What makes Michigan so good? Rutgers' Steve Pikiell breaks it down
If you weren’t a believer in Michigan’s basketball team before its three-week pause, certainly you became one on Sunday afternoon. After being sidelined for an extended period of time, the Wolverines overcame a 12-point halftime deficit to Wisconsin on the road and escaped Madison with a 67-59 win.
Michigan improved to 9-1 in the B1G and 14-1 overall and is sitting at No. 3 in the Associated Press poll. It’s an early pick to land one of the No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, as well.
Next up for Michigan is a showdown against Rutgers, a team that has won five of its last six games. So what makes the Wolverines so tough to beat this season. Scarlet Knights head coach Steve Pikiell broke it down.
“They’re huge. Physically, they’re real big and they do a great job of challenging you at the rim,” Pikiell said, according to 247Sports. “The most amazing thing is they do it without fouling. Really well coached, it’s a really good basketball team. They have good players at every position. They have a bench that’s strong. They’re very athletic. They’ve added a few pieces to that to make them more athletic. They have great size, too, at the rim. I’m most impressed that they do it about fouling. It’s a real credit to the coaching staff there. And they’re really good offensively, too. If you look at their offensive numbers, really efficient, really unselfish. It’s a really good basketball team.
“Juwan (Howard) has done a great job,” Pikiell said. “They play hard. They share the game. Their size at the rim, they lead the league in blocked shots. They’ve blocked a lot of our shots in the last two years. And you don’t get to the free-throw line. You have to earn your points against them.”
What’s particularly impressive this season is that Howard is just in his second year at the helm. He’s done a good job developing talent already, and recruiting has come naturally to the Michigan alum.
The Wolverines will have a chance to continue its dominance in the B1G with a win on Thursday over Rutgers.