“The player development is the main thing I like (about Michigan),” Williams said. “You can see that they develop their players. They get them in the gym and they work them hard. And their hard work pays off.”
Softball Super-Regional Preview
Now that we’ve all had a few hours to come down from the gibbering sports-high provided by one of the most phenomenal innings in Michigan softball history, let’s take a look back at the weekend that was and look ahead at Florida State, who stands between Michigan and a return to the Women’s College World Series.
The regional weekend began with a game almost as crazy as the one it ended with. This, of course, is not exactly what you want going up against an SDSU squad that should be overmatched, but Michigan’s pitching was shaky and the Aztecs proved early and often that they were not intimidated by the big stage or the big Michigan name. Michigan actually fell behind early on a home run from a slap hitter before bouncing back to take a two-run lead on the strength of a Sierra Lawrence three-run blast (more from her later!). San Diego State tied it up and chased starter Haylie Wagner shortly thereafter, and the shoot-out was on in earnest. The Wolverines continued to pound away, eventually building up a 7-4 lead which they took into the 7th inning. The wheels came off for the Michigan defense, however, as the Aztecs loaded the bases and scored three runs off of a single (off Betsa), a walk (off Driesenga), and an RBI ground-out (off Wagner, who re-entered the game). Wagner stopped the bleeding there, and no more runs would be scored until the bottom of the ninth. In extra innings, freshman Lindsay Montemarano found herself on third after an error in the outfield turned a single into a triple, and Wagner brought her home with a sky-high sac-fly. After being chased early, Wagner redeemed herself in a big way, and was named player of the game by ESPN.
Saturday started out roughly for the Wolverines, who took an early lead against Arizona State in the winner’s bracket game, but couldn’t hold it as the long ball got to Wagner again. A 4-1 loss sent Michigan to the loser’s bracket, where they faced San Diego State once again. Things went much more to plan in the rematch, as the Maize & Blue mercy-ruled the Aztecs 9-1 (6 inn.) on the strength of a strong outing by freshman Megan Betsa. Betsa scattered a few too many base runners for comfort, but got the outs she needed time and again, earning her first post-season win. The highlight of the game, however, was provided by sophomore phenom Sierra Romero. Although she struggled (by her standards, at least) throughout the weekend due to flu-like symptoms, seeing her sparkling .510 batting average dip to … a still sparkling .487, she showed why she still belonged on the field, crushing a grand slam that put Michigan up by 7. The Aztecs proved a spirited team all weekend, but just couldn’t hold up in the end against the barrage of Michigan hitting.
The drubbing of SDSU sent Michigan into the Regional Final needing to win back-to-back games against host Arizona State and their National Player of the Year candidate Dallas Escobedo. In short, the stage was set for a day of softball that Michigan fans will never forget. Early on, it looked to be more of the same from Saturday, as starting pitcher Megan Betsa was chased in the first inning after handing the Sun Devils a two-run lead. Haylie Wagner entered the circle after that, and would not be moved out the rest of the day, making a slew of great pitches and reminding Michigan fans of why she was billed as the ace of the staff. Romero, while vomiting on the bench between innings, still somehow managed to jack a 2-run shot to tie the game in the bottom of the first. After that, her offense started to falter, but she continued to make great defensive plays from her short-stop position. The heroics of Romero and Sappingfield, who were both seriously ill and playing in 100+ degree heat (Romo also had the added problem of a banged knee from Saturday’s late-game), were vital in this pressure-packed situation. She would score again in the third, drawing a walk that set up another 2-run blast, this one coming from Senior Caitlin Blanchard, who’s protection of Romero is one of the most vital under-rated parts of Michigan’s success this season. The 4 runs would be all Wagner needed, as Michigan held on for a 4-3 victory, forcing a winner-take-all nightcap.
That nightcap would prove to be nothing less than one of the greatest games in Michigan postseason history, quite possibly the best ever in the regional round. Once again the Maize & Blue got to ASU star Dallas Escobedo in the first inning, this time via a pair of bases-loaded walks. After that, though, the Sun Devils’ ace settled in, and, despite having thrown well over 300 pitches on the weekend (no one else entered the circle for ASU during the entire regional), seemed to have things mostly in hand as an error and a couple of home-runs staked her side to a 4-2 lead. A Sierra Lawrence solo shot in the 5th cut the lead to 1. Nevertheless, with even Romo’s magic bat going cold (an inning-ending double play & a K to end the Michigan 6th can only be chalked up to serious illness), things looked bleak as the Wolverines came up to bat in the top of the seventh, and bleaker still when a ground-out brought Sierra Lawrence to the plate with one out and no runner to advance.
