Michigan picked to finish seventh in Big Ten by Lindy’s Sports

Dylan Burkhardt

With the start of basketball practice less than a month away, preseason preview magazines have started to leak out across the country. They haven’t necessarily been favorable to a Michigan team which returns last year’s starters.

Lindy’s Sports preview magazine picked the Wolverines to finish seventh in the Big Ten this season.

The magazine bluntly questions Michigan’s ability to improve defensively.

“Who’ll get better on defense so opponents don’t shoot 51 percent on 2-pointers again?”

Lindy’s also quotes John Beilein on what this team needs to do to improve.

“Our upperclassmen have to just realize that what happed last year cannot happen again,” Beilein told Lindy’s. “We’re going to be better than we were last year and the only way we can be better is if we’re better defensively.”

Here are some other Michigan and Big Ten notes from the magazine.

  • Derrick Walton is projected as a second-team All-Big Ten performer with Zak Irvin earning a mention on the third team.
  • Walton is also named as the 15th best point guard in the country while Irvin is ranked as the 17th best small forward.
  • The magazine notes Xavier Simpson as the “best shooter/scorer” in the freshman class, but also gives Cassius Winston a “slight edge” over Simpson as the best playmaker in the class.
  • Lindy’s ranks the top 40 teams nationally and six Big Ten teams made the cut. Wisconsin is No. 6, Michigan State is No. 11, Purdue is No. 12, Ohio State is No. 29, Maryland is No. 37 and Indiana is No. 38.
  • The publication predicts the order of finish in the Big Ten as follows: Wisconsin, Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State, Maryland, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Northwestern, Iowa, Penn State, Nebraska, Minnesota and Rutgers.
  • The magazine projects Wisconsin to make the Elite Eight with Michigan exiting the tournament in the first round.
  • The Big Ten is ranked as the third best conference in the country behind the ACC and Pac 12.

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  • jblair52

    How does IU have 2 of the Top 7 Big 10 Players + Blackmon and yet he ranks them 38th? I think Michigan is better than Maryland too.

  • iBleedBlue

    Wow, OSU over Indy? The order of Mich, Maryland, and OSU seems like the hardest to figure out. My bias might be showing, but I’d order them: Mich, OSU, Maryland, because Mich and OSU return all of their starters and I think JB and Matta are the superior coaches.

  • umnyc

    Meh, its a little harsh, but I think the criticism is objectively legit based on what we’ve produced on the court. I also think its an indication of how wide open the BIG will be this year. Everyone has significant question marks, and I could see any one of those top 7 teams winning it.

    • Overall I feel like the Lindy’s mag was pretty rushed. For example in the best frontcourts section, Max Bielfeldt was mentioned for Indiana and OG Anunoby wasn’t… Hmm.

      I think Indiana is way too low and don’t really know about objectively ranking OSU ahead of Michigan, would have to look closer at their schedules. In general, Lindy’s seems super high on OSU next year. Maybe just because they won 11 league games last year (with one of the easier league schedules).

      • jblair52

        The MLB Baseball preview was horrendous. I looked forward to reading it, only to find out Chris Davis wasn’t going to be playing for my favorite team (Orioles). Yet he had already signed in January. There were a handful of other ones I caught. Just ridiculous and lazy.

  • MChem83

    This is probably not too far off, at least as far as what you can project for us right now. We have no elite players, and only a couple who might qualify as near elite (assuming they don’t get hurt again). We have potential among new guys, it’s true, but so do most, if not all of the teams slotted ahead of us. Picking us any higher than 5th right now would require some serious finger crossing.

    • bobohle

      I would tend to agree with you. I think nationally the media sees Michigan as being underachievers or overated the past two years despite all the injuries. You are right in saying we have no elite players currently,not to say Walton and Irvin could not step up to that level. They certainly have that ability.

  • Mattski

    Ouch. Must overachieve.

    • MChem83

      After the way things have gone the last few years, just getting through the season with everyone uninjured would seem like overachieving. A healthy Walton and Irvin would be a good start, but I think we need at least one other guy to break out as a really good player at a position of need in order to do better than the 5-7 tier where I would project us right now. Would love it if it were Wagner, with Donnal as a solid backup and Teske a good role player in his first year. Watson coming in and contributing at the 2/3 would also be a big boost

      • Mattski

        I think that the relentless negativity of some in the forum has gotten to me–not hugely optimistic about the coming year. I am a big Beilein fan, but I think that the timing has conspired against him. We really need to start winning bigger, soon. Also think it’s true that we’ve got to start landing, one or two really great players, athletes. Robinson, Mo, and MAAR overachieving, a healthy Walton and Irvin with Simpson pushing from behind–these would be the ingredients. . .

  • NorthernBlue

    I think it is a tournament team, and see Michigan finishing around 5th. I think you will see Zak much healthier and efficient next year, raising his 3 pt shooting and FG percentages up a few points. There are a few X factors as well, can Derrick take his game up another notch? Will our bigs, Donnal and Moritz become a rock solid tandem? (I think they do, if Moritz is good enough to earn the starting spot, because Donnal is a very good backup 5 in my opinion) What does X provide? Ussually, Mr. Basketball winners out of Ohio can come in and make an impact their freshman year. Will Donlon drastically improve the defense?

    • 93Grad

      Good points all around. I agree that’s about where we should finish and I agree you highlight the important questions for this year’s team. They will need a lot of things to go right to compete for the conference title and a top half NCAA bid.

  • David DeMember

    I think most predictions about Michigan are based on surface level assumptions… We lost 4 players and we were only decent last year.

    Things not taken in to account:

    * The players we lost were likely not going to get much PT. If any at all for some.
    * We get help from incoming freshman where we need it.
    * You can not understate the importance of returning almost the entire rotation in college sports.
    * We haven’t had an “upper class” team for most of the entire Beilein era.
    * Mo Wagner has major upside
    * We have 2 (potentially) legit big men.
    * We have 2 legit PGs.
    * As many have mentioned, Irvin comes in healthy.
    * We’re not really “losing” spike and lavert… we didn’t have them.
    * We brought on defensive assistant coaches… coaches are REALLY important in college sports.
    * None of the transfers (sans spike) were valued by other colleges. They went to low mid major programs.

    An upper class starting 5 (4 true seniors) and 4 man bench. I think this team is ripe to shock people. I think we can absolutely content for the B1G title.

    Like Beilein said recently, the last time we lost so many guys, we made the title game.

    Now, back to the Jim Harbaugh show for a couple months…

    • Fab 5 Legends

      completely agree with these points…we didn’t lose anyone who contributed/played last year…so we should be an improved team this year…a Beilein upperclass team will be interesting to see…

  • Bigrange

    I am actually ok with this prediction. Can Michigan finish higher, of course. Preseason rankings are less about the team and more about the players. Michigan does not have that stud player that was a 5 star recruit.
    They are a team of players, who if they play together can prove predictions like this wrong and finish higher in the conference and win a couple games in the tourney.