Apr 8, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach John Beilein reacts during the first half of the championship game in the 2013 NCAA mens Final Four against the Louisville Cardinals at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Basketball: A Look Back at the 2012-2013 Season -- Looking Ahead to Next Year

Posted at 7:00am — 4/22/2013

Michigan Basketball: A Look Back at the 2012-2013 Season — Looking Ahead to Next Year

Putting the Baby to Bed

Day is done, gone the Sun, and so the long basketball season is over; so is the little bit of unexpected drama of the Who Be Here Next Year? question.

Michigan took a young team with pretty high expectations and went further than most reasonable expectations would dictate. The team had three distinct periods: a great early season run, a tough stretch in the Big Ten, and a marvelous run to the Championship game of the NCAA.

On the way there were strengths and weaknesses laid out clearly and repeatedly.

Coach Beilein chose leadership and patience to ride through the tough spots, and some of the clear trouble areas were cleaned up enough to propel the Wolverines to a better level of basketball.

In the big games against Kansas, Syracuse, and Louisville, the Wolverine staff let it all hang out and turned the troops out full go, mistakes be damned attitude that yielded some of the most exciting play of the tournament. At the same time the turnovers amount was very satisfactory.

McGary came on strong and played like a lancer in the Crimean War. His upside is scary, and the view here is Mitch will work his butt off this summer; there will not be a choice given, as with Burke and Hardaway the previous summer. The staff will have clear strategies to improve McGary’s game to fit what Michigan needs to continue last year’s success.

The loss of Burke and Hardaway will transform the chemistry of the team. Still, Michigan will look like a Coach Beilein basketball team.

Apr 8, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Michigan Wolverines forward Mitch McGary (4) shoots against Louisville Cardinals forward Chane Behanan (21) during the second half of the championship game in the 2013 NCAA mens Final Four at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest transition will be a turn away from the dominance of an All-American point guard to a structure that uses all the pieces more frequently. Spike and Walton will bring the ball up court; there will still be high screens, but look for many other offensive options to develop. This offense may look more like a classic backdoor, flash pivot, and slash to the hole offense, like the old Indiana or Princeton. The difference is that even with the departure of Burke, the point guard will be used more by Michigan than the two comparisons above.

McGary will spend the summer attempting to come out of the nymph stage and complete his metamorphosis by becoming as versatile as possible. If Mitch can improve the high post option, step out the range a little more, and continue to get to the boards, he will be a nightmare to defend, freeing up others to run the options intended for them.

The defense will be different in that clearly Robinson is literally out of the doghouse getting hammered at the four spot. To do that the five bigs will need to share time at the four and five positions. There will be times Coach chooses to play four small and Robinson may need to take one or two for the team.

Nov 29, 2011; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Michigan Wolverines forward Jon Horford (15) attempts a jump shot over Virginia Cavaliers forward Mike Scott (23) during the first half at John Paul Jones Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

There will be depth with Walton, Irvin, and Donnal coming on board. How deep and how versatile Michigan can be may depend on the development of Donnal. He is a low four star that has played well at the basket and has a range and shooting ability McGary wishes to develop. Irvin is another low conscience scorer who is capable of lighting up some scoreboards. There are enough scoring options still around that Irvin does not need to press to carry a team as a young freshman. Irvin is more athletic and versatile than Stauskas and it will be interesting to see the options Beilein dials up for him.

A clear question is how much more can Morgan or Horford improve? Horford, McGary, and perhaps Robinson should block more shots next year. Both Horford and Morgan must work hard at not being pushovers at the four or five spot. There is little doubt here that Coach Beilein will demand improvement in exchange for increased playing time.

Running and firing threes will not change, but let us hope more balance, better defense, and better rebounding offset the loss of Burke and Hardaway.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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