March 15, 2013
Revenge list, chapter two today
Four names appeared on Michigan's checklist of retribution for the Big Ten Tournament, with allowance for subs in case of unexpected twists. The Wolverines scratched off the first, but the big boys are waiting.
Penn State lurked like a thorn that needed to be plucked out, after the Wolverines saw a 15-point lead at State College evaporate over the final 10 minutes. U-M took care of that in the tournament opener, sending the 12th-seeded Nittany Lions home before some fan blocks even poured into Chicago.
Now, it gets serious.
Next up, Wisconsin, the team that badgered Michigan's consciousness for weeks after the near half-court shot that sent the one regular-season game between the teams into overtime. U-M fans know the story all too well by now.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. hits the clutch, hand-in-his-face, three-pointer from the top of the circle, giving the Wolverines a three-point lead and apparent victory with 2.4 seconds remaining at the Kohl Center. Bo Ryan's Badgers draw up the Brust Or Bust final play, with Ben Brust taking the ball in stride in the backcourt.
Michigan didn't foul, with fouls to give. But even given that mistake, who would have thought Brust could drain the bomb that produced the overtime that led to the Wolverines' most shocking victory-turned-defeat turn of the season? It happened, and the Badgers went onto the list.
That list grew as the season wore down - just enough to dash Michigan's title dreams, and give it plenty of emotional fuel in match-ups like today's.
"Playing Wisconsin, who beat us when we went up there, it's definitely going to be a hard-fought game," sophomore point guard Trey Burke said. "We know that we owe them.
"They made a half-court shot and beat us in overtime. We're over that loss, but it's definitely in the back of our mind. We'll be thinking about that.
"Yeah, it will definitely be motivation. Motivation for us is, we know we can't get relaxed. We got a little relaxed at Wisconsin, and it allowed them to crawl back in the game, and it came back to bite us. If we'd have won that game, maybe we'd be Big Ten champs."
They'd have needed more than one more Big Ten win to get that done, but certainly the Wisconsin game brought with it a hangover effect. The Wolverines got hammered at Michigan State in the wake of the Madison stunner, and staggered for a while.
Now, it's time to make things right, they agree.
"When you lose on any given night, like we did at Penn State, at Wisconsin
every team is good," junior guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. said. "You can't let up on them in any game.
"You could say it's a revenge kind of weekend coming up. We're playing all the teams we did lose to. We have a chance to make it happen. We have to go out there and show everybody what we can do."
"It's great. I love it," added freshman forward Glenn Robinson III. "I love coming back and playing these teams again. I know, so do my teammates. We're all looking forward to this opportunity to get back at some of these teams."
Burke emphasized the one-game-at-a-time approach. But the first bad-loss name has been checked off the list, and a second awaits, hours away.
The Michigan floor leader even pondered what might happen if
"When we saw our seed, and the teams that were on our side, we definitely were happy," Burke said. We knew we would have a chance to play against Wisconsin, to play against Indiana if we win
it's definitely a good thing that we're on the side of the teams that we lost to."
Now, it's all about making the most of that chance.
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