As the ball slowly fell off of the rim with just a couple of seconds remaining, so did Michigan’s aspirations. With the Wolverines’ 72-71 home loss to Indiana they also lost a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament, a shot at a no. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and obviously a share of the regular season Big Ten title.
Although Michigan played much better defense than they had been recently, their rebounding was still terrible. Indiana out-rebounded the Wolverines 47-26 and 17-10 on the offensive boards. This has been a typical narrative for Michigan; getting dominated on the boards. The fact that the atrocious Big Ten referees decided that nobody was allowed to touch Cody Zeller did not help Michigan’s big men. It was a constant stream of Michigan bigs, first Jordan Morgan, then Mitch McGary and Jon Horford and finally even the cringe inducing Blake McLimans and Max Bielfeldt came in to the game to deal with Zeller. Morgan and McGary are going to have a tough time keeping up with Zeller, but the others had no chance. Zeller ended with 25 points, 10 rebounds and six thousand tipped rebounds on the offensive glass.
And despite all of that Michigan still should have won this game. They had so many opportunities in the final minute to wrap the win up, but instead scraped together a choke-job to remember for Michigan athletics.
Michigan missed out on five points from the free throw line in the final minute, with Glenn Robinson III missing one and Tim Hardaway Jr and Trey Burke both missing the front end of one-and-ones. The old phrase YGTMYFT (You got to make your free throws), certainly rang true for Michigan today.
Yet the most painful part of the one point loss for Michigan is the fact that on the last play of the game they still had two chances to win. First Burke ran down and missed a floater off of the rim, then Morgan tipped the rebound back on to the glass where it sat on the rim, rolled and fell off.
Time expired and so did Michigan’s chance at a Big Ten regular season title, in an extremely painful manner that this team will remember for a long, long time. It is impossible to ignore the “what if?s” after Michigan completely imploded in the final minute.