And then all hell broke loose in the best possible way. Determined to remind the world that Michigan doesn’t just have one Sierra, the sophomore outfielder smashed the first pitch she saw over the fences, staying fair by only a few yards. The dugout erupted as Silo’s first-ever multi-HR game tied things up. Just as the cheers started to die down with senior Taylor Hasselbach coming to the plate, the Michigan fans and players roared into life once more as a no-doubter (the outfielders didn’t even move) crushed to center field unbelievably put the Wolverines ahead. From being a minor role-player for her first three years, Hasselbach has exploded onto the scene as a senior, and now has a Michigan moment that she’ll never forget.
That would be all the scoring in the Michigan half of the inning, but the damage was done, and the shoe was on the other foot, with the Sun Devils needing at least a run and having only three outs to do it in. A ground-out, a single, and a pop-out brought Amber Freeman to the plate. Taking her cue from Lawrence and Hasselbach, Freeman swung away at the first pitch she saw, belting it to straightaway center field. The Arizona State crowd cheered, Freeman started sprinting around the bases, and Hutch looked like she was going to join Romo and Sappingfield in vomiting. The only person in the stadium who still thought Michigan had a chance as the little yellow ball streaked towards the fence was senior outfielder Lindsay Doyle. Doyle stretched every inch of her 5-foot 4-inch frame to pull back the would-be walk-off, saving the day and putting Michigan through to the Super Regionals in Tallahassee. On the roster, Michigan doesn’t have anyone listed shorter than Doyle, but in that moment, she towered over them all, spoiling ASU’s day and extending her career with an immortal memory.
With the brilliant heroics of the regional behind us, we turn to consider the next opponent, the Seminoles of Florida State. The Noles have blazed through their season to this point almost without a hitch, boasting a dazzling 53-6 record. The ACC is not a particularly strong softball conference, and no one was able to provide them with much in the way of a challenge, as they won both the regular season and tournament championships by decent margins, racking up 8 mercy-rule wins along the way. Their few losses have been competitive affairs against quality opposition, leaving no real embarrassments to speak of. One note of interest is that they did lose their one match-up against a Big Ten team, dropping their season opener against Nebraska 4-3.
For the second week in a row, Michigan will have to face down a Player of the Year finalist in the circle. Lacey Waldrop anchors the FSU rotation, boasting a .90 ERA that has her in the top five nation-wide. She hurls almost four times as many Ks as BBs, and has conceded only 4 homers all season. Unlike ASU, however, who lived and died on the arm of Dallas Escobedo, the Noles seem to use their rotation a little more. While Waldrop has started 37 games this year, she’s been relieved in twelve of those. Jessica Burroughs is the other starter for Florida State. She’s a step back from Waldrop’s dominance, but still a solid pitcher in her own right, with a 1.89 ERA. Finally, there is Jessica Nori, a reliever with 18 appearances but only one start. Expect Florida State to go with Waldrop as long as they can, but if the Michigan bats get to her, the Noles do have some valid options in the bullpen.
Offensively, Maddie O’Brien (FSU’s other Player of the Year finalist!) is the star. She’s their only player with more than 5 at-bats who is hitting .400 or better, and she is also the team-leader in homers with 23. Like Sierra Romero, she also plays shortstop and bats third. Courtney Senas is the other major threat. She sets the table for O’Brien, but can also play long ball, having cleared the fences 13 times. There are a few other .300 hitters in the line-up, but it doesn’t quite provide the top-to-bottom fear that ASU boasted. That said, with the up-and-down pitching Michigan has had lately, nothing can be taken for granted. Hopefully Wagner’s strong finish to the Regional will carry over and those concerns can be put to bed.
