It wasn't necessarily a "must win" game, so to speak, but it's one that Michigan certainly wanted at home. The Wolverines knocked the Bronson Koenig-less Wisconsin Badgers 64-58 on Thursday.
The Michigan Insider breaks down what it learned during Thursday nights victory.
1. A "punch your ticket" type