Friday News & Notes

Dylan Burkhardt

Sorry for the sparse posting this week. I’ve been trying to get a few things finalized and we should be back to normal next week. Here are a couple articles that might be worth discussing over the weekend.

Butler Vouches for Beilein

%27sean_butler[1]Three years ago Da’Sean Butler was playing in the NIT final with his former head coach John Beilein. Tomorrow night, he’ll be playing in the Final Four. Butler had some interesting comments regarding Beilein amidst the Final Four media hoopla:

“Everybody has to buy in, and you have to get the right people,” Butler said, referring to Beilein’s offense, which requires discipline and precise shooting. “You’ve got to get the absolute right people for that system, because if you have even one person that doesn’t understand or doesn’t care to understand, a cancer on the team of some sort, then it can throw everything off, honestly.

“The system works. That’s the best system I’ve ever been part of in my life as far as just running an offense. It suited me so well. I think everybody kind of gets into, you’ve got to get all these five-star and whatever recruits, and for him, you just need to find the right players who can obviously make shots, but who will work hard. And if you find that right group, and not like prima donnas, it could be a very good system.”

“You can go and win with eight freshmen recruits,” Butler said. “(Michigan has) a great coach, and it’s just a matter of everyone buying in.”

There’s a lot to digest here. Butler speaks very highly of Beilein’s offense and recognizes that his system can be extremely successful. That’s good but the buzz word that stands out is buy in. “Buy in” and learning curve have been thrown around a lot regarding this offense. Whether this year’s team bought in or not is a whole new issue but I’m curious how quickly next year’s team can buy in and learn this offense.

Darius Morris appeared overwhelmed for stretches this year and Matt Vogrich never quite made his way off of the bench. Next year Michigan will have anywhere from 5 to 7 players who have never played in a college basketball game in their life. They will have only three upperclassmen and rely heavily upon their younger players.

Essentially they will be trying to “win with eight freshmen recruits” as Butler puts it. I want to wait to really delve into next year until the 2010 recruiting class is wrapped up but the #1 issue to watch is how quickly these young guys can pick up the offense.

Plumlee in Action

recruit_i_plumlee_576[1]Marshall Plumlee’s Christ School team lost to Winter Park in the ESPN Rise Invitational and the 6-foot-11 junior had 5 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks. Plumlee didn’t get many touches on the offensive end but was very active on the defensive side of the ball. Josh Houchin is editing a highlight video of Plumlee’s game that should be up sometime tonight or this weekend.

Next up for Plumlee is a trip to Germany for the Albert Schweitzer tournament where Plumlee will play with Team USA. Michigan remains very involved in Plumlee’s recruitment and he is one to watch intently this summer.

Carlton Brundidge’s Commitment Remains Firm

The Free Press caught up with 2011 Michigan commitment Carlton Brundidge after his state playoff run and the junior remains firmly committed to Michigan.

I’m happy with my decision,” Brundidge said Friday, after his Bluejays lost in the Class A boys basketball state semifinals. “I wish I could put on a uniform and help (Michigan) out now. I’m still hearing from a little bit of schools. On my phone you can tell what state they’re in, so I’m like, nah.”

“I talk to them [Michigan coaches] a lot,” he said. “I tell them I’m struggling with this, what can I do? How can I lead my team better? They give me a couple pointers.”

There was never any question of Brundidge’s commitment wavering but it’s always good to hear it in this day and age. Brundidge led Southfield to one of their best seasons in over 20 years and he should be poised to have a big season on the AAU circuit.

Tournament Expansion Appears Inevitable

The hot topic in Indianapolis this weekend is expanding the NCAA tournament. A back and forth sequence between John Feinstein and NCAA VP of basketball & business strategies Greg Shaheen is becoming internet legend. Change appears to be coming to the NCAA tournament whether we like it or not but the NY Times put together a nice debate piece featuring a a number of experts from Jay Wright to John Gasaway to Will Leitch. Naturally the coaches are all for expansion but there a number of interesting opinions that are worth a read. Inside the Hall has a wrap-up of some of the other tourney expansion talk around the net.

