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Why must Michigan basketball overcome Rutgers?

The Michigan Wolverines must find a way.



Michigan basketball overcome Rutgers
Feb 18, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Kobe Bufkin (2) grabs a rebound against the Michigan State Spartans in the second half at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow, the Michigan Wolverines (15-12, 9-7 Big Ten) will head to New Jersey to face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (17-10, 9-7 Big Ten). With the opportunities slowly slipping away from UM as the season winds down, can Michigan basketball overcome Rutgers?

Can Michigan basketball overcome Rutgers?

Last weekend, the Michigan Wolverines basketball team managed to keep its 2022-23 season alive… for now. Michigan did this with a 12-point quad two victory over the Michigan State Spartans — it was a solid performance for the Wolverines, though one that must be replicated many more times if Michigan wants to play any meaningful postseason basketball.

Even if the Wolverines are to win out and finish 19-12 before the Big Ten Tournament, UM may still need more help in the BTT to make the big dance in March. While the victory over MSU was sweet, especially since it was a rivalry game at home, it is just one step in the right direction — the Wolverines are still many steps from tournament contention.

That said, Rutgers is a beatable team, especially with some injury questions looming heading into Thursday’s game. Michigan also has some injury questions of its own, as star guard Jett Howard went down during the Michigan-Michigan State game last weekend — this is the second time this year that Jett Howard has seen issues with an ankle injury; the last time it happened, Howard missed the following game.

Rutgers is a beatable team — they rank No. 28 in the NET rankings, making them a quad one game. The Michigan Wolverines will need some Q1 wins if they expect to see the light of March again, so while it may be tough, it is necessary that Michigan basketball overcomes Rutgers tomorrow evening.

What’s next for the Michigan Wolverines?

Michigan basketball has four games left on its regular season slate and currently sits in a four-way tie for 4th place in the Big Ten standings with a 9-7 record. The Wolverines are not quite in the NCAA tournament picture right now, though if UM can find a way to finish strong and make noise in the Big Ten Tournament, I suspect we will see Juwan Howard’s Wolverines make another run late.

With that said, time is running out for the University of Michigan men’s basketball team, and Thursday is the perfect opportunity to reestablish some hope among the fans for a March Madness berth. The bottom line is this: every game is now a ‘must-win’ game, and Michigan basketball must overcome Rutgers tomorrow night.

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