Do the 3 point shooting teams having success give you any hope for Michigan basketball?

Submitted by InRichRodWeTrust on March 21st, 2010 at 4:07 PM

I know there are people that are critics of Beilein’s scheme, so does these teams having success show Michigan can do the same.

Northern Iowa
St. Mary’s

I could be wrong, but I think most of the players on these teams were not good 3 point shooters coming out of high school, unlike the players Michigan has and with a great shooting coach with Beilein they can get even better. My hope is this year was a fluke.

Highlights of 2008-2009



March 21st, 2010 at 4:22 PM ^

I was thinking the exact same thing. We got Douglass who can stroke it, and Vogrich. But the rest of the guys this year were average shooters, Novak to me is a guy who can knock is down, but not a guy you want to rely on to knock it down.


March 21st, 2010 at 4:38 PM ^

N. Iowa is know primarily as a defensive team. St. Mary's leading scorer and reason they're still playing is a huge center. Butler only shot 34.2% from 3-point range, 164th in D-I. And BYU, as good as they are at it, aren't playing anymore, took 2 overtimes to beat a mildly athletic team (and has lost in the 1st round the last 7 tries before that).

Cornell is a pretty good example. But more damning is all the teams you name probably won't be playing by next weekend, and almost assuredly won't after next weekend.


March 21st, 2010 at 4:58 PM ^

Yes, but by the same token, 3-point shooting isn't the only thing Beilein's teams are known for. They take excellent care of the ball, while forcing a large number of turnovers at the other end and play defense without committing many fouls. Those are all things that are key in tournament situations.


March 21st, 2010 at 6:16 PM ^

But it wasn't the point of the thread. Which was does the success of three point shooting teams in the tournament make you feel better about Michigan's chances. Besides the answer being "no" for that one facet, the teams picked to promote the example weren't (mostly) good examples of that success.

If you want to discuss "does the problems people have seeing Syracuse's 2-3 zone so rarely make you feel better about our Tourney potential running the 1-3-1", let's talk.


March 21st, 2010 at 7:03 PM ^

Saying most of them succeed because of factors completely contrary to 3-point shooting (one of them is one if the worst 3-point shooting teams in the country!). Shooting a high percentage of 3's doesn't make one a 3-point shooting team, no more than having a great QB makes you a running team. There may be other things Beilein could do that these teams are doing too. And things he may do. I haven't seen any Beilein teams that have 23 point a game low-post centers, like St. Mary, but it doesn't preclude him from getting one. Just that the majority of these teams succeed in various ways yes; but very few as 3 point gunning teams. It's like saying spread offenses always work in bowls, because you play good defense too. Huh?


March 21st, 2010 at 6:12 PM ^

But then they'd have to (probably) beat West Virginia too. If you want to lay odds on that...and then parlay that into them doing it again next year (not Final Four, but making a run), I'd be glad to take my chances. Teams like that can makes some runs...just like Beilein's teams have...but don't really stay consistently great.


March 21st, 2010 at 6:35 PM ^

Teams like Cornell can make runs "just like Beilein's teams"??? This is a group of seniors that is peaking at the right time, but it's Ivy League talent. I don't even know what to say to that. Full respect to them and what they're doing, but there is literally NO comparison other than that you don't think either a) Ivy League teams and b) Beilein's teams can compete nationally.

My opinion is that the best AAU teams could make a run in this tournament, but not consistently. Here, let me make a nonsensical Michigan comparison.

We get it: you don't think we can win consistently with Beilein. Great: you have an e-pinion! However, it has absolutely nothing to do with Cornell.


March 21st, 2010 at 6:54 PM ^

You're saying the OP is stupid, because that's the one saying there's a comparison between Cornell's success to Michigan's. Why is it that positive comparisons are valid, but negative ones aren't?

And why are you so angry? LOL You think you'd be equally upset at nonsensical defenses proposing Beilein's success. But you can't seem to post it that way.

So far the only difference we have in eopinions is that the a) and b) you credit me for hasn't been proven wrong. And we're probably a minimum of 3 years away for there even to be a chance for that to happen. See you then.


March 21st, 2010 at 7:09 PM ^

I didn't respond to his post, but no, I don't think mid-majors with decent 3-point %s prove that Beilein's system works. Beilein's consistent success with his system proves it works. I haven't read a nonsensical defense of Beilein recently, likely because of the crappy season, but you knew that.

I'm not angry, and I have no problem with "This year was awful, and Beilein did X Y and Z wrong." That person might be right. Instead, people are attacking a system that a) has been effective at all levels of college basketball and b) was wildly successful with walk-ons at the point last year. It has shown that a team can win with it consistently despite grabbing fewer rebounds than the opposition. But by all means, let's bang our 2 (two) big men with MSU for 40 minutes and come within a last-second tip of winning. Seems likely.

