Michigan basketball players say they deserve their share of the Big Ten title as much as anyone
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
Shortly after his team's loss to Ohio State on Sunday, Michigan State junior center Derrick Nix wasn't exactly thrilled about the idea of sharing a Big Ten championship with the Michigan basketball program.
More specifically, Nix said the Spartans were forced to share the crown with their "little nephews," which "sucks."
The Wolverines? Well, they aren't nearly as bitter about sharing the wealth.
"You hear the haters out there saying 'calm down, it's just a split,'" Michigan sophomore Tim Hardaway Jr. said Monday. "But you don't realize what goes on behind those doors in the practice facility and throughout the whole entire season.
"You don't know what players go through to be in that position. Even if it was a split, it really doesn't matter to us, we're very happy with what we accomplished."
The No. 10 Wolverines (23-8, 13-5) will go down in the books as tri-champions, sharing the crown with No. 7 Ohio State and No. 8 Michigan State.
The split championship seems unique due to the fact that Michigan's co-banner holders this season are its two biggest rivals. In reality, shared championships are nothing new.
Since the 1997-98 season, Tom Izzo and Michigan State have won seven regular-season Big Ten titles, five of which were shared.
During that same time span, Ohio State also grabbed seven regular-season league crowns, four of which were shared. The Buckeyes have since vacated two of those title shares due to sanctions.
The Wolverines now have one Big Ten title since 1986. And even though its split three ways, the banner they'll put up next season will be whole.
"We deserve it as much as anyone else," Michigan senior co-captain Stu Douglass said. "We won and lost with Michigan State and Ohio State, we beat teams they lost to and vice versa. I think we deserve it.
"We have the same record, (MSU) just happened to lose the last game of the season for us to win it."
After beating Penn State on Sunday afternoon and watching Ohio State knock off Michigan State to seal the shared crown, the Wolverines have gone through quite a whirlwind over the past 18-24 hours.
Michigan celebrated as a team late Sunday night at the new William Davidson Player Development Center and coach John Beilein was surrounded by twice the normal amount of media for a weekly news conference Monday afternoon -- just minutes after he finished a national radio spot on "The Jim Rome Show."
Beilein says he has been peppered with phone calls and text messages congratulating him, with one of the first coming from the school's greatest player ever.
"Cazzie (Russell) called me this morning, that was one of my first calls," Beilein said. "Of course they had their championships, and I've heard from a lot of people.
"I'm trying to just get through the day. But Cazzie's call was obviously special."
Michigan will begin the 2012 Big Ten Tournament on Friday in Indianapolis. They'll play as the No. 2 seed against either Northwestern or Minnesota.
And they'll do so as champions. Split, shared or otherwise.
"The facts are, we went 13-5 and shared the Big Ten title," Douglass said. "And we deserve it as much as anyone else."
Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.
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Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 5:21 p.m.
Had sparty not CHOKED . . .at home . . they would not be sharing anything Congratulations to the Wolverines and GO BLUE ! !
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.
Cazzie was on three Big Ten Champ teams, two outright and one split with Ohio State. Two of those teams represent the only time in Michigan Basketball history that Michigan won the Big Ten and went on to the Final Four! Hopefully, we are witnessing what will be the third time in Michigan history!! Go Blue!
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.
Absolutely ridiculous that blozo is coach of the year. No problem draymond as player. But no way Beilein or Crean should have been passed over by crybaby blozo. Especially after msu chokes on their last 2 games.
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 11:46 a.m.
what does sparty nick baumgader think?
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 9:41 a.m.
Same conference record, same split head to head with OSU and MSU so what is lil bros problem about the sharing the Big Ten title? I know why, when they went ahead by 2 games, lil brother thought and proclaimed themselves as the top dog in the Big Ten disrespecting the other teams without playing them all. Then lil bro lost to Indiana and OSU back to back and then it became hard for them to realize that they were not the top dog after all.
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.
Getting Cazzie back into the Michigan family is awesome. Connecting with the past will do more great things for the team's future. Good job Beilein!
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 2:46 a.m.
Well nix, I guess you shouldn't have lost your last two games then..
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 2:10 a.m.
Michigan and Michigan State have the same Big 10 record and split the series. What's to complain about, Sparty? If they didn't want to share the title, they should have won yesterday.
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 3:16 a.m.
They should also have won against Indiana....
Billy Bob Schwartz
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 1:33 a.m.
Great job, Michigan!! GO BLUE!!!! BTW, where did the concept of "deserves to be champion" originate? The way one "deserves" to be champion is one meets the preset requirements to be champion. Michigan did so, just as much as Nix the Whiner did, and onward we go into the golden sunset. Will you cut this comment if I use the term "chuckle-head?" Maybe...so I won't. Kind of reminds me of the past bowl season. Play, win, doesn't matter when or where, but meet the requirements, and BOOM! You're the one! So let's not forget this simple concept: to the Victors belong the Spoils! What a great season, and now let's keep rolling into and through the tournaments!
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 12:57 a.m.
This just in: Izzo named Big Ten Coach of the Year. Draymond Green Big Ten Player of the Year. That's how it rolls. Go Green.
Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 12:13 a.m.
Why? Why do you need to come here and...oh that's right...you will never be Michigan. You should enjoy what you have and not be so jealous of what you're not.
Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 12:01 a.m.
The vote must have been taken BEFORE the choked on the last couple games! L.O.L.
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.
Two teams are happy about earning their share of the title...one isn't. While UM and ohio celebrated, MSU refused to even smile in their photo after the game. THAT'S how it rolls.
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 5:40 a.m.
yes green with envy... that will never change lil bro
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 3:15 a.m.
Congrats to Izzo and Green. Though, I rather have a hungry team than individual achievers.
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 2:47 a.m.
Green is a beast, and deserves it. Your trolling is weak.
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 12:52 a.m.
Michigan basketball coaches and players congrats; BIG TEN CHAMPION MICHIGAN WOLVERINES.....period. The little people in this world will always try to rain on your parade, that is what umbrellas are for; BIG TEN CHAMPION MICHIGAN WOLVERINES....period. Michigan in every sport, in every coach and in every player is better than this and never cares what their competition is saying or doing; BIG TEN CHAMPION MICHIGAN WOLVERINES....period. Michigan Basketball; BIG TEN CHAMPIONS.....celebration.
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 5:53 a.m.
You know it, Terry. Fans of other teams can voice their OPINION all they want....the FACT is that UM is Big Ten Champs!
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 11:12 p.m.
Jim Rome is still around? I hate that guy... Congrats to the Michigan basketball team, program, coaching staff and to all the loyal, supportive fans that packed the Crisler all year and gave the team a true home court advantage. Coach Beilein is a great coach and a class act...he deserves any and all accolade that come his way. Now let's cruise through the B1G championship and make some noise in the in the tourney. GO BLUE!!!!