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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Door #2! Though he's old and hasn't ever recruited a kid with so much as four stars next to his name, West Virginia's John Beilein is hard to overlook when articles like this fawning Adrian Wojnarowski piece seem more the norm than the exception:

"A lot of guys can sit down at a table and X and O, talk all about it, but most can't touch John in his ability to teach it on the floor and get guys to do it," Thorn said. "What he's done with this year's team is especially remarkable. They lost all their players, and he's got guys who didn't play last year, or weren’t big recruits – and it's just amazing how they still carve people up.

"He's an amazing teacher of the game."

Though West Virginia's status as an NIT team the year before he (hypothetically) becomes Michigan's coach is a disturbing parallel with Amaker, there's a difference between this WVU team which lost Pitsnogle, Gansey, and the rest of the crew that took the 'Eers on their remarkable two-year tourney run and the Seton Hall team that brought in the nation's top recruiting class, returned most of its contributors, and totally imploded. (How on God's green earth did Amaker recruit notorious malcontent and car-masturbator Eddie Griffin, by the way? Griffin's one of the few NBA players who actually warrants the excessively-applied term "thug," and Friendly Mr. Coachy reeled him in? Strange times.)

Beilein is a virtually no-fail candidate. He's worked his way up from coaching community colleges to his first D-I job at Cansisus, where he was a success, leading the Whatevers to an NCAA tourney and two NITs. He was then hired by Richmond, where he replicated his performance at Cansisus. Then West Virginia and their resurrection. We should expect a similar performance at Michigan even if Beilein's recruiting doesn't improve, though it should via simple proximity to talent.

Uh... what? Eric Lacey throws out a ridiculous name in his latest Free Press article:
. What about Michigan State assistant Jim Boylen?

A . That would be something if he were hired, wouldn't it? He is a Michigan guy with tons of NBA experience and is well aware of the rivalry. And Boylen appears to be interested in the job.

My only question is whether Michigan truly is interested in him. If officials wanted to make a splash and rock the entire state, then this could be an option. Boylen could potentially steal a lot of recruits from the Spartans.

It's still unclear, though, -- at least to me -- where he stands compared to the rest of the field. If U-M wants Boylen, it might have to act fast, since he's scheduled to interview with Utah this week.

Q: Is Jim Boylen more or less ridiculous as a candidate than Tom Crean?

A: It's hard to say. They have equal Izzo-related loathsomeness. Boylen is obviously making a lot less than Crean and would presumably be less of a ripoff if this goofy suggestion ever came to pass, but he has vastly less experience. In fact, he has less experience than... uh... everyone, having never been a head coach on any level. Plucking current assistants is a strictly small-time move and unless Michigan is suddenly demoted to the Mid-Continent Conference it won't happen, especially after ten years of getting burned.

If you made me choose I'd probably go with "less," but only because Crean is literally the most implausible name in the country.

Ouch. Yeah, Joey didn't like Tommy Amaker:
If success in college basketball were determined by things like trying hard intermittently, occasionally playing well enough to blow a game late, getting embarrassed on a regular basis, being well-intentioned, and dressing like you had always come from Sunday brunch in 1992, Tommy Amaker would be running the best college basketball program in the country. He or his team excelled at all of those things.
Positives are discussed, too. Promise. (They are just of the "clean up the program, thanks, please shut the door on your way out," though.)

Numbers: Stolen in whole from Varsity Blue:
Number changes:
Stevie Brown #3
Kevin Grady #24
Doug Dutch #35
James McKinney #44

New guys:
Ryan Mallett #15
Vince Helmuth #32
Artis Chambers #38
Austin Panter #54
(I'm pretty sure McKinney was already #44.) I hate it when guys change midstream. Now whenever I see a running back wearing #24 I'm going to be all "Jerome Jackson has been hitting the Krispy Kremes too hard."

