2022-23 Season

Game 12: Central Michigan at Michigan Recap

It’s natural to gravitate toward how bad a shocking loss was. Central Michigan entered the Crisler Center ranked 296th in the country as a 21-point underdog and knocked off Michigan 63-61. It was unquestionably a horrible loss and one of Michigan’s worst losses in years.

But that’s not the story, at least not the important story. College basketball teams play bad games during a regular season, and upsets happen. There are a handful of games where a team doesn’t have it, and things go sideways. It’s easy enough to look the other way if a team has shown something meaningful in its other games.

Michigan losing this game against Central Michigan is a thing that happens. Michigan’s failure to cover the spread in five of six buy games is a problem. The Wolverines outscoring three middle-of-the-road MAC opponents by 7 points in three games is a problem. Michigan’s failure to show any signs of playing high-level winning basketball in 12 games is the real problem.

This inevitable quadrant four loss is an anchor that will make it difficult for Michigan to make the NCAA Tournament even with a turnaround in Big Ten play. But the product on the floor hasn’t looked anywhere close to ready to compete in the Big Ten, let alone win double-digit games. This loss was coming for a team that hadn’t played well all season.

Michigan hasn’t been able to beat good teams and hasn’t been able to beat bad teams by a significant margin. There’s minimal upside, and minimal ‘spurtability’ — when was the last time the Wolverines went on any double-digit run? — and most importantly, no signs of progress.

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