Teams in the East, Would You Rather?


I have a question for the teams in the East that are vying for a playoff spot. Would you rather get kicked in the nuts by a bull or play the Pistons? I don’t want to say the Pistons are the best team in the East right now, buttttttttttttt only two teams have longer win streaks than them (4 in a row). The Griffin and Drummond combo is clicking ever since Andre came out of concussion protocol. Thon Maker may be a god in human form (possibly a premature exclamation). Wayne Ellington is certainly a basketball player. Reggie Jackson doesn’t stink anymore. Luke Kennard is officially NOT a bust. I could go on and on about how the Pistons should strike fear into every living basketball franchise on the planet, but if I waxed any more poetic, the rest of the East may just fold and give the Conference Crown to Detroit right now. What sort of fun would that be?

In all honesty, the Pistons making a run at the playoffs is the right move over tanking. Outside of Zion, I am not sure if there is a player more likely to change a franchise than to bust. The Pistons are so far out of the number one pick (and have too much talent to be the worst team)  that tanking for the number 9 pick is so much worse than trying for a playoff spot. The Knicks have lost 17 in a row! There is no way Detroit could suck that bad. As for the draft? You just have to hope the new Pistons front office can find value in wherever they are picking. They havent had a chance yet to draft int he first round so you cant trust or distrust them, but their second round picks (Brown and Thomas) have proved worthy picks, especially Bruce Brown.


If the Pistons make playoffs, I don’t expect them to win a playoff series but I would be pretty disappointed if they didnt win a game. Especially considering that a LeBron led team is out of the question for a first round match-up. Obviously, these expectations are hinged on the fact that they make the playoffs. If the Pistons dont make the playoffs this will be the most disappoint season in a while. So, lets not think about that until later in the season, ok?

A B1G Disservice


As anyone who follows college basketball knows, Michigan and Michigan State are a couple of the top teams in the country. As of now (Jan. 9th) the Wolverines are ranked 2nd in the nation and the Spartans are ranked 6th. Obviously, nobody expected Michigan to be as good as they are after graduating/losing their three best players in MAAR, Duncan Robinson, and Mo Wagner. Michigan State is doing their typical Michigan State thing where they are really good in November, December, and January. While these early months don’t really mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, they can produce some pretty fun and exciting match-ups. With that said, here lies my issue.


Michigan is undefeated and Michigan State only has two losses. Both are firmly in the top ten in the nation. Both are playing great ball right now. Both are the top two favorites to win the B1G Ten. Both have players who are competing not just as a team, but as individuals i.e. Winston vs Simpson. Wouldn’t it make sense for the B1G Ten to schedule one of the games between U of M and MSU earlier than FEBRUARY 24TH?!?!?!?! But Dalton, how would the B1G Ten know that both of these teams would be in the top ten? That is a fair point, loyal reader, but still a stupid argument. Michigan vs Michigan State has been the B1G Ten’s best basketball rivalry for about five years. The B1G Ten could always garner national attention with a January match-up between these two. It just doesn’t make sense to make both games two of the final four games of the B1G Ten season. They also couldn’t be COMPLETELY blindsided that Michigan and Michigan State are both really good. Izzo always has MSU humming in the basketball months that dont matter and Michigan is coming off of an NCAA Championship appearance. Yea, they lost their top players but you would think they would at least be a top 25 team. By waiting for these games towards the end of the season, the B1G Ten takes money out of their own pockets. If MSU and Michigan played tomorrow, it would probably be the highest rated college basketball game of the season thus far. Say both teams get roughed up a little bit in conference play, something that is totally possible. Now, instead of undefeated #2 vs 14-2 #6, that match up might be #18 vs #15. It is just idiotic what the B1G Ten is doing.

Obviously, the B1G Ten being shitty at their job isn’t anything new. College athletic governing boards have made billions of mistakes in the past and will probably make millions of mistakes by the end of this week. But this error of back loading games hurts not only themselves and their respective universities, it hurts fans of basketball everywhere.

