2012 Big Ten Men's Basketball
Big Ten Basketball Weekly Recap
This brings us to Michigan. The Wolverines defeated Michigan State on Tuesday with inspired defense in the final minutes. UM answered the call in crunch time to knock off its in-state rival. Certainly, UM would have been able to handle Arkansas this past weekend, right?
When the Michigan Wolverines went down to visit Fayettevile, Arkansa, they were defeated by two points in a game that was a total knock-down drag-out fight.
Right out of the gate the Razorbacks showed that they were going to defend their home court with all they had. In the early minutes Arkansas shot the ball very well making its first eleven shots from the field, four of those were from three point range. The whole first half, the Razorbacks troubled Michigan by creating turnovers and getting steals. To top off all of this, Arkansas's bench contributed many more points than Michigan's was able to. If you combine this with the Wolverines poor shooting and confused defense though out the first half it's easy to see why the Razorbacks had a 46-33 lead at halftime.
As the second half started it was easy to see that Michigan coach John Beilein brought his team together in the locker room. The Wolverines completely changed the tempo on both sides of the ball, which is why they were able to erase most of Arkansas's halftime lead in short order, forcing the Razorbacks to call timeouts just to try to slow down the Wolverines' newfound momentum.
As the second half went on the Razorbacks settled down again and used some effective defensive pressure to retake control of the game. Michigan was not going to make it that simple for the U of A, however. Behind the hustle play and leadership of Zack Novak the Wolverines continued to fight hard, making the game a real struggle for both sides. The fact is nobody even scored a basket between the 11:12 and 6:50 time marks, making this a defensive battle royale.When the teams begin to score again it was Michigan that took advantage of the lull. The Maize and Blue closed the gap to just two points with 3:37 left to go. Both sides made some key baskets but Arkansas maintained the lead. After a foul by Tim Hardaway Jr. of Michigan put B.J. Young of Arkansas at the line for a one and one, Arkansas had a chance to seal the win in the closing seconds. However, Young missed the front end. Young's teammate Rashad Madden bailed the Razorbacks out with one of the strongest rebounds of the game, but when he missed his foul shots with just sixteen seconds left, Michigan improbably gained one final chance at victory. Michigan's Trey Burke took the last shot of the game, and his three point try that was off the mark - barely; it went halfway in before spinning out - and was rebounded by Hunter Mickelson of Arkansas, bringing the game to a close. Michigan's highest high against Michigan State met this pronounced low on the road. This game was a metaphor for the entire Big Ten season.
By Matt Zemek
> Find more Big Ten football news online at Big Ten Fans!