(AP Photo/Andy Manis)
The chances of a Michigan win were unlikely as the Maize and Blue headed to Madison to face the #2 Wisconsin Badgers. Not only does Wisconsin rarely lose at home but Michigan doesn’t ever play well on the road. That eventually proved evident last night as Michigan ended up losing 71-58 despite getting off to a 9-0 start. Michigan was down by as many as 23 at one point in the second half and made the score look somewhat respectable late as the scrubs were in.
As stated above, the initial start to this game couldn’t have been much better. Michigan was playing hard and making plays happen. Wisconsin couldn’t find a way to score and the Wolverines did as they led 9-0 before you knew it. However, that lead was quickly dwindled down and eventually completely gone for good. The Badgers battled back and took control of the game, going on runs that left Michigan behind.
What exactly went wrong for Michigan? Well, try the same ol’ things that always go wrong for Michigan. Stupid turnovers where players couldn’t even dribble it without screwing something up and a complete lack of decent shooting were the death for Michigan in this game. Wisconsin took advantage of all the mistakes and pulled away.
I’m not using this as any type of excuse as Michigan played so bad it didn’t make much of a difference, but this game was very poorly officiated on both sides of the ball. Fouls that were no where near close to being worthy of a whistle got one where others went unnoticed. Plus, the refs seemed to be missing obvious calls while making incorrect ones at times.
Overall, this team just played horribly against Wisconsin. That was expected considering it was at the #2 team in the nation, but I was expecting a better showing at least. The score may not seem like a huge discrepancy, but if you watched the game it was apparent that this game was one-sided. Just when you thought Michigan might make it competitive another typical Amaker ball mistake happens and things go back three steps, much like what this season has done so many times.
The Wolverines tournament hopes are fading away quickly as the schedule gets harder. Michigan has to travel to Indiana on Saturday and is in a must-win situation. In my mind, if Michigan loses to IU, then the entire season is done with. I know one game may not make that much of a difference, but at this point, every win counts now. The Wolverines have to play Iowa, at Ohio State, and at Michigan State over the course of just the next few weeks. It’s a horrific thought, but Michigan could easily lose all three of those games.
I just don’t see how it will be possible for Michigan to make the tournament as this season likely will turn out just as 2005-2006 did. Get off to a great start and have 16 wins by January and then completely taper off into oblivion. End up finishing with only a couple of wins down the stretch as tougher teams are the opponents and end up in the NIT again.
I’ll say it right now, Michigan has to win on Saturday. There’s no and’s or but’s about it. To me, it is just an absolute must-win. The Hoosiers are coming off of a bad game themselves in which they lost at Illinois and only scored 43 points, and will be looking to get a win over Michigan. For the Wolverines, it is necessary to shake off that loss to Wisconsin and to get this win on the road. Michigan doesn’t have many quality victories this season and beating IU would provide one over a top 25 team. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. ET on ESPN this Saturday.
Check back here on Monday for the hopeful recap of a victory. I’m taking off for the weekend early and will be back to start next week on Monday. Get ready for the final weeks of recruiting as some of the nation’s best players make their decisions as to where they will be playing college ball. Until then, thanks for reading and Go Blue!