Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mailbag question: Biggest improvements from year one to year two for quarterbacks

Posted at 4:00pm -- 12/31/2009


Where do you expect to see the biggest improvements from year one to year two with regards to Tate and Denard?


James B.


Thanks for the question.

The biggest difference in our opinion will be the overall knowledge and feel for the offense that both should acquire. As with a regular option offense, it takes many reps to become proficient at running the spread offense by identifying the correct keys and making the proper calls.

For T. Forcier the improvement we expect to see is his ability to check down and take what defenses give him. At times he had a tendency to force things or prejudge where the ball was going and what he was going to do with the ball.

D. Robinson's biggest improvement will be his basic fundamentals, such as footwork and steps, etc. He never had the advantage of spring practices, so his room for growth is larger than Tate and we expect him to improve this spring.

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

Under Armour All-America High School Football Practice

Posted at 12:00pm -- 12/31/2009

ESPNU Recruiting Insider
Under Armour All-America High School Football Practice
3:00pm EST. - 6:00pm EST.
DirecTV Channel 614

Lowell Galindo will host alongside ESPN Scouts, Inc. experts Luginbill, Craig Haubert and Bill Conly, who will provide analysis.

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

Michigan Men and Women's Basketball Games on Today

Posted at 10:00am -- 12/31/2009

Michigan Men's Basketball
Michigan at Indiana
12:00pm EST. - 2:00pm EST.
DirecTV Channel 209




Michigan Women's Basketball
Michigan at Michigan State
2:00pm EST. - 4:00pm EST.
DirecTV Channel 610


Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

Mailbag question: A follow up to what you are looking for in defensive players

Posted at 8:00am -- 12/31/2009

Mailbag question: A follow up to what you are looking for in defensive players


From a defensive perspective, how many in the current (2010) starting line-up fit what you are looking for regarding defensive players.

At times, I thought Martin was pretty solid, and C. Roh looked good.

Do you think the apprehension comes from being both so young and having a new DC schematically?

I know a lot of people feel Campbell still needs to add some more weight/muscle to be a legit every play starter, but I would like to know your thoughts on him as well.




Thanks for the question.

We do not like to comprehensively comment on the 2010 starting line-up until we see spring practices/spring scrimmages.

These are some players who we have seen that have the types of skills Michigan needs.

1) W. Campbell: If Will ever picks up the fundamentals and learns to keep his pads down; he has the type of movement coaches look for from defensive linemen. Remember we were the first ones that said he was going to struggle last year and pointed out his fundamental problems, while others were stating he was going to make a sudden impact and be a sure-fire starter from the beginning.

2) M. Martin: Mike started slow, but in our opinion by mid season he showed an All Big Ten future.

3) C. Roh: Craig possesses super technique for a youngster and the type of lateral speed and great first step needed to be an impact player.

4) M. Jones: GBMW was pleasantly surprised by his explosiveness and quick burst. He closed in a big *ss hurry.

5) B. Hawthorne: He has super feet and a nasty attitude.

6) K. Demens: Kenny has lateral quickness and fills hard, and has a nasty attitude!

7) J.T. Turner: He filled like a linebacker, and finished hard. If you watch his high school film on kick-off returns Justin demonstrates that initial burst to get to the second level and the type of skill and athletic ability needed to close.

8) Vlad: He is a tough SOB and closed very well.

Players in 2010 class we like so far:

1) Terrence Talbott: This type of skill set coaches look for, he is capable of a thirty-five in vertical and a ten foot in broad jump. The only reason, in our opinion, that Terrence is not rated higher is size; he has all the other physical tools.

2) Ash: He is a very good athlete for his size, and plays the game with an edge you do not always find in big guys. We were disappointed when he committed to West Virginia because we thought he was the best defensive lineman left on the UM board. We were obviously very happy to see Michigan get back on him and secure a verbal commitment.

3 J. Furman: In our opinion, at this time, he is more of an "athlete" than a great football player. Has very good vertical movement and straight-line speed, but does not show the lateral movement and change of direction/ability to accelerate out of a stop that is key. If he puts it all together he has the measurable to be very good.

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Michigan Basketball: Big Ten Hoops Pre-conference Basketball Preview – continued

Posted at 4:00pm -- 12/30/2009

Big Ten Hoops Pre-conference Basketball Preview – continued

The three teams mentioned yesterday as being top-tier cement mixer teams, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota, are good bets to make the NCAA field. Of the three, Wisconsin is probably a lock.

Now, the review finally gets to the three teams that will need to fight, scramble, and take advantage of every tiny micro-break during the Big Ten season to make the NCAA field. These three, in the belly of a tough cement mixer, are Penn State, Northwestern, and Michigan. Let it be again stated that Michigan is in the mix by a mere thread and everything, literally everything, must go the Wolverines way to make progress and have a chance at a winning record and March tournament play.

Last year the cement mixer produced a ton of Big Ten teams talking about going 9-9 in the conference and working from the basic assumption that meeting the .500 criteria in Big Ten play should be good enough for tournament selection. This did not work in all cases. Every year the talk is how many teams from the Big Ten should go on the big dance, five, six, seven, or (gasp) even eight. A couple of key wins and announcers start talking about guaranteed numbers, until of course someone loses a key late match-up and revisionism runs amuck. Looking at what the conference has done so far, and taking into account the associated preseason competition and records, six or seven teams being selected seems a safe bet.

