Monday Quick Hits: Michigan Softball Advances to Super Regional

By · Monday, May 24, 2010 · 2:20 PM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • The Michigan softball team rolled through its regional, beating Wright State once and Notre Dame twice in dominating fashion over the weekend.  Michigan will now host Tennessee, the No. 15 seed in the tournament, in a super regional in Ann Arbor.  Thursday’s game starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN.  Friday’s first game starts at 4:30 p.m. on ESPNU.  The second game, if necessary, will also be shown on ESPNU.
  • Michigan’s response to the NCAA over practicegate was expected to be submitted today.  We should hear about the details of the response on Tuesday.
  • Although Michigan and Notre Dame announced a 20-year extension of their rivalry a few years ago, there is no contract making it official.  Dave Brandon wants to make it official at some point, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a game played every single year.  Remember, the rivalry is taking two years off in the future, and honestly, that is something I’d like to see more often.  If the Notre Dame game is going to prevent Michigan from playing in big-time home and home series, then I’d rather play ND every other year or for two years and then take a two year break.  That would give Michigan more flexibility with its schedule and allow for matchups with the big-time programs in college football like Ohio State has been doing.
  • Tate Forcier is excited to play against San Diego State in 2011 because he feels they didn’t show him much love when he was being recruited in high school.
  • Soony Saad, an incoming freshman for Michigan, received the honor of being named Gatorade’s National Soccer Player of the Year.
  • That Big Ten expansion rumor from a couple weeks ago was complete BS, as confirmed by Jim Delany.  Delany also said that the Big Ten is going to stick to its timetable, meaning we shouldn’t expect a sudden expansion announcement to happen this summer.
  • Lloyd Carr’s opinion on Big Ten expansion is that “it’s inevitable.”
  • In addition to some of Braylon Edwards’ former teammates at Michigan, Mark Sanchez, Darrelle Revis, Santonio Holmes, Donte’ Stallworth, and Kerry Rhodes also are scheduled to participate in his charity basketball game at Crisler Arena next month.  Tickets are now available.
  • WolverineHistorian uploaded a video of the trophy presentation after Michigan won the Big Ten title in 2003.  As you’ll see in the video, Chris Perry was happy, to say the least.

Tuesday Quick Hits: Colton Christian Commits to Michigan

By · Tuesday, May 11, 2010 · 2:50 PM |  Share | 1 Comment 
  • Lloyd Carr spoke to Angelique Chengelis about the whole Morgan Trent/Rich Rodriguez draft book fiasco that developed over the weekend, clearing up exactly what his involvement in the situation was.

    “That paragraph is completely a distortion of my conversation with Morgan,” Carr said. “That is a complete distortion, and it is not accurate. I have never spoken with the author. I have never met him. I have never had a conversation with him to the best of my knowledge.”

    Trent also talked to Chengelis and backed off the assertion that Carr was the one who brought up what Rodriguez supposedly said and used specific quotes about it like the book implied.

    “Lloyd didn’t bring any of this to my attention,” Trent said. “When we spoke, I brought it up to him, and he said he had heard some of the same things.”

    This still isn’t a great situation, but at least we now know that Carr didn’t go running to Trent or the author of this book to share the specifics of how Rodriguez was trashing one of his former players to scouts.  That wasn’t necessarily what the book was trying to convey either, but the excerpt could easily be interpreted that way.

  • 2010 power forward Colton Christian has committed to Michigan.  Christian was originally set to go to Tulane, but he changed his mind after a coaching change.  Christian then made a few visits and picked up offers from Cal and Penn State before ultimately deciding on Michigan following a trip to Ann Arbor this past weekend.  He isn’t ranked on Rivals and only has two stars on Scout, but ESPN grades him as an 85, which isn’t bad.  This definitely seems like another sleeper type of recruit, but Christian did play at the Hargrave Military Academy this past year, prompting ESPN to give him this evaluation:

    Tulane may have landed a sleeper as Christian plays a very efficient, and college ready, brand of basketball. He isn’t going to dominate the game with his scoring but has some inside-out skills and impacts the game in a variety of ways. He’s a capable scorer on the block with a little jump hook and can also step out to 18 feet and shoot. He’s strong and very athletic off of two feet, bodies up well defending the post, and rebounds out of his area. Look for him to see immediate minutes next year at Tulane.

