Nothing But ‘Net – Week #22 – 03/27/2023 – Season Wrap-up, Final Grades, And Looking Ahead

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team is done for the 2022-2023 season, and the only way to describe it is “disappointing”.  Michigan ended up with a final record of 18-16 (11-9 in Big Ten).  They finished tied for 5th place in the league standings, missed the NCAA Tournament, and lost in the 2nd round of the NIT.

Season Wrap-up

Michigan started the season ranked #22 in the preseason AP poll, and big things were expected of them.  Certainly, they were expected to contend for the Big Ten title and make it to the NCAA Tournament.  That’s not how things worked out.

There were 31 regular season games and 3 post-season games, but one game ruined the whole season: the Central Michigan game in Crisler Arena on 12/29/2022.  Michigan played like they expected to win by just showing up, and by the time they realized that they could actually lose to a lower-division MAC team in their own arena, it was too late.  They lost 63-61, and the season was in tatters.  It really didn’t matter much how many quality wins they got the rest of the season, that one horrible loss kept them out of the NCAA Tournament.

The theme for that game, and the rest of the season, was “keep the game close, and lose in the last 2 minutes”.  Michigan lost to the following 13 teams by 6 points or less, or in overtime:

They could have won every one of those games, but they managed to lose them all, often in creative new ways.  They often had double-digit leads late in the game.  It was heartbreaking.

On the positive side, Michigan did have 9 impressive wins:

Most of those wins were against teams that eventually made the NCAA Tournament, and several of them were by impressive margins (Pitt, Maryland, Northwestern, and MSU).

The remaining 12 games were a mixed bag of blowout losses (3) and unimpressive wins over lesser opponents (9):

All of these losses were away from Crisler, and two of the three were to NCAA Tournament teams (Arizona State and Penn State).

Looking at the complete season, the real story was the CMU loss and all the close losses in the last 2 minutes.  That’s where the season went down the drain.


The season stats show that Michigan shot decently overall (898-for-1884 = 45.0%), they shot 3-pointers fairly well (261-for-744 = 35.1%), and they shot free throws reasonably well (437-for-615 = 71.1%).  They barely won the rebounding battle for the season (1248-1200), but they lost the turnover battle (356-338).  These are not very impressive stats.

Here are the individual leaders this season.


  1. Hunter Dickinson: 629 points
  2. Kobe Bufkin: 462 points
  3. Jett Howard: 412 points
  4. Dug McDaniel: 294 points

Points per game:

  1. Hunter Dickinson: 18.5 points/game
  2. Jett Howard: 14.2 points/game
  3. Kobe Bufkin: 14.0 points/game
  4. Dug McDaniel: 8.6 points/game

Overall shooting percentage (minimum 100 attempts):

  1. Hunter Dickinson: 56.0%
  2. Kobe Bufkin: 48.2%
  3. Jett Howard: 41.4%
  4. Joey Baker: 39.3%

3-point shooting percentage (minimum 50 attempts):

  1. Hunter Dickinson: 42.1%
  2. Joey Baker: 39.1%
  3. Jett Howard: 36.8%
  4. Kobe Bufkin: 35.5%

Free throw shooting percentage (minimum 50 attempts):

  1. Kobe Bufkin: 84.9%
  2. Jett Howard: 80.0%
  3. Dug McDaniel: 76.8%
  4. Terrance Williams II: 75.0%


  1. Hunter Dickinson: 307
  2. Terrance Williams II: 188
  3. Kobe Bufkin: 124
  4. Tarris Reed, Jr: 132


  1. Dug McDaniel: 122
  2. Kobe Bufkin: 96
  3. Jett Howard: 59
  4. Hunter Dickinson: 50

Final Grades

Here are the final grades for this season’s team, with mid-term grades listed first.

