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Juwan Howard Addresses State Of Michigan Basketball Program

Juwan Howard explains the state of his Michigan basketball program before facing Michigan State this evening.



Michigan basketball, Juwan Howard,
Jan 27, 2024; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwan Howard coaches in the second half against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

What is going on with the Michigan basketball program in year five of the Juwan Howard era? It’s a question that all Wolverines fans have been forced to ask lately, with the men’s team sitting at 7-13 overall (2-7 Big Ten) heading into this evening’s road game against the Michigan State Spartans. Before the matchup, Howard gave some insight into the state of his program.

The state of the Michigan basketball program before facing Michigan State

Before facing Michigan State on Wednesday night in East Lansing, Juwan Howard was asked about the state of the Michigan basketball program. A 3-0 start gave fans some early hope for the Maize and Blue, though with a 4-13 record ever since — including a current three-game losing skid — there appears to be no hope remaining among the fans right now.

“Our team is fighting hard,” Juwan Howard said of his fifth Michigan basketball team 20 games into the season. “They’re so prideful, very competitive. And they don’t like losing. Who does? But, you know, the last two ballgames that we lost, those moments of mentally — what can I do better? And I love hearing that from our guys, that that has been the mindset, instead of the finger pointing or divide, as far as it’s this guy’s fault or that guy’s fault or I’m not getting enough shots, ‘I’m not getting enough minutes.’ We’ve had guys who’s all dialed in to being all in and trying to figure out solutions. And that’s the beauty of coaching this group.

“And so my staff that I will continue to keep leading, continue to keep growing and teaching our group and we’re gonna continue to keep competing, game after game. But we always want to be on that winning side. There’s nothing like (winning).”

Can Juwan Howard turn around this mess of a season?

I am not going to say that a win over Michigan State this evening could change things for this year’s Wolverines, mainly because I said as much about a potential win over Ohio State earlier this month, and despite getting a victory over the Buckeyes, the Wolverines are winless ever since.

That said, a victory would give Howard and Michigan a one-game advantage in his all-time series against Tom Izzo and the Spartans, and that has to be worth something, right? It’s doable for the Maize and Blue, but with Dug McDaniel still suspended, it’s unlikely; in fact, ESPN gives Michigan State an 88.2 percent chance of beating Michigan basketball later today.

Tip-off is at 9:00 PM (ET) in East Lansing this evening, and the game will be broadcast on Peacock.

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CJ has covered college athletics in paid roles for around five years, including numerous sports and beats. His most recent work revolves largely around Penn State and Michigan football and basketball as a member of the credentialed media at both schools. Right now, CJ writes for Blue by Ninety, where he also serves as the site's credentialed football reporter. He also does some credentialed basketball coverage. Previously, CJ has made stops with sites like GBMWolverine, Saturday Blitz, Steeler Nation, and more.