Jeff Eisenberg

Banked-in 3-pointer may doom Michigan's NCAA tourney hopes

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

One flick of Josh Gasser's wrist and one fortunate bounce transformed Michigan from at-large hopeful to at-large long shot.

The Wisconsin freshman banked in a right-wing 3-pointer at the buzzer, silencing the roaring Crisler Arena crowd and giving the Badgers a 53-52 victory over the hard-luck Wolverines. Michigan has now lost two games in a week by a combined three points after surging back into the postseason picture with five wins in six games earlier this month.

It's difficult to overstate how crushing this loss is for Michigan (17-12, 7-9) considering how slim the Wolverines' NCAA tournament hopes are now. Even if they defeat fellow bubble hopefuls Minnesota and Michigan State in their final two games, they'll still only be .500 in the Big Ten and they'll likely need a marquee win or two in the Big Ten tournament to add heft to their profile.

The pain of this loss was evident in the reaction of the Michigan players after Gasser's shot banked in. As the Badgers piled on top of Gasser at mid-court, the Wolverines lingered on the court for several seconds in disbelief before walking slowly to the locker room.

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