MBB a pleasure to watch

Submitted by Alumnus93 on January 28th, 2013 at 10:08 AM

During my five years at Michigan from Sept 1988  to April 1993, as far as the hoops team is concerned, was lucky to see them win the national title as a freshman, and then see two years up close, of the Fab Five, camping outside of Crisler to get good seats for all the games, through seeing 18 rows up, seeing Webber call the timeout in the Superdome.

Now, seeing these new five freshmen to go with the rest of team, it really is a pleasure to see this rebirth of sorts. If this team wins the national title, it will make quite a story, relative to how the Fab Five couldn't win a title yet these five freshmen did.  And most importantly, it will be a return to greatness, the right way, with Beilein who plays by the rules. (Aside: I wonder of all those who called for Beilein's ouster a year ago, how their foots taste.)  

Ok, I said my piece..   now, as you were....    GO BLUE


snarling wolverine

January 28th, 2013 at 10:30 AM ^

Maybe, but he also ended an 11-year NCAA tournament drought in year two.  That gave fans a reason to believe.  It was really only his third year that was a disappointment.  (The first year was bad, but everyone expected that.)

Basketball also had the issue of really bad facility neglect for ages.  That's finally been rectified.


January 28th, 2013 at 1:15 PM ^

Yeah, I just meant the state of M bball vs football meant that he didn't receive nearly as much hot seat talk for having 2 crummy years in his first 3 as a M football coach would've. I think it helped to let Beilein stabilize everything.

But obviously yes, going to the tournament for the 1st time in 10+ years was much more significant


January 28th, 2013 at 1:03 PM ^

We lost some conference games in a row, and people were calling for Beilein's ouster.  At that point, he had only made the tourney 2 out of four years and people were saying he got lucky with Darius Morris and Trey Burke.  The loss to Groce's Ohio (the MAC ohio) also brought out the Beilein boos.

I will agree that the booing has decreased in volume since the 2010 year having a record of 15-17 with Manny Harris a junior and Deshawn Sims a senior.


January 28th, 2013 at 2:12 PM ^

but to call it one (or even a few) fan seems to try to paint our fanbase as something better than it was.  Like another mgoblogger commented, it's easy to cheer this team when it's #1 in the country, and it's probably just as easy to say that you supported Coach B long before this season.  It seems the biggest moment was 2 years ago, sometime in January 2011.

In january we saw beilein win in East Lansing.  In November of that year, Mitch McGary verbally comitted to Michigan. 

Here are some articles I've been reading on Beilein and his program:

December 2010


January 2011




January 28, 2011


January 2012



The criticisms of Beilein's system and ability were many.  He's debunked many or all of them and continues to improve himself and his team. 

snarling wolverine

January 28th, 2013 at 2:46 PM ^

True.  But it's also easy to find a handful of internet articles and claim that the fanbase as a whole was out to get him not long ago.  Most never were.  I've had season tickets at Crisler for a few years, and in my experience, very few fans have at any point wanted Beilein fired.  There was a little of it during 2009-10, and maybe the odd guy early in 2010-11, but fan frustration was never at the level it got to with Ellerbe, Amaker or Rich Rod.  

If we had not beaten MSU in Breslin in '11, it might have been different.  I remember that we lost at home to Minnesota right before, and in that game we got killed on the boards.  I do remember hearing some fans grumbling about Beilein's system after that one.  But then we won at MSU and the negativity went away.

BTW, regarding Daniel Horton, you have to keep in mind that he was a protégé of Amaker, and (like Jay Bilas) took his firing very hard.  It's not surprising that he vented his frustrations on the "new guy." 



January 28th, 2013 at 2:49 PM ^

It's a core value of the school, so I think that's a normal expectation for the school.  When the team is losing, very few follow it.  Before this season, Beilein had 2 losing seasons out his five at Michigan.  When you're not following college basketball, because your team is not good, you don't see the development occurring week to week. 

So the question seems to be:  At what point do they see the moment of winning and realize that excellence is occurring rather than flukes?  I think those articles are pretty good indicators.  Why would someone for his or her job write about something that has no basis in reality?

snarling wolverine

January 28th, 2013 at 3:05 PM ^

I can report my own firsthand observations from Crisler.  You're citing a few internet articles (most of which have nothing to do with Beilein's job security, anyway).  I guess we'll have to disagree on which is more representative of the fanbase as a whole.

I will acknowledge that discontent with Beilein was at its highest in January 2011.  Some of that was spillover hatred from the RichRod firing.  A lot of diehard RichRod guys didn't understand why Brandon would fire him and then give Beilein a vote of confidence.  But that quieted after the MSU game.




