New jerseys, so Michigan.
The Wolverines won their second straight game to kick off the Big Ten tournament, advancing to the semifinals as the No. 8 seed for the second straight season with a 74-70 overtime win over top-seeded Purdue at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. D.J. Wilson was the star for the Wolverines, going for 26 points and helping keep Purdue’s all-american, Caleb Swanigan, in check.
Michigan was unlucky not to win the game in regulation.
After the Wolverines tied the game with less than five seconds left, they stole the ensuing inbounds pass and looked to have an open, potentially game-winning layup. But right before Swanigan inbounded the ball, the referees blew the play dead, as the clock had continued to run after Zak Irvin’s game-tying layup.
Wilson would block Carsen Edwards’ potential game-winning three to force the extra frame.
Michigan looks like they are going to be a dangerous team come March. They’ve now won eight of their last ten games and are 11-5 since a team meeting that followed a 16-point loss to Illinois in January. Derrick Walton Jr. is playing like the best point guard in the Big Ten, their front court of Wilson and Moe Wagner is one of the most difficult to guard and they have turned into one of the most potent offensive teams in the country.
Prior to today’s win, they projected as a No. 8 seed in the latest NBC Sports bracketology, and with the way the bracket has broken down, the Wolverines look like a real threat to win the Big Ten tournament title.
Purdue should be fine. Given the defensive limitations of their front court, Michigan is not a great matchup for them; they lost to the Wolverines by 12 at home two weeks ago. The Boilermakers will likely end up as a No. 4 or No. 5 seed and should have a shot at being able to get to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.