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Speak Your Truths: a Q&A with Drew’s Michigan Twitter pals

The in-depth analysis you’ve come to expect from both this site and the site manager’s friends.

Minnesota v Michigan Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

This will have relevance later, and I’m assuming few of our readers listen to the MGoBlog podcast, but what is the difference between a player being “a problem” and a player being “a bucket?”

Thicc Stauskas: I’m glad you asked Drew and, like all of my hoops analysis, this is about vibes and not stats. Many people go around assigning these terms interchangeably and those people are fools.

A problem is someone who changes how you have to play the game. He’s up in your offense, ruining your sets, penetrating your zone and just generally being a pain in the ass. If you’re rooting against them, you just hate seeing them no matter where they are on the court.

A bucket is someone who, specifically on offense, just does whatever they want. They get the ball? Bucket. There is nothing you can do. Consistency is the key here. They’re bullying your bigs, shooting over your wings or crossing up your guards.

Jawn Legend: Thicc is definitely the authority on the Bucket v. Problem topic. His definitions are sacrosanct.

Which one is Hunter Dickinson and which one is Franz Wagner? Also, what would Juwan Howard have been during his Fab Five days?

Thicc Stauskas: Franz Wagner is a problem. He’s a 6-foot-9 wing who can plausibly guard 1-5. He shoots threes, drives to the rim, and blocks shots. He’s also got roughly a mile long wingspan which he uses to disrupt passing lanes.

Oregon v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Hunter Dickinson is a bucket. I’ve never seen a Michigan player make it look easier than Hunter Dickinson. When he gets the ball in the post I take the opportunity to check my phone because I know it’s going in the hoop.

Juwan Howard is both a bucket and a problem.

Jawn Legend: Using Thicc’s criteria yield the obvious answer: Hunter Dickinson is making 73% of his field goal attempts (including a new mid-range game going 4-for-4 from the elbow over the last two games). If that holds it would be the best mark ever in B1G history (min. 125 attempts).

Northwestern v Michigan Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

Franz can do literally everything. In his last two games combined he has posted 26 points (on 20 shot equivalents), 15 rebounds, nine assists, seven blocks, two steals and turned it over just once. He’s an outstanding defender, and a guy that can be dangerous in so many ways other than scoring. He’s the player on Michigan’s roster that is going to be drafted the highest in the NBA because of his length, skill and versatility. Also, I think Wagner actually means “problem” in German (don’t look into that).

I would say Juwan was definitely more of a Bucket than a problem in college. I think on a less talented team he could have been a Problem, but with Chris Webber and Jalen Rose being two of the biggest Problems I’ve ever seen at the college level, Juwan was content to be a Bucket. Actually wait, Howard is a bucket as a player and a certified problem as a coach and recruiter.

Michigan is undefeated but their best win, according to KenPom, is Minnesota, come on. Are the Wolverines the most overrated team in the top-10 or the entire top-25?

Thicc Stauskas: I won’t argue with Michigan’s record thus far being weak, but I think they’re legit top-10 when you factor in style points. Michigan has won every game decisively besides clunkers against Penn State and Oakland. And, you’ve heard countless times by now, there are NO OFF NIGHTS IN THIS LEAGUE DAN DAKICH.

Jawn Legend: Michigan’s schedule has not been a murderer’s row to be sure. However, taking a quick peek at Wisconsin’s schedule shows that their best win is against No. 23 IU in 2OT. IU is nine spots ahead of Minnesota; not exactly worlds apart. If we look at common opponent’s between our two squads we have:

Nebraska (Michigan won on the road by 11; Wisconsin won at home by 14)

Minnesota (Michigan won at home by 25; Wisconsin won at home by 12)

Maryland (Michigan won on the road by 11; Wisconsin lost at home by six)

This is no doubt the biggest test for either team by some distance. We will find out a lot about the quality of both teams tonight.

On a scale of 1-10 where do you rank the hilarity of Michigan telling Jim Harbaugh he has to take a pay cut and Harbaugh saying “yeah, sure, that’s fine.”?

Thicc Stauskas: You said this was going to be about basketball Drew. I am going to count to ten and go on a long walk before I finish answering this question...

Ok I’m back. It is objectively 10/10 laugh out loud hilarious. They cut his pay by FOUR MILLION DOLLARS. Jim Harbaugh could WIN THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP next year and STILL not make as much as he did this year.

