What did we learn from Michigan's loss to Indiana?
The No. 7 Michigan Wolverines were one rotation of the basketball away from winning a second straight Big Ten Conference title, but missed free-throws led to the No. 2 Indiana Hoosiers pulling out a 72-71 victory.
The Maize and Blue managed to blow a five-point lead in less than one minute to miss out on another league championship banner.
Sophomore point guard Trey Burke poured in 20 points, but did he do enough to remain the favorite to win the Big Ten's player of the year award?
What should we make of freshman small forward Glenn Robinson III's recent hot streak? Are the Wolverines still a Final Four contender?
We learned the answers to those questions and seven others in Michigan's loss to Indiana on Sunday.
Michigan fumbled away a second straight Big Ten title.
If the Michigan Wolverines had been able to take down the Indiana Hoosiers, they would have won a share of their second straight Big Ten title. Michigan has not done that since 1986, and it will have to wait at least a few more years for it to happen again.
Had redshirt junior forward Jordan Morgan's last-second tip-in attempt rolled through the hoop, Ann Arbor would have gone wild. Instead, Michigan fans were left to wonder about what could have been.
Missed free-throws down the stretch, poor rebounding and blown opportunities in the paint will haunt the Wolverines for the days leading up to the Big Ten tournament.
Head coach John Beilein has brought Michigan's program back to national relevancy. A second straight Big Ten title, though, will not be on his resume.
The Michigan Wolverines could not overcome a major deficit on the boards.
For the third consecutive game, the Michigan Wolverines allowed their opponent to pull down at least 12 offensive rebounds. Cleaning up the misses of opposing teams has to be a high priority for Michigan going forward if it hopes to win a championship in the postseason.
The Indiana Hoosiers were able to grab 19 offensive boards in the one-point victory over the Wolverines. Those rebounds turned into 17 second-chance points.
Michigan's interior defense did a better job of rotating and making Indiana's big men work for every one of their shots. Unfortunately, the defensive improvements did not translate to the Wolverines doing a better job of boxing out.
Apparently, this is quite unusual for John Beilein's team, though:
Beilein: You have to put it right on me. We block out every time in practice, we just didn't today.
— Michigan Basketball (@umichbball) March 10, 2013
The Maize and Blue had better start boxing out like they do in practice, otherwise their postseason runs will be cut short.
Trey Burke missed a critical free-throw attempt in the closing minute of the loss to Indiana.
Clinging to a five-point lead with less than one minute remaining in regulation, all the Michigan Wolverines had to do was sink their free-throws to win a share of the Big Ten title. The moment appeared to be too big for all of the Wolverines to handle.
Freshman small forward Glenn Robinson III split a pair of freebies with 52 seconds remaining. This triggered Michigan's downward spiral.
Both sophomore point guard Trey Burke and junior shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. missed the front end of one-and-one opportunities.
Those missed free-throws cost the Wolverines, along with the Michigan State Spartans and Ohio State Buckeyes, a second straight Big Ten championship banner.
Michigan is not usually sluggish from the charity stripe either. Robinson, Hardaway and Burke all shoot better than 70 percent from the free-throw line. As a team, the Wolverines knock down 71 percent of their freebies.
Whenever Michigan is ahead by a small margin in the closing minutes of however many games it has left this season, the Maize and Blue faithful will be sweating it out.
Tim Hardaway Jr. is starting to knock down a higher percentage of his shots.
Although Tim Hardaway Jr.'s increase in offensive efficiency did not help the Michigan Wolverines earn a victory, it is an encouraging sign for this team going forward.
Hardaway went 5-for-12 from the field and scored 11 points in the loss to the Indiana Hoosiers. Over the past four games, Hardaway has shot better than 40 percent three times.
Michigan is still not getting Hardaway's best efforts, but as long as he continues to shoot between 40 and 50 percent, the Wolverines have a shot at making a run to the Final Four.
NBA executives will also be monitoring Hardaway's shooting performances over the next two weeks as well. Hardaway's draft stock hinges on his consistency. If he can re-establish himself as a high percentage jump shooter, Hardaway may be able to bolt Ann Arbor for the 2013 NBA draft.
Glenn Robinson III is playing much more aggressive than he has all season long.
Over the course of the past six games, Glenn Robinson III has become more aggressive, which is a great sign for the Michigan Wolverines heading into postseason play.
Robinson converted 5-of-7 field goal attempts, including 1-of-2 from 3-point range, against the Indiana Hoosiers. Sunday marked the fourth time in six games that Robinson made at least 55 percent of his shots.
The 6'6", 210-pounder has been able to shoot a high percentage, because of his willingness to drive through traffic more often. Robinson is no longer waiting for opportunities along the baseline to score anymore.
The more pressure Robinson can take off of Trey Burke with his offensive efficiency, the better off Michigan will be in the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.
