clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Top 5 Michigan basketball moments under John Beilein

There were some pretty incredible moments under the 12-year head coach.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Coaches Press Conference Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, John Beilein shocked the NCAA world as he decided to leave the Michigan basketball program to join the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Beilein led the Wolverines to nine 20+ win, and three 30+ win seasons in his 12-year tenure. Of course with that kind of success came some deep postseason runs for Michigan, including two Final Four and National Championship appearances.

It was a fantastic 12-season run for Beilein, and with it came some really big moments and big plays. Here are my top five moments for U-M hoops under Beilein.

5. Michigan upsets No. 4 Duke, December 2008

The Michigan Wolverines were irrelevant for several seasons and were riddled with sanctions that caused the Wolverines to severely drop in popularity and skill. Then came Beilein, and in his second season manning the helm, he collected a couple huge wins.

The Wolverines won their first game against a top five opponent in 11 years when they beat the No. 4 UCLA Bruins 55-52 in the third game of the regular season. The next day, the No. 10 Duke Blue Devils stomped the Michigan Wolverines at Madison Square Garden in the Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament in the early 2008-09 season. The Blue Devil’s 71-56 win was their seventh consecutive victory over the Wolverines.

However, the two teams would square up for a second time in the same season when they faced off on Dec. 6, 2008 in the Crisler Center.

Michigan came into the game battling. They fought shot for shot with the now No. 4 Blue Devils and took a 32-30 lead into the half.

The teams traded baskets until the game was tied 50-50 with 9:10 remaining.

Then, Michigan went on an 18-9 run that Duke couldn’t fight back from. Although they brought the Wolverines’ lead down to just four points with one minute left. John Beilein’s team went 13-of-14 from the free throw line to win the game in the closing minutes.

Here are the highlights from the huge Michigan win:

This win put Michigan back on the map as it headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998.

4. The 17-0 start in 2018-19

The Wolverines started off on a magical run this past season. A team that had lost three starters was expected to be a good team, but went on a run of what could be debated as the best of Beilein’s Michigan career.

That run included a big win over the No. 8 Villanova Wildcats on their own court. The Wolverines came in and absolutely dominated the team that had just beat them in the 2018 NCAA Championship. The Wolverines shot over 50 percent from the field and held the Wildcats to only 31.8. Michigan would win 73-46.

Then the Wolverines and beat the No. 11 North Carolina Tar Heels by 17 points, 84-67. Ignas Brazdeikis and Charles Matthews each put up over 20 points in the victory and the Wolverines extended their winning streak to eight to open up the year.

But the bus didn’t stop there. Michigan would win their third game against a top 20 team in their first nine games when they defeated the No. 19 Purdue Boilermakers by 19 points. Jordan Poole was 5-for-5 from deep and the team shot 50 percent from deep. The final score was 76-57.

The Wolverines would go on to win their next eight games, including a 21-point victory over the No. 21 Indiana Hoosiers in the process.

All in all, a young and overall pretty inexperienced team was led by an experienced head coach in John Beilein who led the Wolverines to breaking the program record for the longest winning streak to open up a season by starting 17-0 with four wins over top 25 opponents.

3. Trey Burke’s hits The Shot to defeat Kansas, propels Final Four run

The 2012-13 Wolverines were an extremely talented team with arguably the best player in Beilein’s career: Trey Burke. The Wolverines won their first 16 games in the season and won 31 overall on their way to the title game.

The most notable game in this run was the victory over the No. 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks.

The Wolverines found themselves down three with 12.6 seconds to go as Jayhawks guard Ben McLemore missed his final free throw allowing Burke one more opportunity to tie up the game:

The Wolverines would go on to win the game and head to their first Final Four since 1993 after demolishing the Florida Gators in the Elite Eight.

2. Jordan Poole hits half-court shot against Houston

Michigan played a horrible, no good, very bad game against the Houston Cougars in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. The Wolverines shot 36.8 percent from the field in what was an embarrassing performance against a team they were much better than.

The Wolverines also couldn’t slow down Rob Gray, the man-bunned guard for Houston who dropped 23 points.

All hope seemed to be lost as the Wolverines found themselves down two points with only 3.6 to go. Next came potentially the biggest shot in program history:

This exemplified everything Beilein stood for. This team never gave up as everything was going wrong. They all put faith into a freshman who only played 11 minutes in the game, and they were victorious because of it. The Wolverines would not have been where they were with the talent they had on the court without the leadership of Beilein.

1. Michigan wins the 2017 Big Ten Tournament following plane crash

If there is one moment that defined Beilein’s career at Michigan, it is this one.

The Wolverines were heading to Washington D.C. for the Big Ten Tournament in 2017 when their plane was derailed off the runway by wind and skidded off the side. The plane was severely damage, but all players, students, cheerleaders and band members exited safely with minimal to no injuries.

The university and coaching staff debated not even going to the tournament following the incident. Beilein described the team as “a little banged and shook up” and the team was supposed to play at noon in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament the next day.

The Wolverines left at 6 a.m. March 9 to head to D.C. and played Illinois in their practice uniforms less than 24 hours after the plane crash. They dominated from start to finish as they beat the Illini 75-55.

Next they faced the No. 1 seeded Purdue Boilermakers and again they won a close one in OT, 74-70, behind 26 points from D.J. Wilson. Then Michigan defeated Minnesota by seven behind 29 points and nine assists from Derrick Walton to send Michigan to the Big Ten Championship against Wisconsin.

The Badgers were the No. 2 seed, but they certainly didn’t play like it. Michigan came out of the gate rolling and won 71-56 to win the Big Ten Championship less than five days after the plane crash.

You have to point to Beilein for the role he played in this run. He rallied the team who went through a terrifying experience to play unfazed and focused basketball — their best of the season.

Here is a recap of the 2017 Big Ten Tournament for Michigan:

Some of the top moments in the history of the Michigan program came under the guidance of Beilein, and he will surely be missed by the players, coaches and fans.


What is your favorite moment in Michigan basketball history under coach Beilein?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Upsetting Duke
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    The 17-0 start to the 2018-19 season
    (4 votes)
  • 42%
    Trey Burke’s shot against Kansas
    (104 votes)
  • 18%
    Jordan Poole’s shot against Houston
    (45 votes)
  • 33%
    Big Ten Tournament Championship following the plane crash
    (83 votes)
  • 2%
    Other (Answer in comments)
    (6 votes)
245 votes total Vote Now