Michigan at Iowa Discussion Thread


Crean was saying it was important to get Robinson in foul trouble/off the court because he makes Michigan’s defense better with his ability to defend off the ball. That was the quote/context/gist FWIW.


What’s the point of getting the exact quote and context? I agreed with you on context. He was saying to attack Duncan 1 on 1, just like you said. He could’ve said the exact same thing he did and completely left out the part about Duncan being good off ball and it would’ve made just as much sense. A better question would be why, if as you say, Crean was lying about Duncan being good off ball, he didn’t lie about other players to be nice.

My question to you is how closely have you actually watched Duncan’s off ball defense this year?


RE: Duncan’s impact on the team offensively and defensively against top 100 competition this season


Any chance the place you got that from can differentiate between when he’s on ball and off ball? I think everyone here agrees he’s a net defensive negative.

edit: Or if something can do to adjust for the fact that certain lineups generally play together, so Duncan will be with Wagner a lot more than Teske, a defensive plus?


I wish, I just saw it on twitter. Gotta think you’re spot on with the Teske/Livers lineups in together and Wagner/Robinson impacting those 4 guys’ scores.


Yeah, I think some people (not you) are just setting up a straw man that saying Robinson is a good off ball defender means we think he’s a net positive on that end, which isn’t true. He’s just probably not the black hole that some people make him out to be.


You can mold plus/minus stats to say just about anything… Especially when you start slicing up which games/opponents when you’ve only played a third of the season.

BUT with that grain of salt… if you just plug Duncan Robinson into HoopLens … The OFFENSIVE drop off is significantly bigger than the defensive drop off in terms of his on/off splits. Meaning that Michigan’s offense has actually been worse when he’s on the floor by a bigger margin than the defense (which has been pretty even).

I wouldn’t draw a ton from those numbers – blowouts in both directions, small sample size, etc. – but they show that the bigger problem is that he’s not making open shots more than anything on defense.


On a completely unrelated note, it’s pretty interesting that MSU is only 28th on RPI (We’re 37).


Well, what’s the objective, large sample size statistical evidence that his off-ball defense is better? Is there any, or does it just look that way to you personally from looking at film of one game?


It’s 110% subjective based on what I observed in multiple games and the confidence I have in my knowledge of defensive concepts. I’ve never denied that. Again, the vast majority of people don’t watch individual defenders like that. There’s pretty much no objective way to measure off ball defense, as most of the plus/minus type stuff is more of a reflection on which lineup is on the floor than it is an individual’s actual impact, as Dylan pointed out.

Longtime basketball coach Tom Crean saying the same thing doesn’t hurt my argument.


I’ve already made my “this is no longer a small sample size” point that few seem to agree with lol but 16 games is factually not “only a third of the season”


Alright 45% of the season, whatever you want to call it. 16 games isn’t enough to use plus/minus data reliably other than just telling you who played well in a few games. Especially when the 16 games includes 7 guarantee games.

I don’t even mean this just for this argument, you can come up with some really wacky stuff with the point guard data as well.


Robinson really needs to be shooting solidly above 40% on threes to be a plus overall. His first year he was 45% and his second 42.4%. Somewhat lower so far this year at 37.2%. His shooting was also down significantly when he had to start in place of LeVert in the 2016 BT season.


I don’t want to speak for Dylan here, but I don’t think your point is being contested. He was just saying that for Livers to usurp him he would first have to do something to prove he deserved it.


Right, everyone agrees that Duncan is struggling and needs to play better. If he had made 5 more threes this year, he’d be shooting 42%. I don’t even think that would solve the problem because he needs to make shots and more importantly he needs to make shots in big games.

When Michigan puts him in the game to run a set play to get him an open look from the corner at the end of the half… he needs to make it.

Is there anyone who is arguing that Duncan is having a good season? The only point here is that Michigan isn’t just going to give Livers a ton of minutes because he has potential and he hadn’t really seized the opportunity until last night.

Michigan has needed Isaiah Livers to play like he played on Tuesday. If he can do it regularly, he’ll play a lot more minutes. Can he do it all the time? I have no clue, but his performance on Tuesday is going to earn more chances. And if it had come a month earlier, he would have had more chances in other games.


Once you’ve made up your mind about something, it’s easy for confirmation bias to slip in and make you overlook things that contradict it.

And I’m sure Tom Crean knows basketball, but with all the teams and players he has to cover, I frankly doubt he’s spent much time watching film from multiple Michigan games just to track Duncan Robinson’s off-ball defense.


Yeah, I mean it’s not like he coached against him for two years or anything.

Yes, I know. This is why after being one of Duncan’s biggest critics on here for a long time I decided to watch closely and ended up switching my opinion. After continuing to watch closely I have seen nothing to contradict that.


I thought we were trying to determine what Crean was really saying. Context matters. What he actually said matters. No?

The straw man accusation is ironic because in the next breath you said that people are making Duncan out to black hole on defense. Who here is saying that? I mean, I literally said I think he is better off the ball than on the ball. This non existent straw man you mentioned is more likely you remembering your past assessments of Robinson and applying that thought to others—via a straw man.

You are confused. I am not saying Crean was lying when he said Robinson was “good off the ball defender”. I am saying that he was avoiding giving the primary reason for attacking Robinson one on one…He was giving a reason for why teams “take it right at Robinson” (as the commentators mentioned right before they starting talking about Robinson) without stating the obvious—he is bad at 1 on 1 defense. (Part of Crean’s new job is spinning things to not insult individual players.)

If you think teams attack Robinson 1 on 1 because he is irreplaceably awesome off the ball then you have a right to your opinion.

Responding to this conversation much more is starting to feel, to me, like a fools errand, unfortunately.


One of you guys should tweet him for clarification. twitter.com/tomcrean


Do you really think he would back off from an otherwise very classy remark? I mean, the necessary flip side of the strategy of trying to always “place Robinson in the action” is having Robinson off the ball.