Notes From A Rooftop, 5AM

Submitted by Brian on April 9th, 2013 at 11:00 AM

4/9/2013 – Us 1, Bottle Of Whiskey 0, season over

Louisville-82-Michigan-76-311_thumb

I'm not posting that photo to complain. It's symbolic: it didn't work out, but it was still awesome. (Dustin Johnston/UMHoops)

I'm not going to have too much to say today since at the time I'm writing this it's 5AM and at least ten hours tomorrow are slated for the road. I could have ensconced myself in my hotel room and pounded some things out but instead I did two things I'm glad I did.

One was wait around the team hotel until the guys got back and participated in the applause they got. We made the mistake of thinking things were over and only caught the tail end of John Beilein participating in a chorus of The Victors. I just looked at this guy, this chemistry teacher who'd overthrown his defense and offense and coaching staff—his whole self—and made it work without losing his essential Beilein-ness, and internally crumpled.

What can you say or think about him? I can't get a grip on it yet. I do know I was profoundly grateful this guy I would make a slight underdog against a shitzu in a hardness competition was Michigan's head basketball coach. I only wish I could have clapped hard enough to make any one of the players seem less miserable.

The second thing was hang around the roof of our hotel's parking structure drinking until about the time I started writing this. I was surprised to find out it was so late; infinitely more surprised to realize I hadn't even thought about the reflex action of checking my phone for hours. This weekend has provided a link to friends scattered about the US and drawn me closer to them—always an issue with me.

It sucks they lost, of course, but mainly I just think about how goddamn awesome the last three weeks were. Michigan took down VCU, Kansas, Florida, and Syracuse and played one of the all-time classic finals. It didn't work out; I could talk to you about rebounding and refereeing but I mean seriously that's beside the point. So beside the point. Tomorrow or the day after I will take those items on. At the moment, I'm all about whichever side of the brain is all about verbs and unicorns.

This team was awesome and the worst thing about all of this is now it's over, and that was going to happen anyway. We just talked, on the roof, about my world-spanning naiveté when I was a freshman in '97 and thought I should wait for a senior-year Rose Bowl. I 'm old enough now to have few illusions about how common a  thing like this is. Boeheim's been to four Final Fours in 37 years. Massive all-encompassing basketball power Louisville last won in 1986. A thing like this does not come along often, and six points short pales in comparison to four people cementing themselves to each other on a cool Atlanta morning.

Go Blue. Thank you, 2012-13 Michigan Wolverines.

Comments

MGoShoe

April 9th, 2013 at 11:07 AM ^

...to A2 in time to welcome the team home. Crisler Center, 4 pm. Wish I could join everyone attending. 

Team 96 embodies so much about what it means to be a part of the University of Michigan. Congratulations to each of them for holding up their end of the bargain and then some.

It's been a tremendous ride.

Blue and Joe

April 9th, 2013 at 11:13 AM ^

Very well said. Up until yesterday I didn't really think about how uncommon something like this is. I'm glad I drove the two hours to watch the game at Crisler. It was an amazing atmosphere, and will be one of my fondest sports memories despite the loss.

Thank you, boys.

ijohnb

April 9th, 2013 at 11:13 AM ^

man.  I am actually having some "real life grown up" type of problems right now in my life and watching this team this year has carried me through a lot of things.  This is one of my favorite sports teams of all time, in any sport at any time.  I am grateful that this team came around when it did.  I owe them in a small way that they will never know.

Erik_in_Dayton

April 9th, 2013 at 11:14 AM ^

I love this team - and Coach Beilein - so much I can't describe it.  I'd rather lose with this bunch than win with anyone else. 

Michigan basketball is about more than wins and losses with Coach Beilein at the helm.  We shouldn't forget that on today of all days. 

WindyCityBlue

April 9th, 2013 at 11:18 AM ^

...And lots of them.

Thanks Brian. You hit the nail on the head. Despite the outcome, it was one of the best times I have ever had. I had a chance to reconnect with almost all my undergrad Michigan buddies. Different cities, marriages, kids, etc have kept us from all meeting together since we graduated almost 15 years ago.

