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Posted on Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 11:14 a.m.

To continue its season, Michigan basketball team must win four games in four days

By Michael Rothstein


Iowa basketball coach Todd Lickliter and the Hawkeyes will face Michigan in the first round of the Big Ten tournament for the third consecutive year. (Photo: Associated Press)

INDIANAPOLIS - Iowa basketball coach Todd Lickliter chuckled. For all three of his seasons with the Hawkeyes, he’s met the same team in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.


And the Wolverines ended Iowa’s season the past two years.

“It’s incredible, isn’t it?” Lickliter said. “Three years in a row. We haven’t played well over there. Michigan has played well the previous two years.

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“… It is unique to play three years in a row against the same team.”

If anything, it a rite of passage for Michigan in the Big Ten tournament in Conseco Fieldhouse. Of the six Big Ten tournaments in Indianapolis - including this year - Michigan has faced Iowa in its first game. The Wolverines are 3-0 in those games and will try to go 4-0 at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday (ESPN2).

No. 8-seeded Michigan (14-16, 7-11 Big Ten) swept No. 9-seeded Iowa (10-21, 4-14) in the regular season and have won four of five against the Hawkeyes.

“We’ve become familiar with each other,” sophomore guard Zack Novak said. “It’ll be a good game, I think.”

That’s been a question for Michigan all year. The Wolverines are one of the most inconsistent teams in the Big Ten. In some ways, it is that inconsistency Michigan is almost hoping for this week.

The players believe that every time they’ve had a particularly bad game this season - and a 64-48 loss to Michigan State on Sunday qualifies - they’ve rebounded well.

After losing to Michigan State 57-56 on Jan. 26, Michigan throttled Iowa, 60-46. After losing to Wisconsin at home, 62-44, in one of its worst performances of the season, the Wolverines won two in a row on the road for the first time under head coach John Beilein.

This time, Michigan is playing with its season hanging on a win or a loss.

“We’ve done it, not consistently, but we’ve bounced back,” Beilein said. “So this is another one of those times where I hope we have our bounce back. That will be our only intention.”

It is difficult to imagine Michigan winning four games in four days. The Wolverines have yet to win four games in a row this season and haven’t picked up more than two in a row against Division I opponents.

Reaching the NCAA tournament likely means going through No. 9 Iowa, No. 1 Ohio State, No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 2 Purdue - the last three being Top 15 teams for most of the season.

So what gives Beilein confidence his team can go 4-for-4?

“I don’t have confidence in that,” Beilein said. “I have confidence that we’re going to try and win one game at a time and then if we win, I’ll have confidence that we’ll try and go do it again.

“That’s the only confidence that you have. I don’t think you go just confident of an NCAA tourney bid. You go in confident that you’re going to play your best every night.”

If Michigan doesn’t, its season will end on the floor of Conseco Fieldhouse.

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein.



Thu, Mar 11, 2010 : 10:52 a.m.

Some of you all are very opitimistic, I don't know how after this disappointment of a season, but more power to you!


Thu, Mar 11, 2010 : 2:29 a.m.

I can't wait until Theo's prediction materializes into REALITY! This is gonna be great! General Beilein will have this team averaging 20 threes / game during the Big Ten tourney, and perhaps even more in the NCAA tourney on the way to the Final Four!


Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 10:21 p.m.

Big East is an overrated conference


Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 6:40 p.m.

Well, just like I said UM would finish 7th in BIG TEN. Enjoy the 1 win u get in the BIG TEN tourny. Try not to storm the court,have some class or at least pretend. I have you finishing 8th next year if everything goes right,all in for WEST ARBOR.


Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 4:19 p.m.

Iowa has nothing to play for and will not show up. Michigan will take down Ohowihate 82-71 shooting 26 of 44 from 3 point land with 0 points in the paint. Seriously though, we have a chance against everyone in the Big Ten if the right team shows up. I just don't know that we believe in ourselves. Maybe we can for one game, but knowing we need to run the table, can we even show up for the dance?


Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 1:58 p.m.

Winning two games is possible. We could NEVER beat Wiscy!


Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 1:58 p.m.

4 wins in 4 days? They haven't won 4 in a row all season long, let alone against tough competition. One win is the most likely outcome.


Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 1:44 p.m.

@Theo212: I wish your assessment was wrong, but unfortunately, I think it will be the case. No coach, no players, and no strategy.


Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 1:26 p.m. you really do have an imagination. The ballers are toast. A coach that is clueless, to many mac players, no leadership and 2 stars that pick and choose when the time is right to play. Wish it wasn't true but the next few years will be just as bleak.


Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 1:17 p.m.

not sure about the madison square garden comment... but michigan getting past osu is a joke. the team is done. they've fallen apart. i wouldn't be suprised to see iowa get the win.


Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 12:54 p.m.

Unlikely and then the BB team sits at home like the King's football team for the post season. All Hail the king and the Prince


Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 11:29 a.m.

I think Madison Square Garden is one of the worst bb venues in the world.