Football has training camp. Michigan basketball has something a lot more condensed: Camp Wolverine.
While it sounds like a trip to a day camp or summer program, it's anything but. Instead, it is the first six days of practice for Michigan, which is expected to contend for one of the top spots in the Big Ten this season.
Camp Wolverine is what Michigan coach John Beilein deemed the beginning of the Wolverines' basketball season: Eight combined practice hours Friday and Saturday along with all 20 hours during his team's first full week of practice.
"The attitude has been good," Beilein said. "We're injury free at this point and practicing hard."
One thing that has been absent from Michigan the past few years -- save for the 2009-10 season -- has been a Midnight Madness celebration at the school, something more and more commonplace throughout college basketball.
At Michigan, Beilein would rather take those first four hours of practice for the season and use it to work hard. And the fifth-year Wolverines coach didn't watch any of the coverage of other schools on television -- "not a bit of it," he said.
He didn't rule out starting Camp Wolverine sessions in future seasons with a Midnight Madness event.
"There's a chance," Beilein said. "There's got to be, all I know is we got four hours of work in that day that we needed and we could not have done that if we had a midnight madness. But I'm always up for what I think is best for the long range of the program."
So far, Beilein hasn't been able to narrow down much of anything yet, instead choosing to run different groups of players together to figure out who might play well together as Michigan tries to acclimate a new point guard -- senior Stu Douglass or freshmen Trey Burke or Carlton Brundidge -- into the offense.
"There are 12 guys right now that have been alternating in the top 10 right now," Beilein said. "So we're more at a top 10 than a top five."
Three players expected to be in the starting lineup no matter what the combination are senior guard Zack Novak, redshirt sophomore forward Jordan Morgan and sophomore guard Tim Hardaway Jr. Those three started all 35 games last season.
MICHIGAN HAS A KING
Homecoming at Michigan is scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 27 against Purdue and one of the nominees for the school's SAAC (Student Athletic Advisory Committee) was former basketball player Ben Cronin.
Cronin's career ended due to myriad injuries during the 2009-10 season, but he has stayed around the program as a student volunteer. According Douglass, Cronin will leave Michigan at the end of his career a king.
A Homecoming King.
"Cronin won that," Douglass said. He was really pushing hard for that. He wore his crown (Tuesday). It was really funny."
Michigan is a team full of cut-ups, but Douglass said no one try to swipe the crown off of the head of Cronin, who is 7-feet tall.
"No," Douglass said. "He would have hit me in the face if I tried to grab that thing."
THIS AND THAT
Beilein said he hasn't thought about redshirting any players yet -- but isn't opposed to it if he thinks it'll help the player. Usually, Beilein has those conversations with players closer to the first game of the season. ... Beilein feels his team has bonded well entering camp. ... Tickets for the Big Ten tournament from March 8-11 in Indianapolis go on sale Saturday.