Top 10 moments from Michigan basketball's 13 straight wins en route to Final Four
13 straight wins include Big Ten Tournament title, Final Four appearance
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – It's been a long time since the Michigan basketball team lost a game.
In fact, since the Wolverines suffered their worst loss of the season Feb. 6 at Northwestern, 50 days have passed without a bump in the road. Michigan finished the regular season on a five-game winning streak, won four games to take home the Big Ten Tournament title and added four more in the NCAA Tournament to reach the Final Four.
It's been an incredible streak for John Beilein's team -- one that has taken Michigan from the middle of the pack in the Big Ten to college basketball's biggest stage.
Here are the top 10 moments from Michigan's long string of victories.
10. Massive first-half outburst at Maryland
MAAR led the charge for Michigan in a 54-point first-half outburst at Maryland (Getty Images).
The majority of this list will be made up of postseason moments, because those are the ones that mean the most at this time of year. But it's impossible to ignore perhaps the most impressive overall performance of Michigan's regular season.
Michigan went into Maryland as a 1.5-point favorite, as the Terps had been strong at home all season. At first, the two teams went back and forth, with Maryland leading 12-11 seven minutes into the first half.
That's when the Wolverines exploded.
Over the final 13 minutes before the break, Michigan scored 43 points, ruining senior night for the Terrapins. The Wolverines led by 30 points, 54-24, at the break and cruised to their fifth straight win in the season finale.
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, rocking safety goggles, dropped 22 points in the opening half to lead Michigan, which shot 17 for 28 from the field. It was a precursor to how well Beilein's team would play in the upcoming tournaments.
9. Charles Matthews vs. Nick Ward
Charles Matthews and Nick Ward set the tone for a hard-fought Michigan-MSU battle (Getty Images).
One of the reasons this Michigan team is so much more dangerous than past editions is its chippy, no-back-down attitude. One of the players who embraces that attitude is Charles Matthews.
In the Big Ten Tournament semifinals against Michigan State, Matthews wasn't afraid to chest up with one of the biggest players in the conference. After drilling a 3-pointer early in the first half to cap off an 8-0 Michigan run, Matthews fouled Nick Ward hard on a layup attempt.
Ward got up quickly, and Matthews was right there to meet him, with a huge grin on his face. It set the tone for a good, old-fashioned battle between in-state rivals, with a spot in the Big Ten championship on the line.
Matthews backed it up on the court, scoring 12 points on 3-6 shooting to go with six rebounds and three assists. Ward played just 10 minutes, finishing with 6 points and two rebounds.
8. Dismantling Texas A&M in Sweet 16
Moritz Wagner and Michigan shocked Texas A&M, winning by 27 points in the Sweet 16 (Getty Images).
After Michigan struggled throughout the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament and Texas A&M beat defending national champion North Carolina by 21 points, there was a sense that the Aggies might have the upper hand in the Sweet 16 matchup.
Texas A&M could barely get off the bus before Michigan's ambush, as the Wolverines jumped out to a 16-6 lead, stretched it to 33-12 less than 12 minutes into the game and eventually won by 27 points.
Michigan's 99 points were the most it scored against a Division I team all season, and the outburst came against one of the top 15 defenses in the country.
Not only did the performance vault Michigan into the Elite 8, it also proved Beilein's team still had the magic from the Big Ten Tournament after a 10-day layoff clearly affected the opening weekend.
7. Avenging early loss to Ohio State
Andrew Dakich struggled in his return to Ann Arbor, scoring zero points in a 12-point loss (Getty Images).
It might seem like it happened a century ago, but Michigan's loss at Ohio State this season was one of the toughest to swallow for a variety of reasons.
Obviously, Michigan never wants to lose to its biggest rival, but the fact that the Wolverines blew a 20-point lead in the contest added salt to the wound.
When the Buckeyes made a return trip to Ann Arbor in mid-February, they did so as the No. 8 team in the nation. But they saw a very different Michigan squad.
The first 30 minutes were very close, with neither team getting more than 6 points of breathing room. But Michigan used a 10-1 run around the five-minute mark to pull away for good. The Wolverines won by 12 and earned a split in the seasons series.
6. C.J. Baird scores in NCAA Tournament
Tbh C.J. Baird’s three pointer was the best part of the game pic.twitter.com/Zh9ahGI1M1
— Barstool Blue (@BarstoolUofM) March 23, 2018
There were dozens of great moments for Michigan in the Sweet 16, but none was more meaningful than freshman walk-on C.J. Baird getting onto the floor.
Oh yeah, he also made a shot. A 3-pointer. A long 3-pointer.
At the beginning of the season, Baird was a team manager who practiced with the team but wasn't even eligible to get into games. He became a walk-on in October when Fred Wright-Jones decided to focus on academics, and five months later, he was on the floor for a Sweet 16 victory.
Baird didn't wait long to take his shot, hoisting it from the top of the key the first chance he got. He went crazy, Michigan's bench went crazy and fans watching around the country went crazy.
The shot helped Michigan set an NCAA Tournament single-game record, with eight players making a 3-point shot.
