We have had quite the start to the college basketball season. We’ve seen some dominant performances from teams like UCLA, Duke and Gonzaga. However, we’ve also seen some teams let us down early in the season. That is exactly what happened last night at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The Wolverines were beaten at home by a Seton Hall squad that has Big East Championship aspirations. The final tally of 67-65 was official after Myles Cale split a pair of free throws to give the visitors a two-point advantage. With 0.8 seconds left in the game, with the Seton Hall still leading by two, Terrance Williams was fouled and would have to make two free throws to send the game into overtime. However, he missed the first, and just like that, Seton Hall had pulled off one of its biggest wins in school history.
Big Win for Seton Hall
The victory was Seton Hall’s first road win versus and non-conference opponent ranked inside the top-five. It was also the Pirates’ first win versus a top-five ranked team since 2000 when they knocked off Temple in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Senior guard Jared Rhoden led the Pirates in scoring with 16. Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard was not the least bit surprised the Pirates pulled off the upset. Willard, in his 12th season in charge of the Pirates, had this to say about his program after the game.
“This is where we are as a program,” said Willard, who is in his 12th season with the Pirates. “I expected us to win this game. This wasn’t a shock to me.
“We can play anybody in the country and we’ve done that in the last seven years.”Seton Hall Head Coach Kevin Willard (ESPN)
Where Does Michigan Go From Here?
This could end up being a good loss in the long term for the Wolverines. In the weeks leading up to this matchup, the media were talking about Michigan as a National Title contender. This game should humble them going forward. Howard’s bunch gave up a double-digit lead multiple times, and that did not sit well with Howard. After the game when asked about the team’s performance, he stated, “There were a lot of mistakes made defensively throughout 40 minutes of play.” However, even though this one will sting, considering Michigan just jumped into the AP top five, it shouldn’t affect them long-term.
There weren’t many bright spots for the Wolverines, but if there was one player to point out it would be Michigan big Hunter Dickinson. After spurning the NBA Draft, he has come out and played very well early on in the season. Last night he poured in 18 points, while also collecting nine rebounds. On the year, the sophomore is averaging 18.7 ppg and 8.3 rebounds, while shooting 66% from the field. He has been in some early talks for National Player of the Year, and this performance didn’t hurt him too much, considering he played very well.
Howard Signs New Five Year Contract
Juwan Howard, the second-year Wolverines head coach, signed a new contract that will keep him in Ann Arbor until 2025-2026. The five-year deal could potentially be worth up to $11.2 million. Howard, who was a member of Michigan’s famous “Fab Five,” took the Wolverines to the elite eight last year, before falling to UCLA. He also signed five-star wing Caleb Houstan this offseason. Howard had this to say when signing the new deal.
I’m honored to be regarded in such a way that the University wished to continue a lasting relationship with me. It was a surprise when Warde [Manuel] approached me, and it didn’t take long for us to get on the same page. I’m grateful to him, our great University and my talented young men who sacrifice every day. The love I have for the University of Michigan is beyond words.”Juwan Howard, Michigan Head Coach
Howard certainly has his work cut out for him in the next few weeks. Michigan will host UNLV and Tarleton next week. While neither of those teams seem to have much upset potential, they could be tune-up games for the Wolverine’s non-conference matchup with North Carolina on December 1st, 2021. The Tar Heels, under new head coach Hubert Davis, are 3-0 and averaging over 90 points per game. You can bet that Dean Dome will be a loud and raucous atmosphere, so Howard, along with his players, need to be ready to go at the tip.