By RICKY LINDSAY, Staff Writer
An updated arena, new uniforms, and the expectation to succeed surround the Michigan Men’s Basketball team heading into the 2012-2013 season.
Michigan enters the season ranked fifth in the Associated Press Top 25, their highest preseason ranking since the Fab Five era in 1993-1994.
Led by sophomore point guard Trey Burke, Michigan is looking to make some noise in the loaded Big Ten Conference. The competition to win the Big Ten is fierce, with five teams from the conference ranking in the AP Top 25, including Indiana at number one.
The spotlight is all on Burke this season, who returned to Michigan after considering leaving the school last spring for the NBA Draft. He averaged 14.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game last season, earning Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors. Burke was named to the AP preseason All-American first team last week.
Burke is looking to become the first Wolverine in over 20 years to make the AP All-American team. The last player to do so was Jalen Rose, who made the AP All-American second team in 1993-1994.
Shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. returns for his junior season. He averaged 14.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game last season. The duo of Hardaway and Burke in the back court will cause a problem for opposing teams this season.
The Wolverines welcome five freshman to the team in 2012. Forward Glenn Robinson III highlights the incoming freshman squad, ranking 18 on ESPN’s top 100 recruits for the class of 2012. Forward Mitch McGary and guard Nik Stauskas also made the list, ranking 27 and 76 respectively.
The Wolverines look to make their third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. Last season, they earned the fourth seed after a 24-10 regular season record, but were knocked out by the Ohio Bobcats in the first round.
They open their season against Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in the NIT Tournament on Monday, November 12 at 9:00pm at Crisler Arena.