Penn State is 8-4 overall and 2-2 against good competition. Take into account just decent competition and the record actually falls to 2-4. Penn State has some weaknesses, compared to the top tier of cement mixer teams. The biggest strength is a wonderful player, Taylor Battle. With the injury to Evan Turner, Taylor is in a small number of players who will be seriously competing for Big Ten Player of the Year honors.

Penn State does not pass the big three contributors criteria, but does pass the contributors benchmark (five), having seven players that to this point have provided meaningful minutes and scoring. Battle is the only Lion in double figures, hitting nearly 19 points a game. Jeff Brooks, Chris Babb, Tim Frazier, David Jackson, Bill Edwards, and Andrew Jones are all contributing more than six points per game and providing needed minutes.

The Lions have good but not overwhelming size. Rebounding, like so many college teams of this era, will be by committee. The team typically runs a smart half-court offense that takes advantage of Battle’s various skills. So, far, the half-court offense has been just decent, nothing more. The shooting is a little puzzling in that the 2-point percentage is low and the 3- point percentage is pretty good. The freshmen need to continually grow if the lions are to see tournament time.

Northwestern is 10-1, that is correct, 10-1. The team is 4-1 against good competition. So, the Wildcats (not mildcats) have played patsies, right? NO, the program has played a very reasonable pre-conference schedule, stronger than many of the league’s teams. Against good competition, Northwestern is 4-1, losing to Butler (yes, Butler again). Think about this, Northwestern went 3-0 on a quick three game road trip against Notre Dame, Iowa State, and North Carolina State. This was not murderer’s row, but very impressive nonetheless. Few teams play purist basketball anymore, opting for securing overwhelming talent instead. Northwestern, has never been able to secure such talent, for various reasons, and so Bill Carmody was secured. Gone are the days where everyone beats Northwestern down by 30 plus points. This team and its style can be effective against overwhelming talent.

But Northwestern does have talent, but its talent is just not as athletic as the other league teams. Northwestern passes the three major contributors and five contributors benchmarks. The Wildcats are led by one of the most interesting players to watch in the Big Ten, John Shurna. Shurna is a true nearly perfect fit for a particular system that fans constantly hear referenced. In this case, the 6’8 Shurna can deliver the goods expected of a true Princeton type center, namely smart play, excellent high post passing, great decision-making, and stepping out to hit shots to open up the backdoor cuts.

The other two players who can be said to be making major contributions are guard Michael Thompson, a good athlete scoring nearly 16 points per game, and Drew Crawford (a freshman), averaging 10 per game. Three other players score enough and play enough minutes to be considered as contributors: Jeremy Nash, 6’ 11” Luka Mirkovic, and Alex Marcotullio (another freshman).

Northwestern has enough height to play a big lineup if needed. Mirkovic plays about 24 minutes a game and without him, Northwestern must play small. The problem is the team is not quick enough to get into a back and forth up-the-floor type of game. This is why when Northwestern shoots one can sometimes see four players just concede the ball and get to the other end. The three point shooting is currently above the bar of 35% needed for success. This team will struggle inside and demonstrates little ability to block shots. Shurna dominates rebounding and the rest is by committee.

Leagues use the traditional bottom dwellers as sacrificial lambs, and the opening four game schedule and some of the puzzling calls that will arise in games going down the conference stretch run will not benefit Northwestern. This is a good team and one that requires preparation, or else, Northwestern will have a scalp.

Michigan still suffers from the overall talent level that Coach Beilein took over three years ago. Adding to this dilemma is the recent revelation that Ben Cronin will not be able to provide the needed inside help for the basketball program, neither will injured Jordan Morgan (a freshman). This leaves Michigan with a rubric’s cube solution as to where to play the pieces to solve a puzzle of strange parts.

Michigan is limping into the conference season with a very disappointing 6-5 record. Creighton (7 loses), and Detroit are the lone wins of any consequence. The primary culprit has been poor shooting. But when a team shows little desire to go inside and establish an inside game, the perimeter defense will tighten up and those nice horse game type of unopposed jump shots quickly become difficult efforts. Currently Michigan is shooting less than 30% from behind the 3-point line and 42% overall. If the shooting does not improve the league forecast is cloudy and cold. Compounding the offensive situation is another side effect a decimated inside game has created, an inability (or flat out refusal) to play even remotely good team defense. This has led to easy buckets by teams that hit the offensive boards hard. With little help-defense, Michigan is letting opponents hit at near 50% from the field.

Michigan certainly has a big two when it comes to major contributors, but clearly does not pass the benchmark of three major contributors. Viewers can easily see the downside of this shortcoming, as when the big two of Harris and Sims are controlled the offense can become unproductive and even just flat out ugly.

Many Harris is certainly on the short list of candidates for player of the year. Likely unless the team comes on that honor may be remote. Manny is the only Big Ten player averaging over 20 points per game and is also averaging over 7 rebounds. Deshawn Sims, who shows skills for both small forward and power forward, has talent and gives effort, but Deshawn simply cannot dominate a game single-handed, few players can. Deshawn is averaging over 16 points per game and works hard inside, frequently alone.

