Your projected michigan basketball 2011-2012 lineup

Submitted by vaneasy2338 on March 21st, 2011 at 10:58 PM

I know Brian already touched on this a bit in one of his recent posts, but I think this deserves its own thread with the buzz around the program. I have to be honest if Burndidge or Burke can play, I see us having a very solid 8 to 9 man rotation. I'm curious to see (if Smot countinues to develop) whether we go to a lineup with a bit more size or stick with the four guard lineup. My guess is we stay with the small lineup because I can't see either Douglass or Novak not starting as seniors.

Here's my guess:

PG: Morris/Burke/Douglass



PF:Novak/Smot/Christian or Mclimans


Just a couple of my thoughts about next season:

1. I think we need one of the backup PFs or Cs step up and become a defensive specialist. My guess is that Colton Christian can be that guy. We saw him be that guy (albeit for a short period of time) against Tennessee.

2. If Burke isn't ready to play right away, then I would have Douglass as the backup point guard with Brundidge playing 15-20 minutes a night. No reason to have Morris play 38 minutes a night again.

3. If Horford steps we are going to have a hard time getting everybody the minutes they deserve (not that this would be a bad problem). At that point I couldn't see us keeping Novak at the 4 which could create a logjam at 1,2,3.

3. I wouldn't be surprised if somehow Eso Akunne found a way to play 5 minutes a night.


aMAIZEN slot ninja

March 21st, 2011 at 11:49 PM ^

No Douglass hate, just stating the facts. He is a career 34% shooter from behind the arc. When we need him the most to contribute he rarely does (exception of the MSU shot). Looks great against inferior competition but look at his numbers vs the big boys like osu,wisconsin,msu,ku,purdue,duke,illinois. He doesnt step up in the biggest moments.

I believe he does start only because he is a senior who has four yrs under the system. Experience goes a long way but doesnt mean your exempt from being pushed aside if someone else is out preforming you.  If Trey and/or Carl continue to improve throughout the season dont be surprised if John goes with either one of them over Stu.


March 22nd, 2011 at 12:35 AM ^

He's the best perimeter defender and you're saying he doesn't step up when we need him most?  He's stepped up and run the offense when Morris was in foul trouble or letting frustration get to him.  He's had several big games in his career.  I'm excited about the freshmen coming in but the idea that either can walk in and be the defender or have the command of the offense that Douglass does seems a little optimistic.


March 22nd, 2011 at 9:11 AM ^

34% is good for the top 13 all time at Michigan. Not exactly a negative if you meant it as one. I also remember the UConn game three years ago when he almost single handedly willed us to a win on the road.…

"Four Michigan players are currently in the Top 13 in career 3-point percentage: Evan Smotrycz (8th, 38.1 percent); Hardaway Jr. (9th, 36.7 percent); Novak (12th, 34.7 percent) and Douglass (13th, 34.1 percent)."


March 21st, 2011 at 11:50 PM ^

I am not hating on Douglass, he just isn't simply as good as Morris and Hardaway. I don't care how good a starting lineup with Douglass and Novak can be, with the lack of size we won't be an elite team. It is that simple. Here's what I think will be telling next year:

Morris: is this offseason his Rondo (ceiling peaked) or DRose (develops three ball, and fans combust)?

Stu: Can he adjust to being the sixth man? Or, if he starts, can he be anything more than the occaisonal hot hand, who plays both G spots (heh, heh), with good D?

Hardaway: I don't even know where to start. Sky's the limit. Does he grow enough to be considered a legit SF?

Smot: is he the Northeast's answer to Pittsnoggle? Does Beilein already think this and salivates like Pavlov's dogs?

Morgan: Similar to Hardaway, so impressive so fast that it is hard to project.

Novak: Is he still the captain? Now that the young kids have aged a bit, what will his numbers look like next year?


March 23rd, 2011 at 12:15 AM ^

This is really the only thing I disagree with here. Even if Novak's numbers go down--which I highly doubt will be the case if he is moved to the 3 where he no longer has to use so much energy on D--he is still the captain. Same with Stu. CJ Lee and David Merritt were solid but not amazing players that were still essential leaders. I don't think there is any doubt Zach and Stu will be the captains. 


