Michigan Wolverines Basketball: What They're Saying After Illinois Win
A look around the Internet after Michigan's 79-69 victory over Illinois to move the Wolverines to 16-0.
“And then there were three.
No. 2 Michigan continued its winning ways and joined an exclusive club in the process.
With a scrappy 79-69 victory over Illinois on Thursday at State Farm Center, the 2018-19 Wolverines tied the program record for best start to a season with 16 consecutive wins, a mark only reached by the 1985-86 and 2012-13 teams.
Michigan (16-0, 5-0 Big Ten) will have a shot to set the record at home at 7:30 p.m. Sunday against Northwestern.
"We're happy we have that achievement, that we accomplished that achievement. But at the same time, we want it to keep going," said junior guard Zavier Simpson, who finished with a team-high 16 points and eight assists to lead a balanced attack.
"We have Northwestern on Sunday and we just want to keep playing our game, stay locked in, stay focused and just be ready for the next game. We're happy, but we're not satisfied."
Michigan's entire starting lineup finished in double figures, with freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis tallying 15 points and eight rebounds, redshirt junior wing Charles Matthews scoring 14, junior center Jon Teske racking up 13 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks and sophomore guard Jordan Poole scoring 10.”
“Playing in an arena whose roof resembles a circus tent, Michigan took its show on the road Thursday and remained undefeated.
The Wolverines beat Illinois 79-69 at the State Farm Center in their first game away from Ann Arbor in more than a month.
With the victory, No. 2 Michigan tied its best start in program history. The 1985-86 and 2012-13 teams also started 16-0. The Wolverines improved to 5-0 in the Big Ten.
They host Northwestern (10-6, 1-4) on Sunday.
Michigan jumped out to an 8-0 lead and never trailed against a scrappy Illinois squad that lost its fifth straight and fell to 4-12, 0-5.
Sophomore Isaiah Livers returned after missing the past two games as a result of back spasms and gave U-M nine points in 23 minutes off the bench. Otherwise, head coach John Beilein relied heavily on his starters. Eli Brooks and Austin Davis combined for just six minutes, nearly all in the first half, as the only other reserves to see action.
All five starters reached double figures scoring. Point guard Zavier Simpson led Michigan in scoring for the first time all season, finishing with 16 points and eight assists. Ignas Brazdeikis added 15 points. Jon Teske provided 13 points and 11 rebounds. Charles Matthews, the lone Illinois native on the roster, had 14 points. Jordan Poole provided 10.”
“John Beilein only remembers the loss that broke it.
Back in January of 2013, about two months before his first serious breakthrough as Michigan basketball's head coach, Beilein's team tied a program record with 16 straight wins.
"Somebody told me that we had the record, that we had 16 before," Beilein said Thursday night in Illinois. "This is how much I'll remember it: Someone says to me 'who did your 16th win come against the last time?'
"I would say 'I have no idea.' "
That squad, a group filled with freshmen and sophomores, rattled off 16 straight wins mostly by force of will. U-M was more athletic and more skilled than just about every team it faced through the 10 weeks of the season. Explosive enough offensively to have high enough peaks that ultimately made up for some pretty serious valleys.
Then, the trip to Ohio State.
Michigan was No. 2 in the country, playing in a tough road environment, and quickly found out what life in the Big Ten was all about. The Wolverines got blasted in the first 10 minutes of the game, falling behind, 26-6. They nearly clawed their way back, but a Trey Burke buzzer-beater spun out — handing a young team its first loss and first bout of adversity at the same time.
"I do remember Ohio State broke (that streak)," Beilein added. "I remember the losses."
Six years later, U-M's program is back with that same start. The Wolverines got a terrific floor game from Zavier Simpson (16 points, eight assists, five rebounds) and a double-double from Jon Teske (13 points, 11 rebounds) Thursday night to score a 79-69 road win at Illinois to match the school record with a 16-0 start.
The Wolverines (5-0 Big Ten) can break that mark Sunday with a home win over Northwestern. But records really aren't anything Beilein's overly concerned with. Consistency matters more.
And this version of Michigan basketball, right now, has it in spades.
Whether Beilein wants to admit it or not.”
“Almost exactly two years ago to the day, the Michigan men’s basketball team lost 85-69 at Illinois, allowing the Fighting Illini to shoot a scorching 65 percent from the field and the 3-point line.
But in the eyes of Wolverines fans, Jan. 11, 2017 is more notable for Illinois center Maverick Morgan dumping a truckload of salt into the wound with his postgame comments, in which he called Michigan a traditionally “white-collar” team.
At the time, Morgan’s statement marked a nadir for the Wolverines. But since then, Michigan’s gone 64-14, with two Big Ten Tournament titles and a Final Four appearance.
Thursday night, the Wolverines returned to the State Farm Center for the first time in two years. They left with a 79-69 win over the Illini and a 16-0 record — tied for the best start in program history.
At the same time, though, it wasn’t a dominant win. Illinois (4-12 overall, 0-5 Big Ten) outshot Michigan and forced 14 turnovers, never letting the game get out of hand as the records would suggest.
If there was a time where it could have gotten out of hand, it was right after tip-off. The Wolverines (16-0, 5-0) came out of the gate looking every bit the second-best team in the nation, scoring the game’s first eight points.
Sophomore forward Isaiah Livers missed the previous two games with back spasms, but if one was watching Michigan for the first time Thursday night, they would have no idea. The sophomore forward scored an early seven points with a soft turnaround jumper, a left-handed and-one layup and a leaping offensive rebound and putback, helping the Wolverines go up 20-10 after eight minutes.”
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