Juwan Howard came to Michigan to take his alma mater to the next level. I, for one, thought it would be difficult to replace an already spectacular head coach in John Beilein.
However, Howard and the Wolverines have passed all of their tests with flying colors.
The Maize and Blue just knocked off UNC and Gonzaga, ranked 6th and 8th respectively. And they do it with offense from everywhere.
Isaiah Livers is shooting the hell out of the basketball right now (56%/80%/51%). A steady, veteran offensive presence is normally required for deep runs in March. At 6’7″ Livers can shoot from basically anywhere on the floor. The only knock really is that he doesn’t get to the free throw line a ton.
Additionally, Howard features one of the best shooting backcourts in the country. Eli Brooks, Zavier Simpson, and David DeJulius are all shooting 44 percent or better from three-point range. Add Livers’ 51 percent and you create the floor-spacing that can shred opponents.
Finally, factor in Jon Teske’s presence in the paint on both ends and you get the resume of one of the best teams in the country.
We will get a real treat coming Tuesday night on ESPN: Michigan vs Louisville.
Michigan legit; What about Oregon?
The Wolverines took care of business against the Tarheels and Bulldogs. The Oregon Ducks did not. However, it’s not like they lost in two blowouts (they lost by a combined five points). In addition to that they have wins over Memphis and Seton Hall (both teams were ranked 13th in the country at the time).
And guess what? Michigan is going to play Oregon soon too. The Ducks backcourt can certainly keep up with the Wolverines, but can the Ducks stop Livers? Does Oregon have enough scoring to keep up with Michigan? I don’t think so.
But that doesn’t mean that Oregon isn’t elite. They are in a tough conference this year, so there will certainly be more chances for the Ducks to prove themselves.
ESPN’s Jimmy Dykes joins Jeff Goodman to dish on these topics and more on this week’s Good ‘N Plenty. Make sure you subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher! And make sure you follow Jeff on Twitter here.
8:32 Going back to ESPN
15:03 Michigan is the real deal so far
24:11 SEC off to a bad start
36:30 UNC is not a great team
40:28 Oregon is for real