There has been a lot of criticism and defense of the Michigan basketball program in recent weeks, especially concerning recruiting and team performance. Some of it has been factual and valid and some of it not so much. When the comments are based on expectations or personal preference, they are hard to defend or criticize. But there is information available that documents where Michigan ranks versus other Big Ten Schools and other accepted basketball powers. My intent is to provide statistical facts and to minimize personal opinion. I will let you, the reader, use this information to support your own point of view, change your point of view or debunk other posters point of view with whom you disagree. What fun!
First, some historical facts about Michigan basketball.
John Beilein arrived for the 2007-08 season. It had been 21 years since Michigan last won a Big Ten championship. Beilein has won two in his 9 years here. It had been 9 years (1998) since UM had appeared in the NCAA tournament. Beilein took the team to the tournament in his second year and in six of his 9 seasons with seeds of 10, 8, 4, 4, 2 & 11. It had been 12 years since our last sweet sixteen and elite eight, Beilein has made two. 1998 was the last time Michigan finished in the final AP Top 25 Poll, finishing 12th. Since Beilein, we have finished 13 in 2011-12, tied for 10th in 20112-13 and 7th in 2013-14. He was voted Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2014. He recruited and coached two of Michigan's five B1G POYs in Burke and Stauskas (others were Tarpley, Grant & Rice). Burke, along with Russell are Michigan's two National POYs.
To evaluate recruiting, I looked at team recruiting rankings using 247 Sports Composite rankings from 2003 (the first year of comprehensive data) through 2015. The 2016 classes are not yet complete. The method used was to add the team recruiting rankings for those 13 years and compute the average annual ranking for the teams. I listed the teams in order of average rank for that period selected. I also listed each team's best and worst ranking and how many times they finished in the top ten and top 25 ranked classes.You will notice that just about every team had a bad year or more. Caveat: When I got to teams ranked in high double digits or triple digits, I noticed that it was often due to small class size (one or two players, even if they were four and five star players). For that reason, I dropped years where a team was ranked above 99 and if there were more than four such years out of the 13 used, I dropped that team from this analysis. I capped the list at 50 teams. Obviously, this looks only at recruiting and does not account for transfers or early attrition.
For performance, I used the NCAA tournament. I listed results for the period 2004 (first year that the 2003 class would have played) through 2016. I listed the number of tournament appearances, sweet sixteens, elite eights, final fours and championships.
|Avg||# Of||# Of||NCAA|
|Class||Best||Worst||Top 10||Top 25||Tourn.||Sweet||Elite||Final|
For Big Ten teams, I did a second recap that looked only at the years Beilein has been at Michigan (2008-2016). I didn't include the 2007 class because that wasn't his class and I did include 2016, even though it isn't final, because many complain about recent results. I am listing the team and their average recruiting ranking for this period and the number of B1G regular season championships won. (1) Illinois 25, 0 (2T) Ohio State 26, 3 (2T) Michigan State 26, 3 (4) Indiana 27, 2 (5) Michigan 32, 2 (6) Maryland 38, 0 (7) Wisconsin 47, 2 (8T) Purdue 48, 1 (8T) Minnesota 48, 0 (10) Iowa 59, 0. Maryland, along with Rutgers and Nebraska have not been full time members. PSU? Who cares? I will point out that Beilein's first class in 2008, which he got a late start on, was his worst ranked at #73. It was comprised of Cronin, Novak and Douglass. If you drop that class from this analysis, Michigan's average ranking rises to 26.
Where's the bump? Many complain that we didn't get a bump from our run in 2013 & 2014. The 2014 class was #28 (and was pretty well finalized prior to the run), 2015 was a class of one (4* Wagner) and 2016 is currently at #27. That is an improvement over our average of 32, but not a huge leap. I am not sure there is such a thing as a bump from a deep two-year tournament run. It is hard to find comparable teams to compare it to. Feel free to give it a shot.
