"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
The 2011-12 Wolverines went 24-10 and 13-5 in the tough Big Ten Conference despite using their bench for only 16.7 percent of the available minutes, per KenPom.com. How low is that compared to the rest of the nation? Consider this: only Youngstown State used its bench less (15.4 percent).
It's amazing our starters stayed as healthy as they did last year. As much as you hate to take your starters off the floor, it should help reduce the risk of injury.
Just over a month until the first game vs Slippery Rock (November 9th), can't wait!
With the 2012 Basketball season approaching at ludicrous speed (Seriously, Exhibition play begins in under a month, and the NIT season tipoff in 5 weeks), I thought I'd pose a bit of a snowflake here, but one that we should all have good fun with at any rate.
It seems that, in many basketball years, a pair of players come together either as a starting group or under special circumstances (like when a team goes big or small), and bring a special element to the court. For instance, in 2010-2011, it seemed like Morris and THJ paired up in beautiful ways sometimes, with Morris finding ways to get THJ the ball in places where he could make it rain. It just seemed like when they were clicking, things really took off.
I'm wondering if there is a pair of players for 2012 - 2013 you're excited to see pair up, to see what transpires.
I really hope we get to see Michigan go big with Morgan and McGary at the 4 and 5. If you'll all remember last year, when Morgan took on Sullinger and pretty well owned him:
It shows us what an evolving, fired up Morgan is capable of. He has the heart, the motor, and the body to get it done. Now put a 6' 10" beef machine with the heart and motor of Novak next to him, ready to collapse on the hoop to put down opponents' attempts to go up, or pick up offensive boards like they were pennies on the sidewalk. It's the kind of big inside combo Michigan hasn't had since before I really got into watching them. I'm excited.
Is there a combo for this year that excites you with possibilities? Doesn't have to include freshmen. Just another year of development can help big time, even with veteran players.
Now that our Rose Bowl berth is wrapped up, let's talk about basketball.
The men's team is deservedly getting loads of attention as the basketball season nears, but I hope more Michigan fans pay at least a bit of attention to the women's team as well and perhaps attend a game or two (such as the doubleheaders that have been scheduled) during this first year of the Kim Barnes Arico era. As a Daily article titled "Enthusiastic Barnes Arico aims to lay new foundation in first week" points out, the new coach has been doing her part to raise the program's profile:
From coaching clinics to speaking at the student watch party at Michigan Stadium before Michigan football’s season opener, she has quickly immersed herself in the city and the University community.
. . .
Barnes Arico . . . already has plans to open up a practice to season ticket holders and host a clinic for girls in the community later this month.
. . .
Her goals also extend beyond the court as well, as Barnes Arico said she hopes to enhance the reputation of Michigan women’s basketball in the community.
“I think the number one thing is for the community to feel connected,” she said. “They need to feel a relationship with us and I think it’s part of my job is to go out and build that relationship. (We want to) promote the program and what these young ladies stand for and how much they work and how we’re building a championship year for the women’s basketball program.”
Barnes Arico was also on WTKA yesterday morning with Sam Webb. A podcast of her appearance can be found here, and here's an embed attempt:
The coach has high praise for this year's senior class and also goes on at great length about how impressed she is with incoming freshman Madison Ristovski, last year's Miss Basketball in Michigan and perhaps the team's starting point guard for the next four years. (Note: Sam mentions Ristovski having a couple of younger sisters who also play basketball, suggesting they might be future Michigan recruits. One of those, Haleigh, has already committed to Detroit Mercy; the other is Lola, who's in the class of 2015 and still uncommitted.)
The biggest news to come out of her WTKA appearance was on the injury front. Several months ago, I discussed in this post all the ACL injuries that current or future members of the women's team had suffered. Well, late last season then-freshman Cyesha Goree tore an ACL, and Barnes Arico mentioned yesterday that two more players—incoming freshman Kelsey Mitchell and junior Val Driscoll—suffered torn ACLs during summer workouts. This means that out of the 15 players on the 2012-13 roster, no fewer than 7 have suffered ACL injuries either during their Michigan career or during the year prior to their arrival in Ann Arbor. Also, of the incoming four-member 2012 recruiting class, only Madison Ristovski has not suffered an ACL injury in the last 12 months.
The coach indicated that Mitchell and Driscoll are likely to redshirt, but the other three players who tore an ACL in the last year will be available for game action.
Vitale had an article on the five players in college basketball that need to step up this year, and our own Jordan Morgan was on the list.
When people look at Michigan, Trey Burke is the first name they think of. I feel Jordan Morgan, the big man up front, has to raise his level of play. He was the top performer on the glass for the Maize and Blue, but he has to provide an inside scoring presence after averaging just over seven PPG.
It will be interesting to see what his role is this year, considering we actually have depth at PF/C. If he doesn't improve offensively, both McGary and Horford could pass him on the depth chart.
Here is my projected starting line-up:
PG : Burke
SG : Hardaway
SF : Robinson
PF : McGary
C : Morgan