I decided to cease all talk of JB just after Tyus Battle committed, and a few might remember the pre-cursor thread that I created entitled ‘Eating Crow’, in which I gave JB the ultimate props for landing Battle almost a year ago.
I think we should re-examine JB as a coach, and the direction the program is headed under his watch……………hence, ‘Eating Crow, Revisited’.
This is an effort to quantify JB in order to bring clarity to the various factions of JB support (or lack of) in the UM community. There are the ‘JB lovers’ (deserves the benefit of the doubt, and in no way should he be terminated), the ‘things need to improve’ group (if no tourney in 17, we should let him go), and the ‘JB should be fired now’ group (JB is past his prime, cut losses and let him go now)
Disclaimer - I will be brutally honest, part of the reason I’m creating this thread is based on the months/years of flack I took from so many board members when I consistently attempted to warn folks that we may not be trending in the right direction. Fast forward a few years later, and much of my concern was probably well founded.
I. Let’s first examine JB under an objective lens with raw numbers, data, etc.
In 9 seasons at UM, JB has compiled a 186-121 overall record for a winning percentage of 60.6. With respect to conference play, JB has compiled an 88-74 record (Regular season) for a winning percentage of 54.3. JB has made the tournament 5/9 seasons, or 56% of the time. JB has a 10-5 record with respect to the NCAA tournament, for an average of NCAA 1 tournament win per season.
Raw Yearly Averages:
Overall Wins: 20.7
Overall Losses: 13.4
Conference Wins: 9.8
Conference Losses: 8.2
Tournament Wins: 1.1
Tournament Losses: .56
Overall Wins: 21
Overall Losses: 14
Conference Wins: 9
Conference Losses: 9
Tournament Wins: 1
Analysis – the average and median numbers are strikingly similar. JB is essentially a 21-14 guy that will provide a .500 conference record and gets you to the second round…………….according to the numbers, a JB coached team is essentially a bubble + team most years.
II. Subjective Look at JB – most people (or at least a good portion) are of the opinion that JB’s first year should not be applied when examining/critiquing him as coach, because that year is an aberration for a variety of factors. Initially, I tended to agree with this, but as time goes on I have realized that the NC year (2013) was also an aberration based on everything in totality. In an effort to be fair, let’s examine JB’s record exclusive of his worst year (2007-2008) and his best year (2012-2013).
Raw Averages Excluding 2007-2008 and 2012-2013
Overall Wins: 20.7
Overall Losses: 12.7
Conference Wins: 10.1
Conference Losses: 7.6
Tournament Wins: .7
Tournament Losses: .57
Median Numbers Excluding 2007-2008 and 2012-2013
Overall Wins: 21
Overall Losses: 14
Conference Wins: 9
Conference Losses: 9
Tournament Wins: 0
Analysis – once again the numbers are strikingly similar, JB is pretty much a 21-14 guy with a .500 conference record when you exclude the outliers. The big difference is that when you exclude the 2012-2013 season, JB’s tournament record looks very suspect…………in fact he doesn’t even record a single tournament victory in a typical season under the median numbers, and less than a single victory using the raw average numbers.
III. Independent Variables and Trends
Kenpom Offensive Efficiency Rating Yearly Average: 52.78
Kenpom Offensive Efficiency Median: 35
In this particular case, I think we should exclude 2007-2008 for KP Orating purposes, because it is not likely we will ever see a JB coached offense be that bad (#186) again, that is a true outlier in every sense of the word. This is the reason we see the big discrepancy between average and median above
Kenpom Offensive Efficiency Rating Yearly Average Excluding 2007-2008: 36.13
Kenpom Offensive Efficiency Rating Median Excluding 2007-2008: 35
Trend – JB has fielded the 1, 66, and 28 team from 2013-2016. With respect to offense, I’m willing to give JB the benefit of the doubt considering injuries.
Analysis – on average a JB coached team is going to be above average/good, and I’d gravitate more towards good, as we’ve had at least 4 years in the top 30 under JB, especially when we account for injuries. In general, I think we will be a good (not great) offensive team under JB, and I think that will be relatively stable in the future.
