The Michigan men’s basketball team is far from being fully healthy. Junior forward Zak Irvin missed the Wolverines’ first two games of the year — an exhibition against Le Moyne and Friday’s season opener vs. Northern Michigan — and senior guard Spike Albrecht was limited in both contests as he continues to recover from an offseason hip surgery.
But the weary Wolverines won’t be getting much time for rest and recovery this week. After the opening-night victory Friday, Michigan got just two days of rest before its game against Elon on Monday night at Crisler Center.
It’s a quick turnaround for a team that has yet to find a consistent rotation, much less a rhythm. Nonetheless, the Wolverines can use the game to their advantage. The contest should give Michigan coach John Beilein a final opportunity to continue tinkering with his team’s lineups.
“The lesson we learned last year (is that) you can’t look past anything,” Beilein said. “You’ve got to get ready for the next game. (Northern Michigan and Elon) are two teams that I said, you don’t play well, you can lose to any team that you play on the schedule if you do not come with the right attitude.”
In Michigan’s first two games, Beilein started junior forward Mark Donnal and experimented with a variety of looks, moving forwards Kameron Chatman and D.J. Wilson from position to position and playing a revolving door in the backcourt. As competition gets stiffer, Beilein will likely be forced to shorten his rotation and become more definitive in his allocation of minutes at each of the post positions.
The Wolverines’ schedule becomes far less forgiving Friday as Xavier visits Ann Arbor, followed by a stretch of three games in three days at the Battle 4 Atlantis in Nassau, Bahamas. Michigan opens that tournament against No. 20 Connecticut, will face either Charlotte or Syracuse in the second round and will finish the tournament against Washington, Texas, Texas A&M or No. 9 Gonzaga.