Starting 5 Next Year? Bench?

Submitted by BILG on March 17th, 2012 at 5:32 AM

Losing in the first round is brutal, sucks balls, etc.  But so goes the tournament and a 1 loss elimination format.  Same thing that makes it great, makes it suck when you are the higher seed that falls early.  Expectations are the mother of disappointment.

Anyways, what do we look like next year.  Starting 5?

PG Burke

SG Hardaway

C Horford / Morgan / McGary?

SF Robinson / Smot

PF Smot / McGary / Morgan?


Obviously this latest recruiting class gives Beilein a lot more depth and flexibility....We may actually be able to "go small" now as a strategy or change of pace instead of it being the defining characteristic or our team.  What does our starting 5 look like though?  Will Beilein stay small to start the year or will he throw out the big bodies.  I know he loves bigs that can shoot the 3, so I see Smot getting a lot of minutes.  The only positions that seem set in stone are Burke at the point and Hardaway at the shooting guard.





March 17th, 2012 at 6:32 AM ^

But I frankly would not mind seeing Smote take a big step forward and grab the starting 4 spot but if McGary is the real deal it may be tough to keep him on the bench.


March 17th, 2012 at 11:59 AM ^

I think the gut reaction to last night is to insert two incoming 5-stars into the lineup, but I think by the time next season rolls around, cooler heads will prevail.  I expect Smotrycz to take a significant leap forward over the offseason, and I think he will benefit greatly from gaining some strength and being allowed to play his more natural position (4 vs 5).  He started the season really hot, and his performance really suffered when Horford went down for the year.

Next year we will be getting McGary, Robinson, and Stauskas coming in, and Horford (as a RS sophomore) back from injury.  That should go a long ways toward giving us more fouls inside, and allowing us to play a little deeper than the 7 man rotation we had going this year.

Start of Season: Burke, Hardaway, Robinson, Smotryzc, Morgan

Big Ten Season: Burke, Hardaway, Robinson, Smotrycz, McGary

Jon Benke

March 17th, 2012 at 11:51 PM ^

So you can all read this...

Mitch McGary is going to start, from day one, and if you disagree, seriously, I don't know what to really say.  The guy is a rebounding machine, above all else.  His scoring might take some time - sure, he's been tagged with that of late, though his defense and rebounding have remained with the label - OUTSTANDING!  And what does this team need, possibly a close second to better shot selection, though a big guy that gets you 10/15+ rebounds a game, works around the rim, and when he has the ball close to the hole -- he knows what to do with it.  Now, let it be said, I love this team, love what they did this year, but there was always one thing lacking, and Mitch McGary will give us that from day one.  This is a kid with tremendous pro potential, lets not forget that ... more so than any player on the current roster, and to expect a kid like him to come off the bench...  It's a crime.  Reminds me of KEVIN LOVE!!

His offensive game might take time, but his post presence will be instant.  And that's something we need.

snarling wolverine

March 17th, 2012 at 2:45 PM ^

He's adapted more than people realize.  He used to only recruit posts who could shoot from the perimeter, but changed things for Morgan.  He's also become much more PG-centric in his offense the past two years.  Three 3-pointer, for that matter, wasn't even around when he started his coaching career.


March 17th, 2012 at 12:10 PM ^

This is what the rotation SHOULD be, but we'll see how committed JB is to his offense. Normally he'd want a 4 that can shoot, but we would be a better team with Morgan and McGary on the floor together. 

snarling wolverine

March 17th, 2012 at 1:38 PM ^

I think we need to let these guys actually get on campus before we flat-out assume they're good enough to start over returning guys (and even pre-emptively criticize the coaches for them!).

Smotrycz was playing really well in December, back when he was exclusively playing the 4.  Horford's injury forced him to start backing up Morgan at the 5 and it took a lot out of him (and turned him into a foul magnet).  I think he can be a double-digit scorer if he's back at the 4, his natural spot.


March 17th, 2012 at 7:42 AM ^

for this.  Last night was really brutal.  I can't start to think about next season right now.  Not only did we lose to Ohio, tOSU's little bro, but the remainder of the tourney is now a "can't watch" for me.  This has been a very good spring but that put a major damper on things.  It is probably going to take me until Augusta to be able to consider next year for this team.  I have too weeks of trying to act like I am not devastated ahead of me, and that takes its toll.


