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Michigan’s NCAA Tournament hopes nearly dead following 62-50 loss to Rutgers

After a competitive first half, the Wolverines got blown off the floor by the Scarlet Knights in the second half.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Second Round - Michigan vs Rutgers Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Every Michigan fan knew the score headed into the Big Ten Tournament that the Wolverines’ NCAA Tournament hopes hinged on surviving and advancing as far as they possibly could.

Unfortunately for Michigan, that road ended before it even began, as a catastrophic second half collapse gave way to a 62-50 defeat at the hands of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Here’s how the game turned out.

First Half

For much of the first half, the momentum hinged on the amount of made shots by the Scarlet Knights. With 6:30 left in the half, Rutgers had only made four of its 24 total shots — a paltry 16% shooting percentage that allowed the Wolverines to maintain a sizeable lead.

While Michigan made shots at a respectable clip of more than 40%, there were several glaring holes that let the Scarlet Knights back into the game; giving up seven turnovers and allowing eight offensive rebounds. When Rutgers finally shook off its shooting woes, those fears were fully realized as the Scarlet Knights went on a blazing fast 14-5 scoring run that wiped out the Wolverines’ lead headed into the final seconds.

Ultimately, Joey Baker saved the half with a buzzer-beater three-pointer to break the tie, sending the teams to the locker room with a 28-25 score in Michigan’s favor. Statistically, Hunter Dickinson led the Wolverines in both scoring and rebounding at the half with 13 points and four boards.

Second Half

Where the first half saw Michigan jump out to a 9-2 start through the first media timeout, the second half saw Rutgers flip the script — going on a 9-1 run to start the half for a six-point lead.

The worst was yet to come for the Wolverines, as they made just one — yes, one — of their first 16 shots, allowing the Scarlet Knights to run the court virtually unopposed for almost the entire half. By the time Michigan finally found a second make, the damage had long been done, as Rutgers led by double digits with less than minute remaining.

The Scarlet Knights ran off the court with a 12-point victory, while the Wolverines left with their NCAA bubble by all appearances popped. Dickinson finished the game as the points and rebounds leader, scoring 24 points — almost half of Michigan’s final tally — while grabbing seven boards.

What’s next?

The simple answer is, we don’t know yet. The NCAA Tournament Selection Show will be on CBS Sunday at 6 p.m., with teams and pairings for the NIT released soon after.