The Beilein Ceiling

Submitted by jamiemac on March 7th, 2011 at 10:34 AM

So. The alleged Beilein Ceiling. Have we talked about the fact that its at least higher than the Undisputed State Championship?

So, almost three months ago, on Big Chill Eve, I theorized this was Beilein's best team at Michigan. I still think that. Anyone changed their mind yet? Would you really take the '09 team in a pick-up game against this bunch? I wouldnt. They still have not achieved as much as that special group two years ago, but they're getting closer with each win.

Picked last, finished  fourth. Best young backcourt in the league. More talent coming in to suppllment that. 4 bigs next year entering their second year on the court. METRICS will be the 2011-12 Butterfly, giving us a Gordon Hayward/Chandler Parsons type of player. The corner has been turned. We are a future Big 10 contender. There is no ceiling. Deal with it.

Big 10 Awards at the JCB. We'll have plenty of bubble talk and league tournament breakdowns.......but right now MICH is in excellent shape win or lose to make their 2nd Tournament in 3 years after a decade-long absensce. We need to make sure certain teams in the Big 12, ACC, CUSA and Pac-10 dont go on major runs in the fields, but, we'll know whether or not most of those teams did that before we take the court on Friday. So, it's a lot like last week. A lot of scoreboard watching and rooting interests while we wait for our heroes to hit the court.

So, bask in the new state rankings, enjoy the week, remind everyone in green to GET THE FUCK OFF MY COURT, smile knowing we have one of the best March coaches in the game and, of course, Let The Good Times Roll.




Blue 5

March 7th, 2011 at 10:45 AM ^

I agree that this is Beilein's best team thus far. They definitely play hard and I think maximize their ability better than the majority of the teams out there.

I think that in order to stay a consistent B1G contender they'll need to upgrade a couple of postions. No knock against these two guys cause I think they are great character guys and have helped turn the program around, but we need a more consistent shooting Stu and a bigger Zack Novak in order to truly compete for championships. Big Ten and National.


March 7th, 2011 at 11:03 AM ^

Well, the last 4 guards we've brought into the program are Morris, Hardaway, Burke, and Brundidge - I'd say that's a pretty clear step-up in talent from Douglass.

As far as a more effective 4 than Novak - I think Smotrycz will end up being a good player. If he's not physical enough, with the inside combo of Morgan, Horford, and Christian all promising to different degrees, we should find someone. I actually think Christian can do  what Novak does, minus the shooting.


March 7th, 2011 at 11:17 AM ^

That's two 4-stars (Morris, Brundidge) and two high 3-stars (THJ, Burke).

And, I think Burke is a kid who should be a 4-star.  Not that it matters, but I kind of wonder why he isn't rated higher.  He plays on a great team, scores and dishes like mad, and is coached by the great Satch Sullinger.

I guess I do see that he is a 4-star to ESPN.  Anyway, I think he'll be a really good one.


March 7th, 2011 at 10:47 AM ^

It is wonderful that Beilein has assistant coaches he trusts completely and they get the job done.  Beilein did a masterful job in hiring this current bunch of assistants and adding in some ex players back from the day when the program was a high has really paid off too.  



March 7th, 2011 at 10:47 AM ^

Not to be all "told you so" because I don't know if I ever said it, but I always thought the talk of a Beilein ceiling was ridiculous.

The guy is recruiting at levels higher than he ever has, he's about to get major, major facility upgrades, and his ability to find and develop talent should be unquestioned. 

The only thing left to prove is that he can hang with the B10 elite and I think we are all currently thinking we may get to see that next year.

There is no Beilein ceiling.


March 7th, 2011 at 11:05 AM ^

Just perusing who goes and who comes back next year - Michigan should be a top-3 club in the conference. If Sullinger and Buford run to the pros, maybe contend for #1.


March 7th, 2011 at 11:10 AM ^

It's worth noting that while Michigan is the undisputed state basketball champion, the Oakland Grizz are busy demanding a recount for the second position



March 7th, 2011 at 11:11 AM ^

Is that Beilien went outside of his comfort zone when things weren't working and cleaned house internally.  he brought some guys along and they weren't working and then went out and found upcoming, young blood.  Then, even further, delegated to them.  That is an amazingly positive sign.  Not to beat the horse (I was a huge RRod supporter), but this was what RRod failed to do and caused his down fall.  Loyalty is good, but at some point it becomes arrogance or insecurity. 

