Dec 21, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Michigan Wolverines forward Glenn Robinson III (1) controls the ball against the Stanford Cardinal during the second half of a Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational game at Barclays Center. Michigan defeated Stanford 68-65. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Basketball: Holy Cross at Michigan -- Preview

GBMWolverine Basketball TidbitsPosted at 12:00pm — 12/27/2013

Michigan Basketball: Holy Cross at Michigan — Preview

Holy Cross @ Michigan Basketball tickets

Floating A Boat In The Big

The 2013-2014 Michigan basketball team is at a crossroad, partly by events and partly by timing. With one game to go before the conference season starts, Michigan is at a natural break. But unlike last year, close losses have brought about a crossroad of a necessity for winning often.

Nov 15, 2013; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Holy Cross Crusaders head coach Milan Brown points from the sideline during the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Dean E. Smith Student Activities Center. Mandatory Credit: Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

Holy Cross travels to Ann Arbor Saturday to complete the preconference schedule. Holy Cross graduated Bob Cousy and Tommy Heinsohn of Celtic fame. As a freshman, Cousy helped Holy Cross to win a national championship. One can still go to Holy Cross for a great education, but forget thoughts of national titles against the contemporary likes of Kentucky, Duke, and North Carolina.

With Michigan teetering, how does the season prognostication now appear? It would take a finely tuned crystal ball to achieve a perfect prediction.

An unknown element has found a way into the Michigan equation: Mitch McGary’s physical health and ability to play at full potential.

Dec 7, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines forward Mitch McGary (4) reacts to a basket in the second half against the Houston Baptist Huskies at Crisler Arena. Michigan won 107-53. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Even though Michigan is a perimeter-oriented team, McGary turns the Wolverines into a mid-tier rebounding team. Without him, Michigan will struggle to break even with rebounds in the tough Big Ten. McGary is probably worth an additional 5-7 points being in the line-up, an amount that could be the difference between winning and losing in conference play.

Nik Stauskas will start to gain more defensive attention as conference play starts. He will need to become more physical, versatile, and create more opportunities for other teammates.

Derrick Walton will need to mature quickly; he will play at least half a game at point guard, more with improvement. His job will be to continue to learn the offense and balance caution with confidence. Remember, both Morris and Burke greatly improved as freshmen.

Glen Robinson III appears quite ready to enter conference play. Bigger and stronger, Robinson needs to become more consistent in play from game to game. But the staff could help Robinson by running more options where he assumes roles other than take up space in a corner. All of Michigan’s wings run the flash pivot option pretty well.

Caris LeVert and Nik Irvin both need to understand that sometimes the smart choice is not a shot. Both of the above need conversion to the belief that defense is hard work, but worthwhile work.

Defensive improvement and preventing tons of offensive rebounds may dictate whether Michigan competes or is an also-ran in league play. Therein lies the importance of McGary.

The short answer is we will all have to wait and see if Michigan can float the boat; things could go either way. As always, Michigan will be fun to watch.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

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