Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Getting to know Michigan Basketball

I hope the millions in the NBA and Tyra Banks helped Chris get over this.The rumors of Beilein to Michigan continue to gain momentum on the front page of Rivals and the message boards for both Michigan and WVU and even the mgoblog and aol's fanhouse. While the season is still ongoing there will be no comment from Beilein and likely nothing after the season if last year was any indication. Any job offer or infatuation will only be known through rumors until Michigan announces a new coach; Beilein or not. So let's take this opportunity to learn about Michigan basketball. Michigan has over 1,100 all-time wins as a basketball program, which is considerable, but less than WVU. The Wolverines have a national title from Glen Rice's 1989 team and 6 Final Four appearances. Michigan also has 11 conference champions under it's belt and one Big Ten Tournament title.

However, two of the Final Four's, and the Big Ten Tournament victory have been removed due to scandal. Boster Ed Martin gave $616,000 to Chris Webber and others during the 90's which required Michigan to remove any mention of Webber, Robert Traylor, Maurice Taylor, or Louis Bullock from the school's history and all banners and wins were also deleted. The news put the basketball program into a tailspin and currently Michigan is 9 years removed from the last NCAA tournament appearance.

So in what ways is this job better or worse than WVU? Keep in mind that John Beilein is 54 years old and will have been a head coach for 30 years next year.

1. If he is looking for one big payday Michigan will certainly have deeper pockets than WVU. WVU should be looking to give Beilein a raise after Rodriguez got one anyway, but can't get into a bidding war with Michigan.

2. Recruiting would be much easier at Michigan. WVU is hurt by the fact that there just isn't a lot of in-state talent and what little there is (Patrick Patterson, OJ Mayo, etc.) seems intent on leaving ASAP. Michigan, meanwhile, can draw on Detroit, Chicago, etc. While WVU has been recruiting better the last few years, how much of that is WVU and how much kids wanting to play in Beilein's system? I think most would have followed him anywhere he was coaching and Michigan is just a deeper pool to begin with.

3. Reputation. Coaches have egos. Big egos. I have long thought Beilein would love to coach at a UConn, Syracuse, Duke, UNC, etc. type place where he is the man. That is why NC State was appealing. Here he plays second fiddle to football. That would actually be worse at Michigan. The conferences are about the same in terms of t.v. time. The only reputation advantage for Michigan would be the size of the school and the fact that it is Michigan. Meaning there are more graduates/fans of Michigan than WVU. However, if Beilein were to stay at WVU he could be known as an all-time great here.

4. Other factors are whether Beilein wants to stay in West Virginia and more specifically Morgantown. Maybe he wants to be in a bigger city (a rumor that has been out there for years) that is away from the Pittsburgh airport where he has had problems before. Also the youth of the current team could come into play in a decision to stay. Otherwise it comes down to whether a non-West Virginian with no real WVU ties before coming here considers this the best job he can have for the rest of his career.

Michigan is not the biggest concern in this offseason for Beilein's services, just the first. I truely believe a big-time basketball school that makes a run could be more dangerous. However, if Beilein just wants out of West Virginia or more money then Michigan would be as good a place as any to run. In which case the only chance for WVU may be to name the floor after a fifth year coach, get Jerry West involved somehow (maybe put a Beilein statue on the neck of West's statute riding it like a horse), or get Beilein's youngest son on the team stat. If Beilein does leave though at least Dan Dakich may be available again.


Brave Sir Robin said...

Not to forget that the weather up there is frightful- especially during basketball season. Not to say that Morgantown is the tropical getaway I wish it were- but going further north just isn't appealing between November and March. Doesn't he golf?

letsplaytummysticks said...

I don't know if he golfs, but if he does I'm sure he uses an onorthodox approach to attach the greens. Maybe hitting a 5-wood from 150 yards or backdooring a lob wedge through the trees.