Freshman Eligibility

  • Isaiah Barnes (B-/C) – Isaiah was granted a medical redshirt for last season, so he had freshman eligibility this season.  He played in 15 games, and scored 16 points.  He looked pretty good when he was out there, but he had trouble getting in the game.  I wasn’t surprised when he announced that he was entering the transfer portal.
  • Gregg Glenn III (C/Inc.) – Gregg didn’t play much (4 games, 11 minutes), and he didn’t score much (6 points).  He didn’t look very comfortable out there in his limited action.  I won’t be surprised if he hits the transfer portal looking for more playing time.
  • Jett Howard (A-/B+) – As you can see above, Jett was 2nd or 3rd in most statistical categories.  He had a good freshman season, but not great.  However, the NBA must see his potential, because he’s entering the NBA Draft, and most mock drafts show him getting drafted in the 1st round.  The funny thing is, Michigan seemed to play better when he was on the sidelines injured.  It must have been a chemistry thing.
  • Youssef Khayat (C+/C+) – Youssef played in 9 games, and even started one, and he scored 12 points.  He plays hard and fast, but not always under control.  He has potential, but he needs a lot of coaching and game experience.
  • Dug McDaniel (B+/A-) – Dug went from a luxury to a necessity overnight when the main point guard (Jaelin Llewellyn) went down with a season-ending knee injury in Game #8 (Kentucky).  He hadn’t done much up until that point, but once he was a starter, he got better every game.  You see his name up there in most of the statistical categories, and he is only going to get better.  He’s the fastest player on the team, and he’s fearless out there.
  • Tarris Reed, Jr. (B/B) – Tarris was mostly used as a defensive specialist who occasionally chipped in some points.  He played in all 34 games, and he scored 116 points and grabbed 132 rebounds.  He’s another player who improved almost every game.
  • Jackson Selvala (Inc./Inc.) – Jackson was a team manager who walked on as a player.  He was part of the practice squad.  He played in 4 games for a total of 7 minutes, and he missed his only shot attempt of the season.
  • Will Tschetter (B-/C+) – Will was voluntarily redshirted last season, so he had freshman eligibility this season.  He played in 27 games, and started 8 of them.  He scored 63 points.  He played solid defense, but he played a little too out-of-control sometimes on offense, making silly turnovers.  He also committed too many silly fouls.  He has the potential to improve and contribute going forward.

Sophomore Eligibility

  • Kobe Bufkin (A-/A-) – Kobe started every game except the miserable Vanderbilt game, and he played very well.  You can see his name all over the stats above.  He acted as point guard when McDaniel wasn’t out there, and he did a good job.  He is being mentioned as another player who might enter the NBA Draft.
  • Ian Burns (Inc./Inc.) – Ian was on the practice squad, and only played in 3 games for 8 minutes, and he missed his only shot attempt of the season.
  • Cooper Smith (Inc./Inc.) – Cooper was on the practice squad, and only played in 4 games for 7 minutes, and missed his only shot attempt of the season.

Junior Eligibility

  • Hunter Dickinson (A-/A) – Hunter is an enigma.  When he gets fired up, he’s the best player on the court, but he seems to just drift through the game much of the time.  Maybe it’s just his “game face”, but he often looks and acts disinterested or bored out there.  Still, he led the team in scoring, shooting percentage, rebounding, and blocked shots.  If only we could get him to play “fired up” more often…
  • Jace Howard (C/C) – Jace found a role as a defensive specialist.  He played in 30 games, but only scored 37 points.  He occasionally tossed in 3-pointer; he was 7-for-17 from deep this season.
  • Terrance Williams II (C-/D) – Terrance was the weak link on the team this season.  He played in 32 games, and started 26 of them, and he’s a good defender and rebounder, but he didn’t help much on the offensive end: 6.1 points/game.  He singlehandedly lost the Vanderbilt game.

Senior Eligibility

  • Joey Baker (B-/B) – Joey played in all 34 games, and started 5 of them, but he only averaged 5.7 points/game.  His role was “3 and D”, and he did pretty well shooting 3’s: tied for 2nd on the team in made 3-pointers (43), shooting 39.1% from deep.  His problem was consistency.  He had 7 games where he hit double figures, but 9 games where he didn’t make a basket (maybe a few free throws…).
  • Jaelin Llewellyn (B-/Inc.) – Jaelin did pretty well in the 8 games that he played before he suffered a season-ending knee injury.  He averaged 7.0 points/game, and had 22 assists against only 9 turnovers.  It’s a shame about his injury.

Looking Ahead

It’s almost pointless to try to predict who’s going to be on the team next season.  Between the transfer portal and the NBA Draft, half the team could be gone by then.  At this point, only two players have definitively said they are leaving: Isaiah Barnes (transfer portal) and Jett Howard (NBA Draft).  There’s a rumor that Kobe Bufkin might also enter the NBA Draft, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Gregg Glenn III decided to transfer to get some playing time.  Will anyone else leave over the summer?  Who knows?

So, what about Hunter Dickinson? His best season was probably his freshman season, but he’s been the heart and soul of the team all 3 years.  Will he come back for his senior season?  On the one hand, he doesn’t appear to be getting much NBA interest, but some team might take a chance on him late in the 2nd round of the draft.  On the other hand, he seems to be enjoying his college experience, and Michigan would love to have him back for another year.  So, who knows?