5. Sweeping Michigan State
Michigan State got a second chance against Michigan, but it was the Wolverines who came out on top again (Getty Images).
The most shocking result of Michigan's regular season happnened on Jan. 13, when the Wolverines went into East Lansing as a huge underdog and dominated Michigan State for 40 minutes. It was the Spartans' only loss at home this season, and it came by double digits against an unranked Michigan team.
MSU didn't know if it would get another chance against its biggest rival, but Spartan players were vocal about wanting a matchup in the Big Ten Tournament. When that became a reality, it looked like a golden opportunity for Michigan State to get revenge.
But the rematch was a carbon copy of the original, as Michigan won the game by double figures, thanks to better defense and execution down the stretch. Zavier Simpson exploited Cassius Winton in the point guard battle, and Beilein put his stamp on the state with a season sweep of Tom Izzo's team.
It wasn't just that Michigan won both games, but the fact that Michigan dominated both games. Neither victory was as fluke, as the Wolverines were simply the better team.
4. Jon Teske dunks on Isaac Haas
— Michigan On BTN (@MichiganOnBTN) March 4, 2018
There was an overwhelming signature moment during Michigan's four wins in four days at Madison Square Garden, and it came from an unlikely choice.
As Moritz Wagner struggled with foul trouble in the Big Ten championship game, backup center Jon Teske was asked to play major minutes against the toughest center in the league: 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas.
The sophomore didn't just hold his ground against Haas, he excelled. Teske scored 14 points on 6-9 shooting in 21 minutes. He was strong on the defensive end, but he really put his stamp on the tournament with six minutes left to play.
Simpson drove the lane and dished back to a crashing Teske, who flushed it in the face of Haas to put the Wolverines up by 18 points. Teske went crazy, Simpson mean mugged down the floor and Michigan cruised to victory.
3. Cutting down the nets for a second straight BTT title
Michigan took home the Big Ten Tournament title in the nation's capital last year and defended its title this year in New York (Getty Images).
Michigan was a mini Cinderella story in 2017 when players bounced back from a plane crash to win the Big Ten Tournament title in Washington, D.C. But when the Wolverines made it back-to-back titles in 2018, they solidified Beilein's crew as a conference powerhouse.
This season, Michigan earned the No. 5 seed in the conference tournament and nearly lost its Thursday matchup against Iowa. Michigan survived in overtime and never looked back, crushing Nebraska by 19 points and beating the top two teams in the conference, Michigan State and Purdue, by a combined 20 points.
Both Michigan State and Purdue were playing for possible No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, so it was clear Michigan had the talent to play with any team in the nation.
Despite losing leading scorers Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin to graduation and starter D.J. Wilson to the NBA draft, Michigan hung another banner in the rafters at the Crisler Center, with a new-look cast of leaders.
2. Duncan Robinson pushes Michigan into Final Four
Duncan Robinson only made one 3-pointer vs. FSU, but it helped propel Michigan into the FInal Four (Getty Images).
When Michigan and Florida State met in the Elite Eight, FSU was coming off back-to-back 75-point games and the Wolverines had just scored 99 against Texas A&M. With so much offensive talent on both sides, it figured to be an exciting game to watch.
That didn't end up being the case. The two teams ended up in a rock fight, and neither would ultimately reach 60 points.
Michigan opened up the first big lead early in the second half when Duncan Robinson made a basket to go up 10 points. But Florida State quickly closed within 3 points, and it was a one- or two-possession game until there were under four minutes left.
The biggest shot of the game came with 2:26 left on the clock. Michigan was up by 7 points and had scored 4 in a row after FSU clawed to within 3. Robinson got a pass from Simpson in the corner, and even though he only had 2 points all game, he knocked it down to put Michigan up by 10.
It felt as if Michigan was heading to the Final Four in that moment, but the Seminoles went on a 10-2 run to pull within a pair with 24 seconds to go.
With Michigan on the verge of collapse, Robinson made two clutch free throws and secured the final rebound to put the game away. He dribbled out the clock and punched Michigan's ticket to San Antonio.
— Michigan Men's Basketball (@umichbball) March 18, 2018
The top moment of Michigan's season didn't come in the Sweet 16 or the Elite Eight. It came with no time left on the clock in the second round, when Michigan's season was all but over.
Michigan trailed Houston 63-61 with 3.6 seconds left and had to go the length of the floor to keep the season alive. Isaiah Livers inbounded the ball to Abdur-Rahkman, who took two dribbles, turned and dumped it off to Poole with enough time to catch it and chuck it up.
Poole was about 5 feet beyond the arc, but his shot was perfect, dropping through after the buzzer sounded and saving Michigan from a disappointing end to a great season.
If Poole didn't make that shot, there wouldn't have been a 99-point game against Texas A&M or a Robinson triple to send Michigan to the Final Four. It was the most impactful moment for Michigan basketball since Trey Burke drilled a late 3-pointer to keep the Wolverines alive against Kansas in the 2013 Sweet 16 en route to the national championship game.
Poole is only a true freshman, but as Beilein said after the celebration, he's got "an abundance of swag." His confidence, his offensive skills and his bench celebrations have made Poole a fan favorite, and now he has a signature moment to validate his popularity.
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