    The best part about getting Christian is that he adds more height to the team (Rivals lists him as being 6-7).  He isn’t a seven-footer or anything, but the added depth in the post will be very welcomed by John Beilein and company.  Plus, he becomes the fourth recruit to join the 2010 recruiting class, meaning he, Tim Hardaway Jr., Evan Smotrycz, and Jon Horford will be coming to Ann Arbor this summer as true freshmen ready to contribute to the 2010-11 Wolverines in some form.

  • UM Hoops has a recap of yesterday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the new basketball practice facility.  AnnArbor.com also has a recap of the event as well as some videos.
  • Patrick Beilein (John’s son), who has been a graduate manager at Michigan, is leaving to take an assistant coaching job at Dartmouth.
  • Some of the top matchups for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge have leaked out.  There’s no word on who Michigan will play yet, but its opponent will not be Duke, Virginia Tech, Florida State, North Carolina, N.C. State, or Miami (the ‘Canes aren’t participating in it this year).
  • Big Ten expansion rumors went crazy yet again yesterday when a radio station reported that Nebraska, Missouri, Notre Dame, and Rutgers had been invited to join the conference.  The rumor itself seemed like just another BS report, which was seemingly confirmed by the various denials issued throughout the day by the schools involved.  Even so, the rumor picked up steam and even caused ESPN to report on it, kicking discussion of expansion back into high gear.

    I will admit that I took the bait when the Pitt rumor came out a couple months ago, but since then each rumor has just really been annoying more than anything.  Until the Big Ten has deals in place to add teams to the conference, I doubt anything will be announced by them, and all of these other rumors just don’t seem too credible.  I’m sure there is some validity to the idea of where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  However, I will have a tough time believing any rumor until something official is announced by the Big Ten.

  • Personally, I think Black Heart Gold Pants’ take on Big Ten expansion was just about as credible as the rumor that popped up yesterday.

Monday Quick Hits: Germany Breaks Cold War Attendance Record

By · Monday, May 10, 2010 · 2:23 PM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • The hockey attendance record set by the Cold War at Spartan Stadium in 2001 is no more.  That is because Germany broke the record last week when 77,803 fans came out to watch the United States and Germany play in the opening game of the IIHF World Championships.  The record Michigan and Michigan State set back in 2001 was an attendance of 74,554 people.  That record had stood ever since but now moves down to No. 2 on the list.  Even so, Michigan and Michigan State should easily take the record back this December at Michigan Stadium.  Already more than 100,000 tickets have been sold to the event, so barring some really crappy weather, this new record of 77,803 should go by the wayside with ease.
  • It’s been a while since the last Rich Rodriguez controversy, so naturally this weekend there was a story written about how Morgan Trent was one of the players focused on in a book about the draft.  The story mentioned that the end of the book included something very interesting about Trent, Rich Rodriguez, and Lloyd Carr.

    At the end of the book, Deren describes the scene with Lloyd Carr, the former Michigan head coach that recruited Trent to Ann Arbor, breaking the news to Trent that current head coach Rich Rodriguez did him no favors.

    “Rodriguez had bad-mouthed him to every NFL scout he could,” Deren writes. “Rodriguez claimed that Morgan was lazy, he had an attitude problem and he was a big reason the Wolverines finished with a 3-9 record…”

    Trent admits the words were “jarring,” and they were hard to understand given that he was so serious about his career that he actually moved in with his brother and sister-in-law and their two small children while going to Michigan.

