Mens Bball- Are you a believer now?

Submitted by ATLalumni on December 18th, 2012 at 2:48 PM

So now that we're #2 in the nation, are we still "overrated"?  I know alot of the experts are starting to become believers, not so much by who we've played, but that we pass the eye tests.  We actually LOOK like a legit top 5 team.  Plus, looking back, Pitt is now 10-1, and Kstate and NCstate are 7-2.  Horfords injury could come back and bite us, but looking at the landscape of the B1G now, I am fully converted to believer from "we're not as good as our ranking".

Go Blue...

Comments

Tater

December 18th, 2012 at 3:42 PM ^

I think the pre-season ranking was too high; it was based on speculation of how well the freshmen would perform.  Look at UK for an example of high rankings based on projected freshman stars.  

So far, the Wolverines have proven that they deserve to be in the conversation.  They pass the "eye test;" they look as talented as any team we have seen in maize and blue for a long time.  I thought it would take them a few months to fulfill their potential as a team, but this version of the Wolverines already play like they have been together for years.  The Big Ten schedule and the NCAA Tournament will be the determining factors, though.  

A number two ranking means a team deserves to be in the Final Four.  Unlike football, teams are allowed an opportunity to prove where they should be ranked where they should prove it: on the court.  This team does look like it can make it to the Final Four with a few breaks, but we'll see how it goes later in the season.

Are they the second-best team in the country?  Time will tell.  But do they deserve their ranking right now based on record and SOS?  I think they do.

Indonacious

December 18th, 2012 at 3:16 PM ^

There is a fairly significant contingent of the fan base that essentially refuses to accept the team is legitimate until we play osu. It's just frustrating because obviously everyone will have a better view then... But it's just annoying when they are more critical of their own team than even our rivals are of our own team - with really nothing to justify their level of skepticism.

vnperk

December 18th, 2012 at 4:16 PM ^

I feel like it's justified to be somewhat skeptical of just how good we are, given that the overwhelming majority of MGoBlog users (if not all of us) endured the huge letdowns after our 4-0/5-0/6-0 in football. 

I think this team looks damn good, can compete with any team in the country, and I believe the #2 ranking is justified as well.  But I completely understand skepticism on the part of any fan, if only because we've been conditioned to feel this way after the past few football seasons.

FrankMurphy

December 18th, 2012 at 5:57 PM ^

I think a lot of us are just simply not used to being in the same conversation as Duke, Kentucky, UNC, et al. Kids who are in college now were too young to remember the Fab Five days and hadn't even been born when we won it all in '89. Even for those of us who do remember those days, the memories have been buried by years of sanction-riddled mediocrity. It's the opposite of delusion.

Creedence Tapes

December 18th, 2012 at 4:30 PM ^

I'm still not 100% sure about this team. #2 rankings don't mean a hell of a lot in basketball, especially as we have yet to begin play in the BIG. I'm happy about the good start the team's had, but I also worry about giving up big leads in several games. I am anxious about how the Januar 13th - Feb 5th schedule, where we play @ # 7 Ohio, @ #13 Minn @ #10 Illinois @ #6 Indiana and back home against Ohio. This is a brutal schedule by any measure, and I will be critical in how our season will go. its great to see our team doing well, but its way too early to say we've proven everyone wrong.

Noleverine

December 18th, 2012 at 2:52 PM ^

We will obviously learn a lot more once we get into the conference schedule. If we play as well as we have been against Ohio and the likes, then the sky is the limit. Realistically, the freshmen probably will come down to earth a little bit at some point, but hopefully it won't be during an important game/stretch.

Indonacious

December 18th, 2012 at 3:21 PM ^

Do you apply this rigid standard to all

Teams before you can view them as truly legitimate? Why can't we extrapolate at all based on what we have seen so far? We haven't lost to a team like butler who was down 3 players like Indiana did...we have taken care of business like we are supposed to. It's not out fault nc state was overrated and costed us a marquee matchup.

Wolverine0056

December 18th, 2012 at 2:54 PM ^

I would say yes I am a believer now. It will be interesting when we play Ohio State, Michigan State and Indiana, but there is no denying that this year's team is pretty damn good. 

