Spike Albrecht has become one of my all-time favorites. The fact that he looks like he should be delivering my groceries instead of making Sportscenter highlights in D-1 college basketball makes it all the better. The guy is pissed to lose! So, let's play a game. Name your all-time Michigan basketball All-Grit players. Doesn't have to be just five guys, or five positions. The bench is deep. My first group without thinking about it too much.
So obviously this year is a dud, and it's hard to blame anyone what with the losses to the NBA and injuries. But what does next year hold, and the year after?
If history is anything to go by, Levert is probably gone to the NBA. But if Duncan Robinson is as good as they claim, and if a healthly Walton takes a significant step forward, I'm willing to believe they could be pretty good next year. But is it enough to make a deep run in the tourney?
One thing that concerns me is the lack of athletic big men on the roster. Last year in the tourney they clearly got dominated in the paint by Kentucky in spite of an experienced uber-defender in Jordan Morgan. If D.J. Wilson comes through next year that would be nice... but how many teams have made it to the national championship in recent memory with nobody over 6'9'' on the roster?
Spencer Hall posted a pretty funny piece on Tom Crean over at SBNation. In it, Hall writes, "He's too successful to be dismissed outright as a long-term solution for Indiana, and too flawed not to worry over."
I thought it was a good article, but I couldn't help but wonder why people think Crean is such a good coach. In fact, I feel fairly confident in saying he's gotta be one of the most overrated coaches in the country.
In 6 1/2 seasons with the Hoosiers, he's got 2 NCAA appearances. Both times Indiana lost in the Sweet 16. The '12-'13 S16 loss occurred despite the fact that IU had the #2 (Oladipo) and #4 (Zeller) picks in the 2013 NBA draft on his team. In terms of B1G play, he's got exactly 1 B1G regular season title and has finished 5th once, but his other finishes are 11th, 9th, 11th, and 9th.
While he did inherit a program in the midst of scandal, his job isn't without its advantages.
1) He coaches one of the most storied basketball programs in the country.
2) His school is the flagship university in a state with plenty of high-level basketball talent and is conveniently located near another large metropolitan area (Chicago) with even more talent.
3) He has had plenty of recruiting success, reeling in plenty of highly ranked and talented players.
4) His school has one of the most racuous home courts in the country providing optimal home court advantage.