What achievement would make this basketball season a success?

Submitted by stephenrjking on March 10th, 2013 at 10:32 PM

The regular season is over. A B1G regular-season title, the crowning achievement of last year's team, is lost. 

But there is still much to play for. My question for the board: What result would satisfy you for this year's team? Keep in mind both its preseason expectations and the incredible strength of the conference. Would a B1G tournament win make the season a success? A sweet 16 berth? Elite 8?

The question is, what achievement will make you say "Awesome, the rest is just gravy?"




As it happens, this year reminds me of another season when a loaded Michigan basketball team missed out on a conference championship. They lost twice to a dynamic Big Ten club stocked with NBA talent.  But then, in the Final Four, they played them again...

We lost today. We'll see them again. Bring it.



March 11th, 2013 at 9:31 AM ^

This season has not been successful.  Fair or not, expectations were set pretty high going into this season and this team kept them high with their play through the first half of the season.  It's no longer good enough to take comfort in the fact that this program is now positioned to be a perennial participant in the NCAA tournament, they need to achieve more.

The bottom line is that this program is now on the cusp of rejoining the elite, but elite programs get measured by hanging banners.  This team had numerous chances the past couple of months to seal up hanging a 2nd consecutive conference title and let it get away.  I don't know you characterize that as anything other than disappointing.

The good news is that these guys still have a chance to redeem themselves and make a run at the BTT title and a run at a Final Four.  They come up short there though and I don't know how you label this season as anything other than a disappointment.

Now that's grossly unfair to ladle that kind of pressure on a group of kids who are mostly freshmen and sophmores, but as long as we're going to be recruiting elite level players, timetables are going to be short.  Players the caliber of Burke or Robinson III are not going to be around for four years.  You have to seize opportunities when they come.

Generic MGoBlogger

March 10th, 2013 at 11:23 PM ^

a Final Four and nothing less... Anything less I would consider a disappointment. I know it's a young team, but we spent the entire season in the top 10. I have high expectations for obvious reasons. 

Generic MGoBlogger

March 10th, 2013 at 11:29 PM ^

this was supposed to be the year. After this year we lose one of the best PGs in school history and possibly the versatile threat of Hardaway Jr.  Next year looks promising with Irvin and Walton, but this was supposed to be the year in which we had all aspects of the game at tip top shape. Obviously, it all fell through with the defense and interior game, which is no stranger to Coach B. 


March 10th, 2013 at 11:29 PM ^

Maybe some people care about the Big Ten tournament...but not the country. Say if Indiana won the Big Ten title and the conference tournament and then lost in the first round, what would be the story of the season to everyone in the world? Yep, the NCAA loss.

Last year's team overachieved winning a share of the Big Ten, and then underachieved by being a first round out. I hope this team underachieved by not winning a share of the Big Ten and overachieves by making it to the Final Four.

This season will be a failure if we don't make it to the Sweet Sixteen. If we get past that it's a success. If we get there and lose it's just decent.


March 10th, 2013 at 11:34 PM ^

our deficiencies I would say Elite 8 would make me happy.  I would not rule out a Final Four appearance.  

BTT doesn't make a difference.  Hope we can get defensive minded and face those who are, but other than that, it's just a pointless warm-up for the championship run.

GO BLUE.  Play strong boys. 


March 10th, 2013 at 11:47 PM ^

This team underperformed relative to preseason expectations and what we saw in early-mid season potential.

I expect them to lose in the Sweet Sixteen.

So getting to the Elite Eight and putting up a decent showing would make me happy I guess. It just sucks because I think this is the best team Michigan will have for a couple more years. It's hard to imagine this core of players getting better with the loss of burke and possibly thj, especially without adding a bigger big to the rotation. I hate watching this team get abused down low, and no, I don't think it's youth and lack off "effort" and "toughness." I just think this team is too small. If Morgan and McGary/GR3 grew two inches (or McGary developed outside shooting), we'd be a dominant team.


