If you like watching a high-flying, yet extremely efficient basketball team, then follow us all season long as we chronicle Michigan Basketball’s journey through the 2013-14 campaign.
It promises to be an exciting ride, highlighted by numerous high-profile matchups, featuring very-skilled players, orchestrated by a top-notch coaching staff that should steer this team on another deep tournament run. All the pieces are in place and the stage is set. So venture out to Crisler Center a few times this year and stick with us as we provide a unique perspective on what should be a very remarkable team.
Loads of talent
My cohort, Joe White, already authored a detailed breakdown of Michigan’s roster. I won’t do a player-by-player analysis, because he has already done that. What I will tell you is that John Beilein has assembled one of the deepest teams to roam the hardwood at Crisler Center in a long, long time. As deep as this team is, they are also loaded with sturdy front-court players and long, athletic wings. Heck, even freshman point guard Derrick Walton has good length.
The skill level and depth of the roster means that John Beilein has a lot of versatility with his personnel. One of many possible line up combinations Beilein could go with would features five players who are at least 6-foot-6. Beilein also has a host of options to bang in the paint with guys like Mitch McGary, Jordan Morgan, Jon Horford and Max Bielfeldt, the “smallest” of which is the 6-foot-7, 245-pound Bielfeldt.
The roster is also chock full of three-point shooters, headlined by one of the top marksmen in the country, Nik Stauskas. In addition to that, Glenn Robinson III is easily one of the most athletic players in the nation. Oh yeah, and sophomore Caris LeVert is being hailed by many, including us, as one of this year’s breakout players.
What comes first?
Michigan’s schedule is littered with marquee matchups and it doesn’t take long for them to start appearing on the docket. The third game of the season is a trip into Big 12 country where the Wolverines will play at Iowa State. Less than a week later, they head to Puerto Rico to play in a loaded tournament with VCU, Florida State, Kansas State and Georgetown. They’ll also play at Duke on Dec 3 and host Arizona on Dec 14.
And then the Big Ten schedule begins.
Expectations are high
Michigan will raise a Final Four banner to the rafters on opening night (Nov 8). They begin the season ranked 7th in the AP Poll and 9th in the Coaches Poll. They were also picked to finish in 2nd place in the Big Ten.
Last season, Michigan was tantalizingly close to a National Championship and with players like McGary, Robinson and Stauskas they have the necessary ingredients to complete the mission this year.
There will be some bumps along the way. However, by the time March rolls around, John Beilein will be orchestrating a basketball symphony on the hardwood. The Wolverines will barge into the NCAA Tournament as a high-seed that is finely tuned for another Final Four run.
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