Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA, North Carolina, Indiana and Duke. The six acknowledged blue blood programs of college basketball.
Is Michigan knocking on the club's door? If you ask assistant coach Phil Martelli, the Wolverines have already knocked it down.
And Martelli, with his Philadelphia-bred attitude and 35-plus years of college coaching experience, isn't afraid to let people know.
"I’ve been saying this since I got here. For whatever the reason, Michigan will not get on the top of a building and go East Coast style and shout and tell everybody, ‘This is a blue blood program,'" Martelli said Thursday on the Stoney & Jansen Show.
The argument against Michigan is that it lacks sustained historic success. It also only has one national title. To that, Martelli would point to the past decade. The Wolverines just made their fourth Sweet 16 in a row and have the most NCAA Tournament wins since 2013, including two appearances in the national final. The program as a whole has been to eight Final Fours -- same number as Indiana.
"Yes, there are national championships and things like that, but most wins in the tournament over the last stretch of time, two Final Four appearances, four straight Sweet 16’s. That’s a blue blood program," Martelli said. "And we’re getting better, we’re getting better. I don’t believe that the kind, gentle Midwest ways will ever let them get to the top of a building, but we do have one voice on top of the building yelling, ‘You better take notice, because this is a blue blood program.'"
The other thing Michigan is lacking is prestige. And maybe that's something the program will never be able to change. Kansas has made 15 Final Fours, and that's the fewest among the other five Blue Bloods. But if Michigan continues on its current track under Juwan Howard, the conversation might change.
That starts Saturday against Florida State.
"Very challenging matchup," Martelli said. "It’s my scout so somebody asked me last night, 'What do you think?' I said, 'I hope we can complete a pass.' And I don’t mean that tongue in cheek. If we can start our offense by making a pass, because they are so aggressive and stand so far up the floor, if we make the first pass we're going to be fine. And then at the other end, we have to limit them to one shot."