We won't go undefeated, but we will definitely be in the thick of things there at the end.

EastCoast

December 18th, 2012 at 2:56 PM ^

I definitely am excited about this team, but whether we are #2 in the country is a different story. We still get sloppy with the ball at times, we lost a key frontcourt piece in Horford, and we have yet to show that we can put away a decent team without at least some annoyance.

Is this team capable of making a Tournament run and playing up to their ranking? Sure, but the freshmen have to do a lot of growing (it would be nice if McGary got more aggressive in the post and on the boards), Hardaway needs to find his shot on a more consistent basis, Burke has to continue being Burke, and we have to avoid the injury bug.

That said, I LOVE watching this team and definitely excited to see what they are capable of when B1G basketball gets underway!

Go Blue!

EastCoast

December 18th, 2012 at 6:51 PM ^

I'm not saying they don't. I'm saying that "at times" they can be sloppy. That #12 ranking is deceptive to the extent that we haven't faced any high-end defenses yet. It will drop once we play B1G competition.

My comments were about things that could go wrong. As a Philly sports fan, I've learned to enjoy the success but be very clear-eyed about the possibility of less than full success.

This is a team that COULD win it all. But there are certain things that could go wrong that would prevent that, such as sloppiness among players not named Burke.

EGD

December 18th, 2012 at 3:02 PM ^

The way I look at it is, this team is much more talented than the teams we've had in recent history--and those teams in recent history were able to compete with, and sometimes even defeat, opponents like Duke, Ohio State, and MSU.  If the 2010-11 team could take Duke to the wire in the NCAA tournament, then why shouldn't I believe this team capable of beating anyone in the country?

SF Wolverine

December 18th, 2012 at 3:05 PM ^

We sort of ease into the B10 schedule, which is nice.  Will need to see if this team has another gear to continue to perform against much-improved competition, and in more hostile venues.  Poise will be a key factor.  Have seen that to some extent already, but that is a virtue that will need to continue to improve as they go forward. 

Needs

December 18th, 2012 at 3:34 PM ^

We may ease in to the Big 10, but as of Jan. 15, it's on for the next month. @ OSU, @Minny, Purdue, @ Illinois, Northwestern, @ Indiana, OSU, @Wisc, @MSU.After that, it eases up considerably, with home games against MSU and Indiana (to finish the season) the toughest tests. Given our schedule so far, with a bunch of wins over pretty good teams, but no elite teams, I'd think a record with 5 losses or fewer through the regular season, maybe 6 losses if we win the tournament, should put us in line for a #1 seed.

As a reference, MSU got a #1 seed last year with 7 losses after winning the Big 10 tournament, and the league is stronger this year. 

Needs

December 18th, 2012 at 3:46 PM ^

Thinking further, the #1 seeds may be harder to come by this year than last, if early season impressions hold (which they don't always): 

1. Duke (great resume and a pretty weak ACC with UNC stumbling and NC State not seeming to live up to expectations),

2. Syracuse or Louisville out of the Big East (Syracuse hasn't played anyone, Louisville looks solid, even with their center hurt).

3. Arizona (now has a good win over Florida, a road win over Clemson, and will play in a very poor Pac 12 ... though a couple of losses could derail their bid).

4. Michigan/Indiana/OSU, whomever has the better resume, with the possibility of a second #1 if any of the above stumble. The main competition for this second #1 being Florida. 

Nick

December 18th, 2012 at 4:30 PM ^

Florida outplayed them on their home court.  Arizona pulled off a few miracle steals to win the game.. but if that game was at Florida, I suspect it woulda been a 10ish point Florida win.

Besides Flordia is #1 in Kenpom and Arizona is #13.

Needs

December 18th, 2012 at 3:59 PM ^

If you want to go on pure resume of undefeated teams, I guess you could make a case for Arizona. Their win over Florida is better than anyone we've beaten (though it was more about Florida gagging the game away than anything else) and they beat Clemson away (which is stretching "good win") or maybe Illinois (wins @ Gonzaga and home to Butler). 

That's about it, and both of those are really marginal cases.

