Michigan sophomore point guard Trey Burke will sit one game for a violation of team rules, head coach John Beilein announced, and it will be tomorrow night's exhibition contest with Northern Michigan.
"That's really all I prefer to say about it," Beilein said. "Trey's a good kid, and obviously we've talked about he's going to sit out this game and learn a very valuable experience.
"It gives a great opportunity now for some of our guys. There's probably 30 minutes available for others to play. We look forward to seeing those guys play out there. Our practices have been spirited and we're making progress, but we're probably still not sure what way we're going to play quite yet, so we're still experimenting like crazy.
Freshman Spike Albrecht will start tomorrow in Burke's place.
"He's been in a backup role all year, so he's been running his team or both teams all year long," Beilein said. "He has been very good. He's very clever. Hopefully what he's been doing in practice we're going to see on the floor.
"He's very clever with great vision, makes some plays that make us smile. I'm sure he's going to make a lot of mistakes along the way. When you're the quarterback, the point guard, you may be in a position where you make a lot of mistakes, but he grows from them."
Tim Hardaway Jr., Jordan Morgan and Glenn Robinson III will start, with the fifth starter still to be determined. Redshirt sophomore Jon Horford won't play due to a knee injury, but he's progressing. Freshman Mitch McGary is a candidate to start Thursday.
"He's really worked hard," Beilein said. "He came in here and with good food and weightlifting, everything like that, he got real big. That's not real good for your foot. I'm not talking about fat, but he's worked really hard at his diet. He's going to play his best at 255, 260. He's a little over that right now.
"Jon feels good right now. It's been one week now, but he's making really good progress. He was really playing well, rebounding well, doing so many good things. He's worked so hard, even last year when he was sitting out.
"I want him to get in there. It's a personal thing with me because I know when someone has worked so hard, I want to give him the opportunity."
Albrecht has taken more charges than anyone in practice.
"He's willing to do a lot of things. It must be in the water in that area of northern Indiana because he, Glenn and Mitch all do. It says a lot about their whole upbringing.
"What we have right now is a complete team willing to do that. It's not just Michigan, but it's rare that you get teams that everyone will do that."
The personalities have meshed well, Beilein said.
"It's interesting - every team is different. Some are highly emotional, some are very calm," he said. "I think they play off each other very well. Maybe the guys that are calm to amp it up a little more, give us a little more enthusiasm, those who give so much enthusiasm just need to be more on an even keel.
"Tim and Mitch are both very emotional out there. Trey Burke has given us a lot of emotion in practice in a very positive way. He didn't do as much last year, but he's been showing great leadership on the court."
Michigan has been primarily a man team in practice.
"This league is a man league. We'll wait and see how much we play, if we play any other zones we've played in the past," Beilein said. "Like most teams right now, we're practicing a lot of man to man defense."
Freshman Caris LeVert has been a pleasant surprise, Beilein confirmed.
"He just is getting stronger by the moment, has a nose for the ball, is very bright," Beilein said. "I'm glad they allow freshmen to play in the exhibition game. With the minutes available, he's going to play tomorrow. Not two or three; I hope to give him 10 or 20."
Northern Michigan has good players, Beilein said, who are capable.
"I don't know how the game will go," he said. "We're going to have five freshmen out there at different times. If they play beyond their years, that would be something special. We know it's rare.
"We have some guys targeted for 30 minutes. Whatever it takes to win the game. We barely snuck by Wayne State last year and ended up winning the Big Ten. We'll go in it to win it but we'll also try to get as many minutes for people to evaluate. We understand that if we do not win, we know we have a lot more work to do than we think to do at this point.
Beilein isn't sure yet who will redshirt, if anyone.
"We have necessities in a lot of areas that it would be tough to redshirt some, but if we feel some won't get significant playing time and he'd be a great one to have in a fifth year, we make sure they have all the information they have to make that decision," he said.
Robinson still needs to be more aggressive, Beilein said.
"He can really shoot and play," he said. "His assist to turnover ratio in practices has been really good for a freshman. Really good. That's a great sign, because a lot of times a guy with that athleticism, he's trying to jump over everybody. He stopped on a dime and made some really good passes when a charge was looming."
He's among those whose head is spinning learning two positions, but Beilein doesn't plan to slow down, noting they don't want to be teaching it in January and February.