Michigan finally begins their season tonight, against Northern Michigan. It is an exhibition, but still it is a big deal to finally play against somebody not on your own team. A majority of what fans will see is meaningless, just a top ten team beating up on Northern Michigan, the fourth best directional school in Michigan. They can play horrible, sloppy basketball and still win. However, there are a few things that will be interesting, and can actually give insights in to what this Michigan team will be.
1. Point Guard- With Trey Burke suspended for a violation of team standards, true freshman Spike Albrecht is starting. Albrecht is not one of the three top 100 freshmen that Michigan has, but has still shown promise to John Beilein. It will be interesting to see how well he can run the offense in his first college basketball game. An inefficient offense won’t cost them tonight, but will be important against real opponents, down the road. Hopefully, for Michigan, Burke doesn’t miss many more games this season, from injury or suspension. But, it is still good to see what they have in their backup point guard.
2. Freshmen- Other than Albrecht, there are a ton of interesting freshman storylines. Glenn Robinson III will start tonight, in his college debut. This will be the first real view of the most prized member of the 2012 class. It will be interesting to see how well he plays with junior Tim Hardaway Jr. on the perimeter. Mitch McGary, the athletic big man, has an injured foot, but is still expected to get some playing time. Nick Stauskas should play a lot of minutes on the wing, both with Hardaway and Robinson. There is also the possibility he plays some time at point guard.
3. Loss of Shooters- Michigan’s two seniors from last season, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass, brought a lot to the table throughout their careers. Their best and most important trait was their three point shooting abilities. Three point shooters are essential in Beilein’s offense. With both of them gone Michigan needs others to step up and make threes. Their worst performances last season was when they could not make threes, and as a result their offense fell apart. Three point heavy offenses look great when shots are being made, but when they are not falling it looks as ugly as any offense in the country. A couple of players who will be depended upon to make threes are Stauskas and senior Matt Vogrich.