Happy Tuesday, folks. Welcome to Morning Brews. All the winter sport teams have emerged from their holiday breaks, so we’ve got a full complement of weekend results from the world of Michigan sports. This morning we’re checking in with wrestling, women’s basketball, hockey, and more.
Let’s get to it:
Wrestling cruises past No. 19 Illinois. The Wolverines took the Fighting Illini to the mat this past weekend, securing a comfortable win in their second Big Ten meet of the season. While it was Michigan’s day, Illinois wrestlers did score two upsets against highly-ranked Wolverines; No. 16 Travis Piotrowski beat No. 12 Drew Mattin and No. 9 Mike Carr beat No. 5 Kanen Storr. Michigan improved to 6-0 (2-0) on the season with the 28-10 win. They’ll be back in action against Michigan State on Friday.
Hockey splits weekend against No. 4 Ohio State. After last weekend’s big win over No. 6 Notre Dame, the Wolverines secured a second win against a Top-10 conference opponent in as many weeks. Unfortunately, Michigan was unable to stretch the streak against ranked opponents to three. On Friday, the Wolverines secured a 2-1 victory on the strength of a 31-23 shooting advantage. On Saturday, Ohio State found its offense—netting four goals and beating the Wolverines 4-2. Mel Pearson’s squad is now 8-9-6 (4-5-4) on the year. They next play Penn State on Thursday.
Women’s basketball falls to No. 9 Maryland. It was a game all the way until the fourth quarter, but then it wasn’t. Michigan and Maryland traded punches for three quarters on Saturday evening. The Wolverines had a 21-14 advantage after the first quarter, but Maryland took a one-point lead into halftime. The teams were still only separated by one point after the third quarter, but then things fell apart—a 30-17 fourth quarter gave the Terrapins a 83-69 win. Kim Barnes Arico’s team is now 11-6 (2-3) on the season. They next play at Iowa on Thursday.
Football finishes at No. 6 in the S&P+. I think it goes without saying that the season didn’t come to the sort of conclusion hoped for by Michigan football fans. However, the Wolverines didn’t fall as far in the statistical rankings as many may have expected. Michigan finished at No. 6 in the final S&P+ of the year, checking in with the No. 24 offense and the No. 6 defense. The Top-5 were Alabama, Clemson (No. 2 by a very slim margin), Georgia, Oklahoma, and Ohio State. For comparison, the Wolverines finished at No. 27 (No. 85 offense, No. 10 defense) following the 2017-18 season.
Michigan men’s soccer saw not one but two of its players drafted in the MLS SuperDraft this year. First to come off the board was Marcello Borges, who was a two-time All-Big Ten honoree during his career at Michigan. Next was Robbie Mertz, who was also a two-time All-Big Ten honoree during his career at Michigan. Both were selected by the Colorado Rapids, who finished 11th in the Western Conference last season. Mertz plays midfield, while Borges plays defense. Best of luck to these two in their professional careers.
"Winning doesn't excite me; losing I hate. But I think I coach for that sense of achievement in their faces."— Michigan Athletics (@UMichAthletics) January 14, 2019
The improvement of Teske and Simpson during @umichbball's 17-0 start is the essence of coaching to Beilein.
STORY» https://t.co/ZE18B4RCbg pic.twitter.com/b9vhyBLXAd
Both Jon Teske and Zavier Simpson are big parts of Michigan basketball’s unbeaten streak this season as both are seeing significant improvements in their production to go along with their increased playing time. Simpson has been on a tear recently, improving his scoring average to fourth-best on the team, while Teske has made an enormous jump from averaging 3.4 points last year to 8.4 points thus far this year. For more on Teske and Simpson’s development and what John Beilein thinks that means for this team, check out the article above from MGoBlue.