Banner Day

Submitted by Brian on March 5th, 2012 at 12:25 PM

3/3/2012 – Michigan 71, Penn State 65 – 23-8, 13-5 Big Ten
3/3/2012 – Michigan State 70, Ohio State 72 – both teams finish 13-5 in conference

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A few days ago Jalen Rose did color for the Illinois game. Before he did so he took the opportunity to say "I bleed maize and blue" and that he wants the Fab Five's banners back up in 2013, when the NCAA-mandated dissociation with that era ends. I get why. From his perspective, those banners symbolize a fun time he had when he was young and some baggy pants and black socks took the nation by storm.

I don't want those banners back up. Even if you believe that Michigan got screwed over by the NCAA, that Ed Martin had tickets a bunch of different places, etc., the banners still mean not only that Michigan won some games in March 20 years ago but that they didn't win any for a long time after that. Those banners are not only about the four unsullied members of the Fab Five and the enigma that is Chris Webber but Taylor and Traylor and Bullock and what those teams represented.

Not to pick on a guy with obvious problems, but this is the quickest way to get that across:

dommanic-ingerson-naked

Dom Ingerson coming out of a lake naked, about to be arrested. That's where the Fab Five era ended.

Even if it's thanks largely to things out of their control, that's a fact. Steve Fisher had tenuous control over the Fab Five. He was see-no-evil about Ed Martin, and that attitude eventually turned malignant. This had obvious off-court effects, but even worse than the flesh wound issued by the NCAA years after the fact was the way Fisher's abdication showed up on the court. Even as they were playing, I hated them. They invented being Terrelle Pryor. When we talk about how easy it is to root for Michigan's teams these days, the unstated subtext is always thank God they're nothing like Maurice Taylor.

Yes yes: socioeconomic something something, The Wire, Bomani Jones and Jason Whitlock, etc. Doesn't change the fact that Denard Robinson is a joy and Taylor sulked around the court putting in just enough effort to get a B- while taking a bunch of money from a guy he'd been told to stay away from, then rolled his SUV with Mateen Cleaves in it.

While I feel bad for Jalen Rose in the limited way a civilian can feel bad for a famous multimillionaire former NBA star, those banners are the seed of a poisonous tree. I'd rather leave it in the past. I'd rather never think about Maurice Taylor again.

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I don't think we have to worry about this one coming down. John Beilein heads the ethics committee; when he's taped giving a pregame speech he invariably comes off like a high school chemistry teacher who got lost on his way to work and would rather be talking about pipettes but is making a go of this whole basketball-coaching business.

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You may remember me from such characters as Bryan Cranston in the Breaking Bad pilot

Michigan's players run the gamut from lightly recruited to literally un-recruited. Zack Novak once knew 62 digits of pi. Michigan yoinked its starters away from Harvard, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Xavier, and nobody.* If someone has done something outside of the NCAA guidelines to assemble this team they have chosen poorly and are aging into dust as we speak.

When I wrote the Webber piece linked above I noted that it was a little stomach-churning that Michigan's reaction to the Martin scandal was to go from a basketball team Ice Cube thought was cool to Opie In The Sky With Diamonds:

I don't understand Jalen Rose, don't understand Webber, don't understand the lady in the gas station on the South Side of Chicago I asked directions of who responded "I don't know about any damn directions." I do understand the visceral thrill of those bald heads and black socks, but only vicariously, like a kid from Troy buying an NWA cassette. I can't say why I thought Jim Nantz's obviously racist distaste for the Fab Five was obviously racist, but I had a Nantz-like reaction to that lady in Chicago. I understand why my fiancée continually mishears Duke's mascot as the "white devils" and simultaneously have less than zero sympathy for Robert Traylor and would want to punch him in the face if I ever met him and he was tied to a rock and he had no idea who I was and I could definitely run away before he got loose.

Webber's redemption never happened with him or Taylor or Bullock, and while Bullock was from some suburb in Maryland and cannot be redeemed—seriously, he can die in a fire for all I care—maybe if Chris Webber said something brutally honest it would help me be less confused and sad about Michigan basketball in the 90s, and maybe a bunch of other things of greater significance.

It bothers me that Michigan's response to the NCAA scandal was to go from culturally black enough to have Ice Cube in your documentary to Duke Lite, but goddammit I also wanted some directions.

