Dan Hanner: “I just don’t see Michigan as a Top 25 team anymore”

Dylan Burkhardt

220px-20110110_Mitch_McGary_at_Hoop_Hall_Classic[1]Dan Hanner, who writes for Real GM and has been featured in Basketball Prospectus, has noticed a trend in his 2012-13 computer projections. Hanner’s system has dropped Michigan significantly from his original spring projections. Michigan has dropped so far that Hanner doesn’t think the 2012-13 Wolverines are a top-25 team in the preseason. The reasoning: Mitch McGary’s fall in the recruiting rankings (3 to 26) and Evan Smotrycz’s transfer. Here’s a snippet of Hanner’s explanation:

Evan Smotrycz was Michigan’s under-utilized star. Smotrycz was already super-efficient, and as the only returning Michigan player to be ranked out of high school, his potential was still very high. With fellow three point sharp-shooters Zack Novak and Stu Douglass having departed, Smotrycz seemed poised for a breakout season. His loss pushes a bunch of players with weaker projections into a higher spot in the lineup.

More importantly, the historical difference between the 3rd ranked recruit and the 26th ranked recruit is immense. The 3rd ranked recruit is almost always an immediate star. The 26th ranked recruit will usually become a solid college player, but not necessarily make an immediate impact.

With Mitch McGary plummeting in the recruiting rankings, not only does this lower McGary’s projection, it also has spillover effects to the rest of the team. First, Max Bielfeldt (or Jon Horford) is now likely to play more minutes in the post. Second, the weaker overall lineup hurts everyone. Everyone (from Tim Hardaway to Caris Levert) will likely get fewer wide-open shots, and their ORtg projection falls slightly.

Some quick thoughts. First off, there’s no mention of Glenn Robinson III rising more spots than McGary fell. I would estimate that the gap between a recruit ranked in the 50s compared to the 20s isn’t nearly as large as between top-5 and top-25 but it is surely significant. One of Hanner’s caveats is that Michigan could be a much better defensive team. There’s little doubt that the additions of McGary, Robinson, Stauskas, Horford and others will be a defensive upgrade over Smotrycz, Novak and Douglass.

Hanners take is a bit drastic, but where should Michigan be ranked in the preseason? Many preseason publications have the Wolverines ranked in the top ten or even the top five. We’ve previously reported that Lindy’s has Michigan ranked third and Athlon slots the Wolverines sixth. Blue Ribbon announced its top-25 and has John Beilein’s team pegged as the country’s fifth best team in the preseason.

Whatever qualms you may have with the conclusion, some of Hanner’s points are valid. Michigan loses arguably the top three long range specialists from last year’s team and there is generally a concrete difference between the third best incoming recruit and the 26th best incoming recruit. Last year that would be like comparing #3 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to #26 Wayne Blackshear. Blackshear played in just 15 games for Louisville while Kidd-Gilchrist was an All-American and lottery pick. That’s obviously a cherry picked example, but there are far more “recruiting misses” outside of the consensus top-10. Blackshear missed time due to injury but the point remains that there’s a vast difference between top-10 level players, game changers like Davis, Rivers, Beal, etc., and perhaps the Branden Dawson, Chane Behanan, Michael Gbinije type of players who might be a level below.

There are a lot of reasons to be excited about Michigan’s upcoming season including one of the nation’s best point guards, a potential bounce back year for Tim Hardaway Jr., legitimate front court depth, and a new level of athleticism that John Beilein hasn’t had at his disposal in Ann Arbor. However, Hanner’s projections should serve as a reminder that as exciting things look on paper, there are still plenty of factors to consider.

Let’s hear your thoughts. What do you expect from the 2012-13 Wolverines? Are we overvaluing Mitch McGary? Or under valuing the departures and transfers from last year’s team.

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  • Northern Blue

    I don’t think we are overvaluing Mcgary at all. He may not set the world on fire scoring wise, but his defence, rebounding, and tenacity project to be above average to elite in my opinion. Also, he looks to be a good passer who is an unselfish player. We might not be the 3 point shooting team we were last year, but there is still 3 point shooting between Vogrich, Stauskas, Burke, Hardaway and maybe even Robinson. The new balance and athleticism can only be a good thing in my opinion.

  • Dontell

    Dan Hanner sounds as if he’s never been to a U of M game and has only read about Michigan on a ESPN Insider account. Although being ranked within the top 5 is certainly a little high, there is no doubt we are a top 25 team. Hanner appears to have a rather salty make-up.

