Michigan Wolverines vs. Eastern Michigan EMU Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 16th 2023

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Juwan Howard is expected to resume his duties as Michigan’s head coach on Saturday as the Wolverines host Eastern Michigan in a non-conference game in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Assistant Phil Martelli has been acting head coach while Howard recovers from mid-September heart surgery, and also while the university investigates an altercation between Howard and strength coach Jon Sanderson last week after practice.

A 90-80 win at Iowa on Sunday snapped a three-game losing streak for the Wolverines (5-5). They will face local rival Eastern Michigan (5-4), which travels just eight miles east from Ypsilanti for this game.

Point guard Dug McDaniel (18.6 points, 5.1 assists) and 6-foot-8 forward Olivier Nkamhoua (16.5 points, 7.1 rebounds) lead the Michigan offense, but six players scored 10 or more points against the Hawkeyes.

“I don’t know that there’s a lot of games where you’re gonna have six guys in double figures. Speaks volumes about the contributions,” Martelli said after the win over Iowa. “So the key to me is our transition defense. … We are committed to that.”

Eastern Michigan, of the Mid-American Conference, is only 3-20 against its Big Ten rivals since 1950. The Eagles upset Michigan 45-42 in 2014, and lost the most recent contest to the Wolverines 88-83 in Detroit on Nov. 11, 2022.

The Eagles’ offense is fueled by junior guard Tyson Acuff (22.2 ppg), while guard Arne Osojnik (37.3 percent on 3-pointers) and forward Yusuf Jihad (57.1 percent on 3-pointers) average 9.2 points apiece.

The Eagles lost their latest game 77-63 to visiting Oakland University on Dec. 8. Acuff scored 18 points and Jihad had 15 in the setback.

“It’s good to see him continue to evolve,” Eastern Michigan coach Stan Heath said of Jihad. “He is a very good offensive player, he can make some shots and he took a lot of pressure off of Acuff. I like to see him locked in and focused.”

–Field Level Media

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