The Big Ten Topic

Minnesota Preseason Outlook

Going into last season the Gopher coaching staff made the highly scrutinized decision to redshirt Third Team All Conference SF William Rice in order to really make a run for the NCAA tournament. The young Gophers took last season and this off season as a chance to work mainly on the development of their youth and slightly on continuing to build the program's recruiting budget. Now the coaching staff is going into this season with one thought in mind - Get To The Dance! This goal is going to be led by outstanding Senior leadership who have paid their rebuilding dues. First Team All Conference SF Charles Pettyjohn looks to pick up where he left off last season leading the Gophers in scoring with 12.9ppg. The combination of Pettyjohn and Rice on the wings has Coach Zdawg very excited and eagerly anticipating a great start in the non-conference schedule. The front court is a tag team effort with senior PF Charles Gates and senior PF George Plunkett. Gates looks to improve on his 12.8ppg, second on the team last season. A much improved perimeter shooter Plunkett has the ability to drive opponent big men crazy with his ability to step out and shoot the 3. Look for the highly versatile Rice to see some action down in the post come Big 10 play. Junior C Lee Davis will also see valuable minutes in the post because of his athleticism and abilities to control the glass. Sophomores Parker and Bartholomew could bring great depth to the Gopher front court. 
The key to how far this Gopher team can go in March will fall on the shoulders of PG's Blaine Walker and Walter Malone and SG Damien Coffey and Leonard Taylor. All four guards received valuable minutes last season and look to make big strides going into this year. Coach Zdawg is very optimistic with his young guards and strongly believes their depth can handle the rigorous Big 10 schedule and lead the team into the NCAA tournament. This group could be a point guard by committee in the non-conference, but hopefully for Coach Zdawg one of these guys proves his worthy for the starting PG job.
Preseason polls have Minnesota tagged at the 30th in the land spot, however time will tell when the Gophers sit down together to watch Selection Sunday just how good they really are. As Coach Zdawg has learned in recent years, nothing is ever easy when going through the gauntlet of the Big 10 East division. 

Record Prediction: 20-11 (NCAA 2nd round)

6/23/2014 11:51 PM

Michigan Recruiting Recap


Coach Tanzetti first recruiting class at Michigan may not be the flashiest, but is filled with four players who should be solid contributors before their time is done in Ann Arbor.

The highest rated player in the class was Michigan’s Mr. Basketball, John Perdue. Perdue comes in as the #17 PG in the country hoping to continue the recent tradition of solid guards in Ann Arbor. He is a great shooter and will hopefully develop into a solid floor general who has the ability to slide over at times and play the two guard. Defense isn’t his strong suit, but Coach Tanzetti is hoping that the press will cover up some of his defensive weaknesses.

The second guard in the class is Bryan Loch out of Midland, Michigan. Loch comes in as the #31 PG in the country and won’t be counted on for much this season. Loch has tremendous physical upside and has the ability to become a great defender in the press. He is continuing to develop his outside shot, but it’s his defense that will earn him minutes during his career at Michigan.

The two bigs that Coach Tanzetti brought in are two guys high in potential and two players who will undoubtedly leave their mark on this program before their finished. Ryan Petillo comes in as the #48 PF in the country, but has the potential to develop into a solid pressing big. He also has the potential to develop into a solid low post scorer before his career is over. Not the best rebounder, Petillo will be forced to defend well and make up for his lack of ability on the glass by his ability to score the basketball.

The last player in the class, Shannon Pearce, could end up leaving as the best player. Pearce comes in as the #18 PF in the country and the only question with him is will he have the drive to reach his full potential. He is very raw on the offensive end, but possesses the talent to become a great scorer on the interior as well as the perimeter. He should also be a good defender in the post as his career progresses. If he takes advantage of the new basketball facilities in Ann Arbor he could be a potential all conference player before his career ends.

Only time will tell how good this class ends up being, but for now there is excitement in Ann Arbor as the Wolverine faithful are hoping that Coach Tanzetti will build the Wolverines into a national power like he did in Bloomington.

6/24/2014 11:43 PM (edited)
I don;t have time for an extended recruiting wrap-up, the the Badgers were pleased to land Frederick and Croskey.  The sting of bowing out in the second round as a #1 seed will hopefully provide some motivation for my guys.  The B10 seems to be getting deeper and deeper each of the last couple of seasons.  Good work everyone.
6/25/2014 9:26 AM
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