Are you old enough to remember when Michigan Basketball was good?

Submitted by M-Wolverine on January 27th, 2010 at 1:47 PM

This is not a woe is us thread, wahhhh we suck. No, I'm trying to get kind of a demographic view on the MGoCommunity. I don't need or want your age or whatever, just your experience. Because I think there's kind of a divide between the younger, college age set, and those a bit older in two ways: One, the younger are more patient, having seen only bad, so a bit more bad is no big deal, and older are more reactionary; and Two, related, younger fans are more impressed with lesser accomplishments, thinking minor achievements are big deals, where older fans know not only the heights achieved, but how overall good Michigan basketball was, historically.

A positive for both sides, really, and the contrary negative for each. And I'm just trying to get an idea where people are coming from. Because those in college now were toddlers when we were great and kids when we were good. Forgetting that before the whole Fab Five mess, we won Big Ten titles in the 80's, and were in National Championship games in the 70's, and the Cassie days before that....before a bad decade and vacated wins, we were a top ten national team (borderline, but definitely up there). And those that can remember that may not see that the kids they're recruiting are in the same age bracket...and don't really remember any of that. I mean, man, Juwan Howard's kid is going to college next year!

So, if you have a viewpoint, or what era you fall into, and how you think that relates to your perception, I'd love to hear it.



January 27th, 2010 at 2:19 PM ^

Watched every minute of every game possible in that '89 tourney run. While a freshman in high school I watched Duke run away in the 2nd half. Obviously a sophomore when Webb called that timeout.
Dad had season tickets to MSU BB so I got to watch those boys play at Breslin. Only times I got to wear UM gear to Breslin. Saw a few games at Jenison Fieldhouse, too before the new place went up. Can't recall if the Fab 5 played there or not, though.


January 27th, 2010 at 2:20 PM ^

I was 17 in 1989 and in college during the Fab Five.

That actually makes me old enough to remember when the basketball program sucked in the immediate years before the Tarpley/Wade/Rellford class kicked in as upperclassmen. There were a few 10-win campaigns to start the Frieder Era that define the word l-e-a-n.

We missed Johnny Orr in those days


January 27th, 2010 at 2:30 PM ^

As a freshman in 88-89 my first class was English 110(?) and had Sean Higgins in it. First day of class as we're introducing ourselves he says, "Sean Higgins. LA. Play ball for the U." Silk sweats with a silk hat which read "Wild Wild West". Striking.
I remember going to the State game at Crisler and watching Glen and Rumeal on a fast break and we noticed Glen giving Rumeal the 'thumbs up' as he was streaking down the wing at which point they completed an alley-oop thunder dunk!
The Illinois/Seton Hall games on campus were unreal. I finished in 93 so I got a taste of fab 5 as well. Those were very good teams we had.

2 Walter Smith

January 27th, 2010 at 2:43 PM ^

a lineup of Gary Grant, Roy Tarpley, Richard Relford, Antoine Joubert, and one other I can't remember. That team had to be from the mid-80s. They were very good and I think most if not all of them were in-staters.


January 27th, 2010 at 2:45 PM ^ a lasting memory. Watched the game at what's now Arbor Brewing (I think it was called Washington Street Station at the time) with a pile of friends. Celebrated there, then spent hours high-fiving everyone we passed across the campus.

I also remember seeing Bill Frieder at meals with recruits at a restaurant on the corner of Liberty & Division where I worked.

I had season tickets in the early nineties, and my oldest daughter had a reputation for raising a fist to The Victors in Crisler before she was born. The Fab Five might be 0-?? on paper now and a few members of those teams cast a horrible pallor over my school, but they played thrilling basketball and had thousands on their feet every night.



January 27th, 2010 at 2:50 PM ^

I was six, almost seven, for the 89 championship and have vague memories of watching the game in a hotel room on the way back from our Disneyland trip, but not the game itself.

Really, my formative fanhood years were during the Fab Five era. So I still pretty much think of Michigan basketball as an old-blood powerhouse that fell on hard times and MSU as the upstart. That's really how it used to be, or at least, it was when I was growing up. MSU is sort of Virginia Tech with some actual success tacked on.

