The Wolverine

November 2011

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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2011-12 basketball preview For now, he���s diving into all that freshmen have to learn, U-M assistant coach Bacari Alexander noted. ���Sai Tummala and Max Bielfeldt are two players that, as they get used to the rigors of college basketball at this level, will be able to, in the future, entertain the idea of earning minutes and being contributors,��� Alexander said. ���Right now, they���re just trying to learn what is expected on them and what���s the process of getting there.��� Magazines Take Whole New View Of Wolverines Sai Tummala, a freshman out of Phoenix, averaged 17.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game at Brophy College Prep last year. Photo by lon horwedel Prep last year, but he���s always had Michigan on his mind. ���I have baby pictures of me in Michigan stuff,��� Tummala said. ���I���ve been a Michigan fan since I was a little kid. My uncle kind of hooked me onto it, and I just fell in love with this school when I was growing up. I just felt it was the right place for me, even though I could have gone other places.��� Tummala���s uncle attended Michigan, while his grandfather is a professor at Eastern Michigan and obviously knows the area well. Tummala noted he had other Division I offers, although he wasn���t strongly recruited out of high school by top programs. ���I���m just coming here to try to prove people wrong,��� Tummala said. ���A lot of people don���t believe I can play as well as I can, and I���m here to prove them wrong. ���I���m a good, long defender. I���m athletic. I like to get up and down the court. I���m also a good three-point shooter. I shot 40 percent in high school from three. I like to have a good, balanced game, but my biggest thing is I like to play hard all the time, especially on defense.��� Senior Zack Novak referred to Tummala as his surprise of the summer, in terms of someone who looked very solid in Michigan���s pickup games. 70��� the wolverine��� ������ November 2011 What a difference a year makes. In the fall of 2010, college basketball prognosticators across the nation ranked Michigan���s chances of making the NCAA Tournament right up with President Barack Obama and Sarah Palin becoming running mates in 2012. The Wolverines were destined for dead last in the Big Ten, most figured. That���s before they came on to finish in a tie for fourth, become a No. 8 seed in the tournament, crush Tennessee in the opening round and come within a three-pointer of leapfrogging Duke into the Sweet 16. Now folks everywhere are paying attention. John Beilein and his crew can only hope they���re a little more on the money than they were 12 months ago. Here���s a look at the mostly rosy forecast regarding Michigan basketball in the national preview magazines: Lindy���s Sports Of all the optimists, Lindy���s takes the brightest view of Michigan���s chances. The magazine pegs the Wolverines at No. 7 nationally heading into the season, behind only No. 1 Ohio State, North Carolina, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Duke and Pittsburgh. While noting Michigan���s challenge of sharing a league with what it considers the nation���s top dog, Lindy���s still says the Wolverines ���have the means and moxie to undo the Buckeyes and make a deep NCAA Tournament run. The backcourt is brilliant and Tim Hardaway Jr. is a star in waiting whose wait is just ��� about ��� over. Jordan Morgan is a sturdy and underrated post and the shooting of Zack Novak, Stu Douglass and Evan Smotrycz stretch perimeter defenses tissue thin.��� That brilliant backcourt will be without the 15.7 points and 6.7 assists departed Darius Morris brought to the table, listed as ���The Bad��� in the publication���s assessment. It still opines, under ���Our Call:��� ���Remember Beilein���s 2004-05 West Virginia Mountaineers? They were a lategame collapse away from a Final Four. These guys could be a lot like those guys.��� The magazine projects six Big Ten teams to make the NCAA Tournament, and has Michigan in the Elite Eight. It ranks the Big Ten as no better than the fourth-best conference in the nation, behind the Big East, ACC and SEC. Hardaway checks in as the No. 8 shooting guard in the nation, with this notation: ���Eventual All-American averaged 17.5 points over final 14 games.��� Meanwhile, even with the loss of Morris, Lindy���s pegs Michigan as sporting the No. 10 backcourt in the country. ���Stu Douglass, Tim Hardaway Jr., Zack Novak and Matt Vogrich handle and pass well ��� and they hit a collective 263 three-pointers,��� the magazine points out. ���Touted freshmen are Trey Burke [from Columbus, Ohio ��� he was a prep teammate of Ohio State standout Jared Sullinger] and Carlton Brundidge. Burke, Ohio���s ���Mr. Basketball,��� could move into Beilein���s rotation fairly quickly.��� The Big Ten���s record seven NCAA Tournament squads lost 19 of 35 starters, one of them Morris. But Michigan might have been the least nicked of all, prompting Lindy���s to slot U-M second in the conference behind Ohio State, and in front of Michigan State, Illinois and Wisconsin. ���Even without Morris, this is the best Michigan team in quite a few years,��� the magazine proclaims. There���s definitely an emphasis on team, since only one Wolverine (Hardaway, as a second-teamer) makes it onto the three-tiered preseason all-conference squad. Burke gets a mention as ���Best Playmaker/ Passer��� among Big Ten rookies. The magazine quotes Beilein fretting about making the point guard transition as seamless as possible. That situation provides opportunity for Douglass, a senior, as well as

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