Since the most talented members of the squad that almost won Michigan the 2013 NCAA Tournament bolted for the NBA, the Wolverines have been searching for an identity, and a remedy to some tough losses. A victory over the number one team in the country would offer more than a shot in the leg. Arizona had other plans though, as the Wildcats staved off an upset with a 72-70 victory.
By all accounts, this game looked like it would go Michigan’s way. Glen Robinson III shot 7-7 from the floor in the first half, propelling his team to a 37-28 halftime lead. Arizona had no answer for the son of the former Bucks star, as he was getting any and every shot he wanted, be it a corner three or a tough finger-roll.
But ‘Zona scored 44 points in the second half, melting away Michigan’s interior defense with their bruising front court. Aaron Gordon (who finished with 14 points) seems to be getting all of the national shine, but the highlight-reel-in-waiting frosh is being aided by sophomore forward Brandon Ashley (who had 18 points Saturday, and is averaging 12.3 PPG on the season) and center Kaleb Tarczewski (who also finished with 14 points, and is averaging 9.7 on the season). The trio’s averaging around 33 points per game on the season, but considering all three have the ability to take games over for stretches at a time, the Wildcats can seemingly always have a means to start a nice inside-out game.
Tough loss for a Michigan team that looks capable of beating anybody in the country. But with conference play fast approaching, both the Wildcats and the Wolverines have to keep their gaze forward. The Pac-12 and Big 10 are waiting.