Robinson has picked the best possible time to start playing his best basketball.
Jordan Morgan's play at the defensive end of the floor sets him apart from the rest of Michigan's big men.
The Michigan Wolverines do not have a dominant big man by any means, however, Jordan Morgan plays outstanding defense and is starting to play a larger role at the offensive end of the floor.
Morgan racked up eight points and pulled down eight rebounds, six of which were of the offensive variety, in the loss to the Indiana Hoosiers.
Meanwhile, freshman power forward Mitch McGary only managed to play for eight minutes due to foul trouble. Redshirt sophomore big man Jon Horford played well in the first half only to get burned the next time he got on the floor. As a result, Horford played just six minutes.
Even so, neither McGary, nor Horford has proven to be consistent enough defensively to be Michigan's starting power forward.
The Wolverines need Morgan to continue playing at a high level at both ends of the floor to advance past the opening week of the NCAA tournament.
Trey Burke is still the best player in the Big Ten, despite the loss to Indiana.
It is true Trey Burke missed the most critical free-throw of the Michigan Wolverines' entire 2012-13 campaign. Still, Burke is the best player in the Big Ten and deserves to be recognized as the league's top player.
Entering Sunday's clash at the Crisler Center, Burke and Victor Oladipo were the two frontrunners for the award. Oladipo notched an impressive double-double in the win, and bested Burke twice this season. The head-to-head wins do not outweigh the latter's entire body of work, though.
Burke is the only player in the Big Ten to score 15 or more points in every league game. The Columbus, Ohio product has also scored at least 20 points in five of Michigan's last six games.
The floor general leads the conference in assists (6.9 per game), and ranks among the top scorers (19.1 points).
Burke's late-game theft of Keith Appling helped the Wolverines topple the Michigan State Spartans, and potentially saved their season. Had Burke not made that defensive play, Michigan very well could have continued spiraling out of control.
Based on consistency, Burke should be the named the Big Ten's player of the year.
Michigan might have another crack at Indiana in the semifinals of the league tournament.
If there is a silver lining to the Michigan Wolverines landing the No. 5 seed in the Big Ten tournament this week, it is the fact it will get a chance to avenge three previous losses.
The Wolverines will open postseason play on Thursday against the Penn State Nittany Lions. In case anyone forgot, Penn State's only win in Big Ten play came against Michigan on Feb. 27. Do not expect the Wolverines to play poorly against the Nittany Lions this time around, though.
As long as Michigan takes care of business in the first round, it will clash with the Wisconsin Badgers in the quarterfinals.
The Badgers defeated the Wolverines in their only regular-season meeting in Madison. Ben Brust hit a half-court shot as time expired to send the game to overtime. Michigan never recovered and lost 65-62.
Unless fate is as kind to the Badgers as it was before, Michigan should move on to face the top-seeded Indiana Hoosiers.
The Maize and Blue lost both meetings with Indiana this year, so the Wolverines will be out to atone for their previous letdowns.
Revenge will be on Michigan's mind in each round of the Big Ten tournament. Hopefully, it will lead to four victories and a league title.
Head coach John Beilein still has a very talented team.
Despite the fact the Michigan Wolverines failed to win a Big Ten regular-season title, they still have a very good chance at advancing to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament.
Tim Hardaway Jr. is starting to heat up again. Glenn Robinson III is playing a more aggressive brand of basketball. Trey Burke is still the best player in the Big Ten, if not the entire country. Jordan Morgan has finally returned to form after suffering an ankle injury in late January.
Add all of that up and you have a recipe for success in the Big Dance. Non-conference opponents will have a difficult time preparing for this team on such short notice.
Michigan missing out on a No. 1 seed may not be the worst thing either. If Michigan lands a No. 2 or No. 3 seed, it will get a chance to play at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Staying close to home for the opening rounds will greatly benefit the Wolverines.
Make no mistake about it, Michigan is still very talented and is still a threat to make it to Atlanta.
The Big Ten delivered some of the best games this season had to offer..
The Big Ten delivered great games one right after another this season. Whether it was the College GameDay battle in Bloomington, Ben Brust's miracle shot or the Indiana Hoosiers' near collapse down the closing stretch of the 2012-13 season, the games always left the fans entertained.
The Michigan Wolverines collapse on the road against the Penn State Nittany Lions proved to be more exciting than anyone ever thought it would be. The 4-14 Northwestern Wildcats took the Ohio State Buckeyes down to the wire twice.
Even fellow bottom feeder, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, managed to remain competitive with just about everyone in the league.
At least seven teams will make the NCAA tournament, and the Iowa Hawkeyes could be the eighth if they pull off a couple of upsets this week.
Fans will continue to be dazzled by the Big Ten until all of their teams are knocked out of March Madness.