What about the two grad student transfer players, Joey Baker and Jaelin Llewellyn?  In theory, Baker should be done, but he has applied for a waiver for a 6th year of eligibility.  If he is granted the waiver, and if he decides to stay at Michigan, would Michigan still want him?  Probably.  He was wildly unpredictable, but he showed what he could do in the Toledo game, with 21 points.  Llewellyn is another player who would appear to be out of eligibility, but he might be granted a medical redshirt.  It was telling that he didn’t participate in the Senior Day festivities, only Baker did.  Once again, if he were given another season of eligibility, would he decide to stay at Michigan?  And, if he wanted to stay, would Michigan want him?  Where would he fit in with the rapid development of Dug McDaniel?  So many possibilities!

At this point, Michigan has two players signed up to enter the program as incoming freshmen next season:

  • Papa Kante (6’10”, 215 pounds, C) – Papa is a 4-star center, and he looks like a good, solid player, but his scouting reports say that he needs some coaching.  If he gets time to develop behind Dickinson and Reed, he could be the center of the future.
  • George Washington III (6’2”, 165 pounds, G) – George is a 4-star combo guard, with emphasis on shooting guard more than point guard.  He’s a prolific scorer in high school, and he could add some much needed firepower to Michigan’s ailing half-court offense.

In the age of the transfer portal, it seems obvious that Coach Howard is going to go shopping this off-season.  Regardless of who stays and who leaves, Michigan desperately needs more outside shooters, either as guards or wings.  If Dickinson and Reed both stay, and Kante is used as a center, that position is all set.  If Michigan has both McDaniel and Llewellyn as point guards, that position is all set.  If Bufkin comes back, that’s one outside shooter, but with Jett Howard leaving and Baker being so unpredictable, Michigan needs at least two more pure shooters.  Maybe Washington will be one of them, but it’s risky counting on a freshman too much.

Check back in mid-October for the start of next season.

Go Blue!

Nothing But ‘Net – Week #21 – 03/20/2023 – A Sad End To A Sad Season

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this past week in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), and they won one and lost the other.  On Tuesday (03/14/2023), they beat Toledo 90-80 in Crisler Arena, then on Saturday (03/18/2023), they lost at Vanderbilt 66-65.  The win and the loss leave Michigan with a final record of 18-16 (11-9 in Big Ten).  Their season is over.

What Happened?

Michigan looked good in beating Toledo in Crisler, and they were in control of the Vanderbilt game, with a comfortable lead in the final 67 seconds.  Those last 67 seconds were a nightmare, and Michigan lost the game, ending their season.  It was a sad way to end a sad season.

Game Flow

The Toledo game started out very poorly, with Toledo running to a quick 9-2 lead at the 18:27 mark.  Michigan finally got going, and pulled to within a point (11-10) with 16:28 to go in the half.  UM finally tied it up (18-18) at the 13:41 mark, then fell behind again, 27-18, with 11:11 to go.  Michigan fought back again, and tied it up again (29-29) with 7:13 left in the half.  They fell behind again, but finally got their first lead of the game (35-33) at the 4:13 mark.  The lead went back and forth for the rest of the half, with Toledo hitting a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left to lead by 2 at halftime, 42-40.  The first 2:14 of the second half were amazing.  Michigan hit three 3-pointers and a jumper to go up by 9, 51-42.  They kept the lead in the 7-9 point range for the next 6 minutes, then Toledo started creeping closer.  The Michigan lead was down to 3 points (64-61) at the 10:09 mark, but UM kept pushing the lead back up to the 5-7 point range, with Toledo getting within 3 points a couple more times.  Michigan finally pushed the lead up to the 10-12 point range, winning by 10.  It was a solid win against the MAC regular season champions.  As I had predicted, the crowd was pretty evenly divided, and it didn’t feel like a home game for Michigan.

The Vanderbilt game started out well, with Michigan grabbing a quick 5-0 lead, then UM went stone cold.  Vanderbilt ripped off a 17-0 run, and the score was 17-5, at the 12:53 mark.  Michigan fought back, and tied it up (20-20) with 9:21 to go.  The lead went back and forth for the rest of the half, with neither team leading by more than 3 points.  Michigan scored last in the half, and led by one point (30-29) at halftime.  The lead went back and forth a couple more times at the start of the 2nd half, before Michigan started pulling away.  UM led by 10 (52-42) at the 10:52 mark, and kept the lead in the 6-8 point range for most of the rest of the half.  With 1:45 left in the game, Michigan had an 8-point lead (65-57), and they got a big stop on defense.  With 1:07 to go, Michigan missed an easy layup, and the rest of the game was a nightmare.  If UM had made that layup, they would have won the game.  Instead, they committed dumb fouls and made dumber turnovers, and didn’t even attempt another shot until the last 2 seconds.  It was disgusting to watch.