Dwane Casey is the Newest Pistons Coach


In a move that shocked very few, the Detroit Pistons announced today that Dwane Casey was hired to coach the salary cap mess of Blake, Andre, and Reggie. Once John Beilein dropped out, it seemed like the no-brainer move for Tom Gores to make. Personally, I like this move by the Pistons owner. Not because its a splashy hire or a win now move, but it was the smart move. In an ownership era where smart moves have been few and far between, its nice to see a move that wont set the franchise back. It will be interesting to see what Casey can do with the current Pistons roster. Obviously the Pistons dont have the guard play the the Raptors do but when a coach wins 60+ games, he has to be decent. I think the biggest improvement we will see this year is on the defensive end. At the end of the regular season, the Pistons were a middle of the pack team defensively and the Raptors were the number 1 defensive team in the East and I dont think its that hot of a take to say that the Pistons have better defensive pieces than the Raptors. Offensively, I have no clue what to expect. It could be awesome if Reggie stays healthy and Casey finds a way to work Griffin and Drummond together, but if he cant it wont be pretty. Again.  I’m not going to get my expectations up until after the summer/free agency/draft/hiring of a GM. After that, I’m sure I can convince myself of an ECF appearance but we will wait till September for that.

SHORT SYNOPSIS: Thank god the Pistons hired, at the very least, good coach. It was clear the team had tuned out SVG so a new voice will be refreshing.

Michigan Basketball Season Recap


Well, now that the college basketball season is over, it’s time to reflect. Reflect upon life, friends, and Michigan Basketball.  It was a fun and surprising year for Wolverine fans of all ages. Now, to be fair, I am not the biggest college basketball fan. For the most part I find the games boring and riddled with mistakes that stem from lack of skill and the fact that all of these players are now younger than me. I would be a hypocrite to sit here and shame kids for making mistakes because they aren’t that long in the tooth, but, on the whole, it makes for a less appealing game. That being said, sometimes a team can have the right mixture of players and flair to capture my attention and heart. This year’s Michigan team had me captivated more so than the 2013 Michigan team. Why? Im not sure I can say. Maybe the fact that they were overlooked for most of the year? Is it that each player considerably developed over the season into someone with identifiable skills instead of a collection of potential? Once again, I cant say so stop asking.

Lets start in January. In the first week of January, the Michigan Wolverines received exactly zero votes for the AP Top 25. Despite being 15-3 after the opening week of B1G play, the Wolverines were not one of the 25 best teams in the country. That is when this team finally started to take its form. Despite his glaring lack of shooting skill, Zavier Simpson was quietly locking opponents up on a nightly basis like he was a corrupt, power-hungry czar. Moe Wagner was starting to annoy rival fan bases with his tongue-sticking-out-ness and flexing on and-1s. MAAR was still his emotionless self that he has been his four years and was quietly playing at a level that we won’t quite appreciate until he is gone. They were out there winning conference games, building hope in the fan base for a NCAA Tournament appearance. While Purdue and Michigan State were grabbing all of the national headlines for the B1G, Michigan was building their resume and were getting ready to expose the frauds that resided in East Lansing. The second ranked Spartans had everything you needed to be a dominant basketball team. Two NBA lottery picks, a Hall of Fame coach, role players who were better than other team’s stars. As me and a few other Michigan grads were sitting in a bar in Austin, Texas, we loudly discussed how there was no possible way Michigan could lose in EL to the supposedly second best team in the country. Some of us were so positive that multiple units (gambling term) were put on the Maize & Blue. Sure enough J.B. and the Boys went into the Bres and kicked ass from start to finish. It was glorious. Little did we know, it was sign of much better things to come. Later that month, Michigan battled Purdue for the second time tough but ultimately lost again. It was at that point, most people nationally knew what the Michigan faithful had knew all along, that this team had a chance.

As the final days of the first month of 2018 passed by, the snowball that was Michigan basketball started to roll downhill. Picking up wins along the way, this team’s confidence and resume was growing and growing and growing. A dominant win over Ohio State here, and waltz over Penn State there and closing out the season with a drubbing over a lowly Maryland team to end February set Michigan up for a run that will not soon be forgotten.

