U-M’s rise under Beilein shouldn’t threaten MSU

Until this year, I never thought a John Beilein team would reach the Final Four.

I thought he was a terrific coach β€” watched him from up close coach circles around then-Clemson coach Oliver Purnell in the 2009 NCAA tournament; and last year win a share of the Big Ten title with a couple of starters only coveted by the mid-major world.

But I didn’t think he’d ever land the type of big man it takes to win big. For the most part, those guys didn’t fit his four-around-one offensive system. And so his system didn’t fit the Final Four.

If Trey Burke doesn’t hit a 30-foot 3-pointer against Kansas, maybe I’d be sticking with that notion. I hope not. By the time this tournament began, I liked Michigan’s chances (I picked U-M to reach the title game, against Louisville.). And had come around to altering my perception of the Wolverines’ ceiling under John Beilein.

Michigan will be solid, an NCAA tournament team and upper-tier Big Ten program as long as Beilein is there.

Whether U-M is something more — more consistently like this — I have my doubts. But, as I wrote in today’s Lansing State Journal column, Final Four runs like this leave an impression.

I do not, however, believe Michigan’s rise, to whatever level, should feel like a threat to Michigan State.

The long-term successes of both programs are not mutually exclusive. They are related only perhaps by occasional oncoming recruiting tiffs and, from a perception standpoint, that it probably helps a little when one gets the stage all to itself. Like tonight.

For the most part, Beilein and Tom Izzo appear to be chasing different players, with different recruiting nets. That could change as Michigan gains more comparative legitimacy. But not to the point that one program has to tumble.

The perception of a threat, I believe, is mostly caused by history: These two programs have rarely ever been good together. And never great together. So, subconsciously, it’s difficult to picture.

It works, though, for Kentucky and Louisville, Duke and North Carolina. No reason it can’t in this case. Both are now nationally recognized brands — Michigan more so still for its past; MSU for Izzo and the last 16 years.

The Spartans are probably going to have to deal with the Wolverines from now on, and acknowledge their worthiness under Beilein. They’ll threaten MSU in the Big Ten title chase some years. But they shouldn’t feel like a threat to what Izzo’s built.

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82 Responses to U-M’s rise under Beilein shouldn’t threaten MSU

  1. avatar jerseyjohn says:

    didn’t read a word of this..it’s almost as if you’re trying to come up with topics that grind all of us..did the LSJ get taken over by u-scum grads like the BTN and ESPN.

    • avatar reality check says:

      Thanks Graham , you are a breath of fresh air. MSU fans are now coming to accept the Michigan will be their equal on the basketball court. In time MSU fans will regard Belien as equal to Izzo maybe as soon as Monday Night. Lets get everyone in the state behind our Wolverines tonight.

    • avatar Graham Couch says:


      I’m a grad of neither place. This is definitely a viable topic this week.

      That said, to Reality Check’s point, Michigan has a ways to go — Beilein, too — to be considered on equal footing with MSU. A national title would alter the conversation. But one Final Four and one Sweet 16 vs. six Final Fours and 11 Sweet 16s in the last 20 years is a gap that can’t be completely closed with one season and one weekend.

  2. avatar Notorious P.A.T. says:

    Unless Tom Izzo rethinks his stagnant, ineffective offensive scheme there is no reason why Michigan can’t overtake MSU.

    • avatar MichMatters says:

      I could agree with this. Michigan could overtake MSU. We COULD land a colony on Pluto. Point is, it’s not happening anytime soon. I’ve got some very real criticisms of how Izzo is running the team. The fire doesn’t really seem to be there, and he’s coasting, but Michigan isn’t close to overtaking the Spartans.

      Here’s the difference between the Spartans and the Wolverines. The Wolverines compare themselves to the Spartans. The Spartans aspire to the likes of Duke and Louisville, not UofM.

      • avatar Notorious P.A.T. says:

        When Duke and Loiusville get the ball they try to score points, not run plays. Coach Izzo keeps talking about how he wants his team to be like Duke; fine then, do it.

        And if U of M wins the championship game on Monday, let me know if you shut up any of their fans by reminding them of all the Sweet Sixteens we’ve been to.

        • avatar MichMatters says:

          Whe was the last time UofM played in a championship game?

          They could win, tomorrow, and they still aren’t on our level. Sorry. A lucky, well-played year doesn’t paper over a nascent rise.

          But, you Wolverine trolls keep trying.

