Ranking 20 top moments from John Beilein's tenure as Michigan basketball coach
Beilein leaves Michigan basketball after 12 seasons
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Michigan basketball program took a massive hit Monday as head coach John Beilein moved on to the NBA.
Beilein won 278 games in 12 seasons at Michigan after taking over a program in shambles. Here are some of the top moments from his impressive tenure.
20. Best start in school history
It says a lot about Beilein that getting off to the best start in school history is only the 20th moment from the last 12 years. Michigan set the record just last season, winning its first 17 games to surpass the 2012-13 team's hot start.
The winning streak included blowout wins over North Carolina, Villanova and Purdue and only one victory by single digits.
19. Villanova revenge game
This moment also came from last season, when Michigan traveled to Villanova just six months after being blown out by the Wildcats in the 2018 national championship game.
Villanova was the No. 8 team in the country and opening up a newly renovated arena. Michigan wasn't expected to be as good this season, but announced its presence with a 27-point revenge victory.
It wasn't as important as the national championship, but Michigan certainly set the tone for a very good 2018-19 season.
18. Crushing Tennessee in NCAA Tournament
Beilein took Michigan to the NCAA Tournament eight times in his final nine years. That streak started when the Wolverines made it as a No. 8 seed in 2011.
Tennessee was a popular pick in the matchup, but the Volunteers never stood a chance. Michigan used a 42-16 second half to run away from Bruce Pearl's team and win by 30 points.
Even though Michigan's upset bid against No. 1 Duke in the next round fell short, that win over Tennessee was the start of Beilein's impressive tournament resume.
17. Routing Michigan State to turn 2017 season around
The low point of Beilein's career at Michigan came Feb. 4, 2017, when a home loss against a bad Ohio State team dropped the Wolverines to 14-9.
Beilein turned things around the very next game, as Michigan dominated Michigan State at the Crisler Center. Derrick Walton Jr. scored 20 points, Moe Wagner added 19 and the Wolverines won by 18 points.
The most iconic moment came from D.J. Wilson, who dunked on Kenny Goins and got a technical foul. That helped Michigan shed its reputation of being soft and carried it to the Sweet 16.
16. Aaron Craft blocked at buzzer
Tim Hardaway Jr. had an excellent career at Michigan, and his top moment came at home against Ohio State in 2013.
Michigan and Ohio State met as top 10 opponents, and the Buckeyes held an eight-point lead at one point in the second half. Hardaway countered with one of the most legendary shooting performances in program history, drilling five straight 3-pointers to send the game into overtime.
Then, when Aaron Craft went up for a last-second jumper to tie the score, Hardaway sent him packing to preserve a two-point win.
15. Stu Douglass silences Breslin Center
The 2010-11 season was trending toward another disappointment when Stu Douglass hit perhaps the biggest shot of the early Beilein era.
Michigan had lost 11 straight games at the Breslin Center, daying back to 1997, and held a tenuous two-point lead with 20 seconds to go. Douglass jacked up a triple from the right wing and nailed it, giving Michigan a five-point lead and sealing the game.
The Wolverines finished 9-4 and made the NCAA Tournament.
14. Michigan ranked No. 1 in country
Michigan has only been ranked No. 1 in the country once under Beilein, and it lasted only a week.
After starting the season 20-1 in 2012-13, the Wolverines took over the top spot in the AP poll for the fourth time in school history.
Michigan secured the No. 1 ranking on Jan. 27, 2013, by beating Illinois on the road. No. 1 Duke had just lost in a blowout to Miami, and the following day, Michigan moved up to the top spot in the rankings.
13. 'College Gameday' returns to Michigan
Few people will remember this specific game, but early in the Beilein era, it was a big deal for ESPN's "College Gameday" to visit Ann Arbor for a basketball game.
Students camped out overnight outside the stadium and waited all day for the 9 p.m. tip on Feb. 18, 2012, and No. 17 Michigan defeated rival Ohio State, ranked No. 6 at the time, in front of the entire country.
