Basketball team

2021-22 season preview / record forecast for Michigan men’s basketball team

It’s officially November, which means the Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball team returns this month. With all the buzz around the Wolverines, especially with their talented squad and coaching staff, the Maize and Blue have everything they need to be successful this season. Ahead of Game 1, let’s take a closer look at Michigan’s schedule and make monthly predictions of their toughest opponents and possible records.

November

The Wolverines are guaranteed five games this month, with a potential of six based on their performance when competing in the Roman Main Event in Las Vegas. They start their season in Ann Arbor against Buffalo, Prairie View and Seton Hall in their first week. They then head to Las Vegas for a mini-tournament challenge with Arizona, UNLV and Wichita State. Michigan’s first-round game is UNLV, with the potential to play the winner between Arizona and Wichita State. They return home to host Tarleton State for their last game of the month.

Michigan should be able to win all of those games. None of the scheduled opponents are ranked in the preseason top 25, and the highest KenPom ranking among them is Seton Hall in the 50th (potential opponent Arizona is in the 47th). Michigan, meanwhile, comfortably occupies 6th place in the preseason standings and 2nd place on KenPom. We should expect Juwan Howard to experience many different lineups during these matches to understand how this team freezes when playing in live matches.

Some growing pains are to be expected in the first month of the season, but the roster is too talented to let any of these teams trip them up so early in the season. The Wolverines are set to enter December undefeated.

December

With the shift from November to December, Michigan will see its first ranked opponent in the preseason. The Wolverines travel to Chapel Hill to take on UNC in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. This will likely be the toughest game for the Wolverines in December, as the Tar Heels are currently ranked # 19 in the AP and # 40 in KenPom. UNC will look to emulate the Michigan success of the former player-turned-head coach with former first-round pick Hubert Davis taking over from Roy Williams. Despite the new coach, the Dean Smith Center is still a tough environment to play in, which should be a great test at the start of the season.

December will also see the Wolverines host San Diego State, Minnesota, Southern Utah and Purdue Fort Wayne, while playing Nebraska and UCF on the road. On KenPom, San Diego State (No.33) is the highest-ranked team the Wolverines face in December. The Aztecs have made appearances in seven of the last 10 NCAA tournaments and have won their conference in the past two seasons. They will face Michigan harshly, which could allow for an eventual PA Top-25 game in Crisler for the Wolverines.

Both the UNC and the State of San Diego are formidable enemies, and the results of these games will serve as a good indication of where their cap is. Despite tough opponents at the start of the season, both games are expected to fall firmly into the win column.

Michigan is set to enter 13-0 in 2022.

January

The first is Rutgers, as the Wolverines head to the RAC to kick off the New Year. Michigan will then enter a tough 10-day stretch between MSU, Purdue, Illinois and Maryland. Fortunately, Illinois will be their only road game during this streak. All four are in KenPom’s top 25 teams, while the AP has three seeded preseason. The fate of the Wolverines after those four games will be a great indication of whether or not they are able to repeat themselves as the Big Ten regular season champions.

After Maryland, Michigan will end January with road games against Indiana and MSU, while their last home game of the month will be Northwestern. The Wolverines face a tough schedule in January, with five clashes with the Big Ten’s top teams. While MSU is currently off the AP standings, they surely have the potential to be another ranked clash for the Wolverines in January. Illinois will likely be the toughest game this month, given it’s an away game and the Illini have a job ahead of Michigan to be named the Big Ten champion. Last year.

This month looks to be the toughest on Michigan’s calendar, with plenty of opponents capable of playing a close game with the Wolverines. January will likely be where Michigan relinquishes its first losses of the season and it looks like they’ll be just short of the best start record.

Michigan will likely come out in January 18-3 with losses to MSU, Purdue and Illinois.

February

Michigan kicks off February with their second game against Nebraska, this one at Crisler. The other home games this month will be Ohio state, Rutgers and Illinois. The Wolverines take on Purdue, Penn State, Iowa and Wisconsin on the road. The competition won’t weaken this month, as they play the Purdue rankings at West Lafayette and host OSU and Illinois. At Purdue will be the toughest game of the month, with Purdue sixth in the KenPom standings. Thankfully, this month doesn’t have a rough playing time this time around, as the toughest opponents are more scattered.

Of the eight games played in February, Michigan will have their hands full with Purdue, OSU and Illinois. All are in the top 25 in the AP preseason and in the top 10 on KenPom. With the exception of Purdue, Michigan should play well against OSU and Illinois at home. These matches will likely have the closest margins of victory, as the season draws closer to the determination of the Big Ten champions and the tournament standings.

This team should have no problem with Penn State, Wisconsin and Nebraska. In Iowa, however, it will be more of a draw, as they are not ranked in the AP but are No. 23 in KenPom. Iowa has proven particularly difficult on the road, but Michigan should come off with a win.

Michigan should see some of its best wins this month and hopefully avoid Big Ten contenders in Illinois, Purdue and OSU. February will be the last major push for the playoff talks, and the Wolverines are more than capable of staying in the Big Ten champions’ conversation. Based on the team’s talent and the schedule of those games, Michigan should head into March with a 25-4 record, losing only to Purdue.

March

The final two games of the regular season will see the Wolverines host the Iowa hawk eyes and are finishing their regular season at Value City Arena in Columbus against the Buckeyes. At this point in the season, the Big Ten rankings should be pretty much set for the top teams. Between the two remaining regular season games, Ohio State will be a tough game for the Maize and Blue. Given that this final game of the season is a rivalry game, OSU will play exceptionally well against Michigan, especially depending on how their previous game went in February. For Iowa, Michigan is more than capable of winning this game, especially since it is the last home game of the regular season and senior night.

Michigan is expected to end the regular season with a 26-5 record and in the Top 25 AP. They will be in an excellent position for the start of the tournament season and should perform well in both Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis and the NCAA tournament.


The Wolverines have an exceptional squad this season and their record should reflect that. They will have a tough competition all season long, which will only bode well for them at the time of the tournament. Michigan has what it takes to be one of the best teams in the country and the road to the Final Four officially begins now. The Maize and Blue welcomes the Buffalo Bulls on Wednesday, November 10 at 6:30 p.m.


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