John Beilein Versus The Fab Five

Posted on Posted in Michigan Basketball

Michigan Basketball might be best known for the era of the Fab Five and its subsequent demise, but one former member of that group thinks that if the team had John Beilein as their head coach, things may have shaken out a bit differently.

Former shooting guard Ray Jackson, who was a member of Michigan’s famed 1991 recruiting class, spoke about Coach Beilein in an interview with ESPN 100.9 FM on Wednesday afternoon and said one particularly interesting thing about the Wolverines’ head coach.
“No disrespect to Steve Fisher (head coach from 1989-97), but I think the Fab Five would have actually won a title if we had Coach Beilein,” said Jackson.
Those are strong words from a player who was part of a group who went to two Final Fours and came up short in the championship game in both years.
The Fab Five were arguably the most talented class of players in the history of college basketball. Steve Fisher did a great job of bringing the group together and getting as far as they did in 1992 and 1993, but could Beilein have gotten more out of that group? 
Coach Beilein has shown in his tenure at Michigan that he is able to squeeze every last drop out of the players that he has and that, for the most part, the team will peak to its potential. He has turned water into wine with guys like Zack Novak and Stu Douglas and has helped players realize their NBA dreams like 2013 National Player of the Year Trey Burke and first round pick Tim Hardaway Jr.
The job that Beilein has done with the Wolverines this season after losing Burke and Hardaway to the NBA

and All-American Mitch McGary to injury further cements the claim that he is one of the best talent developers in college basketball. The team has not skipped a beat this year.

There is no way for us to see what Beilein could have done with the Fab Five, but we can see how the Fab Five may have fared against, say, Michigan’s national runner-up team from last season, led by Burke, Hardaway, McGary, and freshmen Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas.
Thanks to simulation match-up website WhatIfSports.com, we can pit the two eras of Michigan basketball against each other and, if nothing else, create conversation of who beats who. 
Simulation Results

2012-13 Wolverines 81, 1991-92 Wolverines 74

In this scenario, last year’s team takes down the Fab Five. You can check out the box score below.
So what do you think happens if John Beilein coaches the Fab Five? Who was better? We’ll never know for sure, but it will always be an interesting debate to have.
Derek Devine
Institutional voice of Alma College during the day, Michigan fanatic at night. Taking TBHR to the next level one post at a time.