Did Nik Stauskas make the cut for Michigan's top 10 highlights leading up to the Final Four?
The Michigan basketball program is back in the Final Four for the first time in 20 years and there have been plenty of highlights along the way.
Despite the fact that the Wolverines were not playing their best basketball entering the NCAA tournament, they have started to resemble the team once ranked No. 1 in the national polls this season. In fact, it is tough to say Michigan has played better at any point during the 2012-13 campaign than it is playing right now.
Taking down the Syracuse Orange this Saturday will be a difficult task, but before looking ahead, here are 10 highlights that demand some reflection.
Note: The following highlights are ranked based on their impact on the final outcome of the games they occurred in, overall degree of difficulty and entertainment value.
Sophomore guard Briante Weber of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams found out exactly what it feels like to run into a brick wall.
With the Michigan Wolverines leading 34-21 near the end of the first half, freshman power forward Mitch McGary set a hard screen for sophomore point guard Trey Burke. Weber did not see the pick coming.
At 6'3", 165 pounds, Weber never stood a chance against the 6'10", 250-pound McGary firmly positioned at the top of the key. With Weber flat on the ground, Burke easily dribbled inside the arc and knocked down a mid-range jumper.
See the play in its entirety at the 0:36 mark of the video included in the slide.
Junior shooting guard Tim Hardaway, Jr.'s three-pointer in the face of Teddy Okereafor barely missed out on making this list, but you can see that shot at the 0:16 mark.
Just as the third-seeded Florida Gators were beginning to mount a comeback in the second half of their Elite Eight clash with the Michigan Wolverines, unheralded freshman Spike Albrecht put the game away for good.
Mitch McGary set up Albrecht's shocking steal by driving the lane and finishing off a lay-up. The basket pushed Michigan's lead to 14 points. On the ensuing inbounds pass, junior forward Will Yeguete got careless. Albrecht took advantage by stealing the ball and laying it in for a quick two points.
The four points in four seconds helped the Wolverines regain their composure and finish off the 79-59 rout in dominant fashion.
Without this play, the Gators may have been able to hang around longer and put more pressure on Michigan. Albrecht made sure to put Florida away, though.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. showed off his athleticism with a fast-break dunk.
As soon as Tim Hardaway, Jr. got out on a fast-break against the VCU with no Rams between him and the basket, all of Ann Arbor perked up in its collective seat. The Maize and Blue faithful knew a spectacular dunk would be thrown down.
Hardaway did not disappoint.
The Miami, Fla. native has made more than his fair share of dunks this season, but this one stood out from the rest.
After a long outlet pass from Trey Burke and a short handoff from Nik Stauskas, Hardaway had the basket all to himself. Hardaway elevated, turned his back to the rim and delivered a two-handed jam.
The dunk did not have any impact on the outcome of the game, but it most definitely belongs in the Michigan Wolverines' highlight reel for the 2013 NCAA tournament.
Trey Burke's steal and assist were impressive to say the least.
Although the Michigan Wolverines could already taste their first Final Four, Trey Burke made sure to deliver another blow to the Florida Gators with close to 10 minutes remaining in regulation.
Michigan led 60-44, but Burke continued to play aggressive defensively. Junior small forward Casey Prather made a lazy pass in the direction of senior guard Mike Rosario, which was easily stolen by Burke.
Prather quickly dropped back on defense in an attempt to make amends for his mistake. Tim Hardaway, Jr. trailed the play to give Burke bail-out option with Prather attempting to slow down the ball.
Burke got Prather up in the air by faking a lay-up and dropping off a pass to the running Hardaway for an easy dunk.
Had the game been more tightly contested when the play occurred, it would have been ranked higher on the list. Still, Burke made a great play in transition look effortless, which allows it to check in at No. 7.
Mitch McGary has been unstoppable in the NCAA tournament.
Big men are not supposed to be athletic enough to come out above the arc, steal a pass and outrun the opposition for a fast-break dunk.
Those who believe that have not watched Mitch McGary's breakout performances in the 2013 NCAA tournament.
The Michigan Wolverines had already built an 11-point lead over South Dakota State with just over four minutes left in the second half, but McGary saw a golden opportunity to close out the Jackrabbits.
Senior guard Nate Wolters thought he could dish out a routine pass to Tony Fiegen on the wing. Obviously, Walters did not realize McGary has the athleticism and quickness to easily come away with a steal.
