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Valenti breaks the Michigan psyche (This your life now)


In M’s case, according to the expectations they’ve set for their own program, the ND game broke their season and sorta did exactly that. I guess technically it didn’t end the season, because if they win EVERY game from here they would make the playoffs…but that’s the problem. I feel as if some are measuring them by the standards they *should* be measured, which is essentially a 7-5 team over the last decade.

That’s not what THEY think they are, though. Better still, that’s not what they hired Harbaugh to be. In year four of his tenure, anything less than a division title can’t come remotely close to meeting expectations. The guy hasn’t finished higher than 3rd to date. Honestly, if we went back to the euphoria around the day he was hired, I think it would be virtually unanimous agreement among the Wolvie faithful that no playoff berth by the end of year four was unthinkable. This guy was supposed to be the best coach in football. Not the Big Ten East. Not the Big Ten. Not college football. FOOTBALL, period, at all levels. 

If that’s the standard, and that’s what Michigan and its fan and alum base has told us it is, they’ve already failed miserably. No way around that.

Where do you turn when your saviour fails, Michigan?

I remember posting that question here when they hired him, because at that point MSU and Ohio State were both rolling. It seemed reasonable to me that Harbaugh could even do a good job and not win the division very often. In the interim, Penn State has rejoined that conversation as well, so the job is even tougher than it appeared in late 2014.

That moment has officially arrived tonight, I think. What direction can that program and fanbase turn to when the “messiah” is false? It’s a classic example of “be careful what you wish for” because they got the guy they dreamed about and most never believed they could get…and it’s been an abject failure by their own self imposed standards.


1. Receivers – As good as advertised. How many tough catches did they make tonight. Tremendous concentration, hands and *strength*

2. Lewerke in the clutch – Certainly not his best game but I have the same feeling with him in tight situations I had with Cook…just feel like he’s going to make the plays you need to win the game if it’s close. Those two options, both the one that scored and the one that was called back, were run to perfection.

3. Bachie – The deflection AND the pick to seal it. Again, you just kind of come to expect it from that guy.

4. Kickoffs – Pretty nice, especially considering that we were hearing about some concerns on that front in the spring and fall.

5. Heyward – Not huge numbers but man, does he run tough and decisively. I think he looks to pretty clearly give MSU a really nice #2 option at TB.

6. Willekes – Really the only semi-consistent pressure MSU got all night was from him.

Lots and lots of things to work on and improve, no question. OLine really struggled but I need to see Chewins before I start to get really worried. Penalties were a disaster. Always tough to judge pass defense against a team that plays this style but it didn’t seem to me we were anywhere near where it needs to be.

NCAA Clears MSU Athletics of Any Wrong-Doing in Nassar Scandal

The ESPN headline (and it is on the front page link) is nice, but the article takes shots by offering quotes from the ESPN OTL sources indicating that they were either not contacted by the NCAA for the investigation or that they complained to MSU and the NCAA and didn’t receive feedback.

It puts forth the NCAA conclusion and then offers quotes to discount the conclusion.

If we are being honest though, I think the NCAA hurdle, in terms of clearing an investigation, is much lower than the other investigations (OCR, DOE, MI AG, etc.) because it’s dealing with something very different…merely the violation or lack thereof of NCAA rules. That’s not was at work in the Nassar case which has now been settled…those are legal standards in play, and wrt the other investigations we’re talking about statutory issues, not NCAA regs.

I read the ESPN piece. It’s not surprising to me that they didn’t talk to the people they apparently opted to omit. As for Allswede…well, we know where she’s at, has been at, and will be at. So again, no surprise.

I’ll also add this…everyone’s least favorite BOT member responded to the question way, way back about the NCAA getting involved as laughable, and he was pilloried for it.

Looks like he had that just about right.

Michigan loses again in Spain

This time to Jovenut, a team playing in the highest rung of the Spanish professional league, 85-79.

