When people think of Michigan sports, the University of Michigan football team is usually the first thing that comes to mind. With a fan base and alumni that stretches continents, the iconic winged helmet, the largest stadium in the western hemisphere and the most wins of any college football team in FBS, it makes perfect sense that the football program would carry the banner for the University of Michigan.
Or does it?
While the football program might be the most recognizable world-wide, the basketball program has been hard at work establishing itself as one of the top programs in America. It was a process that began under former Michigan coach John Beilein, who began building the foundation back in 2007. Prior to the arrival of Beilein, Michigan had gone nine straight seasons without participating in the NCAA tournament. Under the leadership of Beilein, Michigan would participate in the NCAA tournament in nine of his 12 years as head coach - making the two Final Four appearances and two National Championship appearances.
Here is what the basketball program was able to accomplish during Beilein’s tenure (2007-2019)
- Big Ten Conference Regular Season Champions: 2
- Big Ten Conference Tournament Championships: 2
- NCAA Tournament: 9
- NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen: 5
- NCAA Tournament Elite Eight: 3
- NCAA Tournament Final Four: 2
- NCAA Tournament National Championship appearances: 2
The success that Beilein created has continued under the leadership of Juwan Howard, who’s in his second year as head coach of the Michigan Wolverines. Howard’s commitment to creating a culture of accountability and comradery has helped elevate the Michigan basketball program to a No. 3 ranking in the nation, an almost certain No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and knocking on the door of the first Big Ten regular season championship since 2014. With four games remaining on the regular season schedule, Howard has the opportunity to lead the Wolverines to their best regular season finish in school history.
To put it simply, the Michigan Basketball program is elite.
With all that the Wolverines have accomplished on the hardwood over the last fourteen years (when Beilein first arrived in Ann Arbor), it’s become quite clear that Michigan has officially made the transition from football powerhouse to basketball school.