Posted on: March 12, 2010 3:53 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2010 3:59 pm

Why would you let Evan Turner catch the ball?

Michigan had five players on the court.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

And yet John Beilein didn't use any of them to A) guard the inbound guy, or B) deny Evan Turner the ball. So guess what happened? In a span of 2.2 seconds, Turner -- otherwise known as the CBSSports.com National Player of the Year -- looped around without interruption, caught a clean pass, took two dribbles and launched a 37-footer that swished and gave Ohio State a 69-68 win in Friday's Big Ten quarterfinals.

My God.

If I live to be 99 -- and I hope I do -- I'll never understand why coaches don't put somebody on the inbound guy. Cincinnati didn't do it Thursday night, which allowed Da'Sean Butler to catch a clean pass and hit a game-winner. I watched that, went to bed, woke up, turned the TV back on, and watched Michigan use and fail with the same strategy

Absolutely insane.

And how do you even let Turner touch the ball?

He's the one person on the court you absolutely don't watch touching it if you're Michigan. But the Wolverines let him catch the ball and fly up the court with no resistance, and they paid the price they deserved to pay for not learning from Rick Pitino's greatest coaching mishap.

Remember the Christian Laettner shot in the 1992 East Regional?

It happened, at least in part, because Pitino put nobody on the inbound guy.

This was similar in that it made no sense.

And now Michigan is responsible for enhancing the legend of an Ohio State star.

Just perfect.

Unless you're Michigan.
Posted on: February 3, 2010 1:55 pm

Dear Gary (on Manny Harris' plans for next year)

Here's Wednesday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: Did you hear that Manny Harris said he's coming back to school? How big is that for Michigan?

-- Kyle

It's big if it happens, but I wouldn't put much stock into anything anybody says after a loss -- particularly a loss in February. As I've mentioned before, the list of players who have said they were "coming back" who never came back is long and distinguished, and I never pay attention to anything any real prospect says on the matter unless he says he's definitely leaving, which never happens.

Few weeks ago, John Wall apparently hinted to somebody that he might play a second year at Kentucky.

Not happening.

I don't care what he says.

And that doesn't mean I think Wall is lying, and I don't think Harris is fibbing, either. It's just that Harris -- and every other legitimate prospect -- is in no position to address the situation in February. Even if players think they're staying now, things could change in the next two months like they changed for Mike Conley a few years ago. Conley lost to Florida in the national title game, said he was returning to Ohio State, then went home and discovered he was a top five pick. So he had to go, and what he said earlier meant nothing.

Same rule applies here.

Manny Harris might return to Michigan.

Or he could be the first underclassman to declare for the draft.

I have no idea which way it'll go.

And, at this point in February, I don't think he does either.
Posted on: September 29, 2009 4:03 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2009 4:04 pm

Prather to announce college decision Wednesday

Casey Prather, a consensus Top 100 recruit, will pick between Florida and Michigan on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-5 wing from Tennessee has visited both campuses.

MaxPreps.com ranks him No. 85 in the Class of 2010.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 3, 2009 6:56 pm

I'm headed to Big Ten Country

I'm not sure why, exactly, because I pretty much make my own schedule and go where I want. But for some reason I haven't made it to enough Big Ten games, which is why I'm looking forward to traveling Wednesday (provided there are no weather delays).

First up: No. 19 Minnesota at No. 13 Michigan State on Wednesday night.

Then: Penn State at Michigan on Thursday night.

That's not a bad double-dip.

And here are five questions I'm hoping to have answered by the time I return home Friday ...

1. Can Michigan State win without Raymar Morgan?

2. Can Michigan State win at home?

3. Is Minnesota really a threat to win the Big Ten?

4. Is Michigan capable of turning things around?

5. Is Penn State as close to making the NCAA tournament as I believe?

Posted on: January 21, 2009 2:41 pm

B.J. Mullens hates Michigan (on the record)

There's a video making the rounds today of Ohio State's B.J. Mullens, one that shows the importance of his 15-point effort in Sunday's win over Michigan. Without it, OSU might not have defeated Michigan, and that would've been terrible for Mullens considering that before the game he said in an interview that the Wolverines "suck" and that OSU would "beat them pretty bad."

Seriously, it's classic.

And next week's rematch should be fun.

Anyway, here's the link.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 6, 2008 11:34 am
Edited on: October 6, 2008 3:15 pm

Michigan secures Top 100 prospect

It was a slow weekend in terms of relevant commitments.