Good experience for them. I expect M to be the consensus pick for #2 in the conference behind Michigan State.

Tough to draw many conclusions from what they did over there. They faced some good competition without Beilein. Didn’t play well offensively at all, which (to the probable surprise of many) was something of a rerun of last season…that was not a great offensive team. Yet, they were facing professionals. From what I can gather, the opposition they played was a tick below what MSU faced in Italy three years ago, when they played the national teams from Russia and Georgia along with a second tier Italian team.

If you’re looking for positives, the Canadian freshman forward was right at the top of their scoring chart. Matthews seemed to put up good numbers. Negatives would be that they got nothing from any of the other freshmen (and they’re going to need Johns at least, and probably more than just him, to step up next season in a big way) and Simpson didn’t show signs of any real improvement offensively.



News and Notes from 08.23.18

01. Michigan continues to struggle in its Euro tour…loses to Serb team Mega Bemax 81-73. For reference, that same Mega Bemax team was beaten by Kentucky about 2 weeks ago by 36.

Interestingly, Brandon Johns apparently played sparingly and David DeJulius not at all.

This is all semi-interesting fodder for discussion right now but I am expecting M to once again get out of the gate slowly as John Beilein is going to have to blend in a lot of new faces and guys in new roles. Really, only Matthews and Simpson will be doing anything close to what they were asked to last year. I still expect them to be a Big Ten title contender but I won’t be surprised at all if their season looks something like the last two have, at least in terms of a slow start and improvement as the season progresses.

02. Big news…RPI is finally dead. Is that good or bad?

NCAA eliminates RPI, develops new metric for tournament selection

Whether this is good news or bad news (or “new boss, same as the old boss”) depends largely upon what systems the NCAA is using for all of those measurements. For example is “efficiency” going to be measured in the way that say Ken Pomeroy measures it? If so, I’d feel pretty good about that. I also like the idea of capping the impact of scoring margin at 10 points per game…means you gain nothing from scheduling weak sisters except for playing time for your deep reserves.

So, we’ll see how it all plays out but my guess is that on balance, this is a positive step.


Friday Mcmurphy “Hammer”: OSU

Here’s the deal…for me, this isn’t really about Urban Meyer or Tom Izzo or Mark Dantonio or any other athletic figure in isolation. It’s about what we do as a society, because this goes WAAAAAYYYYYY beyond college athletics. Yeah, it’s up to the reader to decide what that individual thinks but that honestly couldn’t possibly mean less to me. What DOES matter is what standards we apply in terms of culpability, people losing their jobs, their reputations, their freedom. THAT matters. If the Smith case is indicative of anything, IMO it is that often in these circumstances things are murky, muddled, unclear and that there can be at least (and sometimes more than) 2 sides. That reality has been used as a justification of sorts for the types of enforcement we’ve seen from universities in Title IX cases in recent years. I think that’s a horrendously wrongheaded direction to go in myself, because what it in essence says is that we remove due process as a consideration in instances where it’s just too difficult to produce evidence. Sorry…can’t get with that, ever, no matter what. I have no idea whether Smith is an abuser or not. I have no idea whether his choosing to live aspects of his life on the sexual edge indicates much of anything beyond just that. That’s why we require evidence, REAL evidence, not supposition, innuendo and disconnected suggestion.

Then we turn to the ritualized seppuku that now seemingly must apply to anyone in a position of authority when something goes horribly wrong on their watch. It’s “buck stops here” gone amok in my view and btw, it solves NOTHING. Did Urban Meyer know about abuse? If so, I have no problem with his being canned. Beyond that? “Enabling?” I don’t know and I damn sure have no idea how anyone is supposed to apply and regulate a standard, which, sorry to tell you is what you NEED to do if we’re at least pretending to live in a society of laws.

We really, desperately need to mature as a society in regard to these matters. Right now, we’re failing miserably on all sides, on all counts.

