Mon, 04 Dec 2023

Penny Hardaway returns, Memphis squares off vs. Michigan

Field Level Media
22 Nov 2023, 01:05 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Chris Day/The Commercial Appeal / USA TODAY NETWORK)

One commonality for Memphis and Michigan this season: operating in missing coach formation.

Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway was suspended for the first three games for recruiting violations, while Michigan head coach Juwan Howard is continuing to recover from an offseason heart procedure.

Howard is still out and Hardaway will return to the bench when the Tigers and Wolverines meet on Wednesday in a first round Battle 4 Atlantis contest in Nassau, Bahamas.

Memphis is 3-0 on the season. The latest win was a 92-75 triumph at home over Alabama State on Friday.

"I'm yelling at the TV because I know what's supposed to happen," Hardaway said. "It's hard and I've never had to do that, but it's also been good for me to see it from that view."

In addition to enduring life without Hardaway in November, Memphis has had to adjust to having nearly a new roster from last year's NCAA Tournament team.

With just two returning players, the Tigers are relying heavily on transfers and freshmen.

The most notable transfer is point guard Jahvon Quinerly, a standout for an Alabama that spent parts of last season ranked No. 1.

Michigan is also dealing with roster turnover, but the Wolverines got off to a 3-0 start, headlined by an impressive 89-73 win at St. John's on Nov. 13.

However, that result was followed up by a 94-86 home loss to Long Beach State on Friday.

Michigan has been getting strong play so far from sophomore point guard Dug McDaniel (21.0 points per game) and Tennessee transfer Olivier Nkamhoua (18.3), but knows it will have to be a lot better defensively against Memphis.

"If we play good defense, nobody can beat us," Nkamhoua said. "If we play how we are supposed to play, if we lock up, if we take care of the little things, if we take care of the ball, if we run back on defense, if we plug the gaps, if we communicate and execute our coverage, then we get stops."

Assistant Phil Martelli is Michigan's acting coach until Howard returns.

--Field Level Media

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