Notebook: Ricky Doyle could start versus SMU

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan big man Ricky Doyle could be set to make his first start of the season on Saturday.

John Beilein said his freshman big man “will probably start the next game,” while discussing Doyle on his weekly radio show last night.

Statistically, Doyle has been Michigan’s best big man. He’s averaging 17 minutes, 7 points and three rebounds per game, all best among Michigan’s bigs. He’s also shooting an impressive 67% on twos and has been Michigan’s lone presence on the offensive glass.

Despite struggling against Arizona’s massive and athletic front line, but has showed promise during his first nine games. Doyle has slumped a bit in the last three games, averaging just five points per game, and inserting him into the lineup could help spark his production going forward.

Markus Kennedy status unknown

6-foot-9, 245 junior Markus Kennedy was one of the best players in the American Conference last season. Kennedy was a dominant rebounder, shot blocker and defender and a major reason that SMU was picked as a preseason top 25 team – even after news the Emmanuel Mudiay would be playing basketball in China not Dallas this year.

Kennedy was ruled ineligible for the first semester due to academic reasons and has been sidelined ever since. SMU’s exam schedule runs through December 17th, but the official close of the term is December 20th — when the Mustangs will face Michigan. Kennedy wasn’t at practice on Tuesday and there’s been no official word as to when he’ll make his return.

There are still questions about not only when, but if, Kennedy will be eligible this season. However, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that he could make his return against Michigan as SMU’s exams will be complete.

Yanick Moreira, a 6-foot-11, 220 pound senior, has stepped up in his place. Moreira is playing major minutes at the five position, rebounding well and blocking his fair share of shots. He’s been happy for the opportunity, but hopes Kennedy can return soon.

“Every time I’ve made a mistake I’ve had Markus (Kennedy) in my corner telling me to just keep playing, move to the next play, and that’s helped me a lot,” Moreira said. “We feel comfortable right now. We’ve won four games straight but we’re trying to get to five, six and keep going. I hope we get Markus back before we go for Christmas break.”

Nic Moore recovering from bone bruise

While Markus Kennedy’s suspension has been highly publicized, the Mustangs’ leading scorer, point guard Nic Moore, is also recovering from an injury.

Moore suffered a bone bruise in an overtime win over UC Santa Barbara and is still recovering. Moore is questionable for SMU’s game against Illinois Chicago this evening.

“I don’t know (if he’ll play against UIC). We’ll see how he does today. Luckily we had time off between games,” SMU head coach Larry Brown said on Tuesday. “If there ever was a possibility of him playing after his last injury, this was the only time in the schedule for that possibility to happen. We’ll see how he does today.”

The Mustangs will face UIC tonight at 8:00 p.m. (CBS Sports Network) in what should be a good opportunity to gauge Moore’s health. Moore may be limited on Saturday, but it would be surprising if he sits given that Saturday’s game will be nearly two weeks after the original injury.

Draft notes

Chad Ford has Caris LeVert slotted at No. 19 in his latest mock draft. Ford praises LeVert’s passing ability and notes that he is lacking the supporting weapons he had last season.

LeVert is having a nice season for Michigan, but not a lot of people are going to notice unless Michigan starts winning some basketball games. Statistically he’s been pretty remarkable when you consider that he doesn’t have much offensive help on the court. His assist total would be much higher if he actually had anyone to pass it to. As arguably the best passing wing in the draft, LeVert will draw interest regardless of how poorly Michigan plays, but it’s a shame that he doesn’t have Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III to flank him anymore.

Ford also has Zak Irvin ranked No. 48 on his latest rankings. DraftExpress has LeVert projected in the lottery as the No. 13 pick in the 2015 Draft.

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  • gobluemd16

    Hard to see how Irvin could be ranked 48th based on his play this season..

    • John

      I actually kind of find it hard to see how Levert could still be a fringe lottery pick. I mean, the article is correct, he has had a “nice season” but he has struggled to create offense against good defenders and good teams. I guess it is true that he had less to work with than past teams as well, but I have not found him creating all that offense or really doing a whole lot with the high ball screen either. I think he is “draftable,” don’t get me wrong, but 13?

      • Mattski

        A player is not solely what he looked like in the last game, or couple of games.

      • Chezaroo

        Very weak draft for guards this year. DeAngelo Russell ( OSU Frosh ) is highest rated US college player by DX ( 11 ) and he’s played 10 games in his career. Caris is easily a top 20 Pk, and playing his last year for UM. He’s gone.

