By Jeff Riger
Before I get started here I just wanted to point out that; yes I do know that November and December college basketball means nothing.
With that being said; how can Michigan fans not be elated with how this year’s hoops season is going? The Wolverines moved to 12-0 last night after beating Eastern Michigan by almost 40 in Ann Arbor and nothing, at least early seems to rattle this team.
Michigan’s average margin of victory this season has been by 22 points and the schedule all of a sudden doesn’t seem like the cupcake it was originally thought to be. The Wolverines have defeated Pittsburgh (11-1), Kansas State (8-2), Bradley (8-2) on the road and North Carolina State (8-2) and while these teams are by no means “world beaters” they are solid competition that the Wolverines have had a relatively easy time with.
After yesterday’s win over Eastern Michigan, Coach John Beilein talked about focus and how his team seems to rarely lose it. He’s right. We’re talking about a lot of young players, especially freshman and for those individuals to be able to continue winning while do everything for pretty much the first time is very impressive. Even against lesser talent, you expect young players to go through growing pains and if Michigan is, they sure are not showing it.
Just two weeks ago I wrote a blog about Michigan and how they need to be tested. I still feel that way! But, because of the way they have won in what seems to be easy fashion, I am now more convinced that this team is for real.
Trey Burke could be the best guard in the conference while Freshman Nik Stauskas, Glen Robinson III and Mitch McGary have been able to contribute in major ways early on. Even Jordan Morgan looks like a better player than last season and Tim Hardaway Jr. has shown progress from last year to now.
Bottom line, you have to love what you see!
Of course the real barometer is the conference schedule and it gets tough starting January 3rd and will not let up for the next 3 months. 4 Big Ten teams are ranked in the top ten currently in Indiana, Ohio State, Illinois and Michigan while 2 other teams are in the top 25 in Michigan State and Minnesota. Wisconsin, Northwestern and Penn State also have the ability to surprise people!
We will know soon enough if Michigan is for real, but for now I’m choosing to believe they are. What about you?