Michigan fares better when talking about overall contributors. Five meet the criteria and two others are nearing this designation. Novak, Douglass, and Laval Lucas-Perry all average over 6 points, but there is little consistency in this threesome. Only Lucas-Perry is shooting over the benchmark of 35% from three-point land. Zack Gibson and Darius Morris are needed, much so, for this team to win. The writer has no worries about Morris; he is a very serious player and has been somewhat hesitant. When he gets confidence and gets into the flow, Darius will pass others on the roster.

Michigan may be the least impressive physical team in the conference, perhaps excluding only Iowa and Northwestern. While the team possesses the very athletic Harris and Sims, that is about it. Novak busts his butt, but asking the small (he is not 6’5) Novak to anchor the inside defense in the 1-3-1 is asking much, very much. He loves to compete, so oh-well. Too many of Michigan’s players simply loose out when other players evenly contest them for the ball. While the team is rarely in foul trouble (a good considering the depth), the downside is points are not contested with any passion or message.

One of Michigan’s many problems is that certain roster players are simply non-contributors. Puls does not play and Anthony Wright has either vaporized or sublimated. There must be a story accompanying this observation somewhere out there in the hinterland. Prized freshman shooter Matt Vogrich is only seeing spot duty. Clearly he needs to develop physically. If the season’s bottom falls out, Vogrich may get much on-the-job-training for next year.

Michigan’s problems are obvious but the solutions may not be forthcoming. Things could fall into place for the team to make a mid-conference run or the bottom could fall out like a trapdoor.

Finally, tomorrow will bring discussion on the last two Big Ten teams, Indiana and Iowa. One is improving and one is not.

Thank you for reading and continue to visit GBMW.

Written by Doc4blu

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

Michigan Hockey: RPI outlast Michigan 4-3 in GLI

Posted at 12:00pm -- 12/30/2009


THUD. That’s the sound the Michigan hockey team loudly made in the opening round of the GLI Tuesday night. Riding the wave of exceptional goaltending and timely scoring, the Engineers beat Michigan 4-3 and will move on to face MSU in the Final.

Michigan dominated the shot total 46-14, but fell behind early in the first period on the first of two Chase Polancek power play markers. Polancek, stationed to Michigan netminder Bryan Hogan’s right, redirected a shot from the slot to give RPI a 1-0 lead. Michigan pressed the Engineers and out shot them 15-3 in the period, but could not solve RPI goalie Allan York.

Polancek, RPI’s leading points man, struck again with :06 left in the first period, firing a right point shot that found its way through traffic past Hogan. Not only was that goal deflating, but several Wolverines questioned whether it should have counted considering RPI had a man in the crease. The play was reviewed, but was upheld, and the teams skated to the dressing rooms.

Michigan came out strong in the second period, often pinning the resilient Engineers in their end for whole shifts. David Wohlberg finally capitalized on a turnover and was fed a perfect centering pass in the slot. He skated to York’s left and lifted a backhander past his blocker to put Michigan on the board. The back breaker came minutes later as RPI counter attacked after a Michigan neutral zone turnover. Paul Kerins lofted what appeared to be an innocent shot from the top of the right circle that caromed off of the tip of Hogan’s glove and into the net to extend the RPI lead to 3-1. Michigan held a 24-5 shot advantage up to that moment.

Coach Berenson had seen enough, and sent back up netminder Shawn Hunwick, who hadn’t seen a second of regular season time all year, out to start the third period. The period started much like the second, with Michigan forcing the play. RPI took a series of penalties, including two in the same play sequence, to give Michigan a full two minute 5x3 advantage. Carl Hagelin made good on a rebound with about a minute left in the advantage to give Michigan the momentum. RPI finished killing the rest of the second penalty, but soon after Michigan tied the score on Kevin Lynch’s first career goal with a little less than ten minutes left.

The game opened up after that, with both teams gaining opportunities. RPI regained the lead with a little less than seven and a half minutes left, when Marty O’Grady fired a perfect shot shortside, and from an impossible angle, over Hunwick’s left shoulder to give RPI a lead they would not relinquish.

Michigan continued to force the play, and RPI took two penalties late in the game, setting up opportunities for the Wolverines. Hunwick was pulled with a little over 1:20 left to give Michigan a 6x4 advantage, but could not dent York.

Michigan falls to 9-10 on the season and will face Michigan Tech in the consolation game. Tech was embarrassed by MSU 10-1.


David Wohlberg’s second period goal snapped a Michigan goal less string of over 94 minutes going back to the Notre Dame series.

Bryan Hogan was yanked after yielding 3 goals on 10 RPI shots. It was not the Junior’s finest effort as he appeared shaky from the start.

The Michigan PK unit yielded two goals, an uncharacteristic performance for the then #2 PK unit in the country. The first goal was a coverage mistake. The second was a shot Hogan had deflect in front of him, but still was not in good position to stop.

RPI continues its mastery over Michigan, now posting a 7-3-1 record versus the Wolverines.

Yostmeister three star selections:

1. RPI-Allen York- 43 saves on 46 shots, and clearly outplayed his counterparts at the other end of the
2. RPI- Chase Polancek- 2G on the night and several good defensive plays to pace the Engineers
3. Michigan- Carl Hagelin- 1G and 1A on the night for the best player on the ice for Michigan

Revised Prognostications:

Michigan 4 Michigan Tech 2 in the consolation game.
MSU 3 RPI 1 in the Championship game.

