Michigan entered the Big Ten tournament as the No. 5 seed and proceeded to get taken to overtime by a bad Iowa team in the first game in the event.
And while the start was exactly awe-inspiring, the ending was.
The Wolverines would go on to beat Nebraska, Michigan State and Purdue in successive days, winning their second straight league tournament as one of college basketball’s hottest teams. They’ve won nine straight games, and suddenly, they are sitting here as a top ten team on KenPom in defensive efficiency.
That’s really where all of this starts.
As good as John Beilein is as a basketball tactician, the reason that the Wolverines look like a team that can make a run through the NCAA tournament and to San Antonio is because they are a team that is going to lock you down. They are tough, athletic and willing to work on that end in a way that isn’t normally associated with Michigan basketball.
Once again, Beilein shows us all just how good of a basketball coach that he is.
THEY WERE GOOD, TOO
- TENNESSEE: The Volunteers were picked 13th in the SEC in the preseason poll. They finished the SEC regular season as the co-champions after winning two games this week and getting a gift when Auburn took a loss. Rick Barnes should be on the short list for National Coach of the Year.
- MIAMI: The Hurricanes ended the regular season on a four-game winning streak after a pair of last-second wins. It started in the Dean Dome, when they knocked off North Carolina thanks to a 40-foot buzzer-beater from JaQuan Newton and ended with a win over Virginia Tech thanks to Chris Lykes’ hitting a game-winning free throw. The Hurricanes will be the No. 3 seed in the ACC tournament.
- FLORIDA: The Gators have been up-and-down all season long, but they sure were up this week. After beating Auburn last Saturday, Florida went out and won at Alabama by 21 points before beating Kentucky by 13 in the O-Dome this Saturday. The Gators can beat anyone on the nights when they get it going from three.
- CINCINNATI: The Bearcats won the outright AAC regular season title on Sunday afternoon when they went into Koch Arena and knocked off Wichita State, 62-61. Mick Cronin’s club could very well end up being a No. 2 seed when the brackets are released if they can win the AAC tournament.