Michigan must regroup after Wisconsin knocks it out of Big Ten tournament

Kyle Ringo
The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Six weeks ago Michigan coach John Beilein appeared to be coaching a young team destined for the Final Four. The Wolverines were 20-1 and ranked No. 1 in the nation heading into a game at then-No. 3 Indiana.

Michigan lost that night in well-played contest that has to be considered one of the highlights of the entire regular season in college basketball. But since that loss, the Wolverines have never regained the dominant form they showed through the first three months of the season.

In the 11 games since that loss to the Hoosiers, Michigan has gone 6-5, including a disappointing 68-59 loss today to Wisconsin in the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten tournament. There was once talk of the Wolverines as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, but now it seems more like a team that might be ripe to be upset in the first week. Needless to say it will be interesting to see where Michigan is seeded when the bracket is announced Sunday night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. and trey Burke combined for 33 points in the loss to the Badgers with Hardaway also leading the team with nine rebounds and Burke accounting for the Wolverines only seven assists. There wasn't a lot of production elsewhere on the roster, especially from the Michigan big men.

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Obviously, the Big Ten has been tough on all of its teams at times this season and it's without question the most stacked conference in the nation. Michigan was bound to lose a few along the way, especially to teams like Indiana. But a loss to Penn State is part of Michigan's recent slide back to the pack.

Beilein still has a team very capable of reeling off five straight wins regardless of gets in its way, but he has to figure out what has gone missing over the past six weeks of mediocre results. If a gritty, grind-it-out team like Wisconsin appears as a possible opponent for the Wolverines in the NCAA tournament, plenty of folks might go with the upset.

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