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Varsity Blue

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Basketball? Basketball.

No but seriously, basketball?

One of the most important aspect of running a successful athletic department is being able to rely on your revenue sports to support everything else that goes on. Under Bill Martin, Michigan has been able to turn from a money sink into one of the nation's most successful athletic programs (monetarily) despite not having a basketball team that has been anywhere close to successful. Thus, if Michigan is able to make the basketball team a big draw, and perennial NCAA tournament participant-type program, it can only continue to help.

Without further introduction, I present the basketball-relevant portion of Bill Martin's interview with the BTN's Dave Revsine:

It is clear that Martin is intent on supporting basketball, and trying to bring success back to the program.

Crisler Arena is a dump. Regardless of what Martin says, it really should just be demolished, and the AD should start over from scratch (a few suggestions: smaller size, better concourse layout, and location closer to campus (ok, that one is just a pipe dream)). Failing that, The House that Cazzie Built is eventually going to be overhauled for the better, though definitely not until Michigan Stadium is completed, and probably not until there is a practice facility. The practice facility is apparently ready for approval. The sooner that can be completed, the better for Michigan Hoops. Interesting note: Martin stated in no uncertain terms that the funding for a facility will be ready whenever plans are completed.

Martin states that he doesn't want his coach to recruit players who want to go one-and-done to the pros. Luckily for him, the coach he hired is John Beilein, who does not seem to favor this type of player (and nor does his system). Martin favors the NBA amending its entry rules to require players to spend 3 years in school (I believe they should probably step it up one year at a time).

The Future
Though Beilein was unable to get it done in year one, the improvement made by the team over the course of the year was encouraging, and it is unlikely we will see 2008-09 be a repeat of the epic struggles of 2007-08. With several players accustomed to the system after one year in it, and a few new additions who are good fits for Beileinball, an NIT bid isn't out of the question. Though that may not be good enough for some fans, it is important to remember how far this program had fallen, and realize that it will take some time to rise again.

Rumors have been circulating for weeks that Junior-to-be Power Forward Ekpe Udoh intends to transfer from the University of Michigan. This has now become official. While I am not sure he is making the right decision (though UMHoops.com's analysis has certainly gone a long way to convince me), I wish Udoh the best of luck in the future.

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“Basketball? Basketball.”