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Reminding Us Why We Love Basketball

I will never forget this run. I don’t think a single person associated with the Michigan Wolverines will forget these past couple of months, starting with an emphatic win against the Spartans, continuing through a plane crash in the big ten tournament, and culminating with a trip to the Sweet 16.

I am so unbelievably proud. It started against Michigan State, the standard of big ten ball, who had whooped us going on three years in a row. We avenged our earlier season loss in East Lansing with a triumphant smackdown in Ann Arbor, then took home late season wins against Purdue and Wisconsin.

The state of Michigan experienced 60+ MPH winds the weekend of the conference tournament, forcing oldschool and I out of power for four days. And when the Wolverines tried to take off for the D.C. arena, they, too, suffered at the hands of the tumultuous winds, experiencing an abrupt plane crash that aborted the entire group of passengers.

The young men in maize helped escort everyone safely through the emergency exits, arrived (instead of the standard day early) an hour LATE for their opening tipoff, wearing practice uniforms for their first game against Illinois. They avenged that series split, then put out top seed Purdue again the next day. They took down Minnesota who’d beat the Spartans, then whooped Wisconsin by double-digits to become the lowest seed to ever win the Big Ten Tournament.

Big Ten Champs

They were mildly snubbed with a #7 seed for the tournament, with a difficult opening round matchup against Oklahoma State that they won by one point, 93-92. The next game featured 2013 title game opponent Louisville, where we avenged the championship loss with an epic comeback to win our mini-region in Indianapolis.

This Wolverine team was ready to play in the elite eight. We came up one point short against Oregon in a heartbreaking loss. I wished our coach had called his final timeout on the last play, maybe we’d have gotten a better shot. We were a worthy team led by seniors Derrick Walton Jr. & Zak Irvin, who benefited from some young incoming talent.

That weekend without electricity, with no heat in freezing cold temperatures, these Michigan men got me through as they went through similar adversity. Thank you so much, for renewing my hope, love, and joy of the game of basketball, as I listened to each game on the radio.

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