ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Some losses are hard to forget.
And it’s easy to see why, because for one half the Wolverines played brilliantly, leading the Irish 41-29 at the break, as their Cinderella slipper seemed to fit.
Then, well, behind a poor shooting and ND hitting its shots, Notre Dame came form behind defeating Michigan 70-63, ending its season.
Afterwards, Wagner was emotional and had to be consoled by his teammates. A memory, he says, he hasn’t forgotten and is using as motivation heading into his second season at U-M.
“I was very, very upset obviously but it was frustrating,” said the 6-foot-10, 234-pounder. “Because I really thought it was special what the team achieved last year. I’ve watched the game plenty of times. It didn’t go as well as we all hoped.
“It’s a huge motivation just because you feel like you were so close and (Notre Dame) made it to the Elite Eight. So that’s 20 minutes away from the Elite Eight, obviously that’s not right, but that’s how it feels kind of.”
With virtually the whole team coming back that played that night against ND, how can Michigan get back to that level and beyond? Well, there may not be a particular answer right now, says Wagner.
“There is a lot things, we are in the beginning right now so it’s kind of hard to estimate what the team’s strength and weaknesses are. So far we only have three practices in the books,” Wagner said.
“We’ll see if we are better defensively, better than last year hopefully,” Wagner said. “And offensively, it’s coach (John) Beilein we’re talking about, we don’t have to worry about the offense.”
Michigan plays its exhibition opener versus Armstrong State on Nov. 4.