Michigan basketball 2021 After Withstanding LSU39;s Best Punch. Michigan Is the Big Ten39;s Last .
Michigan basketball Michigan basketball Is Big Punch, Ten's Best LSU's Last Withstanding After … the Michigan
Mon, 22 Mar 2021 17:00:00 -0700
The Wolverines were pegged as vulnerable without Isaiah Livers, but they're the last Big Ten men's team standing
INDIANAPOLIS — There was Michigan.
Big, bad No.
1 seed Michigan.
The Big Ten regular-season champions.
The team coached by a former NBA All-Star.
The one left to be its conference’s savior.
And there the Wolverines were, on the ropes against No.
8 seed LSU, down five with 10 minutes left and struggling to make shots or stop shots from being made.
This seemed inevitable—the latest Big Ten team to flop in the Big Dance.
And then came an unlikely hero: Wake Forest transfer Chuandee Brown Jr.
And then came a 6-foot-9 German-born forward, Franz Wagner.
And then came Big Blue, storming back with a sizzling final 10 minutes and claiming an 86–78 win to advance to the Sweet 16.
Big Ten fans breathed a loud sigh of relief.
The conference that began with nine men's NCAA tournament teams is down to a single one: Michigan.
It’s all on Big Blue’s shoulders, all on the Wolverines to carry a league that was universally praised as being the strongest conference in basketball this year, only to crumble in March on the grandest stage.
Courtesy of NCAA Photo
After Alabama bounced Maryland late Monday night, the Big Ten’s record stands at 7–8.
The latest blow came earlier Monday when hot-shooting, No.
7 seed Oregon smoked No.
2 seed Iowa.
Despite having five of the top 16 seeds in the tournament, the Big Ten will have one squad playing during the second weekend— its regular season champ.
“The motto today was ‘Empty the tank.’ And our guys did that,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said afterward.
MORE: Juwan Howard Could Really Use a Win
Howard's team needed every last drop.
It took LSU’s best shot.
The Tigers started out by making better than 60% of their shots, led by the nation’s freshman scoring leader, Cameron Thomas (he finished with a whopping 30 points).
He couldn’t miss.
Stepback 15-foot jumpers, contested threes, tipped putbacks.
All of a sudden, the Wolverines were on the ropes, down nine just minutes into the game.
It got better.
Eli Brooks started sinking shots, and Michigan roared back only to find itself down again with about 10 minutes left.
Enter Brown and Wagner.
They were responsible for 21 of Michigan’s 28 points during a nine-minute spurt that saw Michigan take a 10-point lead.
Brown, an out-of-nowhere hero, made six free throws and two threes, finishing with 21 points—a season high.
He hadn’t scored 15 points in a game since February.
Wagner soared too.
He slammed in a miss for a dunk, sank a triple and hit two more layups—one a vicious hook shot that ricocheted high off the glass and swished through the net.
He turned to his bench and roared.
“Big time players step up in big time moments,” Howard said.
“Franz is a big-time player.”
The Wolverines claimed another victory without one of their stars.
Isaiah Livers, the second-leading scorer, remains “out indefinitely,” Howard reaffirmed during his postgame news conference.
He’s nursing a foot fracture the team uncovered after a Big Ten tournament quarterfinal game.
Because of Livers's absence, many pegged Michigan as the most vulnerable No.
1 seed in the tournament, capable of being bounced early like its Big Ten brethren.
Think again, says Brooks.
“We showed what we thought in the room what we had—it’s next man up.
We knew we had enough in the locker room to get to the Sweet 16.”
But can it go further? No.
4 seed Florida State awaits in the next round and probably Alabama after that.
We do know at least one thing: Michigan, and Michigan alone, carries the Big Ten’s banner in a quest to snap the league’s 21-year title drought.
SI’s tournament newsletter analyzes everything you need to know about the Big Dance: what just happened and what’s happening next.
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The Pac-12 has locked down 25% of the Sweet 16 while the Big Ten has just one team still dancing, which is somehow fitting for this strange season.
Plus, women’s second-round picks, the Sweet 16 matchup we’re most looking forward to and more.
USC is heading to the Sweet 16 after cruising past Kansas in a 85-51 win in the NCAA men’s tournament.
