Location: Crisler Arena
TV: Big Ten Network
Michigan will officially kick off the 2009-10 season Saturday as they host Northern Michigan. The Wildcats are a Division II team out of the GLIAC. Last year they finished the season with an 11-16 record.
Michigan embarks on the new season with high hopes and lofty expectations. The Wolverines are ranked 15th in the AP and Coaches preseason polls. The team-wide goal is to build off of the success they had last season and take the next step towards bigger and better things. That means when a Division II team comes to town they have to devastate and pulverize them.
John Beilein went with a 4 guard line-up in the exhibition against Wayne State. He started, Darius Morris, Laval Lucas-Perry, Zack Novak, Manny Harris, and DeShawn Sims. The first two guys off the bench were Zack Gibson and Stu Douglass. The other guys that should be in the mix for significant playing time are Matt Vogrich, Anthony Wright, and Ben Cronin.
Morris, a true freshman point guard, drew praise from Beilein for his play in the exhibition. Beilein said that Morris and Manny Harris set the tone for Michigan defensively. The 6-foot-4 Morris has good length and athleticism. He is a perfect fit for the top of Beilein’s 1-3-1 zone. He is also a good ball handler with acute court vision and a knack for setting up his teammates. Morris also understands that he needs to take care of Manny Harris and fed him the rock, “It’s my job to get him the ball.” Morris said after the Wayne State game.
Some things to look for on Saturday
- I expect Beilein will start to fine tune his rotation a little bit. The Wolverines only have two games to sort things out before they head to the Old Spice Classic. Beilein has always said he’d like to have an 8 or 9 man rotation. The 5 starters from the exhibition along with Gibson and Douglass will be part of that rotation. That leaves 1 or 2 more spots for regular minutes. Vogrich is an outstanding shooter and he will likely be a part of the rotation. Will Wright or Cronin emerge?
- Also watch for DeShawn Sims to bounce back from a foul-plagued effort against Wayne State.
- Keep a close watch on Morris and you will see that he is a pure point guard.
- I’m also going to be watching Lucas-Perry to see if he gets his three-point shot going.
- One more thing, Manny Harris is really good and he should dominate.
Prediction: Michigan 82 Northern Michigan 52