For the second straight year, Michigan will be raising a banner before the season opener.
However, this season, the Wolverines will be hoisting two banners to the rafters of the Crisler Center Tuesday night. Like last season, Michigan will raise a Big Ten Tournament banner, but adds a Final Four banner this season.
The players know how big this accomplishment is.
“I was thinking about that last night,” sophomore forward Isiah Livers said. “I was talking about it with Jordan (Poole) last night in the room and I was like, ‘We’re going to have two banners go up, Big Ten champions and Final Four’ That’s just big. We always talk about how it could’ve been three, but you just have to learn from your mistakes and keep pushing.”
The banners signify just how far the Wolverines got last season.
“It’s just amazing to see it as a team,” sophomore guard Jordan Poole said. “Last year, we went on an amazing run as a team. Being able to come with a new team this year and look at the banners that we raised last year as a team is awesome.”
Michigan coach John Beilein talked Monday about how he doesn’t really think about what his team accomplished last season. Instead, he dwells on times in his career when things went wrong.
Poole said he hasn’t really had time to think about the run Michigan went on because of how soon the season began due to the trip to Spain.
“If it comes up, I think about it,” Poole said. “It’s not anything that I go and reminisce about because we got into the new season so fast. After the loss, we were really hurt after the loss but then a couple weeks after that, we really were really excited we made it to the Final Four.”
Against Norfolk State, Michigan begins its quest again. While the banners will go up, Tuesday means the beginning of a new chapter for the Wolverines.
While the film that Michigan has on Norfolk State is limited, the Wolverines know what they are going to face.
“They’re a really good team, really physical team,” Poole said. “They get up and down the floor. They crash the offensive glass a lot. They’re aggressive.”
Livers likely won’t be in the starting lineup Tuesday night, however he’s accepted coming off the bench.
“It’s new from me from starting last year, but I agree with everything Coach B says and it kind of makes sense having some leadership come off the bench,” Livers said.
In Michigan’s final tune-up before the regular season against Northwood, Michigan won 90-58. In that exhibition game, the Wolverines began to find their new identity.
“We saw that we want to get up and down the floor quick, we want to run,” Poole said. “The team last year, we were really good at running offensive sets in the half court but this year we’re extremely athletic so we want to get up and down the court. We were making the right plays and were getting the shots we wanted to get.”
After playing in the national championship game, Michigan knows what it’s going to take this season. The Wolverines are ready to play against Norfolk State after a long offseason.
“I think we’re extremely prepared,” Poole said. “We’ve been practicing for a really long time. We know what we’re capable of.”