Reimagine the 1997 team with Beilein as coach?

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

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Don’t think that Taylor and Traylor would have made it through the season with Beilein.

Haha. I loved those guys but you’re probably right. But maybe they would have stuck it out for the Ed Martin money.

I disagree on Mo Taylor… the way he liked to float on the perimeter at times, he would have been a good fit for the role Wagner is playing now.

Traylor and Baston would likely have struggled. Conlan, Bullock, Ward would have been good fits for a Beilein system. Hughes would have given Beilein fits. Ron Oliver likely would have played more as a backup PG (defense).

The transfers of Albert White and Willie Mitchell really sapped that year’s team of any depth.

He did like to float out a bit for elbow jumpers. I’m sure he could have drifted out a few feet more.

And I always liked Albert White.

Taylor liked to float. Period. He also was in a picture with a wad of bills in his hand and rolled over the Explorer on the way back from a party in Detroit with Cleaves in the back seat on a recruiting trip. Traylor was in the front and broke his arm. Ed Martin put on the party.

White was trouble. Academics, drugs.

Taylor is probably my least favorite UM player of all time. Talked a big game and then would go out and mail in a weak performance.

I feel like he might have loved Big Rob in the Jordan Morgan pick and roll role, and Big Rob’s passing ability.

Also probably would have made Bullock, Conlan and Ward into better players and outside shooters. Maybe could have even made a player out of Willie Mitchell too before he transferred, although that’s asking a lot.

If he could have kept Ward healthy, they would have been an ideal match for each other. Traylor would have been a very good center for Beilein too. It’s hard to see Beilein running the program then though. Maybe if Fischer was fired for NCAA issues earlier and we brought him in to clean things up.Otherwise, I’d guess a very rough transition.

I was at that IU game at Crisler. We played an absolutely flawless first half and led by 18 (I think we hit a buzzer-beater). In the second, IU slowly crept back but we still led by 6 with a minute to go. Then AJ Guyton (I think) hit two threes in the last minute and you knew it wasn’t going to happen after that. IU won in OT. An unbelievable tale of two halves. That game started the whole slide.

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