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November 02, 2010 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2010-11-02

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Tuesday Novembe , 2 20 // The Michigan Daily 7B
The basketball season is right around the corner and the Big Ten
- like last year - seems to be the deepest and most competi-
tive conference in the nation. It boasts four teams in the AP Top
25, and two more that received votes. Michigan will look to garner
wins in a conference in which nearly anyone can come out on top should be low but
this year (perhaps anyone but the Wolverines).
Below are the five Big Ten contenders that are predicted to make h ef ih i eli
a run in the NCAA Tournament.

BLAKE'S BULKING UP: With the absence of any proven big
men, Blake McLimans will try this season to show that he's
ready to step up.
4 TWO HOOSIERS AND A WHISPER: In Indiana, the land of
basketball giants, how Zack Novak and Stu Douglass became
BIG TEN PREVIEW: We break down every Big Ten team's odds
of making it to the Tournament, identify crucial players and
weigh in on what Michigan will have to do to beat them.
PUT FAITH IN BEILEIN: Ben Estes admits that Michigan's bas-
7m ketball team probably won't be good this year. But that doesn't
mean you should lose your faith.

It's Beilein's fourth year in Wolverine territory and he
faces the daunting task of turning a bunch of young guys
into Big Ten players. He's proven himself as a coach who
turns things around before. But can he replace the talent of
Manny Harris and Deshawn Sims?
Daily Basketball Beat
Ben Estes, Chantel Jennings, Luke Pasch, Zak Pyzik
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Year Hometown
0 Zack Novak G 6-4 210 Jr. Chesterton, Ind.
1 Stu Douglass G 6-3 190 Jr. Carmel, Ind.
2 Jordan Dumars G 6-5 220 So. Detroit, Mich.
4 Darius Morris G 6-4 190 So. Los Angeles, Calif.
5 Eso Akunne G 6-3 220 So. Ann Arbor, Mich.
10 Tim Hardaway, Jr. G 6-5 185 Fr. Miami, Fla.
13 Matt Vogrich G 6-4 190 So. Lake Forest, Ill.
15 Jon Horford F 6-9 220 Fr. Grand Ledge, Mich.
20 Josh Bartelstein G 6-2 205 So. Highland Park, Ill.
22 Blake McLimans F 6-10 240 RS Fr. Hamburg, N.Y.
23 Evan Smotrycz F 6-9 225 Fr. Reading, Mass.
32 Corey Person G 6-3 200 RS So. Kalamazoo, Mich.
45 Colton Christian F 6-6 215 Fr. Bellevue, Wash.
52 Jordan Morgan F 6-8 240 RS Fr. Detroit, Mich.

First Matchup:
In Ann Aror,
* December
28, 2 p.m.
It uses the talent that it has (which is arguably
the best in the country). So the Boilermakers lost
senior forward Robbie Hummel to an ACL tear.
The Wolverines lost Ben Cronin and they're dealing
with it; injuries happen. And though Hummel is a
tad bit better, an injury is an injury. Purdue still has
two of the five preseason all-conference team play-
ers - seniors JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore.
Johnson and Moore, along with Hummel, were pre-
dicted by many to lead the No. 1 team in the con-
ference prior to Hummel's tear. But after the injury,
Michigan State and Ohio State leapfrogged the
Boilermakers. With six upperclassmen, the Boiler-
makers should be just fine come tournament time.
To unranked teams in the Big Ten. It is necessary
for Purdue to beat everyone that it's expected to
beat because it's unlikely that it will win the games
it's not supposed to win. For instance, Purdue
dropped both contests to Michigan State last year
by an accumulative 21 points and split with Ohio
State. Since Purdue is returning essentially the
same team minus Hummel, it's likely that the Boil-
ermakers will have ddjA vu, unless they get their act
together and just beat the eight teams they're sup-
posed to be better than. It's simple, but genuine.
Purdue plays sloppy. More specifically, Boiler-
maker coach Matt Painter said at Media Day that
the team struggles to rebound. Painter said that if
his squad doesn't rebound well then teams at the
bottom of the pack like Michigan and Penn State
might have a chance to pull off the upset. It doesn't
seem likely that the Boilermakers will have issues
treating Michigan like a younger sister, especially
since Michigan is pretty short compared to the five
Purdue players that clock in at six-foot-eight or
greater. Then again, it gives the Wolverine faithful
some hope.