As Michigan barreled into March, it was a given that they had stamped their ticket into the NCAA Tournament. Now, everyone is dreaming of how fun a B1G Tourney run would be. First opponent was Iowa and while Michigan struggled, they sent the Hawkeyes back to Corn Town. Next up Nebraska was promptly sent to Further West Corn Town. Now time for the much anticipated rematch against Michigan State. There is no way that TWO lottery picks would be swept by this Michigan team. Hell, some MSU pundits were saying that not a single UM player would start for MSU and the only one that MIGHT play is Wagner. Well, to the tune of another double-digit victory “Mr. February” Tom Izzo was swept by his in-state rival.  No biggie, State isn’t concerned about the B1G Tournament, their eyes were set on the national prize. Michigan still had work to do in their first tournament run. After slaying David, the Wolverines set their eyes on Goliath. Purdue had beating Michigan both previous times these teams had faced off. But, as I learned from a wise man in Buffalo, you can’t beat a team 3 times. Oh boy, did that ring true on the 4th of March. John Beilein had just captured his second B1G Tournament title in as many tries. In January if you told Michigan fans that they would win the B1G Tourney, most would say it had been a successful season. But now, after winning 9 games in a row, many had their eyes on a much bigger prize.

With Michigan earning a 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the imagination of Michigan fans ran wild. Sweet 16? Elite 8? Both of these would be fine end caps to a fun season. But, before Michigan reaches the point of satisfaction, they had to get through Montana and Houston. Montana came out tough. Had Michigan on the ropes early but the defense dug in, the offense grinded it out and despite playing a painful 40 minutes, they advanced with a double-digit win. Next on the menu was Houston and Rob Gray. What a battle it was, my goodness. Michigan couldn’t seem to get anything to go in. Down the entire second half but they kept it just close enough. A pair of missed free throws, a time out, and then a miracle. That’s all it took to dispatch H-Town. Pretty easy stuff actually. Not only did Jordan Poole give me one of the most memorable sports moments I’ll ever have, Michigan State lost the next day to the juggernaut that is Syracuse basketball. Combine those two with the fact that it was St.Paddys on Saturday and 50 degrees and sunny on Sunday, it made a damn near perfect weekend.

Second weekend of the Tourney. Most of the high seeds are falling to “lower” opponents and Michigan’s path to the 3rd weekend is looking easier by the day. The flood gates opened against Texas A&M in the Sweet 16. Its nice to have a game that’s over in the first 10 minutes, on to the Elite 8. Easily the weirdest game of the tournament. It felt like Michigan was playing the worst game of the season, yet they were ahead almost the entire game. Not a whole lot of drama, no spectacular performances or season-saving-shots. Just a hardnose defensive battle.

The Final 4 posed the greatest matchup problem this season. Sister Jean aka Mrs.God. How would this team defeat one of the most worshiped deities in history? The start of the game did not look good for the Boys in Blue. They played lackadaisical and seemed shocked by the pressure being put on the perimeter by Loyola. Going into halftime the Ramblers held a seven point lead and it was nothing but doom and gloom in the group chats/conversations I was in. The first 10 minutes of the second half were not any better. Loyola had the lead up to 12 at one point and the Wolverines season was going to be stopped short by an 11-seed. Charles Matthews had a different idea. Through stifling defense and clutch offense, Michigan dominated the final 10 minutes of the game and ended up cruising to an easy victory. Dreams of a National Championship still alive, but little did Maize & Blue Nation know, they would soon be meeting a Goliath that couldn’t be slayed.

Villanova is an absolute beast of a program right now. Every single player on that team is a threat to go off and DiVincenzo proved it on April 2nd. He had 31 off the bench and now has the very real option of going to the association. I’m not going to get into the Championship game itself, Villanova was the better team. Plain and simple. I thought Michigan gave a valiant effort and wasn’t able to pull off the upset. Somehow, after the final buzzer went off, I didn’t feel defeated. I didn’t feel like Michigan had let me down. A sense of pride came over me. I know that probably isn’t a very popular sentiment but watching this team grow from an unranked, unvoted for team in January to having one chance to win it all is something that I can’t say I’ve ever experienced. The closest thing I guess would be the ’06 Tigers but even then I was only 12 years old, I didn’t really care about sports back then.

So, another season has come and went. Michigan’s roster will certainly change next year. MAAR and Duncan are for sure gone. I hope Mo comes back but ya can’t fault him if he wants to leave and get paid. It will be interesting to see the development of Teske, Poole, Livers, and Z. Then, throw in the new, highly touted freshman and Beilein could have some fresh ingredients to cook with. But, until next January (when the college basketball season actually starts) I’ll have to entertain myself with the NBA, MLB and NFL. Not a bad deal by any means but it was one hell of a ride and I think it’s safe to say all Michigan fans are upset that it’s over.