Written by Yostmeister

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

Under Armour All-America High School Football Practice

Posted at 10:00am -- 12/30/2009

ESPNU Recruiting Insider
Under Armour All-America High School Football Practice
3:00pm EST. - 6:00pm EST.
DirecTV Channel 614

Lowell Galindo will host alongside ESPN Scouts, Inc. experts Luginbill, Craig Haubert and Bill Conly, who will provide analysis.

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

Mailbag question: When will our defense be good again

Posted at 8:00am -- 12/30/2009


In your opinion, how long will it be before our defense starts looking like a good solid defense and what is it going to take to get there? Thanks



Thanks for the question.

We believe 2011 is the first possible and likely year to see defensive improvement.

In our opinion next year, as with last year, will not be pretty, especially early on. Michigan will (again?) be playing a high number of youngsters in the two-deep. This necessitates a huge learning/growth curve. UM is losing the best three players from last years defense, and compounding the situation the loses are at key positions (B. Graham, S. Brown, and D. Warren). Yes, some of the younger players are talented, but they need to learn the system and the coaches need to trust them out there. There will be mistakes and there will be up and downs. Look at what happened to USC’s defensive stats when key players were drafted and the replacements were not quite ready.

Can these players be replaced? Well let us wait until spring practices so we can judge and get a better feel for who has improved and who might surprise some people. Also, the coaching staff might try to move around some players and see how they will fit into another position as they did with T. Woolfolk and S. Brown this past year.

In our opinion what the defense needs the most:

1) Explosive, dynamic athletes with the suddenness and acceleration to cover ground and close in a hurry. Other than B. Graham and C. Roh, UM did not have such athletes with the burst and closing speed necessary to prevent big plays. We saw glimpses of this from some players, but not enough to even comment on. Simply, Michigan’s defensive players need to dramatically improve in the off-season.

2) Infusion of edgy, nasty defenders, who play the game with that hair on the back of your neck stand up/I will tear your head off chip on their shoulders attitude. This is something that has been missing for an extended amount of time and it seems that no matter who is the coach or who the players are Michigan just seems to be missing this key ingredient.

UM’s defense has just been way too nice and easy to play against. How many quarterbacks have scrambled and vacated the pocket for key yardage and were never touched? This leaves some on the staff, and we are sure some readers as well, screaming at the television or in person at a game, “Will some one please bury that *ssh*l*?”

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mailbag question: Heard anything on the defensive coach

Posted at 4:00pm -- 12/29/2009

Mailbag question: Heard anything on the defensive coach


What have you heard about getting a new defensive coach? Who would you like to see and what position coaches would change if any? Any thoughts and/or opinions?



Thanks for the question.

We have not heard of any names mentioned yet.

There is a coach’s convention in early January where many of these types of backroom deals are manufactured.

In our opinion Michigan has two choices. First, the staff can bring in a new linebacker coach with Coach Robinson then handling hybrids like he did last spring. Or, second, Michigan could let Coach Robinson handle all the linebackers and hybrids and bring in a new defensive back coach to split the duties with Coach Gibson.

We personally would prefer the later option. Coach Robinson has a long reputation as a top linebacker coach.

If something like the second option above would happen, GBMW would be happy to bring a coach like Corwin Brown back to Michigan to help with the defensive backfield. First off, he is a good young coach and a great recruiter who has spent a lot of time with some great coaches since he started coaching. Also, he had a reputation of being an excellent special teams coach when he was coaching in the NFL.

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

The Big Ten Pre-Conference Basketball Review –The Cement Mixer

Posted at 12:00pm -- 12/29/2009

The Big Ten Pre-Conference Basketball Review –The Cement Mixer

Today’s topic of discussion concerns the middle of the pack Big Ten basketball projections. These teams will not in all likelihood be as fortunate as Michigan State, Purdue, and Ohio State. The teams that end up in the middle of the pack scramble will have no room for taking it easy and will fight every game to guarantee a spot in the NCAA tournament. This pack will finish between 4th and 9th in the conference. The top of this bunch will get good seeds to the NCAA and the teams ending up at the bottom of this scramble may get trips to the NIT or nothing at all.

Even in presenting an insular cocoon of six good teams, it becomes tempting to immediately split this group into two sub-classifications, one group having greater possibilities/probabilities than the second to finish above .500 in league play. The first group consists of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois and the second group contains within Penn State, Northwestern, and Michigan. Like the world in Jonathon Edward’s Puritan “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Michigan is hanging on like a doomed spider to the barest of threads as to any tournament existence.

Wisconsin could easily slide into the top three, especially with the injury to Evan Turner of OSU. Minnesota just continues to play better under Tubby Smith. Illinois is a tough match when the Illini are on. The three teams in this group need to come out and win early and establish a leg up inside the cement mixer, providing some breathing room and later opportunity. The three teams in the lower rent area of the cement mixer will be fighting for tournament existence every game of the season. These teams will be very competitive but the daily grind against better athletes may take a toll as the conference season heads down the stretch.

Wisconsin is 10-2 and 4-1 against what most would call upper level competition. The Badgers lost to W-Green Bay, but the Wisconsin basketball teams such as Green Bay, Milwaukee, and Stevens Point have always been successful and especially notable on the defensive side. In previous years, basketball coaches frequently sought out defensive tactics from the Wisconsin schools cited above.