McGary took advantage of Wolters' mistake and ran the length of the floor for an uncontested slam. The steal and finish put an exclamation point on McGary's 13-point performance in the round of 64.
Michigan will need McGary to make more plays like this one if it hopes to take down the Syracuse Orange this Saturday in Atlanta.
Glenn Robinson III made a pivotal play against the Kansas Jayhawks.
With the fourth-seeded Michigan Wolverines on the brink of elimination, Glenn Robinson III made an impact play to keep hope alive.
Michigan trailed the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks 72-62 with 2:27 remaining in the game. Time was running out for the Wolverines, and someone needed to provide them with a spark.
Robinson came through.
Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr. trapped senior point guard Elijah Johnson just inside the arc, which led to a dangerous pass. Robinson read the play beautifully, stepped into the lane, tipped the pass across half court and outran Jeff Withey to the ball.
In one fluid motion, Robinson grabbed the rock, took a step and elevated for an uncontested one-handed dunk.
Robinson made this play look easy, though, it was far from routine. The timing and beauty of this play vault it into the top half of Michigan's March Madness highlights.
Trey Burke and Glenn Robinson III created yet another highlight for Michigan's NCAA tournament run.
This is far from the first alley-oop dunk Glenn Robinson III has caught from Trey Burke, but this thunderous jam with the Michigan Wolverines less than seven minutes away from the Final Four warrants more than a couple of replays.
Burke creates this highlight reel play all by himself. The Florida Gators all converged on a driving Burke, which left Robinson alone near the baseline.
The only thing left for Burke to do was lob the ball over the hoop to a cutting Robinson. The 6'6", 210-pounder took care of the rest by grabbing and throwing the ball through the basket with one hand.
Robinson made a total of three field goals in the win over Florida. But this one stands out.
Watch out for a few more of these dunks from Robinson at the Georgia Dome this Saturday.
Nik Stauskas knocked down just 2-of-12 three-point attempts in the Michigan Wolverines' first three games in the Big Dance, which led to the Florida Gators believing he would continue to miss shots.
Florida could not have been more wrong.
The 6'6" Canadian sharpshooter came out firing from start to finish. Stauskas converted 7-of-8 field goals, including 6-of-6 from beyond the arc, with five of his treys coming from the same corner. His 22-point performance enabled the Wolverines to run away with a 20-point victory at Cowboys Stadium.
Most of the shots were wide open, but this does not take away from how impressive Stauskas' afternoon was.
The Wolverines are hoping Stauskas can maintain his hot hand in the Final Four this weekend.
John Beilein has Michigan basketball back at the forefront of the national scene.
Almost nothing could top watching head coach John Beilein and the rest of the Michigan Wolverines cutting down the nets at Cowboys Stadium last Sunday.
The road back to the Final Four has been a long and trying one to say the least for the Wolverines.
Following the NCAA's severe sanctions, former head coach Tommy Amaker (2001-07) brought Michigan's basketball program from the cellar of the Big Ten Conference to mediocrity.
Winning the NIT is a far cry from making the Final Four, though.
Beilein took over prior of the 2007-08 campaign. Requests for facility upgrades were granted and five years later, Beilein has Michigan among the nation's elite programs. The brand new practice facilities and renovations to Crisler Arena will allow the Wolverines to recruit as well as any other top program in the country for the next several years.
Michigan is going to making its first Final Four appearance since 1993, and Beilein deserves the lion's share of the credit for the revival of the program.
Cutting down the nets symbolized the end to the Wolverines' long journey back from irrelevancy. None of it would have happened without the No. 1 highlight, though.
Without question, Trey Burke's miraculous three-pointer, which sent the Michigan Wolverines vs. Kansas Jayhawks Sweet 16 battle to overtime, is the top highlight from the Maize and Blue's NCAA tournament run.
Burke scored eight points in the final 1:16 of the game, including the game-tying trey with just 4.2 seconds left on the clock.
Elijah Johnson's missed free throw enabled Burke to bring the ball up the floor with no resistance from the Kansas defense. Once Burke crossed half court, he realized Kansas would be looking to foul with a three-point lead.
Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, Burke never gave them that chance. As precious seconds ticked off the clock, Burke pulled up near the coach's box and drilled the deep three to knot the score at 76-76.
After the clutch trey, Burke scored five points in the extra session to help Michigan dispatch of Kansas 87-85.
The Wolverines will be tough to beat this weekend if Burke brings his late-game heroics with him to Atlanta.