I'll put my expectations squarely at top 1/3 of the Big Ten and a Sweet 16 run.
The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
We can discuss and debate from now until November, what position players are going to play next year and how many minutes they are going to get. Coach Beilein has recently stated that he feels good about the flexibility of next year’s team, meaning that many players can play multiple positions. I approached this from a player position point of view and tried to see if we would likely be better or worse than this year.
1 Spike, Walton
Walton’s minutes increase as he earns them and he will likely be the starter at some point next season (likely sooner than later). Less scoring than last year, but hopefully they can both run the offense and get shots for others. A big step down from this year's POY, but we should be solid.
2 LeVert, Irvin, Spike, Stauskas
A 5 star player who was Indiana’s Mr. Basketball, needs to be on the floor somewhere. With Hardaway’s departure, there is an opening here. LeVert has a year of experience and knows the system. Both players should give us length on the perimeter, outside shooting, dribble penetration and be good in transition. Solid on defense. Even with this year.
3 Stauskas, LeVert , Irvin, Robinson
Expect Nik to be bigger and stronger and a better ball handler. As a second year player, he will have a better understanding of the offense and defense and should be a better defender. Several guys can play this position. Experience makes this is an upgrade from this year.
4 Robinson, Donnal, Bielfeldt, Morgan, Horford
Expect GRIII to be bigger, stronger and a better defender. Donnal could be the perfect stretch 4 that we thought Smotrycz would be, but probably not this year. We can go with 2 bigs for stretches with Morgan, Horford or even Bielfeldt at the 4. An upgrade from this year.
5 McGary, Horford, Morgan
We should count on a double, double (15+ points & 12+ rebounds) every night from the 5 position. Improving defense from McGary. His threat to score should open things up for the other positions on offense. A big upgrade from this year.
This year, during most of the regular season, we started 2 freshmen, a sophomore and 2 juniors. With this lineup, we would be starting 2 freshmen (Walton & Irvin) and 3 sophomores. Still a very young team. Who will be the leaders? We lost the leadership of Burke, Hardaway and the 5 seniors.
I would expect a slower start to the non-conference portion of the season. Hopefully, they grow up fast and come together by late season. This team could be a Big Ten title contender and a NCAA Sweet Sixteen or better.
I'll put my expectations squarely at top 1/3 of the Big Ten and a Sweet 16 run.
I think we will be in a position to challenge in the B1G for the title and be a 3-4 seed in the tourney. Likely make the Sweet Sixteen but probably not a Final Four team. Hope I am wrong on the latter part.
I think it's very hard to set expectations at 'Final Four' because in the single-elimination tournaments a lot of things have to go your way (in addition to the team being very good) it seems. For example, when Sparty made back-to-back final fours it was kind of a big deal. Essentially, I agree with you, tournaments are sort of fluky and it's hard to predict.
Agreed. I think all we can expect is that we set ourselves up for a run by earning a top 5 seed. Then, like this year, anything can happen.
Louisville had final four expectations coming into this season, which didn't seem unreasonable at any point in the year. If you make the final four and then don't lose many pieces, you could reasonably expect a repeat performance.
For us, we lost two key pieces, and have unproven but highly rated talent replacing them. I don't think we should expect a final four, but it wouldn't be shocking IMO
All the winz and bannerz.
Seriously though, definitley in the top 3 or so in the B1G and a Sweet Sixteen run, IMO. If everything falls into place, an Elite Eight appearance is not out of the question.
I think lineup possibilities are endless because so many guys have potential to play multiple positions. Stauskas can play the 2 and 3 obviously, but I think we might see him play point guard from time to time. Irvin should be able to play 2-4 offensively, though he may be a bit slight to guard a 4. On the other hand, I expect GRIII to get bigger and be able to really defend 4s -- I also expect him to improve his handle. He should be a 2-4 offensively and defensively, and I'd love to see more isolation ability out of him. McGary has a soft touch and seems like he could be an NBA PF. Would love to see him play major minutes at the 4 if he can continue to extend his range.
My main concern is winning and I hope we put the best lineup on the floor. But I also hope that Morgan and Horford play major roles on Team 97. Morgan has been a quality starter for 3 seasons and would hate to see him be forgotten. He's an obvious pick for the team captain, if he's OK with making minute sacrifies to play with or behind Mitch and Jon. Horford still has great potential but health and consistency need to be there.
Really like the outlook for Team 97. Biggest question is who will be the guy to score when we need buckets? Classically, this role belongs to a guard. We've had Manny, Darius, Tim, and Trey in the "go-to" role in past seasons. Does Stauskas emerge? Irvin as a freshman? Does GRIII make a huge leap as a ballhandler and creator? Does Spike get that date with Kate Upton?
