Would a basketball national championship be just as satisfying as a football national championship?

Submitted by FrankMurphy on December 6th, 2018 at 2:15 PM

Irrespective of how we might feel about the state and direction of our football program, few would disagree that the basketball program has given us more to celebrate in the past few years and is closer to the top of the mountain than its gridiron counterpart. This season is shaping up to be special and it looks like there's no limit to what this team can achieve if it's firing on all cylinders.

And yet, Michigan has always been perceived, internally and externally, as a football-first school. So my question for my fellow MGoBloggers is this: would you find a basketball national championship as satisfying as a football national championship?

I consider the NCAA Tournament to be the most exciting event in all of American sports, and as a lifelong Michigan fan who came of age in the late 80's and early 90's during the Steve Fisher/Fab Five era, I personally would find it every bit as satisfying. Having said that, historically I've followed college football more closely than college basketball. But I'm curious about what the board thinks. What say you?



December 6th, 2018 at 3:03 PM ^

It’s gotta be no. We’ve been to the NC game in MBB twice during the Beilein era which is great and shows we have a high profile team but we haven’t even won our own conference in how many years in football?

You’ve also have to figure it’s harder to win the NCAA tourney with 5 elimination games just to make the NC game. This year if you beat OSU like you’re supposed to, take care of mediocre NW and you’re in the top 4. 


December 6th, 2018 at 4:29 PM ^

I'd say it's much harder to win 12 out of 13 games to with the football NC than to make a run in March.  With how the CFP is set up, the entire season is basically March Madness.  Lose two (or even one - ask OSU) and you're not even given a shot. 

Basketball you can have a rough early season, make a run in your conference tourney, and then bring it all together in March.  Football demands perfection from start to finish. 


December 6th, 2018 at 4:46 PM ^

It's pretty hard to compare the two.  For example, Beilein hasn't won the conference either year we we to the NC game.  Beilein won two conference titles ('12 and '14).  In '14, it was a three way tie but celebrated as a conference championship.

This year, football tied for the division championship (which might as well be the conference title) but that obviously means next to nothing.  

In football you basically have to win the conference outright to have a shot at the national championship.  Also, basketball has conference tourneys which give you another shot at winning a championship.  Super tough to compare.


December 6th, 2018 at 3:30 PM ^

Both, if the offense had managed to find the endzone before the 4th quarter against Notre Dame and if the offense didn't go 3 and out all the time against OSU they wouldn't have gotten the ball so much and scored as much. Probably couldn't have kept up with the defense but it would have been closer. We won't beat anybody elite with Pep as OC. End rant. Not sure why people continue to defend him. 


December 6th, 2018 at 2:47 PM ^

There are a lot of Michigan fans and alums who have never really gotten into basketball that much regardless of whether the team is good or not.  There are others, like myself, who actually became Michigan football fans by way of basketball fandom.  I came "of age" in Michigan sports around 1990.  My first Michigan obsession was the Fab Five and Michigan basketball, and that lead into Michigan football.  Like, "the Timeout" was a far more traumatic moment for me than the "Hail Mary" in the Colorado game.  But if you came around to things a few years later, you saw the 97 title, Tom Brady, etc. and basketball was in the shitter.

I think it really depends on what the programs are when you become "indoctrinated" so to speak.  To me, Michigan has never really been a "football school" because I have loved the basketball program for longer than I have the football program.


December 6th, 2018 at 3:22 PM ^

Pretty much the same here.  The 1989 NCAA run is my first real Michigan sports memory.  I was already a Piston fan so it was easy to carry my fandom over to Michigan basketball.  At that time I was only vaguely interested in football.  My football interest progressively increased over the next few years but the Fab Five teams were a bigger deal to me than the football teams.  The '93 championship game is to this day the most painful sports memory I've ever had.

Football finally surpassed basketball for me in the post-1998 era when basketball stunk and I couldn't emotionally invest myself in it too much.  In the Beilein era, it takes me a little while to get into "basketball mode" each season, but once I'm in it (by January, generally) I'm as into it as I am for football.  


December 6th, 2018 at 8:06 PM ^

I can relate to a lot of that as we are probably around the same age.  I also loved the Fab 5 when I was a teenager.  However, as I got older I found basketball less interesting.  I'm not sure if it's me or the game, but it just doesn't do it for me any longer.  Part of it was likely when we went through violations and had some struggling seasons.  Part of it is that the best players don't stick around long.  Back in the days of the Fab 5 the best players stayed at least 2 years and often 3.  Today it's one and done.  And, I think part of it is it feels like basketball appears even more shady than football with the extra benefits.  But, all in all I just don't find it as entertaining any longer.  But, football I could watch the same game multiple times and follow recruiting year round, even during the RR years.


December 6th, 2018 at 2:52 PM ^

No, we love bball.  A lot.  And we love our bball team, its awesome coach and its insanely likeable players.  But, for many of us, Michigan football is just that much more important.  

I attended Michigan from 1994-8, so in my mind, Michigan will always be one of the more dominant programs.  

As for the CTE issue, I have heard other Gen-Z and younger people say that they just can't get as into football knowing about the CTE issues.  I respect that view.  For me, I love watching the game so much that, aside from hits like the one that left Berkley Edwards unconscious against Indiana, generally speaking it hasn't impacted my enjoyment of the game.  Probably putting my head in the sand, but my hope is that significantly improved helmet technology and rule changes will make the game safer in the long term.  



December 6th, 2018 at 3:08 PM ^

Michigan football was "dominant" in only one of those years.

As far as OSU is concerned, jmblue had an excellent post a few days ago that looked at the record since Bo's first year. Short story: The John Cooper years were an anomaly. OSU has regrettably, owned us far more than we've owned them.

Mr Miggle

December 6th, 2018 at 3:09 PM ^


I've always been a Michigan basketball fan first and a football fan second. The program under Beilein has a special feel to it too. I think we're justified in thinking that Michigan football is cleaner than OSU and the southern powers, but in basketball the difference is so stark that it's obvious to everybody. Beilein is great for the sport and great for our school.

The CFB playoffs are good, a big improvement over bowl games and a vote, but nothing matches the NCAA basketball tournament for excitement and sustained interest. It's a great way to win a title.




December 6th, 2018 at 2:19 PM ^

A basketball championship would be just, if not more, satisfying because they have gotten so close in recent years.  Our basketball coach deserves to win one!

G. Gulo of the Dale

December 6th, 2018 at 2:53 PM ^

While I have different feelings about the matter--I'd prefer the championship on the gridiron--those seem to be the right reasons for wanting a basketball championship with equal or greater zeal.

Even as a Villanova grad, I was rooting for the Wolverines last March--simply because Villanova had won the tournament in 2016 and, as much as I like Jay Wright, no one deserves a championship more than Coach Beilein (... and, of course, I've been a UM fan my whole life).

G. Gulo of the Dale

December 6th, 2018 at 5:25 PM ^

Ha.  I went there for grad school, and after you graduated.  My first year on campus was their first trip to the NCAA tournament, and eventually the Sweet 16, under Wright.  Also known as the year of Sumpter's first knee injury and the travel call on Ray.  Needless to say, it was a great time to jump on the bandwagon--though I kind of liked Villanova, even growing up (which often ruined my bracket)...

... Also needless to say, being in Pennsylvania during the Rich Rod era wasn't the worst timing in the world.     


December 6th, 2018 at 2:22 PM ^

Yes I would.  I love both sports, each in their own way.  Forcing me to choose between the two would be like forcing a parent to choose between their two children.