        • John

          Hmm. I am of the firm opinion that you are correct, but at this point, I can’t really see why. I really like Levert, he is a good story and looks to be a really good kid, but he is inconsistent from deep, his shot really still looks kind of like a throw, his handles are like a 6, 7 at best. He is athletic but really does not finish at the rim(he goes more with like floaters etc.), and he settles quite a bit. He is a very solid college player, but if I am an NBA scout, which I clearly am not, I see some issues with his game, issues I would like to see addressed before I am giving him guaranteed money.

          • Chezaroo

            The draft is all about projection and potential. There isn’t an early entry available that doesn’t have holes in their game.

      • mikey_mac

        And then think about THJ, who was drafted around the same first round spot that LeVert is projected, and is a rotation player in the NBA. And that LeVert had nearly an identical season LAST YEAR to THJ’s junior year. And that LeVert will be waaaay younger when drafted.

    • ChathaM

      At this point, I’d be surprised if Irvin were even drafted. His best skill, by far IMO, is shooting, but he’s not a good enough shooter to be drafted on that skill alone.

  • Kennedy not dressed for SMU tonight. SMU beat guy says he expects him to miss U-M game.

    Big break for UM

  • Wayman Britt

    Boy I hate to stay this so early, but it’s almost a must win on Saturday. Lose Saturday at home then face a good Illinois team and the season could go south extremely fast. Especially need to win Saturday if SMU is down their star players.

    • robpollard

      No doubt this is true. I can’t see U of M making the tourney this year if they have yet another non-conf loss. I wish that weren’t true, but it’s basic math.

      NJIT is currently 4-7, recently losing to 2-6 LIU Brooklyn. It’s going to take a lot of work for U of M to overcome the very bad losses already on their resume. They’ve given up all their mulligans.

      Hopefully, they’ll pull one out against SMU, get some confidence, and build from there.

  • A2MIKE

    I could easily see Caris returning next year. All he has to do is look at Stauskas and Robinson sitting the bench. His mother has made a big deal about him graduating as well. Still early and a long season ahead, guys will emerge, and Caris will either improve and so will his draft stock, or if Michigan has a 2010 type of season, his draft stock could fall, ala Manny Harris. If Manny had gone pro after his 2009 season, he would have been a lottery pick as well.

  • Andy

    Here we go again, our basketball team is mediocre at best, but somehow our players are NBA ready??? What is this B.S.? Nobody on this team should go to the NBA next year, not even Levert. I hate these draft boards. If Levert an Irvin are ready, then so are MSU’s Valentine, Dawson, Trice, and Forbes. Only one way to build a program and its to keep upperclassmen.

    • psick1234

      People like you are the main reason I dislike message boards. Medoicre at best ??? Then you give praise to rival ? Dont jump on the bandwagon when we start winning. Infact, i can assure that you will not post when we win. Smh.

    • MAZS

      This—-after two years of largely underclassmen. Then you compare (unfavorably) a multi-talented player like Levert with a one-dimensional player like Bryn Forbes (yes, literally only 3s). And Dawson is…….still Dawson. And I usually defend MSU players on this Board. I suspect NBA scouts know a little more about who is ready than anonymous internet posters.

  • psick1234

    There is a reason that i avoid the.nessage boards.. Leople.have already given up on the team and the players. Deapite what you think Caris.and Zak has played well. We are the only schools who give up on players and a.season so easy , i swear. Now Caris isn’t good enough to be a pro ? Now Zac isn’t a good player ? Even for the season ends the team is in trouble and wont do well ? Sometimes i really hate being a um fan. Have you noticed a trend. When we win games and even beat good team the negative nacies stay away but as soon as we lose here they come trashing the team and players but i get blacklisted for being optimistic .Darn shame. Miss me with the negative comments i will not respond to them. I will not give up on the players on this team point blank period. You can hate me for it all you want. I am a michigan fan reguardless. Just watch, when the team improve and show its true potential….people will find something to complain about. We beat oregon., syracuse and played villinova better than anyone. We can still compete. We will get better. Smh @these so called fans giving up on the players and the team already.

    • itsjustaherb

      Being critical of the team and saying what you believe is not saying your giving up on the team. You just want the team to play better and there is nothing wrong with that. Just because people like me have said I think this team won’t make the tournament this year doesn’t mean I’ll stop watching the team play. In fact, I’m going to the Illinois game in Champaign in February. I don’t just root for a team blindly being positive all the time.

      You should of saw me at Buffalo Wildwings in Atlanta last year when Michigan was playing Tennessee in the tourney. Man was that a great game to watch and a great save there at the end by Morgan taking that charge. I went absolutely crazy at that end of that game. I launched right up out of my chair, with all these Tennessee fans nearby and just started screaming F$ck Yea!!. Man was that a great day ha.