They gave him a complete joke of a “please leave” contract, he asked around the NFL, who collectively said “lol nah”, and then he came running back tail between his legs to Michigan. Of course the administration is trying to sell us on “Jim loves Michigan so much he was wiling to take a pay cut” which I mean come on dude how dumb do you think we are?

This is not something a serious program does. Michigan athletics have shown time and again that they want fans to shell out serious money for a non-serious product. They effectively burned the 2021 season (and 2022 recruiting class) by bringing back a coach nobody believes in to save $12M in buyout money. Do you know what $12M is to Michigan? call to Stephen Ross. This is like the New York Yankees doing moneyball. I’m going to have an aneurysm.

I only hope that when the NBA comes calling for Juwan, we use some of our endless war chest to match any offer.

Penn State v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Jawn Legend: I don’t know how I could make my stance any clearer. There are only two collegiate sports: basketball and hockey. You owe me Spotted Cow (HEY B5Q READER- Did you know Drew will have to publicly purchase his favorite beer, Spotted Cow, because Wisconsin got swept by Michigan in hockey this year?). Nothing else exists, and frankly, I will not tolerate this nonsense (-10; I am dead inside).

The Wolverines barely allow teams to score inside the three point line. Why is Michigan’s interior defense so effective?

Thicc Stauskas: Once you penetrate the Michigan defense you are staring down an absolute forest of 7-foot wingspans. Wagner, Dickinson, and lsaiah Livers are all big bodies capable of blocking shots.

The guards are also both capable defenders. Mike Smith is 5-foot-10 but he’s quick enough to keep in front of most guards, and Eli Brooks has quietly been one of the best defensive guards in the league for a few years now.

So to summarize, solid guard defense backed up by tremendous length.

Jawn Legend: Michigan has a number of outstanding defenders, but the primary reason for the eye-popping stat here is freshman phenom Hunter Dickinson. On defense he shows rare understanding of his natural gift of size. Many young 7-footers you see will attempt to aggressively block everything in their area. Dickinson seems to get that simply by being enormous and walling up, he can alter a ton of shots and pick up blocks without committing fouls.

In fact he’s averaging just 1.9 fouls per contest. His presence in the middle (along with the wide array of rangy forwards and guards Michigan deploys) is the reason Michigan is No. 2 nationally in two-point defense, No. 10 in block rate and No. 12 in FT rate against. That’s a winning combination on most nights.

After Michigan goes undefeated this year, who beats them in the second round of the NCAA Tournament?

Thicc Stauskas: Michigan will not go undefeated. They will lose to MSU at the Breslin Center by eight, primarily because of The Old Magic which Mark Dantonio passed on to Mel Tucker and Tom Izzo when he retired. Michigan will then win the national title. Go Blue baby! (my real answer is 15-seed Colgate, Patriot League Champion)

Jawn Legend: I’m sorry, you seem to have us confused with another school in Michigan (who just lost to Purdue at home, lol). Unlike the Spartans, who benched Jaren Jackson Jr. in crunch time for Ben Carter while losing a second round game in Detroit to a bad Syracuse team, Michigan has gone to the Sweet 16 in five of it’s last six tournament appearances. This year we will go deep into the tournament and invariably run into a team that shoots like 70% from three for the game and lose by one.

Predictions for Tuesday’s game?

Thicc Stauskas: Damn it looks like Jawn wrote a lot here. Michigan by a trillion. Buh bye losers!!!

Jawn Legend: This is a fascinating matchup on a number of levels. Michigan’s offense has been No. 7 nationally in 2pt% offense while the Badgers are No. 12 in that metric defensively. Something will have to give there. Wisconsin has struggled inside the arc, but of course has an arsenal of three point shooters. This Michigan team has weathered some prolific three point attacks. Maryland shot 13-of-22 (59%) in our game in College Park but we still were able to put them away.

Michigan v Maryland Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

Wisconsin’s key to victory is to play five out (and not inexplicably bench Micah Potter for large stretches) to put Dickinson in tougher situations or force Michigan into a zone. I expect a pretty tight game throughout, with few fouls and turnovers, and lots and lots of diverse offensive sets from both sides trying to find any hole in the opposing defense.

Michigan is playing with a ton of confidence right now, and all seven members of their primary rotation are playing really well as individuals and as a collective. I think there is a good chance this winds up being a season split with the home team taking each game. I like Michigan by one because KenPom said so, and Pomeroy is a powerful sorcerer.

P.S. Both of you are fake Philadelphians. Y’all abandoned your city and now weird Detroit transplants like me are here eating all your Wawa.