FSU did struggle to put away South Florida last weekend, but that’s understandable given the excellent pitching the Bulls have. After the madness that was the Regional, I’m not even going to try to make any predictions here. If Michigan plays their best, they can win, if they play their worst, they’ll lose, and if it’s somewhere in between, it’ll be a toss-up. I expect another round of thrilling softball, although unfortunately I’ll be at a conference & unable to follow the games. Keep the live threads going, guys, and go Blue!
Nebrasketball was awesome last year, especially since they beat everybody but us! We escaped with a win at Nebraska and absolutely blew them out at home. The Huskers were a great story last year, they did well enough to earn Tim Miles B1G coach of the year. The great thing about this team, is that they have TVs in their toilets! Nebraska loses almost nothing this year, they lose Mike Peltz, Ray Gallegos, Nathan Hawkins, Sergej Vucetic, Tim Wagner. This means losing:
This is why Nebraska is rated so high. They do not even lose a starters statistics. They also bring in two decent freshman and a transfer. This team will be experienced and good. Thirty Eight percent of their team are seniors. And another Thirty percent of the team are juniors. This team will perform really well at home and will be decent enough on the road. Here is their projected roster:
# Name HT WT YR POS
Moses Ayegba 6-9 247 SR. C
I do not know much about Ayegba. I am pretty sure that he sat out last year because he transferred. He will be the third-string Center this year.
21 Leslee Smith 6-8 255 SR. C
A turnover machine last year. He will be a good back-up this year. He needs to lose about 10 pounds to be more athletic.
2 David Rivers 6-7 198 SR. PF
The back-up Power Forward, he will average about 4 points a game this year.
10 Trevor Menke 5-11 183 SR. PG
The third-string Point Guard, he is a walk-on so I doubt he plays.
44 Kye Kurkowski 6-11 214 SR. C
31 Shavon Shields 6-7 219 JR. PF
Their second best player last year. He took some games over last year and will lokk to do the same this year. The starting Power Forward.
35 Walter Pitchford 6-10 234 JR. C
The starting Center, he was a pretty decent scorer and can shoot the three.
5 Terran Petteway 6-6 209 JR. SG
He may have horrible facial hair, but he is good at basketball. He is the starting Small Forward. He averaged 18.1 points per game and should be one of the frontrunners for B1G POY.
3 Benny Parker 5-9 166 JR. PG
The starting Point Guard, he is small and that is a weakness. However, he does not need to handle the ball much.
0 Tai Webster 6-4 194 SO. SG
He may not score much but he is decent at defense. He is the starting Shooting Guard.
23 Nick Fuller 6-6 199 SO. SG
Redshirted last year, will be the back-up Shooting Guard.
Jacob Hammond 6-8 228 FR. PF
The third-string Power Forward, he may redshirt. He was a three star, the #29 Center in the class.
Tarin Smith 6-2 165 FR. PG
The back-up Point Guard. He was a two star, the #63 Point Guard in the class.
This team found a way to put it all together last year, and this year, they are even better. I think they will go second, with a record of 13-5 in the B1G.
Next up... Wisconsin
Softball Regional Preview
This is going to be a bit briefer than my previous two write-ups about this team, as I’m in the middle of a very busy week and my energy has waned a little given the disappointing results of late (how spoiled we softball fans are when a Big Ten co-championship and Player of the Year is a disappointment!). However, I still wanted to get something together for the regional, as this team absolutely has the potential to do great things if they can get firing on all cylinders again.
Big Ten Recap
Halfway through the Big Ten season, everything was looking great down at the Wilpon Complex. The Wolverines were riding a 20-game winning streak that had begun with a 3-0 victory over then-7th ranked Arizona. Sierra Romero lead the country in batting average, along with several other offensive categories, star pitcher Haylie Wagner was in the top ten nationally with a sub-1 ERA, and the team was highly ranked in runs per game, fielding percentage, team ERA, and more. At the height, the Maize & Blue climbed into the top 5 in the polls and looked to be a lock to cruise to yet another outright Big Ten Championship and a Super Regional seed.
The first bump in the road came at the hands of Minnesota, who snapped the winning streak, claiming a 1-0 win in a pitcher’s duel that ended as Wagner’s first loss on the season. Michigan bounced back to claim the next two, however, and no one thought much of a close loss to a strong team. After that, however, things began to get out of hand. A mid-week loss to a middling Purdue team turned into the prelude to an astonishing run-rule loss at miserable Illinois. The tail-spin was capped off by losing two out of three to Wisconsin, which ended up costing the Wolverines an outright title. For the first time in years, we were forced to share, in this case with Nebraska, an up-and-coming team in the conference.
