The Golden State Warriors lost 137-105 to the Trail Blazers. That puts their record at 48-5. After getting destroyed like this, do you think they will break the record for best record in the regular season, set by the '96 Chicago Bulls at 72-10?
They'd face 11 George Washington in the First Four in Dayton. The winner gets fed to 6 Arizona.
ESPN's bracket boy has Michigan receiving the first of the last four byes and as a 10 seed in the West, playing 7 Florida. I actually like that matchup.
Don't like the prospects of playing UNC in Raleigh in the next round, though.
4 games left. @Maryland, NW, @Wisconsin and Iowa. Lunardi has us as a 10 seed "bubble" team currently. It's easy to heap additional negativity on the basketball program at the moment. It has frankly been a dissapointing campaign for the second straight year although this year is far better than last year. Michigan faces a defining 4 game stretch and B1G tournament in the next few weeks. Not just for this season but for the program. Programs are forged through consistency and the formation and capitalization of momentum. There is a real opportunity at this current time to form some momentum and capitalize on it through a March run. There has been a lot of banter back and forth between us fans over the past few months about the state and future of the basketball program. I think it's important to understand both sides of the coin. Beilein has done a very good job at Michigan and he built a winner here in Ann Arbor. He was a few possessions from a National Title and has won 2 B1G conference titles. I believe Caris will be his 8th professional he's coached at Michigan. Beilein has made us nationally competitive and done it the right way.
The other side of the argument is the direction of the Michigan basketball program. We had a tremendous 3 year run of 2 B1G titles and nearly back to back Final Fours. The last 2 years have been disappointing and we have not been national contenders. The argument lies in the perception of what we SHOULD be. Frankly, we should be nationally contending every year given our resources, facilities and history. I feel that Michigan should be what Michigan State is....which is a perennial top 10-15 team. There is no excuse for us not to be and this is something that is insured through recruiting. Some of our fan base is okay with being a bubble program. Many of us are not and the ideology of what we SHOULD be is what divides us. Growing up in the Fab Five Era is damaging to a Michigan basketball fan in all honesty. Those teams were literally the "coolest" thing in sports at the time and the 2012-2014 teams were similar in style, swagger and overall energy. Once you're able to whole heartedly root for teams of that nature...it makes the predicament of the last 2 years very tough to stomach. The long and short of it is How do we get back there? How do we get back to nationally contending? Do we have the roster and are we recruiting the TOP FLIGHT talent to get back there?
I'm genuinely concerned as are many on this blog, about the future and direction of this program. I see a competent but very Non-Elite future. That shouldn't be the case at Michigan. We should enter every season feeling as though we can win the B1G and have a run deep in the NCAA tournament. This year...we are clawing just to make the field as a 8-10 seed. Our recruiting has dipped significantly the past few years and this bodes very badly for our future outlook. It's not about being competent anymore. The bar was raised. It's now about being ELITE. Our rivals are recruiting ELITE talent and we are not. The notion of striking gold with 3 star talent year in and year out is a false one. Our evaluation has seen us frankly miss on a few high 4 star and 5 star talents as well. Then there is the issue of post development. We are consistently one of the worst rebounding teams in basketball and our defense has dipped significantly the past 2 years. We are not coaching, recruiting or developing at a championship level now and honestly appear to have peaked as a program. This is extremely disheartening and depressing for a truly proud and capable program and fan base.
The next 3 weeks provide an opportunity to curb this slide and build momentum into the next few years. Beilein has recently showed interest in some additional 2017 talent......from Detroit no less. (Gasp) we have 4 winnable games left on the schedule. Maryland is a team we've already beaten and Wisconsin is beatable in their gym. NW is a win and Iowa just lost to Penn State on the road. We have to at minimum split these 4 to get into the tournament. A 1-3 finish would see an overall 1-4 finish in the final 5 games and result in tough seeding for the B1G tourney. This CANNOT happen. It's imperative that Beilein find a way to squeeze 3 more wins out of our remaining B1G scheduling (including B1G tourney). Failure to do so would result in back to back failures to Dance on our part while MSU enjoys possibly back to back Final Fours. This is recruiting death. We were beaten head up for 2 of MSU's current ELITE class of 4 and shunned by a third in Langford after the Battle debaccle. This will get worse with another dip by us and rise by them.
Recruiting is something I could go on further about but it's simply well documented that we have either missed, miss-evaluated or been left at the alter on and by our top targets since Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin. The recruiting had to pick up and we cannot turn into Wisconsin. We should be top 3 in basketball recruiting in the B1G. No excuse. We have an opportunity in the short term to make some noise and show progression. Win 3 more games before the NCAA tourney and get in. Then, get to the 2nd weekend. Get aggressive in recruiting and turn this thing around.....it's all on the table for us. If we fail at this it's honestly a reflection on the staff, culture and future track of our program. It's a pretty crucial time for our basketball program honestly. There is a ton to gain and a lot to conversely lose. If we miss the tourney again, John Beilein will be under some substantial heat....and rightfully so. If he gets us to the Sweet 16...it won't be shocking and be a great sign of his ability to lead this program back to where it was just a few years ago. The scary thought is that we were bad in the beginning of his Era and then spiked to great heights...only to fall back to where we started. This is hopefully not the case. Michigan fans want to be nationally contending and that desire is beyond the desire of a particular coach being responsible for us attaining that status. I personally hope Beilein can get it done because he is a good man and a great coach. I also know and refuse to be in denial of the fact that sometimes things simply run their course and become stale. It's time for Michigan to step up on the court and on the trail. This is not a mediocre level program. Michigan is designed to be ELITE and nothing short of consistently being ELITE should be acceptable. Go Blue
Beilein dropped in to watch '17 forward Jamal Cain play yesterday. Cain is a 6'7" forward out of Cornerstone Health and Tech in Detroit. He wasn't on the radar of most recruiting services last year, but has shot up the Rivals rankings to #70 now. He's had a few monsters games this year, but Cornerstone (IIRC) is Class D so the competition isn't as tough.
This is a recruitment that has the potential to heat up quickly. Notable offers are from Xavier, Wash St, and Georgia. The Xavier offer is particularly notable since they've pulled a few underrated players out of Michigan in recent years who are thriving there (Jalen Reynolds and Edmond Sumner).
Seems like a good athlete, nice looking jumpshot for a tall wing. Don't see him attacking the basket much in highlights so it's tough to get a sense for his ball-handling ability. Two question marks there. Kid looks like he may have a few more inches to grow, too, and definitely will fill out a bit more.
According to one message board poster, there were a few snickers in the crowd about Beilein's presence at the game and his lack of thereof in the recent past.
After starting the season in the D-League, Manny Harris signed with a Turkish team in January called Turk Telekom. Right now, they're playing in a tournament called the FIBA Europe Cup, and Manny is lighting it up. (It's some weird round-robin deal.)
Last night, they lost to a team from Russia, 96-95, but Manny lit it up for 27 points. Here's a video of the game, in case you want to see any of it. Manny is No. 12 on the Blue team, and he has some sweet facial hair going.