight of every other conference. So if the Big Ten opposes it, proponents of the proposal are concerned that smaller conferences will follow its lead. If a conference that generates close to $1.7 billion in annual revenue won’t get on board, what hope is there for conferences with dramatically smaller operating budgets?
The coaches were "blindsided" by this since they favor the proposal. Unfortunately, the concern is apparently that adding another paid assistant would cause other sports to agitate for expanded coaching staffs. That's a nonsensical issue to have when Big Ten ADs keep adding employees because revenue keeps going up. Conference distributions are projected to go up nearly 20 million over the next decade.
This should be/might be the real reason:
Baseball is never going to be a moneymaker in the Big Ten as long as the season starts in the middle of winter — one coach suggested that ADs probably viewed this proposal as “just more money down the drain.”
It’s impossible to overstate how difficult it is for Northern teams to compete at a national level in baseball when the season starts in February. There’s a reason baseball players are called “the boys of summer.” … If college baseball were played during actual baseball weather, the Big Ten would be a behemoth, plain and simple.
If the Big Ten is trying to block this legislation as a middle finger to the folks who make the schedule what it is, hooray. The Big Ten should block any attempt to do anything unless it comes paired with scheduling concessions. Want a third assistant? Push the season back two weeks.
I don't think this is news. But in case it is:
Vancouver will be making an addition to its blueline next month, as I'm told Quinn Hughes, the 2018 7th-overall pick, plans to join the Canucks after his NCAA season ends in early-March https://t.co/4zS3uUBmea
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) February 15, 2019
Most of the replies to this tweet are "can't wait to find out what color the sky is."
In actual hockey news, Cam York lands at #10 in the latest NHL mock from the Athletic:
York is the modern-day defenceman in more ways than one. He’s got everything you like in today’s game: the smooth stride, the calculated decision making, the slick hands which allow him to escape trouble when pressure is there and the passing ability to move the puck up ice or across the offensive zone. He’s also a strong defender who uses that skating and decision making to close gaps, play tight and keep forwards to the perimeter — without having to rely on physicality to do it. But he also has another element of the modern defenceman that’s becoming more common: He lacks a heavy shot and he’s not particularly strong in 50/50 battles. You’ll take the latter because the former skills make him so effective.
Michigan also picked up another 2019 commit, Emil Ohrvall. Ohrvall is 20 and will be 21 when he steps on the ice for Michigan; after an 11-point freshman season at RPI he's currently a top-ten scorer in the USHL. This gives Michigan 13 commits, nominally, in this class, and Ohrvall is a guy they must be taking immediately since he's out of junior eligibility.
One guy not coming in: Jack LaFontaine, who is committed to Minnesota now.
ALSO. If Kent Johnson was not already committed to Michigan he would be required by law to sign up now:
This tweet sucked so bad it wouldn't embed.
— Trevor Miller (@Miller_Lite00) February 10, 2019
Johnson's the top scorer amongst 16-year-olds in the BCHL and tentatively scheduled to come in the 2020 class.
S&P+ for next year. Michigan is 9th in the preseason S&P+ rankings. Opponents in the top 25:
- #7 OSU
- #11 Wisconsin
- #12 Notre Dame
- #14 Penn State
- #23 MSU
- #25 Iowa
Going to be another tough slate.
Etc.: ESPN longread on Tim Donaghy fixing NBA games is worth your time. A deep dive on Chase Winovich's injury, which he sustained early in the OSU game. Megadonor Stephen Ross profiled. Oops. Arizona prepares to get nuked. Or gently tickled. One of the two. Quinn Hughes profiled.