Sporting News picks Michigan to finish fifth in Big Ten

Dylan Burkhardt

College football season kicked off over the weekend, but college basketball season is around the corner. Preview magazines are starting to hit the shelves around the country, starting with The Sporting News College Basketball Yearbook.

Sporting News expects Michigan to take a step backward in 2014-15, predicting the Wolverines will finish fifth in the Big Ten and outside of the top 25.

Caris LeVert was named to the magazine’s 10-man Big Ten All-Conference team along with Branden Dawson – who the magazine selected as a Preseason First-Team All-American – Yogi Ferrell, Frank Kaminsky, Terran Petteway, Sam Dekker, A.J. Hammons, Maryland’s Dez Wells, Dawson, Penn State’s D.J. Newbill and Ohio State’s Sam Thompson.

Incoming freshman Kameron Chatman was tabbed for the Big Ten All-Newcomer team along with Indiana’s James Blackmon Jr., Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Lee and Maryland’s Romelo Trimble.

Arizona (1), Villanova (11), VCU (17), Syracuse (23) and SMU (25) are Michigan’s potential non-conference opponents ranked in the top 25.

Additional notes and complete Big Ten predicted order of finish after the jump.

Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker is on the second team All-America along with Nebraska’s Terran Petteway while Frank Kaminsky is third team All-America.

The entire Sporting News Top 25 is: Arizona, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Louisville, Virginia, Florida, Wichita State, Villanova, Texas, Gonzaga, Iowa State, UConn, San Diego State, VCU, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Utah, Ohio State, Nebraska, Syracuse, Harvard and SMU.

The magazine’s complete Big Ten predicted order of finish is:

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Michigan State
  3. Ohio State
  4. Nebraska
  5. Michigan
  6. Iowa
  7. Maryland
  8. Illinois
  9. Minnesota
  10. Indiana
  11. Penn State
  12. Purdue
  13. Northwestern
  14. Rutgers.

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  • Cory

    These magazines can keep betting against Beilein and year after year he’ll keep proving them wrong.

    • To be fair, most have picked Michigan in or around the top ten the last two years.

      • Cory

        That’s true. It’s just fresh in my head how last year some were basically declaring the season lost after Mitch’s back surgery.

  • GregGoBlue

    LOL. To be fair, they also predicted Branden Dawson to be a first team All-American. I don’t know which I’m laughing harder at…

  • jkuofm27

    I do think UM lost a lot of proven performers, but so did MSU. What do they bring to the table that is so threatening? Dawson, Trice, Valentine? Who is their main scoring threat? I just don’t see it. I see Wisconsin and Petteway looks to be a real star, but MSU and OSU have more questions than Michigan. OSU has an infusion of young talent mixed with a bunch of upperclassmen, but those upperclassmen have not been very good. I would say Wisconsin is the class of the league, but it is wide open after that. If Levert, Irvin and Walton become what I think most of us are expecting, UM will be in the mix of teams trailing Wisconsin.

    • geoffclarke

      If Michigan ends up lower than MSU, I will be disappointed. But I think both teams take a step back from last year.

  • awgesch

    I never understand picks like the Branden Dawson one for All-American. He’s had two off-seasons to improve now, and while his PPG and rebounds have gone up every year, he’s probably about what he’s going to be right now. He’s certainly got much less upside than a freshman or a sophomore with similar numbers as his last year.

  • MH_20

    Branden Dawson a First-Team All-American?

    • Indiana_Matt

      I like the kid and wish him well (except for when they play us). A part of me always pulls for Indiana kids. But that is an incredible stretch to consider him a first team all-american based on his past performance.

  • mmmmFAZpizza

    This makes me want to immediately compare last year’s team vs. this year’s team.

    Caris Soph vs. Caris Junior = Push (because I can’t imagine Caris doing even more for us this year than last)

    Stauskas vs. The Improvement of Walton and Irvin = Edge: Last Year (although it could be close if Walton and Irvin make the “leap”)

    GrIII vs. Chatman = Push (because GRIII never quite got it going)
    Morgan/Horford vs. Donnal/Doyle/Bielfeldt/Wilson = Edge: Last Year
    Last Year’s bench vs. This Year’s bench = Edge: This Year

    Overall, the drop off from last year isn’t as big as Sporting News seems to think. Inside is obviously our biggest question mark, but not enough to land us outside the top 25, and way behind and MSU team led by Trice, Valentine and Dawson? I don’t think so. Go Blue.