March 17th, 2012 at 11:15 AM ^

Dude, seriously? It's a game. Honestly, I've been wanting to talk about this on the board for a while, but the general sentiment is to wait until this season is over before we talk about next season. It's an exciting topic. If it pains you too much to think about basketball, then stay the fuck out of basketball threads.


March 17th, 2012 at 12:02 PM ^

Pull it together man.  We drew a tough matchup against a really hot team, and deservedly lost.  This kind of matchup happens all the time.  We weren't gonna win it all this year anyways, we just exited a game or two early.  On the same day, two larger fanbases expecting to make final 4 runs saw their 2 seeds drop to 15s.  They should be feeling much worse than you.


March 17th, 2012 at 7:41 AM ^

McGary will be starting next year as a true frosh ala Burke if he's as good as advertised. We need toughness and rebounding in a terrible way and he should provide just that.


March 17th, 2012 at 12:04 PM ^

Burke started because he was the only PG on the roster, freshman or not.  He also came in with uncanny maturity and leadership ability for an 18 yr old.  This is not the norm in college basketball.

McGary is actually older than Burke, but I wouldn't expect him to come in and have the same impact on the game as Trey.  It may take a while for him to gel with the team and learn the offense, and he has a less clear cut path to seeing the floor, with Morgan and Horford a couple years ahead of him in the system.


March 17th, 2012 at 5:59 PM ^

Yea but who is standing in front of McGary when he comes in? Morgan? Horford? McGary is a five star prospect and he turned down some basketball powerhouses. He should be able to come in and start eventually during the year if not off top. What he brings to the table as far as rebounding, hustling, and intensity doesn't take experience or coaching. I expect him to show up big.

what would Bo do

March 17th, 2012 at 8:12 AM ^

Does anyone else besides me think that losing Horford was a huge loss this year?  He looked really good early in the year.  I haven't heard much about his recovery up to this point, but if healthy, he gives us a fourth legitimate big man.  I am so glad I won't have to suffer through Smot getting dominated in the paint anymore.  Don't get me wrong, I think he is a good player, but he cannot defend the post or rebound with 5s in the B1G.  


March 17th, 2012 at 8:20 AM ^

Beileins entire offensive set is predicated on having a 4 that shoots three pointers. It's why Novak plays there, and Smotrycz.

Thus, I really don't see Morgan and McGary starting, unless one of them gets some touch, quickly.

Further, Hardaway has played SF for every second of his career to this point. I expect that to continue.

My guess:

Stauskas/some Hardaway/Brundidge


March 17th, 2012 at 8:39 AM ^

I think you're just about right.

No way we see much of Morgan/McGary on the court together. I think their minutes wil be mostly split (with Horford as well)

I think Stauskas gets a ton of minutes, especially if he can defend well. I do think we'll see a little bit of Hardaway at the 2 as well.

At the 4, I think the rotation will be Smot, Robinson, and Beifeldt, with Robinson also getting some minutes at the 3.

San Diego Mick

March 17th, 2012 at 1:15 PM ^

I think Stauskas has great ball skills and will spell Trey often at the point. Brundidge didn't improve at all during the season, Trey was wore down more so at the end because of this IMO. Horford injury just killed us and kept the team from getting a couple more wins in the reg season and 2-3 more tourney wins.
Horford would've provided a shot blocking threat that would've limited OHIO from driving the lane and hitting so many uncontested layups. He would've also provided for a fresher team with the depth and more apt positions for certain guys, like Smot.
My lineup for next year:
That's 11 deep and then you have Mclimans and Christain available for some minutes if needed for foul trouble. Akunne can also provide some decent minutes at the point, these 3 guys will be in the system for a third season and that will help certainly. We potentially have 14 guys that can contribute anywhere from somewhat to a lot. Thank goodness the recruiting improved the past couple seasons, I was so tired of the lack of depth thus far under Beilein. And with this depth comes a much more energetic, fresh team going into the tourney.


March 17th, 2012 at 5:28 PM ^

(probably posted by Nik's dad):

"Baylor University is on their foreign trip and has stopped in Toronto for a few games. Canada Basketball put together a team consisting of Canadian highschool players to give them a taste of college basketball. Although Baylor handled the Canadian team easily, the Canadians performed very well against one of the most respected NCAA D1 teams."