The game stats for the Toledo game were fabulous.  Michigan shot very well overall (32-for-55 = 58.2%), they shot 3-pointers very well (13-for-23 = 56.5%), and they shot free throws very well (13-for-16 = 81.3%).  They won the rebounding battle handily (39-29), but they lost the turnover battle badly (14-4).  They won this game with excellent shooting.

The game stats for the Vanderbilt game were weak.  Michigan shot poorly overall (23-for-53 = 43.4%), they shot 3-pointers poorly (3-for-12 = 25.0%), but they did shoot free throws well (16-for-19 = 84.2%).  They won the rebounding battle handily (39-23), but they lost the turnover battle badly (15-7).  They lost this game with poor shooting and turnovers.

Who Started?

The starters for the Toledo game were Joey Baker, Kobe Bufkin, Hunter Dickinson, Dug McDaniel, and Will Tschetter. Baker started in place of Jett Howard, who is still nursing an ankle injury, and didn’t play in either game.

The starters for the Vanderbilt game were Joey Baker, Hunter Dickinson, Youssef Khayat, Dug McDaniel, and Terrance Williams II.  Bufkin also had an ankle injury for the Vanderbilt game, so Khayat started in his place.  Bufkin didn’t play in the Vanderbilt game.  Williams started in place of Tschetter, who came off the bench.

Who Looked Good?

Dickinson was great in both games, with 19 and 21 points.  He also had 9 and 11 rebounds, so he had another double-double vs. Vanderbilt.

McDaniel had a great week, scoring 16 and 19 points.  He was very efficient in the Toledo game, shooting 4-for-6, all from deep.  He also had 8 assists that game.  Wow!  He wasn’t quite as efficient in the Vanderbilt game, shooting 7-for-14 (2-for-4 from deep).

Bufkin was the high scorer for Michigan in the Toledo game, with 23 points, along with 8 rebounds.  It sure would have helped to have him vs. Vanderbilt.

Baker was the big (pleasant) surprise in the Toledo game.  After averaging about 5 points/game for the regular season, he caught fire vs. Toledo, scoring a season-high 21 points.  He shot very well: 8-for-11 overall, 5-for-7 from deep.  He also hit double figures in the Vanderbilt game, with 11 points, but he sure didn’t shoot well in that one: 3-for-10 overall, 0-for-3 from deep.

Who Looked Not-So-Good?

Williams should get a separate section for “worse than not-so-good”.  He actually was respectable in the Toledo game (4 points and 7 rebounds), and decent for the first 39 minutes of the Vanderbilt game (6 points and 5 rebounds), but he singlehandedly lost the Vanderbilt game in the final 67 seconds.  He had 2 turnovers and a foul, and he should have been credited with a 3rd turnover on a pass from McDaniel that he should have been able to chase down.  He didn’t do a single positive thing in those 67 seconds.  Ugh.

Tschetter was ineffective, scoring 5 and 0 points.

Khayat was ineffective, scoring 0 and 3 points.  He hit a nice 3-pointer very early in the Vanderbilt game, and he grabbed 3 rebounds, but that was it.

Tarris Reed, Jr. was ineffective, scoring 0 and 5 points.

Jace Howard was ineffective, scoring 2 and 0 points.

Who Else Played?

No one else played.

Who Didn’t Play?

Isaiah Barnes and Gregg Glenn III were the scholarship players who didn’t get to play in either game.  Barnes announced after the game that he is entering the transfer portal.

Ian Burns, Jackson Selvala, and Cooper Smith were the practice squad players who didn’t get to play in either game.

What Does It Mean?

Michigan seriously underperformed this season.  Check back next week for the Season Wrap-up, where I’ll try to figure out what went wrong.

What’s Next?

Clean out the lockers.  The season is over.

Check back next week for the Season Wrap-up, Final Grades, and Looking Ahead.

Go Blue!

Nothing But ‘Net – Week #20 – 03/13/2023 – Pop!

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played one game this past week, and they lost it.  On Thursday (03/09/2023), they lost to Rutgers 62-50 in the 2nd round of the Big Ten Tournament, in Chicago.  The loss drops Michigan’s record to 17-15 (11-9 in Big Ten).

What Happened?

What’s that “popping” sound you hear?  It’s the “NCAA Tournament bubble” that Michigan was maybe, sort of, possibly sitting on going “pop”.  No Big Dance for Michigan this season.  They had their chances.  They just had to win one of the last three games to have a fighting chance, and they lost all three of them.  Sure, the first two were on the road, and Michigan went to overtime in both games, but they were still losses.  Sure, the Rutgers game was looking promising at halftime, but the 2nd half was a nightmare.  In the end, it was just three losses.

