Wrap-Up Mailbag

With a bit of time to reflect on the end of the season, it feels like a good time for a mailbag. Fire away.

What do you think are realistic expectations for ZI and DW improvement for next season now they know w/o any Caris dependency that this is their team? How critical is their incremental improvement to the team being a top-3 B1G contender?

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What is Moritz’s ceiling? Will we finally have an adequate player at the five? And–if you care to weigh in–what is your take on the Beilein “controversy” that has turned the board into a circus for weeks on end?

Generally speaking, what kind of stock-taking does Warde Manuel conduct in his first post-season as AD and where might we realistically see adjustments?

In terms of personnel, how central does MAAR become to this team’s future success? Does he become the primary focal point of the offence or does he continue to take a back seat to Walton and Irvin in Beilein’s system?

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It was clear from the eye test and Beilein’s comments that the shot clock was something the team struggled with all year long. How will this team adapt to the thirty second shot clock on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball?


What does Caris LeVert’s draft stock look like after this recent surgery?

What player developed the most, and what player regressed the most on this year’s team?

Which will show the greatest improvement next year?
a) Moritz Wagner (year 1 - year 2)
b) Uniforms (Adidas - Jumpman)

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How good can Mark Donnal be next year. Can he contend for conference post season accolades?
I think he’s a much better athlete than given credit for. He runs well, also moves his feet well, and has a good vertical.
Sometimes I cringe watching Donnal, other times I think dang, he could end up a really productive player.
I don’t think the thought of 12 & 6 per next season is outrageous.

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I would appreciate a post that puts things in perspective. How far up and down do good programs go? We clearly aren’t in the same league as Duke/Kentucky/Louisville/Kansas who compete for the title every year, but where do we fall after that? Is is normal to miss the tourney every couple years? According to Basketball Reference, we are the #15 program all time by SRS. This feels about right. In order to keep this up, how often do we need to make the tourney? Basically, I am resigned to the fact that we are not a top dog (like I hope we will be in football). What should my baseline be going forward (so I can say whether it was a good/bad/average season)? Is 7/8 seed appropriate? I think so, because this season felt like a disappointment, while the seasons we got 4 or higher seeds felt awesome. Thoughts?

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Given the inability or unwillingness to make room for a 5th year for Spike Albrecht, should we not expect any significant attrition?

-I understand he is not anywhere close to a great player, but he is at least a guy that will make a positive contribution when he does play.

-I think its been made pretty clear throughout the forum that the roster as is needs to be fixed, and the unfortunate truth is that you fix that by proactively managing your roster.

In your opinion who would have been a better backup for Derrick Walton Jr? Spike Albrecht if he would have stayed or Xavier Simpson?

Not relevant to Michigan, but what are the timelines for NBA entries (and what’s up with the new format/rules) and early outlook for Big 10 Players leaving early?

Maybe you need to wait until the roster issues are settled to answer this, but do you anticipate any position changes for 2015? I have at least two in mind that I think would make better use of the available talent, but it all depends on who leaves the team.

Any comparisons out there that you can reference for a team who went through what we did the last two years? Meaning, we had a probable NBA first rounder (dare I say lottery pick?) surrounding by a strong supporting cast. That first rounder started to evolve into a leading man last year and then went down. Causing the team to COMPLETELY shift it’s dynamic and adapt on the fly. Team adapted, players stepped up but overall they couldn’t pull out a tourney appearance.

This year, first rounder returns and is playing well but you can tell that the team dynamic was still very much in flux in the beginning. As things were starting to crystallize, first rounder goes down again and now team has to adapt on the fly as well. But team makes tourney and just runs out of steam.

Anything like that go down in your recollection and how did those situations turn out? How did our guys do relative to those scenarios?

A lot was made about Dakich’s perceived over use once we got to the critical portion of our schedule. Looking back, can you quantify how much of a drop off was there when AD was on the court? Is there a comparable WARP we could use?

Say hypothetically another scholarship opens up what do you think the staff would do and/or should do. A. Save for 17 B. Grad Transfer C. Normal Transfer D. 4 year recruit.

Thanks Dylan

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Can someone convince Beilein to schedule opponents to maximize our end of season RPI? (hint, avoid sub 250 RPI teams), You can read an example of how the PAC-12 as a conference followed some formula to get really good RPIs:

A lot of people have mentioned the defense, particularly big man development needs to happen, is there any chance we will either add or have an assistant coaching change, or is all that is needed to improve having our current staff change what we concentrate on during practices and film sessions?

What, if any, personnel-specific changes do you predict for the offensive scheme, next year? Do you think we add more sets to get Duncan open? Do you think that Zak becomes the “Caris” of the offense, in terms of running the high PNR? More sets for MAAR to do what MAAR does? And will we ever actually see a 5 post up, with the emergence of Moe?

I think Dylan–and I know Beilein himself–have answered the RPI guestion. Had Rutgers or Penn State been even a tiny bit decent our RPI would have been fine.