Wisconsin meets the standard of three major contributors and has five players who overall contribute at a level above six points and play significant minutes (ten or more). Jon Leuer, a 6’ 10” Junior, is enjoying a fine season averaging 17 points and almost 7 rebounds a game. Senior Trevon Hughes continues to be an impact player averaging almost 17 points per game. Jason Bohannon, another Senior, is averaging over 10 points per game. Notable contributors include guard Jordan Taylor and forward Keaton Nankivil, each averaging about 8 points per game.

Rebounding is by committee, but the committee is sound. Wisconsin shoots well and both Hughes and Bohannon are launching lots of threes and hitting over 41%, well past the 35% coaches expect to meet the bar of three pointers being a team asset. The overall team shooting is above average as is the foul shooting. The team is only committing about ten turnovers per game, below the threshold of 12-14 most coaches tolerate.
Bo Ryan has another classic Wisconsin team; one that will be tough, play hard, fight for the ball, and seek to make the opponent play the Badger style of play. He is one of the better game coaches around. This team is not as deep as MSU, OSU, or Purdue.

Minnesota made the right move in hiring the likeable Tubby Smith. His new program quickly left the cellar dwellers of the Big Ten. Here is a team that does not wow the viewer but knows what is happening on the court most of the time. When the team does not show knowledge of the floor-game, Tubby instantly calls a time out and teaches the game on the spot. Minnesota does not have the best athletes in the conference, not even close, but the players on the floor are well aware of this and use the old style team approach to succeed.

Minnesota is 9-3 overall and 1-3 against what most would label good competition. However, this team did beat Butler (who may as well join the Big Ten in basketball).

The Gophers do meet the criteria of three major contributors and get a great score of nine on overall contributors (see above criteria).

As expected with a team having nine players making good contributions, the scoring is balanced, giving many options to running an offense. Senior Lawrence Westbrook, Junior Blake Hoffarber, Junior Damian Johnson, and noted Freshman Ralph Sampson III are all averaging over or near double figures in scoring. Likewise, the rebounding is spread out among the roster as well.

There are some concerns that could be problematical. The roster has six first year players and the free throw shooting is a little suspect entering conference play. The team is committing about 14 turnovers per game, a little high, but not unusual for teams playing young players. Countering the concerns is the strength that nine players are playing over 15 minutes a game; that should lead to fresh players going down the stretch and versatile lineups that are of great use in matching up against all opponents.

Illinois rounds out the group in the top tier of the cement mixer category. The team is 8-4 and 2-4 against good competition. Like every other team in this bracket good luck could put a team in the league’s top three and bad fortune could drop a team to 8th or 9th.

The Illini easily pass the three major contributors criteria. In fact, five Illinois players are scoring in double figures. Three of these players are juniors: Mike Tisdale, Mike Davis, and Demitri McCamey and two are touted freshmen, D. J. Richardson and Paul Brandon. Detroit native, the highly sought Alex Legion, is tearing it up shooting under 30% and averaging 2.7 points per game.

Like Minnesota, Illinois plays plenty of players, ten players are recording 10 or more minutes of playing time. Two players, Davis and Tisdale, have dominated the rebounding factor. The team shooting has been very good, both the 2 point and three point variety. Even the free throw shooting, a sometimes nemesis, has been very good. Richardson and Paul are shooting well above the 35% benchmark for three’s.

This team will likely have great nights and forgettable nights. But it would come as no surprise if the Illini play the best in March.

Next up, the bottom of the cement mixer, Penn State, Northwestern, and Michigan.

Thank you for reading and continue to visit GBMW.

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

Michigan Hockey: 45th Annual Great Lakes Invitational Preview

Posted at 8:00am -- 12/29/2009


Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan

MICHIGAN (9-9-0, 5-7-0) 10th in the CCHA vs. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers (9-9-1, 3-4-0 8th in the 12 team ECACHL conference) 7:35 pm

13th ranked MSU (12-6-2, 9-3-2) 2nd in the CCHA vs. Michigan Tech Huskies (3-14-0, 2-13-0 10th in the 10 team WCHA conference) 4:35 pm

Wednesday, 12/30/09:
Consolation Game 4:35 pm
Championship Game 7:35 pm

GLI Facts:

Michigan Tech was the founding team of this annual Holiday tournament, having hosted it now for 45 years. 28 different teams have participated in the GLI, with 13 different teams skating to the tournament championship. Michigan leads all participants with 13 titles followed by MSU with 11 titles and MTU with 9 titles. Michigan has won back to back titles, with MSU’s most recent title in 2007 and MTU’s most recent championship in 1980. Michigan and MSU became permanent invitees back in the 1980 season when the event was moved to Joe Louis Arena.

Michigan holds an overall GLI record of 47-30-1, including an 8-7-1 mark versus MSU, (7-7-1 according to MSU records) including a 6-5-1 lead in the championship game and a 17-10 record against Michigan Tech, including eight straight wins. Michigan also snapped a five game GLI losing skid to MSU in 2008, and also broke a long championship dry spell since the last GLI title in 1997.

MSU is 42-27-1 overall at the GLI, and brags of the leading winning percentage amongst the three permanent invitees. The Spartans have enjoyed great success in the past decade, being in the championship game 10 of the past 12 years and 13 of the past 16 seasons, winning 11 titles, including 6 of the past 12 championships. State has owned the Huskies, recording a 21-4 mark in the GLI (20-5 according to MTU historians) and held an eleven game unbeaten string against Tech until 2007. Michigan Tech, does, however, own an overall 77-73-2 record all time against the Spartans.

