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John Gasaway’s College Basketball Prospectus Preview has always been my favorite preseason college basketball publication, even before he allowed me to contribute. Gasaway allowed me the honor of writing the Big Ten preview in this year’s edition. Hopefully that’s reason for you to buy it, but if not the other 16 writers featured in the book are probably better. The digital version is on sale now for $9.99 and the print version will be coming to Amazon shortly.

McGary, Robinson and Stauskas Plan to Sign LOIs this Week

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The NCAA Early Signing Period begins on Wednesday and all three of Michigan’s 2012 verbal commitments plan to make things official and sign letters of intent this week. Glenn Robinson III reported today that he plans to sign his letter of intent at his high school tomorrow. Nick Stauskas plans to wait until Friday to sign his letter of intent.

Per a report from Dave TelepMitch McGary is going to make things official on Wednesday. McGary originally noted that he might not sign a letter of intent during his nationally televised announcement.

Michigan’s 2012 class is ranked among the top ten classes nationally and is one of the top two 2012 classes in the Big Ten.

2011-12 Player Preview: Trey Burke

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John Beilein might run a two guard offense originally designed to minimize the importance of a point guard but last season showed what a luxury a great point guard can be to any team. Darius Morris was the sort of guard that could make something out of nothing, manufacture a basket and made all of his teammates better.

Trey Burke’s career trajectory was accelerated in June when Darius Morris opted to keep his name in the NBA Draft. Now, the 5-foot-11, 180 pound guard is the only natural point guard on the Michigan roster and will be thrust into the limelight from day one. While he certainly would have enjoyed playing with Morris, I don’t think there’s any question that Burke is relishing the opportunity to fight for a starting position this season. Here’s a look at some of the major reasons why Burke could excel and conversely why he might struggle as a freshman.

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Austin_Hatch[1]The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette discusses Austin Hatch’s status for the upcoming season:

Hatch, who led the team with 23.3 points and 9.3 rebounds a year ago, returned to Fort Wayne in early October after spending about three months in a hospital in Traverse City, Mich. He is back at Canterbury with a limited class schedule.

Dressed in his Canterbury blue polo shirt and khaki shorts, second-year coach Dan Kline put the players through their paces, with the goal of getting ready for the season opener Nov. 22 at home against Central Noble. In an honest, matter-of-fact way, Kline said he has no idea whether Hatch will return to the Cavaliers.

“It is unknown right now,” he said. “We are just preparing for the season. I don’t really know how to plan for something like this, but we are moving forward and carrying on.”

State of the Blog: Season Five

Michigan plays its first game of the year this Friday which means it’s time for our semi-annual “State of the Blog” update, which is available after the jump. [click to continue…]

2011-12 Player Previews: Bench Depth

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It’s still early but Michigan appeared to have a pretty defined top eight players during its exhibition game on Friday evening. That group included Zack Novak, Stu Douglass, Tim Hardaway Jr., Evan Smotrycz, Jordan Morgan, Jon Horford, Trey Burke and Matt Vogrich.

Carlton Brundidge was the ninth man on Friday and headlines the bench group that could play a role in the upcoming season. With foul trouble, injuries and shooting slumps, anyone in this group could become an important contributor at any moment. For example, Colton Christian’s shot clock buzzer beating jump shot in East Lansing was one of the biggest shots of the season for Michigan. This is also a group where John Beilein could plan to the future look to use a redshirt. Here’s a closer look at Carlton Brundidge, Blake McLimans, Max Bielfeldt, Colton Christian, Eso Akunne and Sai Tummala.

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