        • avatar MSU Owns Beilein says:

          We’ll shut them up by letting them know how many final fours we’ve been to in the 24 years it’s taken scum to get to another one

          larry, you’re + 1 is meaningless here unless we tell you to clean up a # 1 spill in the urinal

    • avatar Beemer says:

      I agree.

    • avatar MSU Owns Beilien says:

      Michigan overtake MSU? Did you miss the 30 point shellacking MSU gave scUM ? congrats, scUM is making a lucky run in the tourney, that doesn’t mean they are overtaking MSU, esp. when Burke, Hardaway, and probably GR3 leave.

    • avatar MSU Owns Beilien says:

      yeah right P.A.T., get ready for another 24 year wait for scUM to make another final four.

  3. avatar MichMatters says:

    Didn’t read the whole thing; didn’t need to. You’ve got the gist in the title. It’s more force feeding Michigan hype. A few things…

    1. Trey Burke is a great point guard any team would be lucky to have.

    2. UofM had an easier schedule in the tournament. Period. They’d have not made it out of a region stacked with both Duke and Louisville. Fact.

    3. UofM has an improving program; it’s still nowhere near the program we have up the road, and all their players and their NBA daddies in the world this year (the Burkes the Robinsons the Hardaways) won’t ever change that.

    4. You’ll hear this all day long, but it’s right: A team you beat by 23 points at home, and lose by a bucket to at their house is not a “better team.” Michigan was AS GOOD AS the Spartans in the very best case scenario.

    Here’s where I’ll be magnanimous. I’m not going to root for UofM; a school and program as arrogant as their’s is not a team I’m going to root for. But, I won’t root against them. I honestly don’t care.

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:


      • avatar Duke Owns Izzo says:

        That was a great Duke team there just ask Louisville!

        MSU Did’nt make it past a weak Duke team. Fact!!!

        And UM does not want you to root for them, much more enjoyable listening to the whining!!

        • avatar MSU Owns Beilien says:

          hey mark, still mad about state pounding scum by 31? weak duke team? they would have taken scum to the woodshed !

          • avatar reality check says:

            After tomorrow night you will be heading down tothe mall to buy your championship hat and tshirt which I expect you to wear on Tuesday

          • avatar MSU Owns Beilien says:

            sorry mark, no need for me to head to walmart, i’ll leave that to the scum bandwagon fans who are out in full force !

    • avatar Lois Hallifax says:

      Michigan will have played a 13,5,1,3,4, and overall #1 seeded teams in this years NCAA Tournament for their 6 games. That’s two # 1 seeds!

  4. avatar Kevin says:

    I was wondering when a sour grapes article would surface, even in defeat arrogance dies hard for some (beat writers too).

  5. avatar Lois Hallifax says:

    Remember ….. they wrap fish in yesterdays newspaper!!! It’s whose going forward from here. Michigan was the youngest team in the 68 team field as was stated tonight during M/Cuse game. Beilein is doing the better job of recruiting than Izzo, for certain the last two years. They have the players on the floor to show it. Izzo spening too much time on someone like Jabari Parker who probably is one and done. I don’t think he can get enough players to create the depth needed to win another NCAA title. Maybe share of a Big Ten title and a Sweet Sixteen NCAA. The Big Ten coaches know how to deal with Izzo at this point and I’m not sure if the “Big drive” is there anymore! Oh well, see next November with Donnal, Irvin and Walton 3 more 4 star Guys!!!

    • avatar MSU Owns Beilien says:

      wow, msu went to back to back final fours just 3 years ago, scum has 1 good year in the last quarter century, now they are the second coming ! geez you scum fans are entertaining!

  6. avatar Duke Owns Izzo says:

    Whats it been, like 13 years since PMSU has been to a title game?

  7. avatar Larry says:

    Way to go blue. Nice job coaching those three stars up, while the 4 and 5 star players are sitting home!!!!

  8. avatar C.Russel says:

    All my homeboys need to stay off another schools fan site, it’s embarrassing for a proud program to have those who were never in the arena snipe at the those less fortunate.

    • avatar MSU Owns Beilien says:

      scUM hasn’t been a proud program since 1989

      • avatar reality check says:

        MSU hasn’t won anything in 13 years, Burke and Hardaway are coming back be afraid Doug I can smell the fear in your posts

        • avatar MSU Owns Beilien says:

          Hey Mark, MSU has been to 6 final fours in the time it took scUM to make 1, MSU was beating scUM by 30 + points with Burke and Hardaway playing, imagine how bad it will be for the maize and blue fools when those 2 goofs leave.

