State of the Blog: March 21st, 2011

Dylan Burkhardt

picOur third full season is in the books and it was quite a journey with a full spectrum of highs and lows. The season was not only a joy to watch and follow, it was a great opportunity to continuously improve our coverage. We continued to provide all of the typical content that you have come accustomed to – previews, recaps, analysis and recruiting features – but were also able to add to our base.

Our goal is to be the primary source for Michigan basketball coverage on the internet. We probably aren’t there yet, but will keep working until we are. We added Joe to the mix as our credentialed correspondent and he’s provided over 175 posts and 200 original videos in the last year. We added the Five Key Plays feature, which seems to be a tremendous hit, and also added David Merritt to the mix with some original content. We handled our end of the bargain, with over 400 posts this season, but, most importantly, you did your part as well. Every open thread, recap and preview was filled with endless thoughtful debate. Your comments are certainly the driving force behind this website. The average number of comments per post this season was almost double the cumulative average over the last three years.

I also need to thank four people specifically. Joe Stapleton has been tremendous for the last year. Whether it was running between AAU gyms, trudging his way to media availability or skipping class to cover a game, he’s been an invaluable resource. Josh Houchin has turned into our resident video guru, churning out videos for Five Key Plays and always being ready to cut whatever clip we might need. David Merritt volunteered to play a part in the site, composing videos and snapping photos on road trips while sharing his analysis as well. All three have had a direct impact on the quality of content increasing by a significant margin. Joe Eberhardt has also consistently provided us with quality recruiting information, scouting and video from the state of Indiana.

You all knew this was coming, but running the site isn’t free and we like to reach out to you twice a year to ask for your support. We’ve traveled across the midwest following this team as well as covering AAU and high school games. We are not asking for a monthly donation, and by no means should you feel obligated. If you are able to offer some support, it will go directly toward the costs of supporting the site(travel, gas, writer compensation) and will enable further growth going forward. You can donate at anytime by clicking the button in the sidebar, or with this link below:

As great as this season was, we hope the majority of you hang with us through the off season. We’ll have plenty of wrap up content – player evaluations, statistical musing and whatever else – and we are also ready to dive into the thick of recruiting season. It should be a fun ride, especially with the momentum that this last season has provided.

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  • Dylan Burkhardt

    In a slightly unrelated note.. I think I’ve eliminated the expanding ads. Let me know if you see any.

  • Tyler

    If this site isn’t the primary internet site for michigan basketball I don’t know what is. I mean mgoblog is decent enough, but everything basketball related I prefer this site. I know a lot who have said the same thing too. Looking foward to the offseason stuff you will bring to the table, Dylan. I’m curious to see what your projected lineup would be as of now. I wonder if we will stick with the small lineup even if Smot countinues to develop.

    • This is the primary Michigan Basketball site on the internet. There’s no competition.

      • Eric

        Agreed, there is absolutely no site better for Michigan Basketball than here. I enjoy this site more than MGoBlog, and know many who think so as well. You guys have done such a fantastic job, and I can’t wait for what the future holds for this team.

        • JimC

          Agree x 3.

  • mat

    Great work all year and keep it up. This is my primary point of getting opinion and reaction on UM b-ball, so I think you’ve reached your goal with at least some.

    As an aside, one subject I’d like to see explored a little more in the offseason is Zack Novak’s potential role as a wing player next year. The common thinking seems to be that Douglass should play less, Zach should move to the wing, and Horford and Smotrycz should handle the 4 spot. In other words, the team should become taller and more conventional to improve rebounding and shot-blocking.

    I wonder if we don’t give up more than we gain with this approach, especially given the way Morris plays. I also wonder if Zach isn’t better at the 4 than he was at the 3. It seems like the team did better with Stu starting and Smotrycz playing the 5 – though I’m not sure how much the minutes actually changed.

    • Tyler

      I was under the same thought process. But I don’t know if you take away Stu’s starting position as a senior esp. with his perimeter defense. (On a side note, there is a good chance Stu and Zach will go to the NCAA tourney 3 out of 4 years.)

      I would like to see either Horford or Cullen step up on the defensive end for next season. I think Cullen can develop into a defensive specialist that we could really use. Either way I expect to see a lot of improvement from the 4 & 5 stops across the board.

      • Sam

        I think you are getting Cullen Christian, a CB on the football team, mixed up with Colton Christian. I too am interested to see what Colt45 can bring to the table next year, particularly on offense. I really think he might be able to develop a shot out to the three-point line.

    • ForeverBlue23

      The offer to the kid out of Illinois makes me think that JB has designs on playing Horford and Smotrycz at PF. Or maybe that’s in the future after Zack graduates. In any event, I think part of Michigan’s success came in having essentially 4 guards on the floor. They were tough to match up with and more than once forced the opponent to adjust to us. A more conventional approach would take away something that was a huge advantage to us during the season.

  • Beyond that, I think this is the best independent basketball site in the state. You guys do an unbelievable job.

