Big 10 Basketball Preview: Michigan Wolverines
We venture North from Bloomington up to Ann Arbor to preview the Michigan Wolverines:
2019-2020 overall record: 19-12
2019-2020 Big 10 record: 10-10
2019-2020 Big 10 Ranking: 9th
2019-2020 Season Recap
Michigan was a bit of a wild card coming into the year after losing long time coach John Beilein. Then they gained a lot of national attention rolling through the Battle for Atlantis and shooting up as high as #4 in the country. The Wolverines came back down to Earth the last 2 months of the season before finishing the season just outside the top 25. Similar to what I wrote about IU in my previous article, Michigan had a phenomenal non-conference performance followed up by a mediocre 500 record in conference play. They would have ended up easily in the NCAA tournament probably falling somewhere around a 6 seed.
I said that Michigan was a pretty big wild card going into last season and I think the same will hold true again this year. I think unlike Indiana, who I picked to finish higher than Michigan, the Wolverines have a higher floor and a higher ceiling. Juwan Howard overall, I thought, did a pretty good job replacing John Beilein in his first year at the helm, but the Wolverines were just a little too inconsistent, partially that was due to losing arguably their best player last year, Isaiah Livers, to injury for a good chunk of time. With the significant departures of Xavier Simpson and Jon Teske, this year the two most important players will be Isaiah Livers and Franz Wagner. Livers returns as the leading scorer with 12.4 PPG. Wagner comes back after averaging 11.6 PPG and 5.6 RPG as a freshman. Probably the biggest new addition to the team is SG Chaundee Brown. Brown arrives as a transfer from Wake Forest after averaging 10.4 PPG and 4.7 RPG for the Demon Deacons. Overall, I do think that the Wolverines will finish middle of the pack in the conference with potential to be a 2nd weekend team in the NCAA tournament.
2020-2021 Projected Starting Lineup:
G: Eli Brooks
G: Chaundee Brown
F: Isaiah Livers
F: Franz Wanger
C: Austin Davis
2020/2021 Projected Big 10 Ranking: 9th
2020/2021 Projected Postseason Placement – 8 seed