For the first time since 1986, the Michigan Wolverines are outright Big Ten Conference champions. Give them a few more weeks, and with the way they’re playing, they might find themselves as champions of a little something else.
Nik Stauskas had 24 points and Caris LeVert added 15 as the Wolverines absolutely pummeled the Illinois Fighting Illini on Tuesday night in Champaign. The final score read 84-53. The Wolverines dominated from the get-go and made sure to leave no opportunities for the Wisconsin Badgers or Michigan State Spartans to potentially tie them atop the league when all is said and done.
With the win, Michigan moves to 22-7 on the season and an excellent 14-3 in Big Ten play. Winning the Big Ten championship is undeniably an exceptional feat, but John Beilien and company appear destined for things far greater. The Wolverines have now won four-straight games and are well on their way to earning a top-three seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. If they keep on winning throughout the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis next weekend, that top-three seed might turn into a top-two seed — or perhaps even a one.
The job Beilein has done with this team is nothing short of incredible and he deserves all the credit in the world. Losing Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. to the NBA from last season’s national runner-up team was certainly an adjustment. Add in the fact that Mitch McGary was lost to a season-ending back injury earlier this season and the odds stacked against the boys from Ann Arbor became even tougher.
Beilien and Michigan never let that faze them, and look where they are now.
The Wolverines struggled to start the regular season, but they finished as champions. Let’s see if they can ride this momentum into a second-consecutive Final Four appearance.
Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27.
Even if the Wolverines don’t make as deep of a run this year you can still support them in their efforts by getting your NCAA Tournament tickets here.