The Michigan Wolverines (1-0) get back on the basketball court on Sunday evening in the form of a matchup against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies (0-3) in what appears it will be the team’s one true tuneup game during a shortened five-game non-conference schedule. This is the first meeting between these schools since 2011 despite Oakland being just down the road in Rochester, Michigan.
Following a 96-82 win over Bowling Green on Wednesday, head coach Juwan Howard and company are back in action against a team that has already played three games in three days before an off-day on Saturday. Oakland comes into this game as KenPom’s No. 312 team in the country after double-digit losses to Xavier, Toledo and Bradley. The non-conference slate of games typically features a few opponents like this, but the Grizz will be the lowest-ranked team by far they play the rest of the year with No. 131 Ball State and No. 114 UCF coming up in the games that follow.
Perhaps the biggest item of note to come out of Michigan’s season-opening win over BGSU was the emergence of a trio of newcomers in guards Mike Smith and Chaundee Brown and center Hunter Dickinson. Howard is still tinkering with lineup combinations and trying to find out what his team’s best looks are and this should be a game that allows them to do that and then some. Oakland hasn’t topped 60 points in a game yet this season and their games so far have not been all that competitive, so it would be surprising to see this one go any other way than a blowout for Michigan.
Howard was able to get 10 scholarship players into the opener in a game that was competitive throughout much of it, so it stands to reason the bench might be emptied in this game. This could potentially give us our first look at Adrien Nunez and Jace Howard this year, as well as some of the walk-ons getting some run.
This is one of those games where you simply look to stay healthy and get some quality minutes in. It’s still early and there are not a ton of data points on any team, but there is not a metric that suggests Michigan could be in trouble on Sunday evening. It would be great to see Franz Wagner have a bounceback performance and the aforementioned trio of new faces to keep showing they belong.
Note: We won’t be doing game threads for basketball this year, so feel free to join our Discord server to chat and connect with other MnB readers and Michigan fans.