Michigan, out of all of the teams in the Big Ten, may have had the least detrimental offseason in terms of lost players to transfers, graduation, and injury. The Wolverines had an exceptionally young roster last season which featured 7 freshmen, 5 sophomores, 2 juniors, and just 1 senior. That senior, Max Bielfeldt, transferred to Indiana for his final year of eligibility where he can expect to finish his career strongly with the Hoosiers and, of course, be booed upon entering the Crisler Center to face his alma mater.
In Bielfeldt, the Wolverines lose size, experience, and rebounding. The 6'7" 245 lb Wolverine served a lot more to his team than what his numbers represent. While only playing 14.5 minutes per game last season, Bielfeldt averaged 5.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per contest all while shooting the ball at an efficient 48.1% from the floor.
Michigan's last season was undoubtedly a rough one. After bad losses in the early going, countless injuries, and a failure to reach the NIT, things can really only go up for Michigan next season. That being said, Michigan will lose a lot of experience with Bielfeldt as he moves across the Big Ten to Indiana. Max Bielfeldt provided the Wolverines with some quality minutes off the bench where he could frequently be relied upon for some big buckets. His ability to secure rebounds was huge for a Michigan frontcourt that lacked experience last season, and his leadership and experience will certainly be missed by the program.
Bielfeldt's impact should nevertheless serve as a huge boost to Michigan next season. Rising sophomore Ricky Doyle played alongside Bielfeldt last season and will look to fill his role and take away loads of experience from his freshman campaign. Doyle will highlight an improving frontcourt that should get some help from underclassmen Mark Donnal and D.J. Wilson next season. Doyle has the skill set to develop into a star, and within the next couple of seasons, he could be one of the most elite big men in the country.
While Max Bielfeldt's contribution will be missed, there is certainly a lot more positive than negative for the Wolverines heading into the start of next season. Caris Levert and Derrick Walton Jr. return from injuries, and rising sophomores Aubrey Dawkins and Kameron Chatman will be back in action. And you can't forget about one of the most passionate players in the entire conference. Yes, Spike Albrecht will be back.
If anything, look for Michigan to have some extra motivation upon facing Indiana in Big Ten play. Just as Wisconsin loves to boo Iowa's Jarrod Uthoff every time he returns to play against his alma mater, Bielfeldt could be subject to a hostile crowd of Wolverine fans this coming winter.