OT -- to kill some time: Michigan MSU 2012-13 matchups basketball

Submitted by michfan4borw on July 11th, 2012 at 6:03 PM

As far as basketball goes, this upcoming season brings a lot of excitement and, let's be honest, raised expectations stemming from a co-big ten championship team in 2011-12.

I'm pretty sure the Badgers and Ohio [edit: I should not have forgotten to include Indiana here] will be there in the end, but I'm more certain our team will have to go through Sparty (perhaps more than once) to reach its goals.

Since it's summer and I'm bored, I did some research to try and determine how the teams match up for the upcoming season.  I tried to state (within the parentheticals following a player's name) the position/s each player plays, with the earlier-stated position being the preference based on the player's history.  For example "TREY BURKE (1 or 2)" means that he is ideally playing at the point guard 1 position, but he could play the shooting guard 2 position if needed; small forward is position 3, power forward is position 4, and center is position 5. 

In general, I tried to group the guards into category A, the forwards into category B, and the "centers" (although bear in mind that there are few true centers playing in Big 10 basketball) into category C.  The true freshmen have traditional lettering, while returning players have names in CAPS LOCK lettering.  The bold lettering is for players expected to contribute meaningful minutes. 

The matchups are below:


KEITH APPLING (1 or 2) and Garry Harris (2 or 1) and Denzel Valentine (1 or 2) and TRAVIS TRICE(1) (with DAN CHAPMAN (2) and KEENAN WETZEL (2) and JOE SWEENEY (1) in relief role)



TIM HARDAWAY JR (2 or 1) and TREY BURKE (1 or 2) and Nick Stauskus (2 or 1) (with COREY PERSON (2 or 1) and JOSH BARTELSTEIN (1) and [edit: Carl LeVert (2 or 1) and]Spike Albrecht (1 or 2) and ESO AKUNNE (2 or 1) in relief roles)



BRANDEN DAWSON (recovering from knee injury) (3 or 4) and DERRICK NIX (4 or 5) and BRANDAN KEARNEY(2 or 3) (with RUSSELL BYRD (4 or 3) and COLBY WOLLENMAN (3) in relief role)



Glenn Robinson III (3 or 4 or 2) and JORDAN MORGAN (4 or 5) and MATT VOGRICH (3) (with MAX BIELFELDT (4 or 3 or 5) in relief role)



ADREIAN PAYNE (5 or 4) and Matt Costello (5 or 4) and Kenny Kaminski(4 or 5) (with ALEX GAUNA (4) in relief role)



Mitch McGary (4 or 5) and JON HORFORD (healed from injury) (4 or 5) (with BLAKE MCLIMANS (5 or 4) in relief role)


What I notice is Beilein has only 3-6 players that can demand or expect major playing time (at least 20 minutes per game) based on previous production and/or recruiting hype.  For Izzo, I think it's more like 7-9 players that could or will expect or demand that type of PT. 

I think because of this distinction, Beiliein will have more freedom to operate Xs and Os with regard to changing lineups throughout the season.  There's less pressure for him to spread a limited resource (minutes playing time) around.  For example, he only has to give Stauskus and Spike minutes if they earn them.  In contrast, the guards coming in for MSU are highly touted (by Izzo himself) and are competing against two proven guards in Appling and Trice.  That group will test Burke and THJ for sure, but I prefer our team's tandem (with our freshman and uppperclassmen supporting them).

Group B is a little more difficult for me to analyze, however with Dawson still recovering, I have to give the edge to Michigan.

Our Group C is unproven and Sparty has talent and experience there.  I have to give MSU the edge here.  Hopefully we can close the gap with regard to rebounding and defensive shot blocking with our infusion of talent. [edit: McLimans, fwiw, is a player with length and experience.]

Both teams have 10 players that (most likely) will be able to give productive minutes.  How many minutes does each player get?  That's up to the coaches obviously, but there are only 200 minutes to give out in each regulation game. 

Anyway, it looks like there will be some great games to anticipate.  I wouldn't trade our group A and group B players for Sparty's or any other teams'.  I think our group C has the most to prove though; I'll obviously be rooting for them.

I most look forward to seeing how Stauskus adjusts to the college game, and how well Horford bounces back after much time away.  I have to believe by now, Horford can provide rebounding and defense, and maybe even put-backs and shot blocking.

Anyway, as I stated earlier, I'm bored, so I welcome any and all feedback on this topic.  Thanks, all.



Space Coyote

July 11th, 2012 at 6:12 PM ^

Izzo has pretty much always spread his minutes and worked the depth of the bench.  Sometimes I think it has hurt his team by getting guys out of a rhythm (I think he really did it with his bigs), but it also keeps players well rested.  So I think it's kind of a push as far as advantage, and I think it becomes more advantage Izzo as the season wears on (more players that can potentially contribute later because they have during the season and are fresher now).  I would never call depth a disadvantage.