Red Berenson has a GLI tournament leading 35 victories as Michigan’s head coach.

The John J. MacInnes Trophy is awarded the Tournament MVP, in honor of the legendary Michigan Tech coach, who is currently third in GLI wins behind MSU’s Ron Mason and Berenson.

Recapping The Wolverines:

Michigan is still searching for consistency, following a nominal first half of play. Matter of fact, Michigan not only split their final series with the Irish, but have split their last ten games. Coach Berenson minced no words in detailing the anemic offense, lapsing defensive coverage and inconsistent goaltending in a recent interview with Michael Spath from The Wolverine. You can find that article here:

The opportunity to begin anew starts with this tournament as Michigan faces an opponent fans have not seen Michigan play since a series in Ann Arbor dating back to January 1986. Rensselaer or RPI as they are more easily referred to- plays in the ECAC league. They have played Michigan ten times in their illustrious history, and hold a 6-3-1 mark over the Wolverines. The series most recently played was split, with RPI winning the first game 7-6 and Michigan rebounding to win a wide open 11-10 OT affair.

Ironically, RPI had played Michigan in their only appearance in the GLI in 1985. They routed the Wolverines 8-3, before losing in the Final against MSU by the same score.

RPI would go on to win their second National Title that season on Joe Louis Arena ice. They had also defeated Michigan in the semi finals in 1954 to move on to their first title chance and beat Minnesota in OT that season.
MSU would then go on in 1986 to win their second national title. Michigan Tech, on the other hand, has three national titles, but none since 1975, when Michigan and MSU also played in the WCHA.

Full Roster For Michigan:

I cannot recall the last time Michigan did not send a member of their team to the U-20 World Junior Tournament. This year marks the first year that has happened in close to two decades, as Chris Brown was one of the last cuts made on the USA roster. David Wohlberg also did not make the team, and no other players were considered for Canadian or European rosters. This is a good break for Michigan, considering the struggles they have gone through this season. I am sure Brown will get his opportunity next season.

Speaking Stats:

Michigan’s attack is still led by the usual suspects- Carl Hagelin takes his 9-7-16 total to Detroit along with Brown’s 7-8-15 and Matt Rust’s 6-9-15. The guy to look for, though, is surging Louie Caporusso, (5-9-14) who also happens to be the 2008 GLI MVP, scoring four goals in last season’s tourney. Caporusso has produced 5 GLI goals and 1 assist in his two tourney appearances, including two game winning goals.

Michigan is now averaging 2.78 goals per game, good for 31st in the country. The Wolverines are ninth best in defense, holding opponents to 2.28 goals per game.
The PP is clicking at a 16.3% clip, 37th in the country and the PK slipped to 2nd, although a sparkling 91% average. The team still is second in conference penalty minutes, totaling 329 for the season, but only 117 minutes due to minor penalties.

Bryan Hogan sports a 9-9-0 record with a decent .905 save percentage and a nominal 2.23 goals against mark.

Michigan holds a 2-6 record against ranked teams this season, and will only play one ranked team in the event both Michigan and MSU advance to the Championship game.

Who Are These Engineers?

RPI is located in upstate New York, in Troy. They boast of having the finest and oldest technological university in the country, competing with other storied engineering schools such as Clarkson and Cornell.

RPI comes into the GLI fresh off of a 5-3 non league victory at Boston University. They had lost their previous four games, and entered the third period trailing, 3-2 and pulled off a modest comeback. This was the third common opponent of Michigan that RPI had played this season, including Alaska and Alaska-Anchorage. They are coached by Seth Appert, a Ferris State 1997 graduate.

RPI has not been a hockey powerhouse since their 80’s glory days, but they are not a doormat, either. They play a tough, physical and fundamental style of hockey that forces opponents to work for every inch of ice, similar to how several CCHA teams play. They feature six NHL draftees on their roster and have good offensive and defensive balance with a roster of 5 Seniors, 9 Juniors, 8 Sophomores and 5 Freshmen.

One of those draftees will be missing the GLI, though. Freshman sensation Jerry D’Amigo (Toronto, 2009 6th round choice) was selected on the USA National Junior Team. D’Amigo has tallied 5-9-14 for the Engineers, and will be sorely missed up front. RPI’s cupboard is not bare, offensively, though. Junior Chase Polacek leads the offense (12-14-26) and is 3rd overall in the NCAA in scoring, and is 7th in the nation in PPG’s with six. Freshman Brandon Pirri (Blackhawks, 2nd round) has chipped in with 7-11-18. Senior Paul Kerins 5-8-13 also adds a little grit, leading the team with 35 PIM’s. Junior Tyler Helfrich is on a five game point streak, going 3-3-6 over that period to total 4-9-13 for the season.

On defense, RPI features Senior Christian Jensen (Sharks, 9th round) Junior Jeff Foss (Nashville, 6th round) So. Mike Bergin (Dallas, 7th round) as well as Captain (Junior) John Kennedy, Senior Co-captain Peter Merth and Jr. Co-captain Bryan Brutlag on the blueline.

The goaltending is mostly handled by Sophomore Allan York (Columbus, 6th round) who is 6-8-1 with a 2.93 GAA and a .895 Sv. %. Freshman Bryce Merriam is 3-1 with a 2.27 GAA and a .898 Sv. % in spot duty.