This remains true but is of limited application outside of moody pieces about things better left buried.

What yesterday did is bury that, permanently. I doubt I'm ever going to grapple with what the Fab Five means to Michigan's program again. It's not a looming anchor or propellant or injustice or cautionary tale anymore. It's not really anything. It's not relevant, finally finally finally. It took 20 years, a Big Ten championship, and Michigan's best recruiting class since the Fab Five to do it but now it's in the past.

This program has been arriving for just over a year now. For months I've had to tamp down the "what about next year!" urge many of us feel when surveying the roster and recruiting class. The great thing is: it arrived before Novak and Douglass aged out. Instead of trying to keep themselves together on the radio like David Merritt or not having to but not being out there like CJ Lee, Novak and Douglass will come back next year for a banner-raising ceremony. They'll watch a really good basketball team play afterwards, and they'll know that whenever anyone looks up in the Crisler rafters they'll be there even if their name isn't.

This program is not going away, and the culture is set. This one is not going to end up with a naked guy coming out of a lake. With all due respect to Jalen Rose, that's where the focus should be. This is Michigan: pi-memorizing, expectation-exceeding, Opie-headed, three-bombing, AP-chemistry-teacher basketball. Oh, and champions.

Champions.

*[Respectively: Douglass, Burke, Hardaway, Morgan, Novak.]

Media

The official site put together a react video that is up there amongst the best items in their brief history doing this*:

I think Vogrich is exclaiming "that's what I'd doooooooo" as Buford hits his ridiculous game winner. Zack Novak's slo-mo abs are for you, ladies. ESPN highlights:

*["Louie Caporusso: Love Expert" is still #1 in my book.]

Bullets

Oh, right, the game. It was mostly notable for a couple of frustrating Penn State surges after Michigan pushed out to near-20 point leads. The first one was just one of those things, the second a frustrating combination of pity refereeing (a real phenomenon) and Michigan getting lax.

If there's any concern to be pulled from the game it's the unexpected softness of Michigan's generally quality D against a team that is terrible offensively. Penn State got to the basket far too often for a team of their stature. Some of that is Smotrycz, who is still uncomfortable as a 5. Some of that was Morgan not playing up to his usual standard. It's likely those issues get worked out before the Big Ten Tourney.

Shooting shootists alert. Dakich brought this up every time Smotrycz or Hardaway hit a shot, and he's right: if Smotrycz and Hardaway are hitting shots, look out. The two combined to hit 6 of 10 from three. If that's happening and Burke is nailing those mid-range shots off the hedge, Michigan will cruise by anyone they can D up.

Unfortunately, a couple games can't erase the a conference-schedule long slump. Hardaway's stretch of efficient play is now six games long, though. At some point it will cross over into expectation. (Until he misses a couple to start the game.)

Meanwhile, Douglass. Douglass had nine points on five shots, six assists, just one turnover, and zero fouls despite having a plurality of the Tim Frazier duty. He's almost a second point guard on the floor.

I've said this before but Douglass's improvement this year is a lot like Will Heininger's: it gives you a ton of faith in Michigan's player development. If Lavall Jordan can just tighten up Hardaway's handle a little bit…

The tournament. Michigan plays the Iowa-Northwestern winner at 6:30 Friday; if they win they'll draw either Purdue, Nebraska, or Ohio State in the semis. Full bracket from Inside The Hall:

bigten030412[1]

U MAD, BRAH? Derrick Nix:

"It's tough, even though we're the Big Ten champs. It really means nothing because we had to share it with two other teams."

The worst part about sharing?

"We had to share it with our little nephews, and that sucks. So now they're happy because we lost. We got to just try to win this Big Ten tournament."

The top teams went 1-1 against each other and Michigan's one-plays were Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska.

Adventures in poor timing. This is the saddest banner unfurling ever:

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Even if they lost they're completely crushed they shared the title with Michigan. Sparty gonna Spart.

Elsewhere

This RCMB thread posts the M celebration video; OP says he "wants to punch the nearest SCummer" but is named "Dong Forest," which is a dead giveaway. Troll on, troller. Sparty in a nutshell: "I'd rather o$u win the title outright than um get to share it."

HSR suggests a banner design:

B1G Champs[1]

I already have my request in for bleeding, but if that doesn't take I'd actually like to see the sign have a listing of  the seniors on the team with it.

