Busting Brackets

Big Ten Basketball: Minnesota, Northwestern and Nebraska rise in latest power rankings

Illinois v Purdue
Illinois v Purdue / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
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14. Michigan (6-9, 1-3)

After John Beilein’s departure in 2019, Juwan Howard was brought back to the program as head coach and it looked like a perfect match. The Wolverines made an Elite Eight in his second year and a Sweet Sixteen after that, but things have been far from perfect in Ann Arbor. Howard was briefly suspended, has been away from the team with health issues this year, and we’re not even talking about this particular team on the court.

The record itself is pretty horrendous, especially after a 3-0 start to the season that included a road win at St. John’s. The Wolverines later won at Iowa in early December but have been pretty awful aside from that. Among the worst performances were home losses to Long Beach State in mid-November and McNeese State right after Christmas. Losing against Minnesota and Penn State last week was somehow even worse in a season that keeps falling apart.

Last season, Michigan had an All-American and two NBA lottery picks and missed the NCAA Tournament. With those players all gone and the new pieces not as effective, it’s not shocking to see Michigan falling apart. Dug McDaniel and Olivier Nkamhoua are solid pieces but the results simply aren’t happening in Ann Arbor. The question might be how long Howard has left as head coach, considering he didn’t even coach against the Nittany Lions last weekend, passing the honors to Phil Martelli again.