COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Top-ranked Duke's loss at NC State on Saturday created a court-storming for the ages and an opportunity for Michigan, which entered Sunday as the nation's only undefeated team and just a victory at Ohio State away from becoming No. 1 in the polls for the first time in more than two decades. So, yeah, the stakes were high for this Big Ten showdown -- even higher than usual for a Michigan-Ohio State game, and the stakes are almost always high for a Michigan-Ohio State game regardless of the circumstances because Michigan and Ohio State don't like each other much.
"We got very, very excited about this opportunity," said Michigan coach John Beilein, and by very, very excited he meant a little too excited to the point where his Wolverines came out of the locker room and played out of character. Lots of dumb turnovers on offense. Too many gambles on defense. Consequently, the Wolverines were down 10 points after seven minutes, down 21 after 13. So we were on our way to a blowout. That's how it felt inside Value City Arena.
But then OSU started missing shots. And then Michigan started making them.