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Jay Dreyer :: Tommy Amaker = Steve Mariucci?

Tommy Amaker = Steve Mariucci?

Tommy Amaker

Ugh. I’m at a loss for words. Yesterday’s loss to Minnesota in the first round of the Big 10 tournament is the latest debacle in this late season collapse by the Michigan Wolverines. What started out as a promising season, even eight games into the Big 10 season, has become yet another in a string of disappointments.

You can blame injuries for some of this year’s problems, just as you could for last year’s lost season, but I’m not willing to let the team off that easily. Even when this year’s team was at full strength it just didn’t seem like they had it all together. You could also point the finger at the players, but I’m not willing to go that far. After a while, you have to start looking at the coach.

I like Tommy Amaker. I like what he stands for and I like how he represents the university. After the Ed Martin/Brian Ellerbee fiasco, the program was in shambles and Amaker has done an excellent job restoring the team and bringing pride to Crisler. But when I look at the job Thad Matta has done at Ohio State in a shorter amount of time with arguably less talent than Amaker has, you start to wonder how effective Amaker is as a head coach.

This leads me to share a thought I had while driving home listening to yesterday’s game on the radio – is Tommy Amaker the college basketball version of Steve Mariucci? Hear me out on this. When Mariucci was hired, everyone rejoiced in Lions nation. Mariucci was polished, presented a good image and came from a winning program. You could say the exact same things about Amaker. With both coaches there were grumblings in the background that they weren’t as great as they appeared on paper. Terrell Owens complained about Mariucci’s offense in SF while others pointed to Seton Hall’s collapse the last year of Amaker’s tenure there. These complaints were ignored, but at least in regard to Mariucci, they were found to be valid.

There have been rumblings around town that Amaker should be let go if the team does not make the NCAA tournament this year. I’m not quite there yet because even though it’s starting to sound like a broken record, you have to take the injuries into consideration. Having said that, I’m far less certain that Amaker is the right person to lead UM basketball toward future success than I was when he was hired. I hope I’m wrong.


| posted 03/10/2006 04:30 PM

Permanent link to this comment  Joe  on  03/13/2006 01:45 PM  said: 

For the last couple years, coaches around the Big Ten and analysts alike have said Michigan has plenty of talent and decent depth, but tend to lack focus at key points in the game and play outside of the initial gameplan (i.e. Horton chucking up bombs with 28 seconds on the shot clock; Sims wandering aimlessly).

My questions: if you have the talent and depth but no sense of organization and focus, whose fault is that? I can’t believe Amaker has gotten away with not making the tournament this long. This year is inexcusable in my book, and I’m a State fan!