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Thursday Morning Brews: Postseason Push

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Derrick Walton joins elite company, former Michigan staffers are gathering at UCLA, and Women’s basketball wins their fifth straight

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Michigan
Walton led the way Tuesday night, as he has since calling his players-only meeting.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Author’s Note: Folks I’ve been a little under the weather during this mid-week (I’ll spare you all the details), so today’s Brews are going to be a little abbreviated. All should be back to normal next Tuesday. I’d also like to continue to highlight our new roundtable that’s in the works. It’s going to feature some great stuff about Michigan teams that don’t always get the publicity that Football and (when playing well) Men’s Basketball do. We’re in the final stages of the preliminary planning, so keep an eye out for the first installment sometime next week.

Let’s hit the links:

Derrick Walton recorded his 400th assist last night, joining the prestigious company of Gary Grant and Jalen Rose in the 1,000 point, 400 rebound, and 400 assist club. Walton currently has 493 rebounds, and seven more will make him the first Michigan player ever to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, and 400 assists in a career. Only 11 other players have reached that plateau in B1G Conference history. Since calling a player’s only meeting, Walton has taken charge of the Wolverines offense. He’s averaged over 20 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in the team’s last five games.

This is your reminder to keep voting in the Infiniti Coaches 4 Charity Challenge. You can vote once per day for John Beilein. The further a coach advances in the challenge, the more money their chosen charity will receive. The challenge is currently in the second round, and Coach Beilein has the second most votes - claiming 16% of all votes cast. Beilein is competing for the ChadTough Foundation, named for Lloyd Carr’s 5 year old grandson who lost his battle with DIPG. The foundation funds research to improve treatments, awareness, and, hopefully one day, make it so no child dies from this rare form of cancer. Click the link above and vote. All you need is a free ESPN.com account.

Former Michigan analyst Jimmie Dougherty is leaving Oregon to become the new WR coach for former Michigan assistant coach and current UCLA OC Jedd Fisch. Dougherty never had a large public profile, and the casual football fan probably never heard much about him - but he played an important role on the staff as an analyst, particularly in recruiting. This is how coaching trees are built, and I wish both Dougherty and Fisch the best at UCLA.

The Wolverines absolutely hung one on the visiting Spartans at the Crisler Center Tuesday night. The win, which moved Michigan to 15-9 (5-6), matched Michigan’s largest ever win over Tom Izzo. After a closely contested first ten minutes, Michigan closed the half on a 32-10 run and never looked back. Notably, Michigan’s resurgent defense forced the Spartans into more shot clock violations in the first half (4) than wins recorded by their football team (3) in the recently-concluded season. While they face an uphill battle, the postseason isn’t out of the question for Beilein’s crew. Men’s basketball will be back in action on Sunday, with a 1 PM tip against Indiana. The game will be televised on CBS.

Women’s basketball added another tally to the win column last night, their fifth in a row, by notching a 72-62 victory over Purdue. After leading by eight at the half, Michigan allowed the game to tighten briefly near the end of the third quarter - but the Wolverines pulled away in the fourth quarter, outscoring Purdue 20-14. Michigan was led by the familiar trio of Kysre Gondrezick, Hallie Thome, and Katelyn Flaherty, who recorded 25 pts, 15 pts, and 13 pts, respectively. Jillian Dunston also contributed 15 rebounds. The victory moves the Wolverines to 20-5 (9-2) on the season. They’ll be back in action on Sunday at 2 PM against Wisconsin. The game will be televised on BTN.

I’m going to close out Today’s brews the same way the G.O.A.T. closes out his Super Bowl MVP press conferences. Go Blue, baby.