2022-23 Season

With back against the wall, Michigan leans on Hunter Dickinson

During a timeout in Michigan’s 77-69 win over Ohio State, Terrance Williams II joined the huddle with an idea:

“Terrance Williams was like, ‘Let’s keep going to Hunter,’ ” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “And I said, ‘you know what, I agree, we’re gonna keep going to Hunter because he had it going.’”

Needless to say that idea worked, and Dickinson finished off a 26-point, 11-rebound double-double performance by the final buzzer. But more important than his usual scoring prowess, his performance — one that saw him lock down the post and facilitate Michigna’s offense — came when the Wolverines had their backs against the wall.

Because at this point in the season, Michigan needs to stack as many quality wins as possible. March is only a few weeks away, and its resume is rather sparse for a perennial Sweet 16 team. Truth be told, there’s not enough on the resume to even be considered for the NCAA Tournament right now.

Against the Buckeyes, the Wolverines had the chance to fix that. Currently 36th in the NET, Ohio State presented the kind of opponent they needed to get the job done against to make a push toward March Madness. Also the type that they can’t afford to lose to. 

“We’re preparing for these teams knowing that our back is against the wall, that we have to put together wins,” graduate guard Joey Baker said. “When you have that, it changes some things. Our focus is there in a way that it wasn’t in games prior.”

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