  • paul r

    Stu stays a starter..He is a senior and a leader. He won’t play 37 minutes like this year but he will be our defensive stopper and will hopefully regain his shooting touch that he had at beginning of year. There will be a lot of cometition for spots next year like coach B said, and that iwill only make them better as a team. GO BLUE.

    Guys, this is a great Blog and part of my daily routine. Thank you for doing this.

  • Camo

    Appreciate all the hard work you guys do. Dylan, you not only run the best Michigan basketball blog (obviously), but I would say it is the best team specific college blog on the internet. Send those donations in people!

  • AG2

    Thanks again for your coverage, especially in this the most unexpected and greatest Michigan Basketball season in years. Can’t wait till Maui in November!

  • AG2

    Also, the hammer came down on Bruce Pearl today. If I’m Tennessee’s AD I’ve probably already contacted Belmont Head Coach Rick Byrd before I make this move.

  • Geb

    Thanks for everything Dylan. Without a doubt, this is the site for Michigan Basketball. The commentary is great, but I have to agree that the community you created here is by far the most knowledgeable when it comes to MMBALL.

    Also I just ran across an article about Trey Zeigler being the runner-up MAC freshman of the year. I hope he continues to do well, but I sort of feel for him (that he’s playing in the MAC with no media attention) and wonder what this team would have been like with his added athleticism.

    • TheYooper

      Zeigler didn’t even win freshman of the year?

      • Geb

        Javon McCrea of Buffalo won by 1 vote I think. Juwan Howard Jr who plays at Western made the MAC All Freshman team with Zeigler.

  • Bird

    The quality of this blog is remarkable and I believe it’s playing a role in establishing the culture necessary to realize an elite college basketball program. This donation is going to be easy to make.

    Then I’m gonna click on the Moe’s link and buy myself some spankin’ new Michigan paraphernalia; then I might just get myself some make-up from IMAN…

  • Adam

    Great site. It’s on my bookmarks that I visit several times a day. Thanks for all the great work you do to make this site go!

  • Justin

    This site blows away rivals for recruiting coverage (all while remaining free) and any other site for Michigan basketball coverage – I hope the donations flow in as they are well deserved.

  • Andy

    Dylan et al. – I just want to thank you for the incredible job you guys have done this year. Terrific and timely coverage combined with strong writing. I’m espeically impressed with how insightful you are regarding the strengths and limitations of the team and how often this plays out in the actual game.

  • JLloyd

    Dylan & Co.,
    No doubt, you are the No. 1 site for coverage of UM Hoops. Before learning of your site, I was constantly disappointed as an out-of-stater by the weak, mild coverage I could find from other sources. Now, this site is all I need to follow the team. Keep up the phenomenal work.

  • Stu C

    Thanks for all the hard work guys. This is my primary resource for Michigan basketball coverage, you guys do a great job. Looking forward to next season. Go Blue!

  • Anthony

    Thank you guys did a great job i come to this site everyday…

    • Anthony

      One other thing i would like to add you guys seem to follow all of college hoops with great passion here in michigan its not really a basketball state, and that is why i enjoy this site so much. You guys seem to have the passion alot of others lack for basketball in general not just michigan hoops. Which is something i enjoy because you really know the opponents and can effectively break them down unlike other basketball websites…

  • Zok

    Thanks for all the hard work UMHoops team. I’m going to show you the love via $20. I know its not going to do a lot but to be honest I never click on the ads so I’m just doing my part this way.

    I encourage everyone to donate. The kind words are great but they don’t help these guys that are probably funding a lot of this stuff out of their own pocket. Throw them that $5 your probably going to waste on junk food or the $20 you college guys spent on a 5th last weekend…you know they deserve it.

  • Dustin

    Dylan and Co. – You guys have done another great job this year with the site!

    Dylan, I was wondering if you could help me out with this. With Burke, Brundidge, and Tummala joining the team next year, that makes 18 players on the roster for next season. Is there a maximum number of players you can have on the roster. If so, will some of the walk-ons get cut?

    • Eric

      I was wondering the same thing, and we would have 19 if Bielfeldt came as well.

  • JR

    Am I blocked or something on this site? I posted a comment and I don’t see it at all?

    • JR

      never mind.. I guess I mis-clicked before.. anyway, just sent $20 ur way on PayPal Dylan.. Great work on the site.. I just discovered this site recently, but have been visiting it multiple times a day in recent weeks.. GO BLUE! can’t wait for next year and can’t wait to read up on prospects on .. Keep it up Dylan!

      • Dylan Burkhardt

        Looks like it got caught in the spam filter. Don’t hesitate to shoot me an e-mail if it happens again.

  • Kool Breeze

    Dylan, this was my first full year following your site, I came in mid year last year. I want to thank you for the excellent coverage, sending some cash your way for a job well done.

