Blue Ribbon picks Michigan to finish fourth in Big Ten

Iowa State 77, Michigan 70-12

Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook has Michigan ranked 23rd overall and fourth in the Big Ten in its inaugural preseason publications, according to a report from MLive’s Brendan Quinn.

Michigan is picked to finish behind Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State in the conference. Junior guard Caris LeVert was selected as an Preseason All-Big Ten player and a second team All-American.

Michigan is faced with mixed preseason expectations this year after entering the last two seasons with a top-ten ranking. This year the Wolverines are widely regarded as a fringe top-25 team and expected to finish somewhere in the upper-half of the Big Ten. The Sporting News and Athlon Sports both picked Michigan fifth in the conference while Lindy’s Sports picked Michigan to finish sixth.

More notes and predicted order of finish after the jump.  [click to continue…]

Big Ten’s Best Cutters & Finishers

Branden Dawson NCAA Basketball Tournament B-fP6YjopRal[1]

Welcome to Big Ten’s Best, a look at some of the Big Ten’s specialists returning for the 2014-15 season. Today we break down the best post-up players in the conference. (Previously: Best Pick-and-Roll Players, Best Post-Up Scorers)  These lists are based on last year’s numbers, but involve some prognostication as well.

Michigan fans are familiar with how important having a great finisher can be. The Wolverines lost two of the best cut and finish players in the Big Ten last season in Glenn Robinson III and Jordan Morgan, but the conference returns plenty of players that finish consistently above the rim and have a knack for finding open space and easy baskets.

1. Branden Dawson (Michigan State)

Percent of Offense: 23.2%
Points Per Cut: 1.41

Cuts to the basket and drop-off passes made up just shy of a quarter of Branden Dawson’s offense in 2013-14 and his combination of strength and athleticism makes him a lethally efficient finisher.  Entering his senior year, Dawson faces many of the questions that Michigan combo forward Glenn Robinson III faced last season. Dawson is 0-of-9 from three-point range in his career and hasn’t shown consistent ability to create offense outside of cuts to the rim and transition dunks. While he won’t be Michigan State’s primary creator (that role is saved for Denzel Valentine), Dawson will have to show a more well-rounded offensive game in 2014-15.


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Mailbag: Kameron Chatman, DJ Wilson, Late Offense

Michigan 93, S Carolina St 59-27

The UM Hoops Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted (@umhoops), e-mailed or sent via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can. (Photo: Dustin Johnston)

@charlesmalu5: Will Kameron Chatman be a straight up 4, or will he play some 3? How does he compare to GR3?

Expect Kameron Chatman to play the majority of, if not all, of his time at the four position. For all intents and purposes, the three and the four are the same position in Michigan’s offense – they are just on opposite sides of the floor. John Beilein started referring to the three and four positions as the right and left side forwards and Chatman is an ideal fit as a right side forward to replace Glenn Robinson III.

Michigan’s rotation in Italy started with Irvin and Chatman at the three and four respectively and when Aubrey Dawkins would check in to replace either player – the starter still on the floor would move to the four. This allows Chatman and Dawkins to only learn one position while Irvin (who played backup minutes at the four last season) can play both.

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Spike-2The Big Ten announced time and television information for the remainder of the conference games that will be broadcast by CBS or ESPN’s family of networks.

Two of Michigan’s 18 conference games will be broadcast by CBS with nine additional games picked up by an ESPN station. CBS will broadcast Michigan’s road games at Michigan State (Feb. 1) and Indiana (Feb. 8) while the February 22nd home game against Ohio State is a potential wild card game.

Time and television information has now been announced for Michigan’s entire schedule for the 2014-15 season and can be found here. In total, Michigan will play 14 games on the ESPN family of networks (with two additional games streamed online by ESPN3) and two games on CBS.

Big Ten’s Best Post-Up Scorers

Frank Kaminsky NCAA Basketball Tournament isEIAEYfndel[1]

Welcome to Big Ten’s Best, a look at some of the Big Ten’s specialists returning for the 2014-15 season. Today we break down the best post-up players in the conference. (Previously: Best pick-and-roll players)  These lists are based on last year’s numbers, but involve some prognostication as well.

1. Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin)

Percent of Offense: 24.6%
Points Per Post-up: 1.167

Frank Kaminsky is arguably the best returning player in the conference. He’s not just a post player by any means – only a quarter of his offensive possessions are post-ups, a smaller percentage than many other players on this list – but he still had more post-ups last season than all but two returning players in the conference.

He also sets a new standard for efficiency with his back to the basket. (A fact that Michigan fans don’t need to be reminded of.) Kaminsky was more efficient than some of the league’s best last season – including Adreian Payne (1.055 points per post-up) – and he’s pushing for 1.2 points per post-up while other league players struggle to top 1.00. Kaminsky was ranked No. 1 on our Big Ten Top 25 Players list and his ability to score on the low block is a major reason why.

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Introducing Alejandro Zúñiga

We’re excited to announce that we’ve hired our new beat writer, Alejandro Zúñiga, for the upcoming season. Alejandro will be taking over all of the day-to-day duties that Joe served for the last two seasons here and we’re thrilled to have him on board. Make sure to follow him on Twitter and look for his coverage in the weeks and months to come. 

Hi everyone,

I’m so thrilled to join UM Hoops for the upcoming season. Over the years, I have watched this site grow and improve, and I’m excited to be part of the upcoming developments.

While I’ll be easing into the position here over the next few weeks, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself.

I’m a senior at Michigan majoring in anthropology, but since spring of my freshman year, my focus and passion has been sportswriting. That semester, I began working for The Michigan Daily, where I’m currently Co-Managing Sports Editor.

Before my junior year, I interned at USA Today Sports near Washington, D.C., writing primarily baseball and soccer. I returned to the area again this summer, joining the Orioles baseball beat at The Baltimore Sun. I also helped the Detroit Free Press’ football coverage as a freelancer last fall and have worked on the Daily’s softball and hockey beats. This semester, I’ll be covering the Michigan football team for the Daily. [click to continue…]

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