MI bounces Gophers from Big Ten tournament

MI bounces Gophers from Big Ten tournament

MI bounces Gophers from Big Ten tournament

We've got your back. When betting the spread for the Big Ten Championship, the Wisconsin Badgers are -1.5 over Northwestern. So certainly their destiny was to play in the tournament. Probably not, especially with opening-round games being played just a few hours north of Miami's campus in Orlando.

They were pretty good when the season began and they defeated Marquette and SMU on consecutive nights in November.

Wisconsin entered having won three consecutive games, including Big Ten Tournament victories in which they held in to 60 points in the quarterfinals, and Northwestern to 48 in the semifinals.

Top-seeded Purdue got a very tough draw with its quarterfinal matchup with the surging Wolverines. MI threatened to pull away twice in the opening session, but Wisconsin answered both times. "We don't want to run around like spring chickens or anything like that". This four-game tournament run should go down as one of John Beilein's most impressive coaching jobs yet in Ann Arbor. The Gophers tied the game with about 13 minutes to play, but the Wolverines responded with a 9-2 burst that gave them a lead they didn't relinquish again. Irvin has nine, while D.J. Wilson and Mo Wagner have five each. Redshirt junior forward Duncan Robinson soon followed with a deep three-pointer off the left wing and U-M led 43-31.

MI is the tournament's No. 8 seed while Wisconsin is seeded 2nd, Minnesota was seeded 4th and Northwestern is seeded 6th. That included 29 on Saturday in a stirring duel against Minnesota's excellent junior, Nate Mason. "I told them I'm bringing four suits". They can do it all.

Happ and Koenig scored six points apiece during the run, which ended with Koenig burying a rainbow three-pointer with 2.5 seconds left. He scored 26 against the Boilermakers, with this approach as the foundation of that production.

Just a few minutes ago, MI couldn't miss.

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Also playing large into the second half run were Michigan's defensive adjustments. It helps when the ball goes in. "It's going to be a possession-by-possession, execution-based game".

I'm on board with MI as this Wolverines squad is playing some of the best basketball in the country right now. If you miss a shot, you keep shooting, believe in yourself. They are scoring in bunches and with efficiency while playing strong defense to back it up.

The Wolverines have done an incredible job climbing the seed line this conference tournament.

Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis is leaving the NCAA Tournament committee after producing what he's calling the most competitive bracket in his five years on the committee. For the record, they rank No. 9 in the KenPom.com efficiency rankings.

On the day, the Cats shot just 34.6 percent from the field and committed 12 turnovers. MI has the 3-point shooting to make a huge run, but they rely heavily on that long ball. Given that UM uses only eight players, that's basically the whole rotation. Thankfully, they were safe, but they also were shaken, having just experienced one of the scariest moments of their lives. With that cushion, MI started to make its move as Irvin and Wilson connected twice.

A slow start in the second half doomed Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. We have a great opportunity in front of us.

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