It’s been a long time since the Michigan women’s basketball team was good.
The Wolverines haven’t won 20 games in a season this millennium.
But the 2007-08 campaign may change that. The Wolverines have jumped out to a nice start, winning four of their first seven games
So here’s the question: Is it time to jump on the bandwagon?
The program’s last winning season was before Cheryl Burnett, Michigan’s previous coach, even stepped foot in Ann Arbor.
But this year’s squad has a new attitude, led by first-year coach Kevin Borseth.
Here’s why you should, and shouldn’t, be too quick to judge the Wolverines.
Why you should: Because the team says so.
“Oh that’s not happening,” sophomore Krista Phillips said in response to last year’s team winning just six more games after a 4-1 start.
Said junior Jessica Minnfield, “Well, this is a new season. We’re not worried about last year. We’re going to go game by game, day by day.”
This is a new Michigan program. Borseth, who spent the last nine years at UW-Green Bay compiling a 216-62 record, brings a winning tradition to a Michigan program that last made it to the Big Dance in 2000-01.
Don’t forget that all five of the Wolverines starters are upperclassmen. Sixth-man Stephany Skrba is playing solid defense and rebounding well, and Phillips has shown glimpses of dominance, like her 21-point outburst against Iowa State a few weeks back.
Why you shouldn’t: Michigan has faced three good teams so far, Iowa State, No. 12 Texas A&M and No. 16 Notre Dame, and lost by a combined 83 points.
Yes – 83.
Then there’s the schedule.
Michigan has three games left before Big Ten season.
It wraps up the non-conference slate at home against three teams that finished at least four games above .500 last season – Kentucky, Southern Cal and Ohio.
Already on a two-game skid, it is conceivable that the Wolverines could go into conference play riding a five-game losing streak.
And just when you thought the tough part was over, it gets tougher.
The Big Ten features two ranked teams – No. 19 Ohio State and No. 23 Michigan State. Minnesota, Purdue, Penn State and Illinois have all received votes in the AP Top 25 Poll at some point this season.
Michigan plays those six teams a combined ten times.
“We have a very, very, very vigorous regular season,” Phillips said. “Our biggest thing is we need to get better as a team collectively so when Big Ten season rolls around we’re ready to go.”
Added Borseth: “The party is over. It gets really difficult for us now. At some point in time, we’ve got to be able to step in and play.”
Five days ago, the bandwagon seemed like a good idea. But then the Wolverines lost to Texas A&M by 28, and followed up with a similar performance against Notre Dame on Sunday, losing by 31.
For now, I’ll stay off.