Michigan Basketball Is Back Whether You Like It or Not

Drew RappleyContributor IApril 7, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 21:  Head Coach John Beilein instructs Zack Novak #0 of the Michigan Wolverines during their second round game against the Oklahoma Sooners the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Sprint Center on March 21, 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Ever since the short-lived run of the "Fab 5" during the 1989 championship season, Michigan basketball has not been the same.

When Chris Webber decided to take a few  benjamins from Ed Martin that year, a dark cloud was cast over Michigan Basketball, and the Wolverines have yet to match the same success as rival Michigan State.

Perhaps it's the players failing to buy into system of the coach, or the inconsistency of the starting five put out on the floor every game, or lack of an identity.

For Michigan State, it took Coach Izzo a good four or five years before he laid a solid foundation, and for Michigan they are looking to do the same thing.

This was quite a memorable season for the Maize and Blue. Although it ended with a second-round loss to Oklahoma, the Wolverines were in that game for 40 minutes and did all they could to stop Blake Griffin.

The important thing they did in the game and throughout the whole season was compete.

If I were a basketball coach, if the game is out of hand or my team is outmatched, I would want my team to play hard and compete the whole game. John Beilien has succeeded in that, and has also has built a system and a foundation that the players bought into, and it shows.

This team is as tough as they come. Manny Harris and Zack Novak will give you the ol' elbow if you come to close to them, and Novak would guard Shaquille O'Neal if he was asked to, and he's not afraid to make a YouTube highlight courtesy of Blake Griffin.

Front-court size is actually one of the areas where Michigan was lacking this year in that it didn't have enough big guys. Sure, having shooters like Harris, Novak, and Stu Douglass is nice, but your only post threat can't be DeShawn Sims (no offense to Sims).

But help is on the way for the Wolverines.

Blake McLimans, a 6'10", 210-pound forward from Worcester, Mass., and Jordan Morgan, a 6'8, 245-pound power forward from U of D Jesuit High School are expected to make an impact down low for Michigan.

We have yet to see what seven-foot freshman Ben Cronin can do on the court, and only time will tell what kind of mark he leaves in Ann Arbor.

This past season, Michigan gave us the highs (i.e. wins against UCLA and Duke) and the lows (i.e. the inconsistent play in the Big 10.

The potential for this team next year is unlimited, and who knows how high they can go.