Michigan went to the conference tournament looking for a measure of redemption as well as an opportunity to shore up their claim to host a regional. Things looked good in the beginning, with a decisive win over the Illinois team that had embarrassed the team just a few weeks back, followed up by a thrilling walk-off win against Wisconsin. It seemed as though Michigan was exorcising the demons as, despite a few sloppy mistakes, they found themselves matched up with Minnesota in the conference final. After grabbing a 2-0 lead, Michigan gave it right back again, as the Gophers smacked two solo-shots to tie things up. Michigan missed several opportunities to reclaim the advantage, and in the end Minnesota walked off a winner as a defensive blunder turned what could have been the final out of the 7th inning into a game-winner.
In the end, the tumble cost Michigan the right to host a regional, and they will instead travel to Tempe, where Arizona State will play host. It’s difficult to point to any one problem that cost Michigan during the home stretch of the regular season. The pitching was not as good, the offense faltered in key situations, and the number of errors was on the rise. There is a lot to correct if Michigan wants to make a big run in the postseason.
With all that said, Carol Hutchins isn’t one of the greatest of all-time for nothing. She has assembled a powerfully talented team and doubtless knows exactly what needs doing. We can be quite certain that Arizona State was not at all happy to see us on their radar. While Wagner’s ERA has taken a hit of late, she still clocks in at #25 in the nation and tops in the Big Ten with a 1.55 mark. Similarly, recent errors have hurt Michigan’s fielding percentage, but a .977 number is tied for 5th in the country in that category even so, and at 6.69 runs per game, the offense is tenth in the land. The offense is powered by the Big Ten Player of the Year, sophomore shortstop Sierra Romero. Romero has continued to put up video game numbers all season long, leading the country in batting average by almost three-tenths of a point with a staggering .510. She likewise leads in on-base percentage by a country mile, with an almost-unbelievable .646 (2nd place is way back at .581). She is also tied for 2nd in the land in runs scored per game, a great testament to Blanchard, who has been her protection for most of the season. Perhaps losing the right to host a regional will be just the wake-up call this team needs. A deep run is still very much in the cards if everything shapes up right.
Three teams look to stand in Michigan’s way in their quest to advance to the super regional. Michigan will play San Diego State Friday at 12:30 PM, with more games to follow depending on the results. All regional games will be broadcast on ESPNU, so even though we don’t get to watch at Wilpon, we’ll still get to see our ladies compete!
San Diego State
The Aztecs took home the Mountain West crown this year with a 16-8 conference record. Overall, they went 39-17, with one win against a ranked team (a decisive 7-3 result over California). Outside of that, they lost to a few other ranked teams, but mostly faced a fairly light schedule against which they had decidedly mixed results. In the circle, SDSU is a one-trick pony, living and dying on the fortunes of sophomore southpaw Danielle O’Toole. Her 1.66 ERA (tied for 34th nationally) and 30-8 record are impressive despite the less-than stellar opposition she faced. She is definitely a strike-out pitcher, boasting 184 Ks on the season to only 39 BBs. She should provide a decent test for the Michigan batters in the regional opener.
On offense, the Aztecs have a balanced attack, with 6 different players batting over .300 for the season, the highest mark being .361. That mark is held by Sydnee Cable, who also gets on base over half the time. Patrice Jackson is the real driving force of the offense, however, with an on-base of .543 and a team-leading 16 long-balls. Both are somewhat strike-out prone, however, so there will be chances to set them down without facing too much damage. This is a match-up that Michigan should win, but can’t take for granted – as if we needed any reminding of that right now!
The Big Green (!) dominated Ivy League play, running away with the championship on the strength of an 18-2 record and will be making their first NCAA appearance. While they will almost surely be steam-rolled by a highly-ranked Arizona State squad in the opening game, it’s possible we could see them at some point in a loser’s bracket match-up. Outside of the Ivy League, Dartmouth only managed a 15-17 tally, despite not facing any powerful opposition. Their top pitcher is Kristen Rumley, whose 1.86 ERA is tops on the team, as is her 18-7 record. Morgan McCalmon has also seen substantial time, putting together a 10-7 record and a 2.49 ERA. Their offense is a little more top-heavy than SDSU’s, with only four .300 hitters (two of whom, incidentally, are the aforementioned pitchers). Katie McEachern provides most of the power, leading the team in homers and RBIs, with 8 and 30, respectively. If Michigan ends up in a pitched battle with this team at any point, it’ll be time to sound the alarm bells. If all goes well, we should never have to face them.
