March 23, 2022
Upon receiving complaints from readers, we at The Michigan Daily acquired a dictionary last week and endeavored to learn the meaning of the word “biweekly” — as in, “The Maynard Street Blitz is a biweekly newsletter.” Unfortunately, one of our writers threw said dictionary through a TV at the end of the Notre Dame/Rutgers First Four game, and as a result, we are forced to maintain our current understanding of the word to mean “whenever we feel like it — it’s March, baby.”
Since this newsletter last hit your inbox on March 16, the Daily Sports section has published more than 75 stories. We’ve stayed on top of breaking news, covered an individual national championship, editorialized around an improbable Sweet Sixteen run and covered another Sweet-Sixteen run more thoroughly than anyone else in the country. I wrote none of those stories, but I’m damn proud of everyone who did. We sleep in May.
Sports are fun. Here’s the latest on them.
Tess Crowley/Daily. Buy this photo.
The Pattern™ is dead.
After alternating wins and losses in every game since Feb. 10, the No. 11 seed Michigan men’s basketball team broke the pattern on Saturday with a 76-68 upset of No. 3 seed Tennessee. Even with graduate point guard DeVante’ Jones missing the second half with an injury, the Wolverines flourished offensively, mainly working through sophomore center Hunter Dickinson in the post.
Despite all the tribulations of the 2021-22 season, Michigan managed to become the first-ever Big Ten school to qualify for five consecutive Sweet Sixteens — and fifth-year guard Eli Brooks will become the first-ever Big Ten player to compete in five. Thursday, the Wolverines will face off against No. 2 seed Villanova in San Antonio, a rematch of the 2018 National Championship Game in the same building.
Julia Schachinger/Daily. Buy this photo.
In 2012, when Kim Barnes Arico became the ninth head coach in Michigan women’s basketball history, she inherited a program that had never qualified for a Sweet Sixteen.
Following the Wolverines’ 64-49 victory over Villanova on Monday, Barnes Arico’s teams have now reached that mark in two consecutive seasons. Despite a tough start from the field, Michigan eventually found its offensive rhythm running through senior forward Naz Hillmon and senior guard Leigha Brown, who finished with 27 and 20 points, respectively.
“Their assistant coach, a longtime assistant who I’ve known for 20 years, grabbed me and told me he’s never seen anyone play with that type of motor on both ends of the floor,” Barnes Arico said. “He said (Hillmon’s) even better in person than he could have imagined.”
Gabby Ceritano/Daily. Buy this photo.
Saturday night, the Michigan hockey team skated into a hostile environment in Minneapolis with a Big Ten Tournament Championship and the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament on the line.
Under the weight of that pressure, the Wolverines didn’t crack, defeating the Gophers, 4-3, to secure their first conference title since 2016. Even in a game filled with mistakes, Michigan’s superior talent shone throughout, with sophomore forwards Kent Johnson and Brendan Brisson notching goals alongside freshman forwards Mackie Samoskevich and Dylan Duke.
The win also secured the top seed in the NCAA Tournament for the Wolverines, who will travel to Allentown, Penn. on Friday to face American International in the first round.
As mentioned last week, we’re in the middle of our fifth annual Women’s Month initiative, where we highlight stories about women’s sports and women athletes at Michigan. As part of that initiative, we have two special Women’s Month features this week — and many more to come soon.
According to Daily Sports Writer Remi Williamson, Raleigh Loughman — a graduating midfielder on the Michigan women’s soccer team — has had a soccer career quite unlike any other.
Alongside the typical experiences playing traditional soccer, Loughman was introduced to futsal — a variation of soccer on a small, hard, indoor court with a weighted ball — while in high school. Her senior year, she also joined the Argentinian national team, competing for one of the most soccer-crazed nations on the planet while also learning a scrappier, more physical style of play.
Now, with her soccer career coming to an end, Loughman has an opportunity to reflect on everything the Beautiful Game has meant to her:
“This has been my whole life for 18 years,” Loughman said. “(Now) I’m excited for a new chapter.”
After a pitiful close to the 2021 season, Michigan women’s lacrosse attacker Caitlin Muir had the opportunity to either graduate or return for a fifth year.
Without hesitation, she chose to stay with the Wolverines. According to Daily Sports Writer Lindsay Budin, that decision has been central to Michigan’s improvement thus far this season:
“As a freshman, Muir was considered shy and soft spoken, and her development over the course of the last five years has been drastic. Now in her fifth year, her focus extends past her own play and towards building relationships with her teammates, setting a standard of effort and embedding trust.”
The Wolverines will need Muir’s leadership to finish strong and avoid the issues that plagued the 2021 team.
The feeling of going to your second Sweet Sixteen in two years, captured by Senior Sports Photo Editor Julia Schachinger.
We are screwed.
My only reliable bet in this column — that Michigan men’s basketball would continue alternating wins and losses and sustain The Pattern™ — has been broken. There is no hope. Either save your money or fade me; I am terrible at this.
We’re 4-5 on the year. I don’t think it will get better.
NCAAM — Hunter Dickinson over 8.5 rebounds vs Villanova (+112)
The 7-foot-1 Dickinson is already averaging 8.5 rebounds per game in the NCAA Tournament, and Villanova center Eric Dixon stands at just 6-foot-8. Expect Dickinson to pick up double-digit boards on Thursday.
NCAA Hockey — American International +2.5 goals vs Michigan (-115)
Right now, Michigan is the best team in college hockey, and it will probably win this game. Even so, three goals is a huge margin, especially in the playoffs. Also, look at this logo:
A team with a logo that jacked physically cannot lose a playoff game by three goals. Give me the Yellow Jackets to cover.
NCAAM — Saint Peter’s +640 vs Purdue
The Big Ten has been a joke in this tournament, and Saint Peter’s has been a blessing. Let’s ride with the Peacocks.
With March Madness finally upon us, The Daily is going head-to-head in a fundraising competition against college newspapers across the country — and we need your support! Donate here to promote independent, student-run journalism in the state of Michigan and beyond.
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