On a final note, I found this interesting. Leading up to Villanova's championship run this year, their last four classes were ranked #38, #32, #46 & #30. Oklahoma, who they beat in the semis, had classes of #45, #83, #39 & #54. Wisconsin made it to the championship game in 2014 with classes of #50, #39, #120 & #46. Likewise, MSU's final four finish in 2014 was with classes ranked #21, #12, #76 & #48. And for Michigan in 2013 it was #35, #48, #21 & #7. Top ranked players is one way to get there and experienced teams of upper classmen works also,
Your son can get your ticket through other students on a student website. However, you have to get it validated (applied sticker) and pay a $40 or $60 (premium game) surcharge at the ticket office.
You have to enter the student gates at the north end of the stadium.
You will probably have to enter a different section from your son and meet in the stands.
You can sit anywhere in the student section as long as you stay above where your seats are located. They check your tickets if you are seated lower in the stadium.
A must for all you Dads out there!
Especially a must for all of you diehard fans who complain about all the old farts who sit on their hands.
Loved the enthusiam, but be prepared to stand on the bleachers (bench) the entire game except for timeouts and halftime.
Be prepared to become hoarse from all the yelling and screaming.
Be aware that you may experience an odd pungent aroma.
Be diligent in your "wave" participation, if required.
I picked the perfect game last season: Northwestern. The crowd was pumped. And the team did not disappoint routing the12th ranked Wildcats 38-0.
I don't like the "You suck" cheer. But I did like the "bullshit" chant, the perfect release for pent-up game-day frustrations!
The crowd thins out after halftime because, as my son explained, the students get too tired from their pregame drinking ritual.
However I do miss what we use to do as students at games in the early 70's.
Engage in the passing up of boy scout ushers, racing adjoinng sections.
Pass-up girls in the stands, especially the "mad kicker".
Drink a bottle of Boonesfarm apple wine at the game and pass up the bottle at the end of the game creating "the green wave".
And my best experience of all time: Singing "Good-bye Woody" after the OSU coach ripped up the downs marker on the sideline after safety Thom Darden broke up a critical 3rd down pass play with a minute left in the game in a 10-7 victory. Woody went ballistic when no pass interference was called on the play.
April 1 – Saturday
Brian previews the Top Five Freaky Stud Freaks For ‘06. Here’s an appropriate statement to start every offseason.
Massive year-to-year roster turnover, somewhere between 30 and 40 major contributors per team, and the every-game-a-playoff regular season conspire to make the beginning of a college football season a uniquely stressful event for the fan. Across the nation, the mental well-being of slightly unbalanced folk depends on an array of unknown players like That Guy Wearing #21, Wait, That's Not Jason Avant, and Number 65 Is A Bit Of A Fatty, Isn't He(?). Every team has an set of unseen players suddenly thrust into the spotlight due to the graduation (or, in the case of Tennessee, arrest) of seniors that have gone before them. Some have more thrust upon them than others.
Here is his top 5:
5. Terrance Taylor
4. Adrian Arrington
3. Tim Jamison
2. Carson Butler
1. Johnny Sears
Well, numbers 5-3 weren’t too bad.
April 4 – Tuesday
Unverified Voracity: It’s Okay, There’s a Policy about OSU OL Alex Boone getting a DUI and receiving no punishment. Tressel says that they told their players to set their clocks an hour ahead, but the “message did not get through to everyone.” What?
April 5 – Wednesday
Hello Ryan Van Bergen. Some uncertainty of whether he will be a TE or DE. Probably a good thing he stuck at DE, given the future.
Recruiting Board Update still discussing running backs. Mostly Brandon Saine, but Robert Hughes and John Clay are also mentioned.
Uh oh, bad news about Alex Legion. He’s transferring from Country Day and reopening his recruitment.
If I hadn't had my basketball will to live beaten out of me already, this would probably spur some "aaargh." As it is: looks like Crawford/Horford redux.
April 6 – Thursday
Brian warns of a light posting day, but…Patrick Beverly is close to committing!
He follows that up with a post about the seedy nature of college basketball recruiting and how the main stream media doesn’t do anything to expose it. He also explains some of Alex Legion’s odd living circumstances. This sounds like it could be reposted today and could be completely accurate.
Meanwhile in college basketball, the conventional wisdom is not that a few coaches are bending, breaking, or flaunting the rules -- it's that all of them are.
