29 December 2011


The bad news is that NU started off B1G play with a thud when they were obliterated by Ohio State in Columbus.  The good news is that it was the last game was 2011, and NU can turn a new page in 2012 as it hosts woeful Penn State on New Year's day.

It is very difficult to find a silver lining from yesterday's game.  Maybe we could point to Dave Sobolewski holding his own against the #2 team in the land by being aggressive and attacking the rim (10 points including 5-7 on FTs).  That's a stretch and really is about it.  Things got very ugly for NU starting about 8 minutes into the game.  The final 2:30 of the game probably summarizes this game the best.  During this stretch NU's first string was outscored by the end of OSU's bench 6-0.  Woof!

Even though the Welsh is likely to be dead on Jan 1 this is just about as good a time as any for Penn State to visit the Welsh.  NU needs a shot of confidence, and the clawless Nittany Lions are just what the doctor ordered.  Since on paper this is the easiest W remaining on the schedule we are willing to allow that there is some urgency for a win on Sunday.  However with 17 games remaining plus the conference tourney this ain't a "must win" game even though we are certain others will attempt to paint it as such.  There is plenty of time remaining for NU to right the ship, and only something short of a 2-4 start to conference play would make us start to reach for the panic button. 

It's time to take care of business.  Show your mettle Johnny Shurna et al.!

27 December 2011

B1G Power Rankings: Conference Eve Edition

1.  Ohio State  Don't be surprised if they hold this spot throughout.  
2.  Wisconsin  Dominating defense.
3.  Michigan State  Legacy rights.
4.  Indiana  Drinking the candy stripe koolade. For now.
5.  Purdue Hummel needs another threat to emerge.
6.  Michigan  Still meh on the Wolvies. Too much national media influence?
7.  Northwestern  Chicago's B1G Team!
8.  Illinois  Weber's seat is warming up.
9.  Minnesota Impressed by post-Mbakwe showing. Can they do it in B1G play?
10.  Nebraska Big drop off from #9.
11.  Iowa At least they play fast.
12.  Penn State NU better sweep these guys.

23 December 2011


The game went about as expected in the world as seen through kenpom's eyes.  Due to highly efficient performances from both offenses the score was a bit higher than expected, but the post-game rankings for both teams and #21/23 Creighton's 72% win probability if the two teams laced 'em up again tonight in Omaha remain largely unchanged from pre-game expectations.

So if the game in fact went largely according to plan then why do NU fans suddenly feel so sure that NU doesn't have what it takes to make the NCAAs?  Were there irrational expectations prior to last night's game?  Maybe, but we think it's mostly typical post-game "the sky is falling" reaction to a loss from fans.  In our view we have a hard time watching this game and concluding that the NCAAs dream is once again dead.  To the contrary once time passes and the dust settles we are confident that we will be able to look back at this game as evidence that NU is very much in the mix for the NCAAs.

Here's why.  Despite some questionable foul calls that we shrug off as typical home court bias and despite Creighton gaining nine points on NU over 5+ minutes while an unconscious Drew Crawford (34 points, 13-17, 3-4) was forced to sit with four fouls, the game hung in the balance with 8 minutes and the score knotted at 58.  In a game played on the road against a ranked opponent in a very hostile environment that is a sign of a team that belongs.

Creighton managed to put the game on ice with a 20-10 run over the next five minutes.  This run was partly a result of their figuring out the 1-3-1 but also from some fortunate Creighton bounces.  The run started with a misguided three point shot that drew iron and bounced high off the glass to ultimately fall through the hoop.  This was the second such lucky bounce for the BJs on a three pointer.  Creighton then extended the lead to seven points when another BJ rattled home a three and got a freebie when the ref fell for the good old shooter flop and whistled Cobb for being in the proximity.

The ultimate dagger occurred around the 4 minute mark when NU failed to corral a rebound as Sobo and Mirk fought each other for the ball and knocked it out of bounds (can somebody please yell SAME!!!!????).  NU had a chance to make amends by grabbing the ensuing rebound, but once again fate would have the ball bounce long and directly to a BJ).  On the third opportunity Creighton got the ball down low to McDermott who laid the ball in for a 78-68 lead.

There is no denying that the BJs played well last night.  But so did NU.  If it were not for some questionable refereeing and some unfortunate bounces NU was positioned to sneak out of O-town with a top 25 roadie scalp.  It was not meant to be, but NU will live on to fight for the NCAAs in conference.  Conventional wisdom says 9-9 is the bar, and this team has it in them.

