Bernard Robinson guaranteed that Michigan wouldn”t lose by 51 again. He was right. The Wolverines lost by 27 points, but only because Tom Izzo didn”t want to win by 51. Had the Spartans wanted to win by 100, they would have. Last night, in Crisler Arena, the Michigan basketball team quit.
What happened last night was an embarrassment, just like what happened last year in East Lansing was an embarrassment, just like what happened at Oakland was an embarrassment and just like what happened at Duke was an embarrassment.
But while those games were embarrassing, none of those embarrassments happened in Ann Arbor, in front of the students, alumni and fans. A survey of the fans at last night”s game shows that fans are fed up with the program.
“Look at the results,” Superfan Reza Breakstone said. “How many times do we have to lose like this for someone to get a hint?”
And that”s coming from the Big Fan on Campus.
The men”s basketball team represents the University of Michigan, just like every team that wears a block “M” on its chest. And for the University to be represented as it was last night and for the last three years is inexcusable.
“There is no reason that the University of Michigan basketball program should be as bad as it is. Never,” engineering sophomore Brian Walby said. “It”s upsetting to me. I”ve been a fan since I was 10-years-old. I”ve watched the Spartans come in here two years in a row and last year they go up to East Lansing and lose by 51 points. It”s unacceptable!
“In the last three years, I”ve watched four of the worst five losses in the history of the program. We”ve played for nearly 100 years and I”ve watched four of the worst five losses ever.”
Forget that fewer than 600 students bought season tickets to watch this team. The students that do buy tickets are now disenchanted with a program that was once the leader and the best.
And who could blame the fans? Why pay money to watch a team that “quits” during a game, as Chris Young said of the Wolverines last night.
The coach is to blame when his players quit. After all, it”s the coach who is paid to make sure his team fights through a screen, isn”t beaten down the court on nearly every possession, and doesn”t get outrebounded at a nearly 2-to-1 clip. If that is going to happen, why bother spending the money on a coach?
At the beginning of the season, star LaVell Blanchard told dreams of winning a national title. But now even Blanchard, one of the most optimistic athletes on campus, is “heartbroken.”
And while Blanchard”s broken heart is upsetting, one can”t help but feel outraged when Michigan State senior Charlie Bell says he wishes the rivalry was more competitive.
And Bell is not alone. Not even Chris Webber, the former posterboy for Michigan basketball, will watch his former team. “Not until we have a chance to win,” Webber said earlier this season.
The University of Michigan deserves better than this. The fans deserve better, the alumni deserve better and the students deserve better.
“I”m really embarrassed,” said Bill Outman, a 1964 graduate. Outman has had tickets since he was a student.
“I”m really disappointed with the effort. To have Michigan State and its fans show up here like this is ridiculous. I”m embarrassed.”
And the University should be as well.