Big Ten Tournament Champion Michigan 71, Wisconsin 56 Comment Count

Ace March 12th, 2017 at 5:37 PM

Champs. [Paul Sherman]

Michigan's team plane skidded off the runway on Wednesday. The Wolverines flew to Washington DC on Thursday morning. They essentially walked off the plane and right onto the court before crushing Illinois, then went through top-seeded Purdue and four-seed Minnesota to reach the final. Today, they handed Wisconsin their biggest loss* of the season to become the lowest-seeded Big Ten team to win the conference tournament.

No matter what happens in the NCAA Tournament, this week will go down as one of the most incredible in Michigan basketball history, as much due to their play as the trying travel circumstances. Nothing reflects Michigan's incredible late-season transformation more than today's victory. With the offense not firing on all cylinders, the defense shut down Wisconsin's often-overwhelming interior attack.

DJ Wilson was a force on both ends of the floor. [Sherman]

Derrick Walton had another exemplary performance, posting 22 points, six rebounds, seven assists, and two steals. Zak Irvin played a remarkable two-way game, scoring 15 on 6-for-9 shooting, pulling down seven boards, dishing out five assists, and playing tremendous defense both on the perimeter and in the paint.

The difference, however, was DJ Wilson. Not only did Wilson drop 17 points on a wide array of finishes, but he shut down star Wisconsin center Ethan Happ after John Beilein moved him to center at halftime. Happ went 4-for-8 with 8 points in the first half; he shot only 2-for-8 after the break, and three of his four of his second-half offensive rebounds came on one possession. With that adjustment and great all-around defense, the Wolverines cruised in the second half.

Michigan now awaits their NCAA seed, which will be revealed momentarily. What an unbelievable run.

*The 71-56 final score is identical to North Carolina's win over Wisconsin in November



March 12th, 2017 at 5:41 PM ^

I've got the biggest, goofiest grin on my face. What an amazing stretch of basketball games. Truly amazing. If my little one weren't sleeping I'd yell GO BLUE at the top of my lungs!!


March 12th, 2017 at 5:43 PM ^

Michigan, 1.18 points per possession against the best defense in the Big Ten; previously, they were basically 1 ppp vs. Wisconsin.

And they held Wisconsin to 0.93 ppp in their fourth game in four days.  What a performance!

oriental andrew

March 12th, 2017 at 6:29 PM ^

was pretty darn good. Shutting down Happ and, to an extent, Hayes is no small task. I thought Wagner's post D was better than I had seen it maybe ever, and both he and Wilson did a good job staying in front and altering shots. Great all-around defensive effort today.

Also, kudos to CBS for just getting straight to the brackets and saving all the analysis and commentary for later. We didn't have to sit through one quarter of the bracket, 15 minutes of commentary/commercials, another part of the bracket, 15 more minutes of commentary/commercials, etc.


March 12th, 2017 at 6:49 PM ^

I will never forget what this team experienced on Wednesday and what they accomplished in DC Thursday through Sunday. I am certain I will not be the only one who reads this blog 24/7/365.


March 12th, 2017 at 8:33 PM ^

Just got home from the game with my son. What an incredible day. So much Michigan love at the stadium - and we were loud. So much excitement and joy for the team for the Championship and also for what was overcome to win it. What a game by Irvin - so glad he has this memory to end his career (though it isn't quite the end yet). I don't know if the TV showed it well, but that bench was GOING NUTS all night. They were having so much fun and I'm sure helped energize this team as they played their fourth game in four night. 

What a fun weekend of basketball...


March 12th, 2017 at 8:35 PM ^

I was at the game.  What became clear after the first couple of minutes was that Michigan was going to be able to defend Wisconsin straight up, much to our surprise.  

What also became just as clear was that Wisconsin was not going to be able to defend Michigan.  

Michigan missed some wide open looks and rushed some shots in transition, otherwise the game would not have been close by the second half.