This game brought us all together. And as we collective drank our misery away last night talking about the shit we did during our football NC game in 97, I realized the true importance of this game. I am so fortunate to be part off the Michigan family, and I am so proud and grateful of this basketball team for providing not only countless joys over the season, but also the impetus to bring my all my college buddies together.

With a heavy heart, thank you Michigan basketball.

OldBlue78and81

April 9th, 2013 at 11:22 AM ^

It is weird how little I am disappointed. It was so much fun throughout. I watched games with just my alum wife in our empty nest while texting with my sons and my brother, who are also alums, and we all just had so much fun enjoying these guys.

If anything, I am disappointed for them, but I just can't feel anythinig but grateful for teh players and coaching staff today, and a little sad it is over.

Also, I live in Spartyland, and so it has been just that much sweeter.

FreddieMercuryHayes

April 9th, 2013 at 11:22 AM ^

I am so very proud of what such a young team was able to accomplish.  But I am struck by how rare it is to get to the final.  It may never happen again under Beilein.  And I still think Beilien will field very good teams during the rest of his tenure, of that I do not doubt.  But it's just so difficult and rare to make it to the championship, even with great players.  Its just a shame that it didn't happen for them, the university, and the fans.

Chris of Dange…

April 9th, 2013 at 11:38 AM ^

who are non-psych-literate (like me), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociative_identity_disorder:

Dissociative identity disorder (DID), previously known as multiple personality disorder (MPD),[1][2] is a mental disorder characterized by at least two distinct and relatively enduring identities or dissociated personality states that alternately control a person's behavior, and is accompanied by memory impairment for important information not explained by ordinary forgetfulness.

biakabutoucan_sam

April 9th, 2013 at 11:28 AM ^

I was crushed for the team I had so much fun watching last night- to the point that a text from a  buddy back in Michigan that said "Great run! I aint even mad" went unasnwered until this morning.

He was right though. I'm going to look back at this season for the rest of my life simply because what Brian said is the absolute truth, these moments are so rare. Just to have been a witness to this team and some of the moments they provided this year was amazing in itself, going to the title game even more so.

I can't wait to talk about this game in 20 years.

Todd Plate's n…

April 9th, 2013 at 11:29 AM ^

With the likes of Brian and this blog elevating my fandom into a well-informed obsession, it makes all of this more personal.  What I mean is, I'm not upset about the loss for me, the fan.  We follow these teams so closely and really get to know the players and coaches.  My disappointment is for them and all of their hard work to only come so close to their dream.  This team will never be forgotten and has left a special legacy for every team that follows.  I feel like there was something symbolic with having Webber there, the face of the lows experienced the last 20 years. 

This team, I think, finally repaired those wounds.  Shall it not fall on blind eyes that next year a banner will be hung in the rafters at Crisler, a Regional Championship/Final Four banner, the exact one that was taken down in the wake of the scandal.  This team shouldered the burden of replacing what's been missing in so many ways. 

Go Blue! 

Md23Rewls

April 9th, 2013 at 12:49 PM ^

I don't like basketball. I grew up in a strange foreign land where we had no time for sports not played on frozen sheets of water, so I never played growing up and on my eighteenth birthday I'm sure I had seen fewer than five complete games in my life. I hop on the Michigan bandwagon come tournament time for the same reason you can find me watching the Softball World Series when Michigan is in that. Heading in to this tournament I knew the names of most of the Michigan roster, even if I thought Spike was black until I watched the VCU game. 

Despite not actually following the basketball team, despite not liking the sport they play, every year when they're eliminated I find myself incredibly sad. Beilein has created such an enjoyable group of guys to cheer for. I loved watching this team for the past three weeks and am so upset it is over. I can't imagine how bad this must feel to anyone who has memories of the Ellerbe era or like, the regular season.

matty blue

April 9th, 2013 at 11:35 AM ^

...do you have to be so fucking good?

this loss hurts more, somehow than any of the other soul-crushing losses i've experienced in my 47 years.  or, more likely, it's just the freshest one.  in any case, you encapsulate it all perfectly.  i don't want to think about referees, or post defense, or nba guys, or any of that other crap.  as you say, that will come eventually. 

right now, i want to feel bad, but i also want to feel fantastic for the ride.  and, sure thing, i'm doing them both.  weird.

it's still great to be a michigan wolverine.

