Nothing But ‘Net – Week #26 – 04/22/2013 – Season Wrap-Up, Final Grades, Looking Ahead

Season Wrap-Up

 

The season is over for the 2012-2013 University of Michigan men’s basketball team, and it was a good one. If the last 10 minutes of the National Championship game in the NCAA Tournament had played out a little better, it would have been an exceptional season, but it was still a good season. Michigan had the youngest team in the tournament, but they managed to make it to the championship game. They ended up with a final record of 31-8, 12-6 in the Big Ten.

 

Looking back on the season, UM won almost every “should win” game (12-1), won most of the “toss up” games (18-3), but lost almost all of the “should lose” games (1-4):

 

  • “Should win” games – The only game that Michigan lost that they should have won was The Debacle in State College, when they lost (84-78) to a lousy Penn State team that was previously winless (0-14) in the Big Ten. This was one of the most embarrassing losses in Michigan basketball history.
  • “Toss up” games – Michigan lost 3 “toss up” games:
  • “Should lose”games – Michigan faced several “should lose” games, and they lost 4 of them:
    • At Ohio State. Michigan lost by 3 points (56-53), with a chance to tie it at the buzzer.
    • At Indiana.
    • At Wisconsin. Michigan had this one wrapped up, but Wisconsin hit a half-court shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime, where Michigan fell apart.
    • At Michigan State. This was Michigan’s only double-digit loss of the season.

    The only “should lose” game that Michigan won was at Minnesota.

 

The theme this season was “redemption”. For several of those losses, there was a matching win later in the season with a striking similarity:

 

  • After Michigan blew a 15-point lead with 10:22 to go in the Debacle in State College, they got a shot at redemption when they played Penn State again in the 1st round of the Big Ten Tournament. They got to exactly the same situation (15-point lead with 10:22 to go), and finished the game strong, increasing their final margin of victory.
  • After Michigan blew a 5-point lead in the last 52 seconds of the Indiana game in Ann Arbor, they got a chance at redemption, but not against the Hoosiers. Instead, they found themselves down 5 points with 52 seconds left against Kansas in the NCAA Tournament, and they managed to force overtime, then win it.
  • After Michigan missed a 3-pointer to tie the game at Ohio State, and saw a long 3-pointer go in against them at Wisconsin, they got a shot at redemption in the Kansas game, and they hit the long 3-pointer to send the game into overtime, where Michigan eventually won it.
  • After getting trounced in East Lansing, Michigan got a measure of redemption by beating MSU in Ann Arbor in the final minute, then going much further in the NCAA Tournament than MSU did.

 

Unfortunately, there were no more games left to get redemption for the last 10 minutes of the National Championship game. Maybe next season.

 

Final Grades

 

Here are the final grades for all the players, along with their mid-term grades, which were given out after the non-conference portion of the schedule was completed, but before Big Ten play started:

 

Freshman Eligibility

 

Spike Albrecht – B (Mid-term = B)

For the first 38 games of the season, Spike’s main contribution was giving Trey Burke a rest for 6-8 minutes per game, but he was just a “placeholder”. Then came the 1st half of the National Championship game, when he tossed in 17 points to single-handedly keep Michigan in the game. Which Spike Albrecht will we see next season? Who knows…

 

Max Bielfeldt – B- (Mid-term = B-)

Max had minor injury problems early in the season, and he only played in 20 of the 39 games. When he was in, he looked solid, if unspectacular. He’s a strong kid, and he knows where the ball is going, so he gets a fair share of the rebounds while he’s on the floor. He’s not much of a scoring threat, but he was a pretty good post defender.

 

Caris LeVert – B (Mid-term = B)

For the first 6 games of the season, it looked like Caris was going to be redshirted, then he played in the Bradley game, and every game since. He has a nice 3-point stroke, he’s fast, he’s athletic, and he has good “court vision”. He could still stand to put on a few pounds of solid muscle over the summer.

