Happy Thursday, folks. Welcome to Morning Brews. This morning we’re talking basketball and doing a bit of reflecting as we wait for Selection Sunday. The team has had a great season, finishing the pre-tournament schedule with a 28-7 record and at No. 7 in the latest AP Poll, but just 14 months ago things were quite different.
As usual, there is a song referenced in this morning’s article. There are at least three clues. Clues may be words, phrases, or photos, and they may reference lyrics, the artist, or the album. If you think you know this morning’s song, fire away down in the comments.
Let’s get to it:
John Beilein: Crazy-eyed missile man
January 13, 2017. Do you remember that day? I do. It was the day in recent Michigan basketball history when the program bottomed out.
That team had stumbled to bad non-con losses against South Carolina and UCLA (the latter more for the margin than the result). They had opened the Big Ten schedule with only one win and losses to Iowa, Maryland, and Illinois.
Some believed the world was burning to the ground for Michigan basketball. Maverick Morgan (remember him?), then a player for Illinois, called the team “white collar.” It was a bad time, a dark time for the program. In our staff chatroom, myself and several other writers started to have conversations about whether John Beilein was the right coach to lead the program.
Beilein had unquestably achieved a lot. He had made Michigan basketball relevant again, taken the team to an NCAA final, and deserved to be lauded and thanked profusely - but the team was stagnating.
On January 13, 2017, Derrick Walton Jr. called a players only meeting and the rest was history. The team responded with a gritty win over Nebraska and went 15-6 the rest of the season. They won a Big Ten Tournament title after the plane incident and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.
This year, the team has a record of 28-7. They’ve won another Big Ten Tournament title, vaulted into the Top-10, and are poised to receive a high seed on Selection Sunday. Since that players only meeting, the team has gone 43-13
Needless to say, we were wrong to doubt John Beilein. I don’t know how he did it, but he turned around a flagging team and then improved upon the prior season after losing Derrick Walton Jr., Zak Irvin, D.J. Wilson, and two assistant coaches. Going into this March Madness, remember January 13, 2017 and think how far we’ve come.
Did you doubt John Beilein?
This poll is closed
No, I kept the faith
After sweeping Wisconsin this past weekend, Michigan hockey finds itself ranked No. 11 in the latest USCHO poll. The Wolverines face No. 6 Ohio State on Saturday for a trip to the Big Ten Tournament championship. The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on BTN. Michigan is 0-4-0 against Ohio State this season.
I’ve highlighted several multimedia projects the athletic department has put out for various teams over the past year or so, and this is another cool one. It’s a collection of photos and features from the basketball team’s recent trip to New York for the Big Ten Tournament. Check it out.