Monday, October 29, 2012

2012-2013 Michigan Basketball Staff Predictions

Michigan faces an exciting 2012 slate starting off with Alabama, under the lights against Notre Dame and Nebraska, facing rival Michigan State at home, and ending with arch-rival Ohio State in the Horsheshoe with Urban Meyer on the sidelines.  There's no denying that Michigan is set-up for some exciting games and match-ups this season, but how will the Wolverines do this year?  It seems like everybody has an opinion about how the Wolverines will fare against one of the nation's toughest schedules in 2012 and the key offseason losses of Mike Martin, David Molk, and Junior Hemingway.  Well, in unsurprising fashion, our staff has some interesting opinons of their own as well.  They say some things are better by committee, so check out what our staff has to say about Michigan's chances in 2012:

Thomas Beindit - @tbeindit
After months of endless coverage, the moments leading up to Michigan's 2012-2013 basketball season have finally arrived.  The great returners, the increased depth, and the incredible incoming recruits.  There's no way you can look at the team's roster and position and believe that it is a downgrade from last year.  There will obviously be some question marks regarding leadership, replacing production, and freshmen impact, but every team has those and Michigan certainly had those questions last year.  Michigan's frontcourt should be better, with increased depth and the addition of Mitch McGary.  Michigan's wings should be better, with increased depth and the addition of Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas.  Michigan's guards should be better, with a little added depth and Spike Albrecht.  I just can't see a way this team regresses this year with the massive offseason improvements.  The road should be just as tougher or tougher than last season with Indiana, MSU, OSU, and Wisconsin all fielding good teams, but Michigan won the Big Ten last year, right?  I'm predicting a big year for Michigan and a solid conference and NCAA Tournament run.  We will struggle a bit against the best, but so does every team.  I'm predicting splits to Indiana, MSU, and probably a lost to Wisconsin.  One other random Big Ten loss and a non-conference loss.
Prediction - 26-5

Kyle Curtiss - @maizenblu
Predicting any season for any sport is a fun thing to do. People do it with schedules or individual stats, drafts or fantasy leagues. The fun part about it is the fact that we writers don't have to be right all the time. Now just like college football, there are multiple polls, and the Coaches poll has Michigan ranked the highest at #5. Other polls have them ranked anywhere from #13 to #14. Luckily, there is a little more room for losses in college basketball. This year we've had some transfers, but we also have Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III, Spike Albrecht, Nik Stauskas, and Caris Levert in the incoming freshman class to help out Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr, Jon Horford, Jordan Morgan, etc...but here comes the tricky part: the schedule. Other than a road trip to play Bradley, Michigan does not have a strong non-conference schedule. That could affect their RPI ranking at the end of the season, depending on how they fare in the Big Ten. Now the Big Ten is still strong--playing games against #1 Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin should all be good teams. Now I'm going to give them one slip-up game in non-conference, say against NC State in the ACC-Big Ten Classic. Maybe add in a bonehead loss to a Big Ten team Michigan didn't anticipate, a loss to Indiana when we travel to Bloomington, and a home loss to either MSU or OSU. So in the end, here's what I've come up with:
Prediction - 27-4

Tyler Fenwick - @tFly_GoBlue
I'm getting very excited for the return of Michigan basketball. Once it was set in stone that Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. would be returning, a lot of people started putting high hopes on the 2012-2013 season and rightfully so. Those two are both very special players, and they have plenty of weapons surrounding them. For me, the biggest key this season will be the play of Tim Hardaway Jr. He hit a slump last year in conference play and, in my opinion, never fully recovered. Coach Beilein gave him plenty of opportunities, but his lack of production played a huge role in Michigan's season. I'm not saying he has to avoid a slump, but he has to be able to not let the bubble expand and snap out of it. Michigan is at its best when Hardaway is rolling. I'm also very excited to see a hyped up freshman class coming in. Glenn Robinson is looking like a very promising player, and I think we could be pleasantly surprised by Mitch McGray. Michigan has thrived on young talent in the recent past, and I don't think this class will do anything to change that. Looking at the schedule, the Big Ten is the toughest conference in basketball right now, and Michigan is right in the thick of it there. I also like their non-conference schedule. It's nothing dangerous but not too easy. A perfect mix in my opinion. Mark my words here: Michigan is a Final Four team. Go Blue!
Prediction - 26-5

Tyler Desy - @aka_TMD
Michigan basketball seams to be pretty loaded this year.  Trey Burke just recently named to the Preseason AP All-American Team and we all know how good he is.  Tim Hardaway will be big time this year and this incoming recruiting class is loaded.  Look for Mitch McGray to be big this season along with Glenn Robinson.  The Big Ten conference looks to be the toughest in the country with three teams in the preseason top 5.  I belive this Michigan team is experienced and has great leadership.  We actually have NCAA Tournament experience on this roster which everyone knows is big especially come springtime in basketball.  We will find out a lot about Michigan early on as they take on NC State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.  I believe Michigan does very well this season and is right there in the conversation come the end of the year.  Michigan will make it far in the tournament and I believe playing freshmen won't hurt them. I see them in atleast the Elite 8 if not further.  
Prediction - 27-4

Joel Wiscombe - @joelwGoBlue

First let it be said that I am highly excited about this years team. I mean, how could you not be excited for this squad as it comes off of a B1G Championship season in 2011? What jumps out to me is that this team will actually have depth in the front court, which seems to be the biggest area of opportunity that Michigan Basketball has been challenged with in the last decade. With big name recruits like Glenn Robinson Jr and Mitch McGary stealing most of the press as new additions, the returning players that now have the opportunity of seriously contributing shouldn't go without recognition. This is where you see my excitement for this team grow. Michigan will have Jordan Morgan returning as a big, powerful body in the middle for his 3rd consecutive year. What you get with Morgan is a big body that has the dunking (who can forget the monster dunk vs Ohio?) and the rebounding abilities down, but brings little in the shot blocking department. His inability to be a shot blocking threat doesn't worry me so much. At least 3 other Wolverines had more blocks than Morgan last year and we won the Conference. The opportunity for other C/PF's to step up like Horford (who missed most of last year with foot injuries), Sr. Blake McLimans who can shoot , Freshman Max Bielfeldt and of course the highly touted McGary. They all avg. 6 foot 8 or more. If Bielfeldt wants more time, it will come via shot blocking. He has demonstrated that he can drain the outside shot, but if he starts to block shots, expect his minutes to increase. Same is true for Horford. If he stays healthy and makes strides in his blocking expect him to see considerably more I said, FINALLY SOME DEPTH!

In my opinion, probably the best PG/SG combo in the Conference arguably the country; Trey Burke, and Tim Hardaway Jr. These two make up the most dynamic-duo in the B1G. With Glenn Robinson III and maybe the best shooter in the conference Nick Stauskas contributing. Honestly I don't see how we cant be a favorite for the B1G Title with a potential starting five of Burke, Hardaway Jr., Robinson and Morgan/McGary thats just scary! Robinson is such a great player coming in. I am more excited about him actually than I am of McGary. Robinson's Sr. year was one of all around growth. He has improved his scoring, rebounding and is still growing! The conference games with MSU, Indiana and Ohio are the games I see them struggling with by default. Northwestern or Iowa may give them trouble like we have seen in years past but that shouldn't be enough to keep us from a repeat B1G Championship with splits with Indiana, Michigan St. and Ohio St. and maybe a loss to Iowa or Northwestern on their court and at least a trip to the Sweet 16.

My Prediction: 27-4

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