#21 Michigan Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

Michigan Wolverines
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #21
Conference Rank: #2 Big Ten
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Once again Coach John Beilein led Michigan to a deep NCAA Tournament run. The Wolverines made it to the national championship game without playing any team higher than a six seed. Still it was a great run and this group will hope to continue that momentum. That will be relatively tough though with three starters gone. Mortiz Wagner is gone after leading the way with 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman was third on the team with 12.9 points, while Duncan Robinson added 9.2 points per game. Those three were also the most prolific three-point shooters on a team that wants to shoot a lot of long balls.
2017-18 Record: 33-8, 13-5
2017-18 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: John Beilein
Coach Record: 248-143 at Michigan, 541-318 overall
Key Departed Players:
Moritz Wagner, Forward, 14.6 ppg
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Guard, 12.9 ppg
Duncan Robinson, Guard/Forward, 9.2 ppg
Ibi Watson, Guard/Forward, 2.2 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Charles Matthews, Senior, Guard, 13.0 ppg
Zavier Simpson, Junior, Guard, 7.3 ppg
Jordan Poole, Sophomore, Guard, 6.0 ppg
Isaiah Livers, Sophomore, Forward, 3.4 ppg
Jon Teske, Junior, Center, 3.4 ppg
Eli Brooks, Sophomore, Guard, 1.8 ppg
Key New Players:
Ignas Brazdeikis, Freshman, Forward
Colin Castleton, Freshman, Forward
David DeJulius, Freshman, Guard
Brandon Johns Jr, Freshman, Forward
Adrien Nunez, Freshman, Guard
Jaron Faulds, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from Columbia, not eligible
Charles Matthews and Zavier Simpson are the only returning starters. Matthews is a versatile scorer who is at his best using his 6-6 frame to attack the basket. Simpson is the point guard of the team and dished out 3.7 assists per game. He can do some scoring too, but is also a superb defender. Sophomore Jordan Poole made some big shots in the NCAA Tournament and will now be asked to be more consistent. Jon Teske will have to step in for Wagner after learning behind him last season. The 7-1 junior is a fine defender, but will now be expected to boost his 3.4 points per game total. Isaiah Livers will provide an option, but Coach Beilein will need some of his freshmen to add depth in the frontcourt. Brandon Johns, Ignas Brazdeikis and Colin Castleton are all more than capable of earning quality minutes right away. This is a relatively young team and there will likely be some growing pains. But Coach Beilein has been down this road before and always remains competitive in the Big Ten.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.6 (176th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.3 (8, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.8 (64, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.6 (91, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.8 (75, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.7 (137, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.1 (323, 12)
Rebound Margin: 0.3 (186, 10)
Assists Per Game: 14.3 (122, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 9.3 (2, 1)
Madness 2019 NBA Draft Rankings:
#38 Charles Matthews
Madness 2018 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#64 Brandon Johns
#82 Colin Castleton
#103 Ignas Brazdeikis
#119 David DeJulius