FiveThirtyEight Article on 'small ball' Michigan Championship team shout out

Submitted by tsabesi on March 21st, 2016 at 4:43 PM

This FiveThirtyEight article compares the National Championship Game team from several years ago favorably to the Warriors and points to it as a emblmatic of a larger shift in the game of basketball.…




March 21st, 2016 at 5:11 PM ^

Ah, another thread that will devolve into debating whether or not JB should be fired. I like the comparison but I'm not sure you can cross-compare NBA and college this way. Nice article, thanks for posting.


March 21st, 2016 at 5:30 PM ^

I thought this was about the 1989 team since that team won a championship and is several years ago.  2013 is only a few years ago.  It was so recent that McGary and GRIII would still be eligible to play on this year's team if they didn't leave early.


March 22nd, 2016 at 9:26 AM ^

But I remember one of the reasons given why UNC was able to beat us in 1987 and 1988 was due to a height advantage.  Must have been less about height and more about rebounding.  

Besides the amazing height on that team, it's crazy to see how many NBA players we had on that 1989 team.  Lots of NBA longevity on that roster.  For anyone who wants to downplay how good we should expect to be, look at the NBA talent on those rosters from 1985-1998.  Local, regional and national talent on those rosters.


March 21st, 2016 at 5:34 PM ^

(which I enjoy), I do think the proliferation of small ball/perimeter oriented offense (not the same thing, but a lot of overlap) has hurt Michigan. Teams are much more used to defending 4 out, 1 in, so we've lost part of the advantage our offense used to have from a matchup standpoint.  Also, there are other very efficient styles of perimeter oriented offense (like MSU's this year, until Middle Tennessee LOL), so our offense does not have as much of an inherent advantage compared to what other people have running. 

The solution isn't necessarily getting bigger at the four, it's about getting tougher and more athletic at every position. I don't see that happening, though. 



March 21st, 2016 at 5:50 PM ^

The problem is that there aren't enough future NBA players on the team.  Beilein can't recruit and we are just going to have to wait until he retires before this team has a chance to win anything.


March 21st, 2016 at 6:28 PM ^

Not at all.  Look at the recruiting rankings.


He's had a top 10 class once.  Think about what that would mean for our football team.  It would be a disaster.

It's crazy how the the year we had a top 10 class we made the Final Four isn't it?

Hmm, maybe do more of that?  Get top 5-10 classes and send them to the NBA after two or three years.  Only 13 freshman got drafted last year so there are a ton of good players that aren't one and done.  Beilein had his chance and he blew it so now the fans will have to see a few more mediocre seasons and hopefully get a coach who understands recruiting as much as the X's and O's.


March 21st, 2016 at 7:23 PM ^

1 Final Four is more than at least 95 percent of Div 1 coaches, and definitely more than any coach UM would get as a replacement. I'm so glad anti JB forces here think we could capture lightning in a bottle with an up and coming coach we would get. Odds are that we'd be looking for another coach in five years.

And don't give me "history of success" arguments. Beilein is more successful than any coach save Fisher since the 70s.

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Stringer Bell

March 21st, 2016 at 7:57 PM ^

Oh please.  You want a list of active coaches that have made a final four?  Coach K, Izzo, Williams, Self, Pitino, Boeheim, Calipari, Donovan, Howland, Larry Brown, Huggins, Matta, Stevens, Rick Barnes, Beilein, John Brady, Tom Crean, Mike Davis, Steve Fisher, Lon Kruger, Larranaga, Gregg Marshall, Kevin Ollie, Kelvin Sampson, Shaka Smart, Tubby Smith, JT3, Bruce Weber, and Jay Wright.  That is a pretty extensive list.  There are plenty of candidates out there that could get Michigan to a Final Four.  What's delusional is acting like Beilein is the only one who could do that.  Thanks for playing.

Stringer Bell

March 21st, 2016 at 8:29 PM ^

Making a final four isn't easy.  It takes a lot of luck and favorable draws.  But I will say that Ben Howland made 3 Final Fours in a row, and he is now coaching at the basketball powerhouse that is Mississippi State.  Just because a guy like Sean Miller hasn't made a final four yet doesn't mean he is incapable of it.  The issue for me is a lack of consistency.  Arizona is frequently in the hunt for a final four.  No, they haven't made it yet under Miller, but they've been a very successful program and appear to be on the path to sustain that through good recruiting and having a good system in place.  Michigan had some highs under Beilein, but we've fallen back into mediocrity since then, missing the postseason altogether last year and then barely scraping our way into the tournament this year only to bow out in the first round.  Where's the consistency?  Where's the bright future for this program?  It's fair to think we hit our ceiling under Beilein and are trending downwards.  I don't blame anyone who would rather just cut ties now rather than suffer further mediocrity in Beilein's twilight years just so he can go out on his own terms, while what little luster is left from the NCG and Elite 8 run completely wears off.


March 22nd, 2016 at 1:08 AM ^

"fallen back into mediocrity since then, missing the postseason altogether last year and then barely scraping our way into.."

Beilein's record in the past 4 years:

2012-2013 - National Championship Game

2013-2014 - Eilte Eight (despite losing their best players Burke to the NBA and McGary to injury)

2014-1015 - .500 record despite being decimated by injuries (losing Levert and Walton for almost the entire year among other injuries)

2015-2016 - NCAA tourney bid despite losing both seniors for essentially the entire year

How is that falling into mediocrity?

