ESPN basketball analyst Tim McCormick knows a thing or two about the game of basketball.
He also knows about the tremendous run his alma mater, the University of Michigan, had during the Big Ten Tournament. Appearing on WTKA 1050's The Michigan Insider Monday morning, McCormick previewed the Wolverines' upcoming contest with Oklahoma State on Friday.
Sufficed to say, he doesn't think too highly about U-M's chances. Especially with the amount of energy used to make the run they did during the conference tournament. With a fast-paced team that will play with high energy, the conditioning of the Wolverines will once again be tested. Couple that with a rising head coach that has seen plenty of success during his short tenure as a head coach in division one, McCormick believes the Wolverines could have a bit of trouble in Indianapolis.
"I personally don't like the match-up for two reasons," McCormick said. "Number one, I think that Oklahoma State plays with such high energy. Brad Underwood (Oklahoma State's head coach) has had one of the greatest starts of any coach in college basketball to his coaching career. He was at Stephen F. Austin, he left there with 89 victories which is tied with Brad Stevens for the best start to a coaching career. They play really fast, Phil Forte, Jeffrey Carrol and Juwan Evans are all-league guards in the Big 12. Juwan Evans is the best pick-and-roll player in the Big 12, I'm anxious to see the match up with he and Derrick Walton. The other thing I'm concerned about, and this is uncharted water, I just don't know how in the world Michigan can reenergize their legs and their minds to get ready for that first game. The fact that
"The other thing I'm concerned about, and this is uncharted water, I just don't know how in the world Michigan can reenergize their legs and their minds to get ready for that first game. The fact that teu put in so much effort, you could see it down the stretch, they didn't have a lot left against Wisconsin. They gutted it out, the fact that they made 10 three with tired legs is really impressive to me. This is where you're going to be incredible leadership from your older players because it would surprise me that all of the sudden against Oklahoma State, to be down 10-2 before you even know what happened because they've been going so hard. When you play four games in four days with that much at stake. National TV games, hyped crowds, really good opponents, it's going to be a massive undertaking."
If the Wolverines were to survive and advance, however, McCormick predicted a much rosier outcome if Louisville comes out victorious in round one. McCormick believes that the match up between the Wolverines and the Cardinals is much better for U-M's sake, and that's because Derrick Walton Jr. has been so valuable to his team.
On top of breaking down what Louisville brings to the table, McCormick also heaped plenty of praise for the Wolverines' point guard.
"I really like Louisville's guards Donovan Mitchell, all-league, he's an NBA player I think definitely a first round draft pick," McCormick said. "Quinton Snyder has been around for a long time, another pick-and-roll guard. The challenge is when you're looking at Louisville's front lines, they're so erratic. They're capable guys like Deng Adel and Mangok Mathiang, they can put up huge games and they can also disappear. They're also a good pick-and-roll team and Michigan has shown they can keep their man in front of them now, I like that match up. Rick Pitino relies so heavily on pressing and trapping, I just don't think right now you can create any defensive scenario where Derrick Walton hasn't seen. He's so mature and I know Mason McIntosh and Melo Trimble are all really good guys, I would not take any point guard in the Big Ten over Derrick Walton right now."
For more on McCormick's interview with The Michigan Insider, listen below: