This Week’s One Thing:
Wrestling v. #1 Iowa, Sat Feb. 8, 8p, Crisler Center
Wrestling has had a strong Big Ten season, only taking a single loss. On Senior Night they’ll welcome the #1 team in the country, in a meet that will happen in front of the big crowd at Crisler Center. As always you’ll want to keep an eye on Mason Parris’ heavyweight match, as he will likely take on Iowa’s Tony Casioppi in a #2 v. #3 match. This meet could feature up to five ranked-on-ranked matches, with other highlights including #2 Pat Lugo v. Michigan’s #9 Kanen Storr at 149 pounds, and #5 Kaleb Young v. #9 Will Lewan at 157 pounds. Michigan has slowly been climbing the rankings, an upset v. #1 would truly put them on the map.
Sat Feb. 8, 8p: #22 Wrestling v. #1 Iowa, BTN
Sun Feb. 9, 4p: #7 Women’s Gymnastics v. OSU, BTN
Mon Feb. 10, 6p: Women’s Basketball v. Minnesota, BTN
Women’s Basketball (15-7, 6-5 B1G)
Last Week: 81-73 L @ #21 Northwestern, 78-62 W v. #20 Iowa, 66-63 W v. Purdue
Upcoming: Mon Feb. 10, 6p @ Minnesota, BTN
Michigan took a frustrating loss in Evanston but followed it up with two big steps in the right direction. Like most of Michigan’s losses this season, Michigan spent most of the game within striking distance but just couldn’t get it done. Back in friendlier confines at Crisler, Naz Hillmon took over and took Michigan’s season off of life support. Hillmon scored a career-high 30 points and added 10 boards in an upset over #20 Iowa. Hillmon earned both B1G and ESPNW National Player of the Week Honors. Michigan followed it up with a win over Purdue, a roughly evenly matched team. Michigan let by as much as 13 early in the second half, but Purdue slowly chipped at the lead until the Wolverines led by just 1 in the final minute. After Akenriah Johnson found Hillmon right under the basket, Michigan forced Purdue out of bounds to ice the game. There was a turnover on Michigan’s final possession, and Purdue got a shot at the full-court three, but ultimately it fell way short and Michigan held on for the win. Hillmon and Johnson both earned double doubles.
Michigan is now 6-5 in Big Ten play, which is 7th place but still in shouting distance of a double bye. Fourth place Indiana is at 8-4 and still has to come to Crisler. While at one point it looked like the Wolverines might drop to the NIT, all of the sudden a positive seed at the Big Ten Tournament is in play, and they’re staying on the right side of the bubble. Michigan travels to Minnesota on Monday night, and they absolutely have to come out with the W. Minnesota is desperate to save their own season, but a Michigan win means the Wolverines are back on track.
#22 Wrestling (6-3, 5-1 B1G)
Last Week: 21-16 W v. Rutgers
Upcoming: Sat Feb. 8, 8p v. #1 Iowa, Crisler Center, BTN
Michigan opened the Big Ten Super Saturday with a win, beating Rutgers 21-16. Michigan won four out of the first five matches to storm out to a 15-3 lead, with Cole Mattin earning the bulk of it on a major decision. Rutgers won three out of the next four, and all of the sudden it was 16-15 Rutgers going into the heavyweights. Needing the win to stay undefeated and hand his team a victory, Mason Parris pinned his opponent in just over a minute, providing the decisive margin. Michigan is now 4-1 at the Big Ten Super Saturday in all sports, and 4-0 in days where they participate in the full doubleheader.
As mentioned above, Michigan welcomes #1 Iowa to Crisler this Saturday.
Upcoming: USF-Rawlings Invitational, Tampa, FL: Fri Feb. 7, 11:45a v. Georgia St., 2p v. Illinois St., Sat Feb. 8, 1:45 p v. #7 Florida, 4:15p v. USF, Sun Feb. 9, 9a v. Fresno St.
We’ll have a full softball preview for you sometime next week, but despite the snowy weather in Ann Arbor it is softball season somewhere. Michigan is going to have an interesting season, needing to replace five starters. After these games, we’ll have a better idea who those replacements will be. The ranked matchup with Florida is obviously the highlight, but the game against hosts USF will be the only one streamed. It will be available on the USF website.
#7 Women’s Gymnastics (5-0, 3-0 B1G)
Last Week: 197.075-196.975 W v. #14 Nebraska
Upcoming: Sun Feb. 9, 4p v. OSU
Women’s gymnastics got a crucial road victory, defeating Nebraska by a thin margin. Natalie Wojcik got her usual strong start on bars, taking a 9.900, before taking an uncharacteristic fall on vault. Luckily, Abby Brenner got a career-high 9.950 to make up the difference in the score. Michigan led by just .225 after the third rotation, and Nebraska put in an extremely strong floor rotation to cut into the Wolverine lead, with no counted scores below 9.850. Michigan did just enough on beam to pull out a .100 win, with Wojcik and Lauren Farley both contributing 9.900s. Freshman Sierra Brooks won the all around.