Quotes and whatnot from UMHoops. Burke got in a good Yogi Berra-ism:

On watching the final seconds of the game: “It’s indescribable. As soon as he shot it, the ball was in the air. It was silent the whole time the ball was in the air. Before he inbounded the ball, they had showed Buford, and he had a look in his eye, and it just looked like he was going to take this last shot and he was going to hit it. Once he got the ball, went left and shot it, Appling played great D. Once it went in, everybody just flooded the hallway, jumping up and down. My biggest fear was that they were going to hit a half court shot or something, but once they missed that, it was great.”

Beilein:

On the emotion of winning a Big Ten title: “The most rewarding part of what just happened is watching our young men’s faces. When you’ve coached this long, and our staff knows this, it’s not about the W’s. It’s about the journey. And while it’s not the end of the journey, it’s certainly a highlight in this year’s journey, and for some guys a four-year journey.”Latest bracketology still has M on the three-line in Nashville… with Vandy a potential second round matchup. Protected seeds, Lunardi?

He continued, "now if you'll open your textbooks to chapter eight we can start talking about covalent bonds."

The Daily datelines its piece "BUFFALO WILD WINGS." NYT:

“I never could have imagined this when I came here,” the senior guard Zack Novak said. “It’s like Christmas every day, having a great place to practice and play, all the fan support, and we’re working hard and getting the wins.

“We’ve all had our hearts broken here, so we really appreciate things we’re getting and how they’re coming to us. It’s setting us up for even bigger successes now and in the future.”

Baumgardner is all like "a banner is a banner is a banner." Agreed.

Comments

jg2112

March 5th, 2012 at 12:37 PM ^

The banner debate is silly, as if the aesthetics of seeing a banner in the stadium, or having it taken down due to some after-the-fact sleuthing, take away our memories about what actually happened.

Rational, composed humans can take the good with the bad. For those of us who played basketball on basketball teams in the early 90s and were fans of Michigan and looked up to those guys as basketball idols (I am one of those "us"), those games against Duke, against UCLA, against Temple, against UNC happened. To ignore them is to forget what was an incredibly exciting time in basketball.

Teams like Michigan, Minnesota, Memphis, UNLV can take down all the banners they want and they can pretend things never happened, or they can raise those banners in order to celebrate achievement while still remember failings. In 2013, those banners should go back up - maybe it's a good thing (like in South Africa and Germany) to have the truth out in the open, to discuss it, and set the right path going forward. That's what leaders do, right?

 

Coastal Elite

March 5th, 2012 at 1:10 PM ^

I don't think taking down the banners is a way of ignoring history, but I think it's a recognition that we're not going to *celebrate* an era that left - at best - a very checkered legacy. South Africa and Germany have openly confronted their history, yes, but they don't still hang Nazi banners or Apartheid propaganda in government offices.

jmblue

March 5th, 2012 at 3:45 PM ^

But what is there to think about, other than 1) how much money he took and 2) how much his teams underachieved?  We accomplished nothing of consequence when Taylor was here (1994-97).  The Taylor "era" was forgettable even before the Ed Martin scandal happened. 

Now for C-Webb, it's a little more complicated.

jg2112

March 5th, 2012 at 1:15 PM ^

I guess then that the importance of banners is what is being interpreted here. UCLA still hangs their banners even though there's tons of evidence that they ran a pretty crooked program back in the day.

I've never walked into Williams or Mariucci or Ridder Arenas and cheered at a banner, but I will tell you my kids ask me what they mean and how the teams got those banners. They are the acknowledgment of history. That stuff happened.

And without treading into politics, you don't have to go far in Germany or South Africa to find government-sponsored projects talking about those times in national history. It's there and it's confronted.

Newk

March 5th, 2012 at 1:24 PM ^

I don't think a banner confronts the complex and partially ugly truth of the Fab Five era and its legacy. To compare hanging a banner to the extensive and thoughtful efforts made by the Germans to deal with the Nazi era is ridiculous.

But Michigan should make some comparable effort to remember what happened without whitewashing the damage done to the basketball program and the university - but just putting the banners back up doesn't cut it.

Michael Scarn

March 5th, 2012 at 6:14 PM ^

Right, but I would think when comparing responses to "disagreeable history", the magnitute of how disagreeable that history is would also dictate the analysis of the appropriateness of the responses. (That's an awful sentence, but still.) I just think it's a fools errand to compare things that are so disparate.    