Next up is NU's first conference game at Columbus to take on #2/2 Ohio State.  This game will undoubtedly be a huge challenge, but as with all challenges there comes opportunity.  NU showed last year that it could hang with the Buckeyes in E-town and down in Indianapolis.  We are penciling in a L but would not be surprised if NU hangs around to make the end of this game interesting.

22 December 2011

On tonight's game at Creighton

We have been surprised to read how jacked the BJs are for this game.  Coach McDermott has implored the good people of Omaha to rock the 17K seat house tonight.  Not impressed?  Wait there's more!  The BJs have sent two free tickets to season ticket holders to help pack thy house.  Not coincidentally the students are on break but let's be real.  Creighton ain't exactly a national destination so chances are that student section will be packed with the sizable local student population who "went home" for the holidays.

BJ fans are also talking up the game.  There is a long thread over at bluejayunderground that ponders when was the last time Creighton has hosted such a big game.  Holy smokes!  Not to belittle our beloved Wildcats but life must be quaint in good ol' O-town.

Did ya know that Coach McDermott only recruited his blossoming star of a son, Doug, only after he left Iowa State for the "hilltop"?  If this were nationally broadcast there is little doubt we would've been force fed this info.  As it is the national media have missed the ball on this exciting game and only a local affiliate is picking this game up.  ESPN has added the game to their Full Court menu which makes us yawn even more than an ESPNU feed.

If there is a MO on McDermott coached teams it is that they play close to the vest.  Fundamental man defense.  Protect and share the ball on offense.  Protect the defensive glass.  McDermott is blessed with probably the best offensive team of his D1 career but is cursed with maybe his worst defensive outfit.  Sound familiar?

NU is a 7 point dog tonight.  That jives with kenpom's forecast which gives NU just a 28% chance at victory.  Coach Carmody has defeated Coach McDermott twice in the past two years (at the Chicago tournament two years ago when he was at Iowa State and last year when the BJs were blown out of E-town).  This is a game that NU very well could win.  If it were in Evanston then we'd feel more confident. 

20 December 2011

On NU's lucky 2011-12 season to date

Among primary ranking sites after 11 games in NU (10-1) is a bit of an enigma.  Sagarin has NU at 33 and kenpom at 58.  That doesn’t sound so far out of whack until you consider that Sagarin’s ranking is a weighted average of the ELO Chess (7) and Predictor (67) rankings.  This large gap in Sagarin tends to happen when teams win several games by narrow margins.  It can also be seen in kenpom’s luck statistic.  So far in 2012 NU is the 8th luckiest team.

Is it a good thing or a bad thing that NU has been lucky?  And more to the point does it say anything about NU’s chances for making the NCAAs?  We reviewed the past three years of kenpom data and found that of the 25 luckiest teams 8, 8, and 6 made the NCAAs in 2009-2011 respectively.  That means nearly 30% of the 25 luckiest teams made the NCAAs whereas the rest of the teams had less than a 20% chance.  Furthermore there were 7 BCS teams among the Top 25 across those years and of those only one did not make the NCAAs (#18 PSU in 2009 – which incidentally went on to win the NIT).

So the good news is that if NU can continue its lucky streak then the NCAAs look like a near fait accompli.  The bad news is that there is no reason to expect NU will continue its lucky streak and hold the inexorable regression to the mean at bay.

19 December 2011

NU 87 E Ill 75 (F)

What a difference a day makes.  Johnny Shurna couldn't do much in Saturday's game against CenConn.  A day later he was unstoppable against Eastern Illinois.  Shurna had 32 points (11-14, 9-12), 5 assists, and 2 blocked shots against the E Illers.  In contrast Reggie Hearn, who tallied 17 crucial points in the narrow victory over CenConn,. was held scoreless last night.  It's statistics like these which make it a fool's errand to try to get too fined tuned in one's game and player predictions.

The other player of note was favorite NU fanatic whipping boy Luka Mirkovic.  In 29 minutes of play Luka netted 18 points  (7-12, 0-1), grabbed 10 boards, and was 3 assists shy of a triple double.   Not bad.

