Conference: Big Ten
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Head coach: Juwan Howard, 1st season
2018-19 record: 30-7 overall (15-5 in Big Ten)
Last time in NCAA Tournament: 2018, lost to Texas Tech in Sweet 16
Top three returning scorers:
- Jon Teske, senior, center, 9.5 ppg
- Zavier Simpson, senior, guard, 8.8 ppg
- Isaiah Livers, junior, forward, 7.9 ppg
- Ignas Brazdeikis (14.8 ppg)
- Jordan Poole (12.8 ppg)
Exciting newcomer: Franz Wagner, the younger brother of Moe Wagner, steps onto campus as a highly rated prospect out of Berlin, Germany. Franz however is not as much of a big man as Moe was, with his strength more suited to a guard/forward hybrid. Like Moe, Franz played professionally in Germany before enrolling at Michigan and should fill a big hole for the Wolverines this winter.
Date of game: Thursday, February 27th, 6 p.m. on ESPN/ESPN2
Location: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Preview: Juwan Howard was a star as part of the Fab Five, and now returns to Michigan to take the reigns of the program after Jon Beilein darted for the NBA to become the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Howard certainly has the name to pull players in recruiting, but it will be interesting to see how the program alters after having such a consistent model of success that saw 30 win seasons and conference titles under Beilein.
“What it takes to build a culture - that was the biggest thing I learned… Our culture is built on family.”@umichbball’s @JuwanHoward sits down with @TheAndyKatz & describes what he learned in his time with the @MiamiHEAT! 〽️ pic.twitter.com/w4wnlpMBpv— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) October 28, 2019
In addition to Beilein’s departure, the Wolverines lost a lot of talent on the court from last years roster. Charles Matthews and Jordan Poole both were key pieces in a 30 win team. Now the leading scorer returning is center Jon Teske who will be relied on heavily in the front court. Zavier Simpson is probably the Wolverines best overall player and leader of this team. He should make a jump to being the leading scorer and main source of offense in 2019.
They’ll need a big boost in production from both of the previously mentioned players, as well as from guys off the bench. Last year Michigan ranked tenth in scoring offense but first in scoring defense in the Big Ten. Games were often won on the defensive end, but if the Wolverines want to go dancing again this year things will have to improve for them offensively.
Prediction: Badgers grind out an ugly win 56-50