50 in 50 series: No. 13 Michigan

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan ranks 13th in ESPN’s series ranking the top 50 basketball programs in the last 50 years.

13. Michigan (360 points)

Positives: Won 1989 national title; also made five other Final Fours; 12 regular-season conference titles; 13 consensus All-Americans; 10 top-10 draft picks.

Negatives: Lost 16 points due to sanctions and vacated wins; just one regular-season conference title since 1986; missed NCAA tournament for 10 straight seasons (1999-2008).

Fun fact: In a seven-season stretch from 1988 to ’94, the Wolverines reached the Sweet 16 five times. They haven’t been back since.

Too high? Too low? Discuss in the comments below.

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  • jblair52

    We were on the path to #1 but since the sanctions, NCAA drought, lack of program enthusiasm (pre Beilein) etc I’d say we’re lucky to even be Top 25…Beilein sure is putting the spark back into things though

    • geoffclarke

      Michigan was consistently good from the 60s through the 90s, which makes up most of the time frame, so to say we’re lucky to be in the Top 25 is inaccurate. ESPN simply had a point system and applied it…perhaps you meant Michigan was lucky ESPN’s point system didn’t overvalue the stretch with “sanctions, NCAA drought, lack of program enthusiasm.”

      • jblair52

        I guess – my perception is that the last 50 years have been marred by the last 20 years of sanctions and drought and so forth…I guess I’m more surprised that we still accumulated enough points to be in the Top 25. Basically 40% of the time-frame is worthless

        • ScottGoBlue

          Au contraire … sanctions/drought was only 10-11 years, not 20. After all, we were Big Ten Tourney champs in 1998. Then we were poor under Ellerbe, mediocre under Amaker, and finally back in the NCAA tournament in 2009. By my count that means we were good or excellent for 35 years (70%), bad for 11 years (22%), and gradually getting back to good the last 4 years (8%).

          • jblair52

            thanks! the glass is half full! I suppose my whole life it’s seemed like UM hoops has been tainted from Rice to Beilein

  • geoffclarke

    By the way, State came in at #11. If it weren’t for the sanctions and vacated wins – which, by the way, I’m not dismissing as irrelevant, Michigan would have more points. And if it weren’t for the decade of “lack of program enthusiasm,” as jblair52 put it, Michigan would have *MANY* more points than MSU.

  • section13row15

    There are better years ahead, that’s all that matters. New facilities, 5 star recruits, great coaching, things are coming together. The mid 2000’s sure were frustrating to watch though.

  • Kenny

    #13 sounds like a fair assessment to me. wonder where Ohio State is ranked.