State of the Blog: Thanks for an incredible season

Dylan Burkhardt
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The last three weeks were three of the best of my life and I want to thank all of you for making it possible.

Michigan’s NCAA tournament run was a perfect end to the best Michigan basketball season in decades. Final Four banners are going up in the Crisler Center and they have nothing to do with the Fab Five.

All too often we get caught up in today’s moment and fail to recognize the big picture. I’m as guilty of this as anyone else. Always worrying about tonight’s recap, tomorrow’s preview and yesterday’s problems. Until the next day when the vicious cycle starts again.

As a game, basketball promotes this line of thinking. The team’s abilities – in the eye of the public – are measured on the last game. Lose to Penn State? Cancel the program. Beat Michigan State? Print the championship t-shirts. But that’s not how basketball works. The season is a winding journey and every game along the way builds to the final product. Even then chance gets in the way.

The last two weeks of Michigan’s regular season were painful. Even the most optimistic of fans had to lose some faith. I’d be lying if I said I planned to travel to Dallas and I would have laughed if anyone mentioned Atlanta when the brackets were announced on Selection Sunday.

But the last three weeks provided the sort of validation that this season needed and this team deserved. Michigan’s extremely talented, young and humble team put everything together for three special weeks. And that’s how they’ll be remembered.

I remember the first time I watched Trey Burke in high school. He hit seven threes and it was clear he was special. The first thing I listed on his scouting post was “clutch leadership”. I never imagined he’d be the best player in the country. He is. His (likely) two year career is as decorated as just about anyone in Michigan history. Cherish every moment you watched No. 3 play because they were special.

I started this website in December of 2007. Michigan went 10-22 that year and looked nothing short of awful.  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that I’d have the opportunity to experience something like this. Following the Wolverines through six grueling tournament games, traveling from Detroit to Dallas to Atlanta, was a once in a lifetime experience. And I have to thank all of you for making it possible.

Without your support in November, this would have never been possible. Without all of you coming together to help fund the site, Joe and I would have been covering the games from home rather than in person. We can only hope that we successfully repaid you.

UM Hoops had a first hand staff member or freelancer at every Michigan game this year. Our travels took us from Ann Arbor to Dallas to State College to New York City and seemingly everywhere in between. I’m not sure there’s anything that illustrates just how great of an impact your donations can have better than our coverage of Michigan’s tournament run. From Selection Sunday through the middle of last night we published 161 posts – roughly seven posts per day. We can only hope that they helped you experience this special season as well. Booking flights across the country on three day’s notice, 3:30 a.m. nights in the media workroom, and 6:00 a.m. flights back home… to go to my actual job, were all worth it. We are proud of what we published over the last month, and the entire season. Joe, Dustin, Josh and everyone who has helped along the way would tell you that contributing to this site is a labor of love.

But the beat goes on and as always we want to reach out for your support. AAU season is kicking off and we’ll have plenty of coverage to wrap up the 2013 season… even if we might take a day off – or at least go to bed before 2 a.m.  – over the next week.

We’re not going to set a dramatic goal but we do want to ask for your support once again so that we can continue to make this site, and community, what we hope it can be. You can donate via PayPal or WePay below.

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  • MaceoBaston

    Donate to the BEST Michigan basketball coverage anywhere!

  • Thanks for everything you guys did this year. I remember finding this blog back in 2007 or 2008 when we were pretty bad. Despite the record it was plain to see that we were on the right track and something special was on the way. If next year is half as exciting it will be a fun year. Go blue!

  • Jay z

    This is the only thing I ever donate to, and that’s because I see how much work is put in, and how high quality the product is. This is truly a special website.

    Thanks for all the work you do. Joe has been a great addition to the site as well.

    Hova

  • mikey_mac

    Excellent coverage, excellent advanced metric analyses. Congrats and thank you for pulling off the best, and most ambitious, year yet for this site.

  • Brian in NYC

    Happy to donate to such a great site. It was a pleasure to watch the team this year and you guys made it that much more fun (great analysis posted so quickly after each game, whole sets of stats I didn’t even know existed, the Novak Q&As…all excellent). Thanks for all the hard work, and lets hope next year is as good as this one.
    Go Blue!