March 22nd, 2011 at 12:54 AM ^

why so much love?

I really have no interest in belittling Stu but some here work oh so hard to make him a better and smarter player than he is.  He certainly works hard, but he is what he is--which means he's limited offensively--not only from the 3 (where he was supposed to excel) but he was miserable at the foul line--he cannot run the offense for more than brief periods of time (both Tennessee and Duke aggressively attacked him whenever Morris was out)--he makes questionable decisions with the ball, particularly when he drives baseline, goes up in the air and then frantically searches for someone to dump the ball to.  I disagree that he understands the offense better than Morris (and he can't run the pick-and-roll), and finally I have no idea how anyone can believe he's our best on-ball defender--point guards regularly ate us up (Taylor and Lucas come immediately to mind)--though tn his defense we faced many good ones. 

And having said this, I like Stu just fine.  But he ain't no Novak. He was our best fit this year for a variety of reasons--largely because Smotrych wasn't ready.  But to move to the next level, someone will need to step up and take some of his time--whether it is one of the frosh, Vogrich or a second  big man.  I want to love Stu--but  preferrably in  the  way I loved Rob Pelinka.

Magnum P.I.

March 22nd, 2011 at 1:27 AM ^

I cringed every time Stu took the ball up the court this season. He got clean picked more times than I want to remember, which rarely happens in the college game. He's a liability on offense, and I don't think he's any better than Morris or Novak defensively.


March 21st, 2011 at 11:58 PM ^

I am really curious about yours (and other fan's) projections that Stu and Novak both start. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but it seems criminal given:

1) Stu's stats from freshman year have regressed. He has shown limited improvement while most others have thrived.

2) Smot, Horford, and Morgan will all rotate for our big spots and two should start. Horford had a legendary weight gain while still remaining agile enough to take it to the rack for the jam. Smot, excluding his threes against Tenn, really showed a lot in the tourney. He will be our third option next year, IMO. Deadly shot and can drive bigs to the rack. A matchup nightmare.

You guys are basically saying, "incumbants win". Look at how our lineup changed throughout the season. It is fluid. And the younger players who showed more improvement get the nod over Stu, IMO. Hell, I think Vogrich is a better option at this point.


March 22nd, 2011 at 12:02 AM ^

than just stats. He's their best on the ball defender and knows the system.  He doesn't turn the ball over and can play both PG and SG.


Novak will play the four because that's his best position and that's where he's most productive.


Michigan played a lot better when Stu was inserted into the starting lineup and move Novak to the 4.  I expect that to continue to happen next year.


March 22nd, 2011 at 12:44 AM ^

I don't agree that Novak is most productive at the 4.  He was absolutely shooting the lights out when he was playing the 3.  After the switch his 3-point percentage dropped by quite a bit over the rest of the regular season.  Only in the two tourney games did he finally seem to regain his stroke.  

Braylon 5 Hour…

March 22nd, 2011 at 10:04 AM ^

The lineup switch for Michigan was all about Smotrycz hitting the wall/not playing well at the 4, NOT Novak's failings at the 3.  As good as Novak is FOR HIS SIZE as a rebounder, bigger guys are better AND necessary against the teams we play against.  We can always break the small lineup out and be very effective, but we're not a championship level team with Novak guarding Mbakwe one on one.  And why should we do that to the poor kid? He can guard small forwards and help out on the boards just as easily from the 3. 

Magnum P.I.

March 22nd, 2011 at 1:32 AM ^

I don't know why people are granting Douglass "best on the ball defender," but I'll give you that.

Our team, as a whole, doesn't turn the ball over frequently. That's built in to the system. Douglass turns the ball over a lot, relatively. He gets picked more than any other player when he's handling the ball, and he makes awful decisions on driving the lane where he gets blocked, heaves up a terrible shot, or puts himself in an impossible situation to salvage a pass.

Everyone coming back next year knows the system.

