Hello, Springton!

Submitted by Brian on March 16th, 2009 at 11:58 AM

3/16/2009 – Michigan 1, Decade Of Misery 0 … ok, 11.


So who else had a little heart attack when Arizona made the field and Wisconsin popped up as a twelve seed? I spent most of the past month reassuring everyone, including myself, that 9-9 and 1-1 in the Big Ten tourney would be good enough. But as 8, 9, 10, and 11 seeds rolled off the board with Michigan conspicuously absent, irrational concern rose.

There weren't nearly enough crazy bids deployed for Michigan to come under any threat whatsoever. As soon as two things went right on Saturday—which was about 5 PM—Michigan was in. Everyone everywhere told us so. But paranoia is a powerful thing.

Unruly sections of my brain busied themselves constructing scenarios in which the selection committee had managed to discount the Big Ten's impressive body of work outside of the conference. They'd been listening to Digger Phelps. They were going to put Providence and Notre Dame and Georgetown in. Corroboration: Mike Slive of the SEC was the head of the committee. Corroboration: Ohio State's athletic director was a member. Something could have gone wrong.

Obviously this is ridiculous, but they left us as late as possible and you can only stare at Brian/Greg/Burt Gumbel, whichever it was, so long without having your mind wander towards horrible apocalyptic events.

So when the time came…

…that reaction seemed totally appropriate. Most of the time it comes off as silly; the boredom expressed by Kansas and Pittsburgh is more reasonable than what appeared to be the entire state of North Dakota losing its mind when it found out which major conference team—the aforementioned Kansas—was highly likely to bludgeon it into submission. NDSU knew it was in. Not even the world's most inexplicable and pointless vast SEC/Ohio State conspiracy could keep the Bison out. I mean, it guess it's cool for you guys to be on TV, but it's not like there was any suspense.

The closest analogue I can think of is the reaction when a rock star says "HELLO SPRINGTON!" and the arena goes "OH MY GOD HE'S IN SPRINGTON I AM JUST REALIZING THIS NOW." Usually large groups of people assembled in a gym to be excited about something are going to be excited about something stupid. Lord knows I won't feel that way.

Ten minutes later I was again revealed to be a big huge hypocrite. Whatever. That happens all the time. Michigan making the tournament does not. Here's to future boredom with these things, and current joy.

Sandy, tired, camel-riding, joyous bullets:

  • HT UMHoops for the celebration video.
  • Crisler's reaction is on the front page of the Washington Post.
  • A few things jumped out at me during the seedings: 1) Ohio State in Dayton against a #1 seed? Congratulations, Louisville, on your reward. 2) Siena got a 9; they were definitely in anyway. Not so much Utah State and their 11.
  • Season ticket holders can get tickets online.
  • At least a couple writers have Michigan as one of their tourney sleepers. Gary Parrish names Michigan one of two double-digit seeds with the best chance to make the Sweet 16. (USC is the other, and is also a ten seed. As far as double-digit seed upset predictions go that's as chalk as you can get.)
  • The official site recaps Beilein's day: he goes to St. Thomas! Coffee from Caribou! He "meets family" at Bar Louie and probably enjoys a well-deserved, slightly overpriced drink!



March 16th, 2009 at 12:08 PM ^

Wish I could have been there. That reaction was pure, un-self conscious joy. And well-earned.

Those kinds of reactions are my absolute favorite thing about sports, by a mile.


March 16th, 2009 at 1:46 PM ^

The youtube video someone posted in the comment section of MGoBoard shows Gibson losing his shoe during his celebration and having to put it back on. Just made me laugh b/c it seems fitting for Gibson.

Sgt. Wolverine

March 16th, 2009 at 12:11 PM ^

Yeah, I was actually getting nervous -- as nervous as I get while I'm watching a close big game. But man, it was worth it when Michigan came up on the screen and they showed the shot of Crisler going crazy.

chitownblue (not verified)

March 16th, 2009 at 12:17 PM ^

As far as us being a sleeper to make the sweet-16, Oklahoma is like the worst matchup for us possible. Blake Griffin may be able to score 70 on us.


March 16th, 2009 at 12:31 PM ^

The thing you have to consider is that, since Blake Griffin suffered a concussion against Texas on February 21st, Oklahoma has lost 5 of 6 with their only win coming against Texas Tech. They have not been the same team since his injury, so Michigan could catch them at the perfect time


March 16th, 2009 at 12:53 PM ^

I understand the argument that Mich is so weak inside that Hansbrough would go for a 40pt/40rebound game on us or Pitt would out rebound us 50-0, but I think Beilein has proven that he understands how to minimize that mismatch and put a competitive team on the floor. We have played #1 seed Uconn, #2 seed Duke(twice), #2 seed MSU, #5 Illinois, #5 Purdue and #6 UCLA. We have been competitive in almost every one of those games so while I feared the embarrasment against UConn it has yet to materialize. We'll go zone, allow some off. rebounds and try to get some turnovers and if we shoot well we'll have a chance and if we don't we'll probably get hammered, but the fear of the bulldog post guy needs to be buried. We may lose, but we have a shot against anyone. That we have proven.