LSA91

April 9th, 2013 at 11:43 AM ^

Between this and the Outback Bowl, I find myself in the curious position of saying "OK, we lost, but those kids sure played a great game."   Maybe it's maturity, I don't know.

 Anyway, those kids sure played a great tournament.   Hail.

WindyCityBlue

April 9th, 2013 at 11:43 AM ^

...that despite how awesome this ride was, I'm worried about one thing. That we will treat this like Illinois did in 2005.

The teams were very similar. Highly ranked (although illinois probably was better in this category) with great talent, directed by an electrifying point guard. We both lose in the final. Illinois goes down the road by calling it their greatest season ever, creates a commemorative DVD, never gets that sort of talent again, and Bruce Weber...well you know what happened to him.

First off, JB is >>>>> BW. And I do think we will continue to get great talent. What I'm worried about is us treating this like the greatest season ever. I'm not saying we will, but I do get that sense from some posters. Despite how tough it is to win an NCAA bball championship, I do think we have unfinished business and won't feel satisfied until we win that NC.

Blue in Yarmouth

April 9th, 2013 at 12:51 PM ^

I bet those young men who just played their tails off over the past number of months are pleased to know that you aren't satisfied with what they've accomlpished....Honestly, who are you and why should anyone care whether you are satisfied with someone elses accomplishments?

I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be an asshole but I take offense to the notion that you are somehow not satisfied with what this team (that I have formed a very deep respect for) has done this season. Sorry if I'm a little raw right now. 

Blue in Yarmouth

April 10th, 2013 at 7:37 AM ^

 "I do think we have unfinished business and won't feel satisfied until we win that NC."

Since you aren't a member of the team, one can only assume you aren't talking about being unsatisfied with your own accomplishments....I mean I know you say you won't feel satisfied until "we" win a NC, but what you really mean is you won't be satisfied until "they" win a NC. If that is the case, and one uses a little deductive reasoning (not much, because the intent of your statement is pretty obvious) one can be confident you are saying you are unsatisfied with this team. 

NoVaWolverine

April 9th, 2013 at 1:58 PM ^

After we beat Illinois in Champaign to ascend to #1, he wrote this:

 

I know now that if something untoward happens to this team in the tournament I'll hate whatever program does it, without reason, forever. And that'll probably happen. Michigan is #1 by a nose, and winning six straight against good teams is hard. I have to brace for this, and try to accept whatever fate awaits with the good cheer it seems Illinois fans have about their 2005 outfit.

Whatever happens, it'll be the culmination of a story no Michigan fan is likely to see again. To go from dead in the water to #1 in two years to go from scrapping out two-point wins against Northwestern to this… put it all in your head, and turn it around until it's something you can expansively relate to anyone dumb enough to be born after March. Poor bastards.

Wendyk5

April 9th, 2013 at 11:52 AM ^

A couple of things. First, I was reading some of the articles in the Detroit News and glanced at the comments (my bad). One MSU fan said, "I speak for all of MSU when I say congratulations on a great season." And of course another MSU fan replied, "You don't speak for me." God, I hope I'm never that guy. 

 

And in the immortal words of the kid at the end of the "Interjections" Schoolhouse Rock video: 

 

"Darn, that's the end." 

snoopblue

April 9th, 2013 at 11:53 AM ^

Great season and great team. Although it boils by blood that such awful, inconsistent refereeing contributed to that loss for our team and the NCAA won't do anything. It doesn't matter who wins or loses for them, they'll win either way. The team we can root for now is lead by Ed O'Bannon. Our friend Barack is already on Mr. Emmert's team.

KingsWolverine

April 9th, 2013 at 11:56 AM ^

over, but over on their own terms. There were only 2 teams left playing in the entire NCAA, and our Michigan team was one of them. Congrats to our basketball team, it was one hell of a run and I'm so proud of this TEAM.

ndjames86

April 9th, 2013 at 12:03 PM ^

the season perfectly. There was a point last night while watching the game that I thought "damn we're really getting screwed on these calls, this is why I hate basketball." As I sat there watching our team try and fight and stay in the game in the 2nd half, this thought was replaced by "regardless of whatever happens in this last 20 minutes, this is one of the most amazing team's I've ever watched in my life."

