The B1G has given out 18 weekly basketball awards (9 player of the week, 9 frosh of the week) so far this year. U-M has won eight of them.— Andy Reid (@AReid_Wolverine) January 7, 2013
At some point we're going to run out of superlatives.
Michigan has pretty much rolled over everyone for the last month of the season. The Wolverines haven't been involved in a game that was closer than 10 points at the end since the first of December (in a bit of a letdown game after a similarly close NC State win a few days before). Not much of this is a suprise, seeing as basketball luminaries such as Binghamton, Arkansas, and the three directional Michigan schools have graced the recent schedule.
Yet, moving into Big Ten play, Michigan has upped the ante in two straight blowout wins. The first, a 28 point runaway victory against the shorthanded Northwestern Wildcats was established from the beginning. More impressively, on Sunday Michigan overcame a slow start against the scrappy Iowa Hawkeyes to put on an offensive clinic down the stretch and notch the team's second straight 28-point win. It was also the third 90-point game in four tries (Michigan would have had four straight with one more basket against CMU).
While the defense has been solid thus far this year -- with some struggles on interior isolation plays -- Michigan has been out of this world offensively. Michigan is the leader in Adj O in the Kenpom rankings, and over the past two games Michigan has averaged an absurd 1.39 points per possession (last year's best was 1.19ppp; H/T UMHoops).
A big part of all this is of course the play of Michigan's unquestioned leader: Trey Mother F***ing Burke (yeah, I said it). Burke is beginning to establish himself as not just the best point guard in the country, but possibly the best player. He is averaging over 17 points and seven assists per game. That's impressive. How impressive?
Add in the now bloodthirsty play of Tim Hardaway Jr., who is attacking the basket and taking -- and making -- better outside shots, plus the stellar offensive contributions from Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III, and growing depth up front (Mitch McGary is beginning to assert himself a bit more -- against Iowa he pulled down 11 rebounds and blocked three shots in 20 minutes), and Michigan is as complete a team as it has been in a long, long time.
This Wednesday Michigan takes on Nebraska at home in what could be another win in the mold of the last two, as well as one that would tie the record for the best start by a Michigan team.
If Michigan wants to break that record it will get to do so in impressive fashion. The next two games are both on the road against Ohio State on Sunday and Minnesota the Thursday after that.
If Michigan makes it out the other side of this stretch, well, I'll defer to Nick Baumgardner on that one.
If they get through Ohio State and Minnesota on the road without a loss .... well, I'm not sure when they'll lose.— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) January 7, 2013
It certainly is a brave new world.