Game Flow

As with so many games this season, Michigan had a decent lead several times in the 1st half: 7-0, 9-2, 18-11, and 23-17, then they went cold on offense.  The game was all tied up, 25-25, with 56 seconds left in the 1st half, and Michigan hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lead 28-25.  That was the high point of the game.  The rest was downhill, steeply.  Michigan COULD NOT MAKE A BASKET in the 2nd half.  They made a few free throws in the early going of the 2nd half, and they made a 3-pointer at the 15:01 mark to pull within 3 points (37-34).  The rest of the half was just free throws, no baskets until the last minute.  Michigan actually got within one point (40-39) with 11:06 to go, then they let Rutgers pull away.  It got as bad as 16 points (58-42) at the 2:03 mark.  Stop to take a look at that: in 9 minutes, Michigan scored 3 points, all free throws.  With 59 seconds left, Michigan hit their second basket of the half, another 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 13 points (58-45).  They went from 15:01 to 0:59, 14 minutes and 2 seconds, between baskets.  Before they made that 3-pointer with 59 seconds left, they were 1-for-17 in the 2nd half, with 7 turnovers.  Unbelievable.


The game stats were predictably bad.  Michigan shot horribly overall (16-for-46 = 34.8%), they shot 3-pointers decently (6-for-18 = 33.3%), and they shot free throws decently (12-for-17 = 70.6%).  They lost the rebounding battle (37-30) and the turnover battle (14-9).  They lost this game with poor overall shooting, poor rebounding, and turnovers.

Who Started?

The starters were Kobe Bufkin, Hunter Dickinson, Jett Howard, Dug McDaniel, and Will Tschetter.

Who Looked Good?

Dickinson was basically all of Michigan’s offense, with 24 of their 50 points.  Nobody else hit double figures.

Bufkin got close to double figures, with 9 points.  He was OK.

Joey Baker chipped in 5 points off the bench.

That’s it.  Nobody else looked good.

Who Looked Not-So-Good?

Jett Howard was ineffective, with 6 points on 2-for-8 shooting.

McDaniel ran the offense pretty well, but only scored 2 points, both free throws.

Tschetter was worthless, with 0 points.

Terrance Williams II scored 3 points, and didn’t contribute much.

Tarris Reed, Jr. was ineffective, scoring 1 point.

Who Else Played?

Jace Howard played for 2 minutes, but didn’t attempt a shot.

Who Didn’t Play?

Isaiah Barnes, Gregg Glenn III, and Youssef Khayat were the scholarship players who didn’t get to play.

Ian Burns, Jackson Selvala, and Cooper Smith were the practice squad players who didn’t get to play.

What Does It Mean?

As mentioned above, Michigan had to win at least one game in the Big Ten Tournament to stand a chance of a bid to the NCAA Tournament.  They blew it, and now they’re in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) instead.  They had their chances, and they blew them.  They get another chance, but it’s for a much lesser prize.  It will be interesting to see if they take this last chance with a positive attitude, or if they pout about not making it to the Big Dance.

What’s Next?

This week, Michigan plays in the NIT as a #3 seed.  They were originally listed as a 2-seed, which would make a big difference for whether or not they get a second home game if they advance, but they were mysteriously changed to a 3-seed overnight.  On Tuesday (03/14/2023, 7:00 p.m., ESPN2), they play Toledo in Crisler Arena.  If they win that game, they would play the winner of the Vanderbilt/Yale game on Saturday (03/18/2023), location, time, and TV to be announced.  The complete NIT bracket is here.

Toledo is currently 27-7 (16-2 in the MAC).  They were the regular season MAC champions, but they lost in the championship game of the MAC tournament.  They have no impressive wins, and unimpressive losses to Kansas City, East Carolina, George Mason, Marshall, Ball State, and Kent State (twice).  Of course, they did beat Central Michigan twice, which is much better than Michigan did against CMU.  They have one noteworthy player, RayJ Dennis, but they don’t have much height, one 6’10” guy.  This is a game that Michigan can and should win, but it won’t be easy.  Toledo is only 40 miles down US-23, and they’ll bring a large and loud crowd into Crisler.  It will feel more like an away game or a neutral site game.  I was there in 1981 when Michigan hosted Toledo for an NIT game, and it was raucous.  The crowd was about 65% Michigan and 35% Toledo, and the crowd carried the Michigan team past Toledo 80-68.

Check back next week to find out what happened and why.

Go Blue!