The University of Michigans Men's Basketball Team Changes Collars In Illinois Win...But, Will It Last
Today, Symbols Mattered For Michigan Basketball Against Illinois
Zak Irvin suggested wearing the road blues at home.
Coach Donlon wrote "Street Fight" on the locker room wall in permanent marker.
Most important, DJ Wilson played a brilliant all-around game (such a good performance that even the opposing coach gave him a rave review) and Michigan got revenge on The Fighting Illini (after an Illinois player called Michigan a "White-Collar Defensive Team" after defeating Michigan in Champagne earlier in the season) with a 66-57 victory.
So, What Does This Mean Going Forward?
For most of the last two games, the Michigan Men's Basketball team has played MUCH harder on Defense against good competition and have put in much better effort on the boards...this cannot be bad news for Michigan.
But, let's be honest, prior to the Wisconsin game, Michigan was playing historically terrible defense and losing the rebounding battle by significant margins in virtually every game that they have played against moderate to elite competition.
The good news, they finally have some things to build on (Good things, like out-rebounding a real Big 10 opponent).
The bad news, they have reached the tough part of their Big 10 schedule, and getting to the NCAA tournament will require wins over teams like Maryland, Indiana, Michigan State, and a surprisingly good Minnesota team.
There were some worrying signs at the end of the game when Michigan started reverting to bad habits (yes, Illinois got a rebound off of a missed free throw when Michigan did not box out...How does this keep happening?). On the other hand, for some reason I don't fully understand, Coach Beilein kept the core five players on the floor for nearly the entire second half (so, it would not be a surprise if they were entirely gassed).
Let us hope Michigan's commitment to defense and rebounding is written in permanent marker too. Michigan plays next on Thursday at Crisler Center against Indiana (9 pm ESPN2).