Freshmen Derrick Walton, left, and Zak Irvin are among the players expected to help fill the void left by Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway. (Steve Perez / Detroit News)
Rosemont, Ill. — Michigan is picked to finish second behind rival Michigan State in the preseason Big Ten media poll, but the Wolverines still have a lot of changes to address a season after finishing as the national runner-up.
U-M was 31-8 last season and is ranked No. 9 in the preseason coaches’ poll but has to replace its top two scorers — national player of the year Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. — who left early to pursue pro careers.
“Now you lose two guys to the first round of the NBA. There's obviously some replacement to do,” Beilein said Thursday at Big Ten media day. “At the same time, there’s 25 or 30 shots out there. There’s another 80 minutes out there. I think our guys are embracing the opportunities that they have in front of them.”
The Wolverines didn’t show many signs of concern in their exhibition opener, a 117-44 win over Concordia on Tuesday. Glenn Robinson III had 33 points in 25 minutes and Nik Stauskas 23 points. Caris LeVert, who averaged 2.3 points last season, had 16 points and 10 assists.
Big man Mitch McGary, a preseason All-American, has been limited in practice because of a lower-back injury; a timetable for his return is unknown.
“It's a long season and we still have a long ways to go, even to get ready for our first games, let alone our conference season. But I do like our team,” Beilein said. “I like the way we've approached the preseason, but we have a lot of things to replace.”
McGary and Robinson were selected for the preseason All-Big Ten team, along with Michigan State’s Gary Harris and Adreian Payne, Ohio State’s Aaron Craft and Penn State’s Tim Frazier.