The captain of Michigan's 2012-13 basketball team, Josh Bartelstein, has written an e-book on the team's remarkable Final Four run featuring a forward from Zack Novak and excerpts from Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Stu Douglass. "We On: Behind The Scenes Of Michigan's Final Four Run" is available now for the very reasonable price of $7.99 at Blog Into Book and will also be on Amazon and iTunes later this week. The following is an excerpt from the book detailing Final Four Saturday—the victory over Syracuse—and the day preceding the national title time.
Final Four Saturday! We got to sleep in a little bit because we played the late game of the night. There was an incredible buzz in the hotel with Michigan fans everywhere decked out in Maize and Blue. We couldn’t really walk down into the lobby without being swarmed, so the players stayed in a secure area, but it was hard not to check it out. Gameday consisted of three or four different meetings: Offense, Defense, Special Situations, and then final thoughts. The plan was done, everyone knew how we were to beat Syracuse, now we just had to do it. We watched a ton of film, but it was really hard not to lose focus and start thinking about a night we had all dreamed of so many times. It didn’t help getting hundreds of texts from family and friends, some giving advice on how to beat the zone and others on how hard they partied the night before.
We had about a 40-minute shoot-around at the Georgia Dome. Very, very light, almost just getting shots up, but we needed to leave the hotel and get some fresh air. Sitting around all day until 7pm when our bus left would be torture. The mood was very relaxed, guys were joking around like it was the first day of practice.
The key was somehow finding a way to take a nap. You can’t watch any TV stations because everyone is just breaking down the games and at this point I couldn’t listen to it anymore. Around 6pm our uniforms got dropped off with the official Final Four sticker on them. There was no turning back now. The bus left around 6:30pm, but the town was incredibly dead outside. Everyone was inside the stadium watching the first game or at a bar. The streets were empty as we took the 20-minute ride in.
I don’t think I need to go into much detail as to what took place during that 40-minute game. But in case you forgot. Mitch was Magic Johnson picking apart that zone, Caris and Spike hit huge threes, Jordan Morgan took an iconic charge, and Michigan fans took over downtown Atlanta for the night. Our game plan to let a 6’11 freshman who just began starting games a month ago break down the best zone in the country in the biggest game of his life worked. Were you surprised? Honestly, I said it before, but you can’t give our coaching staff a week to prepare for a team. It isn’t fair; they had this scheme down to a T.
We didn’t get back to our hotel until around 2:30am. Between another media session, guys getting cold tubs and figuring out some logistical issues, it was a long night, but we were all wide awake. The competition after the game was to see who had the most text messages on their phone. Don’t quote me on this, but I think Mitch had around 210. I got a message from the Mayor of Chicago, so I was feeling good. The other thing that hit us was that we were playing for the National Championship literally in one day. You spend all season thinking about championship Monday and the Michigan Wolverines were there!
[Hit THE JUMP for J-Bart's account of the hectic, exciting day leading up to the national championship game.]
"Wait, I just looked at Mattison. He had about three or four of these [tape recorders] here. Can somebody explain that to me? I get up here and [omg there are so many.]"
You talk softly. Honestly.
"I don't understand."
"Speak up!? I've never had anybody tell me that was a problem."
What did you like from the first game?
"Well, we had some very nice plays. We ran some plays that were executed very very well. We had a reverse that was done pretty well. We had a couple play-action passes that were nicely done. We had some outside zone plays that got the corner nice, and we [were able to make] one-cut and run. I think those things were good. The biggest issues were interceptions. That's got to go away, because that's going to come back and haunt you, and then we had some penalties. Most of them were from first time players. Not all of them, but some of them were first-time players. We had a false start. We had a premature snap one time. So, you know, I hope that's first game stuff. It'll go away as we play more."
How does Drake Johnson's injury change the running back position?
"Well it's just one less guy. He was the first guy up after Fitz [Toussaint]. He was playing well and he was really learning our offense from the perspective of protection. He was a guy that was able to do some of the things Fitz could do, [Thomas] Rawls could do, guys that have been in our system for a while. So that hurts. That hurts. He's a good player who's going to become a better player as he plays more. Hurts our depth and we lose a guy that's not only a good offensive player but a good special teams player, too."
