The Wolverine

November 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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38 THE WOLVERINE NOVEMBER 2021 2021-22 BASKETBALL PREVIEW BY JOHN BORTON H unter Dickinson pondered the question briefly, his 7-1, 260-pound presence and NBA future lending credence to any answer he selected. The inquiring mind wanted to know his expectations for Michigan's impend- ing basketball season. The sophomore center's answer revealed not only his quick wit, but also his unwavering con- fidence. "Undefeated season," he responded, never changing his expression. The seemingly outrageous deadpan answer drew laughter from the gather- ing during Big Ten Media Day in India- napolis. After all, no college basketball team has logged a zero at the right end of the win-loss column since Bob Knight stormed along the sidelines in 1975-76. The funny thing is, Dickinson wasn't being funny — at least not entirely. After a pause, he explained his thinking. "I don't expect to lose, so we want to win every game," he said. "With Coach [Juwan] Howard, that's the expectation every year — to win a national champi- onship. "We would be selling ourselves short if we didn't think we were capable of win- ning every game on our schedule." Brandon Johns Jr., the 6-8, 240-pound senior expected to step into the power forward spot he assumed at tournament time when Isaiah Livers succumbed to injury last year, expressed similarly un- yielding conviction. "We're definitely capable of a national championship — 100 percent," Johns said. "We're a really young, talented team that can take things very far this year. We're definitely going to do our best to get to that goal." Howard doesn't discourage that talk with a team ranked No. 6 nationally go- ing into the season by the Associated Press. He puts it out there. With two NCAA championship game appearances and an Elite Eight run as a Michigan player, he doesn't exactly welcome low standards. The head coach emphasized it again this year. Michigan's goals every season include winning the Big Ten regular sea- son, the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament. "We're going to compete, for sure," Howard said. "We are going to compete." Once again, he possesses the where- withal to do so. It starts with Dickin- son, last year's Big Ten Freshman of the Year, an All-Big Ten first-teamer and a second-team Associated Press All- American. He'd have been snapped up in the NBA Draft had he left college, but Dickinson figured he could do better with another Sophomore center Hunter Dickinson debuted last season by earning Big Ten Freshman of the Year, first-team All-Big Ten and Associated Press second-team All-America honors. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL FRONT AND CENTER Michigan Basketball Radiates Confidence From The Top Down

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