April 7 – Friday
Unverified Voracity: Forbidden Donut. More details on how Braylon’s scholarship for the #1 jersey will happen. This is viewed as a good thing. Also, a great video of a Mike Hart TD run from high school. Incredible play.
A couple new blogs in the ‘M’ blogosphere. Including one (Stadium & Main) that still has available content, specifically an interesting recap of the 2001 season.
April 10 – Monday
The New York Times has taken up a story about a group protesting the potential addition of luxury boxes. Brian believes luxury boxes are a win-win. Here is his perspective from the different stakeholders:
· Loaded old people: Muffy and I no longer have to risk death by frostbite every fall. We obviously enjoy the idea of boxes, as we've voluntarily shelled out the GDP of Belize to sit here. I do sort of miss screaming "down in front" at impudent 50-year-olds with their crazy hair and stupid pet rocks and hula hoops and music videos applesauce applesauce let's sing the applesauce song.
· Joe Plebian in the stands: My, this extra 1.5 inches does make a difference... and there are many fewer crotchety old people yelling at me to sit down during exciting plays.
· Bill Martin: Now I have even more money I can roll around in, Demi-Moore style.
· Michigan players: Yes, it does seem somewhat louder in here, as the higher walls tend to keep in a bit more sound and those displaced to the luxury boxes never said peep in the first place.
· The basketball team: Yay, if Martin ever stops rubbing the money all over his naughty bits, we get the facilities we need to compete with George Mason.
April 11 – Tuesday
Recruiting Board Update. Jason Forcier is removed. He’s going to UCLA.
Spring Tea Leaves from Lloyd’s spring presser. Highlights include that Antonio Bass should only miss the 2006 season, Kevin Grady had “the best day of his career”…in practice, flipping Jake Long to LT is seen as “scrambling”, LB is “up for grabs” after Shawn Crable, and Charles Stewart has surprisingly shown himself as a candidate to start opposite of Leon Hall.
Unverified Voracity: Callooh, Callay. ‘M’ hockey might escape the offseason with no defections to the pros (re: Johnson, Hunwick, and Hensick).
April 12 – Wednesday
Brian is taking a day off.
April 13 – Thursday
So this is how MGoBlog works…
The industrious beaver-elf mulattos that sit next to the forge in my basement pumping out analysis after analysis of football/basketball/hockey minutiae dread the arrival of this coming Saturday more than any other, for it is then that I have no further use for them and set them free -- "set free," of course, being another way of putting "sell into Keebler slavery." I will then spend the summer tending their larva; in August the next generation will hatch and be introduced to their cruel half-cat, half-man taskmasters. Fettered, blindered, and abandoned, they will spend the next six to eight months of their lives painstakingly assembling the sentences offered in this space for your amusement
…now they are called Ace, Seth, BISB, Adam…
The point of the post is that the offseason is coming (after Saturday’s spring game), and posting will be light.
Unverified Voracity: Get Hed about the unintended meanings of poorly written headlines.
April 14 – Friday
What makes MGoBlog great? Using Nietsche to determine the ideal Heisman Trophy winner.
The ideal Heisman candidate is frightening to behold unless he is on your side, in which case he is your flagbearer and protector. The ideal candidate is a force of nature that rolls through his opposition against tremendous odds. His name is graven on the tombstone of instant replay's creator as a justification. He is not sunnily efficient, or competent, or a great fat beast who crushes only the weak. He is slightly terrifying. There is a small but real possibility that he is the escaped prototype of a CIA-developed breed of unkillable soldiers; he is not man; he is overman.
Brian gets interviewed on a Texas blog.
April 17 – Monday
Spring Game Impression. Most notably, it was 69 degrees and sunny. Also, this is pretty late in the semester for this to happen. The other thing that stood out to me is that EE Carlos Brown got an entire series as a QB doing zone read. That just seems weird considering that Mike DeBord was the new OC, Rodriguez was coming in another two years, and all that would come with the deep gulf between the various factions, highlighted by types of offenses.
April 18 – Tuesday
Unverified Voracity: Those Are Cat Eyes with links to more spring game reactions and concern on the Patrick Beverly front.
April 19 – Wednesday
And Beverly commits to Arkansas.