Michigan isn't playing anybody of significance, certainly nobody that might sue people who call them names, so rather than make this post all about Michigan's next opponent, I'm going to talk about chickens. You know, those barnyard animals that go "Cuh-cuh-CAH! Cuh-cuh CAH!" or "Coo coo cuh CHAH!" or "Cha chee chah" or "Ah coodle doodle doo!" or whatever.
I hate chickens. For one week of a teenage summer I worked on a farm—one of the more elaborate lessons my father came up for when I whined about how rough suburban American life was—and the first job they gave me was to get up at 4:00 a.m. and collect the eggs from the chicken pen. I groggily went in there, found four eggs, left them in the kitchen and went back to bed. Soon after I was woken and informed there should be at least 12 in there—it's just that the hens hide them, mostly in their own poop. Now that the chickens were more awake (I wasn't) they terrorized my second egg-collecting attempt. You'd think I was stealing their babies or something. Want to convert a vegetarian back to meat? Have them meet a chicken. Nasty little creatures!
Anyway, that story and no other reason was the genesis of this limited edition MGoShirt, which we are going to MGo-pull from the MGoStore after today.
How this works again:
- I put up a winnable prize that consists of a desirable good.
- You guess the final scores of this weekend's designated game (football or hoops, depending on the season), and put it in the comments. First person to post a particular score has it.
- If you got it right, we contact you. If not, go to (5)
- The desirable good arrives at the address you give us.
- Non-winners can acquire the same desirable good by trading currency for it.
This Week's Game:
Michigan vs Whoever we're playing this week in football.
And on the Line…
If you can read this you don’t need glasses:
One entry per user. First user to choose a set of scores wins, determined by the timestamp of your entry (for my ease I prefer if you don't post it as a reply to another person's score--if you do it won't help or hurt you). If nobody gets the score, this week's prize carries over to the following week's. Deadline for entries is 24 hours before the start of the game (since I won't have time to pull them on gamedays). MGoEmployees and Moderators--anyone else with moderator privileges--are exempt from winning because you could change your timestamp. If you choose the score that Brian published in the official preview and it actually ends up the final score, well, that would be pretty amazing because Brian picks scores like 29-11 all the time. We did not invent the algorithm. The algorithm consistently finds Jesus. The algorithm killed Jeeves. The algorithm is banned in China. The algorithm is from Jersey. The algorithm constantly finds Jesus.This is not the algorithm. This is close.
"All right, here we go. It's a big one. This has always been a big game. I probably know this game better than most people, having been on both sides of it. This is a rivalry game. This is a big game. We're looking forward to it."
Does it mean more to you since you've been on both sides of it?
"Every game means a lot to me. Any time you go out on the field and represent the University of Michigan is big. I've always looked at this. I think everybody looks at this. There are some big games, and Michigan-Notre Dame in my eyes has always been a big rivalry game."
In what ways will this be a litmus test for this defense?
"Well, you're playing against a very talented opponent. Notre Dame has a lot of talent. They're a very good football team. Now it's the next step. In the second game, did you correct the mistakes? Do you play harder or do you improve? Every time you're a young team, you must improve every game. If you don't, then you're taking a step back. We're looking forward to improving."
Note: some of this is very old, because last week was not good for UVing things.
AHHHHHHH AHHHHHHHHH AHHHHHHHHHHHH
Anybody in the world who had anything to do with this stopping: I hate you.
Other hype video. Old Hat put the new one up.
As mentioned in the game column, a large improvement on last year's. Old Hat's videos have been the one consistently good thing about the Stadium Atmosphere Buzzword Utilization Reframing.
Fig things. Just figgin' my things. You've probably seen this, but if not:
Now you have.
Well is it or isn't it. Brian Kelly adopts AD's talking points, calls Michigan a "regional" rivalry, makes ND Nation squee, gets so much pushback from people pretending that Michigan-Notre Dame has been going on since the Dark Ages that he recants at his next press conference.
A stupid media kerfuffle but one that indicates how central Michigan-Notre Dame is to college football and how wrong it is that the series is ending.