  • Brian W

    Some Michigan high school quarterfinal playoff games with U-M prospects/campers going on tomorrow (3/22)…

    In Class A, Carlton Brundidge and Southfield play East Detroit at Calihan Hall; EC Matthews, Ray Lee and Romulus face Detroit Southeastern at Calihan also.

    In Class B, Javontae Hawkins and Flint Powers Catholic play Detroit Country Day.

    In Class C, Monte Morris and Flint Beecher play Muskegon Western Michigan Christian. Matt Willms and Detroit Consortium face Saginaw Buena Vista.

    • Brian W

      Since Jimmy King is an assistant high school coach at Orchard Lake St. Mary, I’ll add that the OLSM team plays Bay City Western on 3/22 also.

  • Chris in NC

    Sent mine in this morning. Or was it last night? Bah, short term memory is the first to go… Anyway, as one of the ones who was here when you opened the store, *my* unprofessional opinion is that this is now the premier UM Basketball site. Tim and co at MGoBlog do an admirable job, but you and your crew are tops. I was here for every game open thread even when I didn’t post. It’s a much more fun blog to hang on than any other. Keep up the excellent work. God Bless and have a great off season UM Hoops crew!

  • YpsiTuckyBoy

    Dylan – has there been any talk of a UMHoops/MGoBlog merger? Don’t know if you all could cut down on overhead or something that way with possible “synergies”, but it’d be interesting. Not sure if it would work since the MGoBloggers just aren’t basketball crazy enough, but thought I’d throw it out there.

    • ZRL

      Part of the reason I like this site so much is because it is just dedicated mbb fans, where as at mgoblog it is a lot of fair-weather mbb fans who don’t really know what they are talking about when it comes to college basketball. IMO, a merge with mgoblog would be a mistake.

      • Zok

        I agree. UMhoops is good enough to stand on its own. MGoBlog already links UMhoops pretty much anytime a basketball post goes up over there
        (ie UMhoops does their work for them). I also think any synergies created from a merger would be limited and possibly diminish what the UMHoops team has here. They are a tight well oiled machine. Adding “another cook in the kitchen” could distrupt things.


    • Mattski

      I respect your suggestion but hope it doesn’t happen. Mgoblog has drifted from being a fun indiosyncratic place with wonderful, often arcane, writing by Brian, to an overcrowded place deeply divided between old-school M-can-do-no-wrong football fans and many still angry over the Rich Rod firing. And Brian has grown a little bit stale and tetchy (although I liked his bball piece today). Maybe the energy there will be regenerated in time, but for now the bloom has gone off the rose.

      Here things are always more positive, with an emphasis on understanding the team and learning the game. I love it.

      • JimC

        Mattski what is your thesis in, english vocabulary?
        (p.s. I won’t be able to help write it)

  • Jonathan
    • Dylan Burkhardt

      It’s funny, a Duke guy sent that to me making fun of it as well.

    • Joel

      Ha, eizmarcos’ comment is great.

  • Section13Row15

    Dylan and co…thanks for all your hard work this season! I made my donation this morning. Sorry I couldn’t do more, I have a baby on the way :) But I really do appreciate your website and the team you have that makes all this coverage possible. This site only increases the enthusiasm for Michigan Basketball, and indeed will help U-M fans become more knowledgeable. The more fans and more enthusiasm, the more kids will want to join the program. Thanks to anyone who had to listen to my incoherent rambling this season. I award you no points and may god have mercy on your soul. PS: I still think Minnesota is garbage! lol!

  • NT

    This website is great! Thanks for all your hardwork!

  • AriGold

    Being in Colorado since 2007 has removed me from most of the Detroit area media coverage. This website is an absolute gem! Dylan you have done such a great job managing the site and providing great insight on our beloved team! Thank you so much for the efforts.

  • cwebb81

    Fabulous site. i check it every day for my umich bball fix. We’ve been waiting for a team like this since 1994. Can’t wait for the future. Love this team and love this site. Made my donation today.

  • bmorant

    Trey Burke was named 1st Team All Ohio and the AP D-1 Co-Player of the year!!! Mr. Ohio will be announced on Wednesday. Congrats Trey and U of M for landing a hekuva baller!!!

  • JoshH.

    What a funky ride this season turned out to be. I’m so proud of this basketball team and the grit and talent they displayed all year. The trip would not have been complete without the coverage provided by this site. Always professional, insightful and fun, UM Hoops has become my go to site for all things Blue Basketball! Keep up the great work!

  • Mattski

    Dylan, have you thought about putting together an analysis of the players’ seasons with a little bit of speculation about their development and potential for next year? Would love to see that.

    Also, did you see that Morris (apparently) broke the single season assist record? Wow.

    I’m at the end of my fellowship and job-hunting, with a poorly paid internship in the offing. So we are going to be poor for a little while. But am going to send you a token 5 clams to show my appreciation. More when we are back in good financial shape.

  • davis104

    Sent my donation in. I love this site. Thanks for all the great work you do Dylan.

  • Jay W. Jensen

    Great site, Dylan!! Keep up all your hard work.