It's been my belief, John Beilein is the best coach in the B1G. That probably goes against conventional wisdom but no one can argue how players have developed under him and how successful the team has been on the court. Trey Burke and GRIII weren't viewed as NBA type players before they got to Ann Arbor. That's where both now reside. He helped make Nik Stauskas a lottery pick in two years. Guy has done wonders.
The one problem with the recent success, has been the defection of the aforementioned players. None of those guys were five star prospects and none of the current players are either. Unlike Kentucky, Beilein hasn't replaced McDonald's All-American's with similar players.
If we look at the roster, we see a team with lots of talent. Zak Irvin, Kam Chatman, Derrick Walton & Mark Donnal are all consensus 4* guys. They're all underclassmen, though and unlike Burke and company, they haven't come in and become instantly reliable. They still have to develop. Coupled with the losses of a Mitch McGary and big men Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford, Michigan has some growing up to do.
The two upperclassmen expected to be the leaders are former unheralded recruits, Caris LeVert & Spike Albrect. Neither was heavily recruited out of high school. Albrecht is struggling with an injury. LeVert is the go-to-guy and is being billed as a likely 1st round pick. At this point, though, LeVert has not had anyone step up and loosen the load. Zak Irvin in particular has had a rough season thus far. Without an inside presence, teams have suffocated the outside shooting.
The numbers aren't pretty. Defensively, the Wolverines are 286th in defensive effective fg%. They sit 86th in defensive efficiency. Under Beilein, the offense has been pretty good. This year, while sitting 46th in adjustedO, they have not been very good. They can't get to the free throw line at all and the offesne has been a one trick pony, relying almost exclusively on the 3 ball. That can be fine but the inability to score in the paint os going to be an issue all season.
Michigan has a lot of good players. They've just lost a lot of good players the last two years to early entry. Unlike Kentucky, they haven't replaced them with the five star types. In a lot of ways, they resemble Wisconsin in how the team is made up. Unlike Wisconsin, they've suffered from early defections.
Losing Mitch McGary was tough. Without the NCAA suspension, it's possible he'd be back and the team would be more balanced on offense. From early appearances, LeVert will be the only defection from this squad. This season could be tough but the future is fine. Donnal, Doyle and Chatman can be good college players. It just won't be this year