Saturday, January 18, 2020 - 12:55am

IOWA CITY — To Franz Wagner, the most pressing issue for the Michigan men’s basketball team is simple.

It isn’t hapless interior defense, nor is it a winless road record. You can cross the team’s lack of free throws off the list, too. Really, it doesn’t have anything to do with the physical demands of college basketball.

Leaning against the wall of a narrow corridor in Carver-Hawkeye Arena after the Wolverines’ third loss in four games, the freshman wing put it bluntly.

Friday, January 17, 2020 - 9:59pm

IOWA CITY — Zavier Simpson crossed midcourt and whipped a pass from the top of the key to the corner, as he’s done countless times before.

With the Michigan men’s basketball team trailing by six with 13 minutes to play at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the senior point guard found an open Eli Brooks on the other end of his missile.

The junior guard checked his feet before pulling up and draining the three, giving Simpson career assist No. 576. With it, he passed Rumeal Robinson (1988-90) for second-most in program history.

Monday, January 13, 2020 - 7:03pm
Sophomore forward Colin Castleton is averaging just two points per game in the last six games.

As a unit, Michigan’s frontcourt hasn’t developed on the defensive end. Opposing Big Ten post players are averaging a staggering 29.8 points on 55 percent shooting against the Wolverines.

Thursday, January 9, 2020 - 11:12pm
Senior guard Zavier Simpson took a career-high 18 shots against Purdue on Thursday.

Simpson took over the game in the second half, pouring in 18 second-half points on 7-of-11 shooting to propel the Wolverines past the Boilermakers, 84-78, in double overtime.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - 10:34pm
Senior guard Zavier Simpson's play has a strong bearing on Michigan's success this season.

With junior forward Isaiah Livers and his 13.6 points per game now sidelined indefinitely, the Wolverines are at a crossroads. senior guard Zavier Simpson will always be at the offense’s helm, but the team’s best output comes when he’s orchestrating the scoring, not creating it. While he may be the team’s third-leading scorer, making up for Livers’ lost production needs to fall on Brooks, freshman wing Franz Wagner and sophomore guard David DeJulius.

Friday, December 27, 2019 - 4:05pm
Junior forward Isaiah Livers is out indefinitely with a groin injury.

With its Big Ten schedule set to resume next weekend, it appears the Michigan men’s basketball may be without its leading scorer for a significant stretch.

After suffering a groin injury in the 11th-ranked Wolverines’ 42-point win over Presbyterian, junior forward Isaiah Livers is out indefinitely, according to a Michigan spokesperson.

Friday, December 20, 2019 - 6:14pm
Sophomore forward Brandon Johns Jr. has shown notable improvement under Juwan Howard.

The performance came just a week after Johns posted a career-best 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting against Iowa. In his case, opportunity has brought results. In games when he plays more than 18 minutes, Johns is averaging 10 points and 8.5 rebounds. He’ll miss Saturday’s game against Presbyterian with an illness, Howard told reporters on Friday, but figures to be an important piece once Big Ten play picks up.

The Daily broke down the film to shed light on Johns’ impact:

Saturday, December 14, 2019 - 3:50pm

For Franz Wagner, Saturday was a microcosm of a season at large.

Since making the leap from Europe, the highly-touted freshman wing has already been forced to overcome a fractured wrist and adjust to the college game, all while situating himself in a new country.

The injury kept him on the shelf for the first month of the Michigan men’s basketball team’s season, and even when he returned, the rust was apparent. He entered Saturday’s game against No. 10 Oregon shooting 35-percent from the field and 22-percent from beyond the arc.

Friday, December 13, 2019 - 6:39pm

When the Michigan men’s basketball team takes the floor against No. 10 Oregon on Saturday afternoon, it will have an opportunity to score its third regular-season victory over a top-10 opponent this season.

The fifth-ranked Wolverines (8-2 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) haven’t accomplished such a feat in six years. The last time they did came in 2013-14 — a season that ultimately culminated in the Elite Eight. The previous occurrence came only a season earlier, when Michigan advanced to its first national title game appearance since 1993.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - 11:01pm

CHAMPAIGN — Fittingly, Juwan Howard returned to his home state for his first Big Ten road game as the Michigan men’s basketball coach — a job widely viewed as a homecoming of its own.

But against unranked Illinois, the Chicago native watched his fifth-ranked Wolverines (8-2 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) shoot just 17-percent from beyond the arc in a 71-62 loss against the Fighting Illini (7-3, 1-1).