    But Trent was also worried about what Carr thought about his words showing up in the book. He talks to him, not Rodriguez.

    “I really like Coach Carr. He’s been very good to me,” Morgan says. “I think at first he was wondering, but I let him know it didn’t put him in a bad light. I would never do something like that to Lloyd. He’s great.”

    The claim here is that Carr let Trent know that Rodriguez had trashed Trent to NFL scouts.  Trent’s position coach from the Bengals didn’t talk to Rodriguez during the pre-draft process, but he did give some interesting insight about the situation.

    “When there is a coaching transition and the team ends up not having success, you have to step back and try to decipher what the truth really is,” Coyle says. “There was a lot of heat on those people and there was some pointing of blame. Plus, the players were somewhat chagrined, so you had to look at everything.”

    Rodriguez denied the supposed comments, saying the following:

    “The comments attributed to me are inaccurate and absolutely ridiculous.  I said just the opposite about Morgan Trent to NFL scouts and wish him well with the Bengals.”

    As Brian pointed out on mgoblog, by the time Rodriguez’s supposed comments got to the author of this book, they had been passed along by four or so different people, meaning the chances of them being 100% accurate weren’t great anyways.  What’s more, as Tim pointed out in the comments section on MVictors, this may be a case of Rodriguez giving an accurate assessment of Trent rather than badmouthing his former player.  It’s not like Trent was some great player that somehow fell to the sixth round of the draft.  He was a guy that struggled throughout his career and was downright awful in 2008, his final year at Michigan.  It’s no secret that Trent isn’t a fan of Rodriguez, and although this whole story is annoying in the sense that it’s more bad PR for Rodriguez, it’s not all that surprising given who the player involved is.

  • Michigan’s deal with adidas is at the top of the list when it comes college apparel contracts.
  • Manny Harris is officially gone since the deadline to withdraw from the NBA Draft was this past Saturday and no change to his status was made.
  • E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson, on the other hand, are both coming back to Purdue after originally declaring for the NBA Draft.
  • Apparently some “unnamed sources” from the Big 12 are upset that Nebraska and Missouri are so publicly interested in Big Ten expansion.  This all boils down to the fact that revenue sharing in the Big 12 isn’t equal, which is why Nebraska and Missouri have an interest in giving themselves leverage.  By expressing interest in potentially joining the Big Ten, they have quite a bit of leverage since they can threaten to leave the Big 12 if things go unchanged.  Of course, for that to actually work they would need to have an invite to the Big Ten waiting for them, and right now nothing is official.  We’re still in the rumor phase of possible Big Ten expansion, and these “unnamed sources” don’t like hearing Nebraska and Missouri mentioned so often.  I don’t know what will eventually happen with Big Ten expansion, but there could be chaos across the land of college sports, especially with the Big 12, regardless of what the Big Ten actually does.

