Sunday evening, in the moments after Michigan’s 80-58 win over UCF, Isaiah Livers stood with a manager on the Crisler Center floor, working on his 3-point shooting.
This was the dichotomy the Wolverines created Sunday. Three bench players — all in their first year with Michigan — were the standouts chosen to serve as the Wolverines’ public face. Livers, their senior star, was so frustrated with his performance that he returned to the floor in hopes of rediscovering his shooting stroke.
It was Livers, after all, who punctuated Michigan’s nightmare first 10 minutes. Trailing 23-13 midway through the first half, he lost focus for a split second after chasing down a rebound near halfcourt, allowing the Knights’ Brandon Mahan to strip him and finish a wide-open layup.
Instantly, Juwan Howard turned to his bench, calling on Williams to check in for Livers.