I really like the look of this team. We should definitely contend for a B1G championship, and have the potential for a good run in March.
We'll have Final Four potential. Of course, anything can happen in a single-elimination tournament, but with one of the best big men in the country - it would not shock me if McGary were a POY candidate - surrounded by the kinds of shooters we have, we're going to again be really, really good offensively. Defensively, we may miss Burke's on-the-ball defense, but I do think some of the returning guys will step it up in that area as well, and our rotations should be better with fewer freshmen seeing big minutes.
Robinson and McGary will carry the burden of scoring, buy we are in very good shape with experiences at every position. Hope that Walton and Irvin can blend in quickly.
I think we'll be good but maybe not elite - I doubt we will rattle off 21 straight wins to start the year. It really depends on how quickly Walton can digest and run Beilein's offense.
Has anyone from MGOBLOG done a statistical (offense and defense) review of Michigan's basketball efficiency with the Fresh Five on the floor at the same time? I'd be curious how they were able to execute.
For like 30 seconds, during the national championship game.
If this is what they are thinking going into next year that things might look quite different next year. I could see GRIII spliting his time between the 3 and 4. Mitch playing both the 4 and 5. This leaves more minutes for Horford, Morgan and Donnel. It really creates a minute crunch for minutes at the 2 and leftover 3 minutes. Levert, Stauskas, Irvin for a spot and a half. They will be battling every day at practice for minutes.
I was wondering why people weren't talking about this. Mitch seems like a natural 4 in the Association and has the mobility to keep Michigan's offense quick and aggressive. Gr3 is built for the wing. Using him as a 4 this year seemed more like a concession to having ridiculous backcourt talent.
With Hardaway gone, we'll need GR3 and Irvin to pick up wing scoring slack. I would expect them to be the focus of the perimeter offense.
I wonder if Beilein will burn a scholarship on a transfer or recruit a bigger guard to have depth in the PG position.
Next year we have the potential to start four future NBA lottery picks and Stauskus who I think will play in the league.
The future is bright.
mother fucking bright
ps. good work OP
Expectations=Pressure - We'll see how the coaches and players handle it. Hope we can add another player. A 5th year transfer would be nice to keep that scholarship open for the future.
Not being snarky but a fifth-year player at what position? With the three incoming freshmen I don't see the need for a fifth year player. Minutes are going to be tough to come by as it is without adding a player who is only going to come if he expects to play significant minutes
Agreed. Look at that depth chart--Michigan is going to have trouble giving everyone enough PT as it is. There are a lot of talented guys there. If McGary starts at the 4, one of Stauskas, lottery pick GR3, or Indiana Mr. Basketball Irvin is coming off of the bench.
Michigan's "weakest" positions are the 1 and the 5, but they're not hurting in either--they're just not two-deep in NBA talent in those spots.
Agree with this for the most part. Attracting a 5th year will be tough too. I still think that if you can get a 5th year then maybe you take one. Even if the guy just sits on the bench, it gives you a practice player and perhaps some leadership skills. Also, yeah there really aren't minutes if guys are healthy. Probably one injury even doesn't matter as minutes would go to LeVert or just different lineups but it provides some insurance in case you are unfortunate enough to have two injuried guys. All you are really losing by doing so is the scholarship money so there is little downside. There's gotta be some combo guard who avged 8 points a game in the MAC or Horizon and would be willing to mostly ride the pine in exchange for the chance to be on a B1G team that made it to the Final Four last year and has dreams of doing so again this year.
My read of this team for next year is in line with many people who've already posted.
I would like to say I love this blog and its readership. It's so nice to be somewhere where every other post isn't "2014 NCAA CHAMPTIONS!! WOOO!" To all of the thoughtful, intelligent posters - Thank you for giving me a nice place to procrastinate from work.
No way Walton redshirts. He's the #37 player in the country. Before last year, he would have been one of the highest rated recruits we've picked up in like 15 years.
is there. It's just a matter of gelling at the right time, like this year. We have lots of depth and fluidity in positions, so it might just be a matter of getting the most talented people on the floor at the same time.
One thing I really like is that this is a bigger lineup. Our PGs remain 6 footers but all of your 2/3 guys are now 6'6" with Stauskas/Irvin/GR3. Then you've got two legit sized bigs when McGary is on the floor. With size and athleticism, I really expect to see the best rebounding team that we've had under Beilein.
I expect GR3 to be assertive and a first team all conference player. You could see the skill in games where he showed out like South Dakota State. Next year he'll have to be more aggressive.
