A Senior Night that featured neither of Michigan's (20-11, 10-8 Big Ten) two beloved remaining members of the "Fresh Five," Spike Albrecht and Caris LeVert, ended with a loss to #16 Iowa (21-9, 12-6 Big Ten), 71-61.
The same issues that have haunted Michigan for stretches of Big Ten play reared their ugly head in the first half tonight. The Wolverines turned it over five times and continued on the long-range shooting drought that's plagued them for weeks (26.3% in the first half). Despite that, the team was able to claw back from multiple double-digit deficits to go into the locker room down only six.
In the second half, the song remained the same. Michigan simply isn't good enough on the defensive end or athletic enough to beat any formidable opponent unless they shoot the lights out and limit their turnovers, of which they did neither. Iowa kept Michigan at arm's length all half, and, outside of briefly pulling within five after switching to the 1-3-1 zone, the Wolverines never truly threatened.
Jarrod Uthoff was the best player on the floor tonight with 29 points and seven rebounds. Derrick Walton Jr. finished with 14 points, five rebounds, and six assists, and Zak Irvin with 11 points, eight rebounds, and three assists.
Bottom line, there was nothing enjoyable about this game. The officiating was horrendous, Jon Crispin as a color guy is like nails on a chalkboard, and, worst of all, Michigan broke down time and time again on defense -- like they have all season. Again, I am not advocating the firing of John Beilein and likely never will, but it's undeniable at this point that changes need to be made, be they from a recruiting or philosophical perspective.
Michigan will play as the #8 seed in the Big Ten Tournament at noon on Thursday. The Wolverines' opponent won't be finalized until tomorrow's games are played.