Amaker: am-a-ker, verb. To blow something long considered a fait accompli, especially in an unsually humiliating and frustrating fashion.
April 20 – Thursday
Brian recaps his dream about being enslaved on an alien planet, but awakening when he realized it would mean he couldn’t be at football games in the fall.
Brian then begins a discussion on CFB scheduling, outlining the current problems.
The ultimate test here is what teams eventually do with the twelfth game, since it's pure profit. The women's crew team is already provided for. The toilets, as mentioned, are golden and come with robotic servants that wipe for you. ADs should get a free pass for this year, as the 12th game was thrust upon them somewhat suddenly and the constricted schedule means that teams with championship games and the Big Ten have to find someone, anyone, to plug into the hole on their schedule. Going forward, however, there's another chance to test your mettle -- assuming you have some.
April 21 – Friday
Highlight video from the 2005 Iowa game. Video still exists!
Now the Detroit News writes an article on John Pollack and the anti-luxury box campaign. Brian goes off, and it’s entertaining.
You'll see that this grass-roots movement is so devoid of actual ideas that they resort to hilarious lies constantly. The idea that a football game with 50 dollar tickets and 500 dollar PSLs for the excellent seats which are doled out to people who write huge checks to the university is some sort of proletarian rally where all men are created equally patchouli- scented and be-dreadlocked is beyond inane. And standing? When I stand, I am crabbed at. What Pollack describes is Michigan Stadium in the mirror universe where Paris Hilton is a nuclear engineer, Dennis Dodd is competent, and Ohio State is a university. It's not just wrong: it's the exact opposite of reality.
April 24 – Monday
Here’s something you don’t see around MGoBlog any more, professional sports game recaps. The Pistons win their first game of the playoffs.
Ryan Mallett might make his decision within the next week, and things are looking very good.
April 25 – Tuesday
Mallett commits! The post doesn’t actually state this explicitly, but it does link to a Rivals article that is still available.
Active during the war. On August 4th, 1941, a U-boat sunk a critical shipment of gunpowder destined for the shipyards of London. Private First Class Ryan Mallett was enlisted to hurl flak at incoming bombers, downing six and preserving an orphanage full of strippers. Four years later, he killed Hitler with a well-placed fifteen-yard out.
April 26 – Wednesday
An Edmonton Oilers game recap post. Oilers? Most of the post is Brian explaining how he came to dislike the Red Wings and root for the Oilers. Edmonton is up 2 games to 1 over Detroit, by the way.
April 27 – Thursday
Torrents of old ‘M’ football games! Links that no longer work…
Unverified Voracity: Elderly Cheese. There’s a note that Mallett is going to be an early enrollee. The interesting part is that Brian compares this to Grady, Boren, and Brown. From the impression I get and my foggy memory, this didn’t happen often. Hard to believe now that there are regularly 4-5 players a year who do this.
April 28 – Friday
The second part of the scheduling discussion. The two solutions given are either the NCAA requiring teams to honor scheduling contracts with one another or a playoff that would “preserve the tension of the regular season,” thereby encouraging teams to schedule better opponents.
Recruiting Board Update. Here is an interesting look at ESPN’s still-developing ranking system:
ESPN has started their recruit grading process and likes both VanBergen and Chambers fairly well, giving them both 79 -- all numbers this year are out of 100 instead of 10 for some reason -- but are less sold on Mallett than most, giving him an 82. For comparison, last year Cobrani Mixon, Brandon Minor, and Greg Mathews all got 79s from ESPN; there were no 82s but Adam Patterson got an 83 and Mouton, Schilling, and Brown all got 81s.
The UM Coaches Clinic Harbaugh Family Session: Jack, John and Jim all discussed what it takes to be a successful coach. Between the three of them, they have 316 wins as head coaches at all levels and they have won high school, college and NFL conference championships, national college championships and even a Super Bowl. (What follows are brief bios of all three feel free to skip this if you already know the history.)
Jack- He lettered in three sports in HS in Ohio, football, basketball and baseball. He was HS All State at QB and shortstop. He played college football (DB and QB) and baseball for Bowling Green from 1957 to 1960, where he was a three-time letter man. In his junior year, the Falcons finished the season 9–0 and were named the small college division national champions. Harbaugh played professionally for one season, 1961, in the old AFL for the New York Titans.