Next up is the much anticipated trip to Omaha to tangle with the Creighton Blue Jays who are hovering around the bottom of the national Top 25 rankings.  Creighton plays at Tulsa tonight in what is sure to be a closely dissected game by NU fanatics in a futile attempt to forecast Thursday's game.  We're hoping Creighton blows out Tulsa.  It's much better that way than have the BJ's coming off a loss and feeling like they need to come out and prove something against NU.

17 December 2011

NU 70 CCSU 64 (F)

We've got to hand it to CenConn. They (principally frosh stud Kyle Vinales but also seniors Horton and Ptacek) came in ready to play, and they darn near won the game if it were not for poised play from Reggie Hearn and Drew Crawford down the stretch.  JerShon Cobb is still getting back in the flow.  His shooting eye is true (3-5, 9 points in 16 minutes), but he made a couple of sloppy passes (he wasn't alone).  The center position played well as one would hope against an undersized opponent.   And Dave Sobolewski made his best Juice Thompson ironman impression going 40 minutes. 

Many people are gnashing their teeth over John Shurna's relatively poor game (3-14, 1-9 for 12 points in 36 minutes).  Folks let's not lose our minds.  Shurna is Shurna which is to say he is our all-star.  Even all-stars can have a down game or three. 

Next up for Northwestern (9-1) is Eastern Illinois (6-3) an also-ran in the Ohio Valley Conference.   Unlike today's game this one should be another cupcake blowout.   Game is on BTN.  Huzzah for out-of-town studentatics who can finally catch a far away glimpse of this team. 

15 December 2011

NU 81 Texas Southern 51 (F)

NU shot out to a 23-3 lead in the opening 10 minutes of this game and basically never looked back. That and the fact no one got injured are all one really needs to take away from the game. Alex Marcotullio sat out in a precautionary move for his turf toe. Good choice as his absence did not matter one iota.

We do have one bone to pick, and it's with WGN and the NU blogosphere who have repeatedly mentioned that this was NU's most lopsided victory of the year. While this is technically true if one looks solely at the final score, the reality is that this game wasn't quite as one sided as that MVSU game a couple of weeks ago when NU led by 41 points. In the first half!!! That game was easily the most lopsided NU victory in recent memory if not ever.

Moving on. Next up is Central Connecticut State of the Northeast Conference on Saturday. CenConn is one of the top programs in the NEC but that just means their cream filling is only slightly denser than Texas Southern which is one of the top programs in the SWAC. We last saw CenConn and Howie the Dick Dickenman two year ago when NU easily dispatched the CenConners 74-54. According to kenpom CenConn is similar in strength to Stony Brook. Someone get Coach C to point this out to the team so that they don't nearly sleepwalk their way to a loss like they did against SBU. Other than that let's just get a W and again with no season jeopardizing injuries. That is all.

It feels like midnight on Christmas Eve

The long wait is finally over.  The much anticipated game against the Texas Southern, errrrr, "Southerners?" is nigh.  The interwebs have been abuzz for a week, press row will be jammed pack, standing room only, the band a-blazin', the Welsh a-rockin'.

What's that?  The students are on break?  Skeleton band at best?  The Southerners suck eggs?  OK so this isn't the game of the year, but one thing is for sure--the players have been looking forward to washing out the taste of that ugly Baylor game for quite some time.  We actually have been looking forward to this game because 10 days between games is far, far too long of a wait in college basketball.

06 December 2011

NU's 2012 B1G Schedule Analysis

By now we have an initial feel for the B1G's overall strength as well as some familiarity with our conference foes.  This is as good a time as any to peak ahead at what's in store for NU next year in conference with an eye for what it will take for NU to finally get the monkey off its back and make the NCAAs.

In our estimation to be on the bubble NU will need to finish 8-10 in conference assuming a win at Creighton on December 22nd and otherwise 9-9.  The bubble would burst if NU lost its first round B1G tourney game against a bottom B1G team.  So how does this season shape up as NU once again strives to break through that NCAAs glass ceiling?   As we did last year, we find it helpful to chart NU's course by first organizing NU’s conference games into four categories: Egg, Low Hanging Fruit, Bling, and Wheaties games.

