While the Hoosiers self-destructed, the fifth-ranked Wolverines (19-1 overall, 8-1 Big Ten) continued to play basketball. They cruised to a 69-46 win that, thanks to an opening sequence that sent Assembly Hall into a fugue, rarely seemed that close.
If the Wolverines indeed have a switch, Friday night would be a good time for them to flip it.
“I feel like we were just trying to go out there and win a game, rather than being excited to make open shots and being excited to beat a good team. I feel like that’s something that decreased the last couple games,” Poole said. “Being able to flip the switch and try to turn it on tomorrow and get after it in practice, just have fun. When you’re there, you have 16 people against 17,000. … Being in that situation is something I feel is exciting for us.”
Michigan’s 80-60 win Sunday over Northwestern did not actually take place in a parallel universe. This was Jon Teske, all 85 inches and 260 pounds of him, doing exactly what many have long hoped he’d do.
Thursday night, the Wolverines returned to the State Farm Center for the first time in two years. They left with a 79-69 win over the Illini and a 16-0 record — tied for the best start in program history.
For a minute there, Brandon Johns felt like he was in high school again.
With seven minutes left in the second half, Johns gathered a pass from junior point guard Zavier Simpson and tried a left-handed layup off the glass. It bounced off the rim, but Johns popped straight back up over everybody and tipped the ball into the cylinder.
On Michigan’s next possession, Johns slipped a screen, caught Simpson’s pass all alone in the post and pummeled the ball through the net with his right arm.
“We came out of a lot of games that weren't in conference play and they were a bit weaker competition,” said freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis on Thursday. “It’s a bit of an adjustment for us to get used to this kind of play again.”
Sunday’s game against No. 21 Indiana will put this argument to the test.
Jordan Poole and Ignas Brazdeikis dropped 17 and 16 points, respectively, combining for 21 in the second half, and the Wolverines (3-0 Big Ten, 14-0 overall) pulled away for an 68-55 win over the Nittany Lions (0-3, 7-7 overall) in their first game of 2019.