The Big Ten Tournament bracket has been finalized. Michigan will play around 2:30 p.m. on Friday as the #4 seed versus #5 Illinois. Michigan’s last first round bye was 7 years ago in 2004, when the Wolverines knocked off Iowa.
Similar to the game in East Lansing, Colton Christian entered this game and managed to make a huge play in limited time. John Beilein said after the game that Colton has the ability and athleticism to make plays like this, he just needs to learn how to play on the perimeter. But this play is a good example of what he can do while he’s on the floor: anticipate where the ball is going to be and put himself in position to make an athletic play. Here, Evan Smotrycz elects to take the 3-pointer when he sees a little bit of daylight, and Colton starts out on the perimeter. The second the shot goes up, Colton crashes the glass and maneuvers his way around Draymond Green, but he still isn’t in great position to get to the ball. Even so, he makes a heck of a play by getting in the air and getting a hand on it. He also shows great awareness, making sure to tap the ball out to Matt Vogrich, who’s open at the top of the key. Vogrich receives the ball and makes a subtle pass fake that sends Durrell Summers scattering after nothing. The end up result is a wide open triple that Vogrich knocks down with ease. [click to continue…]
Michigan led for the entire game but I never felt comfortable. Now the regular season is over the Wolverines not only swept Michigan State for the first time since 1997, they are 19-12 (9-9) with a legitimate chance to make the NCAA Tournament. Personally, I’m still trying to figure out what happened. This team was picked 10th or 11th in the league and three months ago I was worrying whether they could beat teams like Harvard and Oakland at home. A month ago I was trying to judge whether Michigan could rebound from a 1-7 stretch to finish the season on a positive note. Now, I’m trying to decipher RPIs and bubble resumes to figure out whether Michigan is actually an NCAA Tournament team.
Tom Izzo discusses the loss in Ann Arbor along with Darius Morris and Kalin Lucas’ exchange on the court after the final horn — around the 2:00 mark. Izzo on the exchange:
“I’ll straighten that (Lucas throwing the ball at Morris) out but at the same time, (Morris) going for a layup with 2 seconds left and talking a lot stuff all game, including at our place, maybe he (Morris) deserved it.” – Tom Izzo
Sorry for the subpar audio quality, turn the volume up and try headphones.