Michigan basketball fell short of the Final Four and national championship this season but is among the early favorites already for 2021-22.
The national title game finished less than 12 hours ago and already, we are looking ahead to the next college hoops season and Michigan basketball is getting plenty of talk as an early favorite.
In terms of betting odds, Michigan basketball is among the favorites to win the national title in 2022, along with others like Gonzaga, Baylor, Florida State, Ohio State and others.
Looking that far ahead in any sport is difficult, but college basketball might be as tough as they come, especially with the transfer portal and the NBA draft.
Players will declare for the draft, in order to test their draft stock. I fully expect Hunter Dickinson to declare for the NBA draft along with Franz Wagner and the other seniors. Eventually, I believe he will return, but teams won’t truly know their roster composition until this summer.
Yet, even if Wagner heads for the NBA, which is what everyone expects, Michigan basketball is still a trendy pick to be a preseason top-five team and was ranked fourth by USA Today in its poll for next season.
Sports Illustrated has the Wolverines ranked as the No. 2 contender heading into next season behind the Zags.
There are a lot of things still to be decided. There has been talk of Eli Brooks and Chaundee Brown coming back for another year, but nothing has been made official.
That would be huge, but even without those guys, the Wolverines should have Dickinson, as well as the No. 1 recruiting class (right now) to build around. His 2020 recruiting class was also one of the best in the Big Ten and next season, others should start to emerge like Zeb Jackson, Terrance Williams and even Jace Howard.
If Brown and Brooks don’t return, the Wolverines would likely be looking to the transfer portal for a veteran guard, which could be the case anyway.
Brown and Brooks wouldn’t count against scholarships if they returned, so U-M would still have an open spot and as Phil Martelli said recently, Michigan basketball is a hot destination in the portal.
In the end, the 2020-21 season was a great run. The Wolverines finished as the No. 3 team in the Kenpom rankings and should have a good shot at a top-five finish in the final AP Poll.
Those don’t mean a lot in the long run, but those are signs of progress and the Wolverines did win another Big Ten championship this year, their first regular-season title since 2014.
Michigan basketball didn’t make it to April this season, but maybe next year will be the year.