Michigan basketball team to leave early for Utah due to altitude
Michigan basketball coach John Beilein is making an exception this week. Usually when his team goes on the road, it doesn't practice in an opponent’s gym.
The players will shoot but never get a full workout in. But going two time zones west and up to 4,327 feet - the average elevation of Utah’s capital, Salt Lake City - necessitated a change in plan for Michigan as it prepares for its game against Utah on Wednesday (9 p.m., WTKA-AM, 1050, WWWW-FM, 102.9).
So Michigan will leave about noon Tuesday and then get a workout in Salt Lake that night.
Beilein isn’t sure how much the altitude will effect on his team, but he hasn’t coached much in that height.
“The only time we played in it was in Albuquerque and it didn’t, I asked Patrick (Beilein, John’s son and a former West Virginia player) today if it affected him that much when we were in Albuquerque, and he said it didn’t,” John Beilein said. “But apparently it does both some young men and women more than others. So we’re just doing one practice there at a pretty high speed so if there is an effect, it isn’t a shock to them.”
Beilein isn’t worried as much about the time change because Michigan is used to playing 9 p.m. games, which will be when the game tips off at 7 p.m. mountain time, during the Big Ten season.
That said, the Wolverines players will enjoy a rare chance to sleep in on a weekday. The coaches, Beilein said, will not.
Manny Harris limited again The aftereffects of Michigan’s trip to Florida continues to wear on junior guard Manny Harris.
Beilein said he’s limiting what Harris does during practice to rest his hamstrings, which have bothered him since the preseason.
“He’s had some trouble going by people a couple times where he had leverage and he didn’t do it,” Beilein said. “He’s definitely not at 100 percent. The three games in Orlando certainly affected it in such a short period of time.”
Harris is averaging 21.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.4 turnovers this year. He’s also shooting 45.8 percent from the field. The points, rebounds and assists numbers are all team highs.
Ben Cronin struggling Redshirt freshman center Ben Cronin may have played a couple of minutes last week against Boston College, but he is nowhere near ready to play major minutes, Beilein said.
Cronin is struggling from lingering issues after missing last season due to a hip injury. Beilein said he’s seen improvements, but not enough for him to play a lot.
“Definitely better than it was,” Beilein said. “He’s able to run at a full gait. It’s just movement from side to side.”
Cronin looked hampered against Boston College, appearing to barely be able to jump off the ground and running with a noticeable limp. The Syracuse, N.Y., native had a medical redshirt last year and could end up being a candidate for a second medical redshirt this year, which means he’d have a sixth year of eligibility.
That, though, would need to be applied for by Cronin and Michigan and approved by the NCAA. In order to receive a medical redshirt, a player must play in less than 30 percent of a team’s games.
Cronin has played in three games for Michigan this year.
“To get a sixth-year medical, he’s already had one medical so the sixth-year medical is a different dog, so to speak. I don’t know where that one goes but when we get here at the semester break, we have to keep that in mind if that is an option,” Beilein said. “But it’s, and we feel bad for him because he’s worked very hard in rehab but it hasn’t been to the point that we had hoped at this point as far as getting this straightened out.”
This and that Freshman Jordan Morgan is “doing OK” according to Beilein when it comes to his individual development and getting into shape. Beilein, though, said he’ll revisit the redshirt discussion with both Morgan and Blake McLimans after the semester is over. Sophomore guard Stu Douglass worked with Beilein on shooting Tuesday morning. Douglass has been in a season-long slump from three-point range, making 22.6 percent of his shots this year compared to 33.5 percent last year.