Michigan’s men’s basketball team had an absolutely magical run this season which turned into a fabulous tourney. What started out as an overrated easy second or third round out ended with a loss in the championship. It was quite a journey for the team with ups and downs throughout the season.
Michigan started off great with a 18-0 start and a period of being number one in the country. With a great starting five, they really started to turn heads with the emergence and continuous growth of Trey Burke.
Burke, a sophomore, was the starting point guard for the Wolverines. He turned out to not only be the team’s best player but the nation’s best player. This was assured when he won the Big Ten Player of the Year award, Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year award, and the John R. Wooden award given to college basketball’s best overall player. Burke earn these awards this year by averaging 18 points per game, three point two rebounds per game, six point seven assists per game, one point six steals per game. These stats reflect a great season, but where Burke shines is in his composure, leadership and ability to hit deep contested threes and circus layup attempts. These traits really pulled Michigan together and swayed the momentum of every game the Wolverines won.
The team also had solid support from players like Glenn Robinson III, Nik Stauskas, and Tim Hardaway Junior. These three seemed to be Burke’s sidekicks putting up big numbers when the team needed them. These players all performed well not only in the regular season but in March Madness as well.
The tourney can bring out the best in a player as we saw the emergence of big man Mitch McGary who carried the team in the first two tournament wins scoring over 20 points and 14 rebounds in both games. The big man wouldn’t end up slowing down until the title game where Louisville’s Dieng silenced McGary from being a big part of the game.
Where McGary lacked in the national championship game freshman point guard, Spike Albrecht, shined. Albrecht came into the game five for five on three point attempts and shot four for five from three point land in this game alone. He exploded and helped Michigan collect a 12 point lead only to lose it by a late first half push that dragged into the whole second half led by Louisville’s Hancock who was on fire from the three point line also matching Albrecht’s explosive first half and raising him an all-around solid second half that Spike just couldn’t match.
Besides being dominated in the paint in the second half Hancock’s play are the reasons for Michigan’s loss. Some other key factors in this game were Michigan’s sloppy second half ball handling and Louisville’s ability to force turnovers. These two dynamics shifted the momentum of the game and killed any and every run Michigan tried to go on. Officiating was the last key factor of the game. Whether it was blocked shots being called fouls or people being fouled and it never being called this game seemed to be filled with bad calls. It went both ways making the game very physical however the bad calls seemed to pile up on Michigan and had a lasting effect on the Wolverines chances of winning that game.
Even though Michigan lost the game they played with effort and heart, the two themes that seem to highlight the Wolverines season. This season has come to an end but the 2012-2013 Michigan Wolverineswill help brighten the future for this program.