Despite the devastating 1-point loss to Indiana at home on Sunday, March 10 and several unexpected hiccups throughout the season, the Michigan men's basketball team has had a remarkably successful run. Michigan won 25 regular season games and suffered only one loss at home in Crisler Center, their very last game. We may have lost the opportunity of being co-champions of the league by one poor rotation of the ball on the rim of the basket, but Michigan's prospects in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament this weekend are looking bright.
For starters, the undeniable shining star of the team, sophomore guard Trey Burke, was named Big Ten Player of the Year by both the Big Ten coaches and the media, becoming the first player to do so since Glen Rice in 1989. Burke averaged 19.2 points and 6.8 assists per game and beat out other top contenders such as Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller for the award. He consistently put up a fight throughout the regular season, averaging just two turnovers per game and scoring at least 15 points in every conference match-up. After a breakout freshman season last year, Burke almost declared for the NBA draft, but ultimately decided to return after some deliberation. It's a safe bet that Burke will come out for the NBA draft again in June as a first-round draft pick, but his future will definitely be determined by his performance in the postseason.
Burke was not the only player to make a strong showing this season as he joined junior guard Tim Hardaway, Jr., freshman forward Glenn Robinson III, and junior/senior forward Jordan Morgan in being awarded postseason recognition. The loss to Indiana on Sunday, however, has given Michigan the five-seed in the B1G tournament, which means the Wolverines will play four games in four days to determine their fate. Michigan's first challenge is to beat the last place team, Penn State, on Thursday, March 14th. The game, which will be live at the United Center in Chicago, IL, will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network at approximately 2:25 pm ET following Game 1 of the tournament featuring #8 Illinois and #9 Minnesota.
The outcome of the Big Ten Tournament will determine the Maize and Blue team's place in the NCAA tournament, which will run beginning Tuesday, March 19th until the National Championship on Monday, April 8th.
There's an exciting road ahead for the Wolverines so stay tuned and as always, FOREVER GO BLUE,