Michigan Basketball: Biggest Keys for Wolverines Heading into March Madness

Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIFebruary 18, 2013

ANN ARBOR, MI - FEBRUARY 05: Head coach John Beilein calls a play from the bench while playing the Ohio State Buckeyes at Crisler Center on February 5, 2013 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan won the game 76-74 in overtime. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines currently sit third in the Big Ten standings after three losses in their last five games saw them drop behind Indiana and Michigan State.

Their strong start to the year—which didn't see them lose a game until January—has seemingly been quickly forgotten, with the Wolverines now in a fight not only for the top spot in the Big Ten Conference, but also for some strong form heading into the upcoming March Madness tournament.

Michigan, like every other team, has areas that it needs to improve on and things it needs to keep developing in order to become a better basketball team.

Read on to see some of the biggest keys for the Wolverines in 2013.


Keep the Offense Rolling

It's little surprise to many, but Michigan is at its best when its fast-paced offense can truly get going with some easy transition points.

Sophomore point guard Trey Burke is electrifying with the ball in his hands and when he has the option to either pick players out or head to the rim himself. He is not at his best, however, when he is forced to try and do everything and try to get the offense rolling through specifically designed plays.

The Wolverines are such a prolific team in transition, and if they can keep their offense rolling, they'll really carry good momentum into March Madness.

A fast-paced offense will keep them out of post-up situations also, which aren't at all helpful for a Michigan side that lacks size on either end of the court. It needs to feed quickly and decisively when in attack and then try to make some stops at the other end of the court.

Michigan will never win when it's in a battle for contested jump shots—its transition offense must get going if it wants to get victories in 2013.


Rebound Well as a Team

Again, its lack of size and effectiveness in its big men means that Michigan need to rebound well as a team if it wants to get stops on defense.

The Wolverines allowed too many second-chance points in the past month to their opponents—largely because their entire team didn't look to try and snag rebounds when available. In the loss to Michigan State, it was their guards that totaled the highest number of rebounds—something that could have been avoided if the Wolverines were more active on the defensive front.

Accept that their big men need help and work hard on the defensive glass. That, in turn, will allow Michigan to be more effective in transition again.


Finish the Season Strong at Home

Despite a woeful five games that has potentially cost the Wolverines the No. 1 spot, Michigan still technically has a chance to win back the top spot in the Big Ten with a strong run home into March.

The Wolverines play home games against the two teams above them—Indiana and Michigan State—and depending on other results falling their way, could well finish the season as the Big Ten's top team heading into March Madness—despite how unlikely that might have seemed when the Wolverines were embarrassed by Michigan State two games ago.

If they can at least win one of those games, the Wolverines will carry great momentum with them into March Madness in 2013—something that could well be the spark that this team needs to make a strong and successful run deep into the tournament.

Momentum is a tough thing to stop, and no team is able to guard against self-belief. A win at home to Indiana would surely give Michigan both of those things.


What changes do you think Michigan needs to make heading into March?

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