Can Michigan MBB win a National Title?

Submitted by sheepdog on January 17th, 2018 at 4:37 PM

JB has been a fringe contender for years, with the exception of 2013. He is a solid coach but winning the natty Men's College Basketball National Championship is hard enough, even for the elite programs. So here is my opinion on where we are. What do you say?

Wagner is showing flashes, especially of late, of one of the best players in the country.  He had a slowish start to the season, and an ankle injury, but he is coming on and is no doubt one of the best at his position in the country.

Livers is a major step up from Robinson and is going to be a special player. He has the size, athleticism, scoring ability and defense at times to help Michigan win its toughest games. Can he grow up fast enough?

Matthews can dominate the right match ups and take over a game. Great scorer, great rebounder.  Not elite yet, but does have potential to be elite. Can he turn into a trusted go-to guy by the end of the season?

MAAR is one of best, if not the best roll players in the country.  He is a consistent scorer, defender, free throw shooter, assist man, turned into a pretty good slasher, and most trusted guy on the team. 

Simpson has greatly improved but is still a bit of a wild card.  Needs to be a more consistent scorer, but the pressure is off since the rest of the starting line up can score.  Can he solidify fast enough like Walton did?

Bench - robinson is where he needs to be, but still a productive player.  Poole has been a terrific spark and Brookes is not a liability. Teske has been solid for the most part.

This team just beat and hung with (should have beat) two likely/potential 1 seeds (2 Seeds at worst). Overall, I think they are definitely good enough to win the B1G title. My gut feeling is this team is good enough win it all, but may need another year. Unfortunately that is not going to happen since Wagner may go, Matthews may go and MAAR is gone.

What say you?  Does this team have what it takes?

edit: clarifification for those confused about what we are trying to win.



January 17th, 2018 at 4:48 PM ^

The old cliche is that you win with guards. Z has improved so dramatically recently that I think we have to be in the conversation. With him and a cool, calm, senior leader in MAAR, we have guards good enough to do some damage. Poole and Robinson can provide some bench spark if we get into a tourney game and the offense slumps. We've got size in Wagner and Teske so we don't have to worry about getting physically dominated by a larger team (a la Novak vs Blake Griffin that one year.)

To improve our odds, we have to keep winning and get up to at least a 3 seed. Yes, 4-6 seeds can win, but I'd like to avoid a 1 seed for as long as possible.

You also have to be able to make FTs to win in the tournament. Z will either turn it around or Beilein will adjust and put the ball in MAAR (and Duncan's) hands at the end of games. It will be interesting to see if Simmons starts taking more backup PG minutes to provide senior steadiness or if Brooks will return to having a larger role this season.

There's another saying that "defense travels." We've got the best defense of Beilein's Michigan career. We should be able to overcome a poor shooting night by shutting down the opposition and getting transition buckets.


January 17th, 2018 at 5:20 PM ^

Actually, the sad thing is that you cannot permanently ban anyone on this site, even though you really, really want to do so, and believe me, I have. Historically, for everyone that permanently stayed away, I am sure about a hundred decided to give MGoBlog a go again. 


January 17th, 2018 at 5:41 PM ^

...but is he really banned for real?

If so, why?  He certainly is comes off as an ass, but he often comes with some good intel and info.  I don't seem him as ban worthy - there are others far worse that are not banned.

Just my $0.02.  Carry on good chap!


January 18th, 2018 at 11:27 AM ^

But to call him by far the worst poster on the board is just straight hilarious.  He's often NOT wrong since he uses facts and figures.  Its just that his opinion on the facts and figures are too strong and abrasive. 

I often like his posts because he comes with some structure to his thought and I can easily sift through his trolling to get to the improtant information.

I mean, I don't recall any of your posts, not to say you are a bad poster.  Just that, if you provided the board with more noteworthy info, I probably remember you.  But then again, from your handle, it looks like you are a Kentucky fan, so I don't know why you hang out here anyway.


January 17th, 2018 at 6:05 PM ^

I wondered . . . I could have sworn there were about 60 posts, and all of a sudden, 20 or 30 were obliterated. I never read or respond to the obvious trolls. And there so many posts that have zero content, but are just witty, snarky, rude, flippant, negative, etc., which I just kind of hop right over.

The sad thing was that at one time, Maizen had some decent things to say. But I think Maizen and his take on Beilein is a great illustration of where some users, including Maizen, were extremely negative on Beilein's recruiting. True enough, we're not recruiting at the same level as Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, and maybe a couple others, but I'm ok with that. Maizen, and others, were not.

The Krusty Kra…

January 17th, 2018 at 4:41 PM ^

That's the beauty of the tournament, if this team gets a favorable draw and finds ways to pull out games how they did on Monday, the sky is the limit. I can't wait to see how the rest of this ride shakes out.


January 17th, 2018 at 4:43 PM ^

Michigan will absolutely have shot, especially if they can win some games down the stretch and avoid facing a one or two seed in the first weekend.

However, I don't know why people keep thinking this, but Michigan State is not going to be anywhere close to a one seed on Selection Sunday.


