Sunday, March 4, 2012

Michigan 2011-2012 Big Ten Basketball Champions

Michigan has finally done it!  They've won their first Big Ten title since 1986.  This is an outstanding achievement considering they weren't even considered that big of a threat for the title in the pre-season.  Not only is this a great achievement for the team, but it is a substantial one for the program and coaching staff as well.  This will be John Beilein's first major college conference championship and cement the fact that Michigan basketball is finally back.

Jordan Morgan tweeted this just a few minutes ago:

"all I can really say is ...thanking God for so many blessings"

I think that's a great instant analysis of what has happened over the last few days and tonight.  How long has it been since Michigan fans got to see a banner raised in Crisler Arena?  A pretty long time, I'll just say that.  However, that time's passed now.  Right now, it's time to look at this team and be excited for the future.  Winning a Big Ten Championship is great, but that's not the limit of this team.  They can do a lot more, not just in the future, but this year.

If Michigan can win at least a game or two in the Big Ten Tourney, they could easily be a 3 seed or higher in the tournament.  Given that, it's not that unlikely to see them get a deep run.  I mean with the shooting droughts appearing to end, there might not be a limit for where this team can go.  Michigan has competed and beaten top teams this season and I don't see the Big Ten or NCAA Tournament being any different.

Along with this, Michigan didn't "back" into this championship.  They earned it.  Not only did Michigan record wins over the other top two Big Ten teams (Michigan State and Ohio State), but they also played well against non-conference competition like Memphis.  Saying Michigan didn't deserve this title is simply ignorant.  It's the same with arguing the other two teams didn't deserve a share of the championship.  They were all tied for head-to-head match-ups and had a relatively even share of good wins and bad losses.  

The important thing to note is that Michigan earned it's Big Ten title this year.  Nothing gave them the title and as much as Spartan or Buckeye fans would like to think that the Buckeyes "handed" the Wolverines their title, Michigan didn't need any help.  They recorded victories over every Big Ten team except one (Iowa).  That's pretty impressive for a team that "backed" their way into a championship.  

Regardless, now's the time to celebrate and personally I can't wait to be there when they raise the new banner in Crisler Arena.  It's been a long time and I'm proud this title can be given to Zack Novak and Stu Douglass, some of the best seniors Michigan may ever have in their basketball program.

Photo Credit: Melanie Maxwell

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