I think the main concern is shot creation off the dribble with a finishing threat. We've got shooters and to some extent GR3 and Stauskas and even occasionally McGary can take it to the rim. All need to work on their finishing. But will Walton, and to a lesser extent Irvin, be able to create penetration and then kick it out for 3s? If so then we will be really good. Albrecht can shoot and can penetrate but I'm not sure he'll be able to finish off the bounce that much which means that people will not help to him. Need a guy who can finish and force help and then hit the open man.
This team is one, especially if Stauskas puts in the effort, that can be better defensively. We'll miss Burke obviously and Hardaway but it will probably be easier to make up for their losses on offense if we have more active defenders.
Can't wait until the season starts.
I think you guys are selling next year's team short. They have final 4 potential but sometimes you lose to a team you're not supposed to in the tournament. It's a lot like the beginning of last year where people were selling the team short and thought we were ranked too high.
Next year's team could be better than this year's, but not make it to the Final Four. Funny things happen in basketball. It is dependent on the ball deciding to go in the hoop, and what kind of officials you get. In the Tournament, there is no wiggle room; one bad night and you are outta there.
The bar has been raised. I just hope we can still enjoy a team that doesn't make it all the way to the Final Four or the championship game.
Unreasonable to expect a title game appearance again I think, but this year's team was Trey Burke, a lot of great but streaky freshmen, and a streaky THJ...and more Trey Burke.
Next year, we bring back a suddenyl rampaging McGary, then sophomore versions of GRIII, Stauskas, and LeVert, and then you add a top 50 PG and a 5* 2/3. We'll miss Burke but I think the team as a whole could be better
Big thing they'll have to figure out early on is who the late clock scorer is. This year they knew they could throw it to Burke with 5 seconds left and he'd get a shot or set someone up. That's a nice security blanket.
We haz none.
38-0. National Champions. Book it.
And let me dream.
Competitive in the B10 tournament and capable of a tourney run with proper rest.
We have too much depth. We need to get rid of some players just to even the playing field for the rest of the Big-10. We run a very solid 9 deep, and an impressive 11 deep.
Our first 5 off the bench could be the starting 5 on over 2/3 the teams in the Nation next year.
Beilein's system works with players (see 2011), but can excel with gamers (see 2012 NCAA run). Trey and Tim were the two players that were a crucial part to both season's successes. Without them on the floor, Michigan will have to replace points, assists, and play makers. I seriously hope that Walton and Irvin can produce right out of the gate because we are going to need them both to be a part of the flow on offense. I think defense will improve with Morgan and McGary beasting boards. But I am unconvinced we will be an elite team unless we can consistently replace some of Trey and Tim's dribble penetration and point production.
I assume you mean the 2013 NCAA run? Our 2012 run was a lot shorter than people were hoping for.
just as good or better as last year, but its more likely that we go as far as the elite 8
Leave it all on the court.Let your nuts hang. Let em hang.
I'd buy 2!
From my perspective, a team's success will be measured by coaching and the play of a proven PG plus a very good Post man. Obviously our last year's success was Trey our PG. We still have the Post man for the new season. I would like to see a PG who can handle the ball and drive to the basket more, and when the defense collaspe on him, then he should be able to stop on a dime to shoot accurately, or dump a pass to anyone around the basket. Stop and think about it. When the game National Championship game was close at the end, the UL PG's made the plays, attacking from the high post screen/picks, and scored and pull away. I cannot stress enough on the importance of proven PG play. As for coaching, I like to see a strategy to screen the man defending our point guard, so he has more immediate options to attack the basket without a defender in front of him. If you don't screen out the defender, the PG will first have to beat his man, before he can attack the basket. GO BLUE!
I will measure next years success based on play in the conference as one bad game or one hot opponent and the tournament run is over. Staukus + Robinson + Irving should mean lots of scoring potential. The way Iriving plays should translate well to the college games. I see this team competing for a Big10 title, especially since a couple teams will take a step down. I see MSU and OSU as being the biggest competetors. Here are my concerns.
I agree with others that there is uncertainty at PG. Walton is highly regarded. But he has to show it at the next level where Burke was just the best basketball player in college period. I know people were excited about Spike but other then one torrid half he has never produced for an entire game much less an entire season. Does not mean he cannot, just that we do not know.
McGary showed a lot of value even when he does not score that we can depend on providing he keeps the fouls down. He has very high rebounding, and steal numbers. What he has to show next year is can he score and not just finish. To a lesser extent Robinson will also have to show this. Both were on the receiving end of Burke. Unless Walton seamlessly steps in both may be asked to score in more difficult situations.
How far they go plus Walton's development will determine how far Michigan goes in the regular season and the tournament. I think it is a given there will be plenty of perimeter skills. Can McGary or Robinson score effectively without a perfect setup pass? I think they have a good shot.