Split, shared, sliced or diced? Who cares? For Michigan basketball team, a banner's a banner
It wasn't outright. It was earned in front of a television set. And it was shared with the school's two most hated rivals.
But, who cares?
For the Michigan basketball team, a banner's a banner, and the program's first Big Ten championship in 26 years — split, shared, sliced or diced — still tasted good for the 13th-ranked Wolverines on Sunday.
"Being at Michigan over five years and just watching the champions that have played at this university, swimming championships, football championships (and so on)," Michigan coach John Beilein said Sunday night. "I know how much it's valued here.
"It's really one of the main ways we measure success (here), is Big Ten championships."
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
Michigan entered the 2011-12 season with plenty of returning scorers, but three of them were sophomores.
The Wolverines also weren’t sure who would run the offense, as their record-breaking point guard from a year before was prepping for an NBA career, while a freshman from Columbus entered the program with a “ready or not” attitude.
Michigan sweated its way into the NCAA tournament a year ago, and did the same two years prior — the team’s only two tourney appearances in more than a decade.
And then there was the 26-year-old elephant in the room.
Not one player — not Rumeal Robinson, not Jalen Rose or Chris Webber, not Robert Traylor or Tommy Amaker — standing on a Michigan sideline had earned a Big Ten championship since 1986.
But prior to his team’s first practice this season, before Trey Burke turned into a Freshman of the Year candidate, before Evan Smotrycz, Tim Hardaway Jr. or Jordan Morgan had shown they weren’t rookies any longer, Beilein knew he had a shot.
Before that first wind sprint, first layup drill and first team scrimmage, the message was clear.
“Big Ten champions.”
“If I didn’t think (we were capable) I wouldn’t have talked about it every day in practice,” Beilein said. “We start every practice, end every meeting, with the goal of being champions.
“I expect us to strive toward that every day, and to see these young men have this goal come to fruition, is so rewarding for everyone.”
When Beilein got to Michigan prior to the 2007-08 campaign, Michigan teams had spent more than a decade dealing with vanishing banners, erased eras and painful sanctions.
Wolverine squads also sat and watched rival Michigan State catapult itself into a national power, with Ohio State following behind, as the two programs have combined for 13 Big Ten regular season championships and eight Final Four trips since 1998.
But on Sunday, standing inside a brand new film room that’s housed in a $23.2 million crown jewel of a practice facility, Michigan basketball officially re-joined the party.
“It’s a highlight in the journey, and hopefully it’s not the highlight, we want more,” Beilein said. “But it is a great highlight during this journey at Michigan.
“For this staff. This team.”
They had to share it, they needed major help from Ohio State and one big collapse from Michigan State.
But no one really cared in the end.
Next fall, they’ll raise a banner into the rafters at Crisler Center, filling a space next to the 1986 championship flag that’s been empty for 26 years.
Michigan belongs again.
And this time, no one can take that away.
Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.
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Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 2:14 a.m.
Please send you charitable contributions to the Ohio sate charity foundation of your juice. Considering it has been 26 years since you have even sniffed a champion I guess you will take. At OSU it is more bitter then sweet as we could have wrapped this up weeks ago. I imagine Michigan has no problem kissing your sister (sharing a title) as I have heard that is very common up there. In Ohio we still have morals and scruples.
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 2:54 a.m.
A long way to go before matching MSU and OSU but on the right track. Hope they will continue to recruit long term leaders and not one-and-done players. Also hope that number ZERO will get a shot in the NBA based on his grit. Zack has to be the turning point recruit of Beilein's era.
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.
All I can say is I have had an awesUM time from April 2011 (Spring Scrimmage) to March 2012 watching the UM Wolverines success in football & basketball. And I am TOTALLY proud of their accomplishments. Cant wait to see them in the tournament this week and then the BIg Dance. M GO BLUE!!
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.