RPI is 2-2-1 against ranked opponents, including wins over UNH and Yale as well as losses to Cornell and Union. The Engineers settled for a tie with Alaska.

Overall, the Engineers score an average of 2.9 goals per game, and give up 2.8 goals per game. They average about 13 penalty minutes a game, (253 minutes on the season) but are having trouble killing penalties, at a dismal 77% clip. Their PP is not bad, converting almost 20% of their opportunities.

Look for RPI to try to control the tempo of their games and keep Michigan and MTU/MSU close. Penalties may bite them, though, which appear to be one of the areas coach Appert is looking to improve.
Michigan Tech facts:

Michigan Tech owns a 40-50-0 all time record at the GLI, but has not had much success in the tournament in the past few decades. The few bright spots have been a 7-3 rout of Michigan in 2000, a 4-1 semi final win over MSU in 2007 (followed by a tight 1-0 2OT loss to Michigan in the Final) and a victory over North Dakota in last year’s consolation game.

Tech has fallen on hard times again this season, winning only three games to date, all, ironically, on Friday nights. It is important to note that MTU does play a difficult schedule, ranked 2nd most difficult in the country only below fellow WCHA partner SCSU.

The offense, what there is of it, is supported by Freshman defenseman Steven Seigo who has posted 1G and 10 A on the season. Up front, Sophomore Brett Olson has chipped in 17 points (8G-9A) and Senior Malcolm Gwilliam has pushed across 14 points on 7G and 7A. The defense is also supported by Brighton, Mi native Senior John Kivisto, who has added 4-5-9 on the year.

Freshman goalie Kevin Genoe is 2-10-0 on the year, with a respectable .900 Sv. % and a 3.56 GAA. Sophomore Josh Robinson spells Genoe and is 1-4, with a .856 Sv % and a 5.04 GAA.

Tech has struggled to produce two goals per game, while allowing four. Their PP is an anemic 15.6% conversion, while their PK is a pathetic 63.4%. The Huskies have dropped their last eight games in a row.

Tech has played all of their non conference games against CCHA opponents and will continue that trend if they move on to face Michigan in the tourney final.

Update on Michigan State:

This is MSU’s 35th year participating in the GLI. They are averaging just fewer than 3 goals per game this season and giving up just over 2 goals per game. The Spartans are coming off of a fine first half, and ended the first half with a come from behind sweep of the Bowling Green Falcons.

Their PP is still a below average 17% conversion, while their PK is at 83% on the season. They have taken a total of 266 minutes in penalties, with most of them being minors.

Junior Corey Tropp leads the nation in points with 16-11-27. His two hat tricks lead the country also and he was recently named CCHA POTW on December 14th.
Freshman Derek Grant has also boosted the Spartan offense, with 7-12-19 numbers. Junior Defenseman Jeff Petry shares the lead in scoring from the blueline in the CCHA, tallying 2-14-16. Goaltenders Bobby Jarosz (4-1, one SO,) and Drew Palmisano share duties, with Palmisano ranked 8th nationally in GAA (2.03) and 7th in Sv. % at .927.

This week’s keys to the match up:

1. Michigan should continue to attack, forcing RPI and their other opponent into special team’s situations. Convert on the PP.
2. Do not get goaded into taking bad penalties, no matter how well your PK unit is doing. It killed any chance for rebounding in the last ND game. RPI is dangerous offensively, so Michigan will already be in a position where necessary penalties may need to be taken.
3. Michigan needs secondary scoring from their third and fourth lines. Expect RPI to try to shutdown the Michigan go to offensive players. Same with Tech or MSU.
4. Bryan Hogan has to be the best line of defense to start the second half. He has the tools, and he also has last year’s experience where he gave up one goal the entire tourney.

Tuesday ... Michigan 3 RPI 2 ... MSU 5 Michigan Tech 3
Wednesday ... Michigan 2 MSU 1 ... RPI 4 Michigan Tech 2

Go Blue and Happy New Year… may it be Amaizing for YOU!

Written by Yostmeister

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

Monday, December 28, 2009

DirecTV Set to launch D12 satellite Monday

Posted at 4:00pm -- 12/28/2009

DirecTV will launch a satellite (D12) on Monday at 7:00pm EST. DirecTV customers can watch it on DirecTV Channel 577. This is a test channel and will probably not be unlocked until 7:00pm EST., but you can record it ahead of time.

To watch on the internet you can watch it here: DirecTV "D12" Satellite Launch

The DirecTV 12 next-generation satellite will play an important role in extending DirecTV’s content leadership position in the pay TV industry. When it becomes operational in the first half of next year, it will expand DirecTV’s HD capacity by 50 percent to more than 200 national channels and enable DirecTV to deliver 1,500 local HD (local HD channels to more than 92% of households) and digital channels and more advanced services for its customers nationwide. The powerful 131-transponder payload integrates 32 active and 12 spare TWTAs (Traveling Wave Tube Amplifiers) at Ka-band for national service and 55 active and 15 spare TWTAs for spot beams. The payload is powered by a gallium arsenide solar array that spans more than 48 meters. DirecTV 12 will receive and transmit programming throughout the United States with two large Ka-band reflectors, each measuring 2.8 meters in diameter and nine other Ka-band reflectors.

