Junior guard Stu Douglass will be included in March Madness highlights for years to come because of what happened in Conseco Fieldhouse last season in the Big Ten tournament.
Douglass, who had not shot well all season, made 5 of 8 three-pointers and his last task to finish out a great game against the Ohio State Buckeye’s was to make sure Player of the Year Evan Turner could not get a clean shot off with 2.1 seconds left.
Turner would launch toward the basket as Douglass put a hand in his face, but it was not enough. Douglass, in disbelief, had his arms raised for at least five seconds after the shot went through.
Michigan was ranked in the top 15 at the beginning of the season, yet failed to qualify for an NIT bid. Michigan basketball coach John Beiein said the OSU game was a “microcosm of the season.”
This year, players will look for Douglass and Zack Novak to be leaders on the team.
“It was very natural thing for Zack from day one,” Michigan coach John Beilein told DetNews. “For Stu, through just his maturation as a young man, he has acquired an ability to lead.”
This season, many people are saying Michigan is a borderline NIT team because of the loss of DeShawn Sims and Manny Harris, but if Michigan fans can be patient, the basketball team does set up well for the seasons to come.
Michigan has no seniors on its roster.
“This is a very young team, this is probably one of the younger teams I’ve ever coached” Beilein, who has 32 years of head coaching experience, said at a press conference.
Michigan has made positive news in other areas.
The Wolverines have signed four players who have family members who played in the NBA. The players are Tim Hardaway, Jon Horford, Jordan Dumars and Glenn Robinson.
Hardaway and Horford will play right away. Dumars can not play until December, since he transferred from South Florida. Glenn Robinson will join the team in two years.
This season, the Wolverines finally have a physical forward, who can challenge people around the boards. In an exhibition game against Saginaw Valley State, Jordan Morgan accounted for 15 rebounds.
The past two years, Michigan has had 6-4 shooting guard Novak as the power forward, because of the lack of big men.
People should not count this team out. John Beilein-led teams have a tendency to overachieve. Nobody was picking Michigan to make it to the tournament in 2008, yet they made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament in Beilein’s second season at the helm.
In his last season at West Virginia, Beilein had lost a core group of players who earned an Elite 8 and Sweet 16 berth. They were picked to finish in the bottom of a 16-team conference, but they ended up being right on the bubble.
They did not get an invite to the NCAA tournament, but they won the NIT Championship.
Michigan will have an excellent chance to show how good they are in the 2010 Legends Classic pre-season tournament, which started Nov. 14 and will end on Nov. 27. Teams in the tournament include Syracuse, Georgia Tech and Texas-El Paso.