The Michigan Wolverines have advanced to the Elite Eight for the fourth time since 2013 and second since 2018; however, it’s the first Elite Eight seed under second year head coach Juwan Howard.
They’ll be going up against the UCLA Bruins, back in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2008.
“We’re all excited about participating in the Elite Eight,” Howard said today. “It’s an exciting moment for all that’s involved. We’re looking forward to a very competitive game against UCLA. Today is gonna be a prep day. Looking forward to the game tomorrow.”
Following their Sweet Sixteen victory over Florida State, Howard discussed the “brotherhood” amongst his players. This afternoon, he further built on his sentiments, describing their selfless nature and growth.
“I love coaching this group because they’re a very selfless group,” he said. “They play for one another. Each and every player enjoys each other’s success. If you look at the guys that are not on the floor, they’re really pouring a lot of energy and a lot of life into the guys who are out there competing. And then, when a guy comes off the floor, and he’s doing the same thing for the guys still out there competing. That’s a part of a winning team and that’s why I’ve just been so fortunate to see the growth in this group, and we will continue to keep growing together.”
Howard was quick to compliment the “scrappy” Bruins, whom he believes are a well coached group and certainly not a team that they can afford to look past despite having higher aspirations.
“Their grit is what has impressed me the most,” Howard said of UCLA. Also, they’re a well-coached group that plays with a chip on their shoulder. That’s why I believe the run has been amazing, because a lot of people have dumped on them, said they don’t believe they should be here or don’t deserve to be here. I’m sure they use that as a fuel to light a fire underneath them. But, it doesn’t have to, because each and every player that plays on that roster is high-character, I believe — a highly-skilled individual.
I just watched film and just seeing how they go out there and compete for 40 minutes. They don’t give up, they’re relentless, taking the ball to the basket, they shoot the ball extremely well, they attack the offensive glass. Very scrappy group.”
The Wolverines and Bruins will tip-off just before 10:00 PM EST tomorrow night. While it’s a late start, center Hunter Dickinson promised his group will be ready on time.
Hunter Dickinson on the late start: "At 9:57, Michigan will be ready to play."
— Theo Mackie (@theo_mackie) March 29, 2021
Dickinson went on to compliment UCLA and state that Michigan is viewing them as an equal partner in the Elite Eight matchup rather than their No. 11 seeding:
“We’re not looking at (UCLA) as an 11 seed,” he said. “We’re looking at them as another Elite Eight team.”
– – Quotes via Isaiah Hole of Wolverines Wire Link – –