Why are we the fourth youngest team in NCAA? This is John Beilein’s fourth year. Should have more experienced team. – Artdogg
John Beilein was hired on April 3, 2007, just a few days before the late signing period for the class of 2007 – adding recruits to this class was not really an option. Beilein managed to retain Manny Harris and Kelvin Grady while allowing Alex Legion to slip away. Harris is now a Cleveland Cavalier, Grady dons a winged helmet, and Alex Legion has ended up at Florida International after stops at Kentucky and Illinois. You have probably heard on Michigan broadcasts that the Wolverines don’t have any seniors. I have a hard time blaming Beilein for the lack of any seniors considering this was an Amaker class and a class that was basically stuck in between two regimes.
While each of Beilein’s recruiting classes have shown consistent improvement, 2008 was undoubtedly his worst. Michigan swung for the fences with a couple of big time prospects – most notably Klay Thompson and Joe Trapani – but came home empty handed. German swing forward Robin Benzing committed to Michigan but fell one question short of qualifying on his SAT. Michigan was left with Zack Novak, Stu Douglass, and Ben Cronin (with Laval Lucas-Perry transferring in). Add in the fact that Cronin never played a meaningful minute due to his hip problems and Laval Lucas-Perry being dismissed over the summer, and you are left with a young team.
How long until the new coaches pay dividends in getting commitments from guys? Recruits speak highly of them but they still go elsewhere (Amir Williams) – Q_Crush
First off, Jeff Meyer might not draw as many headlines as Bacari Alexander’s infectious personality but he has been very productive since landing his promotion. Meyer was Glenn Robinson III’s lead recruiter and was also instrumental in Trey Burke’s recruitment. He has strong Indiana connections and has put them to work in the loaded Hoosier state.
Recruiting is a process and it’s rare to find instant gratification without something not adding up. Bacari Alexander and Lavall Jordan have seemingly put an emphasis on younger kids including the classes of 2012 and 2013. JaVontae Hawkins, Sherron Dorsey-Walker, and Nick Stauskas are all 2012s that think highly of Michigan and a number of well regarded 2013 recruits have already visited Ann Arbor. Recruiting is a bottom line business but I think it’s fair to start judging their results on the recruiting trail in the class of 2012 – making the next year or so critical.
What do you think is one surprise that, if continued, could get some surprise wins in the Big Ten season – kevinblazaitis
Defensive rebounding. I’ve touched on this before but this team’s success hinges on their ability to control the defensive glass. While all of Beilein’s teams have Michigan have been considered weak in this department, his 2009 tournament squad was a bit of an exception. During conference play, that was the third best defensive rebounding team in the Big Ten.
This year’s team has done a very good job on the defensive glass, as they rank 17th in the nation which is better than any other conference team. Strength of schedule naturally plays a part here, as Michigan has played only one good offensive rebounding team (Syracuse), but the numbers are certainly encouraging. If the Wolverines can control the defensive glass in conference play, they might have a chance to pull off some upsets.
Why have we gone away from the 1-3-1 and played mostly man this year? – cflexter
In short, it hasn’t worked. While there is some more length on this roster, they aren’t comfortable running the zone and opposing teams have picked it apart pretty easily. However, Michigan has a top 40 defense right now so it’s tough to complain. Michigan has also worked in a 2-3 zone as well, which has been relatively successful. I would like to see the Wolverines tinker with their various zones over the next four games, just because I think they might need them come conference time.
What are the chances that Michigan will land a big man with the 2012 class? – Scott Bradley
I’m not sure that Michigan needs a big man in the class, it could probably go either way. Horford has the work ethic to make a year in the weight room worth it, Jordan Morgan has been impressive, and Blake McLimans is still just a freshman. Considering that those three will be juniors when the class of 2012 sets foot on campus, it might be a good time to get a big man involved.
The situation gets tricky with only two scholarships to give. The most prominent 2012 Michigan targets with scholarship offers are all wing guards – Hawkins, Dorsey-Walker, and Stauskas – and all three would provide upgrades in talent at the two and three positions. The second problem is that there just aren’t that many serious post targets right now. Michigan missed on Matt Costello and now is in a bit of waiting game to see who develops. Jordan Hare, Mitch McGary, and a few others are on the radar but it remains to be seen what level of mutual interest there is. Big men are notorious for developing late in the game so you can be sure that Michigan will have their eyes peeled. If they don’t land a big in the 2012 class, any that they land in the 2013 class would still have a year to develop before being called on to play serious game action.
What are two surprises and two disappointments you’ve seen from the team so far this year? – JContiz3
- Defensive Rebounding: I’ve already touched on this above, the defensive rebounding has been strong and it’s extremely important.
- Jordan Morgan: Morgan has exceeded my, admittedly low, expectations in numerous ways. He’s not going to dominate games but he’s shown plenty of potential.
- Three Point Shooting: 31%. Just not good enough. Douglass is shooting 51% but no one else has been able to match his hot shooting. Hardaway at 10 of 42 (24%) is certainly troubling. Hopefully they can find their shooting stroke this December.
- Turnovers: This might be a bit harsh, as we’ve been spoiled in the turnover department under John Beilein, but Michigan has been a bit too loose with the ball and hasn’t been forcing turnovers on the defensive end to compensate.
I know it’s early, but gun to head prediction, Michigan an NIT team this year? – Steve_Donohue
Pomeroy projects Michigan to go 15-16 overall (6-12 in the Big Ten), a record which wouldn’t put them in the NIT. With just 16 teams and guaranteed bids to regular season mid-major conference winners, the NIT is no sure bet for every high major team with a record over .500. I’d say that the NIT is an attainable but difficult goal. This team will have their fair share of struggles in a loaded Big Ten conference.
The Big Ten has five teams in Pomeroy’s top 15, and ten in the top 75, with Iowa coming in at 81. There are not going to be many easy wins in this conference. If Michigan makes it to 10 non conference wins (meaning they beat Utah, Oakland, NC Central, and Bryant) they would still probably need something like 7 conference wins to make the NIT, that would be very tough. Right now I’ll say no, this team won’t make the NIT.
Once the practice facility is done how much is that expected to help in recruiting top talent? – Jeremy Courtney
The practice facility will certainly play a part in recruiting. Slated to open next fall, the 2011 class will be the first class to get to practice there. Even more importantly, kids in the 2012 class could get a chance to see it live and in person on their official visits before the early signing period. Everyone likes new facilities and I know that a number of recent Indiana commitments have mentioned the Hoosiers new facility, Cook Hall, when they committed.
Some of the more interesting possibilities arise once the facility actually opens. First, Michigan’s team and elite camps won’t have to be spread between the CCRB, IM Building, and Crisler Arena. I’d also love to see Michigan’s new facility used for an AAU tournament, similar to the one that took place on Indiana’s campus last spring, or high school tournaments similar to the Holiday Hoops Invitational or Izzo Shootout held in East Lansing. These are great opportunities to get loads of kids on campus and start to build a relationship, even informally, early on.