He coached HS football In Ohio from 1964 to 1968 in Perrysburg, Eaton and Xenia, Ohio. John and Jim were born while he was coaching at Perrysburg.
He was an assistant at Morehead State, Bowling Green, and Iowa before becoming an assistant under Bo as the DB coach. UM was conference champs five of the 7 seasons he coached with Bo. He was DC at Stanford then head coach at Western Michigan followed by one season as an assistant at Pitt before taking over as head coach at Western Kentucky in 1989 where he went on to win the 1AA national championship in 2002. He later did stints as an assistant (RB) with Jim at SD and Stanford.
John- He graduated from Ann Arbor Pioneer and Miami of Ohio. Coached with his dad, Jack at Pitt and Western Michigan before becoming a special teams and DB coach at Morehead, Cincinnati, Indiana and the Philadelphia Eagles. He was named the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens in 2008 and beat his brother Jim for the Super Bowl championship in 2012.
John worked as an assistant at Indiana under former UM QB coach Cam Cameron before eventually turning it around by hiring him as OC for the Ravens. Cameron coached Jim Harbaugh at UM as well as Elvis Grbac and Todd Collins. Cameron is now OC and QB coach LSU with one time UM assistant Les Miles. John's one time Ravens DC Greg Mattison coached with his father Jack at Western Michigan eventually returning to coach defense at UM under Brady Hoke with whom he coached at UM under Bo.
Jim- Was a successful QB at UM under Bo including All Big Ten and 3rd in the Heisman after his senior year. He was drafted by the Bears in first round. Made the Pro Bowl and NFL Comeback player of the year with Indianapolis in 1995. He finished his NFL career acid a back up with Baltimore San Diego and the Carolina Panthers. After a year as an NFL QB coach for the Oakland Raider, he moved on to become a successful head college coach at San Diego University and then at Stanford before jumping to a head coaching position in the NFL leading the resurgent 49's to the Super Bowl only to lose to his brother John's Baltimore Ravens. He coached with his father Jack at Western Kentucky as an unpaid assistant while still playing during his last 8 seasons in the NFL until 2001. He helped to recruit and coach the players that won the 1AA championship for Jack in 2002.
Jack had us start out by having all the coaches yell “Who has it better than us...NOBODY!”
Jim pointed out that Michigan was thinking about how to bring the different levels of coaching more together. There should be an effort to break down the barriers. John pointed out that there is tremendous creativity at the HS level so why not get the best most creative HS school coaches up to college or the NFL since the qualifications needed are the same at all three levels.
1) Love the game
2) Love coaching
3) Have a positive track record of success
Many proven high school coaches cannot come in to college coaching at grad assistant level. They are usually older with families and need a better income but you can bring them in as administrative staff. They can prove themselves in competition with other assistants for position coach roles. (e.g. Partridge).
Jack notes that high school coaches must work with whoever walks through the door. Many have to teaching obligations as well. To be creative and successful at these multiple roles speaks to capability at any level of coaching.
Jack notes that a good coach must have three attributes:
1) A good coach must have passion and a love of the game.
2) A good coach had better be smarter than all his competitors since most are not you have to work harder than than anyone else.
3) A good coach must marry wisely. (Your wife must understand how involved you must be to be successful.)
Jackie (Jacks wife and John and Jim's mom was in the crowd)- “I wanted the kids to know what dad was doing so I brought them to practice.”
John- Coaches kids should be welcome at practice including daughters. He recounts story of his pre-teen daughter whispering into his ear before the Super Bowl. “Dad, we can do this!”
John has day care helpers at Saturday practice and players are encouraged to bring their kids if they wish.
Jim- As a coach you have to plan.
1) You have to build the team. You have to make it special. You have to make the players proud to be part of it.
2) You have to know the rules, of the game, of the conference, of the league better than anyone.
3) You have to hire a staff that reflects the most important values of good coaching. They must be motivators, passionate, engaged, positive, creative, no excuses, never angry or frustrated. If we can't fix it, it must not be broken since we can fix anything.
