Of course every media outlet has to put out their pre-pre-season rankings before NBA draft news is even official. The ritual is a little bit foolish but it provides something to talk about. Michigan has received some love and it seems the Big Ten is getting some respect as well.
Here are a couple of highlights:
11. Michigan: John Beilein has made the Wolverines relevant again. He got the Wolverines to the NCAA tournament and won a game. Expect even more from Michigan with a true Michigan State-Michigan rivalry in hoops. These should be the two top teams in the league. Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims might flirt with the NBA draft, but both are unlikely to stay in it. If they return with sharp-shooting guard Stu Douglass and quickly developing players Zack Novak and Laval Lucas-Perry, the Wolverines will be a good watch.
23. The Wolverines went to the second round of the Big Dance and didn’t really lose anything of note. Harris, Sims and Douglas are back, Lucas-Perry will improve and John Beilein will add point guard Darius Morris and big-time shooter Matt Vogrich.
Michigan is getting some love but MSU, Purdue, Minnesota, Illinois, and Ohio State all make appearances on the various preseason rankings. There is no doubt that the conference is going to be deep and tough again this year.
The downside to all of the preseason love is that it comes with the weight of expectations. I think that expectations will have a huge effect on this team, especially early in the year after losing both senior captains. The fact that over 1000 student tickets have already been sold just emphasizes just how dramatically expectations have shifted.
I’m pretty sure that Andy Katz’ number 11 ranking is a little overzealous, but then again I guess his list can help cancel out a list that doesn’t include Michigan. I think a fair preseason ranking for Michigan falls somewhere in the 15-25 range.