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Michigan Preview-Capsule

October 25, 2018

Michigan

Last season: 33-8, reached national title game.

Nickname: Wolverines.

Coach: John Beilein.

Conference: Big Ten.

Who’s gone: Forward Moe Wagner, guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, guard-forward Duncan Robinson.

Who’s back: Charles Matthews passed on the NBA and returned to the Wolverines. He averaged 13 points a game last season. Point guard Zavier Simpson shot just 29 percent from 3-point range and 52 percent on free throws, but his defensive intensity set the tone for much of Michigan’s success. Jordan Poole averaged only 6 points a game as a freshman, but his 3-pointer at the buzzer beat Houston to send Michigan to the Sweet 16. Isaiah Livers and Eli Brooks combined for 34 starts in 2017-18. At 7-foot-1, Jon Teske gives the Wolverines a big defensive presence inside, and he’s shown flashes on offense.

Who’s new: Freshmen Brandon Johns and David DeJulius were rated No. 60 and No. 93 in ESPN’s Class of 2018 Top 100. Ignas Brazdeikis averaged 28.4 points as a senior at Orangeville Prep in Canada.

The Skinny: Michigan’s defensive resurgence helped the Wolverines to a Sweet 16 berth in 2017 and last season’s Final Four run. Wagner will be tough to replace, and a lot may depend on how much Poole, Livers and the new freshmen can contribute offensively.

Expectations: Las Vegas oddsmakers have Michigan at 35-1 to win the NCAA Tournament, the same odds as rival Michigan State. Only 11 teams — and none from the Big Ten — are given shorter odds.

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