Who will move on to the Sweet 16? There are eight spots left to be determined.
11 seed BYU, No.
12 seed Belmont and No.
13 seed Wright State all took home wins on the second day of the women’s NCAA tournament.
Pegged as vulnerable without Isaiah Livers, the Wolverines are off to the men’s Sweet 16—without their conference foes.
Ten people were killed in the shooting at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder on Monday, according to police.
Flair has not wrestled since defeating Shayna Baszler in WWE Raw on March 1.
Michigan basketball Michigan basketball
Mon, 22 Mar 2021 17:00:00 -0700
. 1-seed Michigan basketball outlasted
8 seed LSU, 86-78, in a back-and-forth second-round game of the NCAA tournament on Monday in Indianapolis
Michigan basketball is headed to the Sweet 16.
The Wolverines, the No.
1 seed in the East Region, outlasted No.
8 seed LSU, 86-78, in a back-and-forth contest on Monday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Tigers jumped out to an early lead to start the game and played exceptional offense.
But Michigan responded in kind.
And it came up with key stops when it mattered the most.
SHAWN WINDSOR:Michigan survives NCAA tournament scare, proves why it is class of the Big Ten
Eli Brooks and Chaundee Brown each scored 21 points, making a combined eight 3-pointers.
Hunter Dickinson scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Franz Wagner was quiet in the first half — but scored nine points in the final five minutes, making Michigan’s last four field goals.
The entire second half was made up of runs.
The Wolverines came out flat and ceded an 8-0 run that saw LSU draw numerous fouls on Dickinson and Franz Wagner.
Michigan punched right back with a 10-0 run that began with two 3s from Mike Smith and Brooks (the second of which materialized after LSU doubled Dickinson in the post).
Then, Dickinson left the game and LSU attacked the rim, putting together a 7-0 spurt.
Again, Michigan had a response.
The Wolverines went on a 9-0 run, punctuated by a corner 3 from Brown, to retake the lead — this time for good.
[ Michigan’s next opponent: Florida State advances by taking down Colorado ]
Brown was huge in the second half, scoring 14 of his 21 points.
And Wagner gave U-M a huge pick-up with his late offense and defense, as his length led to several late LSU misses — including a crucial miss from Cam Thomas with 34 seconds remaining and Michigan leading by six.
LSU’s stars showed up to play.
Thomas had 19 points in the first half and made five of his first six attempts — all contested shots of varying difficulty.
The freshman guard rose up over Michigan’s smaller guards and buried numerous long jumpers to give LSU the early lead.
Thomas eventually cooled off, making just two of his final seven attempts of the half, but his teammates were right there to pick up where he left off.
Javonte Smart and Trendon Watford combined for 17 first-half points, hitting a variety of floaters.
SHAWN WINDSOR:Michigan more than capable of changing Big Ten’s narrative in NCAA tournament
The Wolverines trailed by as many as nine by battled their way back into the game with a combination of improved defense and efficient offense.
Juwan Howard made several adjustments, such as switching Dickinson onto Watford, that helped slow down the Tigers.
U-M’s offense, meanwhile, settled in despite poor outside shooting.
The Wolverines generated high-quality shots from outside but made just 4 of 12 3s.
Instead, they did their damage inside the paint.
Brooks had a team-high 13 in the first half with four assists, hitting 3 of 4 3s and attacking closeouts.
Expect to see several Tigers playing at the next level.
The top trio of Thomas, Smart and Watford is as good as any and nearly carried LSU to an upset.
Yet Michigan simply was the better team.
The Wolverines played better defense, forcing the Tigers’ stars to make tough shots.
They collapsed at the rim and provided help when one of their own was beat off the dribble.
They boxed out so that others could collect key rebounds.
Offensively, they shared the ball, especially when Dickinson was double-teamed down low.
Michigan proved it was one of the nation’s elite teams because of how well its top players operated in unison.
That was thrown off when star forward Isaiah Livers went down.
But the Wolverines still have plenty of juice.
And they’re headed to their fourth consecutive Sweet 16.
Contact Orion Sang at email@example.com.
Follow him on Twitter @orion_sang.
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– March 23, 2021
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