Michigan 66, Minnesota 56

Submitted by Ace on March 1st, 2014 at 9:05 PM


GRIII: Pretty, pretty good at the whole "jumping" thing. [Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog]

I'm at a loss for words.

Michigan just secured their second Big Ten title in three years with two games remaining on the schedule. The year the Wolverines didn't win, they made the national championship game. At least four plays tonight were more spectacular than anything I witnessed Michigan do in the entire Ellerbe/Amaker era—good lord, Glenn Robinson—and this wasn't a good offensive effort by this team's standards.

The novelty of Michigan basketball being a legitimate national powerhouse hasn't worn off in the slightest. I still can't help but blurt out "oh my god" on press row when Nik Stauskas throws a lob to GRIII and he throws it down on two people without regard for gravity or human life. Ditto when the backup point guard with one scholarship offer sparks another highlight-reel alley-oop with an Unseldian outlet pass, then follows it up with a leaping high-wire act to tap keep a critical possession alive. Or when Caris LeVert, one-time Ohio commit, continues to develop into an all-B1G player before our very eyes.

I'm still trying to comprehend last year. Now this? Without Trey Burke or Tim Hardaway Jr. or Mitch McGary? My brain is a 404 error. The page you are looking for does not exist. Please return to the front page and continue staring at the banners above you until you're 100% sure this is reality.

Adding to my confusion is the manner by which Michigan won tonight. Their shots weren't falling in the early going; unlike the last handful of games, however, the Wolverines weathered an early opposition run with quality defense. Minnesota led 15-9 at the ten-minute mark of the first half. At halftime, Michigan led 31-20, even providing a signature defensive moment during their 22-5 run, a spectacular Robinson block of an Andre Hollins fast break layup.

The offense eventually found its rhythm thanks to the exploits of Michigan's three stars. Stauskas knocked down 5/8 three-pointers en route to a game-high 21 points. Though LeVert (13 points) struggled outside the arc (1/5), he hit 4/8 two-pointers, dished out five assists, and used his three defensive rebounds to ignite transition opportunities. Robinson added 12 points, half of which came on alley-oops, seemingly touched the rafters to pull down a critical late offensive rebound before finishing the job himself, and knocked home one of his signature 18-footers.

Jordan Morgan scored five points on three shots, but that only scratches the surface on his contributions tonight. He drew a huge charge call in the second half, played his usual excellent defense, and pulled in ten rebounds. Morgan's final board, on a Stauskas miss with 1:45 remaining, led to Spike Albrecht sinking a dagger to put Michigan up ten, capping a high-impact outing for Michigan's backup point guard. Derrick Walton only played 18 minutes; in that time, he scored eight points on five shots.

Michigan will raise their third banner is as many years when the 2014-15 season begins. Several of tonight's key figures won't be in uniform—Morgan, definitely, and who knows what will happen with the pro prospect sophomores? It'll be a familiar feel to start a Michigan season, and that alone is astounding to this child of the late '90s and early aughts.

Better yet, this season isn't over, and once again the Wolverines are rounding into form as the calendar flips to March. I think this Beilein fellow just might work out.

Comments

turd ferguson

March 1st, 2014 at 9:54 PM ^

That was absolutely an A+ hire.  The guy is a brilliant coach, his teams are fun to watch, he brings in kids who are easy to cheer for, he's a good spokesman for the program, and as the guy who leads the ethics coalition, he leaves absolutely no doubt that the past problems are long gone.

We're incredibly lucky to have Beilein.  

Dubs

March 1st, 2014 at 9:44 PM ^

I'll be the first to say, I am not skilled in the art of GIFs or video editing; I would kill to have someone make a video of GR3's alley-oop "Jim Ross style."

M-Dog

March 1st, 2014 at 10:40 PM ^

We've come a long way in a short time.  Remember this from only five years ago?

 

 

We were deliriously happy just to make the Tournament.

If we get a crowd that big at Crisler this year to watch the selection show, it will be to see if we get a #1 seed.

 

jmblue

March 2nd, 2014 at 12:37 AM ^

 

I'm still trying to comprehend last year. Now this? Without Trey Burke or Tim Hardaway Jr. or Mitch McGary? My brain is a 404 error.

 

Yep. I'm still recovering from the decade of futility. At some point during that timeframe, when even making the tournament seemed incredibly difficult, I basically accepted the premise that Michigan was never again going to be the national power it was during my childhood. When we followed up the 2009 tournament appearance with the hugely disappointing 2010 season, it seemed to reinforce that. (And even the 2009 appearance reminded me that just making the tournament isn't really the sign of a great program.)

These last three years, I've hardly been able to believe what we've done.  Part of me is still convinced I'm going to wake up and see us lose by 30 at home as MSU fans take over our arena.  Are we really not talking about our coach needing to win X number of games to be secure in his job? We're not talking about the team needing to finally beat someone on the road to cement a tourney bid? We're actually . . . really good?  Whoa.

 

 

MadMatt

March 2nd, 2014 at 2:22 AM ^

And for the record, the Nik Stauska/Spike Albrecht/Mitch McGary/GR3 recruiting class now has half as many National Title Game appearances, and one B1G Championships MORE that the Fab Five (even letting them keep their vacated seasons).

Rockycapp

March 2nd, 2014 at 9:31 AM ^

because I was at a Toledo Walleye game with my daughters for girl scouts. Right outside of our section Drew Basil and Marcus Hall were signing autographs. I told my 6 yr old daughter they were Buckeye players, so she started screaming Go Blue and Boooo Ohio to them. It was a "noteable" night to say the least. Haven't been this proud of her since she became potty trained.

Raoul

March 2nd, 2014 at 3:38 PM ^

With interest coming from several BCS schools, Wake Forest is the current team to beat for Malzone.

"I loved my visit there a couple weeks ago," he said. "I'm going to visit there again soon hopefully. It's going to be tough with baseball.

"I'm looking to commit somewhere soon."

Sopwith

March 2nd, 2014 at 5:32 PM ^

for being one of the few media personae to use the term "dagger" correctly (instead of confusing it for "game winning shot" or "a good three pointer" or "any three-pt shot" or "any shot that goes in the bucket, generating points per regulation scoring in basketball").