The Michigan Wolverines will play for the national championship for the second time in six seasons and their success is amping up the pressure on football coach Jim Harbaugh.
Jim Harbaugh is the highest-paid coach by Michigan but it’s John Beilein that’s got the men’s basketball team poised to compete for national championships. For the second time in the last six seasons, Beilein’s team will compete for the national title, after defeating the Loyola Ramblers on Saturday night. The success of the men’s team is surely celebrated by Harbaugh and the rest of the university, but the success of the men’s basketball team is also ratcheting up the pressure on Harbaugh’s team to compete for national titles.
Harbaugh is in his fourth year back at his alma mater where he arrived with expectations of beating Michigan State, Ohio State, winning Big Ten titles and competing for national titles. After three years and a 28-11 record, Harbaugh only has 1 win against the in-state rival Spartans to show for it.
Michigan is one of the best football programs in the country with a long and storied history but after an 8-5 season and fourth place in their own division, the pressure has never been higher on Harbaugh to produce. With fans seeing the basketball team having so much success, it’s no wonder why so many are asking when it’ll be time for the football team to restore their past glory.
It could be this year if Ole Miss transfer quarterback Shea Patterson is granted eligibility this year. The former five-star recruit and top quarterback prospect would be the most talented signal-caller Harbaugh has had at Michigan and has the skill-set to be a future NFL Draft pick.
With Patterson, Michigan could compete for 10 wins and challenge Michigan State, Penn State and Ohio State for conference supremacy.
Without Patterson, Michigan could be looking at a repeat of last year’s disappointing season.
A national title from the hoops team on Monday night would go a long way toward instilling some optimism and excitement on campus, especially with spring football underway.
If the Wolverines are victorious against Villanova on Monday night and cut the nets down, that’ll only raise the expectations for the football team and put Harbaugh under even more pressure to live up to his lofty salary. Something he hasn’t done with a pair of third-place and a fourth-place finish in the division.
Maybe that’s the added motivation he and his team need though. Watching Michigan get to the Final Four and be celebrated on campus and all over the news can be great motivation for a Michigan team that’s fallen short of expectations in the Harbaugh era.
The “why not us?” mentality can be infectious and you can guarantee Harbaugh and his coaching staff will be instilling that mindset into the team during spring camp and throughout the summer and fall.
Harbaugh is not shy of expectations and he’s not afraid of having added pressure on his job. This is the stuff he lives for. And if he didn’t, he never would have returned to Michigan to lead his alma mater out of the Brady Hoke era many fans would love to forget.