A team chosen to finish last in the big ten conference, a team with no seniors. A team everyone gave up on before a single game was played. Except for The TEAM itself. Many judged Michigan’s Europe trip of 1-3 despite the fact these were professional teams. Michigan players expressed the togetherness they felt during the Europe trip. This was only the beginning of an unexpected season. The Clemson road win stood out to me. Clemson wasn’t a horrible team, and this was a road game. As I walked into Crisler for many non-conference games, there was very few in attendance. Screaming my lungs out for the team I loved, game by game, making up for the fans not in attendance. Perhaps they had given up on this team. I hadn’t. And I certainly knew this team did not give up on themselves. They were in every single game. Fighting to the finish. “Wolverines don’t go away, you have to kill them,” spoke a commentator during the Duke game.
Did you forget they started 1-6 in the big ten? The week of the game at Michigan State, I was asked if I was ready for it. Well, I certainly don’t play, but I was as mentally prepared as I could possibly be. Three days later, Michigan was 2-6 in conference play. Who would’ve guessed? That was a turning point. As Charlie Sheen would say, we were #WINNING. Stealing road games, pounding opponents at home. Before we knew it, it was time for the last home game to be played of the regular season at Crisler Arena. I was worried. Kalin Lucas was mad and I knew it. I said “Let’s do to them what they did to us last year”. They had barely gotten away at Crisler in 2010 and we had won a (closer than it should’ve been) game in the yucky city of EL. It turns out, Kalin had taken his anger out elsewhere. The Spartans never led in this game. I couldn’t wait to chant, “Its great. To be. A Mich-i-gan Wolverine!” As Darius Morris pranced his way down the court, dodging Spartans left and right, I realized, this. is. payback. Why hang on to the ball for the remaining seconds when you can make a statement so strong?
One more game. One more game is what we needed to get in the dance. Our tickets were basically stuck somewhere in the mail, but they soon arrived as Michigan came back from 12 down to Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament. Next up was Ohio State. Once again, this team came back fighting in a strong effort but fell short just once again. There was no question that they could compete with the countries finest teams.
Selection Sunday rolled around and this team was in. An 8 seed though? Many including myself hoped for an 11 seed, meaning we would not face a 1 or 2 seed in atleast the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Tennessee put up an almost-fight in the first half of the 8-9 game in Charlotte. In the 2nd half they disappeared and Michigan had completeled a 30 point victory over the Vols. Next up were the defending National Champs, the Duke Blue Devils. Michigan hung with Duke for the majority of the game. I tweeted in the first half, “Don’t get too worried, we’ll make another come back”. Boy was I right. Did you expect for Michigan to just give up? To just go away? Absolutely NOT. After Nolan Smith made one FT and missed another, the heart and soul in Zack Noooooooooovak out-rebounded Kyle Singler. Darius Morris came down the court as Michigan fans everywhere held their breath. Who would shoot the last ball? Hardaway? Novak? Douglass? Or would it be Morris? Darius Morris drove to the basket, pulling back to shoot a jumper. He always makes this shot I thought. 2 seconds left on the clock resulted in a Nolan Smith rebound and a final score of 1 seeded Duke, 73, 8 seeded Michigan, 71.
This season lasted longer than many expected yet ended sooner than it should have. Get ready to rock the Big Ten conference next year because a wise man once said, “Wolverines don’t go away, you have to kill them”.
Posted via WordPress for BlackBerry. xoxo