We'll have plenty of talent that can play the one next season.

I don't dislike Stu, but I agree with what Magnus said about him on his blog: he thinks he's better than he is. I'd like to see his minutes scaled back considerably next season as we graduate to the next level as a team.


March 22nd, 2011 at 7:08 PM ^

No, you're misinterpreting what I'm saying.  I'm saying things need to be looked at in context.  Morris may have a higher turnover rate, but he's a) handling the ball more and b) probably being checked by the opposition's best or second-best defender.  

I'm not a very good basketball player.  If I'm playing against eighth graders, I sure as hell better not get my pocket picked.  But if I'm playing a pickup game against a very good defender, then it's more excusable to get the ball stolen once in awhile.

So if Douglass's turnover rate were as high as Morris's, that would indeed be a very bad thing.  But just pointing out that Stu's rate is lower doesn't really tell us much.  


March 22nd, 2011 at 3:33 PM ^

But what team where you watching this year when stating that he does not turn the ball over?  He had 2 turnovers sunday in the first 2 minutes of the game.  He barely gets the ball up court against pressure all the time.  I cringe every time he drives baseline and gets up in the air with no place to go.  He is what he is!  A limted player that is trying his best, but clearly not a Big Ten caliber player.


Again with Novak at the 4.  Yes, it worked ok this year, but I thought the idea was to get better.  Duke outboarded Michigan 2-1 sunday, besides the numerous easy lobs inside for bunnys.  If Novak was able to get that last rebound before it went out of bounds sunday, we might be talking about playing Arizona and not about next year right now.  God love him and he has a place in the line up, but Michigan has to go bigger next year.


March 21st, 2011 at 11:54 PM ^

It's easy to pick on Stu but when he was a starter, the team as a whole played better. You can look at individual numbers all you want but what matters is the end is wins. The run we made at the end of the year came when Stu started. Now I totally agree that Smot played very well but he did that coming off the bench and I think he felt more comfortable with it. What I wanna see is how the incoming freshman will contribute. Trey Burke could be very helpful giving Morris just enough minutes to rest to finish strong or whenever he gets in foul trouble just like he did in the first half vs. Duke and Burndidge could just be another scorer off the bench for JB with Vogrich and Smot. But first the freshman will have to be committed to the defensive end first and learn the complex offense JB runs so we'll see how that all shapes out. But next year looks very very promising for this Wolverines team. Can't wait.


March 22nd, 2011 at 12:29 AM ^

the team improved as hardaway became a legit scorer, which happened around the time stu began starting again.  hardaway was the key, not stu.

i will be surprised if smot doesn't start again next year.  i'm sure beilein wants this to happen, otherwise he wouldn't have done it in the first place.  if smot improves just marginally in the offseason, his minutes will be much more important than stu's.  i also think it possible that vogrich's game improves this summer and surpasses stu.

and if the frosh guards show that they deserve some minutes, all the better.  it will mean we have real good depth.  especially if horford makes a leap as well.


March 22nd, 2011 at 12:42 AM ^

The turnaround started before Stu entered the lineup.  The turning point of the season - MSU in East Lansing  - was game #21.  Douglass became a starter four games later.  

I don't really have a problem with Douglass, but if you start him, you basically have to go small (because Morris/Hardaway/Novak aren't going to lose their spots), and I think our ceiling is limited with Morgan as our only starter above 6'5".  


March 22nd, 2011 at 12:42 AM ^

It's not that easy to just pluck one guy out and disregard the rest of the players, how they are able to spread the floor, set picks, make the right pass.  Hardaway definitely improved but it was within the flow of the entire offense.


March 22nd, 2011 at 12:54 AM ^

Well yeah, but you don't see just anyone drop 30 one night (at Iowa) and 20 in the second half of another (MSU at Crisler) and go on a one-man 13-point run down the stretch of another (at PSU).  When Hardaway found his bearings in this offense, we got the reliable second scorer we needed - and he ended up becoming a go-to guy in his own right.  


