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For those that need a review, the contest is relatively simple. For each game you pick the Michigan player that you expect to have the best performance (sometimes picks will be restricted to a pool of players). If that player does have the best game (calculated by the formula below) you will earn a point. Full rules after the jump, submit your entry in the comments.
On Thursday, John Beilein met with the media to preview Michigan’s season opener versus Ferris State. The big news out of press conference was that Trey Burke will be replacing Stu Douglass at point guard in the starting line up. Here’s high definition video of the press conference followed by notes and quotes after the jump.
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Earlier today we looked at five reasons why Michigan should excel this season but now we take a look at why the Wolverines might struggle. Michigan fans remember the last time the Wolverines were ranked in the preseason top 25, a disappointing 15-17 season in 2010, and here are five reasons why it could happen again.
1. Negative Conference Efficiency Margin
In 2010 this was the red flag that nobody saw coming. Despite a .500 Big Ten record and a second round NCAA appearance, Michigan was outscored during Big Ten games. We’ve touched on how effective John Beilein has been at winning (NCAA tournament games specifically) with a negative conference efficiency margin, but that doesn’t always translate to success down the road.
A negative conference efficiency margin means that Michigan’s record was actually better than its performance (U-M was outscored by its opponents but went .500). There’s no more natural statistical indicator of regression, just as a team that outscored it’s opponents but lost a lot of games is a prime candidate to improve. Michigan fans should take solace in the fact that their season changed so dramatically. This wasn’t the case of a mediocre team playing inconsistent basketball all season. Instead it was the case of a seemingly hapless team figuring things out and playing some of the best basketball in the country for the final two months of the year.
Michigan tips off the 2011-12 season on Friday afternoon ranked as the No. 18 team in the country. Preseason rankings are an inexact metric based on reputation more than fact but the Wolverines are respected nationally after a strong finish to the 2010-11 season. Computers aren’t gun shy about Michigan either, Ken Pomeroy’s preseason projections have U-M at No. 22 nationally. In order to take a closer look at the upcoming season, here’s a look at five reasons why Michigan should excel and could be poised to be John Beilein’s best performing team in Ann Arbor.
1. Returning Experience
Michigan only has two seniors but the Wolverines return a significant portion of last year’s team with game experience. Zack Novak is about as good as it gets in terms of pure leadership ability and that will make a difference. The three year captain’s hustle and emotion have won over his fans and teammates and he led Michigan in minutes last season.Stu Douglass has played major minutes, starting 58 games, throughout his career and has seen the highs and lows of a Big Ten season. Jordan Morgan, Evan Smotrycz and Tim Hardaway Jr. all played major minutes in their first season of action. Last year’s experience should give each sophomore enough experience to be worthwhile but prove just how much there is to build on. Matt Vogrich is a junior and has made strides physically, finally looking more like he’s ready to compete at this level, and will provide a veteran shooter off the bench.
Experience doesn’t win you games – Michigan was one of the least experienced teams in the country last year – but there’s little doubt that Michigan has a cohesive and veteran group to build around.