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Basketball NCAAM

Michigan’s Sweet 16 Exit and Look-ahead to the 2019-2020 Season

Having said that, it's been a great year for Michigan basketball. They started out the season 17-0 that included wins at Villanova, vs. North Carolina

Michigan got manhandled yesterday by Texas Tech in the Sweet 16 and couldn’t hit to shot which led to their elimination. We knew going into this game that defense was going to be king, you had to take advantage of open shots, hit some hard shorts, play sound non-turnover offense, and have a guy take over the game for them

Texas Tech did all of those things offensively, Michigan did not. In what might have been the most boring Sweet 16 game of all time, Texas Tech came out on top.

Michigan was abysmal on offense, they shot just 32.7% from the field, 5.3% from 3-point land, and 64.7% from the free throw line. Now give Texas Tech’s defense a lot of credit here but those low numbers weren’t just from good defense. Michigan had a number of wide open shots, especially 3’s that they just couldn’t it. If Michigan even makes 4 or 5 threes during the game, it’s much close down the stretch. For comparisons sake, Texas Tech shot 6-19. Michigan lost by 19. Texas Tech also shot 9/10 at the line. Those are the differences in this game. Michgian’s defense played well enough but just like this whole year, the offense failed them when they needed it most.

Having said that, it’s been a great year for Michigan basketball. They started out the season 17-0 that included wins at Villanova, vs. North Carolina, and vs Purdue before beginning conference play. It was here in conference play where their offense failed them losing five games including Michigan St. three times, at Iowa, at Penn State, and at Wisconsin. Even so, they still received a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament and won 30 games in back to back seasons. They still have one of the best coaches in college basketball with John Beilein and a bunch of talent coming back. Things will be okay.

To look ahead to the 2019-2020 season Michigan will play in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas that will feature teams like Alabama, Gonzaga, Iowa State, Oregon, and North Carolina. They’ll obviously have the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and a great Big Ten schedule. More importantly, they have a lot of talent coming back.

First and foremost, Charles Matthews was a senior this year and will be going to the NBA. After that, Jordan Poole (SO.) and Ignas Barzdeikis (FR) could go pro also. I 100% think Poole will be back, he has a lot of work to do before he’ll be a 1st round pick. Iggy is interesting because he could be a late 1st round pick but it’ll depend on the evualtion he gets form the NBA. My guess, he’s back for one more year to refine his game.

So that leaves four of the starting five to come back based on my predictions.

  • PG Zavier Simpson (JR)
  • SG Jordan Poole (SO)
  • SF Ignas Brazdeikis (FR)
  • C Jon Teske (JR)

The starting position up for grabs will the that PF position. That could be filled by Isaiah Liver (SO), Brandon Johns Jr. (FR), or an incoming freshman.

The interesting thing about this Michigan team is in the past Beilein has had Freshman come into their own during tournament time to help with scoring and the bench. This year, that really didn’t happen. Colin Castleton (6-11, F), David DeJulius (6-0, G), and Brandon Johns (6-8, F) were all 4-Star recruits that made no impact on this team in the tournament. Iggy was the only Freshman to make any impact from the get-go. Think about their past tournament runs, obviously in 2013 they had Robinson, Stauskus, Levert, McGary, and Albrecht. The 2014 Elite 8 run they had Walton and Irving contribute, in 2016 on their Sweet 16 run Xavier Simpson played well, and last year we obviously had Jordan Poole and Isaiah Livers played quality minutes.

Michigan is then bringing in two more 4-star recruits next year in 6-8 F Jalen Wilson, and 6-7 F Cole Bajema.

What is for sure, Michigan will have a ton of talent next year and their bench should be DEEP. If those freshman can contribute, watch out. Michigan should be a top 10 team again next year, fighting for a Big Ten title, and a top 3 seed in the tournament again. This team isn’t going anywhere.

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