Michigan Wolverines Basketball Preview

8 11 2009

So the college basketball season has officially begun (I guess it was an exhibition game, but who cares) and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m going to put my die-hard devotion to the North Carolina Tar Heels on hold to discuss something a little closer to home. I was able to attend the exhibition game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Wayne State team name that I have no interest in looking up. This is an exciting year for the Wolverines because they’re actually good! And god knows we need the distraction after the what has happened to our group of padded young men that scores less points than their opponents football team.

 

Although I only stayed for ¾ of the game [we were up by 20 for most of it] I think I got a pretty good idea of the team’s strengths and weaknesses. John Beilein has a tendency to bring pesky teams into the tournament and this team will certainly be one of them. If the team can get some help from some key guys off the bench, it wouldn’t be out of this world to be thinking about an elite eight birth.

 

Manny Harris is a stud, and could very well be a lottery pick. He can shoot, pass, penetrate and play D with the best of them. There were 3 or 4 times when he made a concerted effort to lock down on defense and picked the ball clean for a steal. In close games he’s going to be the one with the ball in his hands, and Michigan fans can rest assured that he knows what he’s doing. DeShawn Sims will complete Michigan’s 1-2 punch by stretching opposing big men with his outside game and hopefully lock down some much needed defensive rebounding.

 

One of the problems with Beilein’s teams is that they tend to live and die by the 3-pointer. That’s what makes them so exciting to watch. After a few years of recruiting, Beilein has brought in a bunch of guys that can connect from downtown. Zach Novak and Stu Douglass are sweet shooters that are going to drive opposing teams wild. With the new addition of Matt Vogrich, deemed one of the best shooters in the country [before he even took a single shot] Michigan is going to be raining threes all over the place. Something that is overlooked with these guys is there ability to move the ball and make smart passes. If they can develop chemistry [Douglass and Novak already play pretty well together] then it will be much easier for them to find the open shot.

 

The point guard position has been a serious problem with Michigan in recent years. They need a guy to penetrate, forcing opposing defenses to collapse, but also someone that can hit an open three. Although I only saw 20 minutes of freshman Darius Morris, I’m excited for his future. He’s got good form on his shot, but more importantly you can tell that he has great handle. Laval Lucas-Perry is a solid backup [although he started at the SG position] that wont hesitate to shoot or penetrate.

 

My X-factor for this team is a man named Ben Cronin. Cronin was red shirted last year due to injuries but if he’s healthy and can earn the trust of his coach I think he can help this team overcome a serious limitation. This team is going to have serious problems rebounding. With Zach Novak playing the 4, teams are going to have multiple opportunities for offensive rebounds. Zach Gibson has some size, but he’s a serious liability on the court [because he’s not good at basketball]. As a side note, I had lunch with him in the cafeteria once freshman year; he’s quite a goofy fellow. Cronin supposedly has the ability to hit the outside shot and at 7 feet tall he’s a defensive presence in the middle that we seriously lack [I mean, we’re starting a 6’5’’ 200 lb power forward].

 

I’m looking forward to a season full of ups and downs in the competitive Big 10, but I think Michigan has some serious potential and definitely has a chance to win the conference.

 

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One response

9 11 2009
Anthony Biondo

I am with you here. For the first time in a long time I am actually excited about Michigan basketball. Beilein is undoubtedly a good coach and I actually think I am going to try and attend some games. I wouldn’t say an Elite Eight berth would be crazy either…

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