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Posted on Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Michigan basketball team avoiding scoreboard watching as Big Ten race tightens

By Nick Baumgardner

For most Michigan basketball fans, Wednesday night's Minnesota-Michigan State game was must-see television.

Wolverine fans had plenty of reasons to watch as the Gophers threatened to pull the upset over the Spartans and turn the Big Ten title race on its head in the process.

But Michigan coach John Beilein didn't have time for it.

"I was reading a book," Beilein said Friday. "I get stressed out watching other games, I just don't need to do that.

"I'm reading a really good book right now. I'm almost done with it, and I need to finish it."

Minnesota ultimately collapsed Wednesday, preserving Michigan State's one-game lead on both Michigan and Ohio State in the Big Ten standings.

But as the season nears its conclusion, each passing game presents another opportunity to shake things up.

Entering Saturday, the Wolverines, Spartans and Buckeyes have three games remaining. If Michigan State wins out, the Spartans capture the title outright. But if MSU loses once, both Michigan and Ohio State have new life at a share of the crown.

Now, more than ever, there's plenty of reasons for Michigan to scoreboard watch. But rather than stress about games they can't control, the Wolverines say they're doing their best to avoid tuning in.

"I watched the Michigan State-Minnesota game, and it was a little painful to watch at times," Michigan senior guard Stu Douglass said. "I didn't watch the end of it, I just heard about it. I'm not scoreboard watching too much, which is kind of keeping me relaxed.

"I like to watch the NBA more anyway."

Michigan senior Zack Novak watched the Michigan State game as well, and like Douglass, said he did his best not to get too wrapped up into it.

"There's nothing we can do about that," he said. "There's teams everywhere right now rooting for some and not rooting for others.

"You've just got to control what you can control."

With three games remaining, the Wolverines need to win out, but they also need some serious help as well.

Part of that Michigan has influence over. The other, it doesn't.

So, in the meantime, the Wolverines say they'll just use their energy to focus on themselves.

And Beilein? He intends to finish that Stephen King book.

"I'll be looking at the scores within a few minutes after I wake up," Beilein said. "Then I move on and don't look again until the next day.

"But right now, I'm reading a Stephen King book about November 22, 1963. I never read Stephen King. ... But it's really good."

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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Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

UM would like to have at least a share of the title, however MSU controls everything. The OSU - MSU game in the finale is very interesting and will be very tough for both. UM should just focus on winning their games and wait for the outcome of that game.


Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 4:10 p.m.

The elephant in the room is will Michigan fans root for OSU to beat MSU in the season finale if it means a share of the title for them?


Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

I would love to see Michigan win the big ten title, but if not, I would rather see MSU take it than O-Lie-O State. It has been fun watching this team grow over the last few years and Stu and Zack are going to be missed. Just keep it together and win out and no one can say you didn't do your part. GO BLUE! TiM!!!