Over the weekend, I was having a conversation with a couple of Michigan fans regarding the "elite" status of our program. All agreed that we are not really an elite program. While we have shown flashes of it lately, we really needed to maintain some level of consistency and sustainability to really be considered elite. Also, we all agreed that we are likely in that second tier below the traditional elite programs (Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, etc).
Where opinions started to differ, was whether we can truly EVER be an elite program given the state of college basketball. One guy was very much like many on this board: we can't be a Duke or Kansas etc. and that just the way it is and there is nothing we can do about it. A couple of us, including myself, we're less satisfied and more bullish about where this program can go. To get to that next level of college programs will largely be dictated by winning more big games on a big stage. And in doing so, we think the following things need to happen (in no particular order):
1. Recruit slightly better talent-wise (i.e. more stars) than what we currently do and more consistantly. There seems to be a high correlation between talent and winning (duh!). Finding diamonds in the rough are great, but seems as though you can't build a sustainable elite program on them.
2. Spearhead a change in NCAA regulations around recruiting. Third hand accounts suggest recruiting is a dirty business, and one in which we will not partake. This obviously hurts our ability to recruit top talent and address the issue in point #1 above. For example, if we can somehow lead an effort to push the NCAA to adopt a hockey type model for recruits (in essence mitigating the one-and-done effect) and implementing tighter regulation around some of the recutiing filth (i.e. bagmen, etc), we can be more competitive regarding recruiting.
3. Coaching profile. I like JB. I think he is one of the best minds in the game. I wish we got him when he was younger. Our opinion: the best model in college basketball is to find a young, talented, hungry coach that will stay ~20+ years in the program, implementing best practices and innovative basketball methodologies (i.e. Coach K, Izzo, Boehiem, etc.). This would give the program an "identity" that resonates well with top recruits across a couple generations. There are obvious excpetions here.
So what are your thoughts? How can Michigan become a truly elite college basketball program? Or perhaps you think we already are an elite program. Would be curious to hear those thoughts too.