The Wolverine

January 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JANUARY 2021 THE WOLVERINE 51   MICHIGAN BASKETBALL early on to Mitch McGary, D.J. Wilson, Moe Wagner and Jon Teske, he always had bigs playing at a high level. Now a Big Ten Network analyst after his short stint with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, Beilein has been keeping a close eye on this year 's Michigan team. What he's seen from head coach Juwan Howard's group has impressed him, starting in the middle with 20-year-old freshman center Hunter Dickinson. "He is amazing," Beilein said on BTN. "Now, he is a little bit older. He's not an 18-year-old freshman, but he is playing like he's a junior or senior. This is a rare thing that you see with big college players when they're young. "There's no drama when they get the ball. The ball is in the basket be- fore anybody knows he has it. He plays really well with his elbows up — and just, the ball is in the basket. And he's got great balance; he mini- mizes his moves. He's really been fun to watch." Dickinson ranked second the team in scoring through seven games, av- eraging a 15.3 points per game along with 8.4 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.1 assists per contest. He was also shooting 69.4 percent from the floor. The Wolverines were off to a 7-0 start after a solid first year under Howard in which they finished 19-12 overall and 10-10 in confer- ence play despite playing through several injuries. "I was really excited for him," Beilein said of Howard's hiring. "He knew that we had a lot of pieces com- ing back, but he's his own man. He wanted to establish his own culture and oh, my goodness, he's done a great job. "I love watching this 2021 team. This is going to be a really good team. The ball does not stick. It moves like some of our best teams, and it's really good to be fun for Michigan fans. Don't sleep on this team. This team is good." — Chris Balas MICHIGAN EMBRACES SCHEDULING SCRAMBLE Michigan was set to take on North Carolina State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Dec. 9, but the Wolfpack had to cancel due to COVID-19 con- cerns within the program. The Wolverines had to quickly find an opponent if they wanted to play that day, and that's exactly what head coach Juwan Howard did, scheduling a game with the Toledo Rockets just one day before the two teams wound up tipping off. That was the first time U-M saw a game canceled, and it likely won't be the last, with the way things are trending nationwide in college bas- ketball. The Maize and Blue em- braced the challenge and tried to use it as a way to prepare for what's to come. "We talked about, this is how the NCAA Tournament's gonna be, that's kind of how we approach ev- erything," Franz Wagner said after the 91-71 win over the Rockets. "And I think we were well-prepared for it." "It seemed like [Howard] was ready for it," senior forward Isaiah Livers added. "It seemed like he had Toledo on the back of his mind al- ready cause there were rumors. Beilein, the former Wolverines head coach and current analyst for Big Ten Network, praised U-M freshman center Hunter Dickinson and head coach Juwan Howard. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL 2020-21 U-M MEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Results/Time (ET) Nov. 25 Bowling Green W, 96-82 Nov. 29 Oakland W, 81-71 (OT) Dec. 2 Ball State W, 84-65 Dec. 6 Central Florida W, 80-58 Dec. 9 Toledo W, 91-71 Dec. 13 Penn State* W, 62-58 Dec. 25 at Nebraska* W, 80-69 Dec. 31 at Maryland* (ESPN2) 7 p.m. Jan. 3 Northwestern* (BTN) TBA Jan. 6 Minnesota* (BTN) 8:30 p.m. Jan. 9 at Penn State* (BTN) TBA Jan. 12 Wisconsin* (ESPN/2) 7 p.m. Jan. 16 at Minnesota* (ESPN/2/U) 2 p.m. Jan. 19 Maryland* (FS1) TBA Jan. 22 at Purdue* (FS1) TBA Jan. 30 Indiana* (CBS) 1 p.m. Feb. 3 at Northwestern* (BTN) TBA Feb. 6 Michigan State* (ESPN/2) TBA Feb. 11 Illinois* (ESPN/2) TBA Feb. 14 at Wisconsin* (CBS) TBA Feb. 18 Rutgers* (FS1) TBA Feb. 21 at Ohio State* (CBS) TBA Feb. 27 at Indiana* (FOX) TBA Mar. 4 Iowa* (ESPN/2) TBA Mar. 7 at Michigan State* (CBS) TBA Mar. 10-14 Big Ten Tournament^ (BTN/CBS) * Big Ten game; ^ at the United Center in Chicago BTN — Big Ten Network; FS1 — FOX Sports 1

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