January 17th, 2018 at 4:45 PM ^

Get a couple good matchups in the tournament, spring an upset, and Michigan could be right there. There don't appear to be any truly dominant teams this year, and Michigan is the type of team that higher seeded teams will dread playing. 

Possible? Absolutely. 


January 17th, 2018 at 4:46 PM ^

They're tough to game plan against, and as Mark Turgeon said - "you cannot guard Mo".

A good shooting, athletic team can beat us, but we can obviously beat a lot of teams on any given night.

*Can* we win a title? Ya.

Will we (this year)? Doubtful.

-An off shooting night

-foul trouble


-Teddy Valentine

Let's make it to the Elite 8 first, then see how it goes.

Remember the Alamo

January 17th, 2018 at 4:46 PM ^

I think they definitley can. That being said, so much has to fall your way it's unreal. The biggest thing for me is to beat one of the top dogs, they would have to have an unreal shooting night. Posiible not probable. I think he will have a couple opportunities in the next 5 years and really hope he gets one before he retires, cause my guess is he has about 5 years until he makes that decision. We were robbed against Lville so gotta get that title.

Goggles Paisano

January 17th, 2018 at 4:49 PM ^

Great guard play goes a long way to winning the tournament.   Trey Burke and Walton were great leaders and big play guys.  We don't quite have that on this years team.  Doesn't mean they can't win it all, but I'd be more surprised if they won it all this year as opposed to last year or in Burke's final year.  


January 17th, 2018 at 4:58 PM ^

but please stop with the 'we shudda beat Purdue." Not picking on OP but I keep seeing this a lot.YES 2 questionable calls at the end but if we won that game it would have been one of those 'we kinda stole it down the stretch' wins.Purdue was ahead for 95% of the game,had our offense off balance,our offense had a very low assist to FG % & assist to turn over ratio wasn't up to the usual good standard..I love this team but hate when end game scenario's get all the attention and the other 38 minutes gets basically ignored..It's like a Maryland fan saying we should have beat Mich.,in reality we spotted them our worst shooting half because we were missing open shots,not because of Marylands def.and then outscored em by 24 points to build a 10 point lead,we almost blew a late lead but Mich showed Maryland who best team was and Purdue showed us,Looking forward to rematch with Purdue & Maryland.....Thanks for letting me vent


January 17th, 2018 at 6:33 PM ^

Some good points, except your characterization of the Purdue game is flat out wrong. Purdue shot lights out from 3 and objectively speaking, many of those shots were extremely difficult. I mean, give them credit and all, but no matter how good or bad their looks were, the fact that they shot over 50% from 3 means Michigan was pretty unfortunate in the game.


January 17th, 2018 at 10:25 PM ^

Your argument seems like you are putting a measurement on the process of the time from the beginning of the game to the end. When I look at the B1G standings I see two measurements and none relate to anything prior to zero on the clock in the second half or overtime. Those measurements are wins and losses. They don't ask how, just how many.

L'Carpetron Do…

January 17th, 2018 at 4:50 PM ^

Certainly in 2019 if these dudes coming in are the real deal.  Also - I'm half-expecting a wave of NCAA infractions/probations/FBI investigations to  finally discipline some of the dirty actors and big contenders in the field, but I think that's wishful thinking.  It's the NCAA!

This year I don't know - but I think they have the potential to sneak up on a lot of people and make a deep run.  They're better than last year and are rapidly getting better are ahead of schedule for a Beilein team.  Who knows where the ceiling is?

Championship teams have good FT shooting though.


January 17th, 2018 at 4:56 PM ^

This year? Uh, sure, if a lot of things break right. But the team isn't there yet. The good news is that there has been significant improvement and the team is rounding into good form and it's still only January. The bad news is that there are still a lot of flaws. 

Things will look a lot different in March. Probably Michigan has a shot to do damage the usual way, with a couple of players on fire and hot shooting. But we had all of that last year and still came up just short to Oregon. For every UConn that makes a title run from a low seed, there are a bunch of teams like ours that have a chance if things break right but fall short.


January 17th, 2018 at 5:00 PM ^

There's enough quality depth that this team can weather star players not playing well, which is a key to winning 6 in a row.

I really dig this particular cast of characters but they're going to need to get better at free throw shooting (probably is what it is) and late clock offense (could get to solid?) to be a "contender" in my mind. Still think they'll make some noise in March, they just need a lot to go right to get to that final weekend.

Programatically Michigan is built for March. They torch people without time to prepare for a 5-out offense and play efficient basketball on both ends. 



January 17th, 2018 at 5:01 PM ^

Next year could be interesting. I think a Final Four is a really long-shot ceiling for this year's team at this point.

Yes, I think they can beat just about anybody on any given night, but stringing together (i) an extended series of wins throughout the rest of conference play, (ii) extended run in the B1G tourney (probably necessary to avoid playing a 1-4 seed in the first weekend of NCAAs) AND THEN (iii) winning 6 straight in the NCAAs? That seems all but impossible given the team's youth. 

I'd be thrilled to be wrong though. Beilein is a great coach and, as someone mentioned above, I think he has a great shot at getting a championship in the next 5 years!