The Big Ten didn't fare too well last night in the Sweet Sixteen. Wisconsin blundered away a late game opportunity for the win (hey Bo, hope that timeout comes in handy next year) and Michigan State got overpowered by Louisville. Now it falls to Ohio State against Syracuse and Indiana recreating the magic from earlier this season against Kentucky or the Big Ten --- the anointed best conference in the country --- could be shut out of the Final Four.
Not that there aren't still basketball concerns for those teams whose seasons have ended already. As Alex alerted you Wednesday, Michigan is set to lose three players to transfers this offseason. Carlton Brundidge is a seldom used freshman that never seemed to catch on with the coaching staff and is probably best served elsewhere. Colton Christian was a last minute pickup and a fringe rotation guy who was probably going to see his minutes evaporate. Neither loss hurts especially bad. Evan Smotrycz is another story. He was a part-time starter and would have been heavily in the rotation had he stayed. However, he wasn't happy, and unfortunately that's the way it goes sometimes. We at Maize n Brew wish all three of them the best of luck in the future.
The other news is that Trey Burke is considering making the leap to the NBA. Burke had a stellar freshman year, but his height is going to be a significant obstacle to overcome in the NBA draft. Thankfully Holdin' the Rope broke down just about ever angle imaginable to Burke's decision:
With all of that said, this moment was inevitable. As the season wound down, it was difficult not to acknowledge the possibility of a Morris Redux situation; Trey wasn't going to not take a look. Burke is in the awkward but tantalizing place known as "being good enough to consider leaving but perhaps not good enough to be a first rounder."
If Burke does leave, one of the prime targets to help ease the pain of the loss is Amedeo Della Valle. UMHoops has an update here.
Simply put, college coaches cannot operate under the assumption that the worst will happen. That's the same line of thinking that made coaches doubt the viability of the forward pass (remember, only three things can happen when you throw, and two of them are bad) and causes the Zooks of the coaching world to punt on 4th-and-3 from the opponent's 38. Brady Hoke has proven that he's got some serious cajones, and that's generally regarded as a fantastic trait in a head coach. This is not how he operates.
A point which I agree with. However, I think the one subject that nobody has broached --- and one that is ultimately most important --- is that we just don't know how good Gardner is out wide. He is certainly an intriguing athlete with significant potential, but he hasn't spent the last two and a half years working on running routes and pure athleticism isn't ever a guarantee of production.
Thus we get to the ultimate condition on the question of is it worth it to risk a possible injury to the second string quarterback: is he good enough to be worth playing? If Devin Gardner is a definite starter and the outside receiver this team has been looking for, then by all means he should play. It worked for Ryan Tannenhill and MarQueis Gray, and there is no question Michigan needs quality receivers.
But how should the coaches deal with a situation where Gardner is a backup-type receiver? If the question is about getting one of the team's best receivers on the field, I say go for it. If it is simply about moving a quarterback over for depth, then the question is a little trickier.
Michigan football team hoping for a bulked up Craig Roh in his new defensive role - One of the big questions on the other side of the ball that isn't "OMG WHAT ABOUT BIG WILL?" is how the rest of the defensive line falls into place. With last year's weak side options, Craig Roh and Jabreel Black, making moves to the strong side and three-tech tackle spots the defensive line has a great opportunity to get faster, but could be vulnerable because of a lack of size depending on the offseason progress of Roh and Black.
In wake of Presidential address, Robinson embracing leadership role on and off the gridiron - Denard Robinson on his transition into the role of the team's vocal leader. While I normally am against anything that causes him to smile less, this seems to be a worthy cause.
SEC, Big Ten athletic departments biggest spenders, moneymakers - Printing money, y'all.
Mike Leach wants a 64-team playoff (of course he does) - As is the case with anything Mike Leach says, it could be just crazy enough to work.
An offensive staff goes no huddle to establish and control tempo. As offensive gurus like Homer Smith and Bill Walsh have long made clear, the offense and defense have certain advantages established bythe game's rules. While the defense always has an arithmetic advantage, the offense establishes the formation and numbers the defense must match, and controls when the play begins. The offense therefore gains an advantage when it controls and alters that tempo.
Ross Fulton of 11Warriors does another fantastic piece on the upcoming features of the Buckeye offense. This time he breaks down something Michigan fans are well versed in: the no huddle offense. Know thy enemy.
The Art Of The Interception: Good Hands And Randomness - Football Study Hall looks at projecting interceptions from year to year.