Hopefully, the pain for Michigan basketball fans has started to subside following the loss in the Elite 8 to the UCLA Bruins.
The Wolverines should be warming up to play Gonzaga on Saturday, at least that’s what Michigan basketball fans will think and it’s hard to disagree after all the missed opportunities on Tuesday.
Despite the soul-crushing defeat to the Bruins, Michigan put together a great run. The Wolverines went 23-5, won the Big Ten regular-season title and will finish among the top-10 in the final AP rankings for the 2020-21 season.
Michigan also reached its fourth straight Sweet 16 and the Elite 8 for the fourth time since 2013, which is something only a few other programs have achieved.
To top it all off, Juwan Howard was named AP College Basketball Coach of the Year for men’s basketball.
In the end, the positives outweigh the negatives, but here are five things we learned about the Wolverines this season and during this postseason run.
Michigan can win championships with Juwan Howard
Lots of people doubted whether or not Juwan Howard could win championships at Michigan and continue the legacy of John Beilein.
And while he didn’t get the Wolverines to the Final Four, he won three games in his first trip to the NCAA Tournament and also won the Big Ten regular-season title in his second season on the job.
Michigan missed a golden opportunity to play in the Final Four. I think we all know that. But under Juwan, the Wolverines aren’t going to fall off. They will remain one of the elite programs in college basketball and sooner rather than later, they will make a return trip to the Final Four.
We know that Howard can recruit, as he landed the No. 1 recruiting class in 2021. Juwan proved he can coach too. He’s built an offense around two vastly different teams and the Wolverines run as many NBA sets as anyone in the tournament.
That’s going to be a recruiting tool too and there seems to be a pretty strong consensus that Michigan is going to be in the college basketball conversation for years to come.