Kilgore Trout

March 7th, 2011 at 11:36 AM ^

Another thing that he has done that has been out of his previous comfort zone is work in the pick and roll to the offense.  I know it is kind of coming back everywhere in college basketball, but I don't remember Michigan running it at all the last three years or even the first 10 games of this year.  Now, it seems to be the go to play when they need a hoop and it's very effective.  I would have loved to see Manny coming across a Sims screen last year. 


March 7th, 2011 at 7:50 PM ^

They did run the pick and roll last year in end of clock situations on occassion, not nearly as frequently as this team does.  

More often, it was a wing ISO for Harris or a post up for Sims.  To state that we didn't run it was false and you're just forgetting.  But Morris can't shoot and when a guy can't shoot you often have to bring a ball screen into the equation if you want the ball in that players hands.


March 7th, 2011 at 11:28 AM ^

I'm not saying Beilein's ceiling is high, but word is the crew on the International Space Station radioed down to Houston to report some minor banging and bumping.  Upon investigation of the source of what they were running into, the crew was surprised to see John Beilein smiling and waving back at them.


March 7th, 2011 at 11:28 AM ^

Will be determined by how well he recruits big men.  I really believe this.  He doesn't need five stars, per se...just guys that can play in  his system.  Morgan is a perfect example.  But he needs more of them...and until we get those higher caliber big men, our ceiling will be mid to  high level in the big 10, and not big 10 championships.

As for recruits...Burke reminds me of Hardaway a little...a guy that was overshadowed by bigger name players, but may be ready for a break through. 


March 7th, 2011 at 11:44 AM ^

We would have a better read on his talent evaluation of bigs if Cronin 7'0" was able to actually play and Benzing 6'`10" qualified since it would give us two more data points beyond Morgan as they would both be seeing minutes this year. While Cronin is a mystery due to his unfortunate hip condition, Benzing would make this year's team down right lethal when you would swap him for Novak down low. The early signs are at least positive with Morgan so I hope that is a proxy for his ability to evaluate talent. 


March 7th, 2011 at 11:54 AM ^

We need more quality big men, but I think they may be on our roster already.  They just need more time.  Remember, we entered this season with literally no experienced players taller than 6'5".  Bacari Alexander has worked wonders with Morgan and I think he can do the same with Horford when he bulks up a bit more.  Smotrycz is also beginning to become more comfortable inside.


March 7th, 2011 at 12:06 PM ^

Horford will be a bit of a "late bloomer" like his father and brother were.  I know his brother was decent earlier than his dad, but nobody in the family was a world-beater as a freshman.  Horford may turn out to be the best of the bunch. 

Back to recruiting, though, the second victory over MSU was huge.  Tom Izzo's favorite way to keep instate recruits from thinking about Michigan were to say "dirty program," "fab five scandal," "terrible facilitles," or "we beat them twice every year."  Now, all of those "hot buttons" are no longer functional. 

Michigan is only going to have to beat MSU for one prestiege recruit before the floodgates open.  If Izzo's problems at MSU continue, or if he goes FTS on MSU for the NBA, the process should happen even faster.  If Izzo leaves, I don't think his current recruiting class will emerge intact.


March 7th, 2011 at 11:48 AM ^

Jamie -

I'd be interested to hear your take on both Illinois and TSIO. I tend to think the Michigan will be looking for revenge against Illinois, and will beat them handily. But I don't think that TSIO has a guaranteed win, and actually think that Michigan could play them pretty tough, possibly knocking them off. I wonder if all the close losses to OSU, Syracuse, Kansas, and Wisconsin stick in their craw. They seem to be a lot stronger mentally, and want to prove they can beat a better team.

Regarding our chances, I think that foul calls (we need to keep Morgan in the game) and the play of Smots & even Horford will make a huge difference, and determine whether we win or lose.

Blue boy johnson

March 7th, 2011 at 12:02 PM ^

Belien ceiling is limited only by the level of talent he can bring in. Belien is as good as any coach in the country, give him top shelf talent and he can win it all. There have been many great Bball coaches, who, like Belien, did stellar jobs at schools with low profiles, and hence, made do with what talent they had at hand.