Tuesday Quick Hits: Jack Johnson Hits the Ice for Team USA

By · Tuesday, February 16, 2010 · 3:43 PM |  Share | Leave a Comment 

Tuesday Quick Hits: Jibreel Black Commits to Michigan

By · Tuesday, January 26, 2010 · 3:05 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • Ohio defensive end Jibreel Black committed to Michigan over the weekend.  Black originally committed to Indiana and later switched to Cincinnati before eventually deciding on Michigan.  He has offers from those schools as well as Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Minnesota, NC State, Purdue, South Carolina, Wake Forest, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.  He is a 3-star on Rivals and ESPN and a 4-star on Scout.  Overall it seems like he has a lot of upside as a defensive lineman and is somebody who can contribute early on in his career.
  • With Black on board, Michigan’s recruiting class technically now has 27 players.  It’s probably actually 26, though.  There is no official news on Tony Drake’s status yet, but Scout has already removed him from Michigan’s list of commitments.  Assuming he will not be part of the class and there will be no decommitments or non-qualifiers (that’s a big assumption), Michigan’s class is filled up.  However, there are still two big recruits out there who have yet to choose a school — Sean Parker and Rashad Knight.  Michigan would definitely make room for them if they want to commit, but as it stands right now I believe that would mean another commit or two would have to grayshirt.  There’s no point in speculating just yet, as you never know if the entire class will make it to signing day or if Parker and Knight will even pick Michigan, but it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. (Demar Dorsey ended up committing to Florida State, by the way.)
  • Kelvin Grady has returned to the basketball team.  He approached John Beilein about returning, wondering if he could do anything to help the team.  Beilein saw that he could be a big help in terms of bringing quickness to the scout team, which is where he will likely spend most of his time right now.  It isn’t expected that he will get into a game unless injuries force him to play, because Beilein doesn’t want to burn a year of eligibility this far into the season in case Grady decides to become a two-sport athlete and continue to play basketball in the future.
  • Michigan followed up Friday’s impressive win over Ferris State with a crushing loss in Big Rapids on Saturday.  There wasn’t a ton of action during the first period, but Ferris State led after 20 minutes thanks to a soft shorthanded goal.  Bryan Hogan simply whiffed on the weak shot from a pretty good distance out, letting the Bulldogs go up 1-0.  Michigan answered back in the second period with a power-play goal, but the Bulldogs retook the lead before time expired to go into the third period up 2-1.  Just like the second game of the series against Alaska, Michigan waited and waited but eventually did tie things up with less than two minutes left.  Against FSU on Saturday Michigan went on the power play and Brian Lebler scored on an awesome tip in off of a nice pass from David Wohlberg.  Unfortunately Michigan took a bad penalty (it seemed to be a makeup call more than anything) right after it tied things up.  Ferris State put on the pressure, and following a terrible turnover by Chris Summers in his own zone, the Bulldogs scored with only 24 seconds left to eventually win 3-2.

    This was a tough loss to take considering Michigan was so close to going to overtime and getting a tie.  The fact that Michigan did lose, though, makes this coming weekend’s series with Michigan State all the more important.  MSU has been struggling a bit as of late, and if Michigan could avenge the Spartans’ sweep from earlier this season with one of its own, suddenly the Wolverines’ tournament hopes would be in pretty good shape.  I would settle for a win and a tie and a split at worst.  Another sweep by MSU, though, could be a knockout blow for Michigan’s season.

  • Erin Andrews will be in Ann Arbor for tonight’s game against Michigan State.
  • Purdue’s Chris Kramer and Matt Painter were whining about elbows again on Saturday during the Michigan game.
  • Lost Letterman interviewed Cazzie Russell.
  • Four former Michigan players (Mike Hart and Marlin Jackson for Indy; Adrian Arrington and Jonathan Goodwin for NO) and two former coaches (Terry Malone and Mike Mallory for NO) are going to the Super Bowl.
  • Tai Streets and Desmond Howard played in Curtis Granderson’s celebrity basketball game on Sunday and were asked about Rich Rodriguez.  Jalen Rose and Jimmy King also played in the game, and Lloyd Carr was one of the honorary coaches.
  • Urban Meyer’s leave of absence didn’t last long.

Dave Brandon Quick Hits: A Look at Michigan’s New Athletic Director

By · Thursday, January 7, 2010 · 2:11 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • You can click here for Michigan’s press release on the hiring of Dave Brandon and here for statements on the hiring from current Michigan coaches, Lloyd Carr, Bill Martin, Steve Hutchinson, and Jeff Backus.  Hutchinson and Backus both are involved with C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, which Brandon has worked with as one of the heads of the fundraising campaign.
  • Brandon’s first connection to the University of Michigan was when he came to Ann Arbor, initially as a quarterback, and played defensive end for Bo Schembechler from 1971-73.
  • In more recent times Brandon’s main connection to Michigan switched from being a former athlete to serving on the Board of Regents, which he did from 1998-2006.  Also, Brandon has been connected to Michigan via C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, as alluded to above.  He and Carr co-chair the fundraising committee for the new hospital.
  • Business-wise, Brandon is best known as the CEO of Domino’s Pizza, but he was involved in a countless number of other companies and projects as well.
  • Brandon has also been active in politics recently.  He served as the campaign chair for Dick DeVos during the 2006 Michigan gubernatorial race, and more recently he was being mentioned as a possible choice for the Republican nominee in the next Michigan gubernatorial election.
  • As a thank you to the U-M medical staff for saving their twin sons in 1980 (they had a rare blood disorder), the Brandon family donated $4 million to the Michigan Difference campaign in 2006.
  • Brandon’s salary at Michigan will be $560,000.  In addition, he will receive deferred compensation each year worth $100,000.  Brandon made $3.2 million from Domino’s in 2008, so you can tell that his love for Michigan had quite a bit to do with him taking the athletic director job.
  • Although Brandon shared that he intends to be the athletic director for the next ten years, his initial “appointment” will last for five years and will officially begin on March 8.  Bill Martin doesn’t actually retire until September 4, so he will become a consultant when Brandon takes over the job.
  • Jerry Jones threw his support behind Brandon when he was a finalist for the job of NFL Commissioner.  Brandon ended up pulling out of the race, though.
  • AnnArbor.com has a video interview with Brandon.
  • Also at AnnArbor.com is a list of interesting tidbits about Brandon.  Two of the tidbits included on the list are that he was a national finalist in the Punt, Pass, and Kick competition as a 13-year-old and that he had dinner with Bo Schembechler the night before Bo died.
  • Crain’s Detroit Business has a regular interview with Brandon.  (One of the things mentioned in the interview is that Domino’s will not become the official pizza of Michigan because Brandon wants to avoid what would be viewed as a definite conflict of interest.)
  • Adam Rittenberg took a look at what Brandon had to say about the football program and more specifically Rich Rodriguez.  Brandon didn’t really say anything worthwhile about Rodriguez, but he really didn’t have to.  The fact of the matter is that if Michigan wins Rodriguez will be in good shape.  If Michigan doesn’t win then I think you can figure out what will happen on your own.
  • A recap of Brandon’s introductory conference call can be found over at mgoblog.
  • The Michigan Daily interviewed Mary Sue Coleman about the search process and the hire.
  • MVictors has a couple pictures of Brandon from his playing days at Michigan.
  • Just in case you were wondering about who is replacing Brandon at Domino’s, his successor is J. Patrick Doyle.