July 11th, 2012 at 8:10 PM ^

I'm not saying Indiana isn't going to be good or anything, but last year they won 3 Big Ten Road Games, and lost to powerhouse teams like Minnesota and Nebraska. They finished 5th in the conference as well. So while winning the crown is definitely an attainable goal for them, let's hold off on crowning them


July 11th, 2012 at 7:07 PM ^

I see things differently in this way:



Spike Albrecht (1)




I doubt we will see either Burke or Albrecht receive minutes at any position other than point guard (36/4 average minute split) and conversely, I doubt we will see anybody else at the point due to our paucity of true ballhandlers and the unlikelihood that Spike is talented enough as a freshman to force a two lead guard (both under 6' no less) lineup. I don't think Morgan has or ever ill play any position other than the 5 in Beilein's offense do to his lack of ability to stretch the floor and his proven effectiveness at rebounding and defending opposing bigs.

I like your player comparissons to MSU and I'm interested to see how their offense functions with so many players that like the ball in their hands.


July 11th, 2012 at 7:12 PM ^

First off,  you missed Caris LeVert at the guard spot.....for what that's worth. 

Beilein has always played a short bench and Izzo always plays a deep bench.  Perhaps that will change as our depth improves, but it remains to be seen.  Michigan will play Burke and Hardaway a ton.  Morgan will be given every chance to play a lot unless Horford and/or McGary demand playing time.  All three should play a fair amount of minutes.  GR3 and Staukas should play a lot too.  That's 7 guys right there and Vogrich will get his minutes.  Playing an 8 man rotation is about on par with past seasons and then you figure Bielfeldt may get a chance too. 

MSU will be very good (especially if Dawson returns to form).  But I think Burke is the trump card. 

PG - Edge to Michigan

SG - Push.  Hardaway has limitless potential, but MSU has depth and talent. 

SF - MSU?  If GR3 lives up to his potential this go be closer, but Dawson/Kearney could be very good. 

PF/C - MSU. These two positions are lumpted together for both.  Michigan has four guys that could play solid minutes with height, youth, defense, and rebounding.  The Nix/Payne combo is proven and Payne has the potential to be very good. 

Losing Smotrycz hurts most here since he had the potential to lock down the PF position and give us an advantage.


July 11th, 2012 at 8:30 PM ^

I think there's a lot larger drop-off from Burke to Appling than people realize.  Everybody seems to be high on Appling, but if you actually go back and look at what he's done, he really hasn't done that much.  Green was the guy that ran the offense last year.  Anybody who thinks otherwise wasn't watching those games.

Couple other notes.  Hardaway will have a clear advantage over MSU's shooting guards, unless they somehow get way better and Hardaway backs off.  I think GR3 will be fantastic and make it close, but the front court should be all MSU, although I think the gap will close from last season.

Really, I think we are lined up pretty well for next year and against MSU.  They are almost always going to have a "big man" advantage over us and other teams.  However, I really want to stress that I think there is a big gap in the backcourt between Michigan and MSU.  The duo of Burke and Hardaway is going to be killer next year.


July 11th, 2012 at 10:05 PM ^

but I give a healthy THJ the advantage over the starter at the 2 for MSU (one of two true freshman or Appling or Trice).  This doesn't even factor in my Sam-Webb-gutt feeling that Stauskus will have a good to great freshman year.

I think until we see Dawson back to form, SF is a push, because Kearney hasn't shown much that I can tell.  Green was so integral to the off./def. schemes at this position or at the 4.

Front court is a Sparty advantage, with Horford and Beifeldt having the most upside as x-factors (its unknown what they bring, but they've had time to develop physically at least) though.  Just like at the other positions for both teams, there are highly touted true freshmen competing at the 5 for MSU.


July 11th, 2012 at 7:13 PM ^

Just for further information, Bacari Alexander tweeted the following earlier:

"Everyone is curious about summer workouts right? Here's what you need to know, Rookies are very smart and Vets have improved tremendously."

He's had a lot more info about individual players and the team today.  Worth checking out.



July 12th, 2012 at 12:47 AM ^

Sparty has some decent players coming back, but nobody who is going to consistently drop jaws or make eyes bug out.  MIchigan has a lot of "ifs" with the young guys.  They have a pool of three players from which any can end up being a major star as a freshman, but there is a small chance that all will struggle a bit their first year.  

Young teams in football often get hurt and pushed around becuase they haven't had time to grow.  It doesn't matter nearly as much in basketball, and you can expect the young guys to contribute right away.  If the officials call basketball instead of football, Michigan will match up extremely well against Sparty.

The only question to me is whether the Wolverines will be as good as Sparty this year, or better.


July 12th, 2012 at 1:52 AM ^

We'll beat them in AA for sure and the game in East Lansing will be a toss up but I'm leaning towards a win for the good guys. You can call me a homer but I like our chances of a series sweep. I think the big ten will come down to us and Indiana.


July 12th, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^

The biggest difference I see between how Michigan matches up this next year vs. the past few years is Michigan's increased athleticism.  All due respect to Zack Novak and Stu Douglass, but it will be nice to have Mitch McGary, Nick Stauskas, and GRIII (in addition to the very athletic Burke and Hardaway) match up with MSU's athleticism.