Coming into the 2019-20 college basketball season Michigan made it to Sweet 16 last season and the season prior making to the national championship. Michigan lost their head coach John Beilein to the Cleveland Cavaliers. They also lost key players to their tournament run Jordan Poole and Ignas Brazdeikis.
It will be interesting to see how this season’s team does with new head coach Juwan Howard and with Zavier Simpson, Isaiah Livers, and Jon Teske. With all the losses making the NCAA tournament and finishing in the middle of the Big Ten is a reasonable expectation
Michigan Basketball Preview
Recapping the 2018-19 season
Michigan had an unexpectedly great season after making the National Championship the previous season. They got off to a phenomenal start to the season starting out 17-0 before losing at Wisconsin 64-54. They had two huge non-conference wins beating Villanova 73-46 on the road a revenge game after losing to Villanova in the National Championship. The other win was at home vs UNC 84-67. Brazdeikis was the best player in the game scoring 24 points and Charles Matthews was a huge contributor with 21 points.
Michigan finished 15-5 in the Big Ten and second in the Big Ten. They made it to the Big Ten tournament final but lost to Michigan State.
Some notable wins in Big Ten play was a 76-57 win over Purdue. They did a great job containing Purdue superstar guard Carsen Edwards making him shoot 7-21 from the field.
They also got impressive wins over Maryland and Wisconsin.
The Wolverines would receive a two-seed in the NCAA Tournament defeating Montana and Florida before losing to Texas Tech.
Michigan lost its two best players to the NBA draft in Ignas Brazdeikis who scored 14.8 points and added 5.3 rebounds while Jordan Poole averaged 12.8 points. A very successful season considering they lost to the national title runner up and they were not expected to perform this well.
Michigan is returning key players Zavier Simpson, Isaiah Livers, and Jon Teske. Zavier Simpson is arguably the best defensive point guard in college basketball. Simpson usually locks down his matchup. He averaged 8.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game last season. He is a pass-first point guard. If he can develop a shot Michigan can become very dangerous.
Expect forward Isaiah Livers to have a breakout year after averaging 7.9 points and 3.9 rebounds last season. He had to come off the bench because Brazdeikis was the Wolverines’ best player and go-to option. He shot 42.6 percent from beyond the arc last season and 48.7 percent overall.
Senior center Jon Teske will be vital to this team’s success. He averaged 9.5 points and grabbed 7.0 rebounds per game last season. He can match up with other bigs because of his size and it is important that he doesn’t get in foul trouble.
Franz Wagner, who is Moritz Wagner’s brother, is Michigan’s best recruit this season. Unfortunately, he is expected to miss somewhere between four-to-six weeks with a fractured wrist so they will miss him for the majority of their non-conference schedule. 6’7” power forward Wagner is a four-star recruit from Germany. 6’8” shooting forward Cole Bajema is also a four-star recruit. He played for Lynden Christain.
After losing their three best players, the Wolverines to finish fifth in the Big Ten because outside of Simpson, Teske, and Livers, the returning players are either unproven or did not contribute significantly last season. Backup point guard Eli Brooks needs to improve if Simpson has to go to the bench. Last season he could not facilitate the offense. They should be good enough to make the NCAA tournament because the Big Ten has so much depth and is arguably the best conference in college basketball.
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