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Wednesday, March 20, 2013
WolverineNation Mailbag

By Michael Rothstein

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The NCAA tournament is here, but what does that mean for Michigan when the Wolverines start playing Thursday?

We discuss that and more in this week’s WolverineNation mailbag, filled with your questions. Send those queries for next week to Chantel at jenningsespn@gmail.com or @chanteljennings on Twitter.

Now, to this week’s questions.

KobeFan45 from The Den asks: Has John Beilein mentioned the possibility of tweaking the rotation to include playing a bigger front line? Or maybe giving Tim Hardaway a chance to create his own shot more?

Kobe, Beilein has hinted at looking at different lineups, but I don’t think you’ll see it at this point in the season and the reason is two-fold. One, Jordan Morgan is not playing at his best right now, so to pair him and another big as starters for either Glenn Robinson III or Nik Stauskas seems unlikely at best. Two, it wouldn’t pay for Michigan to do it against its second-round NCAA opponent, South Dakota State, because of the way the Jackrabbits play. Going to two bigs would be problematic on the defensive end for the Wolverines against SDSU. I just don’t think you’d see it if you haven’t already.

John from Princeton, N.J. asks: Which Big Ten team has a better chance at the final four: Illinois or Minnesota?

Derrick Green
Derrick Green won't arrive until the fall, but he should have a shot to show if he can play right away.
Tough question, John, because I don’t think either one has much of a shot. Neither team has looked especially strong in the latter half of the year and my metric with it is this: Can that team, playing like opponents or worse -- forget about elite -- win four straight games? I don’t think either one can and that is without the potential of having to play a team like Georgetown, Florida or Kansas (Minnesota) or a team like Indiana or Miami (Illinois). If you forced me to pick one, I’d say Illinois because Brandon Paul has guard star power, but I wouldn’t feel good about it.

KobeFan45 from The Den asks: Also, Is Drake Johnson looking like the current favorite for the RB spot with Fitzgerald Toussaint still on the shelf and the'13 three not yet on campus?

I guess, but being the top guy out of spring won’t mean all that much other than you’re in the conversation in the fall. Overall, this won’t be decided until the fall or maybe even into the season, depending on the progression of Derrick Green and Toussaint from injury. Johnson is an intriguing prospect because of his combination of speed and athleticism first displayed in track. I’m not completely counting out Thomas Rawls, either, as a potential option although he really needs to make an impression this spring to have a good shot in the fall. If Michigan believes Johnson is the best option out of the spring, that is either very good (Michigan has another tailback option) or very bad (he’s the best of a not-so-good bunch).