Categorizing NU's B1G Schedule

Egg (2)
Egg games are those in which NU is projected to win at least 3/4ths of the time (per kenpom.com):

Penn State, Iowa

Low Hanging Fruit (6)
These are games that NU is projected to win but with less than a 75% probability:

Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota, Michigan, at Penn St, at Iowa

Bling (5)
These are games that NU has between 25%-50% chance of winning:

at Michigan, Michigan St, at Minnesota, Purdue, at Illinois

Wheaties (5)
These games are those which NU has less than a one in four chance of winning:

at Ohio St, at Wisconsin, at Purdue, at Indiana, Ohio St

Plotting NU's B1G Schedule

Now the 18 game conference season is more of a marathon than a sprint.  And as any experienced marathoner knows it is helpful to split a race into definable segments so as to plot progress and determine in real time whether one is ahead of pace, on pace, or behind pace.  In deference to NU's academic system we break the B1G marathon into trimesters to benchmark's NU progress.  Together with our the organized buckets of games above we are able to use this trimester framework and adjust for differences in schedule difficulty, or hill gradients if you will, along the set schedule/course.

First Trimester
Egg: Penn St
LHF: Illinois
Bling: at Michigan, Michigan St
Wheaties: at Ohio St, at Wisconsin

In recent years the schedule makers have shown an affinity for throwing NU right into the B1G fire.  This year is no different.  The six game first trimester features just two games in which NU is favored, and NU will be significant underdogs in two of the other four games.  With this difficult start to the B1G slate a 2-4 start to conference season would not be ideal but should be taken in stride if it were to come to pass.  A 1-5 start would be cause for concern while a 3-3 record (e.g., defending the Welsh) would be cause for optimism.

Second Trimester
Egg: Iowa
LHF: Nebraska
Bling: at Minnesota, Purdue, at Illinois
Wheaties: at Purdue

Once again NU is favored in only 2 of these 6 games although there is only one Wheaties game during this stretch.  Assuming a 2-4 first trimester record anything worse than 3-3 record here starts to back NU against the wall.  NU successfully defending the home court would again do the trick.

Third Trimester
Egg: None
LHF: Minnesota, Michigan, at Penn St, at Iowa
Bling: None
Wheaties: at Indiana, Ohio St

NU has a chance to finish strong with four very winnable games and two golden opportunities to make a big impression on the Selection Committee.  While the first two trimesters will be more about positioning NU for the NCAAs this last trimester will be make or break.   There are a couple of winnable roadies during this stretch run.  Win those and NU is looking ok.  Better yet defeating OSU at the Welsh in the penultimate regular season game could really sway the Selection Committee.

Overall B1G Course Analysis
The way the schedule makers have set it up a sluggish start to the conference season is to be expected.  NU fans should take this account and not be quick to toss out their NCAA dreams if NU finds itself at 2-4 to start out conference play.  The middle part of the schedule eases ever so slightly, and it is by the end of this six game stretch NU will hopefully be at no worse than 5-7 so as to provide itself some cushion for the home stretch.  And it is during this home stretch that NU has some downhill running and will need to get its kick hard for that NCAAs finish line.

There is a real opportunity here for NU to finish strong which would help with the NCAAs resume.  The layout of the B1G schedule is both a blessing and a curse.  It is a blessing in that it will give the freshmen guards time to acclimate to B1G play in time for this pivotal stretch run.  The blessing could turn into a curse if 1) the freshmen struggles through the first two-thirds of the season are such that NU's back up is put up against the wall or 2) the freshmen themselves hit the proverbial wall by then.

What happens is anyone's guess at the moment.  Stay tuned.

05 December 2011

B1G Power Rankings - Finals Week Edition

With 12 teams now in the B1G this power ranking stuff is going to take 9.1% more effort.  We're up to the task.

