Mo Bamba should’ve gone to Michigan. No school could’ve offered him as high-quality a single year education as the one available to him in Ann Arbor. Also, the Wolverines basketball team is better than Texas. That’s not an opinion anymore following UM’s 59-52 victory in Austin. The Wolverines led by as many as 14 in the second half as John Beilein continued his long history of out coaching Shaka Smart in games Michigan is inexplicably expected to lose. Note Jay Bilas (a lawyer in the same way I was a college basketball player) had VCU going to the Final Four in 2013, UM knocked them out in the second round 78-53.
Michigan’s offense was good enough to win this game despite shooting 6-19 from deep, but it was on the defensive end of the floor where the Maize and Blue shined. The Wolverines limited the Longhorns to 37% shooting from the field while outrebounding their hosts 40-31. Most impressively, former future Wolverine Mo Bamba was limited to just 10 points on 4-10 shooting in 35 minutes, while recording 10 boards only one of which came on the offensive end of the floor.
My only complaint, because I wouldn’t be a Michigan fan if I only complained after losses, is that Isaiah Livers didn’t look great offensively in a season-high 22 minutes. Everyone has been wanting to see him get more run and he fit in this game well because of what he can do defensively in place of Duncan Robinson, but you expect the offensive game to improve the longer he plays for Beilein.
Speaking of Beilein, never doubt Michigan’s man in charge. Will Michigan ever win a national title under their current head coach? No. Should fans expect the program to compete for Big Ten titles and Final Fours? Yes, and they do. He’s the perfect fit for the University and next year’s recruiting class coupled with the current roster after departures will put Michigan amongst the preseason favorites in the conference next season.
For now, just enjoy the ride. This team picked up two huge wins this week to give them a small margin for error in what might be the thinnest power five conference in the country. Failure to reach the big dance would be a disappointment at this point, but I’m also not ready to pencil this team in the field of 68. They’ve done enough in the non-conference to feel good heading into part 2 of conference play, but I don’t hate the fact that Michigan will likely be playing very important games in The Mecca that could decide their postseason fate.