Michigan Basketball and the Big Ten Tournament: The (Hopefully) Long Goodbye

Every year when the Big Ten Tournament rolls around fans of middle tier teams, like the Michigan Wolverines, tend to think the impossible can happen. Phrases like "if we get a couple bounces", "if we can hit our open looks", "if the other team is suffering from Ebola" engender hope that should have been abandoned months ago. Perhaps the reason for this blind optimism that all of sudden your arctic cold team will get hot stems from your first round match up. Witness, Michigan v. the Iowa Hawkeyes.

The standard Ken Pom-esque previews provided by mgoblog and UM Hoops.comgive you the general idea of how things have gone. Michigan wins comfortably at home, scrapes by on the road, and Iowa is really, really awful. It's so bad that on the day the tournament opens, one of the first links on BHGP is this:

Transfer Bug Resurfaces for Iowa Basketball

Jesus, and you thought Rodriguez' had a transfer problem. Tood Lickliter (Iowa's head coach) can't even keep his son around! So, as you can imagine, basketball isn't really on BGHP's or the Iowa fanbase's mind right now. Especially after a season that saw them go 10-21 (4-14). Geh. Not good.

But the way Michigan's season has turned out, you never know what could happen. Last time around Michigan let Aaron Fuller drop 30 on them, despite being Iowa's only legitimate scoring threat and being able to concentrate on not letting him shoot 11-13.

/pulls out hair in clumps
/screams

ahem....

Michigan shouldwin this game, but we've said that over and over again this season only to return to the fetal position muttering to ourselves. I do I think Michigan will win? Sure. Why not? It's possible. It's also possible they could lose by twenty. I don't know. What it boils down to is this tournament is our last chance to watch DeShawn Sims, Zack Gibson and Anthony Wright play in a Michigan uniform, and I think that means something.

(More after the Jump......................)

Sims committed to Michigan for reasons I can't fathom. He was the best player in the state with offers to go anywhere he wanted. But he came to Michigan. A program in disarray with a coach at the time who couldn't tie his shoes without somehow entangling his arm. It was that bad. But Sims came here anyway. Shortly thereafter his brother was killed in a senseless tragedy that robbed Sims of his best friend before he had even turned 20. Instead of giving up, Sims returned to Michigan. Played his heart out. And now he's leaving Michigan with a degree. Again, I think that means something and says something special about DeShawn.

I'll have more on Gibby later, but you all know about our fondeness for Honky Magic. Over the last year we've probably been a little harsh on Anthony Wright's ability and contributions on the court. But one thing's for sure, he's a good kid with a great sense of humor. One of those glue type players that keeps people loose and you simply have to have on your team. Good luck kid.

So today we say goodbye to three kids and to a season that never really lived up to our expectations, whatever those were. Maybe it's best to say goodbye to the season as a whole. Let it pass into 'bolivion. But I'm not quite ready to hang it up. There are three good kids on this team, seniors, who deserve better. Maybe just one extra game, maybe five or six. Who knows. To continue its season, Michigan basketball team must win four games in four days. It's possible right?

For that to happen, it's going to take luck, defense, and hitting an open shot or two. It's possible. The first game is the key, and I suspect it'll come down to the wire. As with so many games in the Big Ten, this will also come down to officiating. That is never good. Surprisingly the ref in that link is not Ed Hightower (though I wouldn't put it past him).

Regardless, go get 'em guys. Come back with a win. Then we'll deal with the season's next mot important game.

For more on the Big Ten Tournament, check out SB Nation's Big Ten Tournament page. Live thread will be up in an Hour. Join us then.

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