#19 Michigan Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Michigan Wolverines

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #19
Conference Rank: #4 Big Ten

Michigan Team Page#19 Michigan Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Michigan Basketball Tickets

If it was not for Coach John Beilein and his ability to develop talent, Michigan would be a lot further down the list. The Wolverines are coming off of a great season in which they won 28 games and reached the Elite Eight, but the entire frontcourt is pretty much gone and this is suddenly a very, very inexperienced team. But that has rarely been a problem for Coach Beilein before and he will get the most out of his team. Maybe another Big Ten title is too much to ask for with so much lost, but this is an NCAA Tournament team.

2013-14 Record: 28-9, 15-3
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: John Beilein
Coach Record: 150-94 at Michigan, 443-269 overall

Who’s Out:
Shooting guard Nik Stauskas led the Wolverines with 17.5 points per game before heading early to the NBA. He ended up being drafted eighth overall by the Sacramento Kings. Stauskas is a pure shooter who knocked down 92 three-pointers at a 44.2 percent clip during his final year with Michigan. While that loss hurts, it is the absence of Glenn Robinson III, Mitch McGary, Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford that has left the frontcourt decimated. Robinson and McGary also left after their sophomore seasons and were taken in the 2014 NBA Draft. McGary did miss nearly the entire season with an injury though. Morgan was the team’s top rebounder with McGary out. He rarely did too much scoring, but Morgan did what Michigan needed him to do. Horford did much of the dirty work off of the bench and did pick up a handful starts during his senior season as well.

Who’s In:
The most important newcomers are in the frontcourt where power forwards Mark Donnal and Ricky Doyle and small forwards Kameron Chatman and D.J. Wilson will look for major playing time. Donnal redshirted last season and that year on the sidelines makes him an experienced option in this frontcourt. He is a quality interior scorer who will get plenty of opportunities to show his stuff. Doyle has been adding girth to his 6-9 frame, but he still needs to add strength. He will get a shot to play major minutes regardless. Chatman, now listed at 6-7 and 210 pounds, is an interesting wing who has the size to play a variety of positions for this team. If anybody is going to be like Robinson III, it is Chatman. He is athletic and can shoot. Wilson is another lanky wing and, at 6-9 and 220 pounds, is a nice fit for what Coach Beilein wants to do. The backcourt does not need much from their trio of freshmen. However, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Aubrey Dawkins and Austin Hatch will attempt to earn a few quality minutes as freshmen.

Who to Watch:
With a backcourt that consists of Derrick Walton, Jr., Spike Albrecht, Caris LeVert and Zak Irvin the Wolverines will obviously be working through the perimeter as much as possible. Walton will run the show again after averaging 7.9 points and 2.9 assists; however, he will now need to turn into a better floor leader and score more when necessary. Albrecht was Walton’s backup, but this time around Michigan will likely play Walton and Albrecht together more often. A two point guard attack could be very effective, but only if one of them can be more effective in the scoring department. LeVert will do plenty of scoring. The 6-5 guard is the team’s top returning scorer at 12.9 points per game. He is a great shooter and a great all-around scorer and the expectations are extremely high. He should emerge as the team’s leader on the floor. Zak Irvin is the big 6-6 guard who should be able to help on so many levels. As a freshman last year Irvin was mostly a shooter. And he shot amazingly well, connecting on 42.5 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. Now Irvin should be able to mix up his game a little more and attack the basket.

Final Projection:
This is a great, great backcourt and that alone could be enough to get Michigan to the NCAA Tournament. But they need their frontcourt to carry some of the load. Max Bielfeldt is the most experienced option. However, the 6-7 senior totaled just 89 minutes of playing last season. Obviously there are more minutes to go around in the frontcourt, but the expectations are that the newcomers will handle most of them. If Chatman and Donnal can live up to their potential and the rest of youngsters develop nicely, this will be a very, very dangerous team in March.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Derrick Walton Jr., Sophomore, Guard, 7.9 points per game
Caris LeVert, Junior, Guard, 12.9 points per game
Zak Irvin, Sophomore, Guard, 6.7 points per game
Kameron Chatman, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Mark Donnal, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.9 (83rd in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.1 (51, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.7 (22, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.5 (215, 12)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.6 (16, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 40.2 (4, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 76.3 (8, 1)
Rebound Margin: 0.2 (185, 10)
Assists Per Game: 14.2 (66, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 9.3 (7, 2)

Madness 2015 NBA Draft Rankings:
#6 Caris LeVert

Madness 2014 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#27 Kameron Chatman
#84 D.J. Wilson


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