I like how ESPNs Andy Katz said it in this article, It was just one game, but it was against one of the most famous programs on one of the most famous stages.
“The first half to me looked a lot like last year’s team,” said Beilein, who watched his team fall behind by as many as eight points in the opening half. “We’d act like there’s a grenade in our hands and think the ball’s going to blow up if we didn’t do anything with it.”
They were down but not out. UCLA coach Ben Howland said, “When they got down 10 it didn’t rattle them”.
I think back to what Coach Beilein said last week, that this team has great chemistry. I am a big believer in team chemistry. I could see evidence of great chemistry on this team last night.
One of the most dramatic plays of the game was proof of that. With :34 seconds left in the game Anthony Wright hit DeShawn Sims on a back door cut for a dunk and a 4 point lead. Here is what Sims said about that play, “I knew Anthony was going to make that pass”.
How did he know that?
With less than a minute left, Beilein let Anthony Wright know in a time-out huddle that the Bruins, who were over-pressuring Sims in the five position, were leaving themselves open to a backdoor cut to the basket.
When I was taking a lot of heat for my 21 wins prediction one of my reasons for that prediction was John Beilein. The guy is a great coach and you cannot discount that. We have not seen a coach like this in my lifetime at Michigan.
I remember when Beilein was hired that Tim McCormick said John Beilein will be the best coach Michigan Basketball has ever had.
These guys trust each other and they trust their coach. Their coach believes in them and they believe in their coach. Coach Beilein said, “You can win against anybody if you just believe in what you do.” I think they believe.
Inside the numbers: Michigan was out rebounded 38-25. Michigan had 15 assists against 10 turnovers and forced UCLA into 17 turnovers. I think that is the difference in the game right there. Michigan’s execution of the 1-3-1 forced UCLA into those turnovers and the Wolverines converted those into easy baskets on numerous fast breaks.
In the final 6:50 of the game UCLA scored 9 points. In the final 2:30 of the game UCLA scored 2 points.
This was Michigan’s first win against a top-five ranked opponent since the 1997-98 season when U-M beat No. 1 Duke 81-73 on Dec. 3, 1997, at Crisler Arena.