Come on, now. Simmons has been banging on the Big Ten ever since he started paying more attention to college basketball because the Celtics were busy punching him in the face over and over, and while he's right that the league plays slow, unattractive basketball it doesn't necessarily mean they're bad at it:
6. The Big Ten: Did I tell you or did I tell you? If that foul was called on Oden, there would have been ZERO Big Ten teams in the Sweet 16. I love being right. It happens so rarely. Anyway, don't fret, Big Ten fans -- you can still get your fix of defense and fundamentals by watching the women's tournament.
Wisconsin was a disappointment, but they were missing Brian Butch. All other Big Ten teams have acquitted themselves well: Indiana, Purdue, and Michigan State all won first round games as 8-9s before running into 1-2 seed buzzsaws -- and Purdue gave Florida everything they wanted. Illinois was one late, athletic-director-imploding collapse away from upsetting Virginia Tech. As of right now the conference is 6-5. Does Big Ten bashing have to continue nonstop no matter the situation? Did someone attach some sort of rider to the port security bill when I wasn't looking? If so someone should let me know and I'll stop bothering with it.

Etc.: OJ Mayo is kind of weird; this guy analyzes NFL draft history and concludes "don't draft Michigan skill guys."


Steve said...

Nice post, small niggle.. Lacey works for the Detroit News...

Also, for what it's worth, from a (non-sports) MSM guy and M alum, I really enjoy this site... come here everyday...

Dan said...

given what some have asserted about Krueger re: AAU implosions at UI, I'm on the fence between Beilein & Lowery. If BM thinks Beiline is the guy, the 2.5M buy out will get bought out, imo. but, will he bring the enthusiasm, energy that 34 yr old Lowery will? how much of an issue is the fact that SIU was great when Lowery got there? would the recruits come to Beileins system? this last one is the same question as "does Michigan recruit itself?"

The Original C said...

Off topic, but after reading this story it might be pretty safe to assume that Butler's time might be up!!!!

Kids these days!!!

medals said...

Mallett taking No. 15 got me thinking who else at Michigan donned that number. I think that it would be very interesting to see a list of all of the numbers that have been worn by UM players throughout history. Not necessarily an all-encompassing list (e.g., I don’t need to be reminded that Tyrone Butterfield wore No. 1), but a key player list would be quite interesting. (Hint, hint to whoever has the time to put something like that together . . .) ESPN did something similar a year or so ago with all sports and I thought it was pretty well done.

Kenny said...

Definitely agree with you Brian, I was all on the Chris Lowery bandwagon but reading all this information has me squarely on the John Beilein bandwagon now, him or Tony Bennett, who I don't know why is not getting more pub for this job.

Dan said...

imo, we will get either lowery or Beilein. Minn will get Miller or Bennett.

Brandon said...

I was considering responding to Simmons with something along the same lines as what you said, but realized he'd either ignore me or try and find a way to make fun of me in a upcoming mailbag. Doesn't like someone making valid counter- arguments against his point.

Boston Nick said...

Anyone else really disappointed that Mario Manningham isn't the first player listed on the numerical roster? I just want that big maize 1 on the home jersey next season. It'll look so right

Joey said...

But was I wrong?

Anonymous said...

I think it should be ntoed that you (fairly devciously) misquoted the blog about Michigan skill players. Although I do disagree with him, it only seems fair to write what he actually said. Other than that, fantastic UFV(that's it, right?) and just a genrally great read every day.

Anonymous said...

except brian, that there is a big ten team in the sweet 16. I think its funny that you harp on the whole oden foul deal. there is no official in the land who would have called a flagrant in that situation. quit bitching about our success, find a worthwhile coach, and build a decent facility or two.

Sgt. Wolverine said...

Wait, did I miss something? Did Brian change his name to Simmons and start quoting himself?

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:46,

Block text in a yellow box means that Brian is quoting from another source. Here it is a portion of an article from "Simmons," as in's popular sportswriter Bill Simmons. Perhaps you should write the Sports Guy an email and tell him to stop bitching about your success. You might make it into his mailbag.

Also, Ohio State sucks.

Joey said...

Why do you guys assume that a Buckeye can think well enough to make the distinction you're explaining? Just let him or her continue in ignorance. You can't argue with stupidity.

carc said...

I love Lowery when I watch his teams play defense. I despise him when I watch his teams play on offense. John Beilein is an offensive guru par excellence. After a decade of offensive hideousness, give me the guy whose teams score points and are actually fun to watch.

jeag said...

Damn. I was looking forward to seeing Dutch cover dudes with 81 on his back, like Night Train Lane. Only probably not very well.

Dan said...

i am convinced that these anon OSU fans are really UM fans in disguise. i mean, OSU people can't be that freakin stupid, right? i mean, i teach...the reading comp can't be that remedial. there are plenty of students at Utoledo that are pretty "with it." i didn't know OSU folks were so far behind UT.