Trey Burke scored 17 points against his hometown Buckeyes and hit the game-deciding shot over longtime friend Jared Sullinger.
Michigan didn't make the national championship game until the final season, but the "College Gameday" appearance was when the fan base really started buying into Michigan basketball again.
12. Kam Chatman buzzer beater
Injuries derailed most of the 2015-16 season for Michigan, but there was one exhilarating moment that stands out.
Kam Chatman had a short up-and-down career at Michigan, but he put the Wolverines into the NCAA Tournament with perhaps the biggest shot of the season. Michigan was tied with Indiana in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament when Chatman drilled a 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds remaining.
Indiana was the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten and the No. 10 team in the country, while Michigan sat squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble and badly needed a win.
Thanks to that victory, the Wolverines sneaked into the First Four and picked up an NCAA Tournament win against Tulsa.
11. Sweeping Michigan State in 2018
Beilein's finest coaching job might have come in 2017-18 with his team coming off a surprising run to the Sweet 16.
Michigan got off to a solid 14-4 start, but nobody expected the Wolverines to compete with No. 4 Michigan State at the Breslin Center.
Not only did Michigan complete, it dominated for most of the contest, eventually winning by double digits. It was the only scheduled meeting of the season.
Michigan State got its shot at revenge in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals, though, and it looked like the perfect payback opportunity.
Instead, Michigan cruised past its in-state rival again, winning by 11 points to advance to the conference title game.
10. Outright Big Ten title
Michigan basketball is best known for its two national championship appearances under Beilein, but no team dominated the Big Ten in the regular season more than the 2013-14 squad.
Michigan finished 15-3 in the conference that year, sweeping Michigan State in the regular season and winning the only matchup against Ohio State.
The Wolverines beat every team in the Big Ten that year and won the regular season title by three games.
9. Burke robs Appling
Burke was the best player of the Beilein era, and he absolutely stole a game from Michigan State in 2013.
After blowing a 10-point lead in the final minutes, Michigan was desperately trying to hold onto a tie game with MSU dribbling out the final seconds of its penultimate possession.
Keith Appling had the ball near half court and went to turn when Burke knkocked the ball into the back court, picked it up and dunked it on a fast break.
No. 4 Michigan held on to beat No. 9 Michigan State by a single point.
8. Stauskas blows kisses to MSU crowd
Nik Stauskas took over as the leader of the Michigan basketball program when Burke moved on to the NBA, and his defining moment came in a victory at MSU.
Stauskas made the tiebreaking 3-pointer late in the game and finished with 19 points to lead No. 21 Michigan over No. 3 Michigan State on the road.
When Michigan wrapped up the win, Stauskas blew kisses to the sold-out crowd of 14,797 fans in what would ultimately be his final trip to East Lansing.
7. Second straight Big Ten Tournament title
Michigan caught fire at the end of the 2017-18 season, but nobody expected the No. 5 seed in the conference tournament to win its second-straight crown.
The Wolverines were nearly bounced in the first round, surviving a scare from Iowa in overtime. They went on to destroy Nebraska, topple No. 2 Michigan State and dominate Purdue over the weekend to secure another conference title.
Beilein's team ultimately won 14 straight games to set a school record with 33 wins on the season.
6. Reaching 2018 Final Four
While most of the top contenders in the 2018 NCAA Tournament field were being upset, Michigan rode its defense to a West Region title and a Final Four appearance.
Michigan polished off the regional with an impressive 99-point outburst against Texas A&M and a tough victory against an athletic Florida State team.
It was an incredible transformation for Beilein, who had the No. 3 defense in the country after making a living off his offense for so long.
Michigan won its semifinal game against Loyola-Chicago before losing to the clear No. 1 team in Villanova.
5. Topping Syracuse in Atlanta
The 2013 NCAA Tournament was a wild ride for Michigan, which hadn't been in the national spotlight since the Fab Five.
Beilein coached his team to the Final Four in Atlanta, and with the entire college basketball world watching, the Wolverines knocked off Jim Boeheim and Syracuse to advance to the national championship game.
