Michigan basketball without star center Hunter Dickinson vs. Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Two weeks of uncertainty, understaffed rosters and postponements ended Friday as Michigan basketball arrived at State Farm Center with something closer to a full roster of players to face No. 24 Illinois.

But one of the players still missing – star center Hunter Dickinson – leaves a huge hole for an attack that lacks reliable scorers. Dickinson, who leads UM with 16.1 points per game, traveled to Champaign with the team but never took the field for warmups. He and Brandon Johns Jr. have both traveled but are unavailable, according to a UM spokesperson.

Other players missing were reserve guard Zeb Jackson, who is on personal leave, and guard Brandon Wade, who has a non-COVID-19 illness.

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Michigan center Hunter Dickinson attempts a shot as Rutgers center Clifford Omoruyi defends during the second half of UM's 75-67 loss to Rutgers on Tuesday January 4, 2022 in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Michigan, who trained in spurts last week and never had enough players for five-on-five drills, have already faced a tough challenge against a hot Illini team that is undefeated. in Big Ten play and has won 10 of its last 11 games. Playing without Dickinson, the team’s best player and offensive focal point, makes Friday’s game even more perilous.

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