Michigan basketball without star center Hunter Dickinson vs. Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Two weeks of uncertainty, insufficient lineups and postponements came to an end Friday when Michigan basketball arrived at the State Farm Center with something closer to a full complement of players to face No. 24 Illinois.

But one player still missing, star center Hunter Dickinson, leaves a huge void for an offense that lacks reliable scorers. Dickinson, who leads UM with 16.1 points per game, traveled to Champaign with the team but never took the court for warm-ups. He and Brandon Johns Jr. both traveled but are unavailable, according to a UM spokesperson.

The other players missing were reserve guard Zeb Jackson, who is on personal leave, and guard Brandon Wade, who is dealing with an illness other than COVID-19.

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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, Jan. 4, 2022, in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Michigan, which has practiced in fits and starts over the last week and never had enough players for five-on-five drills, has already faced a tough challenge against a white-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 dangerous.

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