The Michigan Wolverines were without Mitch McGary in the first game of the 2013-14 college basketball season. Michigan won comfortably, but it may be in trouble against the Iowa State Cyclones if he is not back in the lineup.
Michigan has a very well-rounded team and a lot of capable scorers. However, McGary is a preseason All-American for a reason. He has the potential to be one of the best players in the sport and we saw glimpses of that in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. McGary put up 20+ points and 14 rebounds in back-to-back games in the dance.
Having a back injury–serious or minor–is a pretty big deal and who knows how long McGary will be out as a result.
Iowa State is going to challenge for a Big 12 title. I’m not saying that they will win it, but the Cyclones could beat anyone in the conference on any given night/morning/afternoon or whatever time of the day it may be.
With that in mind, ESPN reported that Melvin Ejim could be out until December. Michigan and Iowa State play each other on Nov. 17. That is a huge loss for the Cyclones because Ejim is one of the best players on this team. He did average 11.3 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per game last season.
Ejim being healthy and back on the court will be key for Iowa State’s success this season.
Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas are good enough to lead the Wolverines on their own, but McGary has the most upside on this team and he could be the best big man in college hoops.
Who knows if McGary will be back by Nov. 17, but Michigan will still be the favorite going into that game. If McGary is at full strength and is on the court, the Wolverines should have no problem winning. Without him, though, the door opens for Iowa State to pull off the upset.