We have not reached the midway point of the NCAA season yet, but it is almost conference play time for the Big Ten. The college basketball regular season is really split in to two parts, the non-conference schedule and conference play. With one part almost done, let’s take a look back at what has happened for each team and what will happen in the next half. Next up are the Michigan Wolverines.
Michigan is off to their best start in a couple of decades, undefeated at 12-0, heading in to conference play next week. Head coach John Beilein has a very talented, young, explosive core. This team even has name power to accompany the talent, including Tim Hardaway Jr., and Glenn Robinsonn III, along with All- American Trey Burke. For the first time in a while, Michigan has legitimate talent that is winning games, resulting in their spot as No. 2 in the country, just behind the Duke Blue Devils.
The major change for this year has been the impact of the three star freshmen. The aforementioned Robinson is joined by hard nosed big man, Mitch McGary, and sharpshooter-deluxe, Nik Stauskas. All three have had immediate positive results. Robinson has shown an NBA future, along with his NBA body. McGary has shown flashes of both impressive skill for a big man and pure strength and effort. Stauskas, the lowest rated recruit of the three, has actually been the most impressive. The six-foot-seven guard has shown swift handles and an ability to attack the paint offensively, as well as an incredible three point shooting ability. Stauskas could be the x-factor to a potential Final Four run, with his ability to create offense for himself.
Obviously, the biggest key to the impressive start has been Burke. Burke is one of the best players in the country and has looked extraordinary at times. He can either control the game as a field general, as he did in the first half against the NC State Wolfpack, or as a deadly scorer. His game has matured tremendously from his impressive freshman season in 2011.
Michigan is a legitimate championship contender with stars a plenty. With conference play looming, the Wolverines would have to be considered the co-favorites to win the Big Ten, along with the Indiana Hoosiers. Those two could likely battle it out until the end of the season, as they have a huge match-up on March 10th, to close out conference play.