This is what we wanted.
We wanted to see this Michigan Basketball team come to life in the postseason after a section of conference play that did not inspire a ton of confidence in another deep run. Not only has that taken place, but now the Wolverines get to prove that their March renaissance is real with a berth in the Big Ten Tournament title game against their rival Michigan State Spartans, who swept them in the regular season, the last one coming with a title on the line.
Michigan demolished the first two teams they played in Chicago by a combined margin of 149-102. That allowed them to rest their starters a bit and get their bench guys some much-needed run.
Now, they get to prove this is for real against their 2019 boogeymen in the Spartans.
The last few days, the defense has remained sharp, the outside shots are falling, the ball movement has been terrific, the bench is waking up and this looks like a group that has its swagger back. Perhaps the only thing that could have gotten them going like this was this stage with these stakes on the line and a quick turnaround between each game. The concerns still exist, but this looks like a team playing its best basketball when it matters most.
A Beilein staple.
The two best teams in the Big Ten meet on Sunday and it is not all that close. This challenge is a much tougher one, as evidenced by how the last two games in the series have gone. For as stout as Michigan has been in Chicago, MSU has also performed well and it is easy to see why they give the Wolverines fits. Cassius Winston is one of the best point guards in the country, the zip the ball around the floor with precise passes into tight windows, and people still seem to have trouble guarding Kenny Goins. All of these things will be huge in Sunday’s game.
But for now, let’s enjoy it for what it is. Another rivalry matchup. Another title on the line. The stage is set and the lights are bright.
Which is normally when Michigan teams tend to do their thing this time of year.