|© 2013 CBS Interactive.|
The moment the 2013 National Championship game ended in a loss, and Burke and Hardaway Jr. entered the NBA, I knew that Michigan fans would have a terrible time staying positive about the 2013-2014 season. I also reckoned that as soon as Michigan slipped up a couple times (Charlotte, as well as Iowa State before most viewers realized they were a Top 10 team) and couldn’t beat top ranked teams (Duke and Arizona), fans would throw their hands up and say something along the lines of, ‘Seasons over, we suck.’ None of us wanted to see the defending runner-ups at 6-4 early in the season, but how many of us were truly surprised?
Michigan came into the season ranked #7, a rating that gave the Wolverines way too much credit early in the season. Some of us could argue that preseason rankings are pathetic in general. Michigan State beat the #1 team in the nation in Kentucky, but a bunch of young athletic freshman, on a team who missed the NCAA’s a year before, should have never been slotted in that position. Michigan couldbe a Top Ten team if everything came together, but unfortunately that has been hard to come by.
Losing Mitch McGary is something the entire Nation recognizes. Even on a quiet night he provides a spark that few other players in the country have the ability to. I have recently read that Glenn Robinson III is okay to keep playing, but will more than likely be in rehab for the remainder of the season. Who really knows how that situation will even turn out. There have been many questions and expectations surrounding this year’s basketball squad, especially now that B1G Ten play has officially started.
The most important thing I have learned thus far: Expectations can KILL a team.
Michigan is going to be okay. And by “okay” I don’t mean recover completely and be a Top Ten team. Last season was excellent, and a mere six points shy of seeming perfect. However, let’s not forget what happened a few years before that. Before ending 31-8(12-6) last year, Michigan’s final records the three seasons prior were:
15-17 (7-11) in 2009-2010,
21-14 (9-10) in 2010-2011, and
24-10 (13-5) in 2011- 2012.
Right now Michigan is 10-4. They have one bad loss, and the three other losses were to Top Ten Teams. They are 2-0 early in conference play. They stole one at Minnesota with GRIII missing down the stretch, and blitzed Northwestern in the second half at home. Are those two of the B1G’s best? No, but they are still both important conference wins. McGary isn’t returning, but I have seen some positive things lately from both Jon Horford and Jordan Morgan, who are stepping up in his place. Zak Irvin has found his scoring ability lately, even if it is almost all from beyond the ark. Derrick Walton Jr. is still young, but finally showing more flashes of what is to come. Spike and Caris have had their moments, and both need to find a way to play consistently during the remainder of conference play. GRIII has been playing much stronger, and hopefully can continue to find his game, and stay away from further injuring himself. Nik Stauskas, is well, Nik Stauskas.
Michigan is okay. They will lose some more games, but they also have the ability to do some damage and win some big ones. They might not be better than last year’s squad and raise another banner, but I still believe they are a quality Michigan team with loads of potential. I guess now we just wait and see what Beilein and his boys can do.