  • Wayman Britt

    Thanks Dylan and staff, donation done. Looking forward to the end of season report card on players and coaches.

  • Rich74

    D.B., you and your contributors do a terrific job with this website. Happy to donate. The best website I have seen for any University program.

  • JOHNNAVARREISMYHERO

    Thank you so much for this website. I anxiously await the new posts every day and love reading before & after every game. Appreciate the hard work and love for Michigan Basketball.

  • Matzio

    A great combination of writing, objectivity, tempo-free stats and unadultrated passion for Michigan basketball. Between this site and the others, Michigan athletics has an amazing collection of blogs.

  • Angman

    Thanks to you, Joe and Dustin for the great work. Tremendous resource for fans all over the world when it comes to following UM basketball. Happy to donate.

  • troy

    Re: tim hardaway, didn’t draymond green improve his draft status by staying his senior year?

  • GregGoBlue

    Thanks Dylan, Joe, Dustin and the rest of the staff. I’ve read this blog for years now, and I can safely say that my love of M Hoops would not be what it is today without your blog. Happy to donate, keep up the excellent work.

  • Josh

    Big thanks for all the great work all year long – happy to donate. Looking forward to more great stuff all offseason and next year!

  • gobluemd16

    Haven’t commented at all this weekend as I was in Atlanta with little/no internet access, but it is well known how highly I regard this site. Usually the first I visit when I go online, and is by far my favorite. The site has grown so much, content has improved and expanded, and articles become better and better. Happy to donate and thank you all so, so much.

  • Mtung

    I read a lot of college basketball websites and UMHoops is the best. Happy to donate. Readers & Bloggers, bring the luv!

  • snoopblue

    Excellent coverage all season, and with all this success, it doesn’t end now that the tournaments over! In the next few weeks, we’ll find out who stays/goes along with who Beilein will add to the current recruiting class as insurance. Maybe a 5th year transfer? Maybe Andrew Wiggins? (Lol) Also, in May, the attention will be on Webber’s disassociation period ending and what Brandon/AD & Coleman/Univ. will do with the banners, etc. (Cue Jalen Rose) No doubt that loss was devastating, but I am excited about the next few weeks and looking forward to UMHoops fantastic coverage. Year round relevance is back @ Crisler.

  • mstein23

    Dylan, you and your entire team have greatly enhanced my Michigan basketball experience. Your daily content and insightful analysis have helped to create a 5+ month journey of following this program through the ups and downs of a college basketball season.

    I started following this site during the 2008-09 season. The growth of the Michigan basketball program since then has been nothing short of amazing. I can say the same thing about UMhoops.com. Thanks to you and the entire team for all the many hours of hard work during this season to remember.

  • emmekel

    Thanks for a great blog, Dylan. Wish I could donate more.

  • Lex Luger

    Best Michigan website around-Donate!!!

  • ChocoJoe

    I started watching this sport (basketball) during the 2010-2011 season. I had joined the basketball band merely to have more opportunities to play in the band programs. 2010-2011 was a very special season, starting from the bottom and almost beating Duke in the 2nd round. I was given the opportunity to see that game in Charlotte because everyone else was busy with exams. I was then thoroughly a fan of basketball and of Michigan basketball, even though I knew nothing of the technical aspects of the game. But it went further: the following summer I discovered umhoops.com where I could learn so much more about the team. Thus began my obsession with this team; I read over half of the posts here now. My passion for this team wouldn’t be the same without this website. To me, I think there is no better time to have started watching this team: right at the end of the rebuilding era. Thank you for all the great coverage and I look forward to my senior year in the band. Go Blue!

  • Adam St Patrick

    Indeed — the kudos is well deserved!

    Dylan when there’s time I’d be fascinated to know how much Michigan was reliant on NBA-depth threes this year — data exist for that? I feel like Louisville would have blown us out without them, and the Syracuse win wouldn’t happen either. I recall @home vs OSU being the same way with Timmy leading the charge. I don’t know if I’m right or not, but I wonder if it’s not worth recruiting kids who have that kind of range. It’s a great survival tactic when a defense is taking away everything else.

  • JeremyS

    I am very grateful for this site and the work you guys do! It is truly amazing! Happy to donate! Go Blue!