January 28th, 2013 at 3:18 PM ^

is Brian's opinion today titled "Whiplash."

"On January 27th of 2012, Michigan was 6-2 in the Big Ten, albeit barely. Their last three conference wins had come by a total of five points, and they'd just dropped a game to SEC mediocrity Arkansas. At 16-5 it was clear they were destined for the tourney, but no one expected to storm through upcoming away games at Ohio State and Michigan State. Michigan didn't, but then again it was their best season since… well, that's complicated." (emphasis of mine added).

Even though we were going to be a tournament team, the enthusiasm for the basketball team wasn't entirely there even a year ago.  Fans weren't really excited about Michigan until it had its sights on winning a share of the regular season title in mid-February 2012.  Then the loss at home to Purdue brought out boo birds, because it looked like we lost our shot at the title. I admit, I'm not talking about booing at Crisler Arena, but the fanbase is much much larger than the attendees of any given game.

It seemed that in January 2012, people didn't like Morgan's development as a big man, and people felt we didn't have enough depth in the frontcourt and backcourt--five years into the Beilein's tenure.

I think we both agree to disagree on when exactly the naysayers shut up. 

I think we can both agree that we're proud of Michigan today (I salute your fandom and hope the good times continue to roll).  It's a good day to be a Michigan wolverine.


January 28th, 2013 at 10:25 AM ^

This team just plays great basketball.  Their offense is a thing of beauty and their defense is beginning to take strides.  If we can step it up on D down in Bloomington, I think we can take that game.


January 28th, 2013 at 10:38 AM ^

I agree that the offense is a beautiful thing to watch, esp in transition.  They have so many weapons that it keeps retreating defenses on their heels.  The one thing I've wanted to see more of was a development of the half-court offense, something I saw more of yesterday esp with McGary, Horfort and Bielfeldt getting some quality minutes after Morgan tweaked his ankle.  A lot more points in the paint lately, and I like it a lot.  They're driving, posting up and shooting the 3 ball.  I hope the rebounding gets a little better, though.  They seem to have regressed a little bit in that area.  But they keep saying they want to get better every day and overall I think they're doing just that.  I love the team's attitude and work ethic.


January 28th, 2013 at 11:37 AM ^

I want to see more playing time and/ordevelopment from Horford, who seems to be on the cusp, but it just seems that something is missing... as if hes still a kid, about to become a man. Maybe this comes next year, but I hope the metamorphosis will be real. 

PB-J Time

January 28th, 2013 at 1:47 PM ^

I've been thinking this for awhile now. He is absolutely talented, but just seems like he can't quite put it all together. Unfortunately, injuries have played a role in this. Hard to get into a rhythm if you can't consistently practice and play. He has not had an injury free season yet. 


January 28th, 2013 at 11:03 AM ^

MBB has been a pleasure to watch for many years.

The late Amaker years, despite being full of heartbreak, were exciting. Beilein's entire tenure has been exciting, despite the year 3 let down (and the first, predictable year).

Success is nice, but I've always loved watching MBB - especially the last few years. While this year is fun, the first tourney runs with Beilein let us Michigan fans get to experience being the underdog - watching players play their hearts out despite being out matched. Coming together and working towards a common goal. That was fun.

Brian had it right - last year was a year to enjoy not having expectations. With this team, expectations are high, though we're living up to them. I'm doing my best to keep my expectations down and just enjoy the ride.


January 28th, 2013 at 11:22 AM ^

I would not describe Amaker's teams as a "pleasure to watch."  They were decent defensively but on offense they were brutal, always turnover-prone.  Our guards would regularly shoot below 40% from the field and struggle to record a 1:1 assist-turnover ratio.  Our bigs were even worse turnover machines.  My most enduring memory of the Amaker years is of watching Graham Brown standing 25 feet from the basket at the top of the key, desperately looking for someone to reverse the ball to.  Our "motion offense" never went anywhere.

It's a great pleasure now to see us run a coherent offensive scheme that generates good looks at the basket, while our opponents (like Illinois last night) are the ones who look confused and aimless.




January 28th, 2013 at 11:34 AM ^

I can't argue any of that - there were plenty of times I was frustrated with Amaker.

However, there were good times too. The Illinois game in 2006 was one of my top 5 attended UM events, easily. 

Point being that you don't need a team to be in the top 10 to enjoy the efforts of the players. I'm pretty proud I went to school during the Amaker and Beilein era and now am enjoying the fruits of an amazing journey.