But Michigan got a good one.

His name is Matt Vogrich -- a 6-3 guard from Illinois ranked as the 100th-best prospect in the nation by Scout.com. The deadly shooter is a significant commitment for the Wolverines because he's the perfect John Beilein recruit, i.e., someone who fits Beilein's system and also happens to be talented enough to be regarded on a national level. In fact, Vogrich is the highest-rated recruit Beilein has committed since taking over at Michigan in April 2007 and the highest-rated overall since he signed Da'Sean Butler for West Virginia in the Class of 2006.

Michigan now has three commitments for the Class of 2009.

The others are Darius Morris (a point guard from Los Angeles) and Jordan Morgan (a center from Detroit).

Posted on: October 2, 2008 2:29 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2008 2:33 pm

Coaches vs. Cancer field is set

The field for the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer has been finalized.

The 16-school field has four regionals.

Here's the breakdown:

-- Duke Regional --

  • Duke
  • Presbyterian
  • Georgia Southern
  • Houston

-- UCLA Regional --

  • UCLA
  • Prairie View A&M
  • Weber State
  • Miami-Ohio

-- Michigan Regional --

  • Michigan
  • Michigan Tech
  • Northeastern

-- Southern Illinois Regional --

  • Southern Illinois
  • California Universty of Pennsylvania
  • UMass
  • Arkansas-Monticello

The first-round and second-round games will be played Nov. 10-13 on the campuses of the four hosts with the most-intriguing early match-up being a possible Southern Illinois-UMass game on Nov. 12. The four regional champions will then advance to New York, where the winner of the SIU Regional will play the winner of the Duke Regional on Nov. 20 while the winner of the UCLA Regional and the winner of the Michigan Regional meet in the other semifinal.

The championship game is Nov. 21 at Madison Square Garden.

Barring upsets, it would pit Duke against UCLA.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: September 26, 2008 12:23 pm

Dear Gary (on coaches who recruit for a system)

Here's Friday Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: First off, let me say thanks for providing the most offseason coverage of college basketball that anyone could ask for. Also, I have a question: Bo Ryan always seems to do a fantastic job with a very small number of legitimately high-level recruits, and from what I've heard he really only goes after players that fit the Wisconsin system. ... Are there any other major conference coaches who recruit mid-level players like Ryan and manage any sort of success, or is Bo unique?

-- Sam

First, thanks for your first sentence.

That's nice.

A first sentence like that will pretty much get any question answered. So all you emailers should keep that in mind, that I'm a sucker for nice words. As for Bo Ryan, yes, he's unique. But he's still signed his share of high-level recruits over the years -- guys like Brian Butch (ranked 11th in the Class of 2004), Greg Stiemsma (ranked 31st in the Class of 2004), Joe Krabbenhoft (ranked 35th in the Class of 2005) and Jason Bohannon (ranked 42nd in the Class of 2006). So while Ryan does consistently overachieve given the level of natural ability in the Wisconsin program, it must also be noted that he usually has some Top 50-caliber prospects at his disposal.

John Beilein, not so much.

I think that's the name that best answers your question.

I'm not sure Beilein has ever had a Top 50 prospect, but he's done OK for himself. He went to the Elite Eight and compiled a 104-60 record in five seasons at West Virginia before leaving for Michigan, where there is no evidence that his recruiting philosophy has been greatly altered. And though I've vowed to never doubt Beilein because he's proved me wrong too many times, I will say that searching for "diamonds in the rough" who fit a particular system is not the way to compete for national titles in this era of college basketball.

Isn't that the goal at Michigan, to compete for national titles?

If so, I'm not sure that can be done with under-the-radar prospects because a team needs at least three NBA players to win a national title, or at least that's what recent history suggests. Don't believe me, checkout the last five NCAA tournament champions ...

2008: Kansas (Brandon Rush, Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers)
2007: Florida (Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Corey Brewer)
2006: Florida (Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Corey Brewer)
2005: North Carolina (Marvin Williams, Sean May, Raymond Felton)
2004: Connecticut (Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon, Josh Boone)

So clearly, competing for national titles requires NBA-caliber professionals, and I'm not sure Beilein deals in those enough. That's the concern. But make no mistake, the man is a tremendous instructor. And if any high-major coach deserves the benefit of the doubt, Beilein is probably that guy.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com