1.  Ohio State (8-0)  No brainer. Two big home wins over Florida and Duke.  Only question remains how they will play on the road.  
2.  Wisconsin (6-2)  Lost at home to Marquette and at UNC.  Marquette loss was a surprise but may have just been one of those nights.  Only notable win against BYU on neutral court.
3.  Purdue (7-2) Lost to Alabama in a tourney and Xavier on the road.  Defeated Iona (no typo - they are good!), Temple and Miami.
4.  Michigan State (6-2)  Lost to Duke and UNC on neutral courts.  Defeated FSU at home.
5.  Illinois (8-0)  Defeated the 'Zags at home, Richmond on neutral court, and Maryland on the road.  Difference has been Maniscalco their PG transfer and emergence of Meyers Leonard.
6.  Indiana (8-0)  Defeated NC State on the road.  Zeller looks good, but the jury is only beginning deliberations on the Hoosiers.
7.  Michigan (6-2)  Lost at UVA and to Duke on neutral court.  Defeated Memphis on neutral court.  Will Trey Burke be able to fill Darius Morris's shoes?  Hardaway and Morgan will help the cause.
8.  Northwestern (7-1)  Lost to Baylor at home.  Three neutral court wins against NIT-type teams.  Game at Creighton will be a good litmus test.
9.  Minnesota (8-1)  Surviving so far without Mbakwe but for how long?  Nice win at home against VT.
10.  Nebraska (4-3)  Bad loss at home to Wake Forest.  Also lost to Oregon at home and at Creighton.  Best win was double OT at USC.
11.  Iowa (5-3)  Bad loss to Campbell at home.  Also lost to Clemson at home and to Creighton on neutral court.  No meaningful victories.
12.  Penn State (6-3)  No bad losses (Kentucky, St Joes, Mississippi) but no real meaningful wins.  In basement until we see more under new coach without Talor Battle.

Baylor 69 NU 41 (F)

Overheard in stands: "Am I really jeopardizing by macro grade for THIS?!?!?!"  It could be worse.  We could be subjected to this kind of offense game-in and game-out if NU's previous head coach, Kevin O'Neill were still the coach.  Davide Curletti should give thanks on a daily basis that ain't the case (just ask Aaron "f#$k you" Molnar) although Luka Mirkovic is missing out on a golden opportunity to expand his repertoire of American expletives.

Suffice it to say that NU wilted like a flower in this game.  The conventional wisdom is that Baylor was simply too much for NU.  We kinda disagree.  Baylor probably has the most NBA-level talent of any NU opponent this year not located in Columbus.  To be sure it was an uphill battle with their strengths matched up against our weaknesses.  However to get blown out like that was a direct reflection of NU's lack of senior leadership.  Does anyone really think that Juice Thompson wouldn't have rallied the troops better than John Shurna did?  C'mon.

And that is what was most disappointing about the blowout loss.  Bad shooting happens, but there is no reason it must snowball into the drubbing that occurred on Sunday.  Fact is that NU was getting good looks with its offense.  Just stick with it and keep plugging away until momentum shifts.  We were the HOME team for goodness sakes.   A couple of bombs and the Welsh was ready to rock and roll.

Instead NU went into a shell on offense.  Open looks from distance were passed up in favor of drives to the lane which were promptly swatted into the third row.  Passes to the unguarded charity stripe were never capitalized upon as our centers didn't realize they were allowed to turn around and shoot the damn ball.

On defense NU was simply overmatched down low.  We needed more ball pressure given Baylor's propensity to turn it over.  We saw that on occasion early in the second half, but inexplicably NU didn't keep it up.  WTF?!?!?

NU is down from #34 in kenpom to #52.  Ugh.  NU is now projected to go 8-10 in the B1G and 18-12 overall.  Not good.

On the lighter side check out this thread on Texas A&M's message board.  Several of our buddies concur.  We got a good chuckle out of the Aggies throwing in the towel at the end and posting a pic of Sig from Deadliest Catch.  It's a good thing Loyola is only a short CTA trip away, and it's not a good thing that NU is going to get thrashed by the Aggies in the Meineke Bowl.

NU is back in action against Texas Southern after finals week on December 15.  If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it...

04 December 2011

NU debuts at #15 in unbiased Sagarin

That is up from 20 in the bayesian rankings and good for second in the B1G. Of note is Baylor at 28 and Creighton at 13.

03 December 2011

NU 92 MVSU 67 (F)

This game was the very definition of a mismatch. Simply put NU (7-0) could do whatever they wanted on offense, and conversely MVSU could do absolutely nothing they wanted on offense. Late in the first half NU led 59-18. We could go on about record setting team efforts and a run down of individual play, but that score captures the very essence of this game. The final score was only a 25 point margin since NU called off the dogs in the first part of the second half and then called off the pups for the remainder.

NU's next opponent, #7/8 Baylor Bears (6-0), couldn't provide a much starker contrast for an opponent to MVSU. Baylor is undefeated, a favorite in the rugged Big 12, and oozing with tall, rangy athletes bound for the NBA. We read that this game features the highest ranked visitor from outside the B1G in over 20 years (Duke 1989). The Welsh should be rockin'--finals week be damned. With a top 25 ranking all but assured with a W it will be high time to storm the court after NU dispatches of da bears and raises the programs profile onto the national stage. Make it so!

