Michigan has lost again to a ranked opponent. The Wolverines started this season with expectations of duplicating the success they had last year, but have now dropped four of their last eight.
This particular loss, like two of their other losses, comes at the hands of a ranked opponent. This time, it was the no. 1 ranked Arizona Wildcats that knocked off the Wolverines 72-70. Michigan has been disappointing in their other losses, but this loss shows signs of hope.
This defeat at least seemed to have awakened Glenn Robinson III. He had been in a real drought to start the season, but he broke out on Saturday.
Robinson III is considered by many to be a potential lottery pick in next season’s NBA draft, but he has been less than stellar so far this season. He was supposed to fill in the scoring that was lost when Tim Hardaway Jr. left for the pros, but instead Robinson III has only put up 12.2 points per game, and in the Wolverines’ previous three losses, he is averaging 8.0 points per game.
On Saturday against Arizona, he put in 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting. This is the type of performance that Michigan will need going forward if they are going to start beating good basketball teams.
With the loss to Arizona, the Wolverines are sure to be unranked in the next polls, which would mark the first time that they are not ranked. This team has a ton of talent on their roster to not be in the top-25; really, they should be top-10. Michigan will benefit greatly from Robinson III getting in a groove, but they also need Mitch McGary to come to the party.
McGary burst onto the scene in the NCAA Tournament last season when he scored 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds against VCU, then put up 25 and 14 on Kansas. That is the McGary that made scouts drool, not the guy averaging 9.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per game this season.
With the Big Ten season about to start, the Wolverines have to start playing better. Robinson III definitely showed that he is finally ready to go, but that can’t be all the Wolverines get — they need McGary too. When the Big Ten season starts and teams try to slow the game down, Michigan will need to be able to get scores in the paint, and that is what McGary has shown he can do.
He, as well as Robinson III, are the reasons why this team was ranked to start the season, but until they both start playing like NBA players again, this team will remain unranked.
Follow Robbie on Twitter @rmarbury