NCAAB: Michigan Basketball Calls a Mayday

NCAA Basketball Sports News


  • Michigan University has hired Dusty May as new head basketball coach, signing him to a five-year contract worth just under $4 million a year.
  • May, 47, is an Indiana University graduate who has been at Florida Atlantic the last six years, taking them to the Final Four in 2023.
  • The Wolverines finished 8-24 this season under Juwan Howard.

The Juwan Howard Era at Michigan was fab until it suddenly wasn’t.

After five years, the former Fab Five star with the Wolverines was dismissed, and the school announced the hiring of Dusty May from Florida Atlantic as new head basketball coach over the weekend.

This is Sweet 16 weekend in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and there’s not a single Michigan team left in the men or women’s bracket (but plenty of hockey). Michigan Sportsbooks already have odds on the Sweet 16 games Thursday and Friday. BetMGM will have props on games all the way to the national championship game. BetRivers will have point spreads and totals. The ACC and Big East are the stories so far.

At Michigan, the story is a new coach.

Who Is Dusty May? 

Dusty May - yes, that is his real name - was born in Illinois and went to Indiana University where he served as a student manager under Bob Knight from 1996-2000. He broke into the college coaching ranks at Eastern Michigan as an assistant in 2005.

His path is like a lot of college basketball assistants, five different schools in a 12-year span, before getting the head coaching job at Florida Atlanta, a.k.a. FAU. The Owls are nowhere near a basketball power. They’ve been in five different conferences in 31 years, but May figured things out, bringing in a fast-paced style of play and guiding the Owls to the Final Four in 2023.

Many people figured he would jump ship after that run, but May stayed put, taking the Owls back to the NCAA Tournament this season.

Dusty May’s Style and Profile 

May never had a losing season at Florida Atlantic, which is truly remarkable. This year’s team ranked No. 18 in the nation scoring 82 points per game and went 25-9, and 15-16 against the spread. Overall, he finished 126-69 at FAU.

Michigan leadership has to be thinking if May can win at FAU, he can win at Michigan.

What is worth watching for now is the transfer portal. FAU leading scorer Johnell Davis is only a junior and he scored 18.2 a game. Owls 7-foot-1 junior center Vladislav Goldin scored 15.7.

Don’t be surprised if some of the Owls follow May to Michigan. Meanwhile, it’ll be interesting to see which Wolverines decide to bolt. Michigan sophomore Dug McDaniel led the team in scoring, but was mired in a weird controversy this season involving grades. Juwan Howard’s son Jace may also be a candidate to transfer.

The Not-So-Fab Howard Era 

Howard was a curious choice at the time for Michigan as he had limited coaching experience, but the start of his Wolverines career was magnificent going 19-12 and 23-5 his first two years and reaching the Elite Eight.

But off-the-court incidents kept popping up. Howard and Wisconsin assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft had a post-game altercation after a Badgers win in 2022 and Howard was suspended for five games. Howard missed the start of the season because of heart surgery, but then had an altercation with the strength coach over treatment (allegedly) of Jace.

After the Wisconsin ‘slap’ the program never stabilized. Howard went 31-44 after the Wisconsin incident, but was 87-72 in his Michigan career.

Michigan will have new coaches for basketball and football in 2024, hiring Sherrone Moore as football coach in January.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.