After the home-bed-pooping performance against Wisconsin, all the air was let out of my "let's watch basketball" balloon. I wondered if this team, which from what we've seen is able to compete with the ACC and the PAC-10, is ready for Big Ten style play. It's a worry, especially in these transitional times, where we not quite sharp enough for the full Beilein gameplan, and not quite big and tough enough to bang the boards against Big Ten foes on your average Wednesday evening. Now, bare in mind that a single game does not a conference season make. But the Wolverines showed a little something that my man Jerry Reed (East Bound and Down) would call "intestinal fortitude." They didn't back down from Illinois. They didn't crack under the pressure of what could be construed as the earliest "must win" game in conference history. They didn't falter when their three-pointer lifeboat left the game after taking an elbow to the eye from the double turncoat turned Fighting Illini Alex Legion.
They played bigger than they are.
Davis, 6-9, was driving and looked to be going for the dunk when Harris, 6-5, jumped and met him in the air.
And if they continue to do that, they CAN compete in this league. They CAN make a run for postseason play.
Michigan wins, 74-64, on 40% 3-point shooting against the nation's 3rd best 3-pointer defense (25%), ending Illinois 7-game winning streak. Of note, LLP got the start and poured in 13 and had 5 assists. Also, big Zack Gibson hit double digits in scoring (10), and Kelvin put up 9, including a nail-in-the-coffin layup in traffic in the waning moments. Michigan's schedule will allow Novak to avenge his 6 stitches when they play at Illinois on 1/14, after this week's games at Indiana (Wed) and home against Iowa (Sun).