And I'm comfortable saying the difference between Ivy League teams (one team advancing in over a decade) and Beilein's system (feel free to check Wikipedia for his record) has been pretty firmly established at this time. So see you, uh, now?


March 21st, 2010 at 7:19 PM ^

I don't need to look it up. I've posted his average Big East record here before. I just pointed out that 3 point shooting teams who aren't really 3 point shooting teams aren't good examples why a 3 point shooting team might win probably isn't great reasoning. It philosophical, not based on one season. If you want to list all the primarily 3 point shooting teams that have won National Chsmpionships, be my guest. I'm guessing it's going to be hard to find too many who stayed hot from beyond the arc for 6 straight games.


March 21st, 2010 at 7:50 PM ^

So OK, let's go with ignoring his record at Canisius and Richmond. I suppose you know enough about DI basketball to discount any low-or-mid major conference play as meaningless. WVU had not been to the tournament since 1998 before Beilein got them there. His worst year there with his players he won the NIT (see: Amaker's best year). He consistently kept a previously bottom-dwelling program in the thick of the Big East, which despite struggles this year is a top basketball conference. His best recruit there is leading 2-seeded WVU this year, which again, is using many of Beilein's schemes right this very moment.

I know it's a little crazy, but hear me out: let's see what this system can do with top national recruits, a luxury it has never enjoyed, even when going to the Elite Eight. If you want to define Beilein's system, one universally praised by his peers (who must lack your keen insight), as "3 point shooting team" and end it there, there's nothing to discuss - there is far more to what he does than fire 3s and pray for the best (see: the very solid defense this year despite no size). I fear that the nuance might be escaping you.


March 21st, 2010 at 9:35 PM ^

Why do you keep posting.

I may not have your keen basketball knowledge, but I can read.

2002–2003 West Virginia 14–15 5–11 6th West
2003–2004 West Virginia 17–14 7–9 T-8th NIT 3rd Round
2004–2005 West Virginia 24–11 8–8 T-7th NCAA Elite Eight
2005–2006 West Virginia 22–11 11–5 3rd NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2006–2007 West Virginia 27–9 9–7 T-7th NIT Champions

Worst year NIT Champ, eh? (Not even true if you discount his first year). And if you're comparing him to Amaker, you've already lost the argument (BTW, coaches and pundits thought he was going to be a great coach too...). He's not really anyone's ceiling, you know? That's just saying he's better than suck. The "thick of the Big East" is also a stretch, unless you mean the fat middle.

No one in this conversation has ever said fire him. So I don't know why we're debating whether his system is going to get a chance. It is, and should. But at no level have I SEEN him recruit top national recruits. So, until that starts happening, I retain the right to be skeptical. And he's running out of time. He's not 30. Rich Rod could take 5 years to be successful, and still have 15 years to coach greatness. We were debating his system, not he right to have a chance at his job. I don't see it as any different than someone liking a Rich Rod ground game vs. an air it out system, and debating the merits. Except at least with that you can find lots of examples of it working at the very highest level on both sides.


March 21st, 2010 at 10:15 PM ^

You posted his record - do you not see the upward overall trend? Beilein inherited an 8-20, 1-15 team. In his first four seasons, WVU improved its Big East record each year, from 5-11 to 7-9 to 8-8 to 11-5. After that fourth year, the top six players departed, and WVU was picked to finish in the basement. Instead they went 9-7 and got jobbed out of a tourney bid. Given how young Beilein's last team was, I think it's likely that they would have continued the upward trend beyond 2007 had he stayed. At any rate, they certainly have done so under Huggins.

I believe we would have seen a similar year-to-year progression at UM if not for some really bad luck regarding big men: we lost Udoh to a transfer, Benzing to the clearinghouse, Cronin to a career-ending injury and Morgan to a knee injury. Add any couple of that group to this year's team and we're most likely in the tourney. Heck, just adding one of them would have meant that we wouldn't have had to play Novak at the 4 so much.


March 21st, 2010 at 5:23 PM ^

Michigan actually played pretty decent defense this year (better than last, good enough for ~50s or 60s in the country - don't remember the exact #).

You make fine points about whether those teams really live and die by the three and their struggles. But none can recruit (or IS RECRUITING) as well as Michigan. The fact that non-BCS conference teams will not get past the Sweet 16 is in no way "damning" as it concerns Michigan or John Beilein, who I know you love so much.


March 21st, 2010 at 5:27 PM ^

No no jrt, it's very important to people to generalize about our "soft" "only shoots threes" "no defense" team. Please don't confuse them with the legitimate limitations that made it almost impossible for Michigan to really progress this year.