Michigan will now host an Ohio State team that has not competed in many duals this season. Ohio State has yet to hit 196 this season, and Michigan’s low score of 195.650 tops OSU’s high.
#3 Men’s Gymnastics (1-0, 1-0 B1G)
Last Week: 409.600-408.500 W v. #11 OSU
This Week: Sat Feb. 8, 1p v. #19 UIC/ #21 NIU
Men’s gymnastics also picked up a big road win last weekend, travelling to #11 Ohio State and coming out on top in their first true dual of the season. Michigan had a comfortable lead for much of the final rotation, and won four of the six disciplines. Cameron Bock came in with a strong 14.550 on rings, while Nick Guy’s 14.800 on vault was the high score of the meet.
Michigan now opens their home slate with a triple meet against Illinois-Chicago and Northern Illinois. The Illinois teams will give Michigan a strong opponent as they seek qualification for a home national championship meet.
#13 Men’s Tennis (6-1)
Last Week: 4-2 W v. #11 TCU, 4-2 W v. WMU
Upcoming: Fri Feb. 7, 6p @ Cornell, Sun Feb. 9, 11a @ #9 Columbia
Men’s tennis came away with a pair of wins in a double-header last Saturday, defeating a ranked TCU and handling WMU. TCU took the doubles point, but Michigan dominated singles to win the match. Ondrej Styler, Andrew Fenty, and Nick Beatty all won in straight sets, leaving Michigan needing just one point out of the final three matches. TCU did take a point, but Mattias Siimar closed out the match with 6-3 win in the third set. In the nightcap Michigan took the doubles point. While WMU made it interesting, Andrew Fenty dealt the finishing blow, dropping the first set but going 6-1, 6-2 in the other sets.
Styler and Fenty both moved up in the individual rankings, with Styler landing at 43 and Fenty at 48. Patrick Maloney entered the rankings for the first time this season, at 96. Michigan will now travel out east for a pair of road matches at Ivy schools. Cornell is undefeated including a win over Michigan State, but Columbia will serve as one of Michigan’s toughest tests of the season.
#14 Women’s Tennis (3-1)
Last Week: 4-0 L @ #2 North Carolina, 4-0 W v. #24 Florida
Upcoming: National Indoor Championship, Chicago, IL: Fri Feb. 7, 4:30p (ET) v. #1 Stanford
Women’s tennis split the week, getting soundly beaten away against the nation’s #2 team. Not much to report about the match against the Tarheels. Guilia Pairone could have won her match at #2 to salvage a point for the Wolverines but wasn’t quite fast enough and the match was abandoned. They fared much better hosting the ranked Florida Gators, earning a sweep of their own. While the three abandoned matches were all close, the singles matches Michigan won were not. Nicole Hammond and Guilia Pairone both won their matches 6-2, 6-2, with Anca Craciun’s 6-2, 6-3 not far behind.
Michigan now heads to the Indoor National Championship after having won their ITA Kickoff Regional last month. An unlucky draw means the Wolverines will open against #1 Stanford. Even a loss would allow the Wolverines to enter the consolation bracket, earning some crucial matches against other ranked teams. If they can upset #1, they’ll play the winner of Georgia Tech/Ohio State.
#8 Women’s Lacrosse
Upcoming: Sun Feb. 9, Noon @ Jacksonville
Women’s lacrosse had the most successful season in program history, earning the school’s first NCAA Tournament bid for either lacrosse team. They even hosted tournament games opening weekend, including a victory over the Jacksonville team they will play this weekend. The women open the season at #8 in the country, and will look to prove last year’s success can be sustained.
Upcoming: Sat Feb. 8, 1p v. Cleveland State
Men’s lacrosse is poised to finally make the jump they’ve been trying to make since the program was bumped to varsity status. It’s Kevin Conry’s third year as head coach, and his #13 recruiting class will look to help them make their first NCAA Tournament. They open against Cleveland State, who is already 0-1 after an OT loss to Marquette.
Upcoming: Big Ten Match Play, Feb. 7-8, Palm Coast, FL
Men’s golf will open its spring season with the Big Ten Match Play championship. They’ll face Iowa on Friday morning. The tournament has a one-on-one format, which each team featuring six golfers. With a win, the Wolverines will take on the tournaments #1 seed, Northwestern.
#1 Women (6-0, 4-0 B1G): 181-83 W v. MSU
#3 Men (6-1, 4-1 B1G): 195-76 W v. MSU
Swimming absolutely trounced MSU on Senior Day, the end of its regular season. The Wolverines will now shift fully to preparing for the NCAA Championships, hosting the First Chance Meet in two weeks. This is not a team meet, but is solely so that the competitors can make individual NCAA Championship cut times.
Last Week: Power Five Invitational, Ann Arbor, MI
Upcoming: Meyo Invitational, South Bend, IN
Last week Michigan hosted the Power Five Invitational. It was special, as Michigan was able to host many training for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, which you can read about in an article I published earlier this week. This week the Wolverines will travel to South Bend to compete at the Meyo Invitational. The meet is available to stream on WatchESPN, and features several other Big Ten teams, competing along with Notre Dame and a number of mid-majors.