The Sun Devils are the regional hosts and favorites to win. They went 44-10-1 (rain lead to the tie, a 2-2 draw with top-ranked Oregon), and 15-7-1 in the ultra-tough Pac-12. Like Michigan, however, they have been scuffling somewhat of late. Ranked in the top-5 at one point, they are now only the #9 seed in the NCAA tournament, having three losses and a tie in their last five games. Their struggles are more understandable, however, as they came against Oregon and three-seed (and perennial powerhouse) UCLA. The Sun Devils will be looking to regain some momentum by throttling Dartmouth before the real showdown later on.
ASU’s offense is strong top to bottom, with 6 players hitting over .320 (and another just a couple points under .300), giving them the 12th-ranked team batting average in the NCAA. What’s more, they have some serious power as well. Four separate players boast double-digit home run totals, and only one of their starters has fewer than 6 round-trippers. All these numbers have come against the always-strong pitching of the Pac-12, as well, so there isn’t much of an issue of inflation against weak opposition. This is a team that can punish you 1-9, so if Michigan wants to win, the pitching and fielding will have to be absolutely top-notch. Defensive mistakes or pitches left hanging will be turned into runs in very short order.
In addition to their potent offense, senior-righty Dallas Escobedo is a powerful presence in the circle. The National Player of the Year Finalist managed a 1.85 ERA, and with over 10 Ks per game, is among the nation’s best strike-out pitchers. She is absolutely the real deal, although last year Michigan’s own Player of the Year candidate Sierra Romero did touch her up for a 2-run blast in the wee hours of the morning. She got her revenge earlier this season, however, pitching a brilliant 1-hitter in a 2-0 shutout during the non-conference schedule.
Michigan is facing down a tough challenge, and they’re in a hole they dug themselves. Nevertheless, this is a team that was once looking likely to cruise to a top-5 finish in the country, one that has wins against a number of elite teams, and one that boasts (in my totally-not-biased opinion) the best candidate for the Player of the Year award. In the end, it seems likely that this regional will break down into a best of three series between Michigan and ASU, with a couple other games mixed in for good measure. Neither Dartmouth nor SDSU look like serious threats to win the thing. It’s tough to pick against the Sun Devils, but I will say that Michigan absolutely has a shot to win here. All that’s needed is cleaning up the mistakes and playing to ability. Do that, and we could be looking at a super-regional date with (most likely) Florida State!
I am a lot higher on Ohio State than most people. With their recruiting class, it will be hard not to improve on last year. The Buckeyes lose Lenzelle Smith Jr and Aaron Craft to graduation. They also lose LaQuinton Ross and Amedeo Della Valle to the pros. Yes you read that correctly, Della Valle is going pro. This means losing:
Losing the grittiest player of all time is tough for a team. However, Craft was not really all that good. I think Ohio State fans would much rather Scott start over Craft. They also get THREE 5 star recruits. Here is their projected roster:
# Name HT WT YR POS
55 Trey McDonald 6-8 240 SR. PF
The back-up Power Forward, will get about 15 minutes this year.
34 Jake Lorbach 6-7 210 SR. SG
24 Andrew Goldstein 6-3 200 SR. PG
23 Amir Williams 6-11 250 SR. C
The most UN-intersted man in basketball. He doesn't always try hard, but when he does, he is pretty good. If he tries this year, he can be dominant.
12 Sam Thompson 6-7 200 SR. SF
An athletic freak, he is gettting more and more skilled. He will get about 30 minutes a game this year. Sam should be one of their go-to guys.
3 Shannon Scott 6-1 185 SR. PG
Scott went off against us last year and if he can do that all the time, Ohio State will be set. He is almost as good on defense as Craft and he actually has something resembling an offensive game.
Anthony Lee 6-9 230 SR. PF
Lee is a transfer from Temple, if I am not mistaken he can play this year. He should be their go-to guy as he did pretty well at Temple.
