The Wolverine

April 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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18 THE WOLVERINE APRIL 2021 BY JOHN BORTON M ichigan basketball battled through a global pan- demic and the best confer- ence in the land to capture its first regular-season Big Ten cham- pionship since 2014, only its third since the mid-1980s. Bringing the conference trophy to Crisler Center stood as a deeply gratifying achievement in head coach Juwan Howard's second year at the helm. The Wolverines danced and reveled in the confetti raining down, even in a mostly empty arena. They rightly exulted in their 14-3 Big Ten record, despite two of those three losses occurring in the final week. For the moment — a special Se- nior Day moment in Crisler — it was enough. But to a man, they wanted more. "It means a lot — it really does," Howard said. "It's gratifying to go out here during what we all have dealt with, this pandemic, very chal- lenging times. We didn't make ex- cuses. We rolled up our sleeves and figured it out along the way. "There were a lot of different things thrown at us. We didn't make excuses for it. We continued to keep grinding and grinding. This is the toughest conference in college bas- ketball, night in and night out. "We're always going to get every team's best, just like they're going to get our best. We were fortunate enough to win a Big Ten champion- ship in the regular season. "It's hard doing that. It's so hard. I remember as a player, it was hard for us. So to do it this year, it's a beauti- ful moment. We're really going to enjoy it today." Howard then set the tone on mov- ing ahead. He'd said it all year long — Michigan wants to play on a Mon- CHAMPIONS CHAMPIONS WANT THE BEST WANT THE BEST Wolverines Nail Down A Title, But Hunger For More

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