Final 12 months I eased into my preseason predictions, did a good quantity of hedging, and selected some obscure stats. The outcomes weren’t nice. I am taking a unique strategy this time. With the arrogance of Jordan Poole capturing an open jumper, listed here are my predictions for Michigan on this upcoming basketball season.
Wolverines win the Corridor of Fame Tip-Off Match
Michigan travels to Mohegan Solar On line casino in Uncasville, Connecticut for a four-team match the weekend earlier than Thanksgiving. U-M attracts George Washington on Saturday, Nov. 17. I feel Michigan wins this recreation and beats both South Carolina or Windfall within the championship the subsequent day.
Michigan splits nonconference rematches
The Wolverines go to Villanova on Nov. 14 in a rematch of final season’s nationwide championship. They host North Carolina within the ACC-Massive Ten Problem, the identical staff they performed in final 12 months’s occasion. Michigan misplaced each these video games a season in the past.
The rematches will look drastically completely different. Michigan misplaced three key gamers. Villanova misplaced its high 4 scorers, all of whom had school eligibility remaining, to the NBA. North Carolina graduated Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson. However each groups recruited properly and have gifted returns (the Tar Heels’ Luke Maye is a preseason AP All-American; Phil Sales space and Eric Paschall are again for the Wildcats).
I feel Michigan’s first lack of the season will happen at Villanova. However Michigan will beat North Carolina on Wednesday, Nov. 28. And here is an actual assure: Many followers will complain the Carolina recreation ideas at 9:30.
Zavier Simpson would be the Massive Ten Defensive Participant of the 12 months
I am taking the step I used to be unwilling to with Brazdeikis. Many citizens like shot blockers and the 6-foot Simpson isn’t that, however he’ll have sufficient steals to get voters’ consideration. And people keen to dig deeper will see his knack for shutting down his opponent.
No Wolverine was honored on the league’s All-Defensive staff final season. Simpson took the snub personally, as he’s liable to do. I imagine he’ll have to search out completely different motivation — and you may wager he’ll — this postseason.
The offense finds a method
One of many keys to Michigan’s offense enhancing as final season went on was John Beilein determining learn how to finest deploy Simpson. As a lot as Michigan will miss the offensive punch of Moritz Wagner, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, and Duncan Robinson, the significance of the purpose guard in Beilein’s system should not be missed.
The Simpson we noticed in final 12 months’s Massive Ten Match — a maestro with the ball, ending over taller defenders or establishing his teammates for simple baskets — ought to emerge earlier this season, at the same time as Michigan works in a number of new items. Michigan completed final season ranked 35th in adjusted offensive effectivity, per KenPom.com, and regardless of the personnel losses I feel they will dangle round that quantity.
The foul capturing remains to be unhealthy
The Wolverines shot simply 66 % as a staff from the foul line final season. That ranked 326 out of 351 Division I groups. Solely two major-conference faculties (each within the Massive Ten) shot worse.
The key culprits — Charles Matthews and Simpson — are again and determine to get to the road much more this season. Robinson was a wonderful foul shooter. Abdur-Rahkman was superb, as was Wagner, particularly for a middle. Michigan can rely on Poole, however it’s dicey after that. Wagner’s substitute, Jon Teske, is healthier than his 35 for 61 displaying final season would point out, however he’ll nonetheless need to show it in video games.
Ignas Brazdeikis makes the Massive Ten All-Freshman staff
I used to be tempted to select Brazdeikis because the Freshman of the 12 months within the convention, however that is laborious with Indiana’s Romeo Langford — the No. 7 recruit within the nation — being the lone freshman named to the 10-man preseason All-Massive Ten staff.
However Brazdeikis is an aggressive scorer who will begin for Michigan and may get heavy minutes. Consider that he is one of many high 5 rookies within the convention so far as expertise and, properly, I am beginning my predictions with a considerably secure wager.
A top-Three end within the Massive Ten
Michigan, Michigan State, and Nebraska will end, in some order, on the high of the common season standings. Indiana will make a push as properly, and do not sleep on Maryland. The Wolverines will end in one of many high three spots for the primary time since successful the Massive Ten in 2014.
Second weekend of the Massive Dance
Come NCAA Match time, I feel Michigan finds itself in an analogous spot to final 12 months: A favourite in its opener and a toss-up to advance to the Candy 16. Betting on Beilein within the Massive Dance is all the time sensible, so the prediction right here is that Michigan will get to the second weekend.