Michigan made it all the way to their second National Championship game in 5 years last season. Again, it ended in heartbreak as they got obliterated by the closest thing to the Monstars, Villanova. Making the championship game is always a feat and I don’t want to take anything away from the Wolverines, but I don’t feel bad for any Michigan fans. They had easiest road to the finals. The highest seed they played until Villanova was Houston with a 6. Even in the Final Four they got Loyola Chicago. Again, I don’t want to take anything away from Michigan. At least they capitalized on their easy road *cough Kentucky*. This year won’t be as easy, but they will still be a force to be reckoned with. Let’s take a look at last year’s runner up, Michigan Wolverines.
Head Coach: John Beilein
Key Returners: Charles Matthews, Zavier Simpson, Jordon Poole, Jon Teske
Key Additions: Ignas Brazdeikas, Brandon Johns, David DeJulius
Key Losses: Moritz Wagner, Muhammed Abdul-Rahkman
Key Games: @Villanova, North Carolina, Purdue, Michigan State, @Michigan State
Just like the Gonzaga team that had Kyle Wiltjer, this Michigan team will hold a special place in my heart this season thanks to Charles Matthews. I always hate to see great players leave Kentucky, but it is hard to get playing time with 9 other Top 50 recruits, so I understand. Last year, this team was so much fun to watch. Abdul-Rahkman was electric and that Kool-aid lipped German dude had the silkiest spin move in the NCAA. Even without them, I still think they will be good. Maybe not return to the championship good, but you never know how lucky you’ll get in the tourney. This team will get a ton of attention this year. One because they were runner ups last year. And two because Ignas Brazdeikas and David DeJulius are some fun ass names to say. Every announcer is a sucker for a cool name. Why do you think Hamidou Diallo got some much attention? It wasn’t because of his basketball ability. This will be a good chance to get back on their feet. A National Championship loss can be debilitating and cause a season hangover, but luckily their schedule isn’t too bad. Michigan also has the experience needed to make another tournament run.
Prediction: 24-6. For most Big 10 teams, they play a lot of garbage in a row which can cause them to get complacent. When this happens, it leaves them vulnerable to get beat by some easy teams. Either way, they will still get second place in the Big 10 Regular Season and Tournament to Michigan State. As for the NCAA Tournament, they will make some noise and make it back to the second weekend before getting bounced in the Sweet 16.