Michigan Basketball: Currently Much More Relevant than Michigan Football

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JOHN BEILEIN

Michigan basketball coach John Beilein will make $2.84 million this year; Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh will make $9 million. Yes, think about that- Harbaugh makes more than three times what Beilein does, despite the incredibly vast gap in accomplishment between the two men. Beilein’s team will certainly see more favorable odds from online casinos this March madness than Harbaugh did during the bowl season. That’s understandable, as UM hoops has been much more successful in their respective postseason than the football program has. 

Some will say it’s unfair to make a comparison like this as Beilein is in his 11th season as Michigan basketball coach while Harbaugh has completed only three. Well, when you get all the incessant media coverage that Harbaugh does, along with much bigger bucks, then you must be scrutinized, despite the less than large sample size.

Besides this 2018, “attentions spans” and “history” are concepts that no longer exist, and thus three seasons is enough body of work to go and cast judgment.

Right now, at this moment, hoops is more relevant and it’s not debatable. Football finished the season unranked and in fourth place in their division. Harbaugh guided the Wolverines to only third place finishes in his other two seasons thus far. Michigan basketball is currently #20 in the AP Poll, #21 in Sagarin, #24 in KenPom and #31 in RPI.

Beilein guided Michigan basketball to the 2013 national title game (and with that a Final Four appearance), five sweet 16s and the B1G Tournament title last season. He also has 35 wins over ranked foes, 15 versus top ten teams, 10 against top five (six of which came on the road)

You already know how Harbaugh has performed in big games, but just case you need a reminder- he’s 1-5 against Michigan’s two biggest rivals, Michigan State and Ohio State. Beilein has achieved more total career victories than any other Michigan basketball coach.

Harbaugh has achieved…plenty of cornball video for FOX Sports to post on their website which doesn’t believe in written words (reading makes my brain hurt!), and enough fodder for the ESPN SCREAMING HEADS to argue about on their vast array of unwatchable debate shows.

Don’t get us wrong, it’s wonderful that Jim Harbaugh took a 5-7 team and immediately made them 10-3 his first year, and that he took his team to Rome last April, with a trip to Normandy and Paris planned for next year. It’s great that Harbaugh takes on the ultra-conservative and stuffed-shirt college football status quo too, it’s just that unless you’re doing all of that and winning, it can be labeled a distraction. Harbaugh was even asked about potential distractions, should he not get results, in the summer, and he totally dodged that question.

Being a well-rounded, interesting person, a life-long student of the world is much more important than football, but unfortunately, football is what he’s paid the big bucks to do. His Halloween costume/uniform will be considered cute and quirky if/when he wins the big games.

In the meantime, it’s just another log to pile on the Jim Harbaugh is overrated fire.

Beyond all that, Harbaugh makes more money for the school as football is what moves the needle in this country, not hoops. People really only care about college basketball for only month out of the year while football is….well, I’m sure the maize and blue crowd is busy with National Signing Day Eve activities right now. So you can make the argument that all the hullabaloo and hoopla that Harbaugh generates is a tangible quality with discernible value because it brings consumer dollars to the school. 

This is especially so at a place like Michigan, where they are hoops crazy year round, every year, no matter what the hoops team is doing. It’s never going to change though as we’ll just continue seeing Michigan football fans continue clinging to their glorious past, while also under-appreciating the solid consistency of Michigan basketball.

It’s a bummer, but it’s the way it is.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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