02 December 2011

B1G 8 ACC 4 - Recap

The B1G reinforced its early reputation this year as the nation's best conference.  Which B1G teams gained the most from their ACC challenge?  Which lost the most?  We use the endlessly entertaining kenpom data to answer these questions:

Most Gained

1.  Northwestern  Ranking improved 8 spots from 42 to 34, which is tied with Illinois for the largest leap up the rankings.  NU's pre-game 48% win probability jumped to a post-game 55.8% win probability, the largest increase of all B1G teams.  Add in the fact that NU led wire-to-wire on the road and that at its peak of suspense only 4% of this evenly matched game (on paper) had a medium-high leverage, and it's somewhat surprising that NU's victory hasn't raised more eyebrows among the pundits.

2.  Illinois  Ranking improved 8 spots from 46 to 38.  Pre-game 55% win probability jumped to a post-game 60.6% win probability, the second largest increase of all B1G teams. Illinois had a more competitive game than NU with 44.1% of the game played with medium-high leverage and 1.5% of the game played with high leverage.  All in all an impressive win for the Illini at Maryland -- just not as impressive as NU's at GT.

3.  Ohio State  Statistically OSU did not improve much, but that is partly a function of the fact there wasn't much statistical upside for the Buckeyes.  Their already lofty #3 ranking bumped up one spot as they switched places with Wisconsin.  The win probability increased by 3.3% to 81.3%, the fifth largest increase for B1G teams.  We rank OSU third in this list because of the manner in which they pantsed the Dukies (93% of the game was of medium-low or low leverage) which has elevated the Buckeyes in the national conversation from B1G favorite to serious NCAAs contender.

4.  Michigan State  Ranking improved just one spot (up to 13) but win probability jumped 5% up to 73% (3rd largest increase).  The win was expected and the game was played in EL, but the manner in which Sparty dispatched of FSU with its stout defense was impressive -- only 17% of the game was played at medium-high leverage.

5.  Indiana  At first blush we thought the Hoosiers would be higher on this list since they won on the road against a respectable NC State team.  However the stats don't really support it.  This is because kenpom already had the Hoosiers ranked #20 (now #19).  When we considered the fact that the win probability increased by 4.5% (just behind Sparty's increase) together with the more highly leveraged nature of IU's game (over half the game was medium-high or high levered) we felt justified putting them behind MSU on this list.

Most Lost

1.  Iowa  Pre-game Iowa had a 45% chance of winning their home game with Clemson.  Post-game that probability dropped to 37.2%, a 7.8% decrease that was easily the largest drop among B1G teams.  Furthermore the Hawkeyes ranking dropped 20 spots from 105 to 125.  These decreases are supported by the leverage statistics -- for a game on paper was supposed to be a near toss-up, a loss played nearly half of the time under medium-low or low leverage with no minutes played above medium leverage is just plain bad.  There is no way around it -- this was an ugly loss for Iowa.

2.  Nebraska  As newcomers to the B1G the Huskers were an unknown quantity.  Needless to say our first look did not impress as they were upset at home by a weak Wake Forest squad.  Given a 86% pre-game win probability there is no way nearly half the game should've been played under medium-high or high leveraged conditions let alone resulted in a loss.  To be frank we were surprised that Nebraska's win probability dropped by only 4.8% and their ranking fell only 6 rungs from #60 to #66.  We will try to remember that this was just one game, but we are having a hard time imagining the Huskers finishing anywhere higher than 9th in the B1G.

3.  Michigan  The Wolverines had a fair amount of buzz going into Tuesday's game in Charlottesville thanks to a decent showing in Hawaii against Memphis, Duke and UCLA.  The problem with the early season is that reputations sometimes don't meet reality.  In this case it is becoming ever more clear that those three opponents aren't living up to their billing at the moment.  In other words the Wolverines reputation was overblown since it was predicated on performances against overrated teams.  Anywho back to the game with Coach Bennett's Cavs ... Michigan was expected to lose (38% pre-game win probability) but just not so badly.  The game was somewhat more competitive than the final score indicated (nearly 40% of the game was medium-high leverage), but that wasn't enough to drop the Wolverines 5 spots in the kenpom rankings and decrease their post-game win probability by 3.6%.  It was a disappointing effort from the Wolverines.