Basketball

Junior forward Isaiah Livers scored 14 points and made 2-of-5 3-pointers in Saturday’s 77-68 win over Michigan State.

Turning points are often arbitrary. They are judged retroactively, frequently in an attempt to ascribe meaning to results rather than default to the randomness of sports.

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I’ll preface this by saying: I hate writing about recruiting. I hate the speculatory, veiled insinuations. I hate the underlying transactional tomfoolery that is so abundant it’s best left unsaid. Grown adults begging (and paying) teenagers to come play for them.

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It’s fairly clear what to expect from a game in which one side is slated to play perhaps its easiest opponent of the season while the other side plays its toughest.

That was the case heading into Saturday afternoon at Crisler Center, as the No. 14 Michigan men’s basketball team (9-3) prepared to face Presbyterian (2-10). Things turned out just as expected, as the Wolverines claimed a 86-44 victory.

Presented by The Michigan Daily’s sports section, a rotating cast of writers discusses Michigan sports.

It’s all basketball this week on Highway to Hail, as senior sports editor Ben Katz sits down with the men’s and women’s basketball beats to discuss the teams’ respective seasons, where they both currently stand and what to expect from both programs over winter break.

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By tipoff, DeJulius settles in on the bench with nine other Wolverines –– eagerly waiting for his number to be called. And, while he’s not a starter for the Michigan men’s basketball team, so far this season, he hasn’t had to wait too long.

Against Creighton, Zavier Simpson was his usual self, controlling the offense and tallying nine assists and 17 points.

Simpson was his usual self against Creighton, dictating the Wolverines’ offense, attacking the basket and running the pick-and-roll to perfection.

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The utter delirium that characterized the first twenty minutes of Michigan coach Juwan Howard’s inaugural game eventually gave way to frustration and concern in the second half as a slew of turnovers and missed shots almost cost the Wolverines the game. Ultimately, Michigan overcame its near collapse, winning 79-71 against the Mountaineers (0-1) in a hard-fought, yet thoroughly unconvincing opener.

Michigan will have to replace 57 percent of its offense from last season.

Roster turnover — and adjusting to it — is an inherent part of college basketball. A top program’s best players tend to move on annually to the professional ranks as a new batch of heralded freshmen take over. 

Michigan coach Juwan Howard will be on the sidelines for the first time Friday for the Wolverines' exhibition game.

John Beilein jumped to the professional ranks. Nine days later, “Fab Five” member Juwan Howard returned to Ann Arbor as the Wolverines’ head coach. From there, Luke Yaklich and DeAndre Haynes moved on, while Phil Martelli and Howard Eisley moved in. On July 6th, budding German star Franz Wagner committed to Michigan — his brother’s alma mater. And finally, just two weeks ago, Howard landed his first five star recruit, 2020 forward Isaiah Todd. Tomorrow night though, after a six-month long hiatus, the Wolverines will play a basketball game.

Juwan Howard is faced with the task of replacing John Beilein.

Juwan Howard’s message at Big Ten media day was clear: Beilein was great. But he’s going to be his own man. That’s how he’s bringing Michigan into the Howard era.