2012-2013 Overall Rank: #11
Conference Rank: #3 Big Ten
Michigan Team Page
Michigan reached their high expectations during the regular season. For the first time since 1986 they brought home, and kept, a share of the Big Ten title. But things did not go quite as well during the NCAA Tournament. The Wolverines were upset by Ohio in the Round of 64. But that loss did not damper the expectations for Michigan heading into the 2012-2013 campaign. Coach John Beilein is building a winner in Ann Arbor and the Wolverines will be a fixture in the NCAA Tournament for quite some time. And this could be the year they actually make a serious run in March.
2011-12 Record: 24-10, 13-5
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: John Beilein
Coach Record: 91-77 at Michigan, 642-395 overall
Lost in the optimism is the fact that Michigan loses their third, fourth and fifth best scorers from last season. Zack Novak, Stu Douglass and Evan Smotrycz may not have been the most dynamic players in the Big Ten, but they do a lot for the Wolverines. Novak knocked down 40.9 percent of his attempts from long range and also did more than his fair share of rebounding. Douglass was not quite as efficient from long range, but he too provided another scoring threat. Douglass could also handle the ball and find his teammates. Smotrycz, who is transferring to Maryland, averaged 7.7 points and 4.9 rebounds during the 2011-2012 campaign. Like Novak and Douglass, Smotrycz could shoot, but at 6-9, he was much tougher to defend. Carlton Brundidge and Colton Christian have also opted to transfer after seeing limited action last season.
The Wolverines have a great class coming in and this group will do much more than simply add depth. Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary highlight the group. Robinson III, the son of former Purdue superstar, is a slasher with great size and athleticism. At 6-6 and 210 pounds, he does not lack the strength to get to the basket in the Big Ten. He could be a starter from day one and a superstar soon after. McGary was one of the top players coming out of high school this year. His stock dropped a bit late in the process, but McGary is a skillful big man who can score inside and out. McGary is 6-10 and tilts the scales at 250 pounds. He has a Big Ten body already and the native of beautiful Chesterton, Indiana will be a major presence in the paint. The frontcourt also adds Max Bielfeldt who redshirted last season. The backcourt does not need much depth, but they will get some with Spike Albrecht, Caris LeVert and Nik Stauskas. Albrecht will get the opportunity to run the point off of the bench while Stauskas could emerge as a shooter off of the bench.
Who to Watch:
The expectations are so high because of Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Jordan Morgan. Burke and Hardaway are the superstars of the backcourt. Burke had a great freshman campaign, averaging 14.8 points and 4.6 assists. He is a pretty consistent outside shooter and a very good finisher around the basket. Even if Burke’s shot is not falling, he is at least a threat to shoot and that creates space for himself and others to get to the basket. With a year of experience under his belt, Burke should be a little more consistent and steady when it comes to avoiding turnovers and taking smart shots. Speaking of shot selection, that is where Hardaway has room to improve. On a squad with plenty of shooters, Hardaway took more three-point shots than anybody else on the team. And he only connected on 28.3 percent of those attempts. Hardaway is an amazing scorer around the basket and few defenders can stop him. However, his scoring output would be much more impressive than his already impressive 14.6 points per game if he took smarter shots. Morgan is the big man in the paint. Conditioning has been a problem for the 6-8, 250 pound junior, but those issues are going away. Morgan can now spend 30 minutes per game on the floor as long as he does not get into foul trouble. Coming off of a sophomore season in which he averaged 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds, big things are expected from Morgan. If he emerges as a consistent interior scorer, Burke and Hardaway will get plenty of scoring opportunities.
But this team has to be about more than the big three. The freshmen will make a big impact, but there are still minutes that need to be filled by some of the other returning players. In the backcourt that role could fall to Matt Vogrich and Eso Akunne. Vogrich will be able to help replace the shooting lost with the graduation of Novak and Douglass. His shot was not falling too consistently last year, but Vogrich can be a good shooter. Akunne barely saw the floor last year, but the senior can fill in a few minutes here and there. The depth in the frontcourt will get a big boost with the return of Jon Horford. The 6-10 sophomore only played in nine games last year due to an injury. If he can stay healthy, Horford has starting talent. Blake McLimans is another big body who has some experience. He may not play a ton of minutes, but he will add depth to an already deep and talented frontcourt. And it is in the frontcourt where Michigan really shines. Burke and Hardaway will do a lot of scoring, but Morgan, McGary and the rest of the big men will be very tough for the opposition to matchup with on both ends of the floor.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Trey Burke, Sophomore, Guard, 14.8 points per game
Tim Hardaway, Junior, Guard, 14.6 points per game
Glenn Robinson, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Jordan Morgan, Junior, Forward, 7.3 points per game
Mitch McGary, Freshman, Center, DNP last season
Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#46 Mitch McGary
#49 Tim Hardaway Jr.
#105 Trey Burke
#118 Jon Horford
Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#9 Mitch McGary
#40 Glenn Robinson III
#76 Nick Stauskas