This seems like a perfect opportunity for a history lesson.
As you remember, John Beilein was on the hot seat to start his fourth year at Michigan.
He had one season of success in his first three years, but that was with players recruited by the former coach.
HIs third year was supposed to be good, but at the begining of 2010 ......
Michigan may very well have been the most underachieving team in the entire nation, and it has now lost its two most talented players.....
Yeah, but what about that NCAA berth, you say? Well, Beilein rode a tandem of stars with very little around them ... and they were both recruited by Amaker. So you have a coach who has only had success based on using two players, and he didn't recruit either one of them.
To start his fourth year, things looked BLEAK. Article here.
Of course, Michigan is a current Division 1 team which is supposed to be competing in a power conference.
And the coach who was supposed to be turning this program around is entering his fourth season.....
Basically, Beilein is not the answer Michigan thought it had last year at this time. The sooner the administration realizes it, the sooner it can begin to rebuild the program. Again.
Interesting? And, isnt it supposed to be easier to turn around a baskebtall program quicker (kids play earlier, etc.)?
If you are looking for an example of a football coach who looked lost after three years, look no further than Pat Narduzzi heading into his fourth year:
Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State defensive coordinator: Offense was hardly a problem for the Spartans in 2009. At 29.7 points per game, they ranked second in the Big Ten in scoring. However, the Spartans allowed 26.3 points per game, which ranked in the lower half of the conference. They weren’t much better last season on defense. The root of the problem has been a porous pass defense, one that allowed a league-high 267.6 yards per game. The Spartans have the offense, led by quarterback Kirk Cousins, to make a run at a league title, but questions remain on whether the defense improve enough to alleviate some of the pressure on the offense. If the defense can’t, head coach Mark Dantonio could be looking for a new defensive coordinator.
Yesterdays game will be re-aired today at 5:30 on BTN. It is a Big Ten Classic.
The game that comes to my mind when I hear Big Ten Classic is from the 88-89 season. Illinois had beaten us twice that year, including a trouncing on our Senior Day. We met again in the Final Four and Sean Higgins put back gave us a 83-81 victory.
What game comes to your mind when you hear Big Ten Classic?
Bracket Matrix lives here: http://www.bracketmatrix.com/. 25 brackets have been updated since yesterday and of those our average seeding number is 3.48. If that was our average seed across all brackets (Bracket Matrix still is listing brackets done as long ago as the 18th), we would be a solid 3 seed.
Lundard (all Lundardi disclaimers apply) lives here: http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/bracketology. He has Michigan as a 3 seed. Other Lunadi notes:
- Minnesota is his 4th team out. He has just 5 B1G teams making the dance. Others are:
- OSU (6 seed); Wisconsin (2 seed); MSU (3 seed); Iowa (6 seed).
- FSU is also out, which would've been a nice win over a tourney team.
Jerry Palm (also Palm disclaimers) lives here: http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/bracketology . He has Michigan a 4 seed. Lundardi is your mass market bracketologist of the week.
- He also has FSU and Minnesota out; Minnesota is one of his first four out.
- Iowa and OSU are 5s to Palm, MSU a 4.
(Apologies if this belongs elsewhere, but I haven't seen this analysis done yet).
At 11-3, with a half-game lead on Staee and four games remaining, Michigan is obviously in the driver's seat for the B1G basketball title. Using the game predictions from KenPom's site, I've done a quick probability analysis to see what the odds are that there's a banner to be hung.
First, Michigan's expected record, along with a percent chance:
(I used two significant figures, since there were two in the KenPom data; obviously, they won't add to exactly 100%).
Here's Staee's expected record:
|10-8 or worse||12%|
|10-8 or worse||2.4%|
|10-8 or worse||23%|
|10-8 or worse||68%|
Put it all together, and you get the following possibilities (all chances here are conditional -- e.g., each line should add up to 100% within the limits of rounding and significant figures):
|Record||Outright Title||Shared Title||No Title|
|11-7||< 0.01%||0.20%||> 99%|
When you factor in the chances that Michigan achieves each of these records (from the first table), and add it all up, and there is a 75% chance of an outright title, a 19% chance of a shared title, and a 6% chance of being bannerless. (Coincidentally, I coded up a simulation using the same KenPom percentages, ran it 100 times, and got at least a share of the title exactly 94 times).
Long story short, even with a single loss, the odds are still in our favor to win the title outright, since KenPom doesn't think Staee is likely to run the table, and 2-2 down the stretch is likely to be enough to secure a share of the title. Like many of you, I never would have predicted this in December.
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.