  9. avatar Larry says:

    Wow 3 game sweep in baseball

  10. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Louisville is our insurance policy Bellien, They will run scum out of the gym

  11. Pingback: Today’s links: All eyes on the Wolverines « Big Ten Network

  12. avatar spartaninsc says:

    Nothing good comes from a U of M victory. Middle School and High School kids care about what happened recently not 13 years ago or 20 years ago. 2013 – 2014 and 2014 – 2015 are pivotal years for Izzo and the Spartans. Weed a Final Four banner and Big Ten banner to maintain the legacy. And then a great 2014 – 2015 recruiting class. I’m hoping Burke’s legacy ends with a loss tonight. He’s received enough accolades. Move on to the NBA.

    • avatar MSU Owns Belien says:

      If Michigan wins tonight, I will join up with Larry and change my loyalty. I am heading down to the mall now to pick up my wolverine gear that I will be wearing to work tomorrow.

    • avatar MSU Owns Beilien says:

      Burke is gone no matter what happens tonight, probably Hardaway and GR 3 also. The rest of the bums on michigan won’t know what to do without Burke getting them open looks every night.

      • avatar Larry says:

        they will be ok, a couple of top recruits coming .

        • avatar reality check says:

          The game has passed Izzo by Larry he is yesterday’s news

          • avatar MSU Owns Beilien says:

            yeah right mark and larry, oh by the way, way to blow a 12 point lead in a game you should never have been in anyways. now you 2 go hold hands and realize msu will win the big ten next year

  13. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Burke had a miserable day and Stauskas was shutout against the Orange. Dieng, Blackshear and Siva were virtual no-shows for Louisville vs. Wichita State. Part of that was because they faced smothering defenses. I Look for more offense, but Louisville’s defense is more consistent, and that wins this game.

    Louisville 72
    Michigan 67

    • avatar MSU Owns Beilien says:

      damn dude you were close on the spread, McGary woke up and stunk it up in the biggest game of the year

      • avatar Spartan 81 says:

        It would have been 10 points if Ware had not been hurt that’s why it took longer to wear them down, I am sending a Louisville hat and shirt to BTN studios in Chicago

        Go Green

  14. avatar Mike says:

    Congrats on your run Blue!!! Nobody expected you to go this far with such a young team!

    • avatar C.Russel says:

      True, but we couldn’t do it in the end, these boys did out do the fraud five though. I don’t like those criminals tarnishing the good Michigan name. Sen. Bradley told me the investigation revealed that all 5 took money every single week they were in my beloved Ann Arbor – while they were supposed to be in English class.

  15. avatar C.Russel says:

    My guys couldn’t do it, darn webber showed up for his 15 minutes and brought his curse with him.

    Thanks for trying to get this rumor going, Grammy. Your the only typer I could find in the State of Michigan who is a supposed Spartan typer, but doesn’t know enough about college basketball to actually type this nonsense. 1 trip to the FF since 1989 doesn’t mean anybody else in the State is even close to approaching Coach Izzo’s Spartans. That’s like saying The Peanut Farmer was as good a President as the Great Communicator. Apples and Oranges, my boys have a long way to go, but maybe by the turn of the next century they’ll have an equal number of appearances as the Spartans do now.

  16. avatar Fred Jones says:

    So, let me see here. After losing to MSU for four straight years in football and to Ohio State nine times in ten years (or whatever), Wolverine fans insisted neither program had caught Michigan.

    But after one Final Four run after 20 years, that’s enough for Wolverine fans to declare they’re on an even level with Michigan State and Ohio State in basketball?

    Okay, got it. This once again proves 99% of Michigan fans didn’t go to college and have no ability to apply logic to their asinine thought processes objectively.

    • avatar MSU Owns Beilien says:

      Fred, if you find a Michigan fan who actually went to Michigan, they’re actually logical. It’s the walmart wolverine like Larry who act like idiots.

      • avatar reality check says:

        Larry is a janitor you Spartan idiot, he dropped out of school in the 10th grade you green and white Moron

        • avatar MSU Owns Beilien says:

          Larry is a janitor so he probably did graduate from scUM. BUUUURRRRRRRRNNNNN

          Take some anger managment pills Mark, resorting to name calling? Is that what they teach at scUM when you continuously lose every argument?

  17. avatar reality check says:

    Burke and Hardaway are coming back just to spite Doug

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