March 10th, 2013 at 11:38 PM ^

At least FInal Four and maybe a National Championship game appearance. Nobody hangs banners for the Elite 8 or Sweet Sixteen. I realize a lot of people here don't remember Michigan getting to those rounds but those really aren't a big deal. A Final Four is something to be proud of. 

I'd also be very happy if we won a B1G tourney but I think that highly unlikely as we'll be more tired than our opponents in every round after PSU. Not gonna happen.


March 10th, 2013 at 11:41 PM ^

I think we're all underrating how tough the Big Ten was. I think a regional final is a real possibility. At that point, the lack of interior rebounding will potentially cost the game, but of I< can defend enough to run, who knows?

In truth, though, this is not a team that underachieved. The MSU win was very sweet, the way they competed should satisfy any but the most cynical.

The young 'uns will be older, and if Belein recruits some hardass defenders and rebounders, UM will continue to contend.

Play hard, play smart, get to the final game of the Big Ten Tourney and to the regional final of the NCAAs and that's a hell of a year.

They just played even with an outstanding basketball team, and took them out of what they wanted to do for long stretches. If you can't appreciate that....


March 10th, 2013 at 11:46 PM ^

I should answer my own thread.

I don't want to sound like a jerk, but I see more promising scenarios for a deep run in the NCAA tournament than in the B1G tournament. I'm not trying to go ESSSS EEEE SEEEEE "it's harder to win our conference than the national title" arrogant or anything (though our conference is very good), but for Michigan, there's some truth to it. To win the B1G, we have to beat Wisconsin, almost certainly Indiana, and probably one of MSU or OSU. Those last three games are very loseable; it's our four-game murderer's row compressed into four days. Well-nigh impossible.

On the other hand, the NCAA tournament has all the best teams, but it is also stocked with beatable teams. Upsets inevitably take out some of the threats (don't we know), and Michigan winds up with a path that gives it winnable matchups all the way to the regional final. We'd be dogs against a team like Duke or Kansas, but it's far from a sure thing, right?

I guess I'll be okay, in retrospect, with an Elite Eight bid regardless of how the B1G tourney goes. It would validate Michigan as "one of" the best teams in the country, and with where basketball has been in the past 20 years, that's pretty good.

I honestly think a Final Four bid is technically easier to achieve than the gauntlet Michigan would face to win in Indy; same number of games, more time, more beatable teams.


March 11th, 2013 at 12:11 AM ^

I predict two and done in the B1G tourney. And either one or two and done in the NCAA tourney depending on match ups. I now that sounds pessimistic and not supportive. Frankly, I just have not seen the overall team quality of play needed to have a long run in either tourney. Even "one man teams" rely on the other players doing the basic fundamentals of boxing out, playing man-you-ball on defense, keeping your man in front of you, and hitting free throws. The Elite Eight or Final Four should be minimum to claim success for a team that has been consistently top 10, and really top 5, all season. I wish I could see that happening, but after watching every game this season my experience playing and years of watching the NCAA tourney tell me different.

Cali Wolverine

March 11th, 2013 at 12:13 AM ^

...needs an extra win or two to make the Big Dance. I have seen too many teams burn out in NCAA Tourney after grueling conference tourneys. Reaching Elite 8 would be success in my book...sure I hope we avenge losses to Penn Stae, Wisconsin and IU in BIG tourney, but college basketball success is measured in the Big Dance...period.


March 11th, 2013 at 12:22 AM ^

but I would really like to see us make it to at least the Elite 8. We've been hovering in and around the top 5 all year, so making it to the Elite 8 would validate (to me at least) that we did belong up there and we weren't just pretending. Final Four and beyond would obviously be awesome.

If we don't even make the Sweet 16, I'd say that would be disappointing


March 11th, 2013 at 12:23 AM ^

Being No 1 and a top ten team most of the season, the last two or three weeks has been very disappointing.  About the only thing to make up for it, would be a run to the FInal Four.  Like it was said earlier, I don't expect it.  I'm being overly realistic, I think they struggle to get to the Sweet 16, but Final Four would make up for what they were unable to accomplish thus far.



