With its victory over Illinois Tuesday night in Champaign, Michigan is officially the outright Big Ten regular-season champion. The last time the Wolverines won the title outright was in 1986.
Michigan was never going to be stopped tonight. Against an Illinois team that held its previous four opponents to under 50 points, the Wolverines scored 52 points in the first half alone. It was clear from the opening tip that Michigan was on a mission.
As Michigan solidified itself as the best team in the Big Ten, Nik Stauskas may have proved himself to be the conference’s best player. Stauskas hit 7-of-9 3-pointers on his way to 24 points, leading all scorers. The sophomore was brilliant, hitting everything in sight.
After beating Minnesota at home last week, Beilein talked about the importance of winning a Big Ten regular season title.
“This is incredible at Michigan, what we do about prizing a championship in the regular season,” the coach said. “I’ve never seen it like this before and we’re all embracing it. What’s rewarding is that these guys have talked about it and talked about and now they’ve done — they’re almost all the way there.”
Michigan is finally all the way there.