DirecTV is also planning to launch a new movie service next year, where customers will be able to access more than thousands of movie from either their PC or TV to view on their big screen TV. This service will be greatly expanded upon the successful launch of our next satellite D12, which becomes operational in the first half of next year.

DirecTV will be the first to launch a full BSS package in the US!

Past launches of the same type of satellites for DirecTV

D10 launched 7/7/2007, went "live" 9/26/2007 (81 days), with about a week delay due to spot beam and authorization issues.

D11 launched 3/19/2008, went "live" 7/31/2008 (134 days), with about a 6-8 week delay due to BSS testing. D11 got to it's first test location 5/25/2008.

Here are some key times to watch on Monday.

Assuming liftoff is 7:22pm EST.
Time Launch Event

07:24:00pm ET 1st/2nd Stage Separation

07:27:26pm ET 2nd/3rd Stage Separation

07:27:48pm ET Payload Fairing (PLF) Separation

07:31:36pm ET 3rd Stage/Breeze M Separation

07:33:50pm ET 1st Burn Ignition

07:37:51pm ET 1st Burn Shutdown

08:27:58pm ET 2nd Burn Ignition

08:45:15pm ET 2nd Burn Shutdown

10:48:45pm ET 3rd Burn Ignition

11:00:14pm ET 3rd Burn Shutdown

11:01:04pm ET APT Jettison

11:02:31pm ET 4th Burn Ignition

11:08:16pm ET 4th Burn Shutdown

03:13:25am ET 5th Burn Ignition

03:19:43am ET 5th Burn Shutdown

4:32:00am ET D12 Separation

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

The GBMW Big Ten Pre-conference Basketball Review

Posted at 12:00pm -- 12/28/2009

The GBMW Big Ten Pre-conference Basketball Review

The Big Ten will be rough and ready this year. The conference flexed some muscle by finally winning a close 6-5 ACC and Big Ten match-up. There have been a few ugly loses for the resume as well. But ugly loses will not create long-term roadblocks in a league that has eleven highly successful head coaches.

The preview will be presented in three parts. First off, the teams that appear to have a legitimate chance of winning the title and making a national run will be discussed. Second, a large collection of teams that could finish anywhere from 4th to ninth will be discussed in a section called “the cement mixer.” Finally, two teams who appear to have little chance of finishing in the main pack of the Big Ten standings will be discussed.

The three teams that the author believes have the most legitimate chance of winning a championship and advancing to the Elite Eight or beyond are Michigan State, Purdue, and Ohio State. Some would consider Ohio State as somewhat of a surprise with the recent devastating injury to Evan Turner, but Ohio State in the past five years has possessed as much basketball talent as any team in the nation, possibly excepting North Carolina.

Michigan State is the choice to win the conference yet again. Yes, the Spartans have three losses, but as always the losses are to notable teams. And as usual, the Spartans are likely to get better. The Spartans have already again played tough competition on the road and will be battle tested.

In the Big Ten a team needs a minimum of three notable contributors and two just does not seem to get the job done. The Spartans have multiple scorers and rebounders. This is most beneficial since a team is not forced to sink or swim on a single player or duo’s contribution for any one game.

The league’s best true point guard resides in East Lansing in Kalin Lucas and Draymond Green, Raymar Morgan, Devon Roe, and Korie Lucious contribute to the depth across the board in both rebounding and scoring.

As always, The Spartans will play a transition game that will greatly punish any team that sleeps for a microsecond. And Michigan State is very athletic and can match up with almost any team in the nation.

Purdue, because of a perfect 11-0 record is the pick of many to win a conference title and this certainly could happen. The formula in West Lafayette is chemistry and balance. Also throw in the success mix the refused to be acknowledged strategy of gathering five good players that may not be quite good enough for the NBA,

Purdue fits the need three model with Eitwaun Moore, Robbie Hummel, and JaJuan Johnson. But this team also has nine players that could be described as solid contributors. The Boilers need to step up the three’s a little and rebounding could be a little bit of a hiccup. But this team will be highly seeded in the tournament.

Ohio State meets the three model as well, and would fit a four model if Turner had not been injured. Ohio State starts off tough in the league schedule and ends up much more favorable. This is a break since the talk in Cowtown is now that Evan will be back sooner rather than later. But broken vertebrae are not precise timetables. Evan’s scoring will be missed but not as much as his rebounding, point play direction, and ability to just take over a game. The other three major contributors are fellow pro prospects (along with Turner) William Buford and David Lighty, along with the stand in a spot shooter Jon Diebler. This team may have the best shooting in the Big Ten and plays solid defense, based on putting better athletes on the floor. Diebler is finally coming around, but teams that pressure him on his shot have had success stopping his outside threat. After a tough start, Buford is lighting it up.

It will be a little tough to crystal ball the final results of Ohio State since the preseason schedule was essentially 2-2 against good competition, with all other games being cinch wins. This team will survive the loss of Turner, but may get off to a slow start on the road in the Big Ten.

Tomorrow, the most interesting group will be discussed, the teams that will be scrambling for the fourth, fifth, sixth, and maybe ever a seventh tournament spot. These are teams that are in the cement mixer and likely need a 9-9-conference record to receive an invite. Going 9-9 will be a challenge for most or all of these teams in this batch and hence home court serve will be critical. Some will make it and some will not.

Thank you for reading GBMW.

Written by Doc4blu

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

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