Busting Brackets

Michigan Basketball: 3 reasons why Wolverines 2023-24 season has been a disaster

Michigan Basketball is in danger of its season going down the drain. What are the main issues with the program?

Minnesota v Michigan
Minnesota v Michigan / Aaron J. Thornton/GettyImages
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1. Lack of a defensive identity

Saying that Michigan Basketball’s defense is “bad” is a tremendous understatement. They rank dead last in the Big Ten in just about every category and are in the bottom 30 nationally in most of them as well. They’ve given up 80+ points in five of 15 games and even against bad offenses such as Minnesota and Penn State have shown the ability to score in bunches against them.

A big part of the issue is how the roster is constructed. As good an individual scorer as Dug McDaniel is, he’s going to give up just as many points. Against Ace Baldwin on Sunday, he got cooked for 25 points on 8/13 shooting. Opposing guards have gone off against him as well, with both Marcus Tshonis (Long Beach State) and Shahada Wells (McNeese State) going for 30+ points as well.

But the frontcourt has been equally as disappointing. Sophomore center Tarris Reed was never going to be as good as former Wolverine Hunter Dickinson offensively, but he was supposed to be even better on defense. That hasn’t happened thus far. And Tennessee transfer Olivier Nkamhoua had a reputation for being a stout defender but hasn’t shown any of that at Michigan. I could argue that he came here to showcase his offensive skillset for the pros, making “defense” an afterthought of his game.

None of the main rotation pieces have been plus-defenders, which makes them the same as Iowa. And considering that the Hawkeyes are 0-3 in Big Ten play with no postseason hope either, that’s not a good comparison to have.