Three takeaways from Michigan’s loss to No. 25 Illinois

In its first motion since Jan. 4, the shorthanded Michigan males’s basketball crew returned to the court docket following a pair of COVID-19 postponements. The Wolverines fell to No. 25 Illinois, 68-53, whereas taking part in with out All-American heart Hunter Dickinson and ahead Brandon Johns Jr., who’re each coping with conditioning and stamina points, per the FS1 broadcast.

With the loss, Juwan Howard falls to 0-4 in opposition to the Preventing Illini — the one Massive Ten crew he hasn’t overwhelmed since turning into Michigan’s coach in 2019. The Maize and Blue Evaluate breaks down three takeaways from the Wolverines’ third convention loss in 4 video games:

Michigan finds promising small-ball lineups

With out Dickinson (7-foot-1) and Johns (6-foot-8), the Wolverines have been pressured to play a handful of small-ball lineups. Terrance Williams II made his first profession begin on the ‘4,’ whereas Moussa Diabate slid over to the ‘5.’

Dickinson presents a dominant publish presence, however his absence allowed Michigan to search out methods to area the ground. Although the Wolverines shot simply 1-of-7 from deep within the first half, they generated open seems from the beginning. A lot of that stemmed from the athleticism of Diabate, whose face-up recreation gave Michigan new seems. He beat Illinois star heart Kofi Cockburn off the dribble a number of occasions, which put the Illini in uncomfortable defensive rotations and opened up scoring seems for different Wolverines.

Jace Howard additionally noticed time on the ‘4,’ whereas a number of three-guard lineup mixtures included Eli Brooks, DeVante’ Jones, Kobe Bufkin and Frankie Collins.

Vitality and energy have been at a season-high

Even with no starter and key rotational piece, Michigan appeared as motivated because it has all 12 months. Hoping to keep away from falling to .500 by means of 14 video games, the Wolverines’ power and energy stood out.

Regardless of a scarcity of chemistry amongst new lineup mixtures and totally different rotations, Michigan performed like its season was on the road. The crew is squarely on the skin of the NCAA Match bubble wanting in in the mean time, and if losses proceed mounting, it’s tough to see that altering. For a crew that began the season ranked No. 6 nationally, that’s a deflating confidence dent.

Nonetheless, Friday’s demeanor confirmed a crew with character. And if the Wolverines are going to struggle for a spot within the Massive Dance come March, they’ll want extra of that as they return to full energy.

Poor 3-point taking pictures continues in opposition to Massive Ten opponents

In three Massive Ten losses, the Wolverines have seen a typical denominator: dismal 3-point taking pictures. They missed 15 of 18 makes an attempt in opposition to Minnesota, 12 of 15 at Rutgers after which 9 of 10 in Champaign on Friday.

After dropping Isaiah Livers, Chaundee Brown, Mike Smith and Franz Wagner to the skilled ranks, many anticipated Michigan’s exterior taking pictures to take a step backward. However to date this season, the Wolverines have appeared inept from past the arc at occasions. Merely put, they’re taking pictures themselves out of video games. And as chilly spells proceed, defenses really feel extra snug collapsing on Michigan’s inside threats.

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