Certain teams have been roadblocks for their opponents in two-game series this season in college basketball. The Michigan Wolverines are aware of this.
Houston flummoxed Cincinnati twice. TCU solved Iowa State twice. Ole Miss stymied Auburn twice. Indiana swept Michigan State… and those same Michigan State Spartans destroyed Michigan in two second halves. Michigan did well in the first 20 minutes of each game, but had no answers after halftime. Cassius Winston owned the game’s biggest moments, both in Ann Arbor in late February and this past Saturday in East Lansing.
Michigan State’s sweep of Michigan — sealed with a decisive 75-63 victory over the weekend — gave Sparta a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship and the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. Michigan looked like the Big Ten’s best team for much of the season but wound up without a share of the title. It will try to lift a trophy at the upcoming Big Ten Tournament, where it will be the No. 3 seed.
Michigan’s coach knows he has to go back to the drawing board.
“We’ll take the lessons we learned from this game, apply them to the Big Ten tournament so that we can win that again,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “If we can’t, we’ll apply it to the NCAA Tournament.”
The fact that Michigan is the 3 seed in Chicago puts the Wolverines on the same side of the bracket as No. 2 Purdue in a possible semifinal next Saturday. Michigan avoids Michigan State until the final, and maybe by that time, the Maize and Blue will be ready to solve Tom Izzo’s puzzle.
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