Thursday, April 25, 2013

2013 NFL Mock Draft

One of these guys - Joeckel or Fisher - will go No. 1 to Kansas City. 

Ah... the 2013 NFL Draft comes to us tonight with a few huge questions. The biggest questions, in my eyes, are: What happens with the first two picks, and what will Philadelphia do at No. 4 if the Eagles don't find a trading partner. Those moves seemingly will shape how the draft goes.

With the Detroit Lions' pick at No. 5 the draft could get interesting. If the Lions take Dee Millner - what I said Detroit should do without a second of hesitation in my earlier post on Detroit's draft needs - it leaves BYU's Ziggy Ansah in a potential free fall or as a hotly-coveted player resulting in an early trade. If Detroit does indeed take Ansah (or if the below Top 5 makes up the NFL Draft's Top 5 in some order) then it leaves potential Top-5 guys like Millner or Dion Jordan there for the taking.

2013 NFL Draft: Lions Draft Needs

Every so often a really, really good team has a really, really bad year and ends up with a high draft pick in the following season. That's what I believe happened with the Detroit Lions in 2012.

I should preface that by saying a really good NFL team can easily go 7-9, 8-8, or 9-7 in a given year. The Lions were a lucky 10-6 team in 2011 when a lot of things went right. The team was even more unlucky last year in falling to 4-12. In reality, both teams probably should have been closer to the 8-8 mark based on talent.

It's why I think the team takes a big leap this season as long as the draft yields some of those necessary pieces.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Defensive Score Sheet: NCAA Championship - Louisville vs. Michigan

It was a magical ride for the Wolverines that fell 40 minutes short of glory.

Done in by their defense (specifically the lack of rebounding and giving Louisville chance after chance on offense) Michigan lost in a classic NCAA title game to Louisville, 82-76.

Here's the defensive score sheet for both teams with some notes that follow:

Monday, April 8, 2013

NCAA National Championship Preview: Michigan vs. Louisville

(Originally posted at JustCoverBlog on April 8, 2010)

The last time Michigan was in standing 40 minutes from a national title was 20 years and three days ago. That was, of course, the infamous “time out” game against North Carolina.
(If you’re unfamiliar – and if you are you’re probably not reading this, but here goes anyway – Michigan’s Chris Webber called a time out with 11 seconds remaining and the Wolverines trailing 73-71. The problem: Michigan was out of time outs. The technical foul resulted in two free throws – both makes – and the ball back to North Carolina. Michigan lost the title game 77-71).
Nevertheless, as many bad memories as Michigan fans have from that game, getting back to basketball’s title game is something to celebrate in itself. According to Kenpom Michigan road to the Final Four was the eighth hardest (out of 44 teams) in the 11 years he’s been filling our brains with tempo-free statistics. If Michigan wins the title, I’m curious where the Wolverines’ run would rank out of the 11 champions.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Defensive Score Sheet: Michigan vs. Syracuse

Taking a quick glance at Michigan's defensive score sheet and it doesn't take a genius (or Wolverines coach John Beilein) to tell you Michigan's second unit was the reason the Wolverines are playing in Monday's title game vs. Louisville.

The Wolverines offense was exceptional in the first half with 36 points in 27 possessions (1.11 PPP) but as the clock ticked down it was defense that made the difference. While Nik Stauskas struggled along with many other starters (a pass can be given to both Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III because they were both given the task of slowing down a big mismatch in the Orange's C.J. Fair and paid the price defensively) while it was the reserves who pulled Michigan to the finish line.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Defensive Score Sheets: Michigan's Road to the Final Four

Many will say Michigan's offense has carried it to Atlanta for this year's Final Four. That's true for the most part but it would be wrong to ignore the defense during the four-game run through South Dakota State, VCU, Kansas and Florida.

Here are three of Michigan's defensive score sheets during it's Final Four run (apologies for not DVRing the South Dakota State game) with some commentary to follow:

Friday, April 5, 2013

Final Four Preview: Michigan vs. Syracuse

It has been 20 years since Michigan last reached the Final Four. That is, of course, if you ignore vacated records since Michigan’s Fab Five had both their 1992 and 1993 Final Four appearances (and national title game appearances) wiped from the record books.
Regardless, this is an exciting time in the state of Michigan because, for the first time in more than 20 years both Michigan and Michigan State have elite teams. That said, this weekend isn’t about Michigan State – a team that had reached six Final Fours, seven Elite Eights and won a national championship since the last time Michigan reached the Sweet 16 (1994) and this season.
This is about how the nation’s last undefeated team back in January, survived a fall from the No. 1 ranking, endured a brutal 1-3 stretch against the Big Ten’s best, withstood heartbreak in the season finale that had a layup fallen the other way a Big Ten championship would have been in the rafters, and shook off a quarterfinal loss in the Big Ten Tournament to take a slap-in-the-face No. 4 seed and march to the 2013 Final Four.
Did it take some luck? Sure, but every March run has a dash of luck. Kansas had to collapse, including missing the front end of a 1-and-1 with 10 seconds to play and Trey Burke had to drain a 30-foot 3-pointer to send the game into overtime. As improbable as that was, it’s the kind of stuff March dreams are made of. If there was any doubt Michigan’s run was all luck th0se thoughts were cast away with an absolute 79-59 shellacking of Florida, the No. 1 team in the country via efficiency numbers for much of the year.
Now the Wolverines have a date with Syracuse – a team that no one outside the state of New York can possibly root for, starting with a smug, curmudgeon coach who refuses to play any sort of challenging  nonconference schedule and ending with an unpredictable-at-best style of play.
Michigan vs. Syracuse for a spot in the 2013 national title game. Let’s get it on!
Here’s a big breakdown of Saturday’s Final Four showdown in Atlanta (h/t to Kenpom):