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Stadium and Main: Spring Practice starts on Saturday

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Spring Practice starts on Saturday

But until then, we are forced to think about the NIT… again. I’ve seen enough, and I think many (most?) Michigan fans have, as well. E-mailing the President ( and the Athletic Director ( might help, but I honestly hope that it doesn’t. Because, seriously, if these folks need our input to persuade them to fire Amaker, then I think we might have a mess on our hands, Tom Goss style. How sad is it that I’m rooting against Michigan in tonight’s NIT game, because I think that a run to Madison Square Garden might mean that Amaker returns? Has it really come to that? Are the folks in charge at U of M really goofy enough to base this decision on a few NIT games as opposed to a 6-year body of “work?” Maybe I’m just being my usual, paranoid self. For the sake of Michigan sports, I hope I’m way off base here.

If Amaker stays (possible) and we don’t make the Tourney next season (likely), then what? He gets yet another pass because we have a young team? He had 6 years to rebuild, and he didn’t accomplish anything (unless NIT success is “something” to you). Seriously, think about it: If I would have told you, in the Spring of 2001, that Michigan would not make the NCAA Tournament for the next 6 years, would you have believed me? Would anybody have believed me? Certainly Dickie V, Jay Bilas, and the rest of the folks who predicted success for Amaker would have scoffed at that prediction.

The best thing Amaker has done, in 6 full seasons, is move the student section down to the bleachers. Every time Michigan could have “clinched” a Tournament bid with a big win, they lost. Every time Michigan could have helped its case for a Tournament berth with a Big Ten Tourney victory, they lost. Michigan has never played past Friday in the Big Ten Tournament under Amaker (that’s just the 2nd round). Michigan is such an afterthought in college basketball right now that the analysts on ESPN2’s NIT Selection Special talked more about our opponent (Utah State... Utah State!) than us.

Michigan’s facilities are sub-par, but you can say the same thing about Purdue, a 9-seed in Matt Painter’s second season. And, yes, Gary Williams had a few years of mediocrity at Maryland before building them into a strong program, but I think it’s safe to say that he’s the exception, not the rule. There are lots of excuses. There are many “what ifs?” But where is the progress? When it comes to that, I haven’t seen enough. When it comes to Amaker, I have.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that he is a terrible coach, but he all is such a class act. Doesn't that count for anything?

8:45 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

It does count for something, but not enough to keep him around, IMO.

9:10 AM  

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