I live in Texas and was 50/50 on attending the games in Dallas until a few friends convinced me to go by reminding me "you never know how long you're going to be in Texas" and "how many times will you get to see your team play in the Sweet 16?" I ended up going and had seats right above where Michigan came onto the floor and couldn't have been more happy that I attended. Were the wins awesome? Of course. But I think what will stick with me more is how this was a TEAM. No egos, one guy after the other stepping up out of nowhere to contribute to the win. After watching these guys run back to the locker room after two wins, I'm never going to forget how genuinely excited they were to win. Mitch McGary is running up the tunnel, jumping as high as humanly possibly to high five everyone leaning over the railing to try and congratulate them.

Congratulations to this team, to Beilein and to the entire coaching staff. Its amazing to see a team win and do it what feels like the 'right' way. No trash talk, no egos, just one guy after another stepping up and putting the TEAM first.

Go Blue!

M-Dog

April 9th, 2013 at 12:03 PM ^

I was bitterly disappointed last night.  But this morning, I am already over it.  I have never gotten over a loss this huge this quickly.

Now all I can think about is . . . 

  "HOLY SHIT, DID WE JUST DO THAT?"

buckeyekiller1

April 9th, 2013 at 12:09 PM ^

That was a captivating game last night, one of the best finals ever. As an IU grad and IU bball fan I know your pain all too well, the '02 final killed the fun I was having on my last high school spring break. (I've been a UM football fan all my life and a season ticket holder for 20+ years now so that's why I frequent this blog daily, more like hourly). I was pulling hard for UM because unless they're playing IU I always hope they win. And like most everyone my age, I loved the Fab 5 and that era of Michigan basketball.

The loss didn't hit me like it did all of you since I'm an IU bball diehard, but seeing Denard and the Fab 5 together again showing support made me really want this UM team pull it out. The future is bright in A2 and you've got good things to look forward to for years to come.

Now a bit on the game. The officials were horrendous. The Burke block was clean and swung the game their way for good, ULs MOP should've had 4 fouls with 11 minutes to play but they assigned the foul to the wrong player, and on the play where Levert stepped on the line a UL player practically climbed over a Burke and caused Burke to push Levert just enough to get him out of bounds. There were more and they all seemed to go against UM but that's all I can remember off the top of my head.

GBOD79

April 9th, 2013 at 12:38 PM ^

I honestly cannot blame the officials in this game. We have gotten breaks this tournament, as every team has. However, last night the refs mostly let the kids play. For every UL foul that should have been, I think there was one on us that should have been called. It was a fight under the basket all night and a very physical game. Thats part of why this game was so good. 

 

Also, on an unrelated topic, I think Pitino is a pretty classy guy and Louisville as a whole were very classy as well. Their players showed great sportsmanship last night. Hats off to both teams. This was a game where both teams left everything on the floor and it could have gone either way for the majority of the game. 

SDCran

April 9th, 2013 at 1:14 PM ^

Mostly just the 2nd half.  And, with the benefit of soberness and a day of perspective, and rewind/slo-mo, the officiating in the 2nd half was just as bad, if not worse, than it seemed at full speed last night.

'For every UL foul that should have been, I think there was one on us that should have been called' - Nope.  It's a style thing and a ref thing.  Style-wise, they clutch, grab, and challenge everything.  I'll agree with you, that the officials chose to let that go, and that is ok.  Every game has its own rules, if you will.  But the obvious missed calls really were about 10-2 against us.  