 

State Street

December 18th, 2012 at 3:12 PM ^

I will never forget the day after that loss to Minnesota during the 2010-2011 season.  Sitting at 1-6 in the B1G after missing the tournament the previous year.  I started reading things on this board and others insinuating Beilein should be fired, that he could never recruit at an elite level, and that the program was going nowhere.  I let it sink in for a few days and I was believing this to be true.

All I can say is I am a fucking idiot.

EGD

December 18th, 2012 at 3:12 PM ^

I still think the best UM team I ever saw was the 1992-93 unit when the Fab Five were sophomores, plus we still had guys like Riley, Voskuil, and Pelinka on the team.  When that team lost in the NCAA final, it was a legitimate disappointment.

Just in terms of raw talent, I don't think our current team is as good as that 92-93 squad.  But then again, who is?

ILMichFan70

December 18th, 2012 at 3:26 PM ^

I was very disappointed by that lost. I thought there was no way we would lose to UNC with the team we had. You go through both of their lineups and it has always seemed crazy to me we lost that game. Just think that the talent was very different but maybe that's because of seeing the careers that the Fab five had compared to the players on UNC in the NBA

bluebrains98

December 18th, 2012 at 4:29 PM ^

The teams are hard to compare. Our current team is incredibly talented and expertly coached. Execution and shooting have been as good as can be expected. We have a bunch of extraordinarily talented players contributing to a more superior team product.

The Fab 5 won on brute force, athleticism and intimidation. I don't remember the same kind of sophisticated offenses being executed the way Beilein has our current guys running. I could be wrong, but this is seems to be the main distinction between the two teams as far as I'm concerned.

acnumber1

December 18th, 2012 at 3:14 PM ^

I'll start believing when the preview/prediction threads start coming out 4 days before tipoff.  

 

OP- thank you for not making this a prediction thread for the EMU game.

robmorren2

December 18th, 2012 at 3:20 PM ^

We're a scoring big man away from my idea of a perfect team. A great pg, 2 athletic wings that can score, a floor spacing sniper ... if you added a post up 5 man we'd be the perfect mold. That being said, I'd rather have a great PG than a great big man if given the option.

robmorren2

December 18th, 2012 at 6:04 PM ^

It'd be different if the offensively inept bigs were 7' shot blockers or rebounding machines. Unfortunately our best shot blocker is the PG. McGary has shown flashes of being a monster rebounder, but his shot blocking ability is low & his low post offense is limited to bunnies/dunks. The other thing that could work is if one of the 5's could consistently knock down a jump shot. Then you could work the pick & roll and pick & pop. The thing that REALLY stalls our offense is when the other team has a big that can hedge hard and smother Burke. Theres no threat of the guy setting the pick to slide over for a dump pass from Burke & knock down the 18 footer. With all that being said, Morgan has shown flashes of being that missing piece. He did it against Sullinger last year and against Northwestern a couple times as well. He just needs to find medium ground where he can be consistently counted upon for 8-12 points a game. It looks as if his FT shooting has improved, which could be one thing that helps with that consistency.

Rocking Chair

December 18th, 2012 at 3:24 PM ^

I've been a believer from the day I first watched Cazzie, Ollie, Larry, George and their teammates play at leaky Yost a "few" years back.   And no, young fellers, they weren't on skates.

OmarDontScare

December 18th, 2012 at 3:27 PM ^

I love the people who like to say "We're Too Young!" and "Not Ready Yet.". Newsflash people, it's 2012 not the mid-90s. I know we haven't been Elite in a long time so maybe UM fans haven't paid much attention to College Bball but the way we're constructed right now is ideal.

The best talent leaves for the NBA after 1 or maybe 2 years if you're lucky. You've got to strike when you've got the pieces and that's what we have in 2012-13.

Anyone really think Burke comes back next year? I would absolutely love that but it's probably in his best interest to leave depending on the rest of his season obviously. Not that we want to be like Kentucky but guess why Calipari attracts top talent? He consistently puts guys into the 1st Round. That's what we're on the verge of especially with our facilities and the momentum we have with all the exposure we're currently getting.

UM Bball is finally back for good. Let's reclaim the state and put MSU back in its rightful place - Izzo should get a ton of credit for taking advantage of UMs sanctions and poor coaching hires but those of us over 30 know who the real Bball program in the state is (all things being equal).