No matter how good of a coach you are, you cain't win without the players. Coach K and Bobby Knight didn't win any of their national championships at Army. Give Belien the teams Bill Frieder had at M and I think the results would have been much better.

Our very own living football legend, Lloyd Carr, needed unforseen circumstances to garner the head coaching position at M, but once he got it, Lloyd showed what he was capable of.

Blue boy johnson

March 7th, 2011 at 12:58 PM ^

IDK, could be. I don't follow Richmond at all. At WV, Huggins is a proven commodity, ethically challenged, but a good coach, plus I would give Coach B some credit for leaving WV in such good shape. There are plenty of good coaches out there, but not many, Huggins included, that I would prefer over Belien.


March 7th, 2011 at 1:13 PM ^

They are - but that ignores the state of those programs BEFORE he got there, which in both cases was something well below mediocre.  The fact that he left and others were able to continue his success doesn't diminish his accomplishments.  Would anyone argue that Bob Huggins (minus the major ethical issues) is not a top-15 coach (at worst)?

And as an upstate NY native who follows the MAAC, I can tell you for a fact that Canisius was never as good before or after he left that school.  Michigan has reached heights it hasn't sniffed in 15 years.  There is no longer a credible argument that he's not a fantastic coach and can't do it literally everywhere against every level of competition.  The only question left is whether he can build a consistently top-20 national program, and that one is starting to trend towards "quite possibly."


March 7th, 2011 at 12:13 PM ^

I love Beilein and think he has done an amazing job at UM, but I said it when he was hired that we don't know how his teams will pan out over the long haul given the style he runs.  As we've seen throughout the tournament, teams that rely heavily on 3-pointers can pull a couple of upsets, but they rarely make it out of the second weekend because the opposition gets better and team inevitably get cold.  Then it falls on drive-and-dish and a legitimate inside game to carry the team when the shots aren't falling from outside.  That has been the achiles heel for this team all year, and while recently they have shown an ability to manufacture points even when not shooting particularly well, I do think that we need to see how Beilein does recruiting big men and developing alternative playing styles/plans for those instances.

Also, better big men will help on the defensive end and esp. with rebounding, which tends to be the other area where distance-shooting teams tend to suffer.  The difference between UM and these other teams, though, is that UM can recruit legit players at every position, while the Wichita Sts. and Criechtons of the world are more limited in the type of players they can get.


March 7th, 2011 at 1:59 PM ^

We're not that dependent on the 3.  That's a misconception.  Our 3-point percentage is only slightly higher during our 8-3 stretch than it was when we were 11-9, and our average attempts per game has been dropping as the season has gone on.  We don't need to make huge numbers to threes to win.  We just need to be effective enough from 3 that people respect the threat it represents.  We are at that point now, and now we're seeing the inside open up.    Saturday we made only five of 19 threes, and still defeated MSU, even with Morgan in foul trouble and a flu-stricken Morris shooting unusually poorly (3-11).  


March 8th, 2011 at 9:11 PM ^

especially with Morgan, his offense is much less dependent on the 3.

I have been amazed at the shift to an inside out game in the second half of the year.  Of course to do it, you need players like Morgan, Morris, THJ.

JB's ceiling this year will be determined by Morgan more than anyone else.  Keep him from making stupid frustration fouls and we'll go far.



March 7th, 2011 at 12:39 PM ^

Will we have any other recruits coming next season?  We have two signed (Brundidge and Burke) but do we have room for more?  Is there anyone on the radar? 

(I'm a newb at bball recruiting. )


March 7th, 2011 at 1:13 PM ^

When he can unbalance within the flow of the offense with something other than an iso his offense is damn good. Ask yourself this: what percentage of our shots do we take and you say to yourself "that was a good look." It's going up, right?

Plus the job that staff has done revamping our defense has been just awesome. As we get better athletes out there (from a talent and development perspective) we're going to be a bitch of a team to play.


March 7th, 2011 at 9:11 PM ^

"No Ceilings mutha fucka!" I agree. Hopefully he can continue to build this team and make this program a year-in-year-out powerhouse