Mitch McGary

Despite loss to Wisconsin, Michigan’s Big Ten outlook still favorable

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It might take some time for No. 3 Michigan to shake off its disappointing 65-62 loss to Wisconsin Saturday afternoon in Madison. After a rainbow three from Tim Hardaway, Jr. sailed through with 0:02 remaining, it looked all but over, until a half-court buzzer-beater from Ben Brust sent the game into overtime where the Wolverines lost control.

But fret not, Michigan. In the nation’s toughest conference, your upcoming schedule is perhaps the most favorable of any of the Big Ten contenders.

Of Michigan’s three remaining road games, they face a tough No. 12 Michigan State team, but then move on to play Penn State and Purdue. By contrast, No. 1 Indiana has four games remaining on the road, all of which are against ranked team. The Hoosiers meet No. 10 Ohio State in Columbus Sunday, then No. 12 Michigan State, then No. 18 Minnesota, and end the season on the road against this very same Michigan team.

Michigan State has the benefit of playing Purdue and Nebraska as two of its four remaining road games, but also meets No. 10 Ohio State and Michigan away from East Lansing.

Then, of course, factor in Wisconsin and Ohio State into the race and the plot thickens.

But, for Michigan, despite the loss, the road is built to keep them solidly in the race for the Big Ten title. Mitch McGary showed Saturday that he can be the final piece of a four-scorers-plus-one lineup that also includes Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III, and Hardaway, Jr.

The Big Ten race won’t be a cake walk, but Michigan controls one important category: the luck of the draw in scheduling.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Michigan gets Caris LeVert back in a win over No. 18 Purdue

Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan (50) tries to steal the ball from Michigan guard Caris LeVert (23) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
(AP Photo/Tony Ding)
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Zak Irvin scored 22 points and Michigan’s outmanned front line held Purdue’s redwoods to just seven offensive boards, six second chance points and just 22 points in the paint as the Wolverines landed a critical, 61-56, win over the No. 18 Boilermakers.

Depending on who you listen to, Michigan entered the day, at worst, on the bubble and at best, in headed for the 8-9 game.

And they picked up a top 25 win.

So yes, this win was big for them moving forward.

But more important than the win itself was that Wolverine fans got a glimpse of all-american guard Caris LeVert. He played just 11 points and didn’t return in the second half, he didn’t score and he missed the only shot that he took, but LeVert took the court for the first time since Dec. 30th. That day, LeVert rolled his left ankle and most likely reinjured a foot that had had a broken bone surgically repaired twice in the last 20 months. Michigan never confirmed what the actual injury was and never gave a timetable for when he would be back in the lineup, which is what made his brief appearance so important.

LeVert isn’t done for the season.

And since the Wolverines managed to post a 9-4 Big Ten record with LeVert acting as little more than a spectator, they have a chance to make a run in the Big Ten tournament and get into the NCAA tournament.

That will happen with LeVert in the rotation and, if all goes according to plan, the starting lineup.

So even with a loss against Purdue, the Wolverines had a good day. Bolstering their NCAA tournament profile was an added bonus.

VIDEO: Memphis’ Shaq Goodwin gets technical foul for copying famous Vince Carter dunk

Memphis forward Shaq Goodwin (2) shoots over Cincinnati forward Quadri Moore (0) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
(AP Photo/Gary Landers)
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Memphis senior forward Shaq Goodwin picked up one of the dumbest technical fouls of the season on Saturday with the Tigers on the road against Tulane. Goodwin attempted to copy Vince Carter’s famous arm-in-the-rim dunk from the 2000 NBA dunk contest. This would have been okay during pregame warmups, but Goodwin tried to pull this off on a breakaway near the end of the first half. He was quickly hit with the T for hanging on the rim.

Goodwin has good timing when it comes to current events, as the NBA’s dunk contest airs on Saturday night, but the timing of pulling this off in the first half of a tight conference game is not so great.

For past reference, here’s Carter’s original arm-in-the-rim dunk from 2000, which had everyone astonished since it had never been done before.

(H/T: The Cauldron)