2022-2023 Michigan Basketball: two emotional wins


As the college basketball season slowly dwindles, the Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball team has one last chance to find themselves in the NCAA tournament. If the team can’t finish strong and most likely win its last three games of the regular season, then the Wolverines will instead find themselves in the lowly NIT bracket.

Michigan has been a team all year that has been up and down on a seemingly never-ending roller coaster. Though, this past weekend, the Wolverines showed potential after an emotional week in the state of Michigan. The Wolverines took on their in-state rival Spartans days after the horrific MSU shooting. The Spartans played very hard and held the Wolverines at arms’ length for most of the game. However, in the end, Michigan had a big run late in the game and pulled away leading to a twelve point win in thrilling fashion that earned that much needed quadrant two win.

After such a big and emotional win, there was yet another huge game awaiting Michigan on Thursday night. The Wolverines headed to Rutgers for a huge opportunity to boost their NCAA tournament chances. Rutgers is a team that plays very well at home, only having lost three games across the entire season thus far. Rutgers might not have the best players on their team, but they play scrappy and aggressive. Rutgers also doesn’t have the tallest team in the Big Ten, and Michigan was aiming to take advantage of this using Hunter Dickinson. During the Michigan State game, Jett Howard injured his ankle once again, which caused the huge long range threat to miss the game. With Jett out, the Wolverines needed to execute with bench players like Will Tschetter and Tarris Reed. 

The Wolverines fell behind early, and things were looking sluggish and bleak. Somehow, the Wolverines kept it close and even took their first lead of the game late in the first half which led to a halftime lead. The Wolverines came out with grit in the second half as Kobe Bufkin, Hunter Dickinson, Dug McDaniel, Tarris Reed, and Joey Baker shined to lead the Wolverines to a 58-45 road win and a quadrant one win.

The Wolverines will play again on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. for their final home game of the season. After Wisconsin, the Wolverines will play two more rigorous games at Illinois and at Indiana. From what I saw against MSU and Rutgers, Michigan looks like it still has playoff potential. Even though the team seems to start slow and go on scoring droughts, they still have a certain degree of talent and you can not hold talent down forever. I believe that if Michigan is able to play aggressive and obtain a defense that is somewhat present, the team can win in March. This still does not change the fact that the Wolverines are going to have to work for it because Indiana and Illinois are very good teams. For the time being, Michigan needs to focus on going 1-0 against Wisconsin.