Thursday, April 05, 2007
WTI: Schadenfreude Is the Best Kind of Freude
Geoff: The big news this week (other than the awesome return of 30 Rock and The Office) is the John Beilein hire as men's basketball coach.
Craig: And while the former was most excellent (as was the news of 30 Rock's renewal), the latter is exceptionally of interest to the readership.
Geoff: Frankly, I was surprised by the hire, even as it became more obvious that Beilein was the target. He was one of the best available, sure, but I didn't think the checkbook was going to be pried so far open.
Craig: And let's compliment everyone on the fast, clean, and crisp way this was done
Craig: The story seems to be one meeting between Martin and Beilein in Atlanta, and a lot of trust on both sides.
Geoff: Both sides have said all the right things, that's for sure.
Geoff: And I'm incredibly relieved not to have the sort of mess they're dealing with at Arkansas.
Craig: Yes, that is a mess beyond mess down there. But I like the way that Beilein introduced himself yesterday, and he's already working the media. For instance, he slated to be on Jim Rome tomorrow. I am not an avid Rome listener, but I don't ever remember TA being on Rome.
Geoff: Tommy had a way of ducking the media.
Craig: And I realize that Beilein is a story of the week with the hire, but I am hoping this bodes well for the sense of I want to talk Michigan basketball and I want to get people interested. But I also think he knows that winning will be the surest way to do that.
Geoff: I think the questions around Beilein aren't so much whether he's a good coach, but whether he's an elite coach.
Craig: I am wondering if Michigan needs an elite coach. Right now, I would settle for a good coach who runs a good program, a clean program, and someone who seems to be able to adjust in game and get the most out of his players.
Geoff: I agree that's what Michigan needs now. I see Beilein putting us in the NCAA Tournament within a couple years, no matter what. The question is whether we're getting to the Final Four down the road.
Craig: And I guess that is the major question. But right now, isn't it one step at a time?
Geoff: I think I really like Beilein for the coming year. He's proven that he really does get everything out of his players and they take a disciplined approach to the game. That'll cover up for a younger team that doesn't have all the parts.
Geoff: The Big Ten's going to be super weird next season. A lot depends on who sticks around at Ohio State, but Iowa, Minnesota, and Michigan all picked up solid to legendary coaching hires.
Craig: Indeed, which brings me to another question, if I may.
Craig: One of the big rumors of the day is with Billy Donovan staying at Florida (and congrats to our new Gator overlords. Anyone who beats tOSU like that twice in a title game in a span of 14 weeks...), one of the big names being floated for Kentucky is Tom Izzo.
Craig: My question is: Wouldn't Izzo be crazy to leave East Lansing?
Geoff: He'd be insane. He's a god over there. Their fanbase is crazy for basketball. Kentucky's just crazy.
Craig: Heck, when he suggested HE should coach the football team, we can't be sure if he was serious, but he's well enough thought of up in EL that people began the "Hmmm...that could work" conversation.
Geoff: There's always the theory he's using it as a contract ploy.
Craig: Could be, could be.
Geoff: Moving on. There was the late unpleasantness in Denver.
Craig: Yes, yes there was.
Craig: It was the worst Christmas ever
Craig: I just wandered around with my head down and hearing the soft piano of "Christmas Time is Here" playing in the background I was so distraught.
Craig: What really bothers me is that Michigan got four goals in the first minutes of periods and still lost by THREE GOALS!
Geoff: Yeah. The mind, it boggles.
Geoff: I don't like the inflexibility of the seedings when we get into the tournament. We weren't totally screwed by it, since we were a 2 seed, but Minnesota really took it in the teeth.
Craig: Which raises an interesting question: Should the committee have more latitude in adjusting the brackets? Michigan State's 3 was far more advantageous than Michigan's 2, because they were in GR and we were in Denver.
Geoff: The committee has really abdicated responsibility for the seeding by going strictly by PairWise. They can throw up their hands and say, "Hey, that's how the PairWise broke." I think maybe a system where the PairWise (or better yet, the KRACH) determines the field, but the committee can massage the seedings.
Craig: But here's the thing, weren't Michigan, Michigan State, and the Sioux all tied?!?
Geoff: According to the PairWise, maybe. But anyone who looked at the teams over the past couple months could tell who was playing the best hockey.
Craig: The basketball committee seems to live with the notion that people won't be happy with their decisions, but isn't having the best tournament possible the ultimate goal.
Geoff: Finally: Hobey Baker.
Craig: Yes, what the heck is up with the Hobey?
Geoff: What kind of idiot planet do we live on where the nation's leading scorer, playing in a very good conference, doesn't make the final three?
Geoff: I give up. I'm throwing in the towel on this stupid end of a season.
Craig: Agreed. Hope springs eternal, come October. We'll miss you JMFJ, but we must begin again.
Geoff: This has been such a year of coming close but never getting to the top, in football, in hockey, even a little bit in basketball, being a game or two out of the tournament. The Tigers get to the World Series, the Pistons to the conference finals.
Craig: We have our final: BC wins in a crazy finish, living to play Michigan State...
Geoff: Dear North Dakota: HA. HA. Schadenfreude is the best kind of freude.
Craig: Indeed...And if there's one thing that some NoDak fans know, it's German.
Geoff: So we have our final set, MSU vs. BC.
Craig: Indeed...Go Eagles?!?
Geoff: I can't root against the Spartans, due to other family loyalties. But I'm not rooting for them either.
Geoff: BC's the better team, I'd say, but don't look past the Spartans. It's just one game, and anything can happen if Lerg's having a good day.
Craig: It sometimes is just all about goaltending. We should know.
Geoff: So, that about wraps things up for this week.
Craig: Indeed. Good work Geoff, I hope that the sleeker WTI is more enjoyable to our readers.
Geoff: Join us next time on WTI for...who knows what, really. Later, everyone.