Michigan State and Ohio State as Big Ten champs? Sure.
But Michigan? The Wolverines are sharing the regular-season crown with the Spartans and Buckeyes after Sunday’s 71-65 win against Penn State, but that doesn’t mean it feels right. Michigan (23-8, 13-5 Big Ten) wasn’t close to either teams in terms of how well it played during Big Ten games, It was closer to Wisconsin.
Not that it matters to the Wolverines.
“We talked a lot about it, that this is what champions do on this day,” coach John Beilein said Sunday. “We certainly weren’t perfect today, but we did a lot of things we needed to do to win this game.”
It’s tougher to quantify when a team plays over its head and wins games it probably shouldn’t, but that’s where Michigan deserves some credit. It finds ways to make plays that aren’t always pretty, and it comes up with stops that you may not have seen coming.
It’s a team that has faith in itself, in its goals and its style. They think they’re peaking, which isn’t far-fetched. They’ve won six of seven thanks to an offense that’s hitting and a defense that’s not giving up easy shots.
Bottom line, that’s a winning formula. Might work in the Big Dance, too.
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