Good comment Terry S. I guess it gets a little bit tiresome hearing the same old negative comments from Sparty's and Buckeye's about Michigan. It does seem to get worse when we do something positive. I can't see the joy I would have visiting other University's sites and dissing the people that go there to enjoy the positive moments. Worse yet are the bad moments that we experience and having others try to rub our face in it. Does this come from not having a real life. Not sure. Go Blue!!!!!!
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.
"And it was shared with the school's two most hated rivals." "Hated?" Really? Do you need to use a word that connotes such negativity? How about "intense?" There's enough negativity floating around; adding to it with unnecessarily inflammatory words to describe sports rivalries is gratuitous.
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.
Rightmind. I was just curious if you have a site in Columbus that you post positive comments about the Buckeyes. You seem to spend as lot of time on this site dissing U of M. Just sayin.
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 8 p.m.
Most commenters that are frightened to death of another program such as M's want to know every little detail about what we're doing.....last week they tried hard to berate us (when is the last time UM won a championship, etc. ?)....this week the excuses come from them. Just like the little teams north and south of here, all talk and posting consecutive days on their news paper - in awe of the Michigan champions !
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 6:32 p.m.
26 years? No wonder everyone is squealing like a bunch of school girls
Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 2:19 a.m.
Oh those fluffers up north are thrilled to share. As they say it is similar to kissing your sister and all know that is huge in the state up there.
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.
wow. . . MICHIGAN has winning BB and FB TEAMS and you get your panties all in a bunch!! GO BLUE!!!!!!
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 7:54 p.m.
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 6:47 p.m.
typo alert: appearance, not appears. Oops.
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 6:46 p.m.
Actually, it's almost 26 years since the last Rose Bowl appears, rightmind. (24 years to be exact). School girls indeed.
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 6:06 p.m.
If only they had beat Purdue . . . they could have had an outright B1G championship and undefeated at home. Also, possiblely a 2 seed in the NCAA tournament!
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:47 p.m.
..Those That Stay Will Be...Champions!! .. congrats M bball.. gritty, unified, fun regular season.. Now, its Tourney Time.. Go Blue! v
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:37 p.m.
I'll be the first to admit, I didn't think they could win the B1G, albeit a shared championship, without a bonafide inside game and relying on the lowest percentage shot for offense. Funny how misdemeanor state had ohio at home and choked. Next year big BLUE wins it outright........ GO BLUE!!
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:28 p.m.
"It was earned in front of a television set." "Nick, which one of their 13 wins was earned in front of a television?" Well Nick is a Sparty Grad, so I guess we should expect a bit of snark in this article.
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:46 p.m.
"It was earned in front of a television set." Nick, which one of their 13 wins was earned in front of a television?
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.
I think phrasing it as you did is disrespectful to the Michigan basketball team.
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:04 p.m.
This is about the Michigan Basketball players on the roster who worked hard all season. This is about the coaching staff who put in the long hours and developed these players. To that: Congrats and a job well done. I like the 5 and 4 road record aspect. How about only one loss at home? Split with ohio and Sparty, who did not better than us. The share of the Big Ten title is sweet and the raising the new banner in Crisler Central will look awefully good next season. There is still the Big Ten tournement and then the Big Dance. It has been a good ride thus far. GO BLUE!!!
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.
And don't forget - it wasn't 'earned' in front of the TV - Michigan won their final 2 games on the road, something that hasn't come easy for anyone in the B1G this year. They did their part. Awesome persistence and championship heart! Go blue!
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 3:37 p.m.
Obviously I also meant to say, congrats on a job very well done and tremendous work ethic by Coaches and the players.
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.
40% is the number. Hitting 40% of their 3s or better and they can and likely do beat anyone in the country. The chances on winning start dropping dramatically below that. Less than 33% on 3 pointers and winning becomes a struggle against anyone. This is the key deciding factor until they develop a consistent scoring threat inside.
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.
enter: Mitch McGary...