In its final game of the regular season, Michigan will have an opportunity to avenge one of its most discouraging blemishes of the season.
There won’t be much on the line Saturday in terms of Big Ten standings or making the NCAA tournament. Indiana probably needs to win the Big Ten Tournament to make the Big Dance and Michigan has already locked up the outright Big Ten Championship. The Wolverines are playing for seeding, but more importantly they are playing for pride.
Michigan is playing to make up for its disappointing loss at Assembly Hall earlier this season, but also its loss to Indiana one year ago at the Crisler Center. That one meant everything and the Wolverines were a bounce away from a Big Ten Championship.
Michigan has lost four of its last five games to the Hoosiers, and with a rotation that features four players from Indiana that’s a streak that means something. Saturday’s game will either be the perfect footnote to a marvelous regular season or leave a bitter taste before postseason play.
By Joe Stapleton | 2013-14 Season | Posted on March 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm
John Beilein, Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas were available to speak with the media on Friday afternoon to preview Michigan’s senior night matchup against Indiana at the Crisler Center on Saturday. They talked winning this one for Jordan Morgan, maintaining focus despite having already wrapped up the Big Ten title and more. You can watch the full press conference using the embedded media players below.
By Joe Stapleton | 2013-14 Season | Posted on March 7, 2014 at 9:18 am
Jordan Morgan will be playing in his final game at the Crisler Center on Saturday against Indiana in Michigan’s final Big Ten game of the season. Morgan can look back at his final regular season as a true conquering hero, with the Big Ten conference vanquished and the program he’s overseen for the past five years safely anointed with the outright conference crown for the first time since 1986.
When I was a junior at Michigan covering the basketball team for the Michigan Daily, I wrote an insufferably sappy and somewhat embarrassing column on Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims. It was just before that Big Ten Tournament game when Evan Turner unceremoniously ended the Michigan careers of the two great Wolverines. I had been watching those two players since I was in high school, and I felt the need to express that their careers had meant something to me. I imagine many Michigan fans will be feeling the same way about Jordan Morgan on Saturday night. Morgan has meant as much to this fan base, and the Michigan basketball program, as any player in recent memory.
Morgan has been a Wolverine since the tail end of 2007, when he committed out of University of Detroit Jesuit High School. At the time, he was relatively unheralded — Rivals did not have him ranked and Scout listed him at the 32nd-best center prospect in his class. He was also out of shape when he showed up for his first practice with the Wolverines. Michigan coach John Beilein likes this anecdote about Morgan, and he referenced it again before Michigan played Illinois on Tuesday.
“I’ll tell you, he could not make a 30-second sprint when he first got here,” Beilein said, reflecting on Morgan’s career. “He couldn’t even do one, let alone three in a row, which all our guys can do pretty well.”
We spoke to former Michigan captain Zack Novak about Morgan Thursday night, and he put it more bluntly.
“He came in overweight,” Novak said. With a good-natured laugh, he added: “Honestly, he was terrible.”
By Dylan Burkhardt | 2013-14 Season | Posted on March 6, 2014 at 4:10 pm
Jordan Morgan will play his final game at the Crisler Center on Saturday. Leading up to Sayurday game against Indiana, we’ll run a series of features on Morgan’s career. Today we start with a look back at five of the top moments of the 6-foot-8 big man’s career.
1. Charge and dunk seal Final Four win over Syracuse
Jordan Morgan’s rollercoaster ride through the last two months of Michigan’s 2012-13 season had to be agonizing. Morgan went down with an ankle injury in late January and never quite returned to form. He missed the would-be Big Ten Championship winning tip in against Indiana and then watched most of the NCAA tournament from the bench as Mitch McGary emerged into a superstar.
But Michigan needed Morgan against Syracuse in the Final Four and he answered the call. With the game on the line, Morgan took a charge and then sealed things with an emphatic dunk to send Michigan to the National Championship.
“Jordan Morgan was up on the chair leading us in the end,” Beilein said after the win. “He’s on the all-defensive team. He was going to be in there at the end when we needed stops, especially when we were going into some switching patterns, things like that, much like he did in a similar slide later in the Kansas game. So really happy for him. Fitting that he finishes it with a dunk at the end.”
By Dylan Burkhardt | 2013-14 Season | Posted on March 6, 2014 at 11:53 am
Michigan will wear a special edition Adidas uniform this March featuring ‘Wolverines’ on the front of the jersey.
Full release below with photo gallery after the jump.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan men’s basketball team and adidas unveiled today (Thursday, March 6) the Made in March Uniform System for the 2014 basketball postseason. The collection was created to provide the Wolverines with adidas’ most advanced uniform system and basketball apparel technology so they can take on the challenges and intense play of March.
By Joe Stapleton | 2013-14 Season | Posted on March 6, 2014 at 11:11 am
It’s been close to a month since the last Bracket Watch. Since then, Michigan has reeled off four wins in a row. The Wolverines completed the season sweep of Michigan State, won on a last-second shot in overtime at Purdue and most recently clinched the outright Big Ten title with a road victory over Illinois. (Photo: Dustin Johnston)
There’s no doubt about it: Michigan is trending up. The Wolverines are projected right on the two-three seed border and trending toward the 2-seed range. Conventional wisdom holds that Michigan needs to beat Indiana at home in order to inch its way closer to 2-seed range.
Michigan’s non-conference opponents aren’t performing at the highest level – Duke, Stanford and Iowa State have all dropped games recently – but Michigan is poised to leapfrog several of those teams (potentially Duke and Iowa State) on the s-curve. At this point their struggles help the Wolverines, who have the No. 5 ranked strength of schedule, more than hurt them.
If Michigan beats Indiana at home on Saturday, they are all but guaranteed a three seed. A few wins in the Big Ten Tournament, combined with some solid finishes from its non-conference opponents, could land Michigan a two seed. There’s more discussion on just what’s possible for Michigan’s seeding in the bracket debate. For now, things are looking up for the Wolverines.
After the jump we have an in-depth look at Michigan NCAA tournament resume, predictions from notable bracketologists as far as Michigan’s potential seeding and a discussion of how other Big Ten teams are faring in the most recent bracket projections.