Nothing truly typifies the cool relentlessness of Glenn Robinson III's game like a possession near the middle of the second half of Sunday's game against the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Michigan was already up 65-43, with about 12 minutes left in the game. Caris LeVert was at the line, looking to extend the lead.
LeVert misses his second free throw, and out of nowhere, Robinson secures the rebound to extend the possession.
Michigan then runs a play around the perimeter on the near side, while Robinson roams the perimeter on the far side to open up spacing down low.
After a Tim Hardaway Jr. miss from deep, Robinson takes a clear path to the hoop, corrals the rebound, collects himself and then goes up strong for a two-handed dunk.
Nevermind the fact that Robinson, once he collected the ball and went up with it, found a second level to his vertical leap to flush it down. Nevermind the fact that the whole play happened in the first place because he put himself in the right position to get the rebound off of LeVert's missed free throw. Heck, even throw out the fact that swingmen rarely get consecutive offensive rebounds in the big-man heavy Big Ten.
What really stands out is the patience that Robinson displays, and it was fully evident on this play. He didn't force anything, didn't make a freshman mistake by rushing and didn't get caught up in the moment.
He calmly went about his business and made a couple of big plays for a surging, young team.
His breakout performance is just another reason why this Michigan team should have their fans very excited, and why they may be the best team in basketball.
Their place in Wolverine history
I have been watching Michigan basketball since my early years. The first team I remember watching was the Gary Grant-led team in the late 1980's. I didn't miss a game during their title run in 1989, and I was there for the Fab Five revolution of the early 1990's.
All that being said, this is without question the most complete and arguably the most exciting Wolverines team of my lifetime.
Sure, the teams of the late 80's had immense talent, especially in the front court. Terry Mills, Loy Vaught and Glen Rice were all first round picks that had long and successful NBA careers. But outside of Rice, they lacked consistent, three-point shooters. They also weren't as talented in the back court. Rumeal Robinson was a handful, but he was never as complete of a point guard as Trey Burke.
The Fab Five was an explosive and fun team to watch. Their front court was the most athletically gifted that I have ever seen, and Jalen Rose was always fun to watch. But they didn't play with the type of control and discipline that John Beilein's players exhibit. They also struggled with the deep ball.
This team is truly special in that they have so many ways to beat you.
Robinson and Hardaway are two of the most talented wings in college basketball. They both can score, rebound and shoot from deep. And when they are flanking Burke on the fast-break, it is must-see basketball.
Jordan Morgan is the type of tough player down low that coaches love. He sets strong picks, runs the court well and loves to rebound. To the untrained eye, he will call to mind ex-Detroit Pistons big man Don Reid.
Mitch McGary is destined to be a fan favorite. He plays with a supremely high motor, loves to mix it up down low and calls to mind Tyler Hansbrough, due to his physical play. He also plays very smart and is capable of high assist totals as well.
Trey Burke is perhaps the best point guard in the country and is the straw that stirs the proverbial drink. He plays smart and under control yet has the flash that you want in your lead guard. He has a quick first step and makes defenses that sag off of him pay with pinpoint, three-point range.
But perhaps the most deadly weapon in the Wolverines' arsenal is Nik Stauskas. Perhaps the best shooter in the country, Stauskas has a quick release, a high release point (due to his long frame) and a swagger that calls to mind Chuck Person from deep. In fact, Stauskas is at his best with a hand in his face.
The bench is also coming along, with LeVert stepping up and McGary being the energy guy off the pine. Jon Horford also showed some toughness, and despite a horrific knee injury, he should return soon.
And just think how much scarier that bench would be with Evan Smotrycz, who transferred to Maryland.
Built for the tourney
There are three things that a team needs in order to be successful in the NCAA tournament: perimeter and transitional defense, three-point shooting and a savvy point guard that can get to the hoop.
The Wolverines have all three of these.
Now obviously, it might be too much to ask for the Wolverines to go undefeated. In fact, they really don't have to.
But they are built to make a deep tournament run and are perhaps better suited to the postseason game than they are to the regular season one.
So if this team loses a few games before the season closes, don't fret; this team is built to succeed in the tournament. After a disappointing run last year, that would be a welcome sight for this fanbase.
Count this writer as one that likes the Wolverines' chances this March. At the very least, they have proved that they play must-see basketball, something that has been missing for the last couple decades in Ann Arbor.
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