Fascinating story by John Niyo in today's Detroit News about an upcoming documentary on Curtis Jones, the Detroit basketball legend from the 1960s and 70s. I can't want to see this.
Really interesting Michigan connection, as well. Back in the late 1960s, Jones (who was illiterate) said he was promised a spot on the Michigan team by Johnny Orr and Fred Snowden if he got eligible at a junior college in Idaho. He later filed a huge lawsuit, naming Michigan, Orr and Snowden, saying they exploited him for his basketball talents.
Jalen Rose connection in the story, too.
Surprised this hasn't been posted yet, but here's the ESPN story...
So the story goes that in early December after MSU had just run their record to 5-3 Michigan grad, Derek Stevens, strolls into the Golden Nugget and throws down a bet on MSU to win it all. Obviously, with Izzo taking his team to the Final Four, the bet looks great now. But as a Michigan grad, I was surprised to see him throw down so much on MSU.
Would definitely be crazy to see him take Vegas for a cool million.
Did anybody even hear about this? I haven't watched much TV the last few days but I don't remember seeing anything about either one being fired on the blog.
Tennessee fired Tyndall after recruiting violations during his time at Southern Miss surfaced.
Barnes' 17 year run at Texas also ended. Many would consider his tenure as underachieving and I would agree.
But 247 is reporting that Tennessee will hire Barnes possibly by tonight.
It also appears that Texas' version of Dave Brandon in Steve Patteson is still going strong as it is believed that Patterson leaked to the media that if Barnes didn't make staff changes he would be fired. Patterson also didn't attend the press conference.
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.
Good news on the Jaylen Brown front. Definitely do not want to copy and paste straight from Scout, but to paraphrase a little bit, two separate sources (Sam Webb and Brian Snow) have heard that not only is Michigan in the running for Brown's services next year, but that we are in the top TWO. Both insiders are unsure who the other team in the top two would be. Kentucky, Kansas, and UCLA are possibilities.
For those who have a Scout membership, the information can be found here:
Trying not to get my hopes up too high here, but I think if we somehow scored Brown, and Caris came back, we would be a top five team next year.
WBB is playing Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg in the quarterfinals of the WNIT. There is live audio on mgoblue.com. The only video is on a subscription service through the Southern Miss website.
A win will launch us into the final four. Go Blue!!
Alright, folks, we've got half of the Final Four - we'll know the other half today. On CBS, we have:
2:20 PM - Michigan State vs. Louisville (line is MSU -2.5, I think)
5:05 PM - Duke vs. Gonzaga (line is Duke -2.0, last I saw)
My picks in the ESPN Bracket were Louisville and Duke, but I have MSU and Gonzaga in my yearly "chaos bracket" too.
Two teams will make an exit tonight, but for now, you've got:
Wisconsin / Arizona - going right now on TBS. 10-2 Wisconsin with 16:09 to go in the 1st.
Notre Dame / Kentucky - that could be intriguing