First Matchup:
In Madison,
January 5,
8:30 p.m.
Coach Bo Ryan has anything to say about it.
Ryan is entering his loth season as the Badgers'
coach, and he joined the 600-win club after defeat-
ing Wofford in last year's NCAA tournament. Ryan
has won 71 percent of his games in the Big Ten -
better than any other coach in the conference. He is
the second-fastest coach in history to reach 100 Big
Ten wins after collecting that third digit against
Indiana last year. Ryan's basketball genius in addi-
tion to a Badger roster of six seniors should get the
job done in the conference. Also, given an easy out-
of-conerfence schedule, it looks like Wisconsin is
en route to its 10th tournament appearance under
Ryan. (Yes, you read that correctly. Every year).
At home. That's Wisconsin's strength. The Kohl
Center in Madison is arguably the most difficult
road venue in the conference. Wisconsin has won
93 percent of its home games under Ryan - a total
record ofe136-11. If Wisconsin can win15-plus home
games as it's done this entire decade, then it is very
likely the Badgers will be fine. But if they let their
home dominance slip from underneath them, the
veterans may find themselves ina situation they've
never been in before. Ultimately, don't count on
Wisconsin blowing it at home this season.
Dr. Emmett Brown of Back to the Future builds
a modern time machine that can take the Wolver-
ines' 12 freshmen and sophomores and make them
seniors. Maybe then they'll be ready. Michigan
was actually really close last year to pulling off the
upset. In the Wolverines' matchup against Wiscon-
sin in Madison, Michigan lost just 54-48. That's
kind of close. And in that game, the Wolverines
looked good. Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims
racked up 34 of the 48 total points. Maybe they'll do
the same thing this year. Oh no, wait ...


Center spread design by Maureen Stych
Cover photo by Sam Wolson

The Daily basketball
writers do their best
to predict what will
happen in the world of
college basketball this

"He's always going to have things that
you weren't prepared for, so you almost
have to put yourself in his head.... there's
a little bit different angst in your stom-
ach when you're coaching against him.
There's no doubt about it."
hen Indiana coach Tom
Crean said this at Big Ten
Media Day, he wasn't talk-
ing about esteemed
Michigan State
coach Tom Izzo, the
coach of six Final
Four teams, nor was
he referring to other
household coach-
ing names like Ohio
State's Thad Matta,
or Minnesota's
Tubby Smith. BEN
He wasn't even ESTES
referring to coach-
ing against tough
Big Ten players as
Spartans guard Kalin Lucas, who was
chosen as the conference's Preseason
Player of the Year for the second
straight season, or other stars like Pur-
due center JuJuan Johnson and Illinois
guard Demetri McCamey.
No, Crean was talking about a man
set to lead a team that is nothing more
than an afterthought in most analysts'
minds for the upcoming basketball sea-
son: John Beilein.
Everyone has the same question
for the Wolverines as they are set to
embark on what almost promises to be
a rough year: how is Michigan, which
lost its two best players, supposed to
outperform last year's disappointing
15-17 team?
If the Wolverines couldn't compete
in the Big Ten with all-conference ath-
letes like Manny Harris and DeShawn
Sims, how are they supposed to do bet-
ter without them?
The short answer is simply that they
It's a harsh reality, but it's a reality
nonetheless. The Wolverines are too
inexperienced and too unskilled (at
least in terms of veteran talent) to real-
istically compete for an NCAA berth.
Even the NIT could be a stretch as far
as any possibility of postseason play.
It's never a good thing for a teamto
not have any seniors, and in Michigan's
case, even the two upperclassmen they
do have - juniors Stu Douglass and
Zack Novak - certainly aren't, by defi-
nition, stars.
The Wolverines will be forced to rely
on many players who haven't played
in a single collegiate basketball game.
Beilein has already said that all six of
his true and redshirt freshmen will get
significant playing time, and at least
two will likely be in the starting lineup.
All in all, those yearning for the days

