The Wolverines won a Big Ten title and made the Elite Eight in Juwan Howard’s second season.
We are just over a week removed from Michigan’s loss to UCLA in the Elite Eight, which will go down as one of the toughest in recent memory. Despite the pain of being close to a Final Four and missing out, this was a massively memorable year for the Wolverines.
Michigan was expected by many to live somewhere in the second tier of teams in the Big Ten Conference this year and instead emerged as its regular season champion and most consistent squad.
Howard’s fingerprints were all over the program’s success this year with a battle-tested and cohesive culture in place, as well as hitting home runs in player acquisition. True freshman center Hunter Dickinson was an All-American and both Mike Smith and Chaundee Brown were major positives as additions from the transfer portal. Eli Brooks continued his trajectory as one of the best all-around guards in the league and a defensive stopper, while Franz Wagner showed flashes throughout the year of why he is currently considered an NBA lottery pick.
The Wolverines were one of the best teams in college basketball over the last two seasons when Isaiah Livers was in the lineup, so that he ended the last two years of his career without playing in an NCAA Tournament game is massively disappointing. It cosmically was not meant to be for whatever reason.
Michigan was dealt a massive blow when their senior leader was out of the lineup, but continued to fight and made a run to the Elite Eight. Losing to UCLA still registers as a massive letdown, especially given they could not score more than 49 points in the game. However, the total picture still resonates as a successful year in which Michigan will hang a Big Ten title banner.
There is plenty to be excited about moving forward with the No. 1 recruiting class in the country coming in as well as the potential for a handful of seniors to return for an extra season. No matter how the roster shakes out, Howard and the Wolverines will no longer be taking anyone by surprise.
How do you feel about the season now that time has passed to process the loss? Vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments.