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A few inches. That's all that was between Michigan and its second consecutive Big Ten championship. The Wolverines had two chances late to hit a layup and secure a hard fought home win against Indiana. Unfortunately, things didn't go right and the Hoosiers secured their first outright Big Ten title in years. It was a huge win for them and could be the game that secures a #1 seed in Indianapolis for the Hoosiers and Victor Oladipo as the Player of the Year.
There were many issues, but this is one of those games that's hard to complain too much about. Michigan fans wanted this one and wanted it badly, but when games are this close at the end, the result is never guaranteed. Having said this, there are a few things that should be addressed. First, Michigan can really only blame themselves for this loss. It's hard to tell exactly what the players were thinking, but the crowd's thinking was obvious when Michigan went up late. The game was over and it was just counting down to Michigan's Big Ten championship celebration. We don't know whether this is what the players were thinking, but they then followed this up by allowing a 6-0 run, missing 3 critical free throws, and 2 layups to end the game. Not exactly the finish that leaves fans happy.
The other thing that was concerning was the fact that Michigan really struggled to box out at times, especially on the defensive end. One of the keys of this game was boxing out and preventing easy second chance points. The Hoosiers got a bunch of these today and one can make a strong case that these were the difference in the game. Jordan Morgan and Mitch McGary provided a lot of energy, but Zeller truly played a great game and came away with a bunch of huge plays late.
In terms of the Player of The Year battle between Burke and Oladipo, one can make a strong argument that Oladipo outplayed Burke. He had a double-double and made a ton of big plays throughout the game including a steal on Burke. However, it is important to note that Burke still ended up with 20 points and a lot of his contributions came late in the game. Plus, if any Indiana player deserves credit for this win, it's Cody Zeller, not Oladipo. In my book, Burke still deserves Player of the Year, considering his incredible consistency all year, but Oladipo seems like a lock for no other reason than the media's typical desire to anoint the best player on the best team.
Michigan's season is certainly not over. They get to play in the Big Ten Tournament this weekend and then start the NCAA Tournament the weekend after. Michigan will be the #5 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and will face off against Penn State in its first game. If they win, they will play Wisconsin and if they beat the Badgers, they would then likely have a rematch with Indiana. This is undeniably a depressing loss for fans, but this team still ends the regular season 25-6, which is a pretty good record considering the quality of the Big Ten.
P.S. - Just one thing I wanted to talk about briefly. The Big Ten officiating has been absolutely horrible this season and it showed itself numerous times this afternoon. This in no way is an argument that it favored one of the teams over the other, but the calls were inconsistent and led to many makeup calls. Makeup calls can be alright at times, but it would just be a lot simpler for the refs to just call the game correctly the first time. Hopefully, the calls improve in the NCAA Tournament when it's not the Big Ten officiating staff, but the Big Ten as a conference desperately needs to address some of these problems and punish the officiating staffs that make such boneheaded calls.
Basketball Analyst For BTPowerhouse & Wolverine 247 - Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tbeindit
This is a heartbreaking loss. And I feel Burke just lost the POY, even though he's no doubt a better player than Oladipo in my opinion.
I'm not convinced that Burke is a better player than Oladipo.
On top of being a good, efficient scorer, Oladipo is an excellent defensive player and rebounder. His defense on Burke kept Burke from asserting himself offensively in the lane. It was like watching Craft guard Burke. And Oladipo's knack for getting timely rebounds kept Indiana in this game.
I hope that Caris Levert develops in the same way that Oladipo developed.
* * * N E O . R E T R O * * *
I think POTY is gone, the media loves narratives. Burke missing the FT which led to Indiana winning is that narrative-confirming moment they needed to give it to Oladipo.
I know no one is making excuses, but the best find a way to get it done.
“Those who stay will be champions”
― Bo Schembechler
WOLVIE NO!!!!! BWAAAAAHAAAAAA
Keeping the sunshiners in check since 2000.
Real tough loss to swallow. Tiger's victory made is easier, but fugg me.
Hope you enjoy your share of the Big Ten championship.
Typical Sparty - more pleased with a Michigan loss than a share of the Big Ten title.
indiana took us to the wood shed on the boards, plane and simple. There are so many times we are caught watching the game. We also are terrible when things brake down defensibly, just pick up a man! So many times guys were wide open. Staukus is a liability defensibly, my grandma could beat him off the dribble.
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