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Posted on Thu, Mar 8, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

Michigan basketball team to face Minnesota in Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals

By Nick Baumgardner


Joe Coleman and Minnesota held off Northwestern and will face Michigan on Friday in the Big Ten Tournament.

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Instead of having to worry about beating Northwestern for a third straight time, the Michigan basketball team will have a different concern Friday.

Figuring out how to beat Minnesota for a second time.

The 10th-seeded Golden Gophers pulled off the first upset of the 2012 Big Ten Tournament on Thursday, knocking off No. 7 Northwestern, 75-68 in overtime, to advance to the tournament quarterfinals.

Minnesota (19-13) will play No. 2 Michigan at 6:30 p.m. Friday (Big Ten Network)

Playing without 6-foot-11 big man Ralph Sampson III — who reportedly suffered a knee injury earlier this week in practice — the Golden Gophers got a game-high 25 points from freshman guard Andre Hollins to knock off the Wildcats, likely ending Northwestern's NCAA tournament hopes.

Sampson's status moving forward is unknown.

"We know that (Michigan) is a team that can shoot the 3 really well, just like Northwestern," Minnesota junior Rodney Williams said. "They run the same kind of offense and defense, but we've just got to come out and play our style of ball."

Northwestern held a two-point lead in the final minute of regulation, but a bucket from Hollins with 55 seconds to go tied things up, eventually sending the game to overtime.

In the extra session, Austin Hollins and Julian Welch hit back-to-back triples to give the WIldcats a four-point lead less than two minutes in.

The Wildcats pulled within one, but back-to-back buckets from Andre Hollins and Williams swelled the lead back to four, and effectively iced the game.

Michigan played Minnesota once this season, a 61-56 home victory on Jan. 1.

Virtually every player on the Wolverine roster that day had a bad outing, except freshman point guard Trey Burke. Burke dropped in a season-high 27 points on 8-of-11 shooting.

"We couldn't stop Trey Burke on the pick and roll," Williams said after the game. "He had 27 points tonight, and that was all him just getting to the rack and the free throw line."

The Minnesota game also marked one of the worst individual performances this season by Tim Hardaway Jr., who finished with seven points on 2-for-14 shooting. The Wolverines shot just 38.5 percent for the game, which went down as a season-worst at the time.

Hardaway did have one bright moment, though, burying a 12-footer with 35.1 seconds to go to essentially ice a game that Michigan never really had full control of.

This will be the fourth meeting between Michigan and Minnesota in Big Ten Tournament play. The Wolverines scored wins over the Golden Gophers in 1998 and 2007, and lost in 2006.

The prevailing notion entering the tournament, from most coaches, was that Michigan and Northwestern were the two toughest one-day preps.

But whether or not the Wolverines and Wildcats run similarly difficult sets doesn't concern Minnesota coach Tubby Smith.

He understands that Michigan is a different animal altogether, and says his team now has its work cut out for it.

"They're tough, regardless," Smith said. "They're playing with a lot of confidence, they've got some talented players and we haven't seen them in a long time.

"We'll have our hands full, it's always tough prep for a John Beilein team."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.

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Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 5:13 a.m.

Minnesota beating Northwestern is not a surprise for me even with Sampson unable to play. Minnesota is a tough team as Michigan found out in January. Michigan may have had one of its poorest performances against Minnesota but that may reflect well on Minnesota's defense. I hope that Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Evan Smotrycz will play consistently well because otherwise Michigan may not beat Minnesota.