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3 predictions for the Wolverines against Illinois

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Michigan basketball will go for its 16th straight win to open the season Thursday at Illinois and here are three predictions for the Wolverines.

Fresh off another impressive win over a top-25 opponent, the Michigan basketball team will hit the road Thursday, as the Wolverines look for the second 16-0 start in school history.

Michigan basketball won its first 16 games of the 2012-13 season, which eventually ended up with the Wolverines losing the national championship game to Louisville. You will remember that team with Trey Burke, Mitch McGary, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Nik Stauskas and others.

That was as talented a team as the Wolverines have had since the days of the Fab Five and while this year’s team may not have the same individual talent, the sum of its part might be greater.

Jordan Poole has been sensational on the offensive end in recent weeks and he has developed into the Wolverines go-to-guy. He is also the new guy featured in the pick-and-roll. His ability to shoot the 3-pointer, drive to the bucket and distribute the ball has been impressive and John Beilien is using all of those talents to the full effect.

The big key for Michigan basketball though remains defense. The Wolverines are still third in the nation in points allowed at just 55.6 points allowed. UM is also ranked fourth in defensive efficiency by Kenpom, which pegs UM as the sixth-best team overall.

Illinois is the 106th team overall according to Kenpom, with a defense that ranks 83rd and an offense that ranks 143rd. The Fighting Illini are also 4-11 but in the Big Ten, nothing comes easy on the road and here are three predictions the game which tips Thursday at 8 PM EST (FS1).

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