I Bleed Maize N Blue

January 27th, 2010 at 2:51 PM ^

I was a kid back then, but I have dim memories of Rickey Green and fro soaring above the rim for dunks. We lost to IU in the finals in '76.

I remember when winning the NIT ('84) meant going to the big dance the next year. I remember being a homer and picking U-M to go all the way, then suffering early-round defeats.

I remember Glen Rice going on a Most Outstanding tear in '89, and Rumeal Robinson icing the victory at the line. (*Sniff* Ah, happy days.)

I remember the Fab Five days, and the TO dong punch. Then the sledgehammer dong punch of scandal.

I'm going to stop remembering now.


January 27th, 2010 at 2:57 PM ^

No, I don't. I was 1 year old in 1989 and have no recollection of the Fab5 except for what I've read and seen on "Beyond the Glory".

Last year was the first "good" Michigan basketball team I ever remember watching.


January 27th, 2010 at 3:03 PM ^

I remember Gary Grant as an Olympian in 1988 (a squad that didn't do much to recapture the glory for the US. Thanks John Thompson). I remember 1989 very well though. I was in an outlet mall shoe store when Glen Rice going all Teen Wolf against UNC (hooray).

I was a sophomore in high school and somehow managed to talk my way into my parents letting me go to the Grateful Dead shows in Ann Arbor (only about 18 hours problem). That was my high school's spring break.

One of the people I was supposed to be riding with made the mistake of mentioning where we were going to his mother...who called my mother...who then decided I'd be visiting my grandparents that week. Awesome.

The Fab Five were my freshman year in college. I remember them beating UNC the following year in Maui (I think) on a Jalen Rose tip-in at the buzzer. I remember Michigan getting Jerod Ward a couple of years later. Bob Gibbons had him as the #1 player in the country. I couldn't tell you a single thing that Ward ever did after committing to Michigan. That's how monumental his career was.

Never liked Traylor or Maurice Taylor, but I always liked watching Louis Bullock play. Incredibly smooth.


January 27th, 2010 at 3:08 PM ^

...just seeing the question. I too started in 1991, with the Fab Five. In fact, I knew Webber when he was in High school.

Nothing broke my heart like the championship games in 1992 and 1993...especially the UNC game.

And it was doubly painful when all the sanctions came about, somewhat ruining my entire memory of the era.

But no matter what, the Fab Five are a major part of my college history.


January 27th, 2010 at 3:22 PM ^

My freshman year at U-M was 1998-99, so I not only missed the national championships in football and hockey by a year, I missed having a great basketball program by a year, too. My entire childhood we had a great hoops program (aside from the one year before the Fab Five came). It still bothers me to hear people talk about MSU as the established power in the state. It's true now, but it wasn't that long ago that it wasn't.


January 27th, 2010 at 3:26 PM ^

when the starting line-up was Cazzie Russell, Bill Buntin, Oliver Darden, Trigger Tregoning and captain Bob Cantrell. I was not allowed to stay up late for the NCAA final in 1965 which didn't start until after 10 pm eastern time. I was in school during the four consecutive NCAA appearances in the 70s. I was at all five of the NCAA games in 1976: comeback win over Wichita State with a buzzer-beater by Rickey Green; win over Digger Phelps's Adrian Dantley-led Notre Dame; win over Missouri despite 43 from Willie SMith, win over undefeated Rutgers; and the loss to Indiana. I was at the regionals the next year when we beat Vitale's UD squad with Terry Duerod and John Long and then the crushing loss to UNCC in the Elite Eight. We were number one in the nation going into the tourney, having beaten Marquette (ended up winning the tourney) in the season finale.

Jayme in MN

January 27th, 2010 at 3:27 PM ^

1. Being pregnant during the 1989 tourney with the now 20-year-old. Needed two glasses of wine to get through the final game. Only alcohol I had during the whole pregnancy. (Don't worry, she turned out OK other than she turned down the Michigan Honors program for a small liberal arts college.)
2. Final 4 here in Minneapolis in 1992 - we went to both the Cinci and Duke games. Had a houseful of friends who flew in for it -- had a great time.


January 27th, 2010 at 3:29 PM ^

Mike McGee, Thad Garner, Phil Hubbard, Paul Heurmann, Leslie Rockymore, Eric Turner, Tim McCormick...

