May 9th, 2011 at 9:10 PM ^

i was surprised to see michigan still in top 25, AFTER d-morris decided to go pro.

im not saying michigan shouldnt be in top 25 because they are good enough to beat any team in the country. but i thought people were going to drop michigan just because d-morris left.


May 9th, 2011 at 9:12 PM ^

Not to sound like a pessimist, but the loss of Morris definitely takes this team a few steps back, IMO. They were making great strides at the end of last season and to lose their point guard and arguably their best player stunts that growth. I would be confident in a Top 25 ranking with Morris. Without him, I'm a little hesitant.

I still think they can be a solid team next year, but I think they finish on the fringe of the Top 25. Definitely finishing in the top 4 in the B10.


May 9th, 2011 at 9:23 PM ^

i can agree with you early on.  however, i think at least one of the frosh guards will be solid contributors by the time the big ten season rolls around.  and the team as a whole will be better than last year if each returning player just improves marginally - smotrycz's improvement will be the key, imo.

i just hope we don't lose too many games we shouldn't early in the season.


May 10th, 2011 at 12:16 AM ^

The beginning of the season should be telling. IIRC, we play some marquee opponents (Kansas, Texas, Dook..) to kick off 2011 in the Maui Invitational so suffice it to say that our young guards get thrown into the fire early. I expect some growing pains, but I hope that with returning everyone and the expected improvement of Hardaway and Smotrycz we can be ranked through the middle and end of season.


May 10th, 2011 at 8:26 AM ^

It should be noted that Michigan's season will not begin in Hawaii. The "championship" round will be held Nov. 21-23. Prior to that Michigan will host a Maui "opening game" at Crisler sometime between Nov. 11 and Nov. 17. In addition, I'm guessing that U-M's schedule will include two other pre-Maui home games--one of which will be an exhibition.


May 10th, 2011 at 8:49 AM ^

If there's one thing we learned in the 90's, it's that freshmen can come in and contribute right away if they are talented enough and work hard enough.  For that matter, anyone who forgot probably relearned it last year with THJ.  Usually, smaller players with a lot of talent can contribute earlier because they aren't still growing into their bodies.  

Trey Burke will be able to run this team, and anything points he scores will be a bonus.  There are plenty of combo guards, too.  Remember also that this was a young team last year, and will only get better.  JB has his own players now and his system is ingrained to a point where the upperclassmen can now help the underclassmen learn it.  

The team now has enough players, enough height, and enough age that they won't walk onto the court with a physical disadvantage to overcome very often.  Also, they have enough experience to avoid some of the "bad" losses they have sustained at the hands of "inferior" teams the last two seasons.

They might get off to a slow start while Burke learns how to run the team, and could even start 1-3 for their "inland Maui" game and three on the island, but they will be fine, and the tough games at the beginning will pay dividends during the Big Ten schedule and at tournament time.


May 10th, 2011 at 11:31 AM ^

I seem to remember they had UM at 15 in the first "pre-season" poll right at the end of last season (before DMo left). So dropping 10 spots b/c of Morris leaving seems about right to me. Can't find the link that had them 15 though I'm pretty sure it was on espn.


May 9th, 2011 at 9:14 PM ^

but I think being a preseason bubble team is more realistic. I can see us being better than this if everything goes right, i.e. Hardaway picks up where he left off, Smot becomes more consistent, Brundidge provides a scoring threat at the 2 that we haven't had, and that Burke's ability to shoot partially offsets what he won't be able to match in Morris. But that's a lot of ifs.


May 9th, 2011 at 10:47 PM ^

 I totally agree. It makes sense that Burke is the biggest question mark heading into the season because of who he is replacing. If he can come in and not miss a beat, this team is definitely a Top 25 team. But much more likely, there will be some growing pains. I'm not saying they will be bad or Burke is a bad player, but it is hard to put that much pressure and expectation on a freshman.

Wettin 3's

May 9th, 2011 at 9:18 PM ^

Wow I am pleasantly surprised, but I will take the love from Mr. Katz. Though the point guard role is the hardest for a freshman to fill, I think Burke and Brundidge will do a good job filling in that space. Illinois and Purdue lost all their studs, so I could really see us finish in the Top 3 in the Conf.


May 9th, 2011 at 9:43 PM ^

I think Katz is probably being a little optimistic even with the loss of Morris, but at the same time there is an imbalance in the B1G heading into next year, and the team will have enough parts returning to make a decent run.  I could see them finishing in the top-25 at the end of the year, but those first few weeks are going to be rough as the guys figure out how to play without Morris at the helm.


May 10th, 2011 at 12:59 AM ^

OT, but I wonder how the Oakland Grizzlies are going to do without Kito Benson around.  There was a time when OU was arguably the best team in the state.


May 10th, 2011 at 1:19 AM ^

It was kind of nice to see him listing several players and helping to get their name out their. Although I think Smotrycz should probably be added to the list of significant contributors.


May 10th, 2011 at 4:21 PM ^

The point is that one player doesn't make a team 15-17 spots better. I disagree to a point, but if you thought UM was top 10 good with Morris, you probably liked the other pieces enough to put them in the top 25 without him.


May 10th, 2011 at 6:49 AM ^

we have to play early on, and that could keep us out of the post-season. I'm excited about Burke AND Brundidge, but it's pretty rare that freshmen excel anywhere, let alone in the B10. Look forward to being proved wrong. . . 

Hail Beilein

May 10th, 2011 at 8:33 AM ^

AS important as everybody is making him out to be early on. I think JB is going to roll with Stu at the point in Maui and beyond until Burke starts to blossom. I expect lots of growing pains early wen Burke is running the offense. You've gotta be a cocoon before you can be a butterfly...
<br>Maui is going to be huge. We need to get a win or two and get some confidence going into season against some quality opponents (something we lacked last year). If we go 0-fer in Maui, we will be desperate for an answer at the point most likely moving forward, with nobody truly ready to fill the role (see 09-10). Unlike that year though, Stu has seen enough time on the ball that he is comfortable in that role when the situation calls for it.


May 10th, 2011 at 11:13 AM ^

No Kalin Lucas and no Durrell Summers.  They lost a few players to transfer like Sherman.  They are lacking a true PG(Appling is more of a SG) and a player who can score (Maybe Brandon Wood can fill that role).  Draymond Green is best fit as a complimentary player.  Devlin Roe hasn't lived up to his ranking coming out of HS.  Nix has been overrated(always has been since he won Mr. Basketball).

We'll see how Brendan Dawson do next season....


May 10th, 2011 at 11:46 AM ^

Bradley University will play at Michigan in Dec 2011 and UM will return the trip to Carver Arena in Peoria, Ill in 2012.  UM should not have any trouble with Bradley either year FYI.

Pat Beilein, John's son, is the new DBO of Bradley, under new head coach Geno Ford.

This is great for me as I have another chance to see UM play in central Illinois and take it to one of my most hated schools (Illinois State and BU are big rivals).