The State of UM Basketball

Genuine question, and you may have answered this previously, but why are you a Michigan fan? Did you attend, grew up liking the Fab Five, etc.?

I’m an alum, and was a Michigan fan (particularly the Fab5) even before becoming a student at UM.


The notion that M doesn’t play entertaining basketball is, I think, bunk. Those great deep-run NCAA teams we had for a while were very free-wheeling; by definition, B’s is a philosophy, similar to that which is flourishing in the NBA, where good shooters can score from every position. Maybe it’s a matter of taste, but for me those teams were breathtaking good fun. It clearly takes time to absorb, and B and Michigan are also looking for players who are devoted to their studies. Considering that those are the rules Michigan plays by–more constricting than those of a Duke or KY–Beilein’s is arguably a fantastic approach for who we are. But when it’s not clicking. . . the natives get restless, and yearn for someone to take over games and overcome. (I don’t see this as the problem at the moment at all, btw.) With a loss of one or two very high-caliber players per season the last few years, an objective assessment pretty much demands patience.

But it’s true, in the end, that the team has to start winning, and this year it looks as though Zak and Derek’s limitations, Wagner and Wilson’s relative newness, and the slow emergence of Ibi and X, are limiting success. I really think that just having Zak and Derek play within themselves and exercise leadership could have helped in several games, and if we get that down the stretch we’re in the tourney and next year holds a lot more promise. If we stumble then I think it will make sense that next year needs to be a successful one for Beilein. I also think they’re tantalizingly close to something quite a bit better, as demonstrated against the likes of UCLA. Robinson finally really gets hot, X begins to be able to handle more minutes, MAAR gets his head back in the game. . . But for me (again) it’s really all about Zak and Derek being leaders now. Zak has become much better in the point-forward role (which his critics are are slow to acknowledge), and I think that Derek, in truth, is better with some of the pressure off; they just both have to keep it together down the stretch in M’s close games.


But was that 3 year stretch of super success an anomaly?

The players from that stretch were from the 2012 class or previous. Since then, I haven’t seen a player close to what 1 of those guys had, let alone a group. Matthews/Wilson/Wagner will make a really nice frontline next year. But our PG and especially 2G positions have been lacking severely. Walton is a nice player but he’s not Burke. And Burke had Timmy/Stauskas beside him…who are WAY better than MAAR/Duncan.

We have a nice program. A nice coach. Nice stability. Nice players. Nice success (tourney appearances). But we have a LOT more potential - Beilein is a good coach. We have a good school. We have a great brand (overall and literally Jumpman). And it doesn’t take a massive overhaul either.


Do not disagree with many of your comments; but the teams of which you speak had a fearless leader in Trey Burke who could and would create havoc at both ends of the floor. Trey was also able to take his man off the dribble and defend the same. His ability to get into the paint created opportunities for everyone from those standing at the 3 point line to those cutting to the rim along the baseline.

So essentially coaches offense has to have that sort of point guard; the question is do we have one on the roster now or signed going forward? Because without one the offense has to change and that should start with far more motion than we see now.

1 Like

I think Caris was that–or could have been that, though he was not a very fiery guy. And I think Wagner and Wilson are showing serious promise. Agree that someone who plays and stays pissed off could be a good thing!

I agree - the injury bug wasn’t nice for Caris/Walton/Irvin the last couple of seasons. But still, since 2012 and even looking forward, where is our NBA built guard?

Beilein HAS gone after SOME guys…Chatman didn’t turn out. Battle committed then jumped. Irvin was Indiana Mr Basketball. Xavier was Ohio Mr Basketball. He was recruiting Thorton and Devin Booker and Luke Kennard…even way back to Iman Shumpert when he wasn’t on anyone’s radar. But that’s all the more reason to cast a wider net. What happens when you miss? 2013 - 2018 is a long 6 year stretch to miss out on the exact type of player that you need to continue your success.

Bottom line is that JBs lack of recruiting prowess is tolerable, and even admirable to a certain extent, if the team is winning on the court. However, when the team is stuck in mediocrity for 3 seasons, it’s just plain unacceptable given the F4 run in 2013.

If we can land a nice class in 2018 then I think things start trending up for the 2018-2019 season, but I do think we’re going to see 5 straight years of bubble teams as it stands right now.

For me that is simply too long to remain stagnant as a program given the recent success, resources, facilities, and compensation for the head coach.

Here’s the truth: we’ve had this discussion. We’ll have it again next loss. And a couple more times.


Probably so. But I accept that we are inching up on a point where these teams have to win bigger. At some stage, even if you love the coach, you have to ask whether they are having success. Honesty–for me–suggests that Beilein has at least another year, so bellyaching. . . not super-productive. The new emphasis on D seemed to be paying off early on, and may yet in bigger fashion. It’s maybe a certain fire that Beilein’s early teams had that’s kind of lacking; bloody Novak, D Mo’s “our house,” Stauskas’s sh*t-eating grins, Trey’s defiance, even JoMo had a kind of fight I’m not quite seeing. Wagner has it, but I’m not sure it communicates itself to the rest of the team.

It’s not about the losses per se, it’s about the type of teams we lose to and the way we lose. Perhaps larger than that it’s the lack of hope…we just aren’t bringing in enough talent on a consistent basis to really take a step forward.

Hard for a fan base to accept a bubble team with slim hopes of upward mobility

I agree about the who and how statement on the losses. Very disheartening. I have hope though. I stand by that next year were going to be a sleeper/ contender. If we sign bamba then watch out. X will be seviceable iny opinion and I think will be a stout defender.

I have hope for this program 18-20. I have always liked livers film from day one. He will be a nice college player/ steal. I think Poole will be a nice college player Although I’m not as high on him as others. I think he’s good but I think he like x will struggle to make a huge impact as a frosh.

I think the 16 class will develop into a solid group. Just not in the next two years, I think teske will be ready when moe leaves. I actually think Ibi will be ok. He just needs time.

what you said about Davis is spot on. I’m not surprised about what you saw. I think he will be a surprisingly solid offensive big around the hoop. Luckily he has time to develop. I really like his hands, touch and footwork on the videos we see. I also like the way he likes contact, by the time it’s 2019 and he will be needed I think he will be a solid college big for us.

I love Matthews. The next two or three years will be really fun watching him I suspect. Don’t know much about Brooks.

I loved dejulius since the first time you posted a video of him. I love that signing. Let’s see what he does with the other two or three spots. I liked the 17 class enough to make up for an average 16 group. If he hits on those signings I guess I don’t see why you or anyone else would be down on our future.

I 100% agree. If we were built as a blue collar team without a bunch of supposed “shooters” on our team and our our shots just werent dropping during a game, fine i can live with that kind of loss. It’s when we lose because we get completely outworked. There are those memes that go around about the “Top 10 thing that require zero talent.” I just feel like this team doesnt check enough of those kind of boxes to succeed

You’d be fine losing with a bunch of bricklayers? Not me, no matter how hard-working. Losses are frustrating. Some choose to vent repeatedly after them or simply don’t like Beilein and choose to vent repeatedly about it. And it’s not the case that everyone who doesn’t do so on a message board is “happy” or “satisfied” with some of the losses.

That wasnt my point. My point was more that it is harder for me that we lose because of things that our players have direct control over doing (e.g. effort) rather than losing because the game-plan was executed but just didnt work (e.g. shots not falling on a given evening even if they are good looks). This team has the ability to shoot and but it is the effort, energy and thought throughout a game that bothers me.

I actually like Beilein and think that most of the effort thing isnt his fault (although he could have a quicker hook for it). I am griping about the players and some of the lack of “edge” that i see. I am also not trying to imply that anyone is “happy” or “satisfied” with a loss. I am simply trying to rationalize why some losses are more frustrating than others.

I get frustrated too with what looks like a lack of effort or perhaps aggression. I just don’t think losing for a different reason – for instance, bad shooting – is particularly less frustrating or would lessen the repetition of this thread.

I agree. We do seem to cycle through the same arguments over and over again. For perpetuating that, I am sorry

1 Like

I just don’t agree, or even understand, this logic. When a team is maximizing their capability/talent (I.E. Effort) it’s tough to complain. In contrast, when a team underperforms not because of skill, but rather laziness/softness, I find it intolerable because the players are essentially leaving production out on the floor for no reason other than lack of motivation.

In professional sports, and to a a more limited extent college, this is what analysts refer to as ‘the coach has lost the team’ because they simply do not respond to the coach in terms of better effort.


I doubt that you’d find it tough to complain if our players maxed out their talent but weren’t that capable – and thus were bubble teams or worse. In fact, I’m confident that you’d complain (fairly) that we didn’t recruit well enough.

I don’t think Beilein has lost this team at all or that Irvin or Walton or Wilson or Wagner are “lazy.” Just like I wouldn’t automatically think that bad shooters weren’t practicing their shooting. I do think that our team lacks aggression and forcefulness – and that’s frustrating.

I’ve repeatedly said the 2011-2012 was my favorite version of UM under JB to which LAW has responded with confusion.

There is a difference between complaints about the roster effort versus complaints about recruiting. Both are rooted with the head coach, however effort is an issue where the head coach assumes sole and direct responsibility.

The bottom line is that John Beilein has an issue with getting the most out of his personnel from an effort standpoint in addition to being unable to compensate by bringing in much better talent.

The combination of the two is the reason you are witnessing the sub-standard product on the court.