    • Easy on the personal insults. Hanner is a smart guy and knows his hoops. Remember he’s talking about the effect things have on his computer model. Which isn’t perfect, but is good enough to serve as one input in terms of preseason prognostication.

  • umbballfan

    preaseason rankings get tiresome. it’s nice to be rated highly by some other sources, but it ultimately does not matter come season time. mcgary fell from 3 to 26, boo hoo. He’s a great addition to a team that hasn’t been able to play two true bigs at 4 and 5 for several years. “Evan Smotrycz was Michigan’s under-utilized star.” nothing against smotrycz but has hanner watched any michigan games? hopefully this shoots maryland up to contend for Hanner’s preseason national title!

    • I think part of this is that Smotrycz was *really* good in December so his overall offensive numbers from last season look pretty strong.

      • Retiredat23

        Smotrycz had consecutive double doubles against pretty poor non-conference competition, a far cry from being “Michigan’s under-utilized star.” I giggled when I read that.

        • Yet he has the efficiency numbers of a fairly efficient but moderate to low usage player. One that computer projections would probably think higher of going forward.

          • Steve2081

            Meaningless stats. Smot was always a turnover waiting to happen.

  • DingoBlue

    I don’t see as much of a 3 point shooter drop-off gap as he makes out. We’ve still got Trey and Tim in the lineup, and we compliment that with a senior Vogrich and Stauskas off the bench (one player every single pre-season projection piece seems to forget). While I tend to agree with others on here that top 10 may be too high and top 5 is very likely stretching it, top 15 seems entirely reasonable to me with the depth and talent Michigan has, especially when I try to look at other teams and figure out who I really think deserves to be ahead of Michigan.

  • BluesMan

    Interesting comments and reasoning from Hanner. Shows how crazy preseason rankings can be. Those top 10 projections from Lindy’s/whoever are way overboard. Hanner’s concern about Bielfeldt and Horford playing more doesn’t take into account Beilein’s track record of finding and developing diamonds in the rough.(Jordan Morgan, Darius Morris, Joe Alexander). Still interesting and we shouldn’t get carried away with too high of expectations.

    • Rob O’Keefe

      In what world is JM a diamond of any type? A below-average starter is what he is, unless I’ve confused him with someone else for the last two seasons. Joe Alexander was solid, nothing special, as his status as one of the worst busts in NBA history has since proved.
      Morris, yes, but he was ridiculously underrated to begin with; the best player in CA, yet barely a Top 100 recruit is still baffling to me…
      I agree with far more than I disagree with in the article. But let’s see when the season starts…

  • GregGoBlue

    I think 3-6 is a bit too high, personally. Not only do we lose our top long-range shooters, but we lose our leadership core as well. Granted Burke, JMo (and to an extent THJr) should step up in the leadership department, but Stu and Vogrich will be tough to replace. One could also argue that Stauskas, who is unproven, can partially compensate for our losses from long range (Vogrich as well, but he has yet to show enough consistency to make a real impact), but there are plenty of maybes and unknowns.

    Will an infusion of talent and athleticism make up for lack of experience, familiarity with the offense and defense and loss of leadership/3 point shooting? I think it will, to an extent, but I think M will end up around 10-12 rather than 3-6.
    That Smotrycz argument is bogus, by the way. Anybody who watched his regression last season could tell you that.

  • BlueRev

    I actually appreciate the guy’s thoughts to counter the high expectations. We have lost a lot of perimeter shooting which has been our bread and butter and only Stauskas of the recruits can likely pick up some of the slack along with returning Vogrich. Expect similar shooting from Burke. It would obviously be a huge lift if THJ can shoot from the perimeter nearer his frosh rather than last year–that opens things for everyone.

    However, this team has the ability to play 2 posts and guys that can shoot and pass inside–which actually opens up the perimeter even more. Teams will now have to pick their poison–I think they’d rather take their chances on allowing perimeter shots than us dump it inside to Morgan, McGary, Horford, etc. So I think we still take nearly as many threes as before, but don’t have to work as hard to get them. I see our offensive pace picking up some because of this and our overall efficiency improving dramatically IF we can hit those threes. GR3 will slash and sky, Stauskas will bomb, TBurke will have the ball A LOT, but… I see THJ’s outside shot as key to our season–he made 1.1 MORE THREES PER GAME in the B1G as a frosh than soph–return to that and he/we are unstoppable as he can do it all when on outside.

