Michigan’s late season turnaround has been defined by poise but the Wolverines let that poise slip away this afternoon. Michigan had clawed back into the game, cutting the Ohio State lead to just two points, before unraveling long enough to see the game spiral out of control. Michigan allowed mistakes and frustration to snowball to the point of affecting subsequent plays. A couple timely baskets by Ohio State combined with those mistakes led to a 16-0 Ohio State run over five minutes that put the game out of reach.
The Wolverines will leave Indianapolis with a bitter taste in their mouths but there’s no denying that they took care of business at Conseco Fieldhouse. Michigan appears to have cemented an NCAA tournament bid and even reached the 20 win mark that Darius Morris predicted in January – when Michigan was four or five games under .500 in Big Ten play.
We encourage you all to join the in-game discussion thread and I also included a run-down of this morning’s bracketology updates, most of which have Michigan as a 10 seed, after the jump. [click to continue…]
With the short turnaround and early tip off, you’ll have to settle for an abbreviated game preview. For more on Ohio State, make sure to read all of our stories from the first two games. The Buckeyes are good, likely the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, but enter this game off a near upset scare versus Northwestern.
Zack Novak is one of Michigan’s players that tends to influence the box score by doing more than just scoring, but today he provided Michigan with a big boost offensively by tallying 14 points. Zack’s weapon of choice on offense was the long ball, and while there were certainly bigger shots in the course of the game, there were many times when the Wolverines appeared to be teetering on the edge and one of Zack’s triples brought them back. His first two 3-pointers went toward building Michigan’s initial lead. His first one was a good illustration of something the Illinois players talked about at length after the game, which was how much success Michigan had when they got out in transition. The two 3-pointers Zack sunk in the second half were big in that they kept the lead Illinois held for most of the game from ballooning into unmanageable territory. They kept Michigan within striking distance in the second half which enabled the late Wolverine run.