JeepinBen

March 5th, 2012 at 1:21 PM ^

I think the analogy about terrible history is apt. Who knows, maybe the banners could hang in the new Crisler Awesomeness that they're building in a display case with a plaque about the accomplishments and failings. That way it's on display, but not up in the rafters, acknowledged, but critically so.  

jmblue

March 5th, 2012 at 3:34 PM ^

In 2013, those banners should go back up - maybe it's a good thing (like in South Africa and Germany) to have the truth out in the open, to discuss it, and set the right path going forward. That's what leaders do, right?

Do you feel the same way about OSU and its vacated 2010 championship, or does this logic only apply to Michigan?

We vacated the games. The banners can't go up. I loved those teams, but what's done is done. The NCAA will never reinstate those lost seasons.

bronxblue

March 5th, 2012 at 3:48 PM ^

I totally agree.  If the seasons are not on the official record book, then to me they never happened.  It sucks, but putting up banners for lost seasons seems silly to me.  Kind of like if USC had kept displaying an MNC trophy for the one that was taken as a result of the Reggie Bush fiasco.  

bacon1431

March 5th, 2012 at 12:38 PM ^

Love where the program is headed. Thought we'd be a bubble team going into the year, but the team surpassed all expectations (I don't care if they were top 15 preseason. I still think that was crazy after losing DMo and replacing him with a freshman PG). Go Blue. Big Ten Champions. Got a nice ring to it.

M-Wolverine

March 5th, 2012 at 12:38 PM ^

Not sure that's not worse, but whatever.

Hopefully the Breaking Bad comparisons end at the pilot.

As for the rest...man, you can be emo about anything, no matter how much fun it was, huh?

biakabutoucan_sam

March 5th, 2012 at 12:58 PM ^

...dropping your final two while UM goes 7 of their last 8, they should be less mad about losing to share and more happy that Michigan blew the Purdue game.

Congrats to the 2011-2012 Wolverines, you deserve that banner fellas.

 

bronxblue

March 5th, 2012 at 4:05 PM ^

I was thinking the same thing.  Saw somewhere an MSU fan said no team should win the B1G title if they lost to Purdue and Iowa, which seemed silly to me since they lost to NW and Illinois.  Wins and losses happen, and unlike in football you'll typically have enough sample size that teams don't experience some great scheduling advantage for a given season.

TrppWlbrnID

March 5th, 2012 at 12:50 PM ^

at 3:46 of that video, i am pretty sure Borges is there celebrating. not to take away from b-ball, but i like the idea that the two coaching staffs intermingle and celebrate together - very familial.

Erik_in_Dayton

March 5th, 2012 at 12:57 PM ^

It's hard to believe that one of my favorite memories of this year is a game-winner by William Buford, but there it is.  I jumped out of my chair and yelled when that thing went in.  What a day!

bacon1431

March 5th, 2012 at 1:15 PM ^

I'm glad it was Buford that hit the shot at least. I'm from the Toledo area and my sophomore year of high school, my JV and Varsity basketball teams had a scrimmage against his JV and Varsity teams his freshman year. I can't be sure, but my good friend and I think he dunked over my friend while he tried to take a charge. Hit him in the nads and he was pissing blood for a couple days. Or so the legend goes.

david from wyoming

March 5th, 2012 at 1:03 PM ^

Brian, I get that you have an opinion about the banners and I get the Rose has an opinion about the banners. But, you know, since he was the guy that earned those banners that later came down, I think I'm going to have to side with him.

Everyone has a right to their own opinions. Rose's take on them means more to me then the average MICH fan.

HarBooYa

March 5th, 2012 at 1:54 PM ^

Dues paid to ncaa, not blogger and fans. Not sure anything more is owed to he fans than to continue to run as clean of program as is possible in current environment. The big ten championship, seemingly done the right way, was the only additional payment owed us, no? If the NCAA no longer forbids the association why should we and why should we continue to punish the supermajority of players and personnel associated with the era? Seems like some holier than thou, masturbory symbolism to me. In my mind, the "other side of the worst of fan in all of us (read: the other end being the cheating liar side).

jmblue

March 5th, 2012 at 3:37 PM ^

The punishment can't be "served."  According to the NCAA, the four players lost their collegiate eligibility once they started taking money from a man who was a booster (which he was from April 1992 onward).  You can't become retroactively eligible.  You're either eligible or you aren't.

