ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — It was a team unlike any John Beilein had coached at Michigan.
The Wolverines spent most of the NCAA Tournament out of sync offensively, misfiring from 3-point range and relying on a tenacious defense to keep their season going. That formula — so much different from the way Beilein’s teams had won in the past — took Michigan all the way to the national title game before Monday night’s loss to Villanova.
“They kept growing and growing, and that’s all that coaches can ask for,” Beilein said.
Michigan’s Final Four run this season capped a two-year transformation in Beilein’s program. The veteran coach made a conscious effort to improve his team’s defensive deficiencies, and the result was the Wolverines’ second appearance in the title game in six years — and a sense that Michigan will remain a threat in the Big Ten as long as Beilein is there.
That wasn’t a sure thing, even after the Wolverines reached the Final Four in 2013 and won a conference title the following year. Michigan missed the NCAA Tournament in 2015 and barely made it in 2016. Then Beilein hired Billy Donlon as an assistant, turning over defensive responsibilities to him. The Wolverines made the Sweet 16 last season, then Donlon left to take a job at Northwestern, and Luke Yaklich was
Article source: https://www.foxsports.com/detroit/story/unsung-wolverines-prove-beilein-can-win-in-different-ways-040318
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