 

Mitch McGary – A- (Mid-term = B)

Mitch was the 6th man for most of season, with just a couple of starts, then came the NCAA Tournament. Mitch started all 6 tournament games, and he had an awesome tournament, except for a decent-but-not-great game in the National Championship game. He brings a lot of energy to the game, he’s pretty good at using his size and bulk underneath, and he runs the floor pretty well. He thought about going to the NBA after the season, but decided to stay, probably for just one more year.

 

Glenn Robinson III – B+ (Mid-term = A-)

It’s funny: Glenn is an exciting, dynamic player, with the best dunks on the team, but after every game we always said that his points were “quiet points” that sneak up on you. As advertised out of high school, he is VERY athletic, with great speed and leaping ability. He also showed a better-than-expected touch from 3-point range, and he was a solid defender. He did disappear in a few crucial games, but he still had an excellent freshman season. Like Mitch McGary, he thought about going to the NBA after the season, but decided to stay, probably for just one more year.

 

Nik Stauskas – B (Mid-term = A)

After the non-conference portion of the schedule, Nik was the star of the freshman class. In fact, at that point he was one of the best 3-point shooters in all of college basketball. Unfortunately, once the Big Ten season started, he cooled off considerably. The defenses in the Big Ten knew how to handle a sharpshooting guard, and they made it a lot harder to get a clean shot off. He had a mediocre NCAA Tournament, except for the Florida game, where he was amazing. If he could have hit a few more of his open 3-pointers in the Louisville game, UM might have won it all. If he can regain his early-season form next season, and maintain it for the Big Ten schedule, he will be a very valuable player on next season’s team.

 

Sophomore Eligibility

 

Trey Burke – A+ (Mid-term = A+)

I don’t give out many A+ grades, but Trey deserves it. He was easily the best player in all of college basketball this season, and he swept all the national Player Of The Year awards. He led the team in scoring (18.6 points/game), assists (260 – a new single-season school record), steals (62), and minutes played (35.3 minutes/game). He did it all, and he often put the team on his back and carried them, especially at the end of big games. His clutch performance in the Kansas game in the NCAA Tournament was one for the ages, including “The Shot” – a 30-footer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. Unfortunately, Trey is now good enough to take his game to the NBA, where he’ll certainly be a Top 10 draft pick. We’ll miss him, and we wish him well.

 

Jon Horford – B- (Mid-term = B)

Jon missed a few games due to injury, but when he was in, he played well. He has a spring/bounce to his step that few other players have. He showed a real talent for blocking shots and playing tough defense. His offensive game is a little behind.

 

Junior Eligibility

 

Tim Hardaway Jr. – A- (Mid-term = A-)

When Tim was good, he was very good, but when he was having an “off” game, he disappeared. Still, he was the 2nd leading scorer on the team (14.5 points/game), and the 3rd leading rebounder (4.7 rebounds/game). Like Trey Burke, his game is good enough to take it to the next level, and he has decided to enter the NBA Draft. As with Trey, we wish Tim all the best.

 

Blake McLimans – C- (Mid-term = C-)

Blake didn’t play during his freshman year, so he’s a redshirt junior, with one year of eligibility left. Apparently, he’s not going to be back next season. I like Blake, and I really wanted to see him succeed, but when he was in the game, he just didn’t deliver. He only got in during “garbage time”, which is a shame.

 

Jordan Morgan – B- (Mid-term = B+)

Jordan was having a solid season, mostly as a defensive specialist, until he sprained his ankle in the game at Illinois. From that point on, he had a hard time regaining his form. When he recovered from the injury enough to play a few minutes per game, he played very tentatively. He eventually regained his starting spot, but failed to deliver, and was replaced by Mitch McGary in the starting lineup for the NCAA Tournament games. I hope he can regain his confidence for next season.

 

Senior Eligibility

 

Eso Akunne – C- (Mid-term = C)

Eso didn’t play much, mostly in “garbage time”, and when he was in there, he had a tendency to fire up 3-pointers every chance he got.