    • arsenal926

      It just really doesn’t make much sense to me. From a talent perspective Wisconsin and maybe OSU are the only teams who can claim comparable talent. LeVert, Irvin and Chatman all fit the bill of likely 1st round picks at some point. Also, it’s not like the B10 regular season race was all that competitive. Winning outright by 3 games is about as dominant as you can get.

  • corporate greed

    You people have NO IDEA what you are talking about. John Beilien will have something to say about this. He is a great coach who transforms college players into NBA players every year.

  • UMHoopsFan

    After Wiscy, it’s a bit of a toss-up. OSU and MSU have a somewhat longer recent track record, so writers will tend to slot them above UM, and Neb returns a lot from a pretty good year. It’s a reasonable list, and grouping MSO, OSU, and Neb at 18-22, with UM and Iowa probably not far out, shows that they think the B1G will be good and deep, but aren’t sure if any team will rise up to elite other than Wiscy.
    On the other hand, I have a lot of confidence that this team will be quite good, and I tend to think UM will finish higher nationally and in the B1G than indicated here.

  • Northern Blue

    Atleast they have top 5 right. I find it hard to believe they will finish as low as 5th though. I think once B1G season starts this team will really be rounding in form, as JB’s teams tend to get better as year goes along. I am more worried about non-conference slate with this team. Derrick and Caris have already proved they can make big time plays at big times in the conference, and Zak has had some moments as well, and Spike as well. That confidence and experience will rub off on the lesser experienced players. I am thinking a 2nd or 3rd place finish is more likely than 5th.

  • Brandon

    I know Nebraska is an up-and-comer, but I seriously doubt they finish ahead of us in the Big Ten

  • Indiana_Matt

    I would put Nebraska at #2, Michigan at #3 and OSU #4 with MSU at #5. Northwestern and Purdue switch spots in my estimation. I could see Illinois surprising some people. They have some talented sophomores who have now gone through the fire and their 6’7″ freshman looks to be a good player.

    I think there is an outside chance we’ll get 8 teams in the dance. But, perhaps like everyone else, I see Wisconsin as the only Final Four caliber squad at this point. Last year it was so close to 3/4 of the Final Four being B1G.

  • Mattski

    We’ll be totally unsurprised if Michigan (once again) surprises, especially since the team got a nice jump start in Italy. But given the players lost, this seems reasonable. By seasons’s end, however, this is going to be a great team.

    • countourzealous

      It seems like every year we don’t get any love in these rankings. Until these freshman hit the floor, we won’t know how good this team is, but I feel like Beilein has lined up another very, very good team that will have breakout players (Caris and Zak, in particular).

  • John Billington

    Michigan was picked to finish second last year before the loss of McGary, once they found McGary was done for the season we weren’t suppose to make the NCAA tourney if I remember correctly. I really only see Wisconsin as a problem this year for Michigan in the B1G. The usual prediction of Ohio I see.

  • 93Grad

    That is pretty much how I see the league going as well, unless and until Donnal and Doyle prove they can provide at least average defense and rebounding in league play.

    • geoffclarke

      We can get below average defense and rebounding from the 5 and still be a top 3 league team.

  • BlueRev

    Wisconsin 15-3
    Nebraska 12-6
    Michigan 12-6
    Michigan State 11-7
    Ohio State 11-7
    Another team or 2 make tourney as well.
    But I will take UM’s chances come tourney time almost as much as Wisconsin–as teams have trouble stopping post-season year in and year out now under JB.

  • jblair52

    This looks about right….for football.

  • Frank Chuck

    I think we will challenge Wisconsin for the B1G Conference Championship.

    Since we get the Badgers this year in Crisler without having to return to the Kohl Center, I think we can gain an edge.


    Bryn Forbes got the waiver and can play this year for MSU. If he had been forced to sit out, then MSU may have been in danger of missing the NCAAT.

  • Truth

    The same fine publication declared that Trey Burke would be a third team all American.

    • BigHouseBoyz

      And picked Victor Oladipo as their national POY that year!

  • JohnNavarreIsMyHero

    I am sorry, but this ranking is a complete joke. Michigan is safely a top 4 Big Ten team. We should be in the top 25.

    Ohio State

    After that, its a bunch of average teams.

    What in the world is MSU doing at 2? They have their worst roster in years and are basically relying on a bunch of 3rd and 4th options that aren’t even developing as players. How much less can you do as a team as of late and still earn recognition (Izzo in that ESPN poll) and this poll. The media’s lovefest with the biggest crybaby whiner in college basketball is laughable.

    Just plain comical.