As I explained a month ago in this article, the preseason hype for Michigan Basketball was unfounded, as it's very hard to replace seven players (including two pros) from a fourth-place team that made its name on a five-game win-streak. Just like any other team, they've also had some injuries.
But hold on to your horses, as they may improve 12-4 before things begin to fall into place. The league schedule is soft on the front end, as their first four opponents carried 16 non-conference losses into the new year. Two more wins could move them into the lower 20s. But their second four opponents combined for only six non-conference losses, so don't be surprised when it seems like the bottom is falling out later this month for the Wolverines.
What's truly funny to recall, as Mitch McGary fades away and Glenn Robinson struggles with what may become a chronic ankle injury, is how over-hyped this team was last April, even after losing Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway to the NBA. Remember how they were picked to return to the Final Four, regardless of how lucky they were to get there in the first place? We wrote about this after last season.
Anyway, time to look back at several predictions I made last month to see how they size up and maybe add a couple more:
- UM will lose both regular season games against MSU. I will stick with this and add Ohio State and Wisconsin to the upcoming sweep list.
- UM is likely to finish with 20 wins, but may need conference tournament games to do so. Sticking with this, but now saying they WILL NEED conference tournament games to get to 20 wins.
- UM will challenge for third-place in the league, and will probably finish between third and fifth. Sticking with this, largely because their soft opening schedule will make them appear to be in contention until they get their sixth loss.
- UM will likely make the NCAA Tournament, but probably won't advance beyond the Sweet Sixteen. Sticking with this one.
- UM will have a worse season next year after losing McGary, Robinson, and Morgan, equaling 10 lost players from the five-game-win-streak team of 2012. Definitely sticking with this one, especially as folks ponder the future of Stauskas. And don't expect their incoming recruits to help much, as they have a weak class coming in next year.
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