With 'reality check' now in hand, No. 2 Michigan ready to dig in for B1G play
Maybe they felt it would lead to a jinx, maybe they just wanted to ignore it.
But with each passing win during Michigan's 16-game streak to open the season, the pressure to stay perfect continued to mount.
When were the Wolverines going to lose? Certainly this wouldn't last forever? At some point this would end, right?
And then it did, dropping its first game of the year at Ohio State. And afterward, Michigan got back to focusing on what got it 16 straight wins in the first place.
Just playing basketball.
"After that loss, I don't know if it was a pressure release as much as it was a reality check for all of us," Michigan assistant coach Jeff Meyer said Monday on the Big Ten coaches' teleconference. "And I really thought our seniors and the leadership on the court with Trey (Burke) and Tim (Hardaway Jr.) and Jordan (Morgan), in preparation for the two days leading up to the Minnesota game, was very, very focused, very positive and very determined.
"And that really played out in the performance of the game."
Michigan obviously bounced back from its worst showing of the year with one of its best, knocking off highly-ranked Minnesota in Minneapolis -- giving the Wolverines their first road win over a top 10 foe since 1996.
During the 16-game winning streak, Michigan coach John Beilein and players were continually asked if they felt pressure to continue winning and remain perfect.
Some players ultimately admitted that much, to a degree, even if Beilein never did.
But their return to normalcy after the Ohio State loss, according to Meyer, was the reason why things got back on track so quickly at Minnesota.
"Coach Beilein is as consistent as the day is long on 'we just need to focus on today, and get better today,' " he said. "And certainly our preparation for the next opponent is always a priority for us.
"We took Monday off per NCAA rules and got back to work on Tuesday, and coach spent Tuesday really working on the Michigan Wolverines -- on that particular day, we just really watched a lot of film and worked with our kids on where we felt like we needed to grow as a team."
A week after its first loss of the year, and Michigan's back at No. 2 nationally, and there's likely just as much pressure on the team to perform as there was when it was unbeaten.
But now, they just might be more equipped to handle it.
"It was just a bitter loss," Meyer added. "You can talk to your team, and coach Beilein is a champ at this, it's about learning and growing from winning experiences. But when you take that loss, that message resonates. It's like you're speaking into an echo chamber.
"Everybody hears it, they hear it loud and clear and certainly our kids responded."
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