At this point, everyone knows about Juvan Howard suspensioneveryone knows that Phil Martelli has taken active responsibilities as a leader coach and everyone knows that the hopes of the Michigan men’s basketball team for the NCAA tournament are on the line.
However, no one knows how this regular season will end. Optimists predict a surge led by Martelli, with the result that Wolverines will take a solid place in the NCAA tournament. Pessimists will lose hope, allowing themselves to think that Michigan will stumble without Howard, perhaps even completely miss the tournament.
Truth be told, things are wrong on both sides. Wolverines are the same the team they were all season. Whether they’re under Howard or under Martel’s doesn’t matter, and they proved it on Sunday.
As 93-85 loss to № 15 Illinois finished and the Michigan players entered the press room, they told the same story as in almost every defeat this season:
“(The problem was that) just staying in the castle for 40 minutes, not just 20,” said the graduate playing Devante Jones.
It’s not something new under Martelli’s leadership, it’s something that worries Wolverines since their defeat by Setan Hall earlier in the season.
So let’s not pretend that Howard was the one who called for shots to make a difference against Ilyina. Players – no.
“We knew he wasn’t going to coach us,” Jones said. “So that’s not an excuse at all.”
And no, Martelli is not Howard. Martelli repeated it himself over and over again. But it’s still Howard’s team. Howard plays managed by assistant coach Howard Aisley. He is defended by assistant coach Sadi Washington. His crimes are still in place and the players he recruited are still on the floor. The fact that Howard is not in the building does not mean that it is a completely different team.
“I think our staff just has a lot of synergies,” Washington said Friday. “Coach Juvan has put us all in a position to be successful, both coaches and players. We have such a mentality. We try to practice what we preach, and (it) is no different – the next person, it applies to our staff. “
With Martelli at the helm this will not be a miracle better, and the great coaching experience that Martelli has will also not allow him to suddenly deteriorate. It’s still just a Michigan team that’s been here all year and people have to accept that.
And that may be the exact opposite of what Wolverine coaching staff wants to hear.
“I’m not a fan of consistency because it means you stay the same,” Martelli said. “What we want to do is rise.”
Now no one calls Michigan consistent. This is perhaps one of the most sporadic teams in everyday university basketball. Any day he has the talent to bring down a power plant or the inability to lose to a team like Minnesota at home.
But it’s constantly annoying. If the Wolverines have one of those games in which they look like robbers of the world, you can bet that in the next they will fail. If they look like they’re breaking the season, they’ll crush that story as fast as they can. If they look like they’re losing control of their season, they’ll get a big win for a penny.
This is what they do.
That’s what they’re doing with Howard, and the defeat by “Illina” after Wednesday declared a landslide victory over Rutgers has proven that this is what they’re doing with Martelli.
And when reporters asked what went wrong after the game, Martelli often returned to the phrase “it’s up to me”, blaming the shortcomings of his players and team.
But that’s not the point. Because the same problems happen all season.
So stop thinking that Howard’s disappearance will change anything in this team. With or without him, Michigan is what it is.