Mar 4, 2014; Champaign, IL, USA; Michigan Wolverines react during a timeout during the first half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Basketball: They Earned It


GBMWolverine Basketball TidbitsPosted at 6:45am — 3/6/2014

Michigan Basketball: They Earned It

Be Not Dissuaded

Hindsight by the rivals has not yet occurred regarding who is the best basketball team in the Big Ten. Not yet, but it could happen. There is not much in the way of candy and nuts, regarding arguing Michigan’s spot atop the league standings.

Wisconsin can argue that the entity known as the Badgers are the best and beast team in the league the last two or three weeks. It has been weeks since Wisconsin lost a league game. This may be true, but the Badgers hit an early conference funk of 1-5 that dug the final hole. Michigan held the league lead at the halfway point and continued to hold serve until the title was finally decided.

No other team can make a remote claim.

Feb 8, 2014; Iowa City, IA, USA; Michigan Wolverine head coach John Beilein watches action against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa defeated Michigan 85-67. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 8, 2014; Iowa City, IA, USA; Michigan Wolverine head coach John Beilein watches action against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa defeated Michigan 85-67. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Some always point to the Big Ten schedule as being unequal and the standings not being a valid indicator of conference rank. Michigan played the number two, three, four and fifth ranked teams, all twice. The same can be said for Minnesota, which still has a snowball’s chance of tournament entry.

Talent is always brought up as a culminating factor in winning a league championship. There are at least three teams in the league that clearly have more talent than the Wolverines. The same can be said for bulk and size. But the conversation quickly ends with shooting comparisons. The same can be said for experience; this is a team that relies on sophomore leadership and production, minus the grandfatherly advice of Morgan and Horford.

Feb 16, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo reacts to a play during the 2nd half of a game at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 16, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo reacts to a play during the 2nd half of a game at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Consistency is the hallmark of a champion. Out of 17 league games so far, Michigan only has produced three really bad games, all losses. Michigan came out flat in a few games, getting dangerously behind. Hard play and shooting in the last minutes of several games provided close wins that far exceed the value of close losses.

Michigan survived and actually thrived against the best rival in the league, Michigan State. Those two losses in the head to head match-up may end up being the final difference.

Sometimes the universe is in alignment and the beer is cold.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

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