Basketball college is kicking off next week as Michigan fans look forward to another successful season of the show that has been incredibly consistent over the past decade.
Last year was a roller coaster ride for the Michigan Wolverines, who could never put together two high-quality performances in a row and barely competed in an NCAA tournament before reaching the Sweet Sixteen.
Seven of the top 10 goalscorers from last season have departed, and this squad will rely heavily on the All-American center Hunter Dickinson and many young footballers to be thrown into the fire.
Here are three bold predictions for the 2022-23 season.
Terrance Williams II will not be a starter all year round
Williams II is one of the few returning players to have scored a decent amount of minutes last season as a sixth player. In just over 15 minutes per game, he scored an average of 4.7 points and 2.4 rebounds per game, scoring 51.7% from the field, 38.5% of three at 1.7 attempts per game and 78.8% from the throw line free.
The prediction above is not necessarily a kick towards Williams II: he is one of Michigan’s best defenders on the front line and will be a key element that should be one of the five scorers on the court at the end of close matches in most matches.
That being said, 4 is the biggest question mark for Wolverines. I imagine Juwan Howard and the coaching staff experimenting with the starting line-up before the conference game starts.
There are tons of options in 4 for Wolverines. They could go down small and play Jace Howard or Joey Baker there, or they could embrace their youth and play first year in the red Will Tschetter and Isaiah Barnes jersey alongside Dickinson on the front court. True newbies Youssef Khayat and Gregg Glenn are also options in the four, but one or both guys may be in the red jersey season.
Williams II has succeeded in his role as a spark plug, and I would not be surprised to see Michigan reload him back into that role at the end of the year.
3 players will appear on the All Big-Ten teams
Although the Wolverines lost many of the key pieces from last season, they have many talents in this roster that can be honored at the end of the season.
In addition to a serious injury, Dickinson has a chance to find himself in the first team. Additionally, a transfer from Princeton, Jaelin Llewellyn, should be Michigan’s best ranger and may surprise some people before getting a spot on the second or third team.
I don’t think it is crazy for one of the other players to get a third team nod or an honorable mention. Kobe Bufkin should be one of the most perfected players at the conference, Jett Howard will score a lot of points and could be one of the team’s top three-pointers, and Dug McDaniel or Tarris Reed Jr. they have the talent to turn voters’ heads.
While the casual college basketball fan might see it as a talentless team compared to last year, they should be taking home a lot of off-season honors.
Speaking of honors …
Hunter Dickinson will win the Big Ten Player of the Year as the Wolverines take second place at the conference
I wanted to pull the trigger. Really. I wanted to host the house and pick Michigan to win the conference a second time under Howard’s tenure. But I just can’t do it. I don’t think this team has enough strength to win the conference and I’m betting on Indiana (led by Trayce Jackson-Davis) or Illinois (who have one of the deepest teams in the Terrance Shannon Jr. and Matthew Mayer transfer conference, win the conference.
That being said, I don’t think Big Ten will have a better player than Dickinson. He was incredibly dominant on the pitch, practiced his ability to transition from doubles and even went beyond the arc to cash more than a few threes.
Dickinson will be counting on the leader this season and if he can beat three more consistently and be Michigan’s defensive anchor then the Conference Player of the Year award is his to lose.
At +2,000, Dickinson has the best chance of any in the Big Ten to win the National Player of the Year award, so picking him as the conference’s greatest player isn’t too bold. That being said, Dickinson’s success directly correlates with that of the Wolverines, which I predict will come second in the Big Ten.