    If THJ can’t hit 35%+ it will have a domino effect offensively. However defensively we may be able to overcome much of that.

    Perhaps simplistic but I see UM ebbing around…
    15-25 w/THJ shooting <30%,
    10-15 w/THJ shooting 35ish%,
    5-10 w/THJ shooting 40ish%,
    1-4 w/THJ shooting 45ish+%

    There's a gazillion other factors, but I do see THJ's outside shooting as the primary known intangible.

    • GregGoBlue

      You bring up an interesting point. Along with the purported increase in 3 point shooting (despite the benefits of greater presence inside, I still think our 3 pt shooting numbers go down), I am interested to see the effect on rebounding with our increased size and potential 2 post offense this season, an area in which we have traditionally struggled under Beilein.

      • Retiredat23

        Agreed Greg; it memory recalls, Morgan is an average offensive rebounder, YouTube clips show McGary as an above average offensive rebounder, and then you can throw in GR III and Horford for offensive boards and putbacks as well. If Beilein plays his lineup correctly, I believe that our 3-pt attempts will go down and our 3-pt % will go up. Offensive board kickouts to a 3-pt shooter are impossible to defend, and I as one would love to see an Izzo-esque rebounding squad grab boards and kick them out to our long ball specialists.

        • BlueRev

          44% of our shots were threes last year. Smots, Novak & Stu took a lot and made close to 37%, Hardaway took almost a fourth of our threes hitting only28% while rest of roster team hit near team’s 35% avg.

          I expect a couple more outlet pass fast breaks off defensive rebounds (saw some of that from McGary) and steals (better defensive speed and size) so we likely don’t shoot 44% of shots outside along with better inside presence, but if THJ returns to form we shoot at least as well outside (could be even better of course of Stauskas, Vogrich, etc are on fire) and may actually make more threes than last year.

          Stronger defense and more efficient offense. Burke and THJ also should cut down on turnovers as seasoned veterans and also because with more versatile offensive threats on the floor it opens things up for everybody.

          • Retiredat23

            I’m banking on the fact that Hardaway will improve his 3pt %….he was unquestionably the team’s #1 option on offense to begin the season last year and while he may not have ended as the #1 (or if we can categorize him and Burke as duel #1 options) he was guarded like it during the season. Remember as a freshman, Darius Morris ran the pick and roll like bread and butter and that created a lot of good looks for Hardaway spotting up in the corner, so it can be argued that that type of production would be hard to replicate with a new PG and as the team’s new #1 option. I bet he returns to form and shoots right around 34-36% on 3’s. My biggest question is…..who runs the team when Burke sits???

    • Colin

      If THJ shoots less than 30% from outside, we’re worse than that. He doesn’t get to the line, pass or defend enough to make up for that loss in value. He goes from possible star to below average ball suck.

      • BlueRev

        well he shot less than 30% last year and we managed to be decent.
        And I think this year’s team around him is better than last years.
        He goes from star to solid player like last year, but with a smaller role.
        If he improves his shot to previous form he is a star with bigger role.

        • Colin

          We ended up at like 30th per KenPom? I think that’s a pretty good starting point until our freshmen prove themselves and THJ shows that last year was a fluke.

          Sidenote: I forget which UMHoops link roundup said Timmy has a weirdly rough time with spot up shooting and that his mechanics are much more variable spotting up? That seems fixable. That’s like when a left handed hitter has a fluke season and hits better against lefties than righties for seemingly no reason.

          • BlueRev

            Team’s rosters change about 30% each year, so when making projections you have to compare the guys coming in to the guys leaving and add that to the returnees… you can’t just say wait and see how the new guys are–you assume they’ll play similar to their ranking based on roster make-up/playing time, etc.

            So starting at 30th per KenPom with last year’s 3 departees and add wins with the 5 new players to get us to top 20ish, and then to the degree THJ shoots determines how much better we are (my over-simplistic concept above). I expect him to improve and get us to 10-15ish but if he shoots like the end of his frosh season this could be a final 4 team. Adding 2-6 more ppg could add 2-6 more wins over a season… 22-10 becomes a 24-28 win team.

            Of course we can’t assume the frosh are better than the departed or that returnees regress, but on paper we look solid. We can also have some guys pick up the slack while others underachieve.
            but it appears exciting days ahead ahead for UM.

