Thank you, Dustin Johnston, for lobbing this softball over the heart of the plate. It's remarkable, not to mention hilarious and captivating, that Jon Horford coexists peacefully on a team with these two hooligans:
Note John Beilein's futile effort to wave Andrew Dakich and Mitch McGary back to the bench. You cannot stop their enthusiasm. You can only hope to contain-- no, that seems impossible, too.
[Hit THE JUMP for Aaron Craft's greatest contribution to the Aaron Craft debate, Nik Stauskas making absurd layups, various moments of Illinois failure, the bench mob takeover, and more.]
As usual, click the links/stills to open each GIF in a lightbox, and don't forget to vote for your favorite at the end of the post. Also, this post contains no Michigan State GIFs, because I don't have the video yet and who wants to relive that, anyway?
Putting a line break between HMs now so it's easier to find each of them.
Aborted Dakich celebration.
Zak Irvin hits wide open three after Illinois make, John Groce reacts accordingly.
Caris LeVert steal/slam and bench reaction.
Jordan Morgan rejects Tracy Abrams, saves ball, nearly runs into camera.
Nik Stauskas wants the ball, please.
Morgan's game-winner against Illinois.
You'll be shocked to see who was first off the bench after the Illinois buzzer.
Aaron Craft elbows LeVert, slams into Morgan, draws foul.
A warm welcome from Dakich and McGary.
What happens when three defenders all guard the same player on a high screen.
Caris LeVert gets and-one while disappearing into another dimension.
Just another Stauskas three and Dakich/McGary dance/handshake.
Walton three, Dakich/McGary things.
Stauskas post-buzzer slam.
10. Andrew Dakich Huddle Dance
This requires no further explanation. God help us all when Dakich is legally allowed into Rick's.
9. Stauskas Pullup, Dakich/McGary React
The crossover-to-pullup-three is GIF-worthy on its own, a filthy sequence of skill that Stauskas makes routine. The bench reaction is a bonus, and quite a bonus at that.
8. LeVert Triple, Dakich/McGary Handshake
Dakich and McGary starting out each of these on complete opposite ends of the bench only adds to my enjoyment of them.
7. Nik Stauskas's Second-Best Layup Of The Weekend
Nik Stauskas splits two defenders as he gathers the ball, maneuvers around 6'11" shot-blocker Nnanna Egwu, and puts up a layup like he's tossing pizza dough. Of course it goes in, because Nik Stauskas is not human.
This was his second-best layup of the weekend. Cherish this tournament run, everyone.
6. Mister Fantastic Saves The Day
Jordan Morgan's layup proved to be the game-winner. Caris LeVert's rebound out of nowhere, however, was probably the biggest Michigan offensive play of the Illinois game. Without it, the Illini would've been up three with the ball, and their next possession ended in a bucket with 2:31 remaining.
Also, the fact that once Derrick Walton got the ball there was no doubt he was going to hit the tying three is really, really nice. He's the fourth-best shooter on the team, statistically, and he's a freshman point guard hitting 39% of his three-pointers. Quite the luxury.
5. Subs On The Brain
The context is irrelevant.
I had to include the actual last shot, but everything you need to know about how it went can be seen in the reaction from the Illini cheerleaders...
...and these two guys:
I'm starting to understand why they hate us so much.
3. Karma: Rayvonte Rice Edition
Sadly, this went down in the official box score as "MISSED LAYUP by Rice, Rayvonte" and not "MISSED DUNK by Rice, Rayvonte | BLOCK by Rice, Rayvonte" — step up your game, official scorers.
Karma version with Rice's post-dunk trash-talking.
2. Up And Under
One of the best plays of the year deserved, and received, one of its best celebrations.
Replay angle of the layup, which... dang:
He put some English on that ball, to say the least.
FRAMES OF THE GAME: AARBALL II
Curse you, Spauding!
Replay angle featuring Trey McDonald double facepalm:
Doug Gottlieb's "slippery balls" argument in one GIF:
Clark Kellogg cackling and Seth Davis openly mocking his colleague, who seems to realize at the very end his argument is idiotic—but probably doesn't, because Doug Gottlieb—is perfect.