March 29: A Date That Michigan Basketball Fans Will Never Forget
Firstly, don't we all love march and the outstanding basketball it brings us. I mean even looking past the biggest basketball tournament in March Madness, to lower level college championships, high school state tournaments, and even the heated playoff race in the NBA, nonetheless basketball in March is different. Every basketball player in college or high school wants to win it all in March, Michigan is no stranger to this feeling.
The University of Michigan is one of the most renowned and prestigious universities on the planet, and is known for tons of athletic achievements. Obviously, the football team being the most famous, but the basketball team has had something to say about that recently. In the last 40 years or so, many would argue that the basketball team has been more successful and March 29 is a special day for them.
Beating The Buckeyes
March 29, 1992, that's 30 years ago, Chris Webber, the Fab Five, and the rest of the Michigan Wolverines punched their ticket to the Final Four. This was no easy game, nor opponent, as they were tasked to take on their southern rival, The Ohio State Buckeyes for a spot in the final weekend. The teams battled back and forth, tempers flared, and as the second half was coming to a close it was going to be a nail biter.
Chris Webber made a cut to the basket with under 1:30 to play, he received the pass, and was fouled as he made the layup. You could see the distaste on the face of Ohio State as they could feel game slipping away. Webber would go on to hit the free throw to complete the old fashioned three-point play and extended their lead. The Buckeyes would play until the final whistle, but come up short as the Wolverines won and advanced with a score of 75-71.
Flash forward 21 years later and this date sings to the wolverine faithful again. You hardly ever see sports memories or events from one team, individual, or school occur on the same day in different years, such as the romance between Michigan basketball and March 29. This time, a different opponent in a different round, but still the same outcome.
The Michigan Wolverines were in the Sweet Sixteen as a 4-seed, taking on the talented blue blood Jayhawks from Kansas on March 29, 2013. Coming down to the stretch Kansas was in control and looking to advance to yet another Elite Eight, when everything took a turn. Michigan got the ball back down 3 with just 12 seconds remaining in regulation and overtime on their minds. Trey burke raced into the front court and what happened next is forever in the hearts of Michigan Fans.
He received a screen which caused both a Jayhawk and Wolverine to fall down, he takes another dribble to his left, and takes arguably the biggest step back I've ever seen. Now out on the wing, almost even with the edge of the mid-court logo, Burke launches a 3, and splashes it nothing but net. The crowd went absolutely berserk, Kansas called a timeout with 4 seconds remaining.
Their drawn up play didn't work as the two teams were headed to overtime. The Wolverines would go on to ride the momentum of Burke's game-tying 3-pointer and would go on to win by 2 in overtime as the Jayhawks missed a jumper at the buzzer. Michigan would make it all the way to the championship game before having their season end at the hands of Luke Hancock and the Louisville Cardinals.