The Wolverine

August 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 27 of 83

28 THE WOLVERINE AUGUST 2018 BY CHRIS BALAS I mprobable? Maybe. Surprising? Not in the least. That might be the best, most succinct way to sum up Michi- gan basketball's postseason, which included a second straight Big Ten Tournament title and a run all the way to the national championship game. John Beilein's 11th Michigan team didn't feature a number of first-round picks like his 2013 national runner- up, and defense — not offense — was its calling card. But it was a "team" in every sense of the word, earning The Wolverine's Male Team of the Year honors after capturing the hearts of Michigan fans everywhere. Many of them flooded the post- season arenas in New York (Madi- son Square Garden for the Big Ten Tournament), Los Angeles (NCAA West Regional) and San Antonio (Fi- nal Four) to support a squad whose accomplishments included beating top-10 rival Michigan State twice — both wins by double digits — and winning 14 of its last 15 games. "When I was in Germany, I thought I had some sense of how big a deal the Michigan fan base was — but the truth is I had no idea," center Moritz Wagner, who left after his junior year following a season in which he aver- aged 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, said in an article for The Players Tribune. "Michigan fans … they're everywhere, man. That's what's so unique about this place. Like, not just at the Crisler Center. I'm talking everywhere. "When we made it to the Sweet 16, in Los Angeles? I couldn't believe MALE TEAM OF THE YEAR MEN'S BASKETBALL UNFORGETTABLE Michigan Basketball Makes An Impressive Run To The NCAA Championship Game

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