Tiger Talk – Deatherage and Clemens both promoted to Lakeland

That’s a big deal, for two guys just drafted in June and not as first rounders to already be at high A. They’ll only have 16 games to play there before the season ends, so not out of the question that they could each start there next year but this is definitely a best case scenario for Detroit with those two guys.

So far, on the year they’ve posted the following numbers:

Deatherage (2 games in Gulf Coast League and 46 at West Michigan Low A) as an outfielder

.324/.380/.514 6 homers 25 RBI 15 walks 51 Ks in 185 ABs 15 steals with 3 CS.

Clemens (41 games at Low A West Michigan) as a second baseman

.302/.387/.477 4 homers 17 RBI 21 walks 27 Ks in 149 ABs 3steals with 1 CS.

Also, Parker Meadows, the Tigers’ second round pick as an OF, got promoted to Connecticut after playing in the Gulf Coast League. Here’s what he’s done so far in 22 games and 74 ABs

.284/.376/.500 4 homers 8 RBI 8 walks and 25 Ks 3steals with 1 CS

He’s seen as a potential CF option.

All of these guys playing well as position players is a big positive. You never know how they’ll react to the move up in level but it’s encouraging to me. With Deatherage and Clemens it’s a bigger deal IMO because both are college guys, so you want them on a faster track. Meadows is 18, so he’s got more time.




Hearing That MSU in Really Good Shape With Drew Timme

Spoke to a guy in the Metroplex yesterday, says Izzo has gone full blast after Timme and MSU in great shape right now with him.

Just on the surface, Gonzaga, MSU and Purdue make a lot of sense for him. All have traditions of utilization of big men (programs and the current coaches). All have had big men who were asked and allowed to do a lot of different things on the court. All play at a high level and usually have great opportunities to win a lot of games.

There’s no doubt in my mind that he could play alongside Carey or Stewart (or TJD). This isn’t a four guys for one spot situation IMO. In fact, I’m now thinking MSU ideally wants two big men.

Everyone focuses on playing smaller to take advantage of the ability of a “stretch 4″ to shoot and in someinstances go off the dribble. If you can get a 6’10” kid who has that ability, as Timme does…man, that’s a big, big problem for opposing teams to deal with.

I’ll also make a quick prediction…whichever school gets him will have a fan favorite in terms of their ownfanbase and a guy who inspires a lot of ire on the road. I mean a LOT, because of the way he plays and his general attitude on the court. Hustle, motor, skill and a willingness to get vocal usually inspires those types of feelings both ways, depending upon whose jersey he’s wearing.


Should the NCAA/Big Ten expand to Canada?

Carleton University has won 13 of the last 16 Canadian collegiate championships. They haven’t lost a game since 2015-16. It’s a dynasty that, in its own world, makes Wooden-era UCLA look like Pikers.

Well, you might say, big deal…it’s Canada. The level of college basketball up there certainly would leave something to be desired. Overall, that’s certainly a fair statement. However, this whole story (one I was unaware of previously) got my attention because of these scores over the past few days from American college teams playing them on a summer tour of Canada:

Carleton 113 South Dakota State 51 – SDSU has Mike Daum, a likely NBA draft pick next year and a truly elite PF. They have made the NCAA Tournament three straight seasons and five times since 2012.

Carleton 81 Ole Miss 63 – Ole Miss is operating under a new coach, Kermit Davis (you remember him, right? Middle Tennessee), so they’re going through a transition period. Still, an SEC team losing by 18 points?

Carleton 86 Cincinnati 67 – Cincy was 31-5 last year. Now, they did lose 3 starters from that team but expectations are still high for this coming season.

Lest you think that’s a one year fluke, Carleton beat Alabama, Providence and Vandy last year. They also beat WIsconsin during one of their Final Four seasons a few years back.

Their entire roster this year is comprised of Canadians, though some of them have transferred in after starting out at American schools (they have one guard who transferred in this year, for example, from UTEP after averaging almost 10 ppg last season).


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