Men's Basketball

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

Sophomore forward Brandon Johns scored eight points with nine rebounds on Saturday.

The clock was ticking down, second by second, signaling the end of a top-10 slugfest between No. 5 Michigan and No. 10 Oregon on Saturday.

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Ledes that play on A Tale of Two Cities are by now long since cliched. So I’m not going to write one. But we’re now six weeks into the season, and it’s still seeming like there are two possible Michigan teams that could show up on any given night.

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Zavier Simpson drove towards the basket. With two Oregon players draped all over him, the senior point guard went to his calling card — a running hookshot high off the backboard. 

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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.

Senior guard Zavier Simpson had eight assists against Illinois.

CHAMPAIGN — Senior guard Zavier Simpson sat at the top of the key with the ball — and nearly the entire offense — resting in his hands.

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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.

Freshman wing Franz Wagner seemingly turned a corner against Iowa on Friday.

The crowd inside Crisler Center erupted, the Michigan bench jumped to its feet in excitement and Wagner strolled away smiling ear to ear. The fact that the sequence increased the Wolverines’ lead to 16 points was trivial. What the slam meant in the grand scheme of things was much more meaningful.

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As the modern style of men’s basketball continues to evolve with an emphasis on 3-point shooting, teams across the collegiate and professional ranks have ditched the traditional ‘5.’

But not in the Big Ten, and not in Ann Arbor.

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Michigan teams of years past have at times tended to rely on a few players – the Jordan Pooles and Moritz Wagners – for much of their success. But so far this season, the fourth-ranked Wolverines have been winning more on the strength of the many than the success of a few.