Thursday Quick Hits: Lloyd Carr Speaks Positively of Rich Rodriguez

By · Thursday, October 29, 2009 · 8:59 PM |  Share | 1 Comment 
  • The Purdue game on November 7 will start at noon and be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
  • Lloyd Carr talked up Rich Rodriguez and proclaimed his support for the football program on the radio during the opening quarter of the Penn State game.  I’m sure some people will criticize Carr for waiting so long so do something like this, but maybe now we can all move on and stop worrying about what Carr does or doesn’t do.
  • Junior Hemingway only suffered a knee bruise from the hit Donovan Warren put on him during a punt.  Warren was pushed in the back as he ran down the field and his helmet nailed one of Hemingway’s knees.  At the time it looked like a pretty serious injury, but it thankfully only ended up being a bruise.
  • The Michigan Daily chatted with Cass Tech head coach Thomas Wilcher about Boubacar Cissoko.
  • It has been a rough few days for Cissoko, but one piece of good news for him is that his disorderly conduct charge was dismissed because the arresting officer didn’t show up to court.
  • Devin Gardner led Inkster to an amazing upset of Steubenville, an Ohio team, last week.  Gardner threw a 63-yard touchdown pass with 34 seconds left to give the lead back to Inkster after Steubenville made a comeback, and Inkster’s defense forced an interception as time was winding down to seal the upset.  The loss was Steubenville’s first at home since 2001 and something like their first regular season defeat in seven years.
  • Rich Rodriguez would like to see the addition of another signing period sometime in December.
  • Mike Milano was acquitted of felony assault and instead convicted of a misdemeanor for last year’s incident that left Steve Kampfer in the hospital with a cracked skull.  The judge actually made it known that he disagreed with the verdict, saying this after it was announced: “For what it’s worth, I’d find the defendant not guilty and recommend that you file for an order to have it expunged, which I’ll be pleased to sign.”  It seems unbelievable to me that a judge would say that, especially considering there is no doubt that Milano slammed Kampfer to the ground.  I guess this story may not be over just yet even though the trial is finished.
  • Michigan lost 3-2 to Boston University in hockey last Saturday.  Michigan made a third-period comeback and came back from a 2-0 deficit, but a late goal by Boston was enough to win the game.  The Wolverines will be on the road this weekend for a two-game series at Lake Superior State, and then next week they return to Yost Arena to host Miami (Ohio), the top-ranked team in the country.
  • The Big Ten’s baseball tournament may be headed to Columbus on a permanent basis, which really sucks for every team in the conference except Ohio State.
  • MVictors shot a video of the pregame flyover from last Saturday.
  • Also at MVictors is an in-depth look at whether or not the current Little Brown Jug is actually the original one or if it is a fake.  I won’t give away what Greg concluded as you really should read the post for yourself, but let’s just say that I was pleased with the findings.
  • Brian of mgoblog shared some new information on possible candidates to replace Bill Martin, including some interesting tidbits on Dave Brandon.

Friday Quick Hits: Rodriguez Has Lunch with Carr, Martin

By · Friday, October 23, 2009 · 5:07 AM |  Share | 5 Comments 
  • Carlos Brown, Brandon Minor, and David Molk are all listed as probable on this week’s injury report.  Zac Johnson is once again listed as out.
  • This week’s captains are Carlos Brown, David Moosman, Stevie Brown, and Zoltan Mesko.
  • Although he won’t be returning to the starting lineup, there is a chance that Boubacar Cissoko could play tomorrow.
  • F-18 Super Hornets are going to fly over Michigan Stadium before tomorrow’s game.
  • Rich Rodriguez had lunch with Lloyd Carr and Bill Martin yesterday to talk about Penn State and most likely to discuss Martin’s retirement.

    “We got to talk a little football, and Lloyd had great success against Penn State, so we talked about some things there,” Rodriguez said.

    I’m surprised Carr had time for lunch considering he is so busy undermining Rodriguez.  He probably just fed him bad information anyway.  Right, conspiracy theorists?

  • The coverage map for tomorrow’s game has been released.
  • I am now tied for third-place in Big Ten Bloggers Pick’em.
  • Michigan’s first home hockey game of the regular season was last night, and the Wolverines beat Niagara 3-2.  The game was much closer than anybody expected, because it started out 3-0 after one period.  Michigan scored with such ease at the start of the game that it looked like Niagara was going be down by as many as 5 goals after 20 minutes of play.  I expected it to be an easy blowout, and the team must have as well, because things got very sloppy after the third goal was scored.  Michigan just didn’t seem to be playing with very much intensity, allowing Niagara to get back in the game.  Niagara’s goalie deserves a lot of credit for shaking off the 3-goal first period, because he really kept his team in the game by making some amazing saves.  Michigan had quite a few great scoring chances but couldn’t put the puck in the back of the net.  Thankfully neither could Niagara in the closing seconds of the game, though it was close to doing just that.  In the end, though, Michigan held on for a 3-2 victory.
  • Michigan will play at Boston University tomorrow, which will be a very tough matchup.  Boston is the defending national champion, and Michigan lost to the Terriers by a score of 7-2 last season.  Michigan will play at Lake Superior State next Friday and Saturday, and the Wolverines will then return home the following Friday and Saturday to play Miami, the team Boston beat to win the national championship last season.
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