On team preparation for the Final Four (and jinxes)

Submitted by kevin holt on April 4th, 2013 at 5:13 PM


A lot of people were understandably wary of a board post previewing a hypothetical championship game. I might be in the minority, but I'M OKAY WITH THIS. Consider the actual team's necessary preparation:

This deep in the tournament, all of the teams are clearly very good. To win two games in three days requires more than just a day of prep for the second game. If I were the coach, I would consider having the first day of the week be devoted to the two potential teams to come in the Championship. Reasoning?

First, you want to prepare more than just a day for Louisville/Wichita. You can get to the championship if you just prepare for 'Cuse, but you can easily lose if you're unprepared for the finals. Having 4 days to prep for Cuse vs. 5 days is not as detrimental as having 1 day for Louisville when you could have 2.

Second, not wanting to confuse the team. That's why I'd do it the first day, because otherwise the team gets confused and doesn't focus on Syracuse when it should be. Talking about L'Ville the first day and then the day before the hypothetical game means a good memory refresher and you can start from somewhere other than scratch. (I get this reasoning from exam studying, where one studies first for the exam that will come last in a series, which I have found to be very effective).

Then there are the other forms of reasoning for the fan perspective, e.g., we're not the actual team and can discuss other things, etc. But if the team should be preparing for both games, can't fans do it too?

Thoughts? Does anybody know if a coach prepares the team for both games, or decides to make it as far as possible and hope a day is enough to prepare? It might really be unfeasible to prep for 2 teams the first day, but I think it's also really hard to get over the final four hypothetical victory high in one day and go to work with 1.5 until the next game.



April 4th, 2013 at 5:24 PM ^

I'm pretty sure when Trey burke shot The Trey, Beilein was not thinking about the winner of FGCU/Florida.  Let's just stick to thinking about cuse and go from there.  I trust Beilein and this entire team to do what they need to do and we should just enjoy watching. Mk?

kevin holt

April 4th, 2013 at 5:40 PM ^

Fair point, but doesn't answer my question. I don't think Beilein or anyone else should be thinking about the later game now up until the end of Syracuse, however that may turn out. I don't think they should have thought about Florida during the Kansas game either. What I would advocate would be Beilein prepping for Florida, at least internally if not to the team, the week before Kansas just in case we got that far. Same for a potential final game, but on Monday for example.

As a fan this whole tournament, I have just been thankful to win one more and get as far as we can when the team plays its best effort. As a coach, you're playing to win it all. Snarkiness aside (I'll capitalize when I want), there is a reasonable argument for each side.

snarling wolverine

April 4th, 2013 at 7:51 PM ^

What I would advocate would be Beilein prepping for Florida, at least internally if not to the team, the week before Kansas just in case we got that far.

It sounds like Beilein did not, in fact, follow this plan either weekend. He stated both times that he spent only the one off-day to prepare for the second team.  Both times, our second weekend game turned out to be a blowout, so one day of prep seems to have been fine. In a single-elimination tournament, maybe you need to channel all your focus on one team at a time. Besides, how many new wrinkles can you realistically put in the gameplan at this point?


April 4th, 2013 at 5:45 PM ^

TL;DR: Beilein should have them practicing for Louisville in addition to Syracuse. More practice is better than less practice. Unless it's not, in which case, it isn't.



kevin holt

April 4th, 2013 at 5:58 PM ^

Another thought: what if the games were reversed? If we were facing one team and a potential matchup against Syracuse in the finals—a team with a very unique defense and style of play—would this be a more legitimate question? Having a week to prep for a unique team is a blessing, and having a day would be tough. Like having only a week to prepare for Air Force's triple option in football, maybe?


April 4th, 2013 at 6:03 PM ^

Monday night I had a dream that I woke up and Michigan had lost to Syracuse.  I was sad that we lost but also seriously miffed because the sports world had promised me that it would take place on Saturday, and I'd missed it.  It felt so very real.

I've consulted a number of witches and wise men and gazed into the crystal time and again, but I am unsure of what it means.  Are we now guaranteed to win, or lose?


April 4th, 2013 at 6:13 PM ^

My somewhat educated guess:

The coaches are watching tape for all three teams.  In reality, you cannot put in anything new that is overly susbstantial in 5 days time.  Michigan isn't suddenly going to break out a new press or something like that.  You're only going to focus on what that team does and how our sets attack it.  The tweaks are minor.

Therefore, you spend the two practices you probably have at home (Tuesday, Wednesday) on Syracuse.  I think the team got down there today.  Probably a short practice/tape session on Syracuse.  Friday you have a final walk-through and shootaround.   Maybe they have the scout team looking at Louisville.  Maybe.

Then Sunday is a full walk-through of the next team.

So, in short, no they don't talk Louisville until after the first game.


April 4th, 2013 at 7:30 PM ^

If we're handling the Final Four the way we've handled the first two wekends of the tournament, Beilein and the assistants aren't watching tape of Louisville or Wichita, but are focused entirely on Syracuse.  (Perhaps the grad assistants are watching tape of the other two, though.)  Beilein stated the first weekend that he didn't prepare for VCU until that Friday, and last weekend he didn't watch tape of Florida until Saturday morning.  It sounds like the coaches basically operate on zero sleep during these weekends, cramming in as much for their immediate opponent as possible.



April 4th, 2013 at 6:23 PM ^

Jinxes don't exist. Come on, guys....what is discussed here has zero bearing on the game.

"I don't have time for your tricks, GOB"

"Illusions, pop...you don't have time for my ILLUSIONS"

Mr. Yost

April 4th, 2013 at 7:06 PM ^

We've got that covered...

I make a pre-games thread for all of us that are excited about the games that evening.

M-Wolverine makes the Open Thread

A live blog or chat or whatever is also made

We win.

Posbang threads are made...

Thank you "insert player here" threads are made...

I wait until things die down and make the Postgame (Snowflakes) Thread and the karma is complete.


It's worked 4 times in a row, it's called karma and we've got all of the good stuff here at MGoBlog. Fuck Buffalo Wild Wings, we control the game.


So don't fret. It's all taken care of...enjoy the games this weekend.

Oh...and you're welcome.

Mr. Yost

April 4th, 2013 at 7:11 PM ^

Almost 5,000 posts and I literally just figured out what "TL:DR" means!

As I was reading the OP I thought, wow, this is way too long for me to read. Then I scrolled down and it hit me as I saw TL:DR, it all made sense.


...now I see why I get that so often after the majority of my posts.


April 4th, 2013 at 9:27 PM ^

Each assistant coach took one of the 3 teams and created a scouting report. The players don't need to hear the scouting report for a team until a day or 2 ahead. Most of basketball practice is habiutal skill development, situation type stuff (3-on-2s, transition D), and mastering your team stuff. One day prep and a walk through in the morning is all they need to prepare for a team.