5 Burning Questions for Michigan Wolverines Basketball
Michigan Wolverines and 5 Questions About Their Upcoming Season
Last season, the Michigan Wolverines surpassed all expectations by advancing to the NCAA Championship Game where they ultimately came up short against the Louisville Cardinals. Their team was well balanced. They had a good amount of depth coming off the bench when they needed it. They had a group of freshmen who were arguably the best group of first-year players in the country. However, that was then, and this is now. What does Michigan Basketball have in store for us in 2013-14?
A lot has changed for the maize and blue since they last took to the court inside a packed Georgia Dome in Atlanta. They are no longer the favorites in the Big Ten Conference as that distinction has been given to in-state rival Michigan State, and they will be without Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., who were two key pieces in their drive to the Final Four last season.
Although much has changed for the Wolverines, they are most definitely not a team that anyone should rule out in regards to making noise inside the AP Top 25 on a weekly basis. They still do have a number of players who can put some serious points on the board and fill in on the defensive end, as well. However, even though there still is a sense of optimism within the group itself, the team will have to find a way to answer a few questions that will be hovering around them alongside the confidence that they currently exude.
Here are five burning questions that No. 7 Michigan will look to answer along their journey back to the Final Four.
5. Who Is The Leader?
Now that Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. have gone pro, someone needs to step up and play leader for the Wolverines. Will it be big man Mitch McGary? Can Glenn Robinson III stay consistent all season long? Will Zak Irvin come in and steal the show? Time will tell in regards to who will lead this team down the stretch, and who will help them clinch a top seed in the tournament.
4. Can They Win At No. 4 Duke?
In early December, the Wolverines will be in tough one on the road against Mike Krzyzewski's Duke Blue Devils. This will be a marquee matchup that would solidify Michigan as a legit contender if they can put up a victory on Coach K Court in Durham, N.C.
3. Can They Beat No. 2 Michigan State?
Now that No. 2 Michigan State has been dubbed the front-runners to win the Big Ten Conference, the matchup between the Wolverines and the Spartans is more important than ever. Regardless of either team's ranking, there is always bad blood between the two and the Spartans always seem to hang on every move the Wolverines make. Now that both teams will most likely still have a high ranking when they meet, the games will serve as a must-wins for both.
2. Has Nik Stauskas Really Developed Into More Of A Complete Player?
Nik Stauskas solidified himself as one of the nation's premier outside shooters last season, gaining attention from the likes of three-pointer guru, Stephen Curry. Stauskas has vowed to strengthen other parts of his game as he wants to prove that he has more than just a slick stroke from the outside. If he has indeed improved the rest of his game during the offseason, the Wolverines will be very tough to deal with on a nightly basis.
1. Can They Win Without Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr?
Without Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. the Wolverines are a different team. However, that doesn't mean they are not a good team. They can still put up big numbers with their returning players, and they are very confident in those players who will be making their college ball debuts.
Last season there were many games won on the shoulders of Burke, and now that he has turned pro, someone will have to take over in those dying seconds of the game. Burke was something special for the Wolverines. Is there someone on their roster that can take matters into their own hands when it matters most?