Sorry for the lack of content the last few days. Real life has a tendency to intrude at random times, and the last week or so has involved a lot of work and family obligations. My head's still under water right now, so regular posting won't resume until Monday. However, there's too much interesting stuff going on not to share some of the highlights.
Michigan Dumped By Illini, Again - Going into yesterday's game, Michigan looked relatively confident. They'd found their travel legs during a trip to Evanston. They'd finally found the bucket. They'd just played one of their two complete games on the season. Plus, they were going into Champaign to face an Illini team off to its worst start in the last decade.
Yeah? So what.
Despite managing to knot the score at 43 with 12 minutes to go, Michigan went on to drop their 11th straight game at Assembly hall with a 75-57 loss. Afterwards, head coach John Beilein threw out this "Master of the Obvious" quote:
You don't say? Again I will preface my criticisms with the statement that I believe Beilein will eventually bring Michigan out of its doldrums and back to the NCAA tournament, however, if you've got a lousy outside shooting team like, oh, say, MICHIGAN, adapt your system to do what they do well. I appreciate that Beilein has doggedly stuck to his system because he knows it works in the long run, but in the short run at least try to adapt to your players so that they're not so beaten down by constant losses that they give up as seniors, the way the last four classes did. Further, when your starters go 1-17 from three, please take this as an indication the three ball is not a good idea. The system works when you've got shooters. These kids aren't shooters. They're inside players, cutters, slashers. Let them do what they do well and teach them the other stuff as they go.
On a positive note, a look inside the boxscore reveals a couple of good things. First, Michigan only turned the ball over 8 times. You read that right. 8. Even during their win over Northwestern the Wolverines turned the ball over 15 times. Believe it or not, this is progress. Second, Anthony Wright found his stroke. Wright went 5-8 from three and led the team with 15 points. We desperately need someone, anyone, to be consistently capable of doing that. Highlights, courtesy to the BTN below.
Oh. You Mean Those Documents - Speaking of former West Virginia coaches now under the employ of Michigan, in the event you live under a rock, new head football coach Rich Rodriguez is in somewhat of a bind regarding some alleged document shredding prior to his departure from West Virginia. Rodriguez has denied this and has several well compensated lawyers working on his behalf regarding this issue. He also has them working on voiding his 4 million dollar buyout.
I think West Virginia is acting like a jilted ex-girlfriend/boyfriend, in junior high. Unless he's shredding the school charter, it's not like their aren't copies of this stuff floating around elsewhere on campus. I will say that if Rodriguez destroyed original copies of university generated documents, specifically generated by Rodriguez and his staff for the University, then he screwed up and needs to apologize. If that is the case, it's a douchebag move and he's in the wrong.
However, to date, there has been no evidence presented to the general public for anyone to take a strong stand on this issue. So far it's been leaks to the papers and all kinds of innuendo generated by the WVU administration. It there are specific instances, please produce them. If not, please go away. "Sources" within the university spreading innuendo like this need to be heavily scrutinized before they hit the papers:
Most disturbing, though, is the absence of all of the players' personal files, which included, among other things, contact information, scholarship money awarded, class attendance records and records on personal conduct and community service, be it positive or negative.
"If a player spoke to a school or did public service, we don't have a record of it,'' said the source. "If he broke a rule or missed class, we don't have a record of that, either. We don't have anything. All the good things these kids have done over the years, there's nothing -- not a picture of somebody speaking to a class, nothing. Why would somebody do that?''
Why indeed? For the information claimed to be missing or shredded to exist in a single place is highly suspect. If it is indeed the case, I find it to be a stinging indictment of the University's lack of oversight of the athletic department. If WVU doesn't have electronic records of its students attendance and contact information anywhere other than Rodriguez' file cabinet, they should be ashamed of themselves. Additionally, the claimed missing information regarding class attendance, boosters, summer camps, etc... are all things that would exist elsewhere.
Rodriguez Denies He's a Shedder.
Coaches leave. People change jobs. Life goes on. There will always be fallout when people leave jobs unexpectedly. Things will be lost, missed, and tossed in the garbage can. It happens. If West Virginia expected Rodriguez to leave his little black recruiting book on the night stand, with a flower and a note telling them all the reasons he was wrong for them and how much he hates himself for leaving, the university should go back to reading its Daniel Steele novel and be done with it. Because no matter how much mud you sling on someone else, you still end up getting dirty too.
Jim, You're Wrong - I've used a considerable amount of space on this site praising the work of the Ann Arbor News. The writers there are professional, intelligent, and very accessible to readers, fans, and other writers and/or bloggers. I generally agree with the opinions Jim Carty pens in his columns, but his recent column calling for Rodriguez to pay his $4 million buyout in a show of good faith to Michigan and West Virginia is totally off base.
$4 million dollars is a lot of [bleeping] money. A lot. Wrong or right, every person reading Jim's column or my little site would fight like hell to keep from having to payout that kind of scratch; even if they knew in their heart of hearts that they owed it. Jim is right, Bo wouldn't have liked the shenanigans that are going on. But Bo was also a practical guy. He'd never counsel anyone to pay over that kind of money. He'd also never counsel anyone to passively admit to anything without proper facts.
And therein lies the issue. We don't know squat about what's going on. So far the most specious behavior has come from West Virginia on this subject. Every indication from Charleston to Ann Arbor has indicated that when Rodriguez discussed things that would keep him at WVU, the AD rebuffed him. Rodriguez in turn bolted in a less than professional way. Tit for tat. However, since Rodriguez' departure the WVU administration has launched a smear campaign that has every Presidential candidate taking notes.
Until faceless "sources" become hard facts, Rodriguez shouldn't pay a dime. Further, he shouldn't be called to.
Cripple Fight!!! - Two of my favorite sites are at each other's throats over the whole Rodriguez document shredding thing, Black Heart Gold Pants fisked MGoBlog, MGoBlog fisked Black Heart Gold Pants right back. Brian, to his credit, has retracted, as has BHGP. I don't care.
A little present from Kate, one of my Notre Dame friends, floated into my inbox a couple of days ago. Florida fans, I had nothing to do with this, but even you'll have to admit it's pretty damn funny. Please especially note the pelvic thrusting from a Floridian whom you would never wish to see such thrusting from toward the tail of the clip.
And so, presented without hateration or holleration, (well, maybe just a little) the glory of You Tube...