Monday, March 12, 2007

This Is Getting Old

What if this was Lloyd Carr?

I can't say I'm surprised. Yesterday, for the ninth straight year, Michigan was left out of the NCAA Tournament. They are headed to the NIT for the third time in four years and host Utah State tomorrow night. Excuse me if I don't think that's good enough anymore. This was a senior rich team that was supposed to be ready to take the next step. This was THE year. The Big Ten was weak, the Wolverines had experience, this was it, but it ended the same way.

For the second year in a row, Michigan got off to a great start and faded when it counted the most. This team has had every chance to succeed and return to the NCAA Tournament, but instead they've let every opportunity slip through their fingers. Take a look at the Ohio State game. They had the number one team in the country down, at home, and they couldn't hold on when they needed that win WAY more than the Buckeyes did. When the chips are down and your backs are against the wall that's when you're supposed to step up and close teams out, Michigan could never do that. This has to fall on the coach.

I got up this morning and asked myself why there's even a discussion of Amaker getting another year. What has he done to deserve this except perpetuate a state of mediocrity. What the athletic department has to ask themselves is a very simple question. What if this was the football team?

Do you honestly think that if this were the football team we'd even be having a discussion about whether or not Lloyd Carr would be coming back? Lloyd takes heat for last season and the team went 11-2, with both losses coming basically on the road (the Rose Bowl is pretty much a home game for USC) against two top ten teams. I suppose the football equivalent of Amaker's run at Michigan would be six straight four or five loss seasons. If you even think Lloyd would last HALF that run you're crazy. He probably would have been fired after the third or fourth season.

Now I realize Amaker had to rebuild a program coming out of NCAA sanctions, but those sanctions ended a couple seasons ago so they shouldn't be used as a crutch anymore. He's brought in the same amount of players as everyone else and has failed time and again to get this team back to the tournament. It's frustrating to see schools like Ohio State get hit with NCAA sanctions (though decidedly not as bad as Michigan) rise up from them to prominence very quickly while Michigan continues to just be on the cusp. I'm just sick of it.

Amaker has had his chance. It's time for Michigan to go in a different direction. We need to treat this team like we would the football team. We should care just as much. If not we're always going to be a second tier basketball school in the Big Ten. Doomed to mediocrity, and from this Michigan fan's perspective that's just not good enough.

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