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Caputo & Fithian

Pat Caputo: It Would Be A Shame If The Fab Five Took Away From This Michigan Squad’s Shining Moment

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Selection Sunday began at 6 p.m. and it was presented, rather innocently, that if Michigan won its first game in the NCAA tournament, the Wolverines were going to face defending national champion Duke in the next round.

FILE – In this file photo April 6, 1993, Michigan’s Chris Webber, left, and Jalen Rose talk during their NCAA championship game with North Carolina at the Superdome in New Orleans. Former college basketball star and ex-NBA player Rose said an upcoming ESPN film will be an in-depth look at the University of Michigan’s Fab 5. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
By PAT CAPUTO
Of The Oakland Press

Click to enlarge

Michigan guard Tim Hardaway, Jr., center, is surrounded by teammates after scoring 20 points in an NCAA college basketball game with Michigan State, Saturday, March 5, 2011, at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich. Michigan won 70-63. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

Selection Sunday began at 6 p.m. and it was presented, rather innocently, that if Michigan won its first game in the NCAA tournament, the Wolverines were going to face defending national champion Duke in the next round.

At 9 p.m. that night, ESPN aired its documentary about the Fab Five, and comments that chastised Duke players from that era — the early 1990s — for everything from their lack of manhood to being viewed as “Uncle Tom.”

Sunday, Michigan and Duke will meet in the NCAA tournament with the Fab 5 documentary serving as the backdrop.

Is that a fortunate or unfortunate circumstance?

There will be substantially more interest in today’s game because of the documentary. In some ways, it will make the Michigan-Duke game far bigger than it would have been nationally.

Duke remains the college basketball program the rest of the nation aspires to be in terms of consistent success. Michigan is just finally showing tangible signs of recovering from the scandal of the Fab 5 era, and the carnage it brought in subsequent years.

The Wolverines were 9-9 in the Big Ten during the regular season, so they struggled to get this far. They don’t have a “Fab 5,” but the Wolverines do have a “Big 3″ in sophomore Darius Morris, and freshmen Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jordan Morgan.

Michigan has developed, as a coach John Beilein described it, “A will to win.” Yet, it is not a team that displays cockiness or — as many felt about the Fab 5 — a lack of class.

Theoaklandpress.com for more

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