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Michigan currently set to play Friday at Illinois

The Wolverines’ last two games have been postponed due to COVID.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

After two straight games being postponed due to COVID concerns, the Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball team plans to return to action Friday night against the Illinois Fighting Illini. A team spokesman said the Wolverines are set to leave for Champaign Thursday afternoon. Juwan Howard also noted games against Michigan State and Purdue will be played later in the season.

Michigan does currently meet the requirements (seven players, one coach) to play, but Howard didn’t say who would be available and things could still change before the game.

“A couple players have returned to practice which is good to see,” Howard told the media Thursday. “We’ve also had some guys come out of quarantine, it’s good to see some beautiful faces, smiles on some guy’s faces. Today we’re hopefully going to have a good practice, a healthy one, which is the most important thing at this moment. When we’re getting ready to get on the bus we’ll see which guys will be available for tomorrow’s matchups versus Illinois.”

With the Wolverines at 7-6 overall and 1-2 in Big Ten play, they need these games to be played to get wins. The Illinois game is the first step to turning this season around.

“Illinois is a well-coached team that plays extremely hard on both ends of the floor,” Howard said. “They’re physical, they do a tremendous job of playing inside out. Kofi — with his strength, toughness, skill level — they run a lot of offensive sets that go through him first. They also have shooting on the floor at all four positions.”

After what happened last year with Illinois believing it should have won the Big Ten, this one is sure to be a little bit chippy, especially on Twitter between the two fanbases.

Michigan at Illinois tips at 9:00 p.m. on FS1 on Friday night.