In preparation for the start of the 2011-2012 regular season on November 7, we’re running a series here on Busting Brackets where we talk with other writers about their team or conference. You can check out all of the pieces in our preview series by clicking here. Our series rolls on with an conversation with GBMWolverine.com, as we discuss the high expectations for Michigan basketball this season.
Note: This is just an appetizer, as the guys are doing an extremely in-depth two-part preview on their site. Be sure to check out the first part, with the second part coming up tomorrow.
BustingBrackets.com: For starters, is this a preseason Top 15 team?
GBMWolverine.com: Not at this time, there are still too many deficiencies and Darius Morris is gone.
BB: Tim Hardway Jr. has to be the man now that Morris is gone, right?
GBMWolverine.com: Almost certainly Tim Hardaway Jr. will carry this mantle. Hopefully he does not follow Morris’ footprints, but this is certainly a possibility.
BB: Who might be the biggest surprise or unsung hero for this Michigan team this season?
GBMWolverine.com: The most likely candidate is Evan Smortrycz. He is willing to shoot and very capable of piling on some points. Jordan Morgan will show improvement and the numbers will go up if the ball goes inside.
BB: Is Michigan capable of beating out Ohio State for the Big Ten title?
GBMWolverine.com: This is a long shot, maybe a really long shot. Ohio State has as much talent as any team in the nation. This is very unrealistic to project ascending this high. Ohio State enjoys advantages inside and on the wing. They again enjoy the presence of the best player in the conference, Jared Sullinger.
BB: Even though expectations are high, what potential weaknesses might keep this team from achieving their goals this year?
GBMWolverine.com: Michigan is not physical and the rebounding is only sufficient for big time college basketball. The team still does not utilize the inside game well enough and fires up way to many threes regardless of the quality of defensive pressure.
BB: Exactly how far do you think this team can go this season?
GBMWolverine.com: Michigan needs to play well to make the NCAA tournament, there is no guarantee the Wolverine presence is a given. If Michigan makes the tournament getting to the second round is probably a nice accomplishment. Talk of going to the final four is close to silly.
The call here is for a record of between 18-20 regular season wins. The low tide if things do not work out is about 15 wins and the hide tide is about 21 or 22 regular season wins. Eighteen wins probably means the Wolverines would need to win one or two games in the Big Ten Tournament. The Wolverine schedule should be met with favor by the selection committee.
A huge thanks to the GBMWolverine guys for joining us. Also, be sure to visit GBMWolverine.com for more of their awesome work and follow the site on Twitter @GBMWolverine.