Following the cancellation of the 2019-20 NCAA tournament due to the coronavirus outbreak, the 2020-21 season saw the Michigan Wolverines win the Big Ten Conference regular season, thanks to a 69-50 win over the Michigan State Spartans.
The Wolverines finished with a 23-5 overall record (14-3 in the Conference), while the Spartans recorded a 15-13 regular season (9-11 in the Conference). Both teams progressed to the NCAA National Championships.
The Spartans were buoyed by small forward Aaron Henry’s decision not to enter the 2020 NBA draft, and he went on to lead the team in scoring with 15.4 ppg. However, losing All-American point guard Cassius Winston, along with forward Xavier Tillman (both of whom entered the NBA), hurt their chances. They exited in the First Four, to UCLA.
The Wolverines, led by the scoring of Hunter Dickinson, Isaiah Livers and Franz Wagner, made it all the way to the Final Four. They, too, were eliminated by UCLA.
The University of Michigan Wolverines consist of teams competing in multiple different sports. The men’s basketball team compete in the Big Ten Conference and Tournament, the latter a competition they won in its inaugural season back in 1998.
The Wolverines’ NCAA Championship history includes a win in 1989 under coach Steve Fisher, soon after which five star recruits joined the program to kickstart the ‘Fab Five’ era (Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson and Juwan Howard). The group made it to the NCAA Championship game in back to back years (1992,93), but were later sanctioned for falling foul of NCAA rules around boosting (payments to amateur players).
Former Fab Five member Juwan Howard now coaches the Wolverines, who made it all the way to the Final Four in the 2020-21 season.
Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State University’s athletics program covers 25 varsity sports teams, including the men’s basketball team.
Since playing its first game in 1898, the basketball team has been Big Ten Conference regular season winners 16 times, Big Ten Tournament winners 6 times, and NCAA Championship winners twice (1979, 2000).
That first title was delivered largely thanks to one of the Spartans’ greatest ever players, Magic Johnson. Other famous alumni include Draymond Green, Jason Richardson, Steve Smith and Scott Skiles.
Hall of Fame Coach Tom Izzo has been running the team since 1995, building a reputation for the Spartans as a tough, hard-rebounding, defensively cohesive team. He has led the team to a long, unbroken run of NCAA Tournament appearances, as well as more regular season and tournament titles than anyone else in Big Ten history.
More Michigan NCAA Basketball Teams
The Wolverine State contains seven Division I basketball schools, including University of Michigan and Michigan State.
The remaining five comprise the Chippewas of Central Michigan University, the Eagles of Eastern Michigan University and the Broncos of Western Michigan University (all of whom play in the Mid-American Conference), as well as the University of Detroit Mercy Titans and Oakland University’s Golden Grizzlies (both in the Horizon Conference).
University of Michigan Wolverines 2021–22
With third-year head coach Juwan Howard at the helm, and, coming off a phenomenal 2020-21 season in which the 23-5 Wolverines earned a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, 2021-22 was an unmitigated failure for the University of Michigan’s basketball program, which finished the season 19-15 overall, and just 11-9 in conference play.
Juwan Howard, a long time NBA player and, more relevantly, charter member of the Michigan’s “Fab 5,” the notorious 1991 Wolverines squad that also included NBA standouts Chris Webber and Jalen Rose, was an instant hit as head coach for the new generation of Wolverines basketball when he took over in 2019-20, but the team’s regression in year three of Howard’s tenure has raised serious concerns.
Similar to 2020-21, center Hunter Dickinson led the Wolverines in scoring in 2021-22, with guard Eli Brooks packing the stat sheet early in the season, before his production, at least statistically, began to tail off. Nonetheless, Brooks remained the team’s captain, his leadership playing a key role in that unexpected, season-salvaging NCAA Tournament run to the Sweet Sixteen.
Michigan State Spartans 2021–22
In 2021-22, the Spartans delivered another strong showing, which saw them post a 23-11 record, en route to a semifinal appearance in the Big 10 Championship, as well as MSU’s 24th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, the second longest active streak in the nation.
Another noteworthy highlight came on December 4th, 2021, when Tom Izzo picked up his 650th win at Michigan State, and, in so doing, overtook the legendary Bobby Knight for winningest head coach in Big 10 basketball history.
Though the Spartan’s 23-11 record was solid, the team left something to be desired in conference play, in which their 11-9 record was an improvement over last season, but still well below MSU’s out of conference mark. In the Big 10 Tournament, however, MSU captains Gabe Brown and Malik Hill willed the team to a pair of victories, before succumbing in the penultimate round to Purdue.
Similarly, after entering the NCAA tournament as a #7 seed, Michigan State looked excellent in a first-round victory against Davidson, but was ultimately unable to overcome juggernaut Duke in the Round of 32.