Beilein has done an amazing job the last two years in coaching up injury-riddled teams.

You just don't seem to understand basketball.

LV Sports Bettor

March 22nd, 2016 at 4:20 PM ^

It's everyone besides these guys...............Coach K, Izzo, Williams, Self, Pitino, Boeheim, Calipari, Donovan, Howland, Larry Brown, Huggins, Matta, Stevens, Rick Barnes, Beilein, John Brady, Tom Crean, Mike Davis, Steve Fisher, Lon Kruger, Larranaga, Gregg Marshall, Kevin Ollie, Kelvin Sampson, Shaka Smart, Tubby Smith, JT3, Bruce Weber, and Jay Wright...............there you go. 


March 21st, 2016 at 6:43 PM ^

are just as irrational. One of those "2 B1G titles" was a team that went 13-5 and was in a 3-way tie for the conference before being bounced early in the conference tourney and losing to 13-seed Ohio in the first round of the NCAA's. Not exactly a juggernaut. 

The Elite 8 team had a great regular season but made the Elite 8 in part because they got to play (and barely beat) 11 seed Tennessee instead of 3 seed Duke.  So yes, 3 good seasons and 2 deep tournament runs in 9 years. Not exactly a dynasty for a program with a significant history of success. 

Voltron Blue

March 21st, 2016 at 7:08 PM ^

What is irrational from the Beilein defenders?  Genuinely curious.

As to getting bounced by Ohio...yeah, that sucked, but Ohio also made the Sweet 16, where they took a 1 seed to overtime.  Sometimes you just run into a buzzsaw.  

I'm also not sure why you'd want to discount the Elite Eight run.  That Tennessee team was also hot, beat a 6 seed by 19 points, beat a team that beat Duke, etc.  

Anyway, 2 B1G titles and 2 deep runs in 9 years is certainly on par with the peaks of our other coaches in this program historically.  Strack had a three year run on the back of Cazzie.  Orr won two conference titles and had three deep runs.  Frieder had a few highly ranked teams but didn't do well in March.  Fisher had three deep runs, but never could win the conference, and has an asterisk next to two of those three.  

Point is, Beilein is NOT underperforming our "significant history of success".  In fact, I'd say he's right in line from the perspective of making the tournament, winning conference championships, and making deep tourney runs.  He's light on winning percentage, but I think it's fair to discount his first season and last year given the injuries. 


Voltron Blue

March 21st, 2016 at 7:49 PM ^

Fine...and I'd be interested to see the adjusted numbers...but I would argue that nobody really cares about conference record...they care about conference championships (which is certainly impacted by record), they care about tournament success (which is certainly impacted by seeding, which is impacted by record) but whether we're 11-7 or 10-8 in a given year doesn't rate highly.  

Stringer Bell

March 21st, 2016 at 8:45 PM ^

Any answer I give would be scoffed at anyways.  If I name a guy like Sean Miller, people will say "well he never made a final four before" even though he's come damn close multiple times and has a consistently successful program at Arizona.  If I name a guy like Gregg Marshall people will say we can't get him.  If I name a guy like Archie Miller, people will laugh at that as well.  The Beilein defenders just can't accept that there are a lot of coaches out there that could be successful at Michigan and I don't know why there's this mindset.

Stringer Bell

March 21st, 2016 at 9:05 PM ^

The fact that both are younger, that I think Beilein has peaked and is now entering his twilight years.  That both have taken mid-major programs to success not previously seen at their programs (Final Four, #1 seed, Sweet 16 and upset of Kansas for Marshall; consistent NCAA tournament appearances and Elite Eight for Archie).  I think we could get Gregg Marshall.  We'd have to pony up but the ceiling at Michigan is certainly higher than at Wichita and I think we could sell him on that.  Archie I think it's simply a matter of calling him and telling him the job is his.  But there are a lot of coaches out there.  I think you could look at any mid major program that has had consistent success lately, like say a Stephen F. Austin, and look at that coach as a good candidate to build upon what Beilein built here.

Voltron Blue

March 21st, 2016 at 9:14 PM ^

Stephen F Austin's coach is off the table as of today, see this in every sport every year.  Mid-major program gets hot and then suddenly their coach is in high demand.  These types of coaches fail at their next stop more than they succeed.  The thing is, if you're going to fire Beilein, it you need a >> 50% chance the situation is going to improve.  Even someone like Shaka Smart, who made a Final Four from VCU and has not only been offered but turned down jobs like UCLA (!) has been beaten by Beilein both times we've played.  I'm not sure there's an attainable candidate (e.g. Brad Stevens) that gives us a greater likelihood of success than failure, let alone much greater.  

Stringer Bell

March 21st, 2016 at 9:25 PM ^

I guess for me it just boils down to the fact that I think Beilein is on the downswing.  I'd rather take my chances with a young, up and comer than bank on a 63 year old guy building a championship caliber team based on one 2 year run out of the 30 some odd years that he has coached division 1 basketball.  Yes, I know there's a risk of a new hire flaming out, but I think Beilein is slowly burning out anyways.


March 21st, 2016 at 8:43 PM ^

Lol, that 13 seed Ohio team went to the sweet sixteen and took 1 seed North Carolina into overtime. I also laugh at a "significant history of success. He is the third winningest coach in Michigan history and is tied for 2nd in B10 championships and final fours