INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – He spent most of this season in the top ten, talking about being the best basketball conference in the nation.
It pointed to the league’s record of nine teams ranked in a week in December, and how its teams make up half of the top 10 weeks. It sent a record nine teams from the conference to the NCAA Tournament game, which was completely contested in the Big Ten.
It turns out that it was a big boost.
The current season’s conference was left out of the quarter-finals, The final blow came on Tuesday night when Michigan lost 51-49 to UCLA No. 11 in the Southern District. Wolverine (23-5) lost twice in three weeks at Lucas Oil Stadium, now leading home without the Big Ten Tournament crown or the date of Saturday’s national semi-final.
“Very disappointing for our boys.” Michigan coach Juan Howard said: “It came to one property, sometimes it happens. “Basketball sometimes comes down to one or two possessions that can really help or hurt you. We’ve had a short time.”
Howard has been here before.
As a player, he twice helped the Wolverines to a national league game, both of which were lacking.
A year ago, the Wolverines were ready for a strong off-season run when the COVID-19 epidemic cut off both conference and NCAA tournaments.
This time around, Michigan և Illinois earned No. 1 seeds և seem to have a make-up artist to stay on until the last weekend. Instead, eighth-seeded Loyola Chicago bothered Illinois in the second round և Michigan fell overnight when it attacked in a fight.
“When you don’t hit, it makes things a little bit harder,” said senior guard Eli Brooks after scoring eight points from 3 to 8.
The Wolverines had many opportunities to survive.
Franz Wagner scored from the penalty spot in 11.1 seconds, and Brooks failed to score. Mike Smith missed an open 3, then the refs left the clock 0.5 seconds behind, Wagner missed a 3 to seal the league fate.
Michigan played better than many.
Some may dispute the relegation of the top 25 teams of the best teams in the league or the difficult schedules of the last season. Others may argue that Indianapolis Balloon Extra Week was to blame for the Big Ten.
None of this really matters.
The Big Ten finished 8-9 in the NCAA, only Michigan reached the Sweet 16. The second-placed state of Ohio, the fourth-placed Purdue did not even make it out of the first round, the Brunettes were able to play their way from the first four to the final four, eliminating both Michigan and the Wolverines.
It is enough that all that talk of the regular season becomes hollow.
“At the moment this game is still very fresh,” Howard said. “It will be difficult to sleep tonight.”
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