          • BlueRev

            Team’s rosters change about 30% each year, so when making projections you have to compare the guys coming in to the guys leaving and add that to the returnees… you can’t just say wait and see how the new guys are–you assume they’ll play similar to their ranking based on roster make-up/playing time, etc.

            So starting at 30th per KenPom with last year’s 3 departees and add wins with the 5 new players to get us to top 20ish, and then to the degree THJ shoots determines how much better we are (my over-simplistic concept above). I expect him to improve and get us to 10-15ish but if he shoots like the end of his frosh season this could be a final 4 team. Adding 2-6 more ppg could add 2-6 more wins over a season… 22-10 becomes a 24-28 win team.

            Of course we can’t assume the frosh are better than the departed or that returnees regress, but on paper we look solid. We can also have some guys pick up the slack while others underachieve.
            but it appears exciting days ahead ahead for UM.

          • Colin

            Right, yeah. I think starting with the assumption that the newcomers and the departures even out is a pretty decent one. That sounds like that’s exactly what Hanner is projecting given what he knows about recruiting rankings.

  • Retiredat23

    I couldn’t disagree more with Hanner. First, I don’t believe McGary is the 26th best player in his class, nor do I think he will play like he’s the 26th best player or have the impact someone ranked at 26 would. I consider him much higher due to his motor and intangibles, which ESPN and Scout fail to accurately rate.

    Smotrycz was a sponge defensively, and last year’s team shot way too many 3’s. Losing our “bombers”, i.e. players that shot the highest % of their shots behind the arc, isn’t a BAD thing in my eyes. We can and will have the ability to score in the post.

    I’m actually pretty offended he thinks Michigan isn’t a top 25 team. That shows his lack of knowledge regarding John Beillien’s ability draw every ounce of talent out of his players. Beilein has already stated he likely will use a “two-post” offense (which I praise), which should show a decline in the volume of 3-pointers attempted, which will place less of an emphasis on the 3-point shot in Michigan’s offense.

    Hanner’s “computer projections” show how an individual can place way too high of a value on statistics; he needs to watch some game tape! My goodness Michigan outside the top-25?!? I’m still shocked this dude wrote that.

  • maxwell’s demon

    I think we’re a top 25 team even without the incoming class. With them I think we’re top 10. We don’t need McGary to be a one and done type talent. We don’t even need much offensive presence from him. Just need another big body to grab some boards. It’s GRIII that I think can make this team top 10. At worst, I would think he would be an adequate replacement for Evan. More likely, Burke THJr and GRIII are going to be a three-headed nightmare for opposing defenses.

    • Retiredat23

      Stauskas and McGary will make the offense a 5-headed Scylla.

  • q-sac

    agree with what most have said – i don’t think we’re a top 5 team, but i certainly don’t see us outside the top 25, either. some takes:

    losing smotrycz – if my memory is correct, he led the squad in shooting percentage (around 45%) last year. anyone who can knock down a few triples a game at that rate is valuable. that being said, there is something to be said for chemistry / team morale. smotrycz left b/c he was unhappy. it showed more and more throughout the year. i wish he would have stuck it out, but maybe this team will come together more without him.

    losing novak and douglass – stu was an outstanding defender. novak was the undersized/scrappy unquestioned leader. both will be missed tremendously. neither, however, contributed much offensively last year. it had gotten to the point where it seemed like stu had stopped looking for a shot altogether. this team will get more point production from those freed-up minutes.

    this year’s team: even if burke doesn’t show much improvement, he’s still one of the best out there. and i bet he’s already the vocal leader. his return cannot be understated. THJ – hopefully we’ll see what kind of player he really is… tremendous shooter/slasher (fr. yr.), or streaky shooter w/ poor handles and inconsistent defense (so. yr.)? if it’s the prior, this team should be in good shape.

    obviously the x-factor (how good the incoming class is) will really determine which side of the top 10 this team ends up on. quick response to hanner’s highlighting mcgary’s slide – his h.s. team did not appear to look to him to score. and that seemed more like a reflection on the talent around him than on his own limitations (from the limited film i saw). not saying he will be the go-to at UM (not likely his role here, either) – just that had he been “the man” on his h.s. team his slide might not have been so dramatic.

