Most Success With The Least Depth: John Beilein

Dylan Burkhardt
on

Luke Winn hands out coaching awards with a nod toward Michigan’s John Beilein for success without depth.

The “need for depth” is a myth in college basketball: All four Final Four teams this season ranked 308th or lower in percentage of minutes by bench players. National champ Kentucky ranked 323rd, at 21.6 percent. You can get by with a short rotation, as long as it’s talented and not foul-happy. And no one got by with a shorter rotation than Beilein. After losing point guard Darius Morris to the NBA earlier than expected, and then big-man Jon Horford to a medical-redshirt year, the Wolverines’ coach allocated just 16.7 percent of his minutes to reserves, a figure that ranked 343rd nationally, ahead of only Siena and Youngstown State. And yet, Michigan managed to finish in a three-way tie for the Big Ten regular-season title — the first time that’s happened since 1985-86.