Ask Me Anything: Preseason Edition 2018-19

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If I give you Carsen Edwards or the field for Big Ten player of the year, who are you taking and why?

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How would you defend Michigan and how is that different than what you would have recommended last season?

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Give me the field. I picked Edwards as my preseason POTY, but there’s an obvious candidate in Ethan Happ who should factor into the race. Add in the uncertainty of someone else emerging whether it is an off the radar candidate (similar to Keita Bates-Diop last year) or even a freshman (Romeo Langford?) and there’s too big of an edge not to take “anyone but Carsen Edwards”.

It is also very hard to win POTY without winning or competing for the league title down to the end of the season and I’m not sure Purdue will be in that position.

What did you think of Michigan’s slashing offense last night?
What Coach Beilein teams have had as many slashers in the lineup? These guys appear to be able to get to the basket. Could be a lot of bunnies for Teske and Davis rolling like thunder to the rim

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Let’s start with last year’s recipe: a switch everything ball screen defense. Teams switched every screen and forced Michigan to play a lot of one-on-one basketball. The idea was to negate Moritz Wagner’s ability to drive or shoot over recovering big men. Wagner’s shot was important, but his driving ability might have been even more important.

This year, I don’t think you have to switch screens against Michigan. Jon Teske will make a few (more than 15?) 3-pointers, but he’s not going to slice up opposing defenses in the way that Wagner did last year. If you are defending Michigan this year, I think the gameplan to start is to go under every ball screen and pack in the defense. Dare U-M to beat you from the outside while clogging up space in the middle.

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Last year’s Michigan team got to the free throw line more often than all but one (WVU 2003-04) of John Beilein’s teams since 2002 and still finished the year ranked 258th in free throw rate. I’d say that FTA/FGA is one of the best signals of slashing ability, especially for a program that rarely throws the ball into the post. I would fully expect that number to increase this year as well.

While there’s a lot of slashing options and they are very talented, the concern is that there’s not enough shooters to space the floor and provide reasonable room to slash to the rim.

Ideally you want a balance because too much of one or the other can result in a mess. Either a team that just passes the ball around the perimeter to fire up a late three or a team that just dribbles into turnovers and wild shots at the rim.

What that mix looks like this year is still anyone’s guess, but I’m interested to see how Beilein solves the problem and enjoy a team that looks slightly different than the standard Beilein squad.

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Earlier this week you mentioned that your opinion of this team’s floor has changed recently. What do you think this team’s floor looks like?

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Good question. I’m not sure how it will all work, but seeing the pieces start to come together I think this group has enough talent and coaching to be a NCAA Tourney team. I’d probably set the floor a level above the bubble, or at least right on that upper edge there. Assuming no major injuries.

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One big ten coach gets fired after this year… who is it?

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You have to bet on one Big Ten coach to be the next one to make a national championship appearance. Who you taking?

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What’s your favorite Michigan jersey ever?

Was your changed opinion of Michigan’s floor a change for the better or for the worse?

Will we add anyone else to the 2019 recruiting class, and who else specifically do you predict via your magic crystal ball that we’ll add to the 2020 class?

Just one? I think that Chambers, Pitino, Miles, McCaffery and Turgeon all probably have warm seats…

If I can only take one I’ll take Pitino, but I would take the over 1.

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I have an answer for this one and it’s a BIG one for 2020 but I’ll wait to see Dylan’s answer first. No one for 2019…unless two guys leave, then we’ll see.

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The only two league coaches who have made it are Beilein and Izzo I believe, so that might be the smart money.

But where’s the fun in that? I’d put money down on Matt Painter (one of the best pure coaches in the league IMO, does things the right way) or Archie Miller (should have the ability to recruit at a very high level, already has shown it, and who wouldn’t love an Archie beats Sean to the Final Four narrative?).

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Hmmmm. Give me the 1989 look or the reincarnated throwback version of that look.

What current freshman on our roster will finish their U of M career highest on a Big 10 PoY ballot (or win the award)?