 

Josh Bartelstein – Inc. (Mid-term = Inc.)

Josh has only played in 6 games (10 minutes) all season, and he failed to score on 1 field goal and 2 free throw attempts. He injured his ankle, and that cost him a few chances to get in the games. He was the captain of the team, and his leadership skills were fine. He also wrote a few entertaining blog for the last 3 years.

 

Corey Person – Inc. (Mid-term = Inc.)

Corey played in 10 games this season, but all of it was in “garbage time”. He did score 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

 

Matt Vogrich – C- (Mid-term = C-)

Matt started the season as a starter, and gave it his best effort, but Nik Stauskas was playing too well to keep him on the bench instead of starting him. Since he was relegated to the bench, Matt did less and less with the few minutes he managed to get on the floor, and ended up playing during “garbage time”. It’s a shame, because he can shoot 3-pointers almost as well as Stauskas, but he seems to have lost his touch.

 

Looking Ahead

 

Ah, recruiting, my old friend. If you look back over the last 14+ years’ worth of articles, you’ll see that I don’t talk much about recruiting or incoming players, except for the “Looking Ahead” section of the last article of each season. There are a few reasons for that:

 

  1. It’s hard to evaluate high school players based on 2nd hand reports and choppy videoclips. Just about any high school player can be made to look like the next coming of Michael Jordan in “hype” videos.
  2. It’s hard to tell how good a high school player is going to be in college by seeing how he does against high school players. There is such a wide variation in skill levels of the opponents.
  3. Not every player who commits to a given college program actually ends up on the roster for the first real game. Players decommit, get injured, or quit basketball. I don’t count on a player until I actually see him on the floor for the first real game.
  4. I need to see a player in person, in a real game, before I can form a well-considered opinion. The exhibition games barely count. Garbage time of a real game barely counts.

 

That said, it’s time to look ahead at next season’s roster. There are big changes in store, since 4 players with senior eligibility (Akunne, Bartelstein, Person, and Vogrich) and 1 player with junior eligibility (McLimans) are leaving, and 2 more players (Burke and Hardaway) are entering the NBA Draft. That’s 7 players lost from this season’s roster. Fortunately, there are 3 very good incoming freshmen to help fill the void:

 

  • Mark Donnal – 6’9″, 225 pounds, forward. Mark is described as a power forward, but in the Beilein system that probably means “center”. However, Mark isn’t a true “back to the basket” center, and he has a decent 3-point shot. With all the depth at “big man” next year (Morgan, Bielfeldt, Horford, and McGary), he might be a good redshirt candidate.
  • Zak Irvin – 6’6″, 185 pounds, forward. Zak is listed as a shooting forward, so think “wing”. Think “Tim Hardaway, Jr.”, but with a better 3-point shot. Zak was “Mr. Basketball” and the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Indiana.
  • Derrick Walton – 6’0″, 165 pounds, guard. Derrick is a point guard, but he’s a “shooting point guard”, as opposed to an “assist point guard”. He’s got a great outside shot, and he can take the ball to the basket and convert.

 

Now, Walton may be an excellent high school point guard, but there’s no way he’s going to step right in and replace Trey Burke. There’s bound to be some letdown, and there’s bound to be a learning curve. Yet, I’m confident that somehow Coach Beilein will patch together minutes from Spike Albrecht, Caris LeVert, and Derrick Walton to replace 75% – 85% of Trey’s contributions (points, assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks).

 

Likewise, Zak Irvin isn’t going to instantly step in and make us forget Tim Hardaway, Jr. He may in fact be a better shooter and scorer, but he’s still an incoming freshman. However, Coach Beilein proved to us all this season that he can get a lot of production out of a young team, and he’ll have to do it again next season. Fortunately, he’s got a lot of talented players to work with.

 

Check back here again next season, the week before the first game, for a season preview.

 

Go Blue!