March 12th, 2017 at 9:57 PM ^

you guy's , who know who who are, who pined for  beiliens's firing not  a couple weeks ago.  fuck you. and....  RichRod will rise again.  (you don't think so because 1) you coulldn't get into  M, and 2.)  you did get in but you have no earthly idea of how sports works...because... 


March 12th, 2017 at 9:57 PM ^

you guy's , who know who who are, who pined for  beiliens's firing not  a couple weeks ago.  fuck you. and....  RichRod will rise again.  (you don't think so because 1) you coulldn't get into  M, and 2.)  you did get in but you have no earthly idea of how sports works...because... 


March 12th, 2017 at 9:57 PM ^

you guy's , who know who who are, who pined for  beiliens's firing not  a couple weeks ago.  fuck you. and....  RichRod will rise again.  (you don't think so because 1) you coulldn't get into  M, and 2.)  you did get in but you have no earthly idea of how sports works...because... 

Der Alte

March 12th, 2017 at 10:02 PM ^

UW coach Greg Gard at halftime (paraphrase): "We allowed seven three-pointers in the first half. We haven't allowed seven three-pointers in an entire game."

Watching this gem of a BB game was truly enjoyable. Go Blue




March 12th, 2017 at 11:34 PM ^

Never would have believed that 14-9 Michigan would finish at 24-11

They earned it

2-3 more wins = great season

Hope they reach final 4!


March 12th, 2017 at 11:50 PM ^

What an amazing run - sensational!

What isn't mentioned very often is that Coach Beilein is a terrific tournament coach. I believe he's won at least one game in every B1G tournament, and his NCAAT runs have been amazing - beating some really good teams along the way.

So proud of Walton and Irvin for their senior leadership, so proud of the steady contributions of MAAR and Robinson, so proud of the amazing growth and improvement of Wagner and DJ.

Thank you Michigan's basketball team - Go Blue!!!


March 13th, 2017 at 12:42 AM ^

1-2 weeks back I was listening to Mlive's podcast with Nick Baumgardner and Brenden Quinn a few weeks back, and I head Quinn mention Walton had a list of goals for himself and the team that he made at the beginning of the season. One of those was win the BTT, because even the Burke and Stauskas teams that were supposedly leagues better than this team couldn't do that. Well, he just accomplished that goal. And make no mistake, he couldn't have done it without this team around him, but this team could never have sniffed a BTT championship without him. So congratulations Walton, you'll always have a special place in my personal pantheon of great players and leaders in this program.


March 13th, 2017 at 12:47 AM ^

The past 5 days of the events with the plane incident, the practice jerseys, 4 games in 4 days, and winning the championship today is something that I'll always remember. This is my 25th anniversary of being a diehard Michigan fan, and it all started with hoops. Over that span, there have been many great games, but certainly a fair share of heartbreaks and disappointments. Dark years from 98-08. So I truly appreciate days like today where our hoops team can hoist a championship trophy.


March 13th, 2017 at 12:55 AM ^

Big note from post-game coverage: Wilson wanted Happ at halftime and asked Beilein to give him the assignment one on one.  Which he got and then largely kicked his ass.  That kind of assertiveness is a big step for that kid, feels like.


March 13th, 2017 at 8:26 AM ^

For the MGoBlog Bielein-bashing noise about replacing him, going on here earlier by the writers, to be formally taken back. You folks got a little carried away with all that. The guy's a great coach and we ought to be thankful to have him.


March 13th, 2017 at 10:46 AM ^

Why should they apologize? What they were saying when they were saying it was truthful. I'm grateful Michigan and Beilein were able to turn it around. But that doesn't overwrite the fact that they had to turn it around in the first place. The team was going to miss the tournament for the 2nd time in 3 years. That should be unacceptable at Michigan. 

Fans and media putting pressure on an underachieving team is never a bad thing. It means we have enough passion to care about that team. Beilein and Michigan did something amazing. I'll never forget this run. Hopefully they cap it with an even more storybook ending. But just because we won a B1G tournament doesn't mean Beilein deserves a statue and a gold ticket to meander to mediocre record after mediocre record for the rest of his tenure here. The criticism was fair then. Just like the praise is fair now.