As Michigan wove its way through the NCAA tournament field, Jordan Morgan proved his worth time and again. The 6-8, 250 lb. graduate student averaged nine rebounds a game, tossing in a pair of double-doubles along the way.
What might have been Morgan’s brightest moment went for naught as Kentucky defeated Michigan, 75-72, sending the Wildcats to the Final Four and Michigan back home to Ann Arbor.
The game was billed as the three-point shooting Wolverines vs. the sky-scraping Wildcats.
McGary still sidelined
Fortunately for Michigan , Kentucky’s 7-0, 244 lb. Willie Cauley-Stein missed the game due to an ankle injury, but the Wildcats still went 7-0, 6-9 and 6-9 along the front line, while Michigan countered with 6-8, 6-6, 6-6. Wolverine fans could only hope that 6-10 Mitch McGary was sufficiently recovered from back surgery to lend a hand, but that was not to be.
What made matters worse, Morgan found himself in foul trouble and could only play 22 minutes. This was no way for Morgan to end his career, watching his teammates get out-muscled and out-jumped at both ends of the floor. Foul trouble has been no stranger to Morgan throughout his career, as the Detroiter averaged nearly 2.4 fouls a game, and only 22 minutes per game in 122 starts.
Jon Horford, who will be back next season, chipped in 14 minutes as Morgan’s replacement while Max Bielfeldt had two rebounds in four minutes.
Wolverines stand tall
As expected, Kentucky crushed Michigan on the defensive glass 18-10, and overall, 35-24.
But the Wolverines tried to overcome Morgan’s foul trouble and Kentucky’s size advantage with a hard-fought effort. It nearly paid off as U-M came within a few seconds of sending the game into overtime. Ironically, it was the Wildcats who won the game, not totally with their inside play, but with a pair of three-point shots in the final two minutes.
A quick look at next season
While the Wolverines might lose up to three players to the NBA, they could still field a formidable team next season. Figuring that McGary, Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III all go pro, Derrick Walton, Jr. (PG), Caris LeVert (SG), Zac Irvin (SF), incoming freshman Kameron Chatman (PF) and Jon Horford (C) could comprise the starting lineup. Spike Albrecht (PG), Bielfeldt (PF) and Mark Donnell (PF) would be the principle reserves. ♦
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Joel Greer