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April 22, 2013 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-04-22

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4B - April 22, 2013

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
A breath of relief as
Blue wins first game

Freshman forward Mitch McGary, who announced his return to Michigan Thursday, will be a key piece for the Wolverines.

By LEV FACHER Freshmen midfielders Mike
Daily Sports Writer Hernandez and Brad Lott scored
within six seconds of one another
Normally, it takes decades for midway through the first quar-
a team to double its all-time win ter, giving Michigan an early
total. Saturday afternoon, the 2-0 lead. Hernandez' score came
Michigan lacrosse team did it in with 6:39 left in the period, and
less than three hours. Lott's first career goal with 6:33
The Wolverines (0-6 ECAC, remaining, directly off of the
1-12 overall) defeated non-con- ensuing faceoff.
ference ST. JOSEPH'S 8 Despite the hot start, the
oppo- . MICHIGAN 11 Wolverines couldn't keep the
nent St. momentum on their side for
Joseph's, 11-8, earning their first longer than a minute in the first
win of the season and the second half. The Hawks countered with
in the two-year history of the a goal of their own just 34 sec-
program. onds after Lott's tally, and when
On senior day at Michigan Sta- Paras scored an unassisted goal
dium, senior midfielder Thomas with less than two minutes in
Paras scored three goals and the first quarter, the subsequent
recorded two assists for the St. Joseph's goal came within 40
Wolverines. His skip shot from seconds once again.
the left side with 10:49 remain- With 6:10 left in the second,
ing in the game gave Michigan a sophomore attacker Will Meter
three-goal advantage and all but took a crisp pass from Jackson,
cemented its first-ever home win. moving left to right, and scored
Freshman forward Kyle Jack- from 10 yards inside the "B" of
son added two scores and two the Big Ten logo that rests near
assists of his own, upping his goal the northeast 25-yard line of
total to 17. Michigan Stadium.
"It obviously felt great to get Even after out-shooting the
that monkey off our back," Jack- Hawks 25-15 in the first half,
son said. "We got off to a quick Michigan trailed 6-5 at halftime
start, and we couldn't have asked - the one-goal difference was
for a better result." the smallest halftime deficit the
Added Michigan coach John previously-winless Wolverines
Paul: "One of the great things had faced this season.
about this team is that all year Michigan erased the margin
they really haven't gotten down. early in the third quarter, thanks
... They're going to stick their to another brilliant goal from
chest out a little bit more now." Meter. With 12:48 remaining in
Weather conditions inside the the period, he evaded St. Joseph's
Big House seemed more fitting defenseman Steve Dunn, sneak-
for a contest on the gridiron in ing in towards the right side
late November than for a lacrosse of the crease for an unassisted
game in late April. But the most- backhand goal that tied thegame
ly empty stands, temperatures at six.
that dipped into the high 30s The Wolverines traded goals
and snow flurries didn't stop the with the Hawks throughout the
Wolverines from being energetic third quarter. Jackson's score
from start to finish, refusing to midway through the period came
let their last opportunity for a off an assist from Paras and left

the fourth.
In the final quarter, though,
the home team took over. Paras
opened up the scoring just 49
seconds in with a sidearm strike
from the rightside, giving Michi-
gan a 9-8 lead.
Paras then assisted on Jack-
which came from eight yards to
the right of the goal, nearly even
with the crease, and gave the
Wolverines a two-goal lead.
The unfamiliar position of
being in control late in the game
didn't faze Michigan, though.
Paras was unstoppable, complet-
ing his hat trick - the last goal of
the contest - with more than 10
minutes remaining.
"We've been close a lot this
year," Paul said. "It's good to go
into the end of the season with
the guys understanding that this
is what it looks like when you put
a complete game together."
Freshman goalkeeper Ger-
ald Logan recorded 15 saves and
was particularly impressive in
the fourth quarter, turning aside
four minutes remainingencapsu-
lated the Wolverines' momentum
perfectly - a St. Joseph's laser
bounced off of Logan's chest, an
unexpected save, and was even-
tually controlled by Michigan.
The Wolverines had to be
restrained by their coachingstaff
in the game's final 30 seconds -
the euphoric players repeatedly
spilled onto the field from the
sidelines, finally rushing toward
Logan and mobbing one another
in the south end zone, victors
for the first time since March 4,
"It feels good any way you put
it," Paras said. "When the game
was close, we kept reiterating to
the guys that we wanted to go out
and get that first win in the Big

