The past seven days have been a roller coaster for Michigan and enter Sunday with Phil Marteli on the sidelines for the suspended Juwan Howard at home against Illinois.
This is also a revenge spot for a Michigan bunch that lost to Illinois 68-53 in a game that had the Wolverines shorthanded due to health and safety protocols with top scorer Hunter Dickinson out of the lineup that night.
Even with Dickinson in the fold though, Michigan is 196th in the country in points allowed on a per possession basis with an interior defense that is 222nd in opponent 2-point shooting percentage.
Illinois should exploit Michigan’s deficiencies inside the arc as they have Wooden Award candidate Kofi Cockburn averaging 21.2 points and 10.8 rebounds per game for a team that is ninth in the country in rebound rate away from home and 15th in opponent 2-point shooting percentage.
Even with Marteli’s experience on the sidelines, a Michigan team that is 340th in the country in turnovers forced on a per possession basis will not be able to overcome Illinois’ immovable object in Cockburn or put pressure on a backcourt that involves Jacob Grandison and Alfonso Plummer both shooting over 40% from 3-point range.
The Play: Illinois -1