John Beilein Appreciation Thread:

Submitted by FatGuyTouchdown on January 15th, 2018 at 11:20 PM

Reflecting after the game tonight, I realized we've come to about the year mark since the #FIREBEILEIN crown was at its loudest and most vocal. About a year ago today was the Maverick Morgan game, and 50 weeks ago was the Ohio State loss that dropped Michigan to 14-9 and on the outside looking in on the NCAA Tourney. Since then:

Michigan is 28-7, which includes a sweet 16 berth, A Big Ten Tournament Championship following a plane crash, two straight wins over favored Michigan State squads, a top ranked recruiting class, another NBA first round draft pick, and 4 of the 7 losses came by 2 points or less. Even though I was never firmly on the fire Beilein bandwagon, I was very frustrated with the direction of the program, and I'm embarrassed to have ever felt that way. So even though I got a little too drunk tonight, I would like to thank John Beilein for always representing this program with absolute class, being a phenomenal coach and human being, and getting the absolute most out of every single one of his players. Just wanted to reflect on the last year, and how far the program has come. Go Blue!

Comments

Michifornia

January 15th, 2018 at 11:24 PM ^

That frustrate fans.  But the turncoats who call for a firing anytime things don't go great should not be included with true supporters.  Beilein is well respected as one of the best coaches in college basketball PERIOD.  Not a bad recruiter either.  People complain because we don't get the Bambas of the world, but Coach B knows what we needs and gets the most out of almost all of his guys.  This is his team.

GO BLUE!!

FatGuyTouchdown

January 15th, 2018 at 11:27 PM ^

even though in hindsight it's absolutely ridiculous, when Michigan was 14-9, it looked like they weren't going to make the tourney for the second time in 3 years, with the one appearance being in the First Four In after needing a Kam Chatman (!!!) 3 pointer to beat Indiana to put us on the bubble. It didn't look good, but now all of us that doubted look very, very stupid.

Stringer Bell

January 15th, 2018 at 11:40 PM ^

This.  The turnaround last year was so drastic.  It wasn't a team getting progressively better throughout the season, it was a team going from bad to very good almost instantaneously and thus saving us from a 3rd straight disappointing season.  Props to those who saw that coming, but you'll have to forgive those of us who didn't.

Beilein himself has also adjusted.  Criticisms about his recruiting and his team's lack of defense and rebounding were very real and, IMO, very fair.  But he has stepped up his recruiting, and this year he has a team that is among the best in the country at defense and rebounding.  And again, after 40+ years of having the same coaching philosophy, you'll have to forgive those of us who didn't see these kinds of changes coming.

FatGuyTouchdown

January 15th, 2018 at 11:44 PM ^

last year you told me Derrick Walton would be an All American, DJ Wilson would be a lottery pick, Mo Wagner would have a serious NBA decision, and Zak Irvin would be good, I would've called bullshit. Beilein absolutely adjusted, put players in the best position to succeed, and turned around a very shit year. He's a wizard and I wish he could coach football sometimes.

snarling wolverine

January 16th, 2018 at 12:22 AM ^

It was a dramatic turnaround, but to say that Beilein changed his recruiting/coaching philosophy after that doesn't make sense.  This year's freshmen were already signed by that point.  And Beilein had already reworked his defensive philosophy with Donlan, (among other things) emphasizing limiting 3-point attempts.  It just took time for that to start working with the team.

Also, the idea that he's been the same coach 40 years is nonsense.  We don't look much at all like his WVU teams.  They didn't use many ball screens on offense, and ran the 1-3-1 regularly on defense.  His WVU teams basically didn't even have a point guard.

People last year were upset over the underperformance, which is fine, but it's not like Beilein read this blog and had a revelation.  Don't get carried away.

Stringer Bell

January 16th, 2018 at 12:31 AM ^

I never specified a point when he adjusted his recruiting and coaching philosophy, but he has done it.  How often has he gone after a guy like Matthews in his career?  A guy who isn't a great shooter but brings value with his defense, rebounding, and athleticism.  Or how often has he gone after a guy like Teske?  Doesn't exactly fit the mold of the stretch 5 that he usually likes to employ, but he adds value through his ability to protect the rim.

Sure he's made some tweaks to his offensive system over the years, as anyone would do.  And yeah he doesn't run the 1-3-1 anymore except as an occasional change up (thankfully).  But throughout his career Beilein's teams have been known for great offenses predicated on 3 point shooting, mediocre to bad defenses, and poor rebounding.  This year's team has a different identity than the typical Beilein teams, and it's for the better.