How do you deal with pressure from the fans, parents and boosters?
Work hard to do the job not keep the job. Coaches compete just like players with and against each other. Any problem is an opportunity. Ask why not? (Know the rules!)
A high school coach can set the tone for the entire school. Be the man. It will be noticed if you build character among the players. If your players are taking care of business in school as well as on the field it will be noticed.
Every parent wants the 10 best players on the field and their kid. Remind the parents that football offers more scholarships than any other college sport since the teams are larger. Talk to the moms not just the dads. Talk to them about how it can make college affordable. Talk to them about head injuries and coach the kids to avoid them and practice in such a way as to avoid them. To be successful in high school you must recruit the kids who are athletes to play. (John and Jim actually do a role play at this point with John trying to convince Jim to come out for the team.)
As a coach, your positives to negatives should be 9 to 1 in everything. Every conversation may be the most important one of the day.
here is the 2016 mini program for those planning on taking in the spring game. lot smaller roster for this, but added the 2016 class. let me know if there are any changes that need to be made.
Michigan State, you're our rival. We love to snipe at each other; we hate losing to each other; we look forward to games between our schools in all sports with a burning fervency.
You have a proud hockey program. You have won three national titles. You have multiple Hobey Baker Award winners. You had one of the most consistent, dedicated fanbases in the sport. Michigan-Michigan State hockey games were red-letter dates on any sports schedule, capable of selling out not only Joe Louis Arena but also our respective FOOTBALL stadiums.
Why are you deliberately killing your hockey program? News breaks today that Tom Anastos is being retained as coach for a sixth season. Your AD says, "I feel really good about where we're at."
Really? Your team went 10-23-4 this year. This season's sole accomplishment is successfully avoiding last place in a terrible hockey conference, and the only team you beat just fired its coach and hired a program guy with serious NHL chops. Your once-proud fanbase, which used to sell out literally every game at Munn Ice Arena, is so shattered that even games against your arch-rival Michigan offer plenty of available seats. And those seats are taken by Michigan fans, who watch Michigan win at Munn, a lot.
The worst moment may have been your team getting carved up like a Thanksgiving Turkey by Michigan at Munn, a 9-2 drubbing in which Michigan did basically whatever it wanted. But the score wasn't the worst part of that game. The worst part was the reaction of Michigan fans to the rapidly growing scoreline:
Long gone are the days when a positive result at Munn was the highlight of Michigan's season. Now, a winning record against MSU isn't just hoped for--it is taken for granted. I and several other long-time Michigan hockey fans stared at the abyss that was the MSU bench that day, and I felt unmitigated pity for the lifeless husk of a program wearing uniforms that once belonged to a college hockey power.
Your program is so bad that it cannot even elicit distaste from its biggest rival.
Now, I have nothing personally against Tom Anastos. I think he was a decent commissioner of the CCHA, and I have no reason to believe that he is not a decent person. But "decent" does not mean "qualified to coach a major college hockey program."
Tom Anastos has produced disastrous win totals of 19, 11, 11, 17, and 10 in his five seasons. The only NCAA tournament appearance in that span was a first-round loss in his first season, playing predominantly with players recruited and developed by his predecessor, Rick Comley. The only other significant coaching on Tom's resume is a short, unremarkable stint at UM-Dearborn that ended in 1990.
There is zero evidence that Tom Anastos is a good hockey coach.
Decent guy? Sure. Able conference administrator? Seems that way. Capable of winning at a level that befits one of the winningest programs in college hockey history?
Michigan State, something must be done. You cannot seriously believe that Tom Anastos is the answer. And now, you can no longer believe that Mark Hollis has the interests of the hockey program in mind. There must be a change in Michigan State's hockey program. Continued inaction condemns Michigan State Hockey to exile, never to be more than a relic of distant memory.
The greatest shame is not that Michigan State is holding steady with a losing program. It is not that Michigan, in a serious down period, is playing on a a vastly higher level. It is not that Michigan State cannot succeed in a conference in which every single program is either brand new or seriously underachieving.
The greatest shame for Michigan State's hockey program is that Michigan fans feel they have to say something to you. And not for our own pride or satisfaction. Not for our own benefit.
But for yours.