Big Ten Tourney Week. Congrats to MSU. Impressive season, fought through legit adversary and won some really big games. I think both losses, particularly this last one, will help this Michigan team grow both in this post-season and next season as well.
The Friday midnight tip is going to make this a little bit of a long week, but with Matthews still recovering I guess the longer we wait the better. Hopefully this can make for a little bit of a random discussion depository for thoughts and takes that don't warrant their own thread.
First, who do you see winning the BTT and what is your opinion of our draw. I don't hate the likely Iowa matchup, though I get a knot in my stomach every time Jordan Bohanan shoots a 3. I think Iowa likes to push pace and attack down hill but that is tough to do against our transition defense. We also need to avenge the ref-show in Iowa City so I am fairly comfortable with the matchup. Not much about Purdue scares me (assuming a healthy Matthews), I like that matchup if we get there. Frankly, looking at the bracket, it is hard not see Michigan v. Michigan State Part 3 as coming to fruition next Sunday. Part of me wants it to try to square things on the season to the extent possible. Another part of me hopes the next time we see Cassius Winston on the same floor as Michigan will be at Crisler sometime next January.
Also, maybe it has been posted and discussed, but what exactly is Matthews injury? Is it just a sprain, the dreaded "high ankle" maybe? It surprises me that he both returned to the game in which it happened and has taken this long to recover. I know he practiced and warmed up, which seems to indicate that he wants to play, but with his NBA aspirations a part of me wonders if he is a little apprehensive about pushing his luck. Chances are he is going to have to really impress at the draft combine, etc., and it would not be ideal if he is nursing anything at that time. Have not "heard" anything to indicate that is the case, but given what the injury looked to be I thought he would be back by now. I certainly thought we would see a few minutes from him on Saturday.
In any case, there was a time just a decade ago when our only shot at the NCAA tournament was to try to win the BTT tournament only to give up a wide open half court heave to OSU. And while Saturday was not ideal, we are a looong way from those days. Let it begin. Happy March Madness.