The Ohio State Buckeyes have lost to the Michigan Wolverines just twice in The Game since 2001, one of which was under interim head coach Luke Fickell. The scarlet and gray have dominated the rivalry so much the last two decades that some people up north even sometimes tend to believe that Michigan is a basketball school. Well, it looks like Ohio won again. The state’s lone NBA team decided to hire Michigan’s John Beilein to be the next head coach of the Cavaliers earlier this week.
No one truly knows how Beilein will do in the NBA, especially as a 66-year-old that has never coached in the league. There are so many questions and unknowns that won’t get answered for quite some time. One thing is certain: Beilin’s departure from Michigan is a huge loss for the Wolverines and great news for the rest of Big Ten, including the Ohio State Buckeyes.
During his 12 years in Ann Arbor, he racked up a 278-150 record,1 nine NCAA Tournament appearances, two Final Four appearances, two Big Ten Regular Season Championships, and two Big Ten Tournament titles. He took Michigan to the National Championship in both 2013 and 2018. The head coach also guided the Wolverines to three straight trips to the Sweet 16 each of the past three years. To top it off, he had 18 All-Big Ten selections and nine NBA Draft picks. Beilein was also named the CBS Sports National Coach of the Year in 2018 and Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2014.
He rarely had one of the best-recruiting classes in the country, but Beilein’s Wolverines were always one of the best teams in the Big Ten and even throughout college basketball. It was because the head coach was such a great leader, teacher, and developer of talent during his time up north. He learned to get the best out of each of his players and used their respective skill sets to maximize their success both individually and as a team.
In terms of Beilein’s recruiting at Michigan, while there were a number of reasons why Matta was let go by the Buckeyes in the summer of 2017, one of the most glaring reasons was his recruiting, or lack thereof. When he first came to Columbus in 2004, he was not only locking up some of the best classes of incoming freshmen in the Big Ten year in and year out but even competing with the big dogs of the college basketball world as well. Then, as his time went on at Ohio State, he was not only not locking those star-studded classes anymore, but he was losing some of the top high school prospects in Ohio to other programs, including Michigan. Let’s take a look at some of the players Beilein was able to snatch from Ohio State’s backyard:
Burke and Levert are both still in the NBA, with the latter being one of the Brooklyn Nets’ best players. Simpson and Teske will be two of the best players on the Wolverines this upcoming 2019-20 season. Missing out on talented kids from Ohio is a problem, especially for a school and program as prestigious as Ohio State’s men’s basketball team.
With Beilein no longer leading Michigan, along with Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann already making quite a splash in Columbus, things continue to be looking up for the Buckeyes. Holtmann and company will look to not only take advantage of Beilein’s departure on the basketball court but likely in recruiting as well.
It’s also a good time to remind everyone that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert as a Michigan State alum. He not only believes he helped out the wine and gold, but he helped out the Spartans as well. It’s almost like Gilbert’s out here playing chess, honestly.
While Michigan’s basketball program can soften the blow of losing a great college basketball coach like Beilein by hiring a proven head coach, there’s no doubt that losing Beilein is quite a big loss for the Wolverines. So much that Ohio State and the rest of the Big Ten have definitely taken notice, but in terms of what they can do on the court against Michigan and on the recruiting trail.
Considering the Cavaliers are Ohio’s lone NBA team, many Ohio State fans are also fans of the wine and gold. While Cavs fans are hoping Beilein succeeds in Cleveland, there’s one guarantee already: His departure from Michigan is a huge loss for the Wolverines and quite a boost for the Buckeyes and the rest of the Big Ten.