March 23rd, 2017 at 5:43 AM ^

I think only our fan base really knows how unlikely this was half way through the season. This actually IS a true Cinderella story based on the depths of the last two seasons and the first half of this one. One of the more unforeseen turnarounds that I can recall in sports.

EQ RC Blue

March 23rd, 2017 at 10:30 AM ^

It's the opposite.  Our fan base overplays how unlikely the turnaround was.  Our opponents three point percentage against us in nonconference and early in Big Ten play was completely unsustainable.  And it was quite possible to look more than a year or two back into Beilein's coaching record.  It may not have been evident that we would win the Big Ten tournament and make a run in the NCAAs or that Walton would become such a boss, but it was evident for those who were willing to see that we had a very good chance to show improvement on the defensive side.  And the facts of the past two years -- all the NBA attrition and injuries -- weren't present this year.  It really shouldn't have been that surprising that a John Beilein coached team would get better and have a good result.


March 23rd, 2017 at 11:14 AM ^

There was no chemistry, no enthusiam, no defense being played, not much of a shit being given by anybody, seemingly.  If you think that it looked at all like a tournaround this dramatic was in the cards after the game at Illinois and home against OSU, you were not watching closely or you are disagreeing just to disagree. 

EQ RC Blue

March 23rd, 2017 at 11:19 AM ^

I was watching closely.  Have been for a number of years.  Paid attention to the stats too.  Losing a game @Iowa when they shot 58% from 3 or against MD when then shot 67% from 3 isn't so shocking.  The team has improved, sure, impressivley, but it was not shocking at all that the results in terms of wins and losses would be much better.  I'll just leave this quote from Mo himself from his article today:

Call us a Cinderella if you don’t really understand what the term “Cinderella” means (like, at all).


March 23rd, 2017 at 3:29 PM ^

I think you are overstating this.  First, last year we managed to make the tournament despite losing LeVert (a 1st-round NBA pick) and Albrecht to injury.  Given that, it wasn't that bad of a season.  And then we showed in November how good we can be with our blowout wins over Marquette and SMU.  We just went through a bad stretch in December/January, exacerbated by some NBA Jam-level shooting by our opponents.



Everyone Murders

March 23rd, 2017 at 7:17 AM ^

I've seen this mentioned several other places, but it's astounding to me that people were calling for Beilein's head given his tournament success.  And given that while Michigan and the NCAA lollyfucked around regarding the Ed Martin scandal, the program had fallen to a state of relative disrepair. 

It's good to see the program getting this sort of recognition.  It's especially good to see Beilein getting his props - because it's deserved, and because recruits need to know that if Beilein coaches them and they put in the effort, they will thrive.

Whole Milk

March 23rd, 2017 at 9:20 AM ^

This is the best point of them all. It is how we are making the sweet sixteens that is the real accomplishment. For instance, the forever talked about Tom Crean also reached three sweet sixteens in 5 years, and he just got fired. The difference between the two is that Crean (although he did have some players with great development: Oladipo, Anunoby) recruited well and almost brought his team down with his poor in game coaching. Beilein on the other hand shows that he can develop NBA players out of non-NBA talent better than anyone in the country. It's great to have coach B!

Whole Milk

March 23rd, 2017 at 9:36 AM ^

I am sure that was a part of it. I asked a big time Indiana fan about it when it came to Crean, and his response was essentially: "I like him, I think he is a great man, but he just wasn't getting the job done, and we think he was more holding a good team back then making an average team good." He thought that even though the team was able to make it to the Sweet 16's it wasn't enough, and that his in game coaching was a major problem.

Also, just my own personal opinion, that statistic you showed is very unfair based on the situation he walked into after Kelvin Sampson's whole scandal. He did make it 4 out of 6 years once he was able to get it rolling. Not great, but much more accurate to how he performed than the 4 of 9 years.


March 23rd, 2017 at 10:09 AM ^

That's the thing about coaches like Calipari. The players the go to UK, don't get any better in their time under him. In fact, it seems the longer they're in the program, the more likely they are to regress. Look at the Harrison twins.


