It hasn’t been the best season for Michigan athletics. The football program has been a major disappointment and head coach Brady Hoke lost his job. The basketball team is rebuilding after losing three starters from an Elite Eight appearance, but the Wolverines still found themselves in the top 25 in the early part of the season.
After a Saturday home loss to N.J.I.T. followed by another loss on Tuesday night to Eastern Michigan, things aren’t looking good for the basketball team either. The Eagles were able to win on the road to move to 8-1 despite shooting only 32 percent from the field and 31 percent from three-point range in an ugly 45-42 win.
Very concerning for Michigan was the lack of scoring punch outside of its star trio of guards Derrick Walton, Zak Irvin and Caris LeVert. The three combined to go 10-for-32 from the field and scored 29 of the team’s 42 points in the loss and without someone else like Spike Albrecht or Ricky Doyle stepping up, Michigan’s offense is very average.
It’s encouraging that Michigan defended well, but after falling to N.J.I.T., the Wolverines had another letdown game at the worst possible time. The inexperienced pieces besides Walton, Irvin and LeVert need to step up with some more consistency if the Wolverines are going to get out of this funk or it might get ugly during Big Ten season.
Right now, this Michigan team looks like it should be thinking NIT, but we have to remember that they did give Villanova a great game on a neutral court. They might just be going through a rough stretch. But N.J.I.T. and Eastern Michigan? Sure the Eagles are 8-1, but three of those wins came against non-Division I opponents.
LeVert, Irvin and Walton needs others to step up and help on a regular basis or more home losses will happen and Michigan can expect a letdown.
Meanwhile, for Eastern Michigan and head coach Rob Murphy, this is a huge win for a program that is always in the shadow of Michigan. The Eagles now have a legitimate win this season heading into the MAC and they’ll be a tough out in that league this season.