COLLEGE PARK — Saturday began in celebration. The Maryland basketball team honored its seniors before their regular season finale, as a sold-out, white-clad Terrapin crowd roared in anticipation of competitive basketball in regular season finale.
But minutes later, that joyfulness was nowhere to be found.
Sunday will be Andrew Dakich’s first and only return to Crisler Center.
You might remember the Ohio State guard from his days with the Michigan men’s basketball team, when he would receive cheers whenever he checked in. You might remember him from the scholarship prank that went viral last year. Perhaps his name rings a bell because of his father, Dan — an ESPN color commentator — who’d demonstrate plays and techniques with his son for the camera during timeouts.
When Zavier Simpson kicked the ball out to Duncan Robinson in the closing minutes of the first half, there was no question what was going to happen next.
Even with a defender right in his face, 23 feet away from the basket, the fifth-year senior guard lifted, fired and drained a 3-pointer. It was his fourth triple of afternoon and the final piece of a nearly perfect, 4-for-5 effort from beyond the arc in the first half.
Three weeks of sluggishness finally caught up to the Michigan men’s basketball team.
The 20th-ranked Wolverines (8-5 Big Ten, 19-7 overall) suffered their worst loss the of the season Tuesday, falling at Northwestern, 61-52. After a rare quick start, Michigan went just 5-for-20 from the floor and 1-for-10 from beyond the arc in the second half, allowing the Wildcats to crawl back into the game and earn the victory.
For the first time in two decades, the Wisconsin basketball program is rebuilding. After two pairs of Final Four and Sweet Sixteen appearances in the past four years, the Badgers have struggled from the get-go this season.
A drop of some degree was anticipated for Wisconsin. Gone is the steady and effective backcourt duo of Bronson Koenig and Zak Showalter. So is Nigel Hayes, the multi-dimensional forward and former Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year. The trio was responsible for over 60 percent of the Badgers’ minutes last season.