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Michigan 73, Minnesota 69 (OT): U-M Basketball Fan's View

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Michigan 73, Minnesota 69 (OT): Notes from a U-M fan.

-- Talk about good fortune. Here we have U-M trailing by nine with less than five minutes to go in regulation, and Trey Burke, who finished with 30 points, and Tim Hardaway Jr., who concluded with 20, have been carrying virtually the entire load. Then Zack Novak swishes a pair of triples down the stretch for his only two buckets of the game. Evan Smotrycz triples to send the game into overtime, his only score of the game. In OT, Stu Douglass gets things going with a triple and a runner in the lane, his only five points of the game.

-- You know what? This may have worked Friday night, but it's unlikely to work again. Michigan will have be more balanced from here on out. As remarkable as Burke can be (he hit 11 of 14 shots, including several of the circus variety and a trio of triples), we can't expect another game quite like this from him. Can we?

- Michigan may be erratic at times with all the reliance on long-range shooting, but one thing we can say is that with the Wolverines' high-caliber defense, we are almost always in the game. The team scored only three points in the first eight minutes but still only trailed, 11-3.

-- It seems that Minnesota should have a better record. The Gophers are highly athletic, especially junior forward Rodney Williams, who had three super slams en route to 20 points. But they've fallen apart down the stretch several times, as they did against both U-M and against Michigan State a few weeks ago.

-- Maybe it's a question of respect. The Associated Press journalists rate Ohio State seventh, Michigan State eighth, U-M 10th and Wisconsin 14th. However, the coaches in the USA Today/ESPN poll also have OSU seventh and MSU eighth, but then Wisconson at No. 12 and Michigan down at No. 13. Hey, the Wolverines were Big Ten tri-champs, not the Badgers.

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