Syracuse was a powerhouse, and Michigan was a college basketball nonfactor at the time, so it was a massive win for the program and cemented the 2012-13 team as Beilein's best in Ann Arbor.
4. Squirt gun fight after Louisville upset
Michigan missed the NCAA Tournament in 2015 and got knocked out in the round of 64 in 2016, so when it earned just a No. 7 seed the following year, it had been awhile since the Wolverines mattered in brackets.
That changed when Michigan met No. 2 Louisville in the second round.
Michigan trailed for the majority of the game and could never seem to pull closer than six or seven points.
Then, about four minutes into the second half, Wagner led the Wolverines on a 17-6 run that saw it take the lead for good with under six minutes to play.
Michigan upset the No. 2 seed and sent Rick Pitino packing to get to the Sweet 16. Beilein celebrated by sneaking into the locker room with a squirt gun and attacking his players. It's one of the best moments of Beilein captured on video, even to this day.
3. Jordan Poole's shot vs. Houston
The top three moments on this list could all be considered No. 1.
Beilein's most recent Final Four run nearly ended in the second round, as Michigan trailed Houston by two points with 3.6 seconds left and needed to go the length of the floor.
Isaiah Livers passed the ball in to Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, who dribbled and found Poole on the wing.
Poole caught the ball from about 30 feet out and fired, drilling it as the buzzer went off to give Michigan a one-point win. It was euphoric for the Michigan players, who chased Poole all the way around the court before piling on top of him in front of the bench.
College basketball is the most emotional sport in the country because of the one-and-done nature of the tournament. It was an incredible moment to see Michigan to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat as the buzzer went off, and then take advantage by marching all the way to the national championship game.
2. Winning conference tournament after plane crash
The 2016-17 team was one of the most fun to watch under Beilein at Michigan, especially because they were underdogs after the 14-9 start.
Michigan was pretty safely in the NCAA Tournament after a 20-11 regular season, but it earned the No. 8 seed in the Big Ten Tournament in Washington, D.C.
When the team tried to fly out of Willow Run Airport the Wednesday before the second round, the plane malfunctioned and careened off the runway. Nobody was seriously injured, but Michigan players and coaches said they had feared for their life.
Beilein said the crash brought everything into perspective, and Michigan played with a new sense of freedom.
They beat Illinois the following day while wearing practice jerseys because they could remove evidence from the plane during the investigation.
No. 1 seed Purdue couldn't fend off Michigan in the second round, as the Wolverines won a thriller in overtime. Minnesota was the third victim in the semifinals, and Wisconsin never really threatened in the title game as Michigan won four games in four days.
It was as improbable a Big Ten Tournament run as any, and Michigan hung another batter in the rafters of the Crisler Center.
1. Trey Burke's shot vs. Kansas
It's difficult to pluck one moment from a decade of sustained success, and different people might have different opinions about which is the best. But Burke's shot to send the Kansas game into overtime in 2013 was the most iconic moment of Beilein's tenure at Michigan.
When No. 4 seed Michigan met No. 1 seed, the Wolverines hadn't had any national success. Michigan wasn't the college basketball brand it is today, even though Beilein had it moving in the right direction.
If Michigan had lost that Sweet 16 game, the 2012-13 team would have been remembered as a talented roster that neither over- nor underperformed in the postseason.
Thanks to Burke's shot, that team is remembered as the pillar of Michigan basketball's turnaround.
Michigan erased a 14-point lead with under seven minutes to play and a five-point lead with 21 seconds remaining. The final shot was by far the most unlikely as Burke drilled a deep 3-pointer with 4.2 seconds remaining.
Kevin Young was right in Burke's face. Who knows if Burke could even see the basket. But he made perhaps the most famous shot in Michigan basketball history and sent the game into overtime.
Michigan outscored Kansas 11-9 in the extra period, routed Florida to get to the Final Four and eventually reached the national championship game.
The run sparked a stretch of two Final Four appearances, an Elite Eight and two Sweet 16s over a seven-year span that saw Michigan win a total of 18 NCAA Tournament games.
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