January 28th, 2013 at 7:12 PM ^

Well sure, over a six-year stretch there were some memorable games.  I was at the '03 MSU game when we ended our losing streak to them, and that was a great game.  But there weren't enough of them.  We never won on the road against teams better than PSU, and lost a lot of big games at home.  I remember waking up on Selection Sunday and pretty much resigning myself to the fact that we probably weren't going to get picked.  That was an awful feeling, and - was basically an annual happening

Minnesota currently seems to be stuck on the Amaker trajectory - get off to a hot start in December and enter the rankings, only to go on an agonizing descent in league play, to be capped off by an NIT bid.  Along the way, the team wins just enough games to warrant repeating the process for another year.




January 28th, 2013 at 11:41 AM ^

Seeing Daniel Horton outduel Dee Brown for 33 points and an upset of a top-15 Illinois team was pleasurable.

Seeing Dion Harris hit a buzzer-beating 3 to beat ND in the NIT was exciting - save your NIT bashing it was a fun, exciting game that was part of the journey back to elite.

Seeing Zack Novak knock down three after three and Peedi dominate Duke in 2009 was pleasurable.

Seeing Manny Harris finish off Clemson with an and-one in Kansas City with Michigan fans taking over the city during our first tourney win in a decade was sure as hell exciting.

It's easy to say the #1 team in the country is pleasurable to watch. No shit. But if that's the level of success you need to enjoy watching your basketball team, you're probably living a miserable life.


January 28th, 2013 at 12:53 PM ^

I took whatever enjoyment I could from those eras, knowing that Ellerbe was terrible at teaching the game and at recruiting. 

Amaker brought recruiting, but Courtney Sims was the best example of why Amaker was not a great coach.  No offense to either person, but Amaker didn't teach the game very well.

Sims  (also Daniel Horton, Dion Harris, Lester Abram, etc.) had so many physical gifts, but did so little with them.  He drove me nuts with how soft and turnover-prone he was for someone at 6'10+.  When Beilein developed DeShawn Sims into an undersized big men with many post moves, I knew that he could do what Amaker couldn't: teach the right way to play the game. That's why I thought it was a mistake by Udoh Ekpe to leave the program.

Among other things, Beilein also focused on retaining possession of the ball and shooting with proper technique. 

I'm happy for the program that it is finally reaping the benefits of so much work done to dig itself out of the hole that Ed Martin built.

The game of basketball is so beautiful when its played the right way.  Thanks to Coach B and his staff and players!  This year is so fun to watch.


January 28th, 2013 at 11:05 AM ^

This team is fun to watch, and it doesn't get much better than engendering this kind of commentary from opposing fans:



But all in all, the Illini played pretty well, the crowd was awesome, and the effort was there all game long. Michigan is just the best team in the country. Duke may be the only other team in the U.S. that could give them a game if they play well. The’re stupid-deep, really talented, and they play very mature for a team with such young superstars.


January 28th, 2013 at 11:08 AM ^

I have been thinking since the Nebraska game that UM has been starting slow in the first half and having to make up ground later.  I am now beginning to think we are gettting every teams best in the first 10 minutes, but that we are able to grind them down over the game.  Either they get super lucky (like OSU did going up by 20+) or we begin to assert our dominance in the second half.  It is great to have a target on our backs after the past decade!


January 28th, 2013 at 11:17 AM ^

and still won easily by double digits. That says all you need to know right there. Before Beilein, Michigan had to play near perfect games to get Big Ten road wins.


January 28th, 2013 at 3:36 PM ^

in years.  With that said, it is hard to say if it is Beilein's best coaching job.  The maturity that this team plays with given that they play 5 freshmen in their rotation is miraculous.  Belein deserves great credit for that.  Still, 2010-2011 when the team started 1-6 in the Big10 and came back to earn 3rd place and come one play away from a Regional appearance in the NCAA Tournament was really impressive.  Talent-wise, that team was far inferior to MSU (who they beat twice).  Also, to win a share of the Big10 Title with MSU and OSU (2 far more talented teams than Michigan with MSU earning a #1 seed in the NCAA and OSU going to the  Final 4) had to be one of the best coaching jobs in the country.  I still find it ridiculous that Izzo won B10 Coach of the Year.  Beilein took inferior talent and earned a share of the title.  They split games with the other 2 conference champion teams to earn it.  I wondered about what Beilein would do when he got higher end talent.  I feel he is one of the best coaches in the country.  He doesn't have a championship resume yet, so he gets overlooked nationally, but he wins everywhere he goes.  He has had success the last few years with inferior talent.  Don't think for one second that the rest of the Big10 coaches weren't thinking "Oh shit!  Now they have talent too?  Look out for Michigah!"