Northwestern corner Dwight White
A major loss for nerds. Northwestern starting corner Daniel Jones is out for the season with an injury suffered in the Cal game. This is Northwestern, which is always putting together its secondary out of remaindered Hello Kitty plush toys, so the result was about what you'd expect:
Next up for the Wildcats is Dwight White, a redshirt freshman who got more or less torched by Cal's Jared Goff in his first game as a Wildcat, allowing a 52-yard touchdown grab to Cal's Chris Harper as well as several other big plays. He'll have to learn on the job, and fast, if Northwestern wants to avoid further 450-plus yard passing performances as the year goes on.
Looks like it'll be another haywire season for the Wildcats. Say what you want about Northwestern, but gotdayum they play some fun games. They can even make MSU watchable. Maybe.
At least watch it for the intro. MGoVideo has unearthed a copy of the 1994 Purdue game, which apparently wasn't televised but was available on something called the "Michigan Video Ticket," which cut out all the huddles but did include a play by play guy who can't pronounce Remy Hamilton's name:
You are probably thinking "Wheatley and Biakabutuka at the same time. /drool" I am too.
In even more vintage recordings, a 1927 newsreel from the Detroit News detailing the graduation losses suffered:
More in a similar vein: Oosterbaan honored by Muskegon, Michigan beats Chicago in front of 57,000 road fans (both teams apparently wore the same uniforms), Michigan beats Navy, and Michigan goes down to Minnesota, "Giants of the North." Last one contains an aerial shot of Michigan Stadium back in the day. Michigan had a player named "Pucklewartz" at the time.
Speaking of Oosterbaan, here's Jake Ryan with his godson:
Just don't yank around seniors' numbers and we'll be cool, legacy jerseys. Not that you are actually sentient, legacy jerseys. And don't think about getting sentient, either. I've seen Terminator.
Cutting the cord, part 60 or something. ESPN is negotiating with Apple and others to provide the whole package to internet providers, no cable or satellite required. That would be an enormous shift. I wonder how much it would cost? Some cable analyst said 30 bucks a month, but that was under a basic assumption that 80% of cable viewers would drop it—dubious, to say the least. The mothership is six bucks a pop, but the rest of the package has minimal value outside of ESPN2.
Stauskas throwing down. Game, blouses:
Wow, this is old. Yeah. I told you.
Combo forward search continues. Michigan target Devin Robinson released a top five that does not include the Wolverines. He was probably Michigan's top target after Looney dropped them, so now the field opens up. Ypsi's Jaylen Johnson visited recently and is improving his offensive game; Aussie import Jonah Bolden just popped up on the radar and claims to be a Michigan fan from way back.
Meanwhile, if you're still holding out hope for Luke Kennard, I wouldn't. He just made another visit to Lexington on a "spur of the moment decision."
The Process. A decision-making flowchart:
- Decide to do something for a tiny amount of short-term revenue without regard to your brand.
- Wait until the decision reaches the internet.
- Panic as half of internet rolls its eyes at the stupid decision and the other half invades Ann Arbor Torch and Pitchfork, rants at you.
- Hastily reverse decision.
- Blame the internet for overreacting, make nonsensical argument that it leapt to conclusions.
This has happened three times in the last month. First it was the field goal nets, then the seat cushions, then the giant noodle. I'm not sure what's more worrisome: the lack of foresight in the decisions themselves or the open contempt for people who don't like those decisions. The seat cushion thing was especially rich, as the department blamed the internet for thinking that a policy stated in bold on the official site was the official policy of the University of Michigan. That is not leaping to conclusions. There is not even a conclusion to draw. It is a fact.
Etc.: Here's Notre Dame-Temple if you want to check out Saturday's enemy. Bruce Feldman interviews Devin Gardner. Expanding Tom Hammond head. Every Play videos seem dead but here's some other guy putting together everything Gardner did from Saturday. Michigan Monday. Brabbs on his kick to beat Washington.
Football is back, and major props go to drum major—and Belleville native—Jeff Okala for nailing the traditional back-bend in his very first game:
I love that the BTN showed large portions of the pregame show; they had three(!) different camera angles of Michigan touching the banner. This one's my favorite:
Of course, I'm sure you want to see GIFs from the actual game. For Kyle Kalis and Devin Funchess setting their phasers to "kill", Taylor Lewan dominating with however many arms he pleases, epic ninja Hokepoint, and much more, read on below the jump.