    • gobluemd16

      You really summarized what I was going to say. The variables are obviously how good the freshmen will be and how they gel with the rest of the team, and the loss of leadership from Stu and especially Zack. There is no senior on this team who will seriously contribute besides maybe Vogrich, and I am really worried about who will lead this team during a losing streak or when the freshman are hitting a wall. We have all the talent to be a top 5 team, and we are definitely top 25, but I think a lower rank is more appropriate with so many moving parts coming into the season.

  • W3

    So hanner creates his thoughts and predictions based completely on stars and computers? Points are points. Wheather its a 3 or 2. Its the ppg we lost and can replace that matters not if stu puts up 20 triples in a game and then.is labeled a bomber. We lost (in his eyes) a two star’ a one star and a four star… and bring in two fours and a five. We lose three, one demensional players offensivly, replace them with multi-dimensional, more naturally talented players “with more stars, and higher upside and were a worse team? He didnt mention ANY other recruit besides mitch…
    Burke NOT being a freshman is probably the biggest aspect not mentioned. How is that not even analized? How is now having quality depth in stauskas, horford and max a negative? Were not asking them to give us 10ppg, they are depth role players that every top team in the country has. This analysis so so flaud i responded on my phone and its getting annoying…..ill reply with more later lol.

  • jblair52

    GOOD! Let ’em all think we suck. Then we’ll open a can of Beilein on ’em all

    Stud PG? check. Athletic scoring wings? check. Bigs? check. Depth? check. Awesome coaching staff? check.

    • JimmyZ5

      I agree. Sky is the limit with this team. I don’t necessarily think we deserve Top 5 yet, but I can see why many believe we are on paper.

  • Quick Darshan

    I always felt that one of the reasons that Smotrycz left was that he knew that he couldn’t compete for minutes with Bielfeldt (and McGary and GRIII). Obviously, this is just a guess, but I think Bielfeldt will give UM a solid outside presence while being able to rebound and defend better than Smot.

    • gobluemd16

      I think he was definitely unhappy, but did we ever receive any definitive reasoning for why he transferred?

      • Rob O’Keefe

        Uh, perhaps because it was either transfer or physically fight to remove the ball from THJ, who apparently didn’t realize 28% on 3’s is not better than 42%. Smot wasn’t a star, but M will miss him far more than most think.
        And to claim that the freshman will be better on D than the four-year starters… Hilarious. Yeah, freshman are well known for their command of D1 defenses from day one…
        Bottom line to me is this: tremendously overrated early in the season before the new guys gel, then get it together the second half of the BT season. But still no better than a #15 ranking no matter what. State, Indiana and OSU will all be better.

  • blucinic

    I think that Michigan falls somewhere between 5 & 15, for several reasons. First, I don’t know how long it will take for things to gel.While Douglass and Novak weren’t “stars,” I think their affect on the team might be under-rated, especially in the beginning of the year. Second, the improvement between the Freshman and Sophomore year is often significant, and we have an awful lot depending on at least three of the incoming five freshmen. Third, I don’t know how well Biefeld and Horford will do.

  • bballkdp

    This article by this guy is ridiculous…So basicall from the sounds of it he relies on everything from “Recruiting rankings” Dont get me wrong its nice to get high level talent and guys rated highly, but you still have to prove it when you get to the college game!!!
    Also…Blackshear was hurt 2 years ago ang going into last year with a very bad knee injury…you cant even compare that!!!! Did this guy know Blackshear hardly even played in the beginning of the year cause of this injury. Look at the NBA draft projections now….pretty sure you’ll see Blackshear’s name in the 1st round.
    And not sure about everyone else but I was not a Smotryz fan at all. He was way too weak/soft and didnt score enough to overcome that and all the rest of his game.
    When a guy that tall, he was what 6’8 6’9 goes to the basket and uses a underhanded flippy cup lay up over and over again…your weak, his game was weak and soo glad that he is gone!!!

  • geoffclarke

    His computer is probably telling him the new uniforms are great, too! (Just kidding…after I read all the other responses, I may add my real 2 cents.)

  • dirtypasta

    I’d put us at about 12, if we had Smotrycz, top 5.

    • Steve2081

      Yeah we’re really going to miss Smot throwing the ball away trying to lead fast breaks and dribbling the ball off his foot every other time he tries to put the ball on the floor.

      He left for a reason. His minutes were going to go way down this year.

      • Colin

        This is an insane line of criticism.

        • Steve2081

          So you’re in favor of silly turnovers from player who has a poor grasp of his own skills.? Got it!