(And just so it's clear - anyone complaining about this year's team, which of course is wholly legitimate because obviously, might still love Beilein, because we couldn't really run his system with the personnel we had.)


March 21st, 2010 at 6:15 PM ^

Yes, but what your post boils down to is: "Look at those teams hitting all their three pointers. If we hit our three pointers we could be a better team in the future too." Which, duh.

The problem people have with Beilein's scheme is that exactly this sort of thing can happen - if you go cold on your three-pointers, it's a lot harder for Beilein's teams to make up for that than it is for other teams.

The correct rebuttal to the anti-scheme folks is that Beilein's scheme doesn't call for the complete lack of big men we had this year. Beilein tried to get big men in here and Angry Michigan Big Man Hating God conspired with the byzantine NCAA rulebook to keep them out.


March 21st, 2010 at 6:32 PM ^

I know I am totally going to get negged for this, but I am definitely one of those people that say even with all the tools, Belein's system won't work. The outside-in scheme relies heavily on low percentage shots, places the offense in an unfair position to retrieve second-chance rebounds, and is premised on taking the big men out of the lane. The scheme that I want and the scheme that has consistently been demonstrated as successful is a balanced inside-outside game. Have a reliable outside shooter or two, but build the team at the point and low-post positions. It allows the offense to crash the board, shoot high percentage shots, and wears down the other team with more physical play.

EDIT: while I am not a historical expert in Big 10 basketball, the league seems to always have some of the toughest rebounding teams in the nation. As such, I would want a scheme that emphasizes this element of the game by getting more than one or two players on the glass from the offensive side of the ball.


March 21st, 2010 at 6:47 PM ^

Beilein has the best NCAA tournament record of any active coach relative to seeding expectations. He also has done very well in conference tournaments and the NIT. Anyway, I don't understand why people assume he wants his post player to be on the perimeter. Yes, Pittsnogle was mostly a shooter, but that's just what he was good at. This year, Sims played down low most of the time, and Beilein certainly did not recruit Cronin or Morgan for their three-point shooting. Beilein encourages his players to take what the defense gives them. That can mean taking the early three, but doesn't have to. As it happened this season, teams often collapsed on Sims inside and gave up the three, but that doesn't mean things will always go that way. A year ago, some of our best performances (including the Duke win) occurred when we didn't attempt that many threes.


March 21st, 2010 at 7:25 PM ^

The fact that he went, as he predicted, from +2 to -1 for having the gall to say he prefers a balanced attack is just silly. Nothing he said is outrageous, or even anything more than having a widely accepted opinion that isn't popular here. People do run different systems, but to say your NC's, Kansas's, MSU's, etc. don't want balanced systems is silly. Duke is an elite program that has gone from balanced to primarily outside shooting, and they haven't been great in years.


March 21st, 2010 at 7:59 PM ^

lol...i'd like to be at that press conference.

coach: "yeah, we are just gonna run a three-point system that is focused on jacking up threes from anywhere beyond the arc. we expect this to really carry us far into our schedule."

kinda ridiculous. the fact is that while most every coach in the nation would argue for a "balanced attack," the on-the-court play speaks for itself.


March 21st, 2010 at 7:27 PM ^

In his defense, the "scheme" buddha proposes appears to boil down basically to "have better players than the other guys." A "balanced inside-outside" scheme is basically: I'll put my big guys against your big guys, and my point guard against yours, and I expect mine to be better. It's not really that every other school runs it, it's more that you can only get away with that if you're Duke. If you're trying to separate from the pack, and we're talking about Beilein who won't go diving into the slime to convince slimy agents to steer their slimy players your way, then you need a different game plan, not just "crash the boards and tell your point guard to make plays."

In other words, it's not that the KUs and UNCs and UKs are better because they run a "balanced" scheme; it's that they run such a scheme because they're better and can recruit better players.


March 21st, 2010 at 7:42 PM ^

And you've made good points throughout.

But is Duke, you're example, really that dirty? Established, yes. And thus easier. But I don't buy ALL of them are HUGE cheaters. Kentucky? Sure. But NC and others? No more than Michigan football currently. Which means the old "what everyone else is doing".

I mean, this year's Tourney is fun, but it's been an abberration. Big time talent ends you up in the Final Four. If we can't find a clean way to recruit it, or at least realize in basketball you have to at least get around dealing with the slimey people, we'll never be real good. Which you can accept if you want, that's fine. No reason basketball has to be more than above average.