March 17th, 2012 at 1:16 PM ^

I agree, Coach wants a 4 that can spread the floor with his shot. This will keep Smot in the rotation. If McGary can shoot the 18ft he will get some PT at the 4 too.

I also think Coach wants two people who can handle the ball and Stauskas is that second man. He can immediately step in as a bigger more talent Stu from Day 1...and he will. I just hope the he and Burke can figure out how to defend opposing guards especially the quick ones that gave us trouble all year. I'm thinking we will go a lot more zone next year with our new size.

I liked your lineup but made one change. Moran starts (he has really improved his game and know Belien's system). I think McGary backs up Morgan and Smot and still gets his minutes. McGary and Morgan won't play together much. Just like Robinson and THjr won't play together much..the latter probably will a little more because Coach will probably try and go small with Robinson at the four and playing zone on D.


main lineup to start the year


Stauskas/some Hardaway/Brundidge






March 17th, 2012 at 10:38 PM ^

Bielien adapts to his personnel.  He's a good coach who will find a way to put his best 5 players on the court.

While, yes, he clearly prefers to have floor-spacing players in the front-court, it doesn't necessarily mean that, for example, Horford, is going to be relegated to 4th-big minutes.  Both Horford and McGary have the potential to be quality jump shooters, even if they aren't taking a lot of 3s, they can keep defenses honest (potentially).

Moreover, Bielien's could be willing to sacrifice offense for defense, especially with Burke and Hardaway's scoring talent.

Given the depth at forward and the lack of it at guard, there's a good chance that Hardaway slides to the 2 spot.  It's hard for me to imagine Brundidge and Stauskas getting 40 or so minutes between them, even though I do think Stauskas will be a very good player.

I do agree that Smotrycz will play primarily the 4, but not because he's a 3-shooter, but because he's way to slow to defend most 3s.  Unless Michigan plays more zone (tougher with a lot of young players) Smotrycz is a defensive liability against most teams, especially when he's shifted to the 3 spot - where you don't even get the benefit of creating an offensive mis-match like when he's at the 5.

Regardless, it's going to be very interesting to see how Bielien handles this roster given how different it is from any of his past teams (AFAIK).  It wouldn't surprise me to see signifiant changes to what defines a 'Bielien team'.

Kilgore Trout

March 17th, 2012 at 8:26 AM ^

I don't think we should forget about Brundidge. Having a two on the floor that Burke can swing it to who can take it hard to the basket would help keep the defense more honest. I still have high expectations for him. He has a unique skill on this roster and I hope Beilein figures out how to use it.

rob f

March 17th, 2012 at 9:39 AM ^

Thanks for bringing him up---I've been eager to see how his talents might be put to use, too.  I didn't know if there was a specific reason, other than lack of experience, for his lack of playing time (thinking Beilein was wanting to instead maximize the minutes of Stu and Zack, needing their experience while still in the race for the B1G crown), and that therefore Brundidge just didn't fit into the rotation.

Maybe now that next year's roster/rotation has incoming size and muscle (recruits plus the return of Horford), Brundidge will finally get a chance to get a lot more PT.


March 17th, 2012 at 8:31 AM ^

Having Hardaway and Robinson on the floor at the same time, unless it's a small lineup where they are both forwards, strikes me as being EXTREMELY ball-handling deficient. Part of the reason why Stu played so much is that he was capable of handling the ball and taking it up the floor. Hardaway is extremely haphazard in ball security, and Robinson isn't known for his open-court handle.

Naked Bootlegger

March 17th, 2012 at 11:55 AM ^

Agree completely with this assessment.   I haven't seen much of GRIII's handle on his highlight films, but I just can't see Burke w/ THJ & GRIII for long stretches.   I honestly didn't see a lot improvement in THJ's handle between his frosh and sophomore years, but I'm hoping it's a huge point of emphasis for him in the offseason.  Stauskas looks impressive and versatile, so I think we'll lean on him and Brundidge to assume Stu's 2-guard role.  

The other potential issue going big with Burke, THJ,and GRIII is on the defensive side.    Who will be the defensive stopper?   THJ will really have to elevate his defensive skills to guard smaller, mobile types.   I guess this question is also relevant with a smaller lineup, too.    We'll miss Stu's defensive acumen.   Or maybe a longer team will make the 1-3-1 a more viable option?