Daily Sports Editor
Since the day Trey Burke decid-
ed to return to Ann Arbor for his
sophomore season, the 2012-13
Michigan men's basketball team
was expected to contend for a
Final Four. It didn't disappoint,
either, remaining in the nation's
top 10 for the entire season and
eventually reaching its goal in
Though Burke and junior guard
Tim Hardaway Jr. have since
departed in favor of the NBA
Draft, freshmen forwards Mitch
McGary and Glenn Robinson III
chose to follow Burke's lead and
stay for their sophomore seasons.
Their decisions, along with anoth-
er top-flight recruiting class, posi-
tion the Wolverines for another
Big Ten title and Final Four hunt.
Despite the departure of
Burke and Hardaway, Michigan
essentially returns four start-
ers - McGary started each game
in the NCAA Tournament, while
redshirt junior forward Jordan
Morgan started nearly the entire
regular season after holding the
starting post spot throughout the
previous two seasons.
The Daily broke down the Wol-
verines' upcoming roster, position
by position:
Point guard: When Burke
picked up two quick fouls in the
championship game against Lou-
isville, freshman Spike Albrecht
filled in more than admirably, net-
ting 17 points on 4-of-4 shooting
from 3-point range. In the second
half, everyone was reminded of
the Albrecht we saw - or didn't
see - for much of the season, the
one who hit just four 3-pointers in
his 18 appearances during confer-
ence play.
Albrecht should see a rise in
minutes from his 8.1 minutes per
game average last season, and
as he showed in the Final Four,
his shooting touch gives him the
capability to score in bunches, but
he'll likely play in another reserve
role. Albrecht will probably be
the starting point guard when the
Wolverines open their season in
November, but like Matt Vogrich
this year, he'll likely accept a
diminished role in favor of incom-
ing freshman Derrick Walton Jr.
as the non-conference slate pro-
Walton, a Detroit native, is
the nation's No. 37 recruit -
good for the eighth-best point
guard - according to Rivals.com,
which tabbed Michigan's incom-
ing class at No. 12, second in the
Big Ten behind Indiana. Walton,
like Burke, is undersized - each
stands at 6-feet tall -but is lauded
for his passing and shooting abili-
ties. His defense remains a ques-
tion mark, but on offense, he's
consistently been tabbed as a "true
point guard" who could flourish in
a Wolverine offense loaded with a
wealth ofscoring options.
Bottom line: No matter how
well Walton or Albrecht play, this
position will be a downgrade from
the consensus National Player of
the Year, who played more than 35
minutes per game. Inexperience
could hamper Walton early on,
but when given time to jelliwith all
of his surrounding talent, Walton
should be able to facilitate another
dangerously talented Michigan

