It took nearly three decades, but Michigan's basketball program finally has a brand new Big Ten championship banner to add to the lonely rafters of Crisler Center. And now it's time to show this gaudy piece of fabric off to the whole country.
Before Tuesday night's ACC/Big Ten Challenge tip-off with North Carolina State (ESPN, 7:30 ET, do it), the 2011-12 Big Ten championship banner will rise up into the metal-lined sky at Crisler like a beautiful dove, where it will sit perched there for all of eternity to watch over the program (presumably like a hawk).
Ceremonies like this feel like they should happen every few years at a program with Michigan's national reach. But for all of the talent on the court going back to the late 80's, a league title still hasn't materialized for a myriad of reasons. So let's go ahead and appreciate the heck out of this thing right now, regardless of the fact that two other schools that shall not be mentioned currently sport the exact same banners. Nick Baumgardner over at MLive.com does a solid job of putting the 26-year gap in perspective:
Michigan's last league title came in 1986, when Ronald Reagan was president, the Fab Five was in middle school, John Beilein was the head coach at Le Moyne College and Tim Hardaway Jr.'s father was a freshman in college.
Crazy stuff to think about. With the talent that Beilein has on the floor this season, it's definitely not far-fetched to imagine this current group snagging one of these banners for themselves, only this time without that pesky "co" label attached.