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  • Tom_McC

    I don’t know that we should read too much what into what Butler says, at least as it relates to the 90-10 version of UM. Pointing fingers at this point doesn’t really accomplish much. UM’s issues as a team were pretty much laid out by Deshawn’s comments after Manny’s presser on Monday. I suppose you can connect the dots with what Sims and Butler said but like I said, nothing will change the past.

    The focus should be on the fact that if this group buys in, there should be no reason to think this team can’t exceed expectations. I don’t really know what that means or how to quantify it, but it is at least encouraging.

  • fresh

    i want to see a team that plays hard, solid defense every possession that will get in your face and make you make plays in order to score, then i would like to see improvement offensively…….the defense should always be good

  • Alex

    Agreed about the defense.

  • Section13Row15

    The 08-09 team showed us that if everyone is on the same page, an undersized, under-whelming team can go to the NCAA tourney and at least have a chance to win every game. The team this year lacked LEADERSHIP above all else. Manny didn’t asert himself for long stretches (especially in the first half of games) and it didn’t seem like he cared a whole lot this year. Merritt and Lee were guys that I think people on the team respected and they kept the guys in line and on track for hitting their team goals for the year. I think Grady was a bigger loss than everyone thought also, both chemistry wise and as a player (best 3 pt shooting % on the team that year). The sad thing is, I truly believe that had U-M squeaked past OSU in the Big10 tourney, they would have beaten Illinois and Minnesota to get to the big dance. That game still kills me.

  • COLBlue


    I was just reading about the 96 team tournament dominating discussion at the Final Four.

    They’re talking about doing Thu-Sun 16 games each day, then off Monday, then Tue-Wed 8 games each day, then Sweet 16 etc. as normal Thu-Sun, and same with the final 4. If a team outside of the top 32 managed to make it all the way through to the elite 8, they would miss a LOT of school, and this seems like a bit of overkill in the first two weeks.

    Here’s an idea for you to think about, and if you like it, let others know. If 96 is going to become a reality, why not do 16 games the first Thu-Sun (as is planned), but change the structure from four regions to eight. So the next weekend Thu-Sun are your regional semi-finals and finals. You do the elite 8 on the next Thu, followed by the Final 4 on Sat, and the championship on Mon or Tue.

    Advantages: More regional champs, no #24 seeds (ugh), game spacing is about the same – you’ve only added a final Thurs. as opposed to playing a Tue-Wed in the second week. And no long dead time (Sun-Sat) between the Elite 8 and Final 4.

    Just food for thought.

  • Tweeter

    I would rather them just do home games in the first round. Top 32 of the 64 teams that have to play the first round get a home game. Play all the games on that Tuesday of the play-in game, or if you are really desperate to make sure that tv time is maximized, then play 16 on tuesday, 16 on wednesday (just make sure that the teams that play on tuesday all advanced to the thursday-saturday games, and the teams that play on wednesday all advance to friday-sunday).

    This would mean that teams that dont get a bye would have to play 3 games in 5 days rather than playing 5 games in 9 days. Plus with the home games travel is reduced for half of the teams that would have to play the extra game. Also the home games is a good way to ensure that poor teams really have to earn wins. Not to mention it rewards 32 teams that have to play an extra game.

    This also seems to have the most limited impact on the current tournament. Nothing would change with how the final 64 play out. The one issue would be logistical in terms of getting a home arena ready to play a tournament game on only two days notice.

    Maybe the quick and easy solution to this is to move all the conference tournaments up a day, so that selection sunday becomes selection saturday.

