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5:30 PM PT6:30 PM MT7:30 PM CT8:30 PM ET1:30 PM GMT9:30 PM 北京时间6:30 PM MST8:30 PM EST, Nov 6, 2018
Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan  Attendance: 10,109

No. 19 Michigan begins season vs. Norfolk State

The last time the world saw the Michigan basketball team, it was completing a feel-good story that did not have the ultimate happy ending.

Unranked to start the 2017-18 season, Michigan morphed into one of the country's hottest teams in the final two months of the year.

The Wolverines steamrolled their way through the Big 10 tournament to win their second straight conference tournament title and advanced all the way to the national championship game for the second time since 2013.

Villanova proved to be too much for Michigan in the title game, and the Wolverines said goodbye to some key pieces in current NBA players Moe Wagner and Duncan Robinson, and Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rakhman.

Despite losing three key players there is still plenty of reason for optimism this season for Michigan, which enters the season ranked No. 19 heading into its season opener on Tuesday against Norfolk State at Crisler Center.

"Last year's team is a great one to identify with," Michigan head coach John Beilein said at his team's media day. "We talk about history. History doesn't mean (the team) this year is going to win. But the history of what we can learn from it so we put ourselves in position to win this year."

A team known for offensive precision, Michigan became a stingy defensive team last year, led by elite on-the-ball perimeter defenders in junior Zavier Simpson and senior Charles Matthews.

Both are back this year, as are sophomores Jordan Poole and Isaiah Livers, who saw extensive playing time last year.

Poole became famous for his 30-foot buzzer beater that beat Houston the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Michigan also has a highly-acclaimed freshman class coming in, led by 6-foot-7 sharpshooter Ignas Brazdeikis, point guard David DeJulius and wing player Brandon Johns.

While the experience of advancing to college basketball's biggest stage should help the returnees, Beilein said it's a whole different season.

"I'm always in a go-forward mood, that I forget about all that stuff," Beilein said. "You just let those clouds pass and look down to what's in front of you. Let that sunshine pass."

Norfolk State went 14-19 overall last year and finished tied for fourth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with an 11-5 conference record during the regular season before losing in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament to North Carolina A & T.

The Spartans return three starters from last year in junior guard Steven Whitley, senior forward Alex Long and senior guard Derrik Jamerson, Jr.

Whitley (12.2 ppg.) and Long (10.5 ppg) led the team in scoring last year.

At his team's media day, Norfolk State head coach Robert Jones said improving the team's nonconference record is a priority.

"The redemption for us is not starting 0-9," said Jones, referring to the nine-game losing streak the team started off on last year. "A lot of teams in the MEAC are satisfied with just doing well in conference and not doing good overall. I don't think we did well overall last year with a 14-19 record. We were 11-5 in conference, which many people equate to success. For us, that's not where our standard has been and we want to raise our standard to what it has been in the past."

Updated November 6, 2018

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