March 21st, 2010 at 7:53 PM ^

actually, no, i'm not saying that you need better players at all. obviously, talent helps, but the way to overcome talent deficiencies is to have players correctly positioned around the court and sinking high-percentage shots. indeed, three-point shooting teams can make a run and are often the cindarella-esque teams in the tourney. however, teams that are consistently good year-in, year-out run offenses that emphasize rebounding, competent point guards, and a decent low-post player...and, no, these are not traditional elements of belein-coached teams.

it is a fundamental fact in basketball that when you shoot three-pointers, you greatly reduce the number of second chance opportunities. when you take your bigs out of the lane, you limit your chance at rebounds (and, no, this is not something that merely happened with Pittsnogle. this is a basic element of the outside-in philosophy).

so, when belein gets his players, yeah - i hope UM gets better and can make the occasional tourney appearance. however, and this is my opinion, i just don't see them rising to the upper echelon's of the big 10 with a finesse-style offense that doesn't focus on low-post play. neg away.


March 21st, 2010 at 8:56 PM ^

What you claim about rebounding isn't the tiniest bit true. The best team in the Big Ten at offensive rebound percentage is Michigan State - but the worst is Ohio State. The second-best is Indiana. Indiana's offensive rebounding earned them a 10-21 record. And of the bottom five teams in the Big Ten at offensive rebounding percentage, three are tournament teams. Makes no difference. The correlation between offensive rebounding percentage and success is zero.

Defensive rebounding percentage is what matters a hell of a lot more and correlates to success. Of the top four Big Ten teams in that category, three are tournament teams. Indiana, Michigan, and Northwestern are the worst. And that's got nothing to do with scheme at all because there isn't a coach in the world telling his team not to crash the defensive boards.


March 21st, 2010 at 7:21 PM ^

If you have "all the tools", any scheme will work. Here are the games Michigan lost close and shot 3's less than .300 in:

Lost by 2 to Alabama - shot .240
Lost by 4 to Boston College - shot .265
Lost by 1 to MSU - shot .241
Lost by 4 to Penn State - shot .219

Give us just plain old average .350 three-point shooting and we're 19-13 (9-9), maybe an extra win in the BTT, and we're all congratulating the team on another tournament season and a win over MSU to boot.

And that's ignoring not only a couple of close losses where the percentage was just a hair over .300, but the fact that Beilein's scheme does in fact demand an inside presence and we had no big men this year. Unless you're playing high school or D-III ball, you will lose more often than you win with 6'5" power forwards no matter what scheme you run - and you're advocating one that demands even more big men than Beilein had to work with.


March 21st, 2010 at 8:01 PM ^

THANK YOU!!! I totally disagree with you, but everybody that has been posting is acting like nobody thought Beilein's system wouldn't work when the team is hitting 3s,which is why I made this post. To ask if people thought that the teams that base their offense on 3 point shooting gave anyone hope.


March 21st, 2010 at 5:36 PM ^

it's about the caliber of our players and how well we can execute.

You can have a championship defense with a mix of man-to-man and 1-3-1.

you can build an offense outside-in in college basketball and be an elite team as long as you have size at the right positions and relative balance.


March 21st, 2010 at 5:48 PM ^

...but nobody can win consistently without a low-post presence to take the pressure off the shooters. The senior-laden Butler team of a few years ago was very good from outside, but couldn't beat eventual champion Florida, which had Horford and Noah down low.

Until Michigan gets some height, that Butler sweet sixteen appearance is their upside. I am hoping that Horford signs, and that next year Horford, Smotrycz, Morgan, and McLimans have sportswriters scrambling to call them something like the "Four Horsemen" but better.

And it would be even better if at least one of them got Pittsnogle comparisons.


March 21st, 2010 at 5:50 PM ^

Everything has to go your way. This seems to be one of those years where it's happening. And in the NCAA Tournament, you get two or three Cornell's every year anyway.

Last year, everything went right for Michigan. This year--pretty much nothing. That's what happens when you lack talent and jack up three-point shots.

They go in, you have a chance. They don't, and you watch MSU plow through another NCAA tournament and wonder what the hell they do that we don't.


March 21st, 2010 at 6:50 PM ^

When you're forced to start a 6'4" power forward, you can bang your head against a wall and try to outrebound a bigger team, or you can be smart and gameplan around your lack of size. Beilein put an emphasis on forcing turnovers to compensate for his team's lack of height and interior D, and we ended up having a solid defense as a result.


March 21st, 2010 at 7:11 PM ^

Only if you plan on being undersized consistently. It wasn't just this year. Beilein has said due to the style they play, he expects his teams to be outrebounded, and they make up for it with x, y, z. It's not just a tiny power forward strategy, it's his system. How much value you place on rebounding could be debated. I obviously value it more than Beilein. So does Izzo.