bronxblue

March 5th, 2012 at 4:40 PM ^

Just because Rose was involved in obtaining those banners doesn't mean that he has the end-all, be-all right to keep them up.  The NCAA determined that Rose's teams were involved in illegal activities and wiped their existence from the official record of UM and NCAA sport history.  As a result, though banners do not exist from a historical perspective.  Yes, that is only half the story and there are good reasons why people should not foget about them, but to hang them up in Crisler would be an attempt to recognize a history that doesn't officially exist, and one that would be difficult to explain to future generations and in keeping true to the mantras of UM (i.e. we are recognizing "cheating" by an institution that has gone out of its way to never be accused of such improprieties since).

I get that Rose wants them back up, but you can't always get what you want in life.  I'm sure he can have them hung up in his house or some non-UM affiliated facility, but it does not seem logical to hang them in Crisler or anywhere else on campus.

Jensencoach

March 5th, 2012 at 1:11 PM ^

Per usual, nice work Brian.  I love how the seniors know that they are not just playing for themselves now, but also for the future of Michigan basketball.  They have totally bought into the program and deserve to see that banner.  Be nice if the NCAA bracket stays as is, a sweet 16 rematch with Duke would be explosive.

Bando Calrissian

March 5th, 2012 at 1:16 PM ^

I think it says everything about the Fab Five, the Ed Martin scandal, etc., that even when we do something truly great, hang a non-NIT banner for the first time since 1998*, we still have to talk about Ed Martin, the Fab Five, Chris Webber, etc.

Can this banner be the exorcism?  Can it be the forever-banned moment for the valley of the shadow of death in which our program existed for those long and terrible years?

The Fab Five cares about -their- legacy, not Michigan.  John Beilein and these kids who just played their tail off, and all the players who came before them during the doldrums of Michigan Basketball, did so in spite of what Ed Martin, and everyone who enabled him (from the coaching staff down to the players and their families), foisted on this program and this University.  It says a lot about a guy like Jalen that even when he's covering a team in 2012, he can't stop talking about 1992, the banners, Webber, etc.

Enough is enough.  2013 is not the year for Fab Five Rehabilitation and Chris Webber Night at Crisler.  It's the year for a conference title defense.  Those guys choose to try to steal the limelight from a bunch of kids who were in diapers when they played (like toss up another billboard defending their "legacy"), or they can admit they are infinitely less important than what Coach and these kids are trying to do NOW to form a foundation worth building upon, which is something the Fab Five (and Traylor/Bullock/Taylor/etc.) can never claim.

M-Wolverine

March 5th, 2012 at 1:31 PM ^

Between the shot made at the end of the OSU game till this post, I haven't seen ANYBODY bring that stuff up.  Till Brian did here. It really has nothing to do with it.  As echoWhiskey says below, it might have made for two interesting separate posts, but put together it's forced, and unnecessary. The only one detracting from what the 2011-2012 Michigan Basketball team accomplished by making comparisons is Brian, and yourself, apparently.  On a day it should be all about them, someone's still talking about 20 years ago.  Off some comment Jalen made 4 days ago, before we had won anything.

It's a fine and defendable take on that era. But to tie it into what happened yesterday is kinda unseemly. This year's team rescued us from cheap facilities, bad coaching hires, and questionable recruiting far more than it did any sanction we got after. Because lots of teams have been hammered and come back faster than that. We were our own worst enemy.

MosherJordan

March 5th, 2012 at 1:17 PM ^

We can't point a finger at OSU and Pryor without being utter hypocrites unless we accept that we were once guilty of the same, and that what seperates Michigan from Ohio is that we regret that we came up short of our high standards, not that we got caught.

This is Michigan Fergodsakes!

echoWhiskey

March 5th, 2012 at 1:19 PM ^

Ughh... these should have been seperate posts.  Let's take time to celebrate the present without rehashing the past.  It's important to remember where this program came from, but this post has needless broad assumptions that sure put a damper on the tenor of it.

I'm elated for the current team and it's important to recognize that they've accomplished something that hasn't been done in more than 20 years - even without taking into account Fab Five mind-erasing.  

But tying that into the Fab Five and that era seems forced here.  Perhaps that's just because I disagree with so much of Brian's take on that era.