UI grade vs. Michigan: A-

UI grade vs. Michigan: A-

Player of the game
Jordan Morgan, Michigan

The senior only scored four points, but he had the most important two in the final seconds. His basket gave Michigan the win and kept its hopes alive for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Morgan helped the Wolverines with six rebounds.

Backcourt
Illinois B, Michigan A-

Three Illini starters hit double figures, though they needed extra shots to do it. Tracy Abrams, saddled with foul trouble, scored 11 after burning Indiana for 25. Nik Stauskas was shaky from the field (4 of 12) but near perfect at the line (9 of 10). The Wolverines don’t advance without Caris LeVert (13 points, five boards four assists).

Frontcourt
Illinois B, Michigan B+

Another good game for Nnanna Egwu, especially on the glass (nine rebounds). He chipped in seven points and will be a major player in the NIT. Glenn Robinson III played like his dad, scoring 15 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

Bench
Illinois A, Michigan C

Nice to Joseph Bertrand back to his old self. The senior scored nine critical points. The other senior, Jon Ekey, scored five points and played solid defense. The Wolveines used just three subs. Good thing Spike Albrecht (five points) was one of them.

Overall
Illinois A-, Michigan A

Give John Groce’s guys tons of credit for rallying against the Big Ten champs. Though the end is a bummer for the fans, the program’s best days are ahead of it, starting with next week’s appearance in the NIT. The Illini were thisclose to reaching the Big Ten semifinals.

Comments

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aaeismacgychel wrote on March 14, 2014 at 2:03 pm

I have to say, that was a great game from Illinois.  They played with effort and energy, they played the better ball, and they just took it to Michigan all game.  Michigan simply made jumpshots.  Not much you can do about that.  Illinois' defense was great and forced Michigan into awful shots.  It's a shame they couldn't pull this out.  We lost this game when we decided to run down the clock with under a minute to go and cost ourselves a possession ending in a shot clock violation.  We got our lead by continuously pounding Michigan inside (go figure, right?) and us slowing down to take time off the clock did us in.  We needed to continue going at them that possession and trying to get htat 3pt lead.  Shame Tracy couldn't make that wide open floater at the end there to win it, because he played so great this BTT and the Illini were so deserving of the win.  Far more deserving than Michigan, but story of the season- those open shots just wouldn't go down.  Illinois played great.  It was an A game for them and I'd say a C game for Michigan.  Shame we couldn't pull it off. 

ERE wrote on March 14, 2014 at 4:03 pm
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Wow, Bob-don't you realize grade inflation is fashionable these days?

They brought their A game, they played their A game, and they deserve an "A" without the minus modifier.

In a sense a very tough loss because so close to a win, but to a much greater extent a great victory as these guys showed such resilience and determination. To come back at the Wolverines like they did after the wipeout at home is like running back up to the bully who kicked your ass last week at school and giving him a swift blow to the gut. That takes courage and our players showed tremendous courage and determination. 

Can't wait to see these guys kick some ass in the NIT or even NCAA, and will be early awaiting the next season over this spring, summer, and fall! 

I-L-L? Hell to the YES!! This is a team we can really be proud of. Big Thanks to Air Bertand and 3Key for their much appreciated contributions-they will be hugely missed. 

Hope next year I can catch your guys Monday night Esquire gig in person-sounds like great fun over the radio here on the east coast. 

Now onto the Central game-what a great day of basketball!  

illinigator wrote on March 14, 2014 at 5:03 pm

maybe the Indiana win and the great game against Michigan will give Illinois at least a 2 seed in the NIT.

coaxhdufus wrote on March 14, 2014 at 7:03 pm

yeah too bad for Abrams, but its nothing new, the Indiana game was an anomaly for him...there were many games during the loosing streak where he hogged the ball till 2-3 seconds left and took a heave...its on the mororn Groce who can't seem to set plays for people that make plays and can't seem to figure out that Abrams can't take the last shot

ERE wrote on March 15, 2014 at 9:03 am
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Time to just give up on these NG comments sections-they always seem to be spoiled by malcontents such as the Son of Moonpie above with their baseless negative whining. Groce a "moron"? Anything but.