          • Tom, too….

            Steve2081 is 100% correct…every time Smot put it on the floor for more than two dibbles, you could hear everyone on the country yelling “Noooooooo.” I can’t count the number of times he fell down while dribbling or going to the rack. How many times did the guy look incredulously at the refs after a good no-call on his turnovers?

          • tom, too….

            not correct dribbles….are dibbles

          • Rob O’Keefe

            Yeah, that’s why he averaged a whopping 1.4 TO per game… Way to make up your mind despite evidence clearly showing the opposite… Just don’t look up Morgan’s TO, since they’re actually higher…
            Smot wasn’t great, but again, M will miss him more than most realize. People expecting GRIII to shoot well from 3 are overly optimistic IMHO. Lost our three best shooters any way you look at it. Although I like NS a lot, I don’t expect good shooting seasons as freshmen from any of them, compared to what the three who left shot last season.

  • tenz

    Trey Burke PG
    Tim Hardaway Jr. SG
    Glen Robinson III SF
    Mitch McGary PF
    Jordan Morgan C

    This lineup would be great when we play team that are big. I would guess that this year John Beline will be using his bench alot and there will be alot of dept coming off the bench. Horford, Stauskas, and vogrich coming off the bench would be nice for their own specialties that they bring to the team.

    • Steve2081

      Yup I love our potential to go big or small this season.

    • geoffclarke

      Assuming Stauskas is the the first off the bench, which starter is first to sit? I say whichever of the 2 bigs who is struggling most or isn’t as hot.

      • Retiredat23

        There’s a good chance it will be Robinson, unless he proves to be incredibly more valuable on the court than Hardaway. That’d make it a freshman for freshman switch and prevent having 3 freshman on the floor at a given time. With Horford, McLimans, and Bieldfelt available, I certainly hope Johhny B doesn’t go small ball and take a 4 or 5 out when inserting Stauskas. I want a PF & a C playing at all times with this lineup!

      • Dennishacks

        Easy question. whoever picks up 2 fouls first will sit. My money is on Jordan Morgan.

    • jblair52

      Stu and Novak came in as freshmen and contributed a great amount to a team without a lot of talent and we made the NCAA’s. I’d expect McGary and GRob – both physically built for college game to be able to contribute as necessary

  • Steve2081

    Personally I never expected huge freshman numbers out of Mitch even when he was ranked #2. He’ll have his big games but overall I’ve always expected his biggest contributions to be on defense and rebounding. I don’t think we’ll need huge numbers out of him. between Burke, Hardaway, Robinson, Mitch, Stauskas, and JMo I think we have 6 guys who are capable of dropping 20 on team in a given night. This teams best asset is balance.

    • jblair52

      Exactly – MM won’t be a “needed” scorer.

  • geoffclarke

    Not much to add to the great discussion here, but I’ll try anyway. First, to answer Dylan’s questions at the bottom: I expect Michigan to be a top 10 team and go about 25-6 in the regular season. I don’t think we are overvaluing McGary. We may be undervaluing the departures; but only time will tell.

    However my MAIN issue with Hanner’s numbers are that – if I’m reading correctly – they project Burke and Hardaway to play only ~28 mpg! Am I reading that right?!? If so, his prediction model needs to be tweaked.

    I can see both sides to the Smotrycz argument. I was – and to an extent, still am – disappointed with his transfer. I was looking forward to him putting it all together at UM. He definitely had a game that could have made us even better this season, despite being a defensive liability. On the flip side, something *had* prevented him from putting it all together and I’m not sure what prevented it (perhaps lack of confidence) is or would be gone this season.

    I think Michigan will be more efficient offensively AND defensively, especially if we can keep turnovers relatively low – which I think might be one of our biggest challenges.

  • SameRiver

    I expect Robinson to be our top freshman and Beilein to want at least 3 dangerous 3pt shooters out there at one time, leaving us mostly looking like this:

    An experienced backcourt combo who should both get drafted next year, solid center play and up and down play at the “forward” spots and a great coach. That looks like a 3 or a 4 seed to me. If everything goes right, you can be the 3rd or 4th 1 seed or a 2nd seed primarily on your backcourt being great and some athletics frontcourt talent (St. Joe’s with Nelson and West, KSU with Clemente and Pullen).