March 16th, 2009 at 1:02 PM ^

Teams that have had an overwhelming inside presence have all beaten us this year (Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Illinois 2 of 3 times). I don't think anyone is debating the fact that we can be competitive, but we have not actually beaten a team with lots of size all season

EDIT: Add UConn to that list


March 16th, 2009 at 1:19 PM ^

I totally agree. I'm sure that Griffin will push around whomever guards him, but UM has played against physical teams (don't forget Wiscy), and at least held its own. What will hurt UM this game is if Oklahoma's outside shooters get hot, and right now it looks like the Sooners are swooning a bit and might be ripe for an upset. Getting by Clemson, of course, will be pretty tough in and of itself, despite the Tigers being in one of their famous late-season collapses.


March 16th, 2009 at 12:36 PM ^

Normally, confusing 2 of a city's newspapers would not be a big deal. While confusing the Washington Times and the Post isn't quite on the level of mixing up the New York Times and Post, it is still significant.

Two kinds of people read the Washington Times. People that just need to keep reading papers because of their jobs or their OCD problem and people that are sure Obama is going to turn the US into the Soviet Union (was born in Kenya, killed Vince Foster, is a Muslim, cavorts with terriers etc.)

Everyone reads the Post except for spouses of Republicans (true story) that can't stand to read bad things about their husbands/wives. Larry Craig's wife is probably a big Washington Times reader.

El Jeffe

March 16th, 2009 at 3:18 PM ^

I didn't even look at the paper in the picture--just the photo of Crisler. I was about to ask how in the happy heck Dick Cheney gets front page ink waxing critical about Obama's (or anyone else's) anti-terrorism policies. Question answered. Ladies and Gentlemen, Your 2009 Washington TIIIIIIIMES!!!!


March 16th, 2009 at 12:58 PM ^

Its been a fun season. This Thursday has been a long long time in coming.

Congrats to the players and coaches and a well deserved high five to all the fans who never gave up the program.

It sure has been fun to spend time thinking about bigtime UM hoop games again.

This is what is was like when I was growing up the 1980s and its good that the team, once a fixture in the NCAAs, is back where it belongs.

Leave the NIT to the Notre Dame programs of the world.


March 16th, 2009 at 1:50 PM ^

As a North Dakota State alum, I gotta stick up for the little guy.

Keep in mind, this is the first year that NDSU is even eligible to be in the tournament. People in the Fargo area are excited because it is obviously something that has never happened before (and likely won't happen again for a long time if ever).

So yeah, the celebration looked to be a little over the top but understandable and Friday, you'll see a ton of NDSU fans at the game, even though they'll lose.

Enjoy the blog, especially since NDSU has gotten multiple mentions recently (Threet destination?, Tourney).

Bash Away,


March 16th, 2009 at 4:57 PM ^

As I am in the very weird, very unique situation of being a Michigan alumni with a hometown of Fargo, North Dakota, I can tell you that the Bison totally had every reason to go crazy. When you're just a little DII school with a DII gym, and then you decide to go DI, and then your name is suddenly being called on Sunday, that just gives everyone the chance to celebrate together. That, and their name was being called in the Minneapolis bracket. I guarantee, there will be more Bison fans in Minneapolis than any other fan base. I fear for Kansas. (Which, uniquely, is my father's alma mater.)

Then again, I was at Crisler Arena yesterday. Wow. Talk about a completely appropriate reaction. Sweaty palms after making us wait that long.


March 16th, 2009 at 7:15 PM ^

If there's one thing you can count on for Kansas, it's mind-blowing early losses. (See: Bucknell 2005, Bradley 2006. Does not apply when they're a 1 seed, since they can sleepwalk and beat a 16, and an 8 or 9 is good enough that they pay attention.)

MC Hammer

March 16th, 2009 at 2:32 PM ^

I remember in 2001 BC had like a 26-4 record or going into the tournament. They were expecting no worse than a 2 seed and ended up getting a 3 and having to go cross country to Arizona. The camera was on them and they were legitimately pissed. Not even any polite clapping.

This was after 3 straight sub-.500 seasons too.


March 16th, 2009 at 2:35 PM ^

great to see a line on the bracket that says "michigan", but am i the only one wondering what happened to sims friday night. i was at both games and the difference was astonishing. reminded me of charles barkley in space jam after the aliens stole his skeelz. in fact, if there was an inside scoop that sims had been seen thursday night or friday morning with michael phelps, roy tarpley and the members of last year's IU team, it would explain alot.

Phinaeus Gage

March 16th, 2009 at 10:05 PM ^

Let's be sure to give credit where credit is due. Coach Beilein has done something in two years that none of his predecessors has been able to do dating back to Coach Orr. Run a clean program and get in the tournament! Frieder was not indicted, I know, but always had a cloud of suspicion around his recruiting tactics. The others either cheated, repeatedly lost, or both! Beilein deserves all the credit. He wins cleanly. We should be proud of this team and this coach! The future is soooooo bright! This is only the first step.