Michigan Ranked 18th in USA Today/ESPN Preseason Top 25

usatodayrankings[1]Michigan is ranked 18th in the USA Today/ESPN College Basketball Preseason Top 25 Coaches Poll which was released this afternoon.

Michigan is the one of three Big Ten teams ranked in the top 25, coming in behind Ohio State (3) and Wisconsin (14). Michigan State and Purdue also received votes.

Memphis, the Wolverines’ opening opponent at the Maui Invitational, is ranked 9th in the preseason poll. Three other schools in the Maui Invitational are ranked in the top 25 including Duke (6), Kansas (13) and UCLA (20).

The last time Michigan was ranked in either top 25 poll was November 23rd, 2009 when the Wolverines were ranked 15th. The AP Preseason Top 25 is expected to be released on October 28th.

You can find complete USA Today/ESPN Top 25 after the jump.
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Thursday Links: Preseason Top 25s, PDC and Jon Horford

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Photo: Michigan Stadium Aerials

Video: John Beilein Talks “Camp Wolverine”

John Beilein addressed the media before practice this afternoon and discussed everything from what he’s seen out of the freshmen to his expectations for this year’s squad, noting that Michigan’s goal should always be to win a championship. Here’s video of what the Beilein had to say before the team’s sixth practice of the season.

Find the second half of the video (from an improved angle) along with notes, quotes and more after the jump. [click to continue…]

Zack Novak, Stu Douglass and Tim Hardaway Jr. met with the media this afternoon to discuss their first official week back in the gym with the team.

You can find the Douglass and Hardaway videos after the jump. [click to continue…]

Around the Big Ten 2011-12: Ohio State

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Bob Baptist from the Columbus Dispatch joined us for the next installment in our Around the Big Ten preview series featuring question and answer posts with various journalists and bloggers covering Big Ten schools. (Previously: Penn State, Minnesota)

1. Jared Sullinger, Will Buford and Aaron Craft all played major roles on last year’s team and will all but assuredly start. What about the other two spots, what players are most likely to step in for David Lighty and Jon Diebler?

At this point, before I’ve seen the team practice or play a game, I’ll guess Deshaun Thomas will start at the 3 and freshman Amir Williams will start at the 5. I’m not sure how much Williams will end up playing, but he will supply a defensive backstop while also allowing Sullinger to start games at the 4. Williams is athletic and can run the floor, from what I’m told. The question is, is his body ready to hold up against high-major teams like Duke, Kansas and much of the Big Ten. I was told he has put on 20 pounds since he arrived on campus in July; whether that’s enough, we’ll see. Thomas’ body transformation wasn’t as dramatic as Sullinger’s during the offseason, but he dropped 10 pounds and redistributed the rest. Most important for him is that he "add a motor," which is what coach Thad Matta told him he needed after last season. If he does, he could be very productive, because he showed glimpses of it last year both scoring and rebounding.

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2011-12 Player Preview: Stu Douglass

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MPG PPG RPG APG ORtg Usage eFG% 3PFG% DR% OR% A Rate TO Rate FT Rate
30.4 7.1 3 1.7 97.3 14.8 51.9 35.8 10 2 10.9 17 5.5

Stu Douglass is the most polarizing player to discuss on the Michigan basketball team. Common perception of players like Tim Hardaway Jr., Zack Novak or Evan Smotrycz is relatively homogenous. Everyone agrees that Hardaway is great player, recognizes Novak’s leadership while accepting his limitations and understands that Evan Smotrycz can shoot but needs to improve his rebounding. When it comes to Stu Douglass, most fans seem to be completely focused on his positives or negatives, there’s no middle ground or understanding.
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