The 2013 National Runner-Up Wolverines open up the 13-14 season with the mighty River Hawks of UMass Lowell November 8 inside the friendly confines of our beautiful Crisler Center..
Does anyone else hear Rhapsody in Blue when they use this entrance? Must just be me. Luv u Dave.
The Hawks are making their Division 1 debut representing the America East Conference. Their new coach Pat Duquette has spent most of his career as an assistant under Al Skinner at Boston College, with a recent stint as assistant coach at Northeastern. Duquette recently made waves when he told incoming freshman recruits Jack Sullivan and Tyler Gibson(recruited by former coach Greg Herenda) that "there was no chance of us playing, and that it'd be in our best interest to leave and find somewhere else to go."
Michigan enters the season facing one major question: How do you replace 33 points, 9 assists and two 38% 3 point shooters(Trey and Tim)?
The easy answer comes from the 51 points, 17 rebounds, 13 assists and 7 steals Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin bring to the table. Those are high school statistics though. For a guesstimate on how their statistics might drop, lets look at what happened to Trey and Tim’s statistics in their freshman year.
In Trey’s senior year of high school, he averaged 23 points. That dropped to 15 his freshman year at Michigan, or 35%. Trey’s assists dropped by two(29%) and his rebounding actually improved a bit.
For Tim, his points dropped from 32!?! As a high school senior to 14(57%), his assists dropped by two(50%), and his rebounds dropped by 3(43%). Obviously I am ignoring things like strength of schedule, available minutes and recruiting rankings(which yeah, we’re talking about 3stars vs 5 stars) but the moral of the story is that College Basketball is hard. If we’re going to be fair(keeping Walton’s drop proportionalish to Trey’s and Irvin’s to Hardaway) we should probably expect:
6-1 PG Derrick Walton might drop from 26 to 17points(that still feels like a lot for a freshman) 5 rebounds(no way he doesn’t drop down from 8 rebounds at 6ft1) His assists will drop from 10 to maybe 7.
6-6 SG Zak Irvin
might drop from 25 to 11points(yes, that feels low for his recruiting rank) his assists might drop from 3 and change to oneish, and his rebounds might drop from 9 to 5ish(maybe not? Lets err on the side of caution).
That’s probably optimistic on Walton and pessimistic on Irvin(Upton-melting National Championship game aside, I think there will be more minutes for Walton at point guard), but it averages out to 28 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists. That feels right-ish(albeit quick and dirty guesstimation), and really isn’t all that far off from the 33 points and 9 assists we’re trying to replace.
Projecting McGary’s minutes up a tad, we’re looking at 13ish points and 11ish rebounds(up from 8 and 6). Doing the same for Stauskas projects to 13 and 4, GRIII to 13 and 6…Spike(who shot 55% from downtown last year!) and/or Caris(If rumors of his development are true) could easily average double digits…I don’t think it’ll be that difficult to make up those 5ish points. I suspect that Morgan’s minutes will drop some, but if Mitch or GRIII get dinged, I don’t imagine there would be a lot of drop off there. What we’re going to have is a bunch of guys averaging 13ish who are all capable of going off on any given night. But who is going to step up and give us the Trey Burke consistency? Whole lotta candidates, no guarantees.
I’m calling defense a wash. I don’t know that Walton and Irvin are going to be the defenders that Burke and Hardaway were(honestly reports of their defense are a mixed bag) but second year guys like Nik and Spike are only going to improve in this area.
I scoured the internets for interesting facts about the River Hawks, and came up with exactly one: They test baseball bats for MLB. There you are. I do not suggest looking up stats on your own, as their goriverhawks.com sports server seems by all indications to be an Apple II on a 34k modem. You will be treated to several minutes of what appears to be lovely blue boat wake while each screen loads(if it ever does). Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Umass Lowell returns 11 or 12 of 14 players, and 4 of 5 starters from a team that went 15-13 representing the Northeast 10 last year. They didn’t play anyone. Their only loss of note was 6-6 senior forward Matt Welch’s 13pts(9 of them 3pointers at 43%) and 7rebounds. Welch was the only player to throw more up from deep than star player Akeem Williams.
They held opponents to 75.6 points(44%), outscoring them by a blistering .7 points a game. The River Hawks shot a surprisingly respectable 37% from downtown(about 7 makes/game) and held opponents to 35% from deep. Opponents outrebounded them by 3/game last year, which frankly doesn’t bode well for them going up against Mitch McGary and Jordan Morgan.
The vaunted River Hawks offense depends heavily on do it all senior combo guard #11 5-10 Akeem Williams(I think he's third from the left holding a basketball as if it were wet paper mache). He scores 20 points/game averaging 35 minutes. Williams shoots 46% from the floor and 40% from deep. He also leads the team in assists and turnovers at around 3 each per game.
NE-10 Baby. All day every day.
He’s pretty good, and will be hellachallenge for whoever has the misfortune of drawing him on defense.
Fortunately there is some drop-off after that. #22 6-5 senior swingman Antonio Bivins adds 16 points and 7 rebounds shooting 55% from the field...which would be pretty good…if it wasn’t against the mighty mighty Northeast 10.
#32 5-10 Junior Guard Chad Holley kicks in 11 points 3 assists and 3 turnovers. He can play the point when they want Williams to focus on scoring…which…who else is gonna do it?
#14 5-9 Graduate Student Greg DeSantis may or may not have elegibility left(it’s a bit of a challenge to get current information). He played 18 minutes and scored 6ish.
Honestly it looks like they kinda brought everybody else into the games in kind of a peewee baseball everybody participates manner
Which sans Walter Matthau rarely seems to work out.
Prediction based on presumed sanity, logic and order in the Universe:
They’ve really just got the one or two Division 1 players. . They lost half of their 3pt production to graduation. They got outrebounded by the Northeast 10, a conference that…Let’s be honest, you’re pretty much giving me the benefit of the doubt that it’s not fictional. If it doesn’t get ugly early I’ll be pretty disappointed.
Michigan 105, UMass Lowell 64
Side note...Can you believe Beiein was rooming with Frank Martin while coaching at the World University Games? Yes, this Frank Martin http://mgoblog.com/diaries/hoops-preview-kansas-state Th
Actual link: http://www.umhoops.com/2013/07/25/john-beilein-learns-new-tricks-at-world-university-games/ They must have done it on a dare(like rooming poor Tim with Appling at the US Under 19's) To be a fly on the wall...