Did Michigan coach Juwan Howard misuse Hunter Dickinson during the Wolverines’  63-55 Sweet 16 loss Thursday night to Villanova?

Unless the game plan was to neglect Dickinson’s size advantage in the paint and to have the 7-1 center camp out on the perimeter, then the answer would be a hard “yes.”

With 8 points in the first half, Dickinson struggled to really assert himself against a much smaller Wildcats lineup. While standing put on the perimeter for much of the game, Dickinson went 0-for-1 from 3-point range and finished the game with a tournament-low 15 points on 6-for-16 shooting.

Misused? Probably.

Out of place? Well, yeah … that was obvious.

It didn’t take an armchair coach to realize that Dickinson wasn’t being properly utilized to his potential.

Had Dickinson dominated in the paint, No. 11 Michigan would have likely coasted by No. 2 Villanova in San Antonio, but the sophomore often looked confused and out of sync during Thursday night’s Sweet 16 duel.

“Give Villanova credit — very good team, well-coached, played a very solid game,” Howard said following the loss, per WolverinesWire. “Extremely competitive on both sides of the floor. We knew coming in, that they were going to switch a lot and we prepared for it. Hunter got the ball in some good spots. Yes, some of the spots he was pushed off the block; but overall, we got some good looks at the basket. Unfortunately, it just didn’t go our way.”

The ineffectiveness/apparent misuse of Dickinson wasn’t the only thing that cost Michigan; several missed shots in the paint and at the rim cost the Wolverines at least 10 points — a total that would have probably been enough to advance. Make no mistake, Michigan’s loss was solely on Michigan. Villanova played well enough to win, but Michigan did just enough to lose a game it could have easily won.

Self-inflicted wounds cost the Wolverines.

For some reason, Michigan refused to take advantage of the size difference with Villanova. And it wasn’t even about taking advantage, it was more about making the most of the opportunities. Michigan tried to get big on the Wildcats, however, it just couldn’t make baskets. Brandon Johns, who is 6-8 (bigger than average when compared to Villanova), missed a couple of bunnies beneath the basket.

Moussa Diabate also had a few chances beneath the rim, but he failed to convert and was a non-factor. At 6-11, Diabate is taller than anyone on Villanova’s roster; however, he didn’t do too much during UM’s Sweet 16 loss.

As a team, Michigan missed at least 6 or 7 layups — and these weren’t just layups, they were shots that almost always go in for every team, on every night. No luck or spin needed, these were the type of shots that had no business not going through the net. Call it unlucky, or whatever else that you choose, but the fact remains that those missed “gimme” layups absolutely contributed to the loss against Villanova.

In reality, they were probably more costly than the apparent misuse of Dickinson.

Up until Thursday night, Eli Brooks, a fifth-year senor, had played some of his best basketball of his career during the NCAA Tournament. While he played well, scoring 14 points and turning over ball just once (a Tournament-low), Brooks didn’t emerge as a takeover-type when needed. On the floor for a team-high 39 minutes, made 3-of-5 from long-range but shot just 2-for-11 from inside the arc — and that includes a couple of missed layups that should have gone through the net.

All of it added up to a loss that will anger the Wolverines for some time.