    I am one of the few people that is for expanding the tournament. The way I look at it is this. The current tournament is not designed to determine the best team, it merely rewards a championship to the team that best earns it. I also find that my interest level in the tournament itself wanes as the tournament progresses forward. I am way more excited for the first and second round, than I am for the sweet sixteen, and more excited for the sweet sixteen than I am for the final four. Obviously there are certain games where this changes. For instance, the game I was most excited for this year was the West Virginia-Kentucky game.

    Some years, especially recently, a lot of top teams have made the final four which has peaked my interest in that round more, but a year like this year just turns me off. I love basketball and I watch every game that is on tv regardless of who is playing, but I couldn’t care less about watching MSU play Butler or Duke play WVU. For me, it will be just like watching a regular season Mountain West game at 1 am. I will definitely be watching, but I will also be more consumed with consuming my beverage than I will be with paying attention to the screen.

    Therefore, adding more teams means adding more rounds that I would care more about. How cool would it have been this year to see a first round game where North Carolina has to travel to UTEP or Cornell to play a first round game? Not to mention that the atmosphere at these games would be crazy. As it is right now, the tournament atmospheres at games is terrible for all games except the final four. Fanship is too divided in each arena, plus people tend to only show up for the games they care about. I remember going to the Palace years ago to watch the first two rounds. One of the games was like Northwestern ST v. Iowa or something. It was the game that came on after the break I believe. There were maybe 1,000 people there to watch it. It was horrible. The game itself turned out to be great, but the atmosphere was worse than a high school district tournament.

  • Tweeter

    Omg, sry. I didnt realize how much I was rambling on. Even for me, that was a long post.

  • ZRL

    I have a feeling the problem the NCAA has with playing games on the first Tuesday is that it would screw up everyone’s brackets. It would only give people 1 1/2 days to organize their office pools and make their picks for all 95(!) games. Although the NCAA is against betting, they definitely realize the main reason people watch the tournament is to see how their bracket does. Personally I like COLBlue’s idea the best.

  • Ryan

    real funny youtube video.. atleast I thought. It is about expanding the field to 4,000 some teams.

  • man wtf?

    Plumee looks like a special ed kid in that pic!!!! Lol. Butler is a stud and it is well apprecited that he thinks so higly of Belien. He is right players have to buy in and I actually think next year’s team will be better because of team chemestry. Some guys don’t play well together. Manny and Peedi had they two man game going on off court and on the court. The team never really did much together like Msu does. I was tweeting with Peedi and A Wright and A Wright said is out eating breakfast with Eso,Matt V, and Gibby and Peedi replied are thos your only team mates sigh!….Chemesitry is the key……. the key. I think landing both Sykes and Ziegiler would help. I want both because if TZ comes he’s more than likely to enter the draft early… To be honest, I think Tim Hardaway j.r and Jon Horford will impress more people than you think. I also think BLAKE M and Jordan Morgan are going to really impress. D morris, Stu, Zack, Evan smot and LLP are going to step it up!!! I am willing to put any amount of money on it…We will be a much better…

  • Bill

    Don’t know why some people are getting so upset at having 96 it was the same thing when it went to 64. “It’s gonna cheapen the whole thing”. When it went to 64 all that happen was more teams involved causing more interest from fans. It only got better. What they should do is open the whole thing and let every one in. If a team that only won 2 games gets to the sweet sixteen good for them. Works fine for high school.

  • hambone

    butler was very VERY close to transferring to michigan after we got beilein

  • Kainkitizen

    Watching Butler during the tournement this year, I see why Beilein Recruited him. He’s a Beilein Player. Plumlee would be great in the middle of the 1-3-1. Height takes away or makes it much harder for the cross-court skip pass that can beat this particular zone defense. Also, the bigger and taller player to play in the middle of the 1-3-1 takes up a lot of the paint for defense. That’s why Kentucky started to use their taller players in the last half of the 2nd half. West Virginia had a hard time rebounding on Kentucky’s missed shots. Butler and Jones were just not big enough for Kentucky’s size in the paint. The center from Cornell is a typical Beilein player for the center position.