#20 Michigan Wolverines: College Basketball 111 in 111


michigan cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

After suffering through some growing pains with a very young roster, John Beilein’s Michigan Wolverines matured late in the season nearly knocking off Duke in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.  With everybody but Darius Morris returning, Michigan figures to make some serious noise in the Big Ten this season.

MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
Last Season: T-4th, 9-9 in Big Ten, 21-14 overall
Predicted Big Ten Finish: 3rd

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Jordan Morgan (So)/Jon Horford (So)/Blake McLimans (Jr)
F: Evan Smotrycz (So)/Colton Christian (So)/Max Bielfeldt (Fr)
SG: Zach Novak (Sr)/Eso Akunne (Jr)
SG: Tim Hardaway Jr. (So)/Matt Vogrich (Jr)/Carlton Brundidge (Fr)
PG: Stu Douglas (Sr)/Trey Burke (Fr)

Gone: PG-Darius Morris, SG-Jordan Dumars

2011-2012 Outlook:
As always is the case with a Beilein coached team, Michigan will play a smaller line-up, relying on their perimeter play and three-point shooters to space the floor.  The Wolverines shot 757 triples during the regular season, 15th most in Division One and that trend should continue this season.

Leading the charge will be All-Big Ten Freshman Team honoree Tim Hardaway Jr.  He really came on at the end of the season developing into a versatile wing scorer.  If he continues to improve, Hardaway Jr. could end up being one of the top scorers in the conference.

Senior Stu Douglas and Zach Novak are hard-nosed players who play bigger and tougher than their respective 6-3 and 6-4 heights.  Douglas likely takes over the ball-handling responsibilities due to Darius Morris’ decision to enter the NBA Draft.  Freshman Trey Burke will provide depth at the point.  Douglas and Novak are outside threats who can spread defenses along with Matt Vogrich who is the team’s top three-point shooter and will bring a scoring punch off the bench.

Jordan Morgan was another All-Big Ten Freshman Team member and provided the Wolverines with a legit inside presence.  He has only scratched the surface and should make more of an impact in the paint.  Jon Horford, the young brother of the Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford, is an athletic big man who should be much improved from last season.

Evan Smotrycz is the prototypical forward for Jon Beilein.  At 6-9, he can step out and shoot the ball from distance but does not provide much of an inside presence.  He often plays the five for Michigan which puts them at a disadvantage on the glass, but gives them a unique weapon on the offensive end.  If Blake McLimans and Colton Christian can step up from the little they provided during their freshman campaigns, it will make this team even deeper and more effective up-front.

Since they usually play an under-sized, four-guard line-up, Michigan will once again run a lot of zone looks with Beilein’s usual 1-3-1 attempting to cause problems and force opponents out of their offensive rhythm.

More than likely, Michigan will live and die with the three ball but do have other weapons to keep them in games when their outside shot is not falling.  The Big Ten as a whole is not nearly as loaded with veteran teams as it was last year and Michigan could compete for the conference championship if Ohio State or Wisconsin falter.

tim hardaway jr michigan

Player to Watch: Tim Hardaway Jr.
Coming off a terrific freshman season, Hardaway Jr. played a vital role for the U.S. U-19 team this summer which should serve as a valuable experience.  With Morris gone, Hardaway Jr. will become the focal point of the Michigan offense and was named to the Wooden Award Preseason Watch List.  The Wolverines won’t solely rely on the sophomore shooting guard, but he will have to reach an even higher level with his game for Michigan to be in the Big Ten title hunt.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/21 vs. Memphis (Maui Invitational)
11/22 vs. Duke/Tennessee (Maui Invitational)
11/24 vs. Kansas/Georgetown/UCLA/Chaminade (Maui Invitational)
11/29 at Virginia (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
12/3 vs. Iowa State
1/21 at Arkansas

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#21 New Mexico Lobos
#22 Temple Owls
#23 Cincinnati Bearcats
#24 Kansas Jayhawks
#25 UNLV Rebels
#26 Washington Huskies
#27 UCLA Bruins
#28 Butler Bulldogs
#29 Missouri Tigers
#30 Texas Longhorns
#31 Villanova Wildcats
#32 Michigan State Spartans
#33 Florida State Seminoles
#34 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
#35 Harvard Crimson
#36 Illinois Fighting Illini
#37 Oregon Ducks
#38 Wichita State Shockers
#39 Cal Golden Bears
#40 Belmont Bruins
#41 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#42 Saint Mary’s Gaels
#43 Purdue Boilermakers
#44 BYU Cougars
#45 Kansas State Wildcats
#46 West Virginia Mountaineers
#47 Virginia Cavaliers
#48 George Mason Patriots
#49 Old Dominion Monarchs

#50 VCU Rams
#51 Kent State Golden Flashes
#52 Arkansas Razorbacks
#53 St. John’s Red Storm
#54 Northwestern Wildcats
#55 Georgetown Hoyas
#56 Miami Hurricanes
#57 Nevada Wolfpack
#58 Detroit Titans
#59 UCF Knights
#60 Long Beach State 49ers
#61 Virginia Tech Hokies
#62 Clemson Tigers
#63 New Mexico State Aggies
#64 Tennessee Volunteers
#65 Iona Gaels
#66 Murray State Racers
#67 N.C. State Wolfpack
#68 Fairfield Stags
#69 George Washingon Colonials
#70 Indiana State Sycamores
#71 Oklahoma State Cowboys
#72 Indiana Hoosiers
#73 UAB Blazers
#74 Iowa State Cyclones
#75 Creighton Bluejays
#76 USC Trojans
#77 Weber State Wildcats
#78 Maryland Terrapins
#79 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
#80 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#81 Western Michigan Broncos
#82 Dayton Flyers
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs

#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

 

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