FauxMo

January 16th, 2018 at 9:57 AM ^

Hey Stringer, you are pretty close now, but I think you should go "Full Trump" and claim you never, ever questioned Beilein, and that, in fact, you are now and have always been the second biggest supporter of Beilein on the board. Second only to his greatest supporter, Maizen... :-D 

GO FULL TRUMP! GO FULL TRUMP!!!

El Jeffe

January 16th, 2018 at 10:03 AM ^

All I learned from your last two posts is that you don't have the courage of your convictions. If you lose your shit because of a few losses and then gain it back after a few wins, then that means you're kind of an unstable person.

There's nothing particularly wrong or even unusual about that. It's just that if you have that kind of personality you will always be buffetted about by the winds of fortune. I don't really understand why you wouldn't just adopt the position that Beilein knows a lot, tries really hard, and is a good man.

Hence, he's someone you should be proud to root for, even if the ball doesn't always bounce our way or the team comes out flat in a few games or is adjusting to some new schemes that you are not privy to.

SpaceDad

January 16th, 2018 at 1:39 AM ^

I don't forgive you and others who doubted Beilein or wanted him gone. Beilein has been a fabulous coach at Michigan from the beginning. You and most of the others are great Michigan supporters, but you've been wrong about our coach, and your half-assed retractions and underhanded compliments do not wipe any of that away as far as I'm concerned.

matty blue

January 16th, 2018 at 9:19 AM ^

...the "switch" that went on a year ago was not the first time he's changed his philosophy on the fly.

when we hired him, i had a couple of sparty friends who laughed and said we'd hired a gimmick coach - 3-pointers and 1-3-1 gadget defense (my response at the time, after years of tommy amaker, was "hey, if we can get under 25 turnovers a game, i'm all in"  check.).  now. the 1-3-1 has almost entirely disappeared, and we got killed on the pick and roll for a while until we started hedging.  he still wants guys that can shoot the three, but when he saw what darius morris could do he switched to a ton of pick and roll, too.  now it's less so.

i guess what i'm saying is yeah, i understood the concerns...but i think we could have seen at least some of the changes coming, just based on his prior history here.  he's always adjusted.

on another note, i've never understood the carping about recruiting.  we're putting out nba players just about every year, but we've never gotten (or gone after) the one and dones.  i'm totally okay with that, and i truly can't think of too many of those guys that i wish we'd had.  lsu can keep ben simmons if he's going to half-ass his way through a semester before sprinting out the door.  beilein's approach - get a guy just below that level and turn him into a star - means that i get to know these guys and watch them develop.  that, to me, is what college athletics is kinda about.

TrueBlue2003

January 16th, 2018 at 4:58 PM ^

The team started out really well, and we knew that we had good players.  Healthy Walton, MAAR, Irvin were known entities.  It was clear immediately in NYC that DJ was realizing his immense talent, and Wagner was showing his breakout at the end of the previous season wasn't a fluke.  There was legitimate final four talk after the tournament in NYC.

Then things kind of went down the shitter with some poor efforts at UCLA, Illinois, a late collapse at Iowa, etc.

But a lot of it had to do with our opponents being absurdly lucky/hot from three and losing all our close games (VT, Iowa, Maryland, etc).  Those aspects of last year were bound to turn around and Ace and the reasonable fanbase talked about it here.  In many regards the "improvement" was basic regression to the mean that was expected to happen.

What I was upset about last year was the poor effort in games like UCLA and Illinois.  That was the bad thing that we could control and weren't doing a good job of it.  Once D Walt took on a leadership role and the team followed with the effort and the fluky things came back down to earth, we returned to being the final four contending team we should have been all along.

Whether you think it's worse for a coach to have an underacheiving team vs. just a bad team is debatable, but we had an underacheiving team but not a bad team (in terms of talent) last year, and that isn't debatable.

Hail-Storm

January 16th, 2018 at 9:47 AM ^

as the head coach of Michigan while at Michigan.  Despite watching a handful of wins over Indiana, it was a tough row, and then to follow that with Amaker never making the tournament, I guess I have a pretty long leash. Beilein has not only gotten to the tournament more than he hasn't, but actually made really nice runs. 

I definitely understand the expectations that Michigan should have, but I have a hard time thinking of a coach who can provide as much success as Beilein has with as much integrity.  