of the Fab Five or even the 2008-09
NCAA tournament team will have to
wait at least another season.
But it won't be all doom and gloom
for this team. There's a refreshing
energy surrounding this group of play-
ers. They will tell you that chemistry
problems on last year's squad are over-
blown, but it's clear that this team is
much tighter and more cohesive than
the last edition - perhaps the only bers-
efit of losing Harris, who didn't always
seem to buy in to the "team concept."
And the fact that they are young
and that they won't know any better
could actually be a positive - they
aren't experienced enough to realize
that they're "supposed" to lose games.
They'll make plenty of mistakes, sure,
but it won't stop them from getting
right back up and fighting some more.-
Most important, Michigan has
Beilein. The coach enters his 33rd season
as a head man for a reason - as Crean
and all his other peers have recognized,
Beilein's ahell of a coach. Despite the
struggles of his first and third seasons
in Ann Arbor, his overall track record
speaks for itself, and now the team is
finally made up of his own players.
Beilein - "the wizard of college
basketball," according to Illinois coach
Bruce Weber - is widely regarded as
a great teacher, and this season he has
the ultimate group of pupils: young and
inexperienced, but ready, willing and
determined to learn.
The mistakes will be copious, but
so will be the improvement. Make no
mistake, these youngsters are talented
- freshman guard Tim Hardaway Jr.
might even already be the Wolverines'
best player - and they'll show their
potential plenty of times.
The Big Ten is as strong as it's ever
been, but Michigan will be scrappy
enough to compete with everyone
it plays, especially considering how
sophisticated Beilein's schemes are.
The Wolverines may be at least a year
away, but they'll progress closer to
where they need to be much more than
most think as the season unfolds.
So don't expect excellence. Don't
expect the Wolverines to threaten for
a conference title, and don't expect a
miracle run to the Big Dance. Expect
poor play at times, perhaps a lot of the-
But also expect plenty of improve-
ment. Expect Michigan to get as much
out of its ability as humanly possible.
Expect that by the time March rolls
around, this team and program will be
in a much better place.
And if you expect that these Wolver-
ines won't play inspired, expect to be
-Estes can be reached at

Bien Chantel
Estes Jennings

Pasch Pyzik

Michigan regular season record 13-18 16-15 14-17 17-14
BigTen Champion Michigan State Michigan State Illinois Michigan State
Big Ten second place Illinois Illinois Michigan State Purdue
Big Ten third place Ohio State Furdue Ohio State Wisconsin
Michigan finish 9th 7th 8th 7th
Ohio Slate Iino no Illinois
SBig Ten MVP Demetri McCamey, Illinois Kahin Lucas, Michigan State McCamey Lucas
Bg T h of th Tom Izzo Izzo Bruce Weber Tom Crean
Big Ten surprise team Indiana Minnesota Minnesota Penn State
Michigan MVP Zack Novak Tim Hardaway Jr. Novak Hardaway Jr.
National playerof the year Jacob Pllen, Kansas State Kyle Singler, Duke Fallen Singlet
Mchigan' season ends here CI st roundI 2nd round CBI Quarterfinas NIT 2nd round
NCAA "Bracket Buster" Murray State BYU Old Dominion Cornell
NCAA Final Four Pitt Michigan State Duke Duke
Michigan State Pitt Michigan State Michigan State
Florida Duke Illinois Purdue
Illinois Baylor Kansas State Cornell

The Hawkeyes are in trouble. Iowa's roster has just Assuming that senior captain Al Nolen remains stu-
two seniors. T.J. Sayre is a walk-on who has almost no dious, the Golden Gophers should finish better than
game experience, but forward Jarryd Cole could possi- last season. Nolen missed the final 17 games of the
bly help Iowa win some games. Last year, Cole averaged 2009-10 season because of academic ineligibility. So
eight points and five rebounds a game. His presence in long as there are no surprises, he will start when he
the post can only help the Hawkweyes in conference returns. According to coach Tubby Smith at Big Ten
play, but don't expect any miracle out of Iowa - it's in Media Day, Nolen's ball handling skills and defensive
a rebuilding phase. On the bright side, the Hawkeyes patience have improved. Smith also commented that
should be a contender in 2012. They have six true fresh- Nolen has matured. With his skill and leadership, he
men just waiting for their chance to play. is a serious threat.

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