15 Kam Williams 6-2 175 SO. PG
I am pretty sure he redshirted. In that case he will get about 5 to 10 minutes a game next year.
2 Marc Loving 6-7 215 SO. SF
Loving will be the back-up 3 this year and will probably split minutes with Bates-Diop as a back-up.
32 Trevor Thompson 6-11 210 SO. C
Transfer from Virginia Tech. Has to sit out a year.
D'Angelo Russell 6-4 180 FR. SG
A five star, the #1 best Shooting Guard in the class. He will start at the 2.
Keita Bates-Diop 6-7 190 FR. SF
A five star, the #6 Small Forward in the class. He will split minutes as the back-up 3.
Jae'Sean Tate 6-5 190 FR. SG
A five star, the #8 Small Forward in the class. He will be the back-up 2.
David Bell 6-9 200 FR. C
A three star, the #37 Center in the class. He will be the back-up 5.
Projected Starting Line-up:
Point Guard: Shannon Scott
Shooting Guard: D'Angelo Russell
Small Forward: Sam Thompson
Power Forward: Anthony Lee
Center: Amir WIlliams
Ohio State should be pretty good, I think they will finish 3rd in the B1G with a record of 13-5 in the B1G. If you disagree with anything, let me know.
Next up... Nebraska
I am higher on the Spartans than most people on here. I think that somehow Izzo is going to get this team to win games. I think that Valentine and Dawson are going to be two very good players. Michigan State loses Dan Chapman, Adreian Payne, and Keith Appling to graduation. In addition, Gary Harris is leaving for the NBA. Also, Russell Byrd is foregoing his final year of elgibility. Losing these players means losing:
Now this is quite a lot to lose but it could be worse. They could have three players going pro like other teams in the conference. Here is the catch, Alex Gauna has not decided if he is going to take his fifth year. And although he is not a starter, he is an important role-player. Here is what they lose if he leaves.
Not only do they lose some real minutes, they lose valuable experience. This player is not going to be all B1G but losing him means losing serious depth. Here is what their roster looks like:
# Name HT WT YR POS
15 Keenan Wetzel 6-4 210 RS.SR SG
Only played 22 minutes all of last year, will not play.
2 Alex Gauna 6-9 250 RS.SR C
Played 7 minutes a game last year. He will get about 10 minutes a game this year unless he decides not to take his fifth year.
20 Travis Trice 6-0 170 SR. PG
The starting Point Guard, candidate for "alien of the year". He averaged 22 minutes a game last year when Keith was being tough and he will get about 30 this year. He should be their 3rd option to score this year.
22 Branden Dawson 6-6 225 SR. PF
Branden is arguably their best player. He may not be a scorer but he is a man on the boards and a very good defender. He will start at Power Forward. If Dan Dakich does not break Dawson's hand again then he should be on track for all B1G.
41 Colby Wollenman 6-7 225 RS.JR SF
Will not play.
45 Denzel Valentine 6-5 225 JR. SF
The starting Small Forward, will be their go-to scorer. If he plays to his full ability he could be a lock to go to the NBA. Frontrunner for the "Needs Braces" team.
10 Matt Costello 6-9 240 JR. C
The starting Center, could be pretty good next year and a more than servicable starter.
13 Trevor Bohnhoff 6-7 215 JR. PF
Will not play.
30 Kenny Kaminski 6-8 225 RS.SO PF
A three point shooter, will pick up odd minutes at the 3-5.
34 Gavin Schilling 6-9 225 SO. C
An uber athletic fouling machine. He picks up 8 fouls every 40 minutes, which is good for him fouling out in 25 minutes. Not good. He will pick up minutes.
3 Alvin Ellis III 6-4 195 SO. SG
The biggest mystery on their team, he only played 7 minutes a game last year. I think he will start later on in the year. Early in the year I think Valentine will slide down with Dawson at the three and Kaminski at the 4.
Lourawls Nairn 5-10 170 FR. PG
A four star, the #15 Point Guard in this class. He will be the back-up 1 this year.
Javon Bess 6-5 195 FR. SG
A three star, the #20 Shooting Guard in this class. He will back-up Ellis at the 2.