    Hard to see the team being elite defensively. I’d like to see projections, but going into the tourney, I’d set the over/unders like this:

    3rd seed, 12th in the nation in Polls, 18th on Kenpom
    Adjusted Offense: 15th (up from 22nd last year)
    Adjusted Defense: 38th (up from 60th last year)

    That looks like Baylor or Marquette last year, who were 3rd seeds, but Kenpom had as weak 4’s or solid 5’s. We have a great coach, though, so we could be a bit overrated going into the tourney but get an Elite 8 or Final 4 spot with either of our guards winning us a game we should probably lose and Beilein outcoaching pretty much anyone he comes up against.

  • p-nickel

    obviously this guy hanner does not know basketball smotrycz is a not a physical player at all (wrong fit for this this conference) glad he’s gone and we will see how he fits in @ maryland. Mcgary will be fine he does not have to carry the load. This is a top 25 team!

  • Kyle

    Look michigan might not have a top 5 team but there definetly a top 25 team no doubt most likely top 10 i mean u have a top 3 pg a leader in tim hardaway tre robinson who skyrockted up the rankings notice he never mentioned him in his article morgan can score inside and get boards and mcgary doesnt have to score he only has to rebound and get boards plus they have two lethel shooters off the bench and jon horford is a good back up big man michigan is fine and smotrcyz could not play any defense at all last year they will be fine this guy is an idiot

  • Brian

    That is the problem using advanced metrics in regards to college basketball. You have still have to make room for what your eyes show you as well. Nobody who watched Michigan basketball last year would think that Smotrycz was poised for a breakout season. He was, and likely would have remained, a solid rotation player on a good team. So I don’t care what conclusions the stats point to, I have little doubt that McGary will be a better player for Michigan from day 1.

    He also can’t account for team chemistry and fit obviously. McGary is perfect for what Michigan needs. We will have more than enough scoring ability in the form of Burke, Hardaway, Robinson, and Stauskas. We need low post defense and rebounding most, anything more than that from McGary is just an added bonus.

    I don’t hold all this against Hanner because I realize it is impossible for him to see each team enough to develop nuanced views of the teams. I just think that statistics aren’t always the best indicator when projecting for next year.

  • Cza

    Would like to know which games he picked to label Smote and under-utilized star. He was a good player, but I can’t see Smote leading a team or having the athleticism to be more than what he was.

    Using the recruiting angle while taking into account neither Hardaway or Burke were ranked is dumb. It’s like the NFL drafting from rivals top 100 lists after the players have gone through school.

    He makes some good points, but they over-shadowed by bad ones.

  • Cza

    Let me apologize to the English language for that beating I gave it below.

  • V.O.R.

    Now I don’t know much about anything at all, however, what seems strange to me is, 1) the value and the accuracy of one’s methodology to evaluate talent. In other words, if your tools in evaluating the field tells you that player “A” is the number #3 best player in the nation in his class within a given year, and given no real change in variables, just a few months later, using the same system that same player “A” is now ranked #26 out of that same field, then that tells me that one would need to re-evaluate one’s methodology. Then 2) have someone else help you to evaluate and readjust your methodology (tools) because there is a problem. And Albert Eienstein once said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

  • Bill

    Pretty simple. Who cares what he thinks. It what happens on the court that matters.

  • A2JD

    I don’t know who Hanner is and I’ll probably forget his name by the end of the week.

  • MGoTweeter

    Hello everyone, have not posted in awhile and I missed you all. Still found time to read most of the great articles by the Umhoops.com staff though.

    This is exactly why I hate when people make conclusions on a team based on statistics. It has nothing to do with the actual conclusion that Hanner comes to, as personally I would say Michigan is probably overrated as a top ten team to start the season, but rather his reasons for reaching such a conclusion.

    I don’t think he could have picked two more asinine reasons on which to decide that Michigan is overrated. If he said that Michigan will be worse because their new uniforms will cause the entire team to have seizures, he would have been closer to stating a probable reason for such a conclusion.

    First, Mitch McGary’s fall in the rankings. Who cares? He is one player. Even if he is not very good as a freshman, does it really matter? Obviously it matters in terms of where the potential for this could be, but in terms of where they are starting why does it matter? Using the statistics that Hanner loves so much, Michigan is returning pretty much everything in terms of it’s usage (Burke and Hardaway). So why does one incoming player change what you think so much?

