2008-2009 Season

And We're Off: SVSU Pre-Game

WHAT: Michigan vs. Saginaw Valley St (ex)
WHEN: November 6th, 7 PM EST
WHERE: Crisler Arena, Ann Arbor
Tickets: Of course they are available! Students also get in free with M-Card.

The second season of the Beilein era tips off (exhibition style) tonight. The most painful thing we have learned this off season (not Ekpe’s transfer, Lubick’s surprise commitment to Georgetown, or anything else) is that there is not a lot of info coming out of Camp Beilein. In the Amaker era there were open gym reports constantly, at the very least these gave us something to talk about all summer. Although, after hearing how well Courtney played in open gym year after year maybe it’s better to not build up expectations. The bottom line is no one really knows how much this team improved. We will finally start to understand the situation and be able to discuss the team beyond blind speculation after tonight.

There is a long interview with Beilein on MGoBlue.com but the embed code just won’t work. It’s on the right side of this page under Multimedia. The starting lineup is still up in the air but here are my predictions for tomorrow:

  • PG: David Merritt
  • SG: Stu Douglass
  • WF: Manny Harris
  • PF: DeShawn Sims
  • C: Zack Gibson

The two guys I almost threw in there are Zack Novak and Anthony Wright. These are just hunches though so let’s hear your predictions too.

There are some pretty good quotes from CJ Lee’s latest blog on MGoBlue:

“We want to come into this game like we do every other game and that’s with a strong mindset that we are going to make a statement” added Kelvin Grady. “We’re going to let people know, and let ourselves know, that we can play with anyone in the country. We can play hard, we can play smart and we can play together and overall we are going to have fun.”

I don’t think Michigan is going to prove that they can play with anyone in the country tomorrow but there are still some things to look for. Here is a quick list:

  • The freshman: This is Cronin’s test run, the staff has to make a decision regarding a red shirt so his play will be important. If he looks outmatched by a smaller Saginaw team, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him red shirt.There is a place for at least one of Stu Douglass and Zack Novak to get big minutes, and probably start. How does Stu look? Is he more than a shooter? Does Zack looked slimmed down? Is he playing at the two or the three? The freshman are going to be the most intriguing cog to watch early in the season because they are going to have their numbers called a lot in my opinion.
  • Point guard: Who is getting a majority of the minutes? Merritt, Kelvin, and CJ will all probably play some point guard and shooting guard. Who looks the most comfortable running the team? Who holds onto the ball?
  • Saginaw’s inexperience: Looking at Saginaw’s roster it appears they only return 2 full time starters from last year, both senior guards. Their roster also includes 8 freshman. This is a 12-14 GLIAC team, not like the Grand Valley team that beat MSU en route to a 36-1 season last year.
  • The 1-3-1 Zone: Without Ekpe I expect the 1-3-1 to be featured much more than last year when it was basically scrapped half way through the season because we couldn’t stop anyone with it.
  • DeShawn Sims: Does he play inside or out? DeShawn should be able to get any shot whenever he wants against a team like Saginaw, however it will be obvious whether he makes an effort to take his game to the post.

I’m not worried about the final score but I expect a result similar to last years Ferris State game (a 78-40 win). Remember last year Michigan coasted past Ferris State, Radford, and Brown before being sent hurtling back to reality against Georgetown. This year the first real test with be Northeastern in my opinion, clearly an easier game than Georgetown, and a game we should be favored in but still a tough game against a quality team.

We will also get our first glimpse of whether any of the student ticket policies are working. Any student gets in free with an M-Card, and students who bought tickets better be there if they want their giftcards and clothes.

Other Pre-Game Links:

One thing I want to see increase on this blog is comments during games, last year there wasn’t a lot of discussion during the game. So if you are on your computer watching the game come here and leave your thoughts. I’m also planning to do a “live blog” for a couple big road games.

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