Wing: Hardaway's offensive
production can be replaced, but
can his defense? After being a
defensive liability for most of
his first two seasons, Hardaway
turned into one of the Wolverines'
most reliable perimeter defenders,
often guarding the opposition's
top outside threat.
Michigan coaches have already
said they're planning on employ-
ing more lineups with two big
men on the floor at the same time,
which would allow Robinson to
play at his natural position, small
forward, rather than the under-
sized power forward role he
played for most of his freshman
season. Given the circumstances,
Robinson's play was respectable,
but against bigger teams, he was
abused defensively and disap-
peared on the offensive end. At
the small forward position, Rob-
inson could terrorize opposing
teams with his flexibility to play
on the perimeter or post up small-
er defenders, while his ability to
find space in transition is as good
as anyone in the country.
Freshman guard Nik Stauskas
isn't the porous defender he was at
the start of the conference season,
but he'll still benefit greatly from
another offseason of strength and
conditioning, as well as coaching.
Combined with Robinson on the
wing, the Wolverines are already
looking at a formidable one-two
punch, but perhaps the team's top
wingman next season, incoming
freshman Zak Irvin, hasn't even
graduated high school.
The five-star product, Indiana's
2012-13 Mr. Basketball, is Rivals.
tom's No. 24 prospect. At 6-foot-
6, his measurables are similar
to Hardaway, but he possesses
greater ball-handling skills and an
impressive knack for gettingto the
basket or creating his own shot,
which is solid.
With so much top-heavy talent,
it's easy to forget freshman guard
Caris LeVert, who wasn't even a
Wolverine commitment at this
time last year. LeVert's 6-foot-5
frame was so scrawny that coach-
es quickly decided to redshirt
him, but they quickly changed
their course when his play in prac-
tice was too good to keep off the
floor. LeVert is a superb perim-
eter defender who has flashed an
ability to shoot and rebound. His
body should benefit tremendously
from a full offseason in a colle-
giate strength and conditioning
Bottom line: Hardaway took
the basketball program to a new
level, but Michigan has a wealth
of riches on the wing that might
make forgetting Hardaway easy
by the middle of next season. The
top-four contributors here can
score in a variety of ways, both in
transition and in half-court sets,
and despite the loss of Hardaway,
should even provide an upgrade
on the defensive end with Robin-
son playing at small forward.
Post: While Michigan will
certainly miss Burke, McGary's
departure could've rivaled Burke's
in terms of setting the program
back. With the freshman in Ann
Arbor for another season, the
Wolverines have their entire
frontcourt back, which should set
fear into opposing coaches.
McGary averaged 6.2 points
and 5.1 rebounds in under 20
minutes per game during confer-

ence play last season, mostly off
the bench, but took the nation
by storm after a promotion into
the starting lineup to kick off the
NCAA Tournament. In over 30
minutes per game, he averaged a
double-double, dominating some
of the country's best post men,
including Kansas' Jeff Withey.
McGary was admittedly out of
shape and wasn't eating right
until the middle of the season
and should build upon a better
conditioning and eating regimen
with another college offseason
program. In the tournament, he
reminded everyone why he was
once ranked as the nation's No.
2 recruit, and he should only get
better next year.
But the frontcourt doesn't end
with McGary. Earlier this week,
Michigan coach John Beilein
indicated that he'd use two big
men on the floor at the same time
for at least significant portions of
games, something he has done
very little of during his tenure in
Ann Arbor. The days of the Wol-
verines getting absolutely abused
in the post ended this past season,
but Michigan still struggled with
post-orientedteams like Michigan
State. That should change in the
Morgan is a three-year starter
but never seemed to fully recover
from a midseason ankle injury.
A healthy Morgan - one of the
conference's top low-post defend-
ers - alongside a still-developing
Jon Horford, gives the Wolverines
three solid post players. Incom-
ing forward Mark Donnal, who
fell just outside the nation's top-
100 prospects, could challenge
for playtime, and redshirt fresh-
man Max Bielfeldt can provide a
reliable few minutes per game if
needed, as well.
Bottom line: McGary flashed
All-American potential in the
NCAA Tournament, and assum-
ing he doesn't regress, Michigan
should actually be able to consis-
tently outmuscle Big Ten teams
in the post - something it hasn't
been able to do in years. While the
Wolverines won't always employ a
two-post man lineup, they'll cer-
tainly have the option to.
So what does this all mean?
Burke had the talent to win games
all by himself, and he did so count-
less times. While he'll be missed,
Michigan will have a combination
of talent and depth it hasn't had
since at least the Fab Five years.
Beilein has proven his wizardry
time and time again when it comes
to adjusting his system to his line-
up, and that could shine through
this year like never before. The
Wolverines have so many offen-
sive options - playing two bigs,
going small, pushing the pace,
playing in the half court - that
their offense shouldn't skip a beat
once Walton gains some experi-
Defense will again be the ques-
tion mark, but with the ability to
play two men in the post, oppos-
ing teams won't be able to exploit
a weakness down low like they
could in years past.
Michigan will be an even
younger team than last year's,
which was one of the nation's
youngest. But if Irvin and Walton
can adjust to the college game -
and they should - the Wolverines
are poised for another Big Ten title
hunt and a top-10 finish.

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