Keys to Defeat Loyola-Chicago


Im sure you people have read Morris’ record-setting article on Michigan’s past weekend of basketball. If not, here is the link:

While Morris writes his weekly recap articles and does the only posting, I’m going to finally put my opinions on the internet. But, so we don’t get repetitive here repetitive here I will give you, the reader, my keys to defeating the behemoth that is now the Loyola-Chicago Saint Jeans (Ramblers).


  1. Make shots: No duh, but outside of the TAMU game, Michigan has shot horribly from the floor, especially deep. If Michigan can hit even 40% in the first half, it should open up so many more lanes for the guards to drive to the rack.
  2. Zavier Simpson: If he can continue to lock up like Fort Knox then Clayton Custer is going to have a 40 minute head ache. Loyola hasn’t faced a team as good defensively as Michigan all year and that starts with their feisty point guard.
  3. Worship Satan: If you don’t know by now, Loyola is God’s team thanks to the 98-year marriage he has with Sister Jean. We all know that God is a Michigan Man but happy wife happy life, amirite? We have to combat God. I know it doesn’t sound easy but, heres the good news, we don’t have to defeat God. We only have to neutralize him. The Michigan basketball team is better than the Loyola basketball team but this God guy has been a match up nightmare for almost as long as Perry Ellis was. BADABING!
  4. Beilein Adjustments: John is clearly an elite level coach in college basketball and if he can win the chess match between Porter Moser (he should) he is one step closer to cementing his place as the Michigan GOAT and being arguably the best coach in America.
  5. Mo Early, Mo Often: Wagner is one of those dudes where you can tell what kind of game he is going to have in the first five minutes of the game. I would love to see the offense run through Mo early and if he has it going, get out of his way and let him dominate.
  6. Teske Time: Set your watches folks, if Teske can give positive minutes offensive rebounding and defending the rim than there will be no real lanes for the Ramblers to get to the rim.
  7. Sir Charles: Clearly the best offensive player we’ve had since the tournament started and he needs to continue being that guy. Finally finding his spot in Beilein’s offense has allowed him to score double figures in each tourny game this year and win the West Region’s MVP.



Sports Smatterings with Dalton


Lions Free Agency:

It seemed as if every team but the Lions in the NFC North made some big, splashy move in free agency. A lot of skill players were signed to the Packers, Bears, and Vikings and it seems as if the Lions only grabbed a few linebackers. It’s all well and good to grab position players but free agency is not a time where teams put themselves over the proverbial hump. Most of the time it leads to overpaying players whom were not wanted on their previous team. I do really like the linebacker signings, not like “these guys are going to be all star” signings but in the sense of a couple of guys that can help a depleted unit. That being said, I would like to see the Lions sign a few nice defensive tackles (SUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHH) and then patch up everything else in the draft.

UPDATE: Since I wrote this the Lions cut Ebron. While I agree that he isn’t worth $8.5 million, its tough not having a TE on the roster. I hope we can sign him back at a lesser amount but I doubt he would do that.

UPDATE 2.0: We signed DeShawn Shead to a 1-year deal. Love this move. Love it a lot. Really no impact on our future and an immediate upgrade to the secondary. Only thing that would suck is if he turns out to be amazing and we only have him for the year.

Michigan in the Tourney:

I like the region that Michigan is in, I really do. Quite winnable, if I do say so myself. I do say that! Obviously a deep run will rely on the guard play of Simpson and Mathews. I feel that at this point you know what youre going to get out of MAAR, Mo, and Duncan. Here are a few obvious keys that you definitely did not miss; Mo needs to stay out of foul trouble. Free throws need to be knocked down in clutch time. Duncan needs to continue to defend the way he had at the end of the season. My player that could make everyone fall in love with? Teske. If you follow me on twitter (@dpotocki) and Teske does anything of note, get ready to see this:tt


Michigan State in the Tourney:

Pretty simple, these guys just need to remember that they are, in fact, pretty good at basketball. Not sure why Bridges is scared of taking it inside but if he runs more of the “Im bigger than the guy guarding me so I will go dunk it” play, things are looking bright in East Lansing. JJJ should get more run that he had been getting. It seemed like every time I watched the Spartans that JJJ would sit inexcusable amounts of time. Izzo needs to shorten up that bench and hope to god that TumTum finds an ounce of offense if they want to get by Duke in the Sweet 16. Sorry State fans, but no cool graphics for you.