Depth and future rotations


Freshman year, Wagner committed 7.3 fouls per 40 minutes and played 17.9% of minutes. Last year, he committed 4.5 fouls per 40 minutes and played 59.1% of minutes. I think it’s reasonable to think that with another year of maturity, he can get that down to maybe 3.5-4 fouls per 40, and play 70-75% of available minutes. What I don’t think is reasonable is that he has the same mobility and agility as Wilson.


The position that someone plays determines if they are a 4 or a 5. Think about Michigan’s base two-guard offense ,it starts something like this.

You have your two-guards (hence the name) at the top, and each the ‘3’ plays the left wing and the ‘4’ plays the right wing. The 5 is in the paint and the primary screener.

To play the ‘4’ at Michigan, you have to be able to play on the wing like DJ and Zak are doing in this spot. Right now, Wagner has rarely if ever done that which is why he should be looked at as a ‘5’. I can’t really think of anyone who has started primarily as a 5 and eventually played the 4 under Beilein. There was a lot of talk about it with Mitch and I think they tried it for a couple of games, but I don’t remember it working or sticking before his injury.

As far as Donnal being a big and not Wilson… Donnal played the 5 for his whole career, Wilson played the 4 for 80% of his career and then shifted to the 5 because it gave Michigan a new look.


Wilson? …


Yep, and the driving factor to me will mostly be how good are Poole and Livers? Duncan and MAAR mostly are what they are now and I don’t expect a reasonable jump in performance from either. Solid starters, we will be a fine team if they are year-long 30 minute guys. It’s an interesting spot to predict though, because most breakout freshmen we have had have had large holes to fill at their position.

Hardaway, Burke, Walton, GRIII all had little competition. Chatman had the day one starting job but lost it.

Stauskas beat out Vogrich, Levert beat out a redshirt. Irvin was behind Stauskas/Levert/Robinson but still got his fair share of backup minutes.

My best guess would be an Irvin-like role for both Poole and Livers but I’m hopeful one of the two proves too good and takes us to the next level


And maybe Smotrycz? I can’t remember but feel like he fluctuated back and forth


That’s fair. He also never really played any sort legitimate minutes until he was a 4.


Smotrycz started out as a 4. Beilein played some small ball and used him at the 5 out of necessity. As I recall, that was a reason behind his transfer.


Why has nobody mentioned Ibi Watson’s name to crack the rotation? Athletically, he appears to have all the tools. Wouldn’t mind seeing him mix into the rotation this season.


And maybe MAAR’s 3pt shot regresses while Poole puts up >40%. But, if MAAR stays the same guy as he was in B1G play–even with the same middling usage–I think it’s very, very unlikely that he plays less than 32 minutes per game.

If Im wrong, then either Poole is totally balling out, or MAAR is regressing BIG time. Like I said in an earlier post: I think it’s more likely that Duncan get’s supplanted, by either Livers or Poole, than MAAR losing his starting spot.


Who can be trusted on defense will determine who and how much play the freshman get. MAAR on defense alone with play substantial minutes. Livers and Poole will have ro earn that right and so must sophomore Ibi Watson.


Why is this conversation about Wagner at the 4 still being discussed? Beilein has never in his P5 career played someone like him on the wing. Unless people are forgetting that a 4 in this offense is the same as a 3 and very much on the wing?


The only time I remember Beilein experimenting with 2 bigs was a couple times he ran out McGary and Morgan together. It didn’t work.


I think there is confusion in this thread over what is a “big”. Some see it as anyone 6’9" /6’10" or taller, while others see it as a player who has been/is someone who has primarily been a center or 5 position player.
Clearly Beilein played two bigs last year (Wagner, Wilson) if you go by height alone.


I think most people here are referring to a center when they say a big.


But if they are “too talented”, they won’t be staying for their 5th year anyways. In this day and age, redshirts are pretty much limited to projects.


I think there is a generational component here. Some people see “4”, think “power forward” and conjur images of Karl Malone and Tim Duncan. Simply, that’s not modern basketball, and it’s especially not Beilein’s system. The 4 needs to be able to handle, shoot, and even be the handler in a ball-screen. Wilson just happened to be a 6’10" guy who could do these things (surprise surprise he’s in the NBA). His ability to slide to the five is indicative of his broad skill set, not indicative that the 4 and 5 are similar.

He was “big” in stature - not in role. I’m sure if Beilein finds another 6’10" guy with passable guard skills, he’ll play the 4 again.


Novak couldn’t handle at all. I would argue all the 4 in beileins offense has to do is be able to shoot and be tough…and taller than 6’4" hopefully



If I had to guess, it’s


Davis or Teske backing up the bigs
Simpson backing up the point and essentially the 2 (Simmons slides to the 2 to spell Rahk)
Livers backing up the wings (Robinson slides to 3 to spell Mathews)

This is basically what Beilein has done forever, except for that year he brought Caris in as a freshman.


Poole is 100% going to be playing.


TBH, I’m not convinced he’ll be a regular rotation member by Big Ten play. Every year we think JB will expand his rotation past “8 + emergency center” and it never really happens. Basically he’ll be fighting with X for a pool of 8-12 minutes per game by the time B10 play comes around.