2007 Michigan Wolverines Basketball Preview
The Michigan Wolverines (22- 13 overall, 8- 8 Big Ten) have not had a March Madness bracket berth since 1995. Last season they finished tied for seventh in their conference. John Beilein (551- 318 overall in 29 years) starts his first year as the Wolverines’ head coach. During his career, Beilein has built numerous programs into contenders.
At plus-6 in rebounding margin (second in the Big Ten), the Wolverines proved to be tough under the boards. But the club had way too many turnovers—14.9 TPG, which placed them tenth in the conference in that stat. Michigan’s .728 from the foul stripe was second best in the Big Ten but the team’s overall scoring was ranked tenth at 60.6 PPG.
This is a young team. Forward Ron Coleman (5.7 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 45.8 FG%) is Michigan’s only senior. Coleman has a fine jumper. He’ll be a mentor for the team’s five freshmen. Look for front men Ekpe Udoh (5.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 46.9 FG%) and DeShawn Sims (3.4 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 33 .3 FG%), both sophomores, to get starting opportunities. Udoh, who blocked 67 shots in his frosh year, could become a leader in that category. Sims is looking to develop into a frontcourt and backcourt shooter. Junior forward Javohn Shepherd (1.9 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 32.8 FG%) offers fine athleticism and good defensive chops but has trouble hitting the basket which won't help the NCAA point spreads.
Junior Jerret Smith (5.7 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 3.4 APG, 41.4 FG%) is the backbone of this team and is expected to step-up in terms of playmaking and point producing. Freshmen guards Kelvin Grady and Manny Harris will both play immediately. Grady possesses extreme quickness. Harris is the centerpiece of this year’s recruiting class. Freshman swing K’Len Morris can hit from the backcourt.
If a few key players can step up, then coach Beilein will be able to improve Michigan’s record a bit. But for major changes in the college basketball predictions to occur, the new coach will need a few recruiting classes. Once Beilein can attract the talent that he needs, he’ll be able to reshape the program. Last season the team went to the NIT where they lost to Florida State 87- 66 in round two. Look for another NIT visit this year.