Kenpom Defensive Efficiency Rating Yearly Average: 79.9
Kenpom Defensive Efficiency Median: 69
In this particular case, I’m not going to exclude the 2007-2008 year, as it isn’t an outlier considering we’ve actually been worse on D during the past 3 years when compared with 2007-2008
Trend – JB has fielded the 109, 107, and 130 team from 2013-2016
Analysis – on average a JB coached team is going to be below average/bad, and I’d gravitate more toward bad, as we’ve had at least 4 years where we finished over 100 in Drating, with an additional 2 years over 60; things appear to be getting progressively worse by the year, and is reaching levels of incompetence if we’re being completely honest. The defense is an absolute joke, I think we can all agree there. John Beilein is simply a bad defensive coach.
I’m going to use ESPN as my framework, because…………well, I think they are the best service in terms of basketball recruiting and they have the most expansive database, and it saves me a lot of trouble looking up rankings, etc. from Rivals (awful), Scout, and 247 (too new anyway).
Notes – I decided to start from the 2009 class, as the program was in a bad place, and applying 2008 simply wouldn’t be fair IMO…………in other words give JB the benefit of the doubt for that year, as I think its reasonable under the circumstances
2009 average recruit ranking – 472.25/1 top 100 player
Darius Morris - #100
Matt Vogrich - #213
Blake McLimans - #507
Jordan Morgan – 1069
2010 average recruit ranking – 289.75/2 top 100 players
Evan Smotrycz - #84
Tim Hardaway Jr – #93
Jon Horford - #380
Colton Christian - #602
2011 average recruit ranking – 188/2 top 100 players
Carlton Brundidge - #75
Trey Burke - #84
Max Bielfeldt - #405
2012 average recruit ranking – 238.4/3 stop 100 players
Glenn Robinson - #18
Mitch McGary – #27
Nik Stauskas – #76
Caris Levert - #330
Spike Albrecht - #741
2013 average recruit ranking – 47/3 top 100 players
Zak Irvin - #22
Derrick Walton - #30
Mark Donnal - #89
2014 average recruit ranking – 225/1 top 100 player
Kam Chatman - #38
Ricky Doyle - #150
DJ Wilson - #181
Aubrey Dawkins - #194
MAAR - #531
2015 average recruit ranking – 117/1 top 100 player
Moritz Wagner – NR……….based on my own discretion I will place Mo at #85. For comparison, Aaron White was ranked #225, which is criminally underranked, while Jake Layman was ranked #67 (just about right). Since I don’t think Mo will be quite as good as Layman, I’ll go #85
Duncan Robinson – based on my own discretion I will place Duncan at #150. For comparison, Jon Diebler was #40, whereas Matt Vogrich was #213. I think we all know Robinson is much closer to Vogrich than Diebler, especially on defense. I placed Robinson here because it is his first year playing and therefore I’ll consider him a FR for recruiting purposes
2016 average recruit ranking – 136/1 top 100 player
Xavier Simpson - #45
Jon Teske - #119
Austin Davis - #143
Ibi Watson - #238
Trend – JB is obviously trending down in terms of acquiring top 100 players post 2013, with only 1 in each class for the past 3 years. What he has done is fill the remainder of the class 100-200 guys rather than 250+ types. Unfortunately, this just isn’t working. The 100-200 guys are being asked to be starters/primary players, when they should be supplemental pieces.