The only one I will 'defend' the refs on, was Hancock's non-4th foul.  Yes, they got the  wrong guy, but they didn't give it to a player away from the play.  They gave it to the guy who made the clean block.  The announcers got it wrong; Dieng was up at the foul line contesting the pass.  Missed call, but not terrible.  They often won't call a foul on a guy laying on the floor.

buckeyekiller1

April 9th, 2013 at 3:06 PM ^

The guy on the floor grabbed Morgan's leg and almost made him bust his ass. Morgan had to grab the net just so he didn't fall straight on his back. Another series of bad calls were when Bahannon traveled twice going to the basket with no calls, then eventually going out off of Burke who was knocked to the floor. That's four calls I can count off the top of my head that went against UM that were bad. If you get just 2 of those going to UM it's a whole new ball game.

I typically hate to blame the refs but in this game it was really bad. To the point that some blame has to go there.

DefenseWins

April 9th, 2013 at 12:11 PM ^

As usual, Brian sums it up so well.

I was oddly calm before the game and leading up to it because I thought we matched up well with Louisville. I thought our preferred free flowing game would be perfect against them. And then the first half happened, and it was insane. The best I've seen in a long time. Yes, we couldn't quite get the job done the second half, but I'm so proud of them. They left everything on the floor and were right there against the best. I couldn't have asked for more. It was a great 3 weeks. Tough to lose, but the team made me proud.

WestSider

April 9th, 2013 at 12:12 PM ^

that provided so many moments of excitement throughout the season, ending in a great playoff run to the final. They were so close...

I cannot shake the thought that the refs cost Michigan this game. I believe there were too many obvious fouls, no calls, and other problems that were severely skewed against the Wolverines. From goaltending, to Burke's pinning the lay up on the glass, to Burke boxing out and being pancaked from behind, to the refs leaving Hancock on the floor when he should have had five fouls, and called only three at the point when he undercut Burke and assigned the foul to a player a half mile away from the action...Yeah, rebounding, some missed shots...However, I truly believe that if the refs called this game even adequately, UM would have been the victors. It was the worst officiated title game I have ever seen, and for that I am residually frustrated and angry at them. Congratulations to Louisville, and Go Blue!

Kevin Holtsberry

April 9th, 2013 at 12:13 PM ^

I am not a big basketball fan. I grew up watch Michigan football and that is the strongest conenctionf for me. I didn't live in AA nor did any of my family go to UM. It was just a cultural aspect I picked up before I even realized it.  I watch Michigan football and hated Ohio State.

By a weird twist of fate I ended up living and working in Columbus, Ohio. I have now stocked and nursed my hatred of OSU into a fine sharp point.  And with all of the ups and downs of football have developed a somewhat tragic sense of life when it comes to sports.

And so I was afraid to start carrying about Mcihigan basketball again (I got caught up in the Fab Five frensy while in college and paid the psychic cost when that all unraveled). I followed the teams (mostly through this blog) and the last couple of years slowly began to increase my interest. Last year, I started to actually watch the games.

This year I got sucked in. I started watching the games from the start and found myselfing reallying caring about the team again.  As I watched heartbreaking losses to Ohio State, Indiana, Wisconsin, etc. I thought "what have I gotten myself into?" It isn't like I need more sports heartbreak, right?

But I wasn't going to be one of those fans who abandones the team once they struggle and so I kept watching.  And man did the tournament pay off that committment.  It felt so good to see everything come together and see the players not only make big plays but seem to really have fun and play as a team. It felt like they were able to shake off the demons and bad bounces of earlier in the year and just play at a higher level.

The first half last night felt like that trajectory would continue.  But then Hancock began to rain down threes and my gut began to clench and suddenly it was more like a heavyweight fight - less joy, more determination.  And in the end Michigan just didn't quite have enough to get past an incredibly determined and focused Louisville team.  In the end I felt not anger but frustration a sense that those players were so close to an incredible opportunity only to fall just short.  I wished all that joy could have continued in one last improbable victory. As Brian notes, I wished somehow I could reduce the misery they felt.

And of course, lving in Columbus I had to deal with the jerks on FB and Twitter and everywhere else savoring the loss and the misery.

But as my duaghter (age 8) said to me this morning as we were discussing it in the car, Michigan is clearly a program to be reckoned with again.  And I think that takes a little of the sting of the loss away somehow. Michigan feels back somehow.

Maybe I am a bandwagon fan compared to all of you longtime fans but it feels good to committ to a team and feel good about where they are and where they are headed.