Monday, April 22, 2013

Who should have the better 2013-14 season, Michigan or Michigan State?

It appears as if most of the dust has settled when it comes to which Michigan and Michigan State players are entering the NBA Draft.
Though Adreian Payne has yet to make his decision official, most signs point to Payne returning to the Spartans for his senior season.
If that is indeed the case, we can now start to take a look at how the Spartans and Wolverines are shaping up for the 2013-14 season.
The Spartans are largely the same team coming back from this past season, with the exception of the loss of Derrick Nix. Despite the loss of Nix, you can probably expect some development from the likes of Matt Costello and Branden Dawson.
Costello showed some signs of being a capable player once he shook the freshman nerves. Dawson has always been a great athlete, but he struggled this year with his touch on offense. Part of that could have been from coming off the knee injury. With a healthy offseason to improve his shot and work on his touch around the basket, I think Dawson should become a much better player.
The Spartans should also get some improvement out of the likes of Gary Harris, Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine. It is unclear if Keith Appling has hit his peak, but he certainly has shown the ability to be one of the best players in the Big Ten at times.
When it comes to Michigan, the Wolverines have a strong foundation returning with the trio of freshmen starters coming back. Nik Stuaskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary will each need to step up in terms of offensive production with the loss of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr.
I was surprised that Hardaway Jr. decided to go pro, just because I think he would have benefited from a year of being “the guy” for Michigan.
Along with the starters, Michigan will have Spike Albrecht, Caris LeVert, Jon Horford and Jordan Morgan back to help contribute. I think Morgan struggled all year due to his injuries, so a healthy Morgan could have a much greater impact.
The Wolverines will have to rely more on their incoming freshmen class than MSU. Part of that is because the Spartans don’t have much of a class and the other part is that the Wolverines will need help at point guard from Derrick Walton. Zak Irvin could also make an immediate impact at small forward.
Of the two teams, I think the bigger question marks come from Michigan. Will the loss of Burke be too great to overcome? Not only did he handle the ball and do the most scoring, he also did a good job of getting open looks for his teammates. McGary’s strong tournament run was aided by Burke, so it will be interesting to see if McGary can still be an offensive force if he has to create his own shots.
Both teams seem to be set for a good 2013-14 season, but it is unclear just how successful they will be.
Who do you think is primed to have the better 2013-14 season if the teams are built the way they currently are?

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