Juwan Howard is bringing Brady Hoke vibes to Michigan basketball

Things are ugly right now for Michigan basketball and it's starting to feel like Michigan football under Brady Hoke.
Feb 17, 2024; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;  Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwan Howard reacts in the
Feb 17, 2024; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwan Howard reacts in the / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Juwan Howard will always be one of my favorite Wolverines. The Michigan basketball legend turned head coach helped the Wolverines reach two Final Fours and three Elite 8s as a player.

As head coach, Juwan Howard has coached Michigan basketball to a pair of Sweet 16 appearances, as well as a Big Ten regular season championship.

Those were the best of times and it all started swimmingly, just like it did with Brady Hoke and Michigan football. Hoke took over a team that struggled under Rich Rodriguez and led to an 11-win season. The Wolverines won the Sugar Bowl and it seemed like the program was on the rise.

Things felt similar under Howard. Michigan was a viable national title contender in 2021 before Isaiah Livers injury doomed their hopes. Then, Juwan signed the No. 1 recruiting class, but outside of the upset over Tennessee, it's been downhill.

And this season, Michigan basketball has hit rock bottom. The Wolverines are 3-14 in the Big Ten. They are 8-20 overall and will play on the first day of the Big Ten tournament for the first time ever.

The biggest indictment of how far this program has fallen though, was the attendance on Sunday. Fans have been dwindling at Crisler Center but there were plenty of folks in attendance for the game -- they just weren't wearing the color of the home team.

Purdue fans invaded Ann Arbor and they took over the arena. It was essentially a road game for Michigan basketball which is a low point, similar to when Michigan football was basically giving tickets away during the Hoke era.

Michigan plays well at times and they continue to compete. In that sense, this team has represented the University well. They haven't thrown in the towel. Neither has their head coach.

But college basketball at this level requires more than moral victories. Michigan needs to figure out NIL and if it wants to be a baskeball power. It also needs to determine, quickly, if Juwan Howard is the man to navitgate the program through these troubled times, caused by many of his missteps in terms of roster construction.

Should the man who broke Michigan basketball, be allowed the chance to build it back up again? I don't have the answer for that. But what happened on Sunday can't continue.