- Miles Simon
In evaluating national championship contenders every season, I always start by looking at how good a team's backcourt is. A team needs to have great guard play in order to make a run in the tournament, because truly great big men -- ones who are effective playing with their backs to the basket -- are hard to find in today's game.
Guards are controlling the game now more than they ever have. Teams are utilizing dribble-drive offenses, allowing guards to break defenders down playing one-on-one, and there is a ball screen nearly every time down the floor. An elite-level guard can carry a team on his back for two, three or four games in a one-and-done setting (see: Kemba Walker) because they have so much control over the basketball.
So it should come as no surprise that the team with the best backcourt in the nation -- the Michigan Wolverines -- is on my short list of title contenders. Let's take a look at what makes their guard play so good, both individually and collectively, ahead of their Thursday night home matchup against Purdue (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Miles Simon writes that the Michigan Wolverines have the best backcourt in the country, and explains what that means for their national championship hopes.