“Iggy lives up for these moments,” Haynes saod. “I haven’t seen a kid like him that lives for these moments. He loves the crowd, he feeds into it, whether it’s hate or love. He’s a different kind of guy.”
To anybody who knows Brazdeikis, this is no surprise.
Saturday night in Des Moines, those roles suddenly reversed. This time, Livers’ name shot across national airwaves after posterizing Florida’s Andrew Nembhard to help send the Wolverines to the Sweet Sixteen — the zenith of a postseason in which he has averaged 12.0 points per game on 58 percent shooting.
But once the Wolverines emerged from the halftime tunnel, the afternoon’s tide began to turn. By the time the two teams walked off the court again, Michigan had come away with a 64-49 win and moved on to its third consecutive Sweet Sixteen.
Just as soon as Gumbel’s message reached Mincy’s ears, his phone began to blow up. Some were congratulatory, but far more came from his group chat from Kent State, where he played from 2005-09 and coached from 2010-12. Haynes — a player with the Golden Flashes from 2002-06 and coach from 2012-16 — was one of those on the other end.
DES MOINES, Iowa — As Michigan stormed out to an early but indestructible lead Thursday night against Montana, the word of choice across social media was “boring.” By the time the Wolverines jogged down the tunnel at halftime with a 34-21 advantage that felt more comfortable than that, many back at home had already flipped to the evening’s more competitive action. Those inside Wells Fargo Arena surely wished they could do the same.
For 24 hours after the loss to the Spartans, Michigan stewed — and its coaching staff let it. But Monday afternoon, with just three days until its NCAA Tournament journey would get underway against 15th-seeded Montana, Wolverines coach John Beilein knew it was time to turn the corner.
When I walked over, all lowered their laptops in unison. This is not a public operation. Washington and assistant coach Luke Yaklich will take me through their scouting process, but neither dares to divulge a single detail about Michigan State.
Saturday afternoon against 7th-seeded Minnesota, 3rd-seeded Michigan (28-5 overall, 15-5 Big Ten) displayed those championship habits and then some, storming out to a 76-49 demolition of the Golden Gophers (21-13, 9-11). Just as the Big Ten regular-season title did last weekend in East Lansing, the tournament crown will come down to Michigan and Michigan State.