412 On Big Blue

michigan big blue shoe

The following commentary comes from today’s post on 412 Lax, The Ruler is Back.

412’s Note: Those Dunks are too pretty not use. My roommate stopped being a Michigan fan when they switched to Adidas. One of our favorite story to tell about his capacity to be a loyal fan. In his defense, he says, “I don’t like teams, I like players.” Back to LAX.

Yesterday, we had a nice discussion with a Wolverine fan regarding their future this season.

The fan believed that if they lose a game this regular season they will be a lock to win the title in Denver.

Our reaction: Fully agree that if they lose prior to Denver they’ll come back for blood and win a third title.

Having said that I don’t anticipate them dropping a game this year.

The Michigan fan then asked:   So, you think no reg season losses or no losses at all and 3rd championship in a row?

Despite talent, it is hard to go 3 years without a hiccup….no?

Our response: Wire to wire.

Too much next level talent. Dedicated coaches and administration.

Next level talent. Coach Paul has openly said they are in recruiting battles with the Ivy League.

What does that mean? Michigan is adding D1 caliber talent to their MCLA roster.

We have all heard about NCAA players transferring to the MCLA and the supposed super impact they are expected to make. In some cases, they have in some cases they haven’t. Some soft generalizations you can infer is that a player transfers from an NCAA program because they miss home, don’t like attending a small school, or perhaps most telling, they just aren’t that good.

Hate to pick on the Houghton boys at BYU again but they haven’t been scoring 10 goals a game as most people expected.

Here’s the difference. Michigan recruits year round. They know exactly who they are getting every fall ball and where they will fit in the team. They aren’t getting D1 burn out transfers who may or may not be interested in competing for time or doing extra work.

412’s note: We know Kevin Zorovich transferred from Marist. Wouldn’t you though? Bare with our filibuster writing style.

They are getting freshmen that turn down D1 looks. They who want to come to Michigan.

An MCLA team isn’t supposed to get Gilman’s starting goalie.

Michigan did.

BYU is a top 5 team. Michigan was missing 5 starters for that game. It was in Provo. And, freshman attackman Thomas Paras, all 6′1 190 pounds of him out of Cleveland, decided to score 4 times and chip in 3 assists.

The game plan against Michigan has been to force players other than Yealy to beat you.

Guess what, Michigan has those players. Michigan has freshmen that can beat you. Michigan has players that can step up when 5 starters are out and beat another top 5 team that is so unbelievable.

The Steelers were missing two defensive starters or 18% of the defense for most of this season. They lost five games in a row including overtime losses to Kansas City and Baltimore because they couldn’t protect a 4th quarter lead.

18% of the starting defense missing produces a 5 game losing streak.

Michigan is without 50% of their starters and they beat a top 5 team. Not Texas. Not Eastern Michigan. They beat BYU.

You think Kentucky is going to the Final Four without 50% of their starters?

Is that not next level talent enough for you?

Not to mention arguably the best coaching staff in the league.

You can’t really make the argument that elite coaches wouldn’t be as well respected if they didn’t have elite talent.

It’s not Phil Jackson’s fault. It’s not Joe Torre’s fault. They don’t sign the paychecks.

Neither does Coach Paul. In fact, he has to court players with high test scores who can afford to attend Michigan from out of state.

He hasn’t lost a game in going on three years. He probably has figured out how to come from behind in the second half. He probably has figured out how to win games when a normal contributor isn’t effective. He probably has figured out how to keep his team from becoming complacent.

As for dedicated administration, they practice where the football team practices. They have access to NCAA Division 1 weight rooms.

They have a director of operations, a media relations contact, an athletic trainer, an equipment manager, two film and video people, a strength and conditioning coach, and four student managers.

Why do I think they are going to go wire to wire for a third straight season?

They simply have the best of everything you can have. Their isn’t one chink in their armor.

No one is even close.

Speaking of administrative support, have you seen their new building?

Not jealous about the thirty minute stair climb to the locker and the parent lounge seems like a throwaway without a bar.

However, why build this structure for a club team?

Why build this structure for a virtual varsity team?

Oh, we don’t know probably because they are going D1 soon and a lacrosse only building is friendly way to remind potential recruits how important the school considers the sport.

Think about it this way.

Schools that decide to offer lacrosse hire a coach one year in advance of their first season of competition. They have one year to recruit a roster of 20-40 kids if they are lucky and then they are off and running.

Schools are either adding lacrosse because its a growing sport or as a way to put more heads in dorm rooms.

Michigan already operates as an NCAA Division 3 team. Okay, an NCAA Division 3 team with a massive budget.  Players are offered no athletic scholarships, they are offered support from administration, and the coaches follow NCAA recruiting schedules.

Michigan lacrosse already exists. It’s not like if Florida State added lacrosse, we’d have to wait a year or two to see the Seminoles take the field.

The jump Michigan is preparing to make is from MCLA powerhouse to NCAA D1 powerhouse.

Please note, the word powerhouse was used twice.

They aren’t adding a team because the sport is popular or they want to fill beds.

They are going D1 because they feel they can win at the D1 level. That building suggests a commitment to the future of the program and a desire to compete from day 1. How many other schools have something like that?

What happens when Michigan can offer athletic scholarships?

They are already beating Division 1 teams in scrimmages with non scholarship players.

What happens when even more money is pumped into the program?

These questions will be answered shortly because they are going Division 1. It might be 2011. It might be 2012. The construction of this building is a warning sign to current Division 1 teams that Michigan is coming.

The next question will be, when do they win their first NCAA title?

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About the author

412 Lax

Tumbas is entering his third season as editor of 412 Lax. He was apart of the first ever Wooster team to reach the NCAA tournament in 2004 and later finished his playing career at the University of Pittsburgh. Currently, Tumbas is the head coach at Indiana University.