March 11th, 2013 at 12:28 AM ^

In my mind this season has been very good preparation for this team both for the remainder of the year and future years when the majority of this group will be back. I believe the Big Ten Tournament is good preparation for the Tournament and that the team could use it as a springboard to greater success. If they like each other as much as I think they do they'll be able to get through this adversity.

Personally I would be happy with a trip to the Elite 8 and ecstatic with anything beyond that. For reasons mentioned above it would stink to lose there but would be demonstrable progress.

I put a little more weight on the Big Ten Tournament this year not only for the valuable preparation it will be for the NCAA Tournament but also because I will be in the stands cheering for this team.


March 11th, 2013 at 1:15 AM ^

Being ranked in the top five has been a great boost to the program's image, but I've never thought they were truly one of the top ten teams in the country. They've got too many defensive weaknesses, are consistently outrebounded, have three freshmen getting major minutes, and only have one proven, consistent difference-maker on offense. Given that, I'd consider getting to the 16 to be a success.


March 11th, 2013 at 6:52 AM ^

We've got to make at least the Sweet 16.  That's the baseline expectation.  We haven't been to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament since 1994 and that streak's got to end.  I'd be disappointed with a first-weekend loss even if we'd won yesterday.

Beyond that, I can accept any result.  If we could make the Final Four, I won't even care about yesterday.




March 11th, 2013 at 8:42 AM ^

at least elite 8 in NCAA.  At this point, anything less would be unacceptable w/two players that believe they are NBA ready.  I can accept the fact the majority of the team is very young.  However, if we don't progress this far, everyone needs to look in the mirror and check themselves.  BTW.  I don't think Hardaway is NBA ready.  Burke is probably NBA ready but one more year woudn't hurt.  Seems to hinge on what he wants to accomplish as a college player and in life. 


March 11th, 2013 at 9:03 AM ^

Win the B1G tourney and make the Elite 8


Make the Final Four

Otherwise, this season isnt a success.  Tying for 4th regular season is an underachievement so the team has ground to make up.


March 11th, 2013 at 9:33 AM ^

First, one thing that I believe has happened this season, between the play and future development and recruiting, is that the groundwork was laid potentially for seveal good showings in the coming years. 25-6 is our best regular season showing in a while and there is a little something to be said for that. 

That being said, we've not been to the Sweet Sixteen or Elite Eight since 1994, and to make it to that weekend this year would be a success for me because it would say that we're back to a level where we are competing fairly consistently with the best of Division I once again.  Either of these outcomes would be acceptable. Even using Jerry Palm's projected bracket, for the sake of argument here, most paths to at least the Sweet Sixteen would likely be pretty doable for this team too. 


March 11th, 2013 at 11:00 AM ^

Making the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1994 would still be a success, all things considered.  It represents progress.  I want to see evidence that Beilien's ceiling is at least at that level. 


March 11th, 2013 at 1:48 PM ^

Better in either aspect makes the rest gravy. Elite 8 and early loss in the conference tourney is better than a conference win and early March Madness loss, but I think that the fan base has had expectations blown up into entitlement if you're thinking more is our birthright and the baseline for happiness.

(I mean, we act like Penn State didn't deserve to be on court with us, when the reality is that they played a great game and deserved to win. Sometimes teams play well against us and we have to raise our level or lose. Sometimes we do, and sometimes the ball rolls off the rim.)


March 11th, 2013 at 2:12 PM ^

Make it to the Sweet Sixteen and we have done just enough.  Win in that round and I will consider it a good season that we can build on going forward.  We are a good team, not a great one.  We can play wonderfully, and also horribly.  I do not know which team will show up, nor the matchups, so I am averaging the extremes here.  Also, have to win at least the first two games in the BTT.