Marvin Clark 6-7 219 FR. PF
A three star, the #40 Power Forward in this class. He will be the back-up 3.
Projected Starting Lineup:
Point Guard: Travis Trice
Shooting Guard: Alvin Ellis III
Small Forward: Denzel Valentine
Power Forward: Branden Dawson
Center: Matt Costello
Losing Gauna would make this team worse than Michigan, but with him, MSU barely has the edge. I think State will go 4th in the B1G and 12-6 in the conference.
Next up... Ohio State
Well, all of you are quite familiar with Michigan for obvious reasons so I will keep this brief. Michigan loses Jordan Morgan to graduation, Jon Horford to transfer and Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III, and Mitch McGary to the NBA. This means losing:
That is the most to replace out of all of the teams so far. So what does the roster look like for next year?
# Name HT WT YR POS
44 Max Bielfeldt 6-7 245 RS.JR PF
With Calves as big as a house, and a shot selection worse than bad, Max is by far the oldest player on the team. According to Beilein, nobody can guard him. If that is true, we could be in for another ride this year. It is not, which is very likely he will play 5 minutes a game. Beilein could have meant that none of the coaches can guard him, or that he is very good 2K player.
23 Caris LeVert 6-6 185 JR. SG
Our go-to guy, will pick up some of the possesions left behind by Nik. There is no reason to be believe Caris cannot do the what Nik did if not more. He averaged 12.9 points per game last year so 15 is not unrealistic is it? The starting Shooting Guard.
14 Brad Anlauf 6-4 195 JR. SG
A football walk-on that decided to do basketball instead. Hopefully there will be a lot of opportunities for him to play this season.
2 Spike Albrecht 5-11 175 JR. PG
An experienced back-up Point Guard is a rare thing to have, and we have one this year. He may get the start early in the year next to Walton to ease the freshmen in.
34 Mark Donnal 6-9 230 RS. FR. C
The player that most likely makes or breaks this season. Can he hold his own in B1G play? Can he do more than that? As long as he holds his own Michigan will finish where I have them here. Starting Center.
21 Zak Irvin 6-6 200 SO. SF
After news that he is staying in Ann Arbor for the summer came out, people are pretty much guaranteeing that Irvin will have a Stauskas esque jump. If that happens, Michigan is golden, if not, we will still be fine. Starting Small Forward.
20 Sean Lonnergan 6-5 195 SO. SF
Walk-on with some bounce. I truly think he will be playing real minutes his senior year.
12 Cole McConnell 6-5 200 SO. SF
Walk-on coming off of a broken leg, probably will not do much.
10 Derrick Walton Jr. 6-1 185 SO. PG
Another player staying in Ann Arbor. Nobody expects him to be Sophmore Trey Burke, or even freshman Trey, but he will be good. Starting Point Guard.
5 Andrew Dakich 6-2 185 SO. PG
The best bench celebrater in the country, will most likely continue his cheerleading ways.
Kameron Chatman 6-7 197 FR. PF
I have Chatman starting at Power Forward which really is not that bad. GR3 did it for two years at 6-6 I think we can make due. He is a 4 star and the #11 Small Forward.
Ricky Doyle 6-9 255 FR. C
It would have been ideal for Horford to stay and Doyle get a redshirt, but that is not going to happen. Doyle will be a bench guy that takes about 15 minutes a game. A three star, the #22 Center.
D.J. Wilson 6-8 215 FR. PF
Holy long batman, finally a shot blocker! He will pick up some spare minutes at the 4 and three. Another three star #41 Power Forward.
Aubrey Dawkins 6-4 175 FR. SG
A three star from prep school. I think he will redshirt.
Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman 6-4 FR. SG
A two-star the #102 SG. Most likely a diamond in the rough. He should get about 10 minutes a game.
Austin Hatch 6-6 210 FR. SG
One of the saddest stories ever, Hatch should get a medical scholarship he is a one star and the #141 Small Forward. Most likely will never play.
Projected Starting Line-up:
Point Guard: Derrick Walkton Jr.
Shooting Guard: Caris LeVert
Small Forward: Zak Irvin
Power Forward: Kameron Chatman
Center: Mark Donnal
More information can be found in Brian' post which is really well done. I think Michigan will finish in 5th place goin 11-7.
Next up... Michigan State