The #3 Michigan Wolverines were upset this afternoon by the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison in gut wrenching fashion.
The loss drops Michigan to 21-3 and 8-3 in conference play. It also creates a log jam at the top of the Big Ten standings.
I mentioned in the preview that Wisconsin is a physical team that likes to slow down the tempo of the game. They were successful in doing that, creating a fairly low scoring game. It also helps to have some sort of home court magic on their side when they play the Wolverines, a place they haven’t won since 1999.
Trey Burke did his thing again today, leading the team with 19 points, but was not the most impressive Wolverine on the floor today in my eyes. Mitch McGary continues to rise to the occasion. Today, he had 12 points and 8 rebounds in 32 minutes. He is still coming off of the bench, but John Beilein must consider starting him Tuesday. He is a spark that they really could use starting off a game.
In the waning seconds on the slugfest, Tim Hardaway Jr, who had another fantastic day for the Wolverines with 18 points, hit a three with 2.4 to go to give Michigan a 60-57 lead. In a scenario eerily similar to the Big Ten tournament a few years back (does the name “Evan Turner” ring any bells?), John Beilein elected not to foul and Wisconsin hit a miracle three from near half court to tie the game up and send it to overtime and ultimately give the Badgers a victory.
Just for fun, let’s compare the two:
I am a big John Beilein supporter, but all other things aside, he cost the Wolverines a victory today. They had fouls to give and should have used one of them. There is absolutely no excuse to give a team any chances to tie it up after that. The team played fairly well on the road given their opponent today, and to me it seems like poor coaching cost them a win.
Another thing that bothers me from the last few games is the declined production from freshman duo Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III. When the Wolverines are hitting on all cylinders, those guys are playing big for them. If they are to be a national title contender, these guys have got to pick it up. 9 points between the two of them is not going to get it done.
Like any other loss in the Big Ten this season, it does not get any easier from here.
The Wolverines play next on the road against a familiar foe, the rival Michigan State Spartans, led by coach Tom Izzo. The Spartans are a far superior team than Wisconsin in my eyes and I believe after Michigan, they are the next best team in the conference.
Alot of guys will have to step it up to right the ship towards the Big Ten championship. After that game, they will play a few teams they should beat handily, so there should be a ton of focus on this game. It is a must-win for the Wolverines in my eyes.
I will have an extensive look at that match-up in the coming days.