The 1996-97 team beat top ten ranked Duke and Arizona early on before losing to bad Memphis, Pitt and Ohio State teams. They beat a ranked Illinois team during the year. They nearly beat a very good Minnesota team that would go on to the Final Four. But they lost so many Big Ten games they finished 19-11 and didn’t get into the tournament. But they would go on to win the NIT crown over Florida State.
The team only really went 7 deep. But they were 7 very talented players (Taylor, Traylor and Baston were NBA players). Obviously the team is not structured at all how Beilein puts his teams together. But pretend he falls into the job after taking Canisius to the tournament and finds himself inheriting this team, let’s say because Steve Fisher takes the 76ers job. How does the year play out?
I am going to say Louis Bullock shoots 15% more 3s than he actually did that year. I’ll say they still lose to that bad Memphis team, but beat Pitt and Ohio State. They win the 4 games after the OT loss to Indiana at home, including #2 Minnesota to finish the year 25-5 and enter the tournament as a #2 seed. They end up losing in the Elite 8. Maurice Taylor goes to the NBA after the season as well as Traylor. Baston stays around and hones an outside touch. Beilein signs in-state phenoms Shane Battier as well as Marcus Fizer and a lesser known transfer shooter named Richie Frahm who along with Robbie Reid fills it up from outside in the years to come in Beilein’s offense. Beilein coaches Michigan until the present day, completing his 20th year last year.
Schedule and results