March 22nd, 2011 at 12:01 AM ^

Not every frosh is as good as Hardaway. I wouldn't be surprised if Burke and Brundidge take a year to learn what to do. I think Beilein prefers knowledge over athleticism many times, so it will be hard to unseat this years players who have already gelled.
<br>I wish we could just play the freshmen sparingly and redshirt them Well need them when Novak and Douglas graduate, but next year they are a luxury.


March 22nd, 2011 at 12:03 AM ^

is very, very uncommon. You don't see it unless they are injured like Jordan Morgan or they have too much depth that a player needs to hit the weightroom to get stronger and bigger like McLimans.


Brundidge and Burke won't redshirt next season.


March 22nd, 2011 at 12:07 AM ^

PG- Darius (30), Burke (10)

SG- Novak (13), Stu (17),  Brundidge (10)

W- Hardaway (30), Vogrich (10)

PF- Smot (25), Novak (15)

C- Morgan (25), Horford (15)


I took Stu and Zach's numbers down at SG bc i think Brundidge will find his way on the court, whether it's at the two or three, for about 10 minutes.  This obviously can change a little based on how good the freshmen are.  

- I think Horford's gonna break out a little over the summer.

- I think Smot is gonna make a pretty big jump too.  He'll be a really efficient 25 minutes.  

- First players listed at each position are starters.


March 22nd, 2011 at 9:08 AM ^

I think this is as good an estimate as any. I think Morris will get 35 minutes per game in important games, but I expect there will be times we will blow out opponents, so Burke will get more PT. That's where the approximate 30 min/g will come from.

steve sharik

March 22nd, 2011 at 12:12 AM ^

...Coach Alexander can work his magic with McLimans.

I'd like to see Smotrcyz/Horford at the 4 and Morgan/McLimans at the 5.

Novak is interesting b/c he doesn't have enough handle to play 2, so he's likely a 3, but then who starts?  I don't see how you can bring either he or THJ off the bench.

1: Morris/Burke/Douglass

2: Douglass/Vogrich/Brundidge

3: Hardaway/Novak/Vogrich

4: Novak/Smotrcyz/Horford/Christian

5: Morgan/Horford/McLimans

It's easy to see why Coach Beilein said there's going to be a lot of competition for PT next year.


March 22nd, 2011 at 12:17 AM ^

know that people were so down on Douglass and Novak. I can see where some of you coming from, but it isn't as simple as this guy is more athletic than that guy so start him. Not only are Stu and Douglass going into their fourth year starting, but they are guys that fit the system.

If being athletic was that important in this offense, then logic would say last year's team would have been much better. I too would like us to go a bit bigger, but that's not this offense. I think the best scanerio for us next year with so many guys that can play  would get to the point where we can have a small ball lineup (ie this years lineup) and then also have a more protypical big ten lineup (ie Smot and Morgan manning down the 4 and 5).

Say what you want about Douglass, Novak will starting. I think the team chemistry is being underrated a bit. This year's lineup (and Smot near the end of season) proved they know how to make each other better, and not sure you want to mess with that. Maybe gradually sprinkle in new contributors (hopefully) like Brundide and Horford as the season goes on.


March 22nd, 2011 at 3:51 AM ^

My thing is I really don't think Novak should be a starting forward.  He's a guard, and THJ and Morris are both better than him.  Honestly I wouldn't mind seeing McLimans starting where Novak normally would, and put his 6' 10" frame in the paint with Morgan, and THJ, Morris, and Smotz around the perimeter, with Morris and THJ having driving ability.  Novak, Stu, Horford, Carlton coming off the bench would be pretty solid.  But that's just me, don't expect everyone to agree with me.


March 22nd, 2011 at 3:44 AM ^

PG: Morris/Douglass

SG: Hardaway/Brundidge/Douglass

SF: Novac/McLimans

PF: Smotrycz/Christian

C: Morgan/Horford


I honestly do not know where all this talk about Haraway and all of his 6' 3" glory is playing the SF position? I know we play smaller than most, but that is just crazy. I don't even want Novac at the SF.  Kid is great, but with the log jam at guard, Novac really should be a bench player, and let the starting SF be someone with size like McLimans. This team really needs to have some size on it.  You don't need to have a true blue center (Duke doesn't), but seriously running out there 4 guards and 1 post presence in Morgan isn't going to get us into the Final Four odds are, unless our shooters go on a hot streak, which is the problem with this team.    When shooters go cold you need a post presence to put some points on the board until the shooters can get the their mojo back.