    Oh, it’s because a couple of guys who watched a kid play a few games a couple years ago and loved him, suddenly do not love him as much after watching him a few games a year later. Not because you actually saw the kid play multiple times and decided for yourself that he really is not that good. I have no idea what kind of impact McGary will have as a freshman and I would not pretend to be knowledgeable on such a subject. I have my opinions, but even if I thought he would struggle to crack the lineup, my preseason expectation for the team would not change all that much. The fact is that the coaches on the team, that Hanner acknowledges have an ability to scout talent, saw McGary a heck of lot and think he can play. That says a lot more to me than what some guy on rivals.com who saw the kid play five times in his life thinks.

    None of this even mentions the other incoming players which just makes Hanner’s reasons even more ludicrous.

    Second, Michigan is not as good now that Smotrycz is gone. I cannot argue with the reason itself, as I agree that Michigan is worse without Smotrycz than they would be with him, but again Hanner’s reasons are crazy. He only points out that Smotrycz was a “super-efficient” player for Michigan on the offensive end. There is no doubt that he was. There is also no doubt that Michigan was a much worse defensive team when Smotrycz was on the floor. Plus the fact that Smotrycz got almost all his “super-efficient” points off of other players creating.

    I do not want to besmirch Smotrycz at all with any of this, because I liked the kid as a player and I wish him well at Maryland, but to use his stats alone to say that he was some super secret key to the team last year is just laughable. In all honesty, he was an offensive spark off the bench and not a whole lot more. He has great potential and I hope he lives up to that potential at Maryland, but he was no where near a great player for Michigan.

    On top of that, Hanner points out that the loss of Smotrycz pushes a bunch of weaker players up. Would not one of those “weaker” players be the aforementioned Mitch McGary? Who correct me if I am wrong, was ranked, by those rankings that you love so much Hanner, twenty some spots above Smotrycz by every service. Does not that mean by your own logic, that his loss pushes “better” players up? Oh and again, that GRIII guy who all those ranking services hate so much…

    Lastly, he talks about what Beilein has done historically and dismisses the fact that the defense might be better, because historically Beilein has not had a “tempo-free” top 25 defense. Therefore, he will not make a projection based off that. Yet in the next breath he points out that Michigan may use a shorter rotation than what he projects which would help them in his mind. Again, he does not make a projection based off that, even though historically Beilein loves the shorter rotation almost to a fault. It makes no sense.

    To me this is complete word vomit. You want to say Michigan is overrated, go for it. I will probably agree with you, but don’t throw a bunch of crap at us and call it statistical projection when it is obvious your research starts and ends with boxscores. Go watch a game, watch several, and use that thing that is located above your neck to generate an opinion.

    • eddieben

      Welcome back Tweeter. As always, you’re spot on!

    • Retiredat23

      I DO have an idea of the impact McGary will have and so should you (Youtube); he will be the toughness that Novak was. He’ll provide the rebounding that Graham Brown used to provide. He has an unstoppable motor. He’ll defend, rebound, get steals, score, and fire up the crowd. He has a chip on his shoulder and I wouldn’t doubt he’ll talk some smack to MSU or OSU when on the court. He will have a HUGE impact if he stays out of foul trouble…..he’s a year older than his freshman competition and arguably 20-30 lbs heavier than his daily opponents (save for Derrick Nix). Beilein has never had a big man like McGary. BTW, for those who don’t think McGary will set a pick and then pop out to the 3pt line like McLimans, take a look of the warm up video of his high school team before a game. Granted its warm-ups, but McGary hits a 27-28 ft. bomb with EASE.

  • Boone23

    I think we’re top 10, but we will let are playing judge that. Idk why everyone is sweating the loss of smotrycz he could shoot but was always in slumps, and he didn’t even play as a big man when we needed him. I think nik stauskas will be a good replacement for him. He can shoot and has good length to him. GO BLUE!!!!

  • Mattski

    No problem. Hanner misses too many of the positives. Doesn’t take GRIII’s rise into account; doesn’t note that McGary not being super-dominant may carry a silver lining; fails to note that Smot never jelled with this team; etcetera. I WON’T be surprised if they struggle early while Beilein plays with this flashy new Rubik’s cube. But we have so much talent. . . I think we can stop sweating all the small stuff, including people looking to get a rise out of us.

  • Kenny

    most stupid preseason review, EVER. no explanation needed.

  • section13row15

    Post dan hanner’s article in the Michigan locker room. It’s good bulletin board material for the guys to stay hungry.