No Maize jerseys.

All great players on some 'good' teams, just not a lot of total wins.


January 27th, 2010 at 3:52 PM ^

I was an undergrad when Cazzie, Buntin, Tregoning, and Darden transformed Michigan basketball to elite status. What a team, what memories, and what a tragedy that Buntin died from a heart attack so young. Hard to believe, I suspect, that this great team did not play its games in Crisler . . . the house Cazzie built.

Blue Balls

January 27th, 2010 at 3:59 PM ^

(Indiana and Rutgers)made it to the Final Four. Also the first time that two teams from the same conference played each other for the championship-Michigan Vs Indiana. Michigan defeated Rutgers in the semi-final game but lost to Indiana in the finals. This was Bob Knight's first NCAA Championship.


January 27th, 2010 at 4:25 PM ^

He was drafted in the first round by Golden State but floundered for a couple years there and with the Pistons before spending time in the CBA. The Jazz picked him up from there and he had a solid career for 14 years (counting the years with GSW and Detroit), including an All-Star game.

Starting line-up for the '76 team was Green, Grote, John Robinson, Phil Hubbard and Wayman Britt. Front line of 6'7", 6'6" and 6'2".


January 27th, 2010 at 4:42 PM ^

For some reason I was in Chicago during the '89 Final Four. I was a fairly young kid. I remember wearing my Michigan sweatshirt the day after Higgins' put-back beat the Illini. Being a Michigan fan in another school's turf is great when Michigan just beat them.

More Cowbell

January 27th, 2010 at 4:55 PM ^

Watching the Fab Five is the first time I can ever remember the announcers keeping track of how many alley-oops were made. Win or lose, they were a fun team to watch.


January 27th, 2010 at 7:28 PM ^

Good discussion, valuable input, and very insightful.

Here's one slant I haven't seen expressed above, though, and this would be directed at the original poster:


I've been feeling plenty old enough lately as it is without your help, thanks. Yes, I was an adult way back in the day.

Not that I'm defensive, or anything.

And while you're at it, get the hell off my lawn.


January 28th, 2010 at 5:18 PM ^

Michigan was very good, but pre-89 NCAA tourney run had a reputation for being flaky, a little weak. IU fans appreciated wins over Purdue more than any other team of course, but Michigan was right up there. IU fans really treasured wins over Fab-5 era Wolverine teams, and really right on through the 90's when we could get them.

One thing to remember (or learn, if you weren't there) was how incredibly tough the top tier of the conference was in the late 80's. Just look at the 1989 Sweet 16. Michigan was there of course, and you may recall Illinois (both made the Final 4), but did you know Indiana and Minnesota were also playing that weekend?

From '86-'89 Iowa was ranked #1 many weeks and went to the elite 8, IU won a national title, Illinois went to the final 4, Michigan won a title, Purdue was really, really good, like perennial top 10 good (but never seemed to do well in the NCAA tourney). OSU and MSU had some great talent, too - Dennis Hopson (B10 PoY in '87), Jay Burson MSU's Steve Smith, although both programs had some tough seasons in the late 90's. Wisconsin and Northwestern were your only guaranteed wins.


February 3rd, 2010 at 11:00 PM ^

He said the guy he enjoyed facing the most in the B10 was Gary Grant, who was defensive PoY a time or two. And yes, I remember the floor-length drive for the win at Crisler. That was the only time fans remember seeing Bob Knight jump up and down in excitement after a game-winning shot.

Oddly enough the first game I ever watched (and in person!) was in Michigan - Notre Dame in Crisler, maybe in 1973 or 1974.


January 30th, 2010 at 9:16 PM ^

and depressing at the same time. I first got into Michigan in football and basketball when I was 6 or 7. I remember Gary Grant, Glen Rice, Mills, Vaught, Higgins, the same time as Leroy Hoard and Tony Boles were running up and down the field. Good times.

S.G. Rice

January 30th, 2010 at 9:28 PM ^

I remember listening to games with a lot of these guys growing up - McGee, Grant, you name it.

And I was an undergrad in '89. I still remember the walk down South U afterward.