If you know of Michigan basketball player Jordan Poole, it’s probably because he hit a game-winning shot in the NCAA Tournament. Poole begins his sophomore season ready for an encore.
Here’s my story for MLive from East Lansing, where there was poor sportsmanship before the game and a dominant defensive performance during it.
Noah Furbush is not like most football players, or most people for that matter. The Michigan linebacker earned his degree in aerospace engineering and is now working towards a master’s in space engineering (a natural progression, I suppose, but still darn impressive). Furbush wants to use his education and his love of flying to become a military pilot.
Check out my story on Furbush at MLive: https://www.mlive.com/expo/sports/erry-2018/09/ca4b27a39a3632/michigan-linebacker-noah-furbu.html#incart_river_index
John Beilein’s coaching tree extends beyond the standard definition. While he’s had his share of assistants become head coaches, he influences coaches all the country, some of whom he’s never even met.
Read more in my story for MLive.com: https://www.mlive.com/wolverines/index.ssf/2018/08/john_beileins_invisible_coachi.html
And if you’re interested in University of Michigan athletics, be sure to subscribe to Wolverine Confidential, our podcast that covers all things U-M sports. The latest episode is available here and wherever podcasts are found.
It was quite the first year on the Michigan basketball beat. A team unranked for much of the season got rolling in February and made it all the way to the national championship game. I was there to chronicle it all for MLive, and wrote it about here:
Michigan is headed to the Sweet 16 thanks to Jordan Poole’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer against Houston on Saturday night. I was sitting courtside in Wichita and had a perfect view. Afterwards, I spoke to Michigan’s players and coaches to get their perspectives.
It was just a few months ago that my conversations with people about Michigan basketball focused on the team making the NCAA Tournament. It seemed like it would be that sort of year for Michigan, which lost three starters from a team that took its sweet time becoming a threat last season.
Two months into this season, Michigan remained unranked. A good team, but not a great one. The Wolverines debuted in the top-25 on Jan. 15, the day they needed a last-second miracle to beat Maryland. They lost their next game, won the game after that, lost again, won two in a row, lost again. They were 8-5 in the Big Ten, hanging around the 20s of the polls. A good team, but not a great one.
Then Michigan, a defensive-minded team this season, went to Wisconsin and hung 83 points on the Badgers. That was Feb. 11. Michigan hasn’t lost since. The Wolverines are the No. 7 team in the country. Only four teams have better odds to win the NCAA Tournament. If you think they can do it, your first step should be viewing those trusted reviews from My Top Sportsbooks. They’re user friendly and have all the information you’ll need to know before making your decision.
So how did Michigan’s transformation happen?
From someone who’s been there every step of the way, it’s been a gradual process. Michigan didn’t simply become a great team overnight. The defense was always good, but it got better as the season went on. Every couple of weeks, Michigan would win a game with a sub-par offensive performance, and that inspired confidence. The players bought in to defense even more.
Michigan is only a little better than average as far as forcing teams to miss shots. But the Wolverines clean up the defensive glass. They limit 3-point attempts. They don’t foul all that often.
Offensively, head coach John Beilein has worked his typical magic. This isn’t Beilein’s best shooting team by any stretch, but they move the ball well without turning it over. Michigan State and Purdue, both national title contenders that can play some defense, couldn’t contain Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament.
Now, instead of figuring out a path to a Tournament bid, Michigan is plotting its road to the Final Four. The Michigan States and Dukes of the college basketball world don’t have to apologize for starting the season in the top-10 and staying there. But there’s something especially satisfying about Michigan’s slow and steady process towards greatness.