Michigan basketball returns to inconsistency with 82-71 loss to Iowa

Michigan basketball returns to inconsistency with 82-71 loss to Iowa

As his season faltered, the question haunted Michigan basketball for nearly three months. Members of the media have repeatedly launched the survey of head coach Juwan Howard, his assistant coaches, players before and after almost every game.

They wondered how this group of Wolverines – once ranked in the top 10 and selected as pre-season favorites to win the Big Ten – could find consistency so elusive. How was it possible that a team with an All-American contender in Hunter Dickinson, a coveted graduate transfer in DeVante’ Jones, an established leader in Eli Brooks and the nation’s No. 3 recruiting class could string together back-to-back wins only twice in league play?

Again, it’s a mystery UM couldn’t solve in an 82-71 loss to No. 25 Iowa on senior night at Crisler Center. The Wolverines, who have alternated wins and losses for eight straight games, were blown away from the first warning by a smooth-shooting Iowa team that is among the hottest in the Big Ten. Michigan trailed 19 points in the first half as their defensive intensity wore off, and by the end associate head coach Phil Martelli’s squad was down to 16-13 overall and 10-9 in the league.

“We have to have an emotional commitment to the game,” Martelli said. “And calling it what it is, we didn’t have the emotional commitment to start the game.”

Michigan center Hunter Dickinson and Iowa forward Filip Rebraca battle for a rebound during the first half at Crisler Center on Thursday, March 3, 2022.

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Keegan Murray and Jordan Bohannon combined to score 42 points and make nine 3-pointers as the Hawkeyes built a 17-point halftime lead in a wire-to-wire victory. Iowa shot 52.6 percent from the field and finished 11 of 19 from 3-pointers on a night when UM made seven 3s.