The ways in which the Michigan basketball team developed over the course of the year are very impressive, and are obviously a huge reason that Michigan is currently in position to at worst get a three seed, likely get a two seed, and still has a puncher's chance at a one seed. Oh, and not to mention that Michigan won the B1G by three games.
My question, up for discussion, is which mid-season improvement/development was the most important, not just in terms of immediate results, but also heading into the tournaments?
I think the revitalization of Nik will be a big emphasis, but I'm going to go a bit different direction. While Michigan still struggles a bit on defense (the start of the Indiana game was nauseating), I think the improvement and development of the 1-3-1 zone has directly lead to 2-3 wins in the second half of B1G play. Early in the B1G, it seemed like every time they went zone it was free buckets for the other team. But MSU and Indiana I remember off hand really struggling against it and that allowing Michigan to get big stops at big times.
For a team that sometimes struggles to get stops, but doesn't necessarily need a ton of stops to be successful, I think the development of that different look and little extra thing for opposing teams to have to prepare for on short notice is a huge benefit going into the tournament, and I think may be the biggest and overlooked development this year.
So what say you guys? Nik's reemergence? Morgan's improved low-post play and patience when he gets the ball in his hands? GRIII turning the corner? The two-headed PG monster and their continued development?
Given this good arty on espn.com:
Didn't Brian have a pre-season blog on how no team has ever improved more than 30 spots in total defense year over year? I can't find that blog and given our amost 90 spot improvement, it's historic, isn't it?
I need the data to back me up...
Hey, something positive and new about the program!
U-M has confirmed that last year's team grade-point average is the highest in the past 20 years. It's also one of the best ever by the men who pull on the winged helmets.
"I know that Rich's football team made really significant strides in their team GPA," noted U-M Athletic Director Bill Martin. "It either is, or is very close to, the highest GPA in the recorded history of the football team. I'm very proud of that."
I wonder what Rodriguez's critics who talk shit about him being a coach with low class who wants thugs on his team are going to say about this. The article states that the new staff are putting more emphasis on grades than the previous one.