“Quite honestly, when you look at it, it’s a buncha guys that probably shouldn’t be here or weren’t wanted here and, you know, whatever,” he said. “A guy like Moe (Wagner), hardly recruited; Muhammad(-Ali Abdur-Rahkman), two-star whatever; everyone wanted X to be done at Michigan; myself, I had to beg for a freakin’ scholarship. Didn’t get one out of high school. Charles, in the SEC, Kentucky, he didn’t cut it. So it’s like, when you get these personalities and these guys who have kinda been overlooked, whatever, their whole careers and kinda come together and believe in something collectively, it’s pretty special.”
This is straight from Duncan Robinson's mouth. This is the archetypal Beilein team. He finds players that no one else knows about or wants, and he puts the pieces of the puzzle together like a fictional movie character playing chess 15 moves ahead of the competition. There is, and will be, all sorts of over the top praise for Beilein this week (not unlike mine here). He deserves all of it. This roster of players and their accomplishments represent one of the best coaching jobs in modern college basketball history:
32 wins (school record), B1G tournament champions (B2B), Final 4, dominators of rivals, win with flair (Poole), win with class (Wagner), win clean (Beilein/everyone), inspirational fans (Jude Stamper, Mo's mom), ridiculous in season improvement (Z), darkhorse regional MVP (Matthews), ice in veins (MAAR - Maryland free throws), losing starting role with class and becoming B1G 6th man of year (Duncan), transfer from program as possible conference POY to backup PG who stands by his decision and is thrilled to even be in the tournament (Simmons), True freshman starter who plays hard and rarely shows up in the box score (Livers), 7 footer who went from lost boy to incredible defender playing the perfect role off of the bench (Teske) best defensive assistant in the country (Yaklich), unheralded contributor to incredible guard improvement (Haynes), humble yet efective developer of big men and coach who only wins B1G tourney championships (Washington, 2 for 2)...
Those are just a few tidbits of what make this team special.
TELL ME WHY YOU LOVE THIS TEAM...
Coach Harbaugh sent out a classy tweet congratulating the Men's basketball team and Coach Beilein. He did this knowing that many bitter and mean-spirited people would respond with cutting remarks on Twitter (which they did in grand fashion). He sent the tweet any way, at substantial personal cost, because he is proud of the team and proud of Coach Beilein. Beilein and Harbaugh have stated in interviews that they communicate in texts. Harbaugh has certainly reached out to Beilein multiple times during this incredible season. However, he made this public statement to show his support for all to see. I have always had great respect for Coach Harbaugh, but this is a whole new level of humility and leadership that increased my affinity for him. We have some incredible coaches at Michigan. In my mind, I hear James Earl Jones saying, "The greatest university in the world.' I am proud of Coach Harbaugh, and of course - proud of Coach Beilein. Go blue!
Congratulations on the big win & trip to the Final Four! Fun to watch our team, expertly coached, extremely talented & great Team chemistry! Familar territory for Michigan teams coached by @johnbeilein. Proud of the way the fans & the team represented our great university.
What else ya got?
14-1 postseason last two years
4 of 6 last Sweet Sixteens
3 trips to Round of Eight last six years
2 of last 6 Final Fours
One national championship game (opponent win vacated)
Winning record over Izzo from third year when he had his own players
3-0 last three games over MSU with 50-point total margin of victory
Two Big Ten Conference championships
Won last two B1G tourneys (8-0)
Tied for second-most tourney wins (15) since 2013 after North Carolina (with 16)
EDIT: Changed "Great Eight" to Round of Eight because of readers' aesthetic objections (I'd swear it used to be called that). And accept two criticisms: first, Izzo's accomplishments are considerable, starting with an NC; and two, that rubbing in Michigan's supremacy now may lack a certain gallantry. Have to admit, though, that I am still burning at the news from MSU, including where Izzo is concerned. And I am motivated in putting together the above list not just by his detractors there but here; the criticism of Beilein, when it strayed to calls for his firing, have been stupid as h*ll. If there are items that might be added to it, please let me know.
I find it even more fascinating that our team received modest B1G honors, especially in hindsight of having reached the Final Four. Clearly one of the best teams in the country - with an actual chance to be the best - was only good enough for the following individual honors:
1 - 2nd Team All B1G (Moe)
1 - Honorable Mention All B1G (MAAR)
1 - Sixth Man Award (Formerly-known-as-Uncan)
Nothing else. No coach award. No Freshman award. Modest individual awards, and I don't know if I even disagree with the awards. But I do think this says something about how special this team is: mental toughness, unselfishness, competitive fortitute, desire to be coached, ambition to be their best, and anger towards anyone that gets in their way.
What do you think about this? I didn't compare our awards this year with other Final Four teams over the years, but I would expect this to be on the low end, right?
Michigan has two 9 seeds and an 11 seed left to face in order to make it to the national championship game.
With the way we are playing, I am not sure it matters who we play. However, having improved odds by playing all the Cinderellas is certainly something we can appreciate as fans.
Who wants to face Michigan right now? No sane coach or team would want a piece of this Michigan action right now.
Pick your poison. This team always finds a way to win. Today it was decimation mode, but it does not really matter. Michigan basketball has risen to elite program status (3 elite 8s in 6 years). However, the fun is just beginning...
My 11 year-old son is a talented and dedicated Michigan fan. He made this hype video sheerly for my viewing pleasure. I asked if I could share it with other Michgan fans on a blog, and he was all for it. If comments are kind and appropriate, I will share those with him. Thanks and go blue!
Edit: Thanks for all the kind words! I shared them with my son and he is very grateful.
Also, he has other trick shot videos if you liked that one. youtube: Schilt shots
John Beilein has gotten Michigan to its 4th Sweet 16 in 6 years. I've done some sleep deprived and slightly intoxicated research, and the number of programs who have officially gotten to 4 or more Sweet 16's in the last 6 years:
North Carolina, Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, Gonzaga, Arizona, Wisconsin, and tomorrow Michigan State will have the opportunity to match it.
No matter how far Michigan ends up going in this tournament, I would like to appreciate how John Beilein has consistently elevated this program into the upper echelon of college basketball.
Thank you coach.
Former Michigan basketball player Chris Webber was on the Rich Eisen show a few days ago and to my surprise, he congratulated and praised Beilein and the team. I know he doesn't have the best relationship with the univeristy, Jalen and even some of the fans, but I'm glad to know he still watches from afar. I'm personally a big C-Webb fan, as I know there are many out there who still are as well. Just nice to see him acknowledge coach and the team publicly. Also, gives his insight on the NBA, college basketball and how we can possibly fix the issues it currently has. Good listen overall.
Starts at 7:50
Trie to embed, not working for me.