March 23rd, 2017 at 7:32 AM ^

Beilein deserves all the praise he gets. The man wins the right way, never stops preaching integrity. As far as recruiting, I think its more fun to watch low rated kids develop into draft players over a few years than watching one and dones for a few months..

So ready for tonight, perfect way to start my UMF weekend!

Go blue beat the Ducks!

901 P

March 23rd, 2017 at 8:25 AM ^

Three sweet sixteen appearances in five years--that jumped out to me too. How many other teams can say that? I'm too lazy to look it up, but maybe 5-6 programs? 

So much of sports is "what have you done for me lately." If Michigan had missed the tourney this year, the narrative would have been completely different--no Sweet Sixteen since 2014, only NCAA win since 2014 was play-in game, etc. I think it's a reminder that fans should probably be a little more patient and not be swayed by a temporary downturn or losing streak.

(The flipside is that teams/fans/schools sometimes mistakenly reward coaches for brief spells of success--cough cough Charlie Weis.)  

LS And Play

March 23rd, 2017 at 8:31 AM ^

If we win tonight, that will be 3 Elite Eights in 5 years. Exactly zero programs in the country can claim better than that. Five different schools (Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona, Kentucky) are attempting to reach that level today and tomorrow. 


March 23rd, 2017 at 1:29 PM ^

Somewhere around the loss to OSU I decided I was ambivalent with Beilein's future at Michigan. I wouldn't have complained if he was fired, but would be fine with retaining him. Our recent run has influenced my opinion (I suspect others as well) putting me firmly back in the pro-Beilein camp. Three Sweet 16s (two Elite Eights and a Final Four) in 5 years, a national championship appearance, two Big Ten regular season titles, a Big Ten Tournament title, etc.

Our bball program is in good shape.


March 23rd, 2017 at 7:59 AM ^

mainly because they are just about the only "national" news source (outside of Zach Lowe) that has paid attention to the Nuggets and Nikola Jokic. They also write a fair bit about Michigan, too. 

Everyone Murders

March 23rd, 2017 at 8:10 AM ^

I'm with you on this.  Grantland was generally great and became a frequent stop, while I only look at The Ringer sporadically.  But I think Simmons is slowly building up a stable of skilled writers, so I find myself looking at The Ringer more often.

My current gripe with it is that the layout is clumsy, and way too much focus on pop culture.  For all of that, it's still better than 95% of the professional websites out there.


March 23rd, 2017 at 9:15 AM ^

Concur...  I keep my sports news to highlights and MGoBlog, anymore, because the 'talent' and style of writing are pathetic.  Well, at least, I don't like it...  It reads okay while being short, uninformative, and filled with nothing.  Sort of like corn.  I like what the Ringer has going - in depth stories that actually finish thoughts and transition into new thoughts in a flowing manner.

901 P

March 23rd, 2017 at 8:27 AM ^

Michigan has "perhaps the most versatile frontcourt pairing left in the field." 

Anyone predicting this a couple of months ago would have gotten some funny looks. 

rob f

March 23rd, 2017 at 9:14 AM ^

One thought on Moe Wagner: can he sing? With a tongue the size of his, if Gene Simmons ever needs a replacement, Moe has the tongue for it. Look at the size of that thing in the photo at the top of that article!


March 23rd, 2017 at 10:44 AM ^

"has fought off grumblings among his own fan base about his recruiting and his team’s defense, and calls on message boards for his job."

Hey, that's us!


March 23rd, 2017 at 11:47 AM ^

It's a very good article.  I do think "blue blood" is a bit of high praise for a program with 1 national title and a program winning percentage close to Minnesota's, but that's a minor point.

I will say, I totally agree with the claim that Wagner is a guy you love to have on your team and would drive you insane as an opposing fan, and I do wish they would give Wilson a bit more pub; he's the guy who scores 16+ in both games and also 3+ blocks and played the full forty against OSU when Wagner couldn't stay on the court.  He's as big a reason this team is peaking as anyone.

I also loved the little shot at MSU having recruited 6 All-Americans while Michigan hasn't.  The biggest excuse you hear from MSU fans is how Izzo doesn't get elite talent like other places, and it's refreshing to show them that, no, you do get elite talent, it's just Izzo doesn't always know how to use them.