College Basketball Preseason Top 25: #7 Michigan

Mitch McGary

Michigan center Mitch McGary hopes to build on his breakout NCAA Tournament success. (USA TODAY Sports)

7. Michigan Wolverines

It was an amazing run for the Michigan Wolverines. Highly regarded coming into the regular season last year, Michigan took a few lumps during a rugged Big Ten schedule. But come tournament time, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., and company took their games to an entirely different level, blitzing South Dakota State and VCU, staging a comeback for the ages against Kansas and nearly out-gunning Louisville in a thrilling NCAA title game. It was almost a reincarnation of the Fab Five days, and basketball once again gave Ann Arbor a reason to be excited. Now, a new crop of Wolverines will try to recapture some of the magic of last March.

It starts with holdovers like Glenn Robinson III, who averaged 11 points and 6 rebounds last year but has the chance to become the star on the team this season. Robinson will be Michigan’s go-to-guy this season, and should respond with an All-Big Ten worthy performance. Sharpshooter Nick Stauskas (11 ppg, 3 rpg) is back as is Mitch McGary, who came out of nowhere during the NCAA Tournament and emerged as one of the country’s best big men. If McGary (7.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg) can carry that momentum into this season, Michigan will really have something. The 6-10, 220-pound sophomore could have declared for the NBA Draft but wisely decided to stay in school and will really improve his stock if he puts together a full season of double-double performances.

Sophomore point guard Spike Albrecht is also back after a dizzying first half in the national championship game that made him look like Stephen Curry Lite. Michigan also brings in several highly-touted freshmen, including power forward Mark Donnal, 6-6 guard Zak Irvin and point guard Derrick Walton, Jr, who is talented enough to start immediately.

BOTTOM LINE: There is a truckload of talent on this young Michigan team, enough to make another Final Four run well within the realm of possibility. The Wolverines’ success this season will come down to a few questions: Can Glenn Robinson III take the next step and become a star? Can Mitch McGary put together a solid, consistent regular season after his incredible tournament performance? And will the highly touted freshmen step right in and fill their roles immediately? If the answers to all three of those questions are yes, this is a very dangerous team. Either way, the Wolverines will be fascinating to watch this season.

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  1. Pingback: College Basketball Preseason Top 25: #6 Louisville

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