March 22nd, 2011 at 10:41 AM ^

McLimans handle or shoot the ball?  And how many 6'9"/6'10" "3s" are there in college basketball?  I think McLimans still has a chance to contribute to this team--he's athletic and  young--but it's likely to be more on the defensive end.  And when did THJ shrink 2 inches?


March 22nd, 2011 at 6:19 AM ^

start  during the upcoming season.  Will he finish as a starter?  Maybe.  

Picking freshman to unseat Stu as a senior is as silly as people freaking out in April 2010 when Manny decided to leave Michigan for the NBA.

Stu does so much for the team though, it would take too long to spell out.  Lot of unwarranted criticism here for Stu it seems. 

Getting on the wagon late doesn't mean you drive the thing.  Thankfully Coach Beilein runs this show, and that tells me Stu is playing (despite people dismissing his abilities b/c he's not "as athletic" as the freshmen).  He had a pretty surprising athletic dunk there against TN and he's improved every offseason he's been here.  Successful basketball nevertheless is not simply about getting the five most athletic players on the court at the same time.  

The comments on this thread have been more disappointing than most I've seen here lately.  It just seems that this great season has people feeling entitled to more success simply b/c of athletic freshmen arriving to a solid team.  Stu had much to do with that even if he didn't show up on the stat sheet as much as the three starting frosh. 


March 22nd, 2011 at 10:24 AM ^

I don't think there is very much criticism of Stu here. I think a lot of people expect at least one freshman to be able to contribute more than Stu.

For example, Smotrycz started putting up 10-15 points/game at the end of the season, which was more than Stu's average. He can play a big guy, but he can also shoot the 3. Stu is a better defender. I'd say they both have their perks and are better in certain situations. However, if Smotrycz has a good offseason and improves as a defender (not taking so many stupid blocks) the advantage that Stu has might dissipate and the only time that he would be the better play to have in the lineup would be when we are defending a close lead at the end of the game.

The same arguments can be made for a lot of the young players.


March 22nd, 2011 at 10:34 AM ^

Why do you get to presume that those who disagree with you got on the (band)wagon late?  And, of course, it presupposes that you were prescient.

It is always convenient to stress the (usually subjective) intangibles when you don't have statistics to support your position.  You'll notice, no one is questioning the intangibles Novak brings (to the court) that don't show up in boxscore.  And while I believe that Stu does contribute intangibles, most of them likely are in the locker room and in practice, and don't require he actually play many minutes.  Sort of like Dave Merritt.

Finally, the comments about Stu on this thread started with those over-stating his value--others simply responded to give IMHO a more nuanced assessment.


March 22nd, 2011 at 11:51 AM ^

I don't believe I pointed at any person in particular when making my bandwagon comment.  It stemmed off my reference to last year when threads/comments declared Coach Beilein and Michigan DEAD after Manny left.  To me, this overreaction spoke to the general lack of knowledge of basketball generally and of Coach B's program specifically around here at the time.  The fact remains that players develop each year under Coach B, and I believe Stu and the rest will continue to develop. 

Now after a great season in which Stu was clearly one of the leaders (see him, Novak and DMo as the constant spokesmen for the team throughout the postseason), people seem to dismiss his abilities and contributions b/c he's not as blatantly productive as say, DMo or THJ.    I don't have an issue with other thinking that someon on the roster today may pass Stu.  I admitted that others may pass him before 2012 finishes, but to think that a freshman will automatically do it from day 1 or game 1 seems quite the overreach.

I definitely am not a fortune teller, but I did believe last April/May that Coach B's team would overachieve and suprise the masses.  I'm confident my comment or two at the time reflect that belief.