Great post OP. Can't believe the stats on 4 of he losses being so close. 

lilpenny1316

January 15th, 2018 at 11:25 PM ^

It's too bad the NBA will likely overlook Wagner's obvious lack of height or shooting ability and draft him anyway.  But it finally feels like Beilein can reload and not rebuild.

goblue16

January 15th, 2018 at 11:26 PM ^

John Beilein has earned the right to retire when he pleases. Anyone calling for his job should be kicked off this blog unless off course it’s an issue of criminal act which I doubt would ever happen with Beilein. Once again HAIL BEILEIN!! GO BLUE!!

FatGuyTouchdown

January 15th, 2018 at 11:29 PM ^

I will now literally fight anyone over John Beilein's honor. I was at the Michigan-Michigan State game, and it was an absolute pleasure to see one coach consistently in the huddle with his team, and one coach consistently red from screaming at officials during timeouts. Not going to name any names, but I'm so fucking glad John Beilein is our coach.

goblue16

January 15th, 2018 at 11:28 PM ^

I’m gonna be honest I was frustrated last year after that OSU loss and I told my brother if he does not make the NCAA tourney last year then this year could be his last. He shut me up real quick

FatGuyTouchdown

January 15th, 2018 at 11:41 PM ^

those sentiments were shared by a lot of people. But now I think we're looking at a program that isn't even close to peaking. I think next years recruiting class will rival the 2012 class in terms of impact on the program, even if it doesn't translate directly to pro players. Fun Fact: From 2010-2012, John Beilein signed 12 players. 6 of them were drafted, 5 in the first round. During that same stretch, Duke is 2/10, Michigan State is 3/12, Arizona was 0/10, North Carolina is 7/12, Kentucky is 14/16, and Kansas is 2/13.

Denard Harbaugh

January 15th, 2018 at 11:45 PM ^

Beilein took us from sanctions and embarrassment and brought us within five minutes of a National Championship. The job he has done here should never have been brought in to question.

Couzen Rick's

January 16th, 2018 at 12:22 AM ^

I'll admit, last season around that OSU game I was one of those wondering if Beilein was still the guy (those on the blog back then remember this debate well). Then he and the boys won the B1G. After the tourney I vowed to never question Coach B ever again.

Here's hoping to 10 more years!

Lampuki22

January 16th, 2018 at 12:27 AM ^

theres going to be one of these every time the program has a decent win?

Heres the counter to that, that I think you are fishing for. You’re welcome.

You are correct. JB deserves better than some of the “fire him” sentiment from the times when the program was seemingly faltering under him. JB has turned out to be a very unregretable hire. Cool. He’s a long term keeper. Possibly (but probably not) a hall of fame coach. . Lets have Subz. Etc

Does this feel anything like 1989, 1992 or 1993. Nope. Not even close. I realize Ed Martin did bad things and Steve Fischer and Bill Frieder turned a blind eye. But 25 years later we have 2 or 3 good seasons and a handful of great moments. All of those moments are attributable to Beilein.

This is not an elite program. Its very good. Its respectable. It will make runs. It will have players drafted. Right now we are Virginia Hoops or a version of Virginia Tech football. We are not even Wisconsin Hoops or Stanford football. The results are too inconsistent.

Not the hot girl in school. But a great personality. Glad most of you are satisfied with that. It still feels kinda like like rationalizing or settling to me. Safe. Very safe. But not brave.

1 in 10 of you know what I’m saying. The rest, neg away.

1VaBlue1

January 16th, 2018 at 8:07 AM ^

I know exactly what you're saying, and sort of agree.  But I'll neg, anyway...  And here's why: You're not giving any credit to the simple fact that the girl with the great personality is very pretty.  Maybe not the hottest girl in the school, but easily one of the prettiest.  She does really cool things, she talks nicely to everyone, she treats people with respect, and she's the girl that - when you figure it out - you want to take home to mom.

That hottest girl?  She's always primping herself, checking her makeup.  She hangs with the 'cool people' and ignores everyone else with a snide comment under her breath.  She's a selfish princess that only has time for you if you can do something for her - which makes her a slut.  She's a bitch, and when you figure that out you'll turn your back and let her cry as you walk away.  

Lampuki, you can have the hot, slutty bitch.  The rest of us like the really pretty ones...

LSAClassOf2000

January 16th, 2018 at 8:48 AM ^

Not the hot girl in school. But a great personality. Glad most of you are satisfied with that. It still feels kinda like like rationalizing or settling to me. Safe. Very safe. But not brave.

Yes, but she's attractive, smart, successful in her own right and fun to be around and all the things that you apparently don't want in a program. What a weird and astoundingly awful take. No offense.