1 - 25 Players – 2 (Irvin, GR3)
26 - 50 Players – 4 (McGary, Walton, Chatman, Simpson)
51 -75 Players – 1 (Brundidge)
76 - 100 Players – 7 (Morris, Smot, THJ, Burke, Nik, Donnal, Mo)
101 - 150 Players – 4 (Doyle, Robinson, Teske, Davis)
151 - 200 Players – 2 (Dawkins, Wilson)
201 - 250 Players – 2 (Vogrich, Watson)
250+ Players – 8
Analysis – in order to get a good visual of what the recruiting means on a functional basis, we have to examine the composition of the team when it was elite (2012/13-2013/14), when it was good (2011-12), when it was above average (2010/11 and 2015/16)
ELITE 2012-13 – 4.5 starters were top 100 players (Burke, THJ, Nik, GR3, while Jmo eventually ceded his spot to Mitch, hence the half), while we had #330 (Caris), #380 (Horford), and #741 (Spike) playing bench roles
Totals – 5 top 100 players, 4.5 starters with 300ish bench players
ELITE 2013-14 – 3.5 starters were top 100 players (Walton, Nik, GR3, Mitch for part of the year with Jmo the other part), while filling out the starting rotation with the #330 player (Caris). The bench was composed of another top 100 player in Irvin (#22), #380 (Horford), and #741 (Spike)
Totals – 4 top 100 players, 3 top 100 starters with a 300 mixed in, another top 100 of the bench, a 350ish sub and Spike
GOOD 2011-12 – 3 starters were top 100 players (Burke, THJ, Smot along with Stu and Novak), while the bench had #213 (Vogrich), #380 (Horford), and Jmo
Totals – 3 top 100 players with a 200 and 350ish off the bench
ABOVE AVERAGE 2010 – 11 - 2 starters were top 100 players (Morris, THJ along with Jmo, Stu, Novak) with another top 100 player off the bench in Smot, and we filled the bench out with #213 (Vogrich)
Totals – 3 top 100 players, 2 top 100 starters and 1 off the bench
Totals – 3 top 100 players, with 2 top 100 starters with another off the bench and a 200 off the bench
ABOVE AVERAGE 2015 -16 – 2.5 starters were top 100 (Walton, Irvin, Donnal for half the year with #150 (Robinson), and #531 (MAAR) filling out the lineup), with the bench being #150 (Doyle), #194 (Dawkins), #38 (Kam)
Totals – 4 top 100 players, 3 top 100 starters with an additional top 100 off the bench and 150-200 guys off the bench
Seems VERY obvious to me……….in order to compete for B10 championships and tourney runs, you must have 3 top 100 starters at minimum and most likely 4. There is a very strong correlation to support that based on the results above. Contrary to what most believe, depth is mostly irrelevant……….results weren’t really swayed one way or another whether our bench was filled with top 100 guys or 300ish guys…………that’s because JB’s rotation is so short.
Moving Forward – it seems that our sweet spot is the 75-100 range, we have a high ‘hit rate’ in that range, with Burke, THJ, Nik, Dmo all falling in that range. I think Mo will pan out as well. I think the area we have to obtain more talent from is the 50-75 range (AKA the Jordan Poole’s of the world)………….haven’t had much luck in that department. This should be an area where we feast considering our resources, coach, playing style, etc. We aren’t likely to get top 50 guys on a regular basis, but I don’t see any reason why we can’t consistently get 50-75 guys. Our roster is filled with mid-major + guys, but we NEED high major talent in terms of starters/primary players.
Analysis - Seems fairly obvious JB’s downward trend in recruiting has a strong correlation with team performance, particularly on the defensive end of the court. I think we all realize JB needs to acquire more athletic players that have motor……………whether he is able to do that, only time will tell. Additionally, JB needs to be more flexible in terms of what type of system he runs in order to make the team more appealing to recruits. Its very unlikely any competent big with athleticism will come here considering JB’s current system/practices.
My Personal Take – I’m in the JB needs to change camp…………he’s earned the benefit of the doubt through next year. However, if we fail to make the tourney next year, I think its time to move in a new direction. AD Manuel comes from a basketball school (UCONN) and JB isn’t his guy. I think most people like JB as a person, and therefore have more loyalty to him than they might otherwise. Its ok to have a gimmick system provided the team is winning, but once the elite talent leaves, the gimmick systems tend to go very bad, very quick. In general, every team needs balance in order to compete, and we simply don’t have that under John Beilein. I have seen this numerous times……………Antoni (that’s right no D!), once he divorced Nash he was fired from his next 2 jobs. Hoke was fired soon after Denard left. When Byron Scott divorced Jason Kidd he basically became the worst coach in the NBA……………and the list goes on.
I think a lot of what you think of JB is based on standards - for those that are ok with being a perennial bubble/bubble plus team, JB is great. For those that want a perennial S16 team, JB probably isn’t going to meet those expectations based on his history with UM.
IN THE WORDS OF A BOARD MEMBER NOT TO BE NAMED – 6 TOURNEY WINS EVERY 3 YEARS IS THE STANDARD FOR WHICH JB SHOULD BE JUDGED………………………SOUNDS LIKE SOMEONE IS FALLING VERY SHORT OF THAT STANDARD AS OF LATE.