at least something good happened this week
ca-thar-sis (noun): the purging of emotions, or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
The question of whether or not John Beilein and the Michigan basketball program has reached parity with Tom Izzo’s Spartan program has been answered. It’s not a matter of opinion anymore. It’s not subject to the vagaries of partisan fandom that cloud objectivity.
Six of Eight. Six. Of. Eight.
That’s science folks. Pure, simple, unassailable statistics; and it is so, so sweet. As Beilein has built his program from tournament bubble team to conference title contender to conference champion and finally Final Four program, the measurement of Beilein’s Michigan to Izzo’s Spartans has been the theme in local media, with the narrative typically being, “Michigan’s closing the gap, but MSU is still the dominant program”. After Sunday, that narrative is blown to smithereens. Any media talking head trying to advance the notion that Tom Izzo still has the edge over John Beilein is just trolling for internet clicks. Check the math guys.
Six of Eight.
The 21stcentury up to this point has been tough for Michigan fans. We’ve all had to suffer a slow, agonizing decline in many of our beloved sports teams. To add insult to injury, this decline coincided with the rise of the internet and social media, almost as if Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook just so our rivals could chip away at the prestige of our beloved Michigan. Nowhere has this been more pronounced than in basketball, where we not only saw our once proud program fall in the volcanic morass of NCAA sanctions and probation, but saw our hated rival rise in its wake. It chafed our collective ego to see Tom Izzo elevated by the Dick Vitale’s of the world to the status of Big 10 John Wooden, all the while ignoring the subtle fact that the Spartan’s rise correlated almost directly with Michigan’s fall. And while we as Michigan fans suspected that the Spartan’s emperor may have no clothes, such insight was met by derision by the Spartan faithful as sour grapes, boosted by massive winning streaks over half a decade.
Today that narrative is tossed on its head. Heading into Sunday, Spartan fans conviction that Izzo would right the ship in this game was absolute. It was what he and the Spartans had always done in the past. MSU would come into Crisler and beat Michigan and claim the drivers seat to the conference championship and send Wolverine Nation home disappointed, again; because Coach Izzo is the real deal and John Beilein is a just a pretender who runs a gimmick system. News flash to all those self-assured doubters in East Lansing. John Beilein can scout talent. John Beilein can recruit talent. John Beilein can develop talent. John Beilein can game plan, and John Beilein can coach. And he does it as well as, if not better than your false idol.
Sunday is not some isolated moment in the history of this rivalry. It’s the culmination that has been four years in the making. While Beilein has been recruiting players the caliber of Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III, Izzo has been striking out on blue chippers like Jabari Parker. While Beilein has been developing players like Trey Burke into NPOY and NBA Rookie of the Year, Izzo is making excuses for players who have not quite reached the potential that their recruiting hype promised like Keith Appling. Beilein pulls hockey sticks out of the hands of Canadians and turns them into All-American death-dealers; Izzo teaches his players to slap the floor like lower primates to...to what? Prove that they're the alpha males?
Today the internet is abuzz with Spartans who are struggling to deal with their new reality as the 2ndbest basketball program in the state of Michigan. They will challenge the verity of Michigan’s preeminence with the impotent standard of matching Izzo’s Final Four total or winning the National Championship before respect is paid. But that’s not what this article is about. It’s about six of eight, and the inconvenient truth that while John Beilein may not match Tom Izzo’s record in the NCAA Tournament, he has passed MSU, and if he has done that, then maybe Izzo's house wasn’t built out of bricks after all.
Six of Eight. Catharsis, ladies and gentlemen. It’s been a long time coming. Smile and exhale.
From Mgoblog, a Happy 61st birthday to our outstanding basketball coach! Particularly with the football program's struggles in recent years, basketball has been a great pleasure to watch. MBB is approaching elite status and is consistently a contender in the Big Ten and nationally. I can't thank John Beilein enough for what he has done the last 7 years with this basketball program. Let's get him a win on his birthday! Go Blue!
Idle Friday thoughts: which team is better, last year's or this year's basketball team? Compare this team to how they were both at this time last year (ranked #1 for the week going into the Indiana game) and how they were playing at the end of the year, during the tournament run.
If they were playing each other, who would win?
Because I was bored during lunch, I wanted to see how John Beilein's teams had improved over his tenure at Michigan by looking at the final KenPom and Sagarin numbers. I made 2 quick and dirty graphs that show the teams yearly final rank and rating. I thought the team rank would probably be the best way to compare across years because it is more standardized as the formula for the rating may have slight tweaks that impact the final value of the rating between years.
Amazingly, Michigan's teams under Beilein showed a progressive improvement each year with the outlier of one year, 2009 or 2010. You could make a case that Michigan overachieved ahead of schedule in 2009 or underachieved in 2010. I also thought it was pretty interesting that Michigan has played one of the toughest schedules in the nation under Beilein. Some of this has to do with the Big Ten Conference, but even within the Big Ten, Michigan's SOS are some of the best. Michigan has pretty much had a top 15 SOS every year under Beilein.
EDIT: Can't figure out how to successfully cut and paste the graphs.
The raw numbers:
|Year||KenPom Rank||KenPom Rating||Sagarin Syn Rank||Sagarin Syn Rating||Sagarin Predict Rank||KenPom SOS||Sagarin SOS|
Randomly putzing around on the YouTubes, I came across this. This is awesome material, not just for the video breakdown but also because the guy drew up all the play diagrams as well (link below). Must see stuff for those that like to breakdown basketball the way many breakdown football on this site (Also, for those who, in your weakest moments, say "OMG BEELINE DOESN'T RUN AN OFFENSE, THEY JUST PASS THE BALL AROUND." I keed, I keed.)
PDF of the play diagrams:
Very cool stuff and some of it gets kinda complicated. And, note this is just stuff JB has run against the 2-3, which is probably the least common defense you see at the college level. I'd be interested in seeing which of this stuff they also try to implement against the 1-3-1. Makes me want to go back and watch some of the games against Matta's 1-3-1.
Edited to make comment meant to be in jest more in jest.
When: June 5th, 6-9pm
Where: Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. 540 N. Michigan Avenue, 5th floor ballroom.
Cost: $40 for Alumni members, $55 for non-members.
The Coaches Tour returns to Chicago June 5th. Come enjoy a night out with fellow Alumni, as Brady Hoke, John Beilein, Dave Brandon and other speakers talk about their plans for the 2013-2014 seasons. A silent auction will take place at the end of the night, featuring one of a kind Michigan items.
Last year was the first year I attended and it was a blast. Come out and have a great time listening to out fearless leaders from the gridiron and the hardwood, as well as Dave Brandon's vison of the future.