11.12.2007

2007-08 BIG TEN PREVIEW: MICHIGAN

We got a little slowed up, but the Big 10 Preview continues. We tried to put this off as long as we can, but with a new coach and four underclassmen in the starting lineup, Michigan rolls in projected at 8th in the Big 10. And to answer your question, yes, this is the slowest preview ever.

2006-07 Record: 22-13 (8-8)
Projected Finish: 8th
Returning Starters: 1
Head Coach: John Beilein
Best Player: DeShawn Sims (3.4 PPG, 33.3 FG%)

5 Reasons for Optimism:

1) What else could the #1 reason be: Amaker's gone! The swirly finger offense has been replaced by the Princeton offense and the rock defense has gotten the boot for the 1-3-1 zone defense (explained beautifully here by Brian at MGoBlog).

2) Deshawn Sims and Courtney Sims have no relation.

3) "Sims, Harris and Grady" isn't exactly "Webber, Howard and Rose" but we'll take it. For how much we make fun of Amaker, he left Beilein with some great building blocks for the future. Now with some coaching, the sky's the limit.

4) Alex Legion decommitted and took his T.O. act to Kentucky. We've gotten totally screwed in the past with decommittments (Al Horford and Joe Crawford in '04, Patrick Beverley last year), but this is a blessing.

5) We've got the inside recruiting edge on Kevin Pittsnogle's son, Kwynsie (seriously Snoggle, who names their kid Kwynsie?).

5 Reasons for Pessimism:

1) Let's just come out and say it: DeShawn Sims was a disaster last year. While freshmen around the country dominated the college game, Sims averaged 3.4 PPG and 33% shooting. But who can blame the kid after his brother was shot and killed two days before last season's opener?

2) Granted, there's only two seniors on this team, but Ohio State already has two of the top 15 players committed to play in Columbus to go along with another sick freshman class this year. We better hurry up before we get left in the dust again.

3) Our best returning player averaged 3.4 PPG last year! We're basically starting from scratch.

4) Adam Block, Eric Puls, C.J. Lee, Zack Gibson? Who ARE these guys?

5) No Brent Petway for comedic relief:



Realety

We still think Rudy T. was the perfect hire (or what about Cazzie Russell? Savannah College of Art and Design is really on the rise!), but Beilein is one of the best coaches, hands down. Leading West Virginia to within minutes of the Final Four was a remarkable accomplishment (although the Mountaineers will probably be even better with Huggins since criminal records are no issue).

Michigan has a brutal nonconference schedule with Georgetown, Boston College, UCLA and Duke (does anyone remember the last two times at Duke - 2000 and 2002? No seriously, we blacked out during both games....)

But circle Dec. 1 on your calendar, folks! Beilein vs. Amaker 1 will be a dandy although we fully expect Amaker to come down with the flu at the last minute.

All in all, this team is just way too young to compete in most Big 10 games. Unlike the Amaker years, we expect vast improvement by the end of the year but unfortunately, that will probably be in the NIT, er, MIT.

We'll see you fools in New York (hey, there was free beer last time at MSG, so it ain't all bad)!

3 comments:

THE BEAR EATS SALMON said...

I disagree. We will catch the Big 10 and the country by surprise this season. We finish 19-10 and make tourny. We will also upset Georgetown in 2 days.

Musket Rebellion said...

Michigan will only catch people off guard this year because we run an actual offense now as apposed to Amaker tugging at his turtle neck for 40 mins. We will not upset GTown, and we will not make the tournament. But if this team shows improvement by the end of the year, as in the personnel mature and improve I'll be completely satisfied. Beilein has a lot of work ahead of him, but he's the right man for the job.

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