Michigan to get back to the basics after dropping 3 of past 4 games
That test didn't go so well.
The Wolverines have dropped three of their past four games, a stretch that culminated with Tuesday's embarrassing 75-52 undressing against in-state rival Michigan State.
"Maybe we got exactly what we deserve," coach John Beilein said. "It's medicine for the future."
After starting 20-1, the Wolverines have fallen to 21-4 and, more importantly, 8-4 in the Big Ten. That's two full games off the league-leading Spartans with six games to play.
"This is a tough conference -- one of the best conferences in the country," sophomore point guard Trey Burk said. "Sometimes it goes that way."
Michigan's four-game gauntlet began with a loss at No. 1 Indiana. After beating No. 13 Ohio State, it lost at No. 20 Wisconsin and No. 8 Michigan State.
That's as difficult as any stretch in the country. Consider the games were packed into a 10-day span, and two went to overtime, it's understandable that Michigan appears to be losing some steam.
The good news: Michigan is about to get a reprieve.
After playing four games -- each against ranked teams -- in 10 days, it plays just one in the following 12. That game, a home matchup Sunday against last-place Penn State, should be significantly more manageable.
The Nittany Lions are 8-15 overall and winless in 11 league games.
This stretch will allow Michigan a chance to take a breath, rest up and gather itself before making its stretch run.
"Rest is always good, especially this late in the season," Burke said.
Michigan also will have a chance to focus on player development, something it largely forsake during its whirlwind week-and-a-half and could benefit young players such as freshman Glenn Robinson III, who hasn't scored more than four points in three of his past four games.
"In the last 20 days, we have had one day of practice that wasn't about the next game," coach John Beilein said. "We've been through a compressed schedule of seven games in 20 days, and we need to practice. We've had one practice that was a real practice -- before the Wisconsin game -- and we need to get back to that.
"We have four games in 20 (days), instead of seven in 20. So, it'll be a great time to get back to the basics we were doing earlier in the year."
Two of Michigan's next three games are against the last-place Nittany Lions, with a home game against Illinois in between. That is the easiest stretch remaining on the Wolverines' schedule.
Then, they finish the season at home against Michigan State, at Purdue and home against Indiana.
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