Basketball

One More Net

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Credit to: Patrick Barron // MGoBlog

You saw it on their faces in the way they looked at each other; it's written on their bodies in the way they jump up and down together as they celebrate; it's in the words they say. In a season where this kind of success was unimaginable two months (and especially three and four months) ago, you can find yourself asking, "How?"

The answer is the oldest answer, the purest answer, the truest answer.

Teamwork.

"Everyone on this team has a great relationship with each other," Michigan point guard Zavier Simpson said. "It's like a brotherhood we've built. That separates us (from others).

"We don't have small cliques here. We're a team."

We're a team.

“I feel like we all believe in one another, but that is the special thing about this group of guys,” Charles Matthews said. “We don't get caught up in the win streak that we're on. Like most of the guys, we didn't even know we were on a 13-game win streak. We just take everything one day at a time and we stay connected through it all. When you have guys like that who are truly your brothers, anything's possible."

We're a team.

On Saturday night, there was one snippet of net left to cut down. Beilein told Moe Wagner to cut it down. "Are you sure?" Wagner could be seen asking.

Yes, Beilein was sure.

We're a team.

"Coach B just told us that seeing us jump up and down here with our teammates, that's what it's all about," Matthews said. "It's not about who gets this stat or that stat.

"But winning for each other."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjv2iDxiGBI

This team has been through so much together: ugly losses, teammates transferring to rival schools, a near-plane crash. And it's that last one, occurring just before the Big Ten Tournament last year, that I believe laid the foundations for what this team is today: the plane skidded off the runway on the way to the Big Ten Tournament. They held a vote and decided to still go, though no one could have blamed them for staying home.

But they went and won four games in four days. They learned how to win that way.

Then they did it in this year's Big Ten Tournament.

And they're still winning.

Who could deserve it more than a team that plays as a team? Who else could deserve a championship more than John Beilein, who runs the cleanest program in college basketball, teaching his players how to be better people, how to be teammates? He admitted himself he's "no spring chicken." There's always another year.

But this is the year they're here.

Two more games. One more net.

Go Blue.