It was a familiar scene: One team running around with its shorts on fire, feeding off its bench on the way to running its opponent out of the gym, the other playing lifeless victim. One team getting any shot it wanted, the other struggling for any shot it could find. One team looking like a national title contender, the other looking like a punch-drunk pretender.
That’s a scene the Michigan basketball team has become quite accustomed to in 2020-2021. It’s just not used to being on this side.
As the Illinois lead ballooned to 30 in the second half on Tuesday, the Ayo Dosunmu-less Illini delivering punch after punch, Michigan had to reconcile with a new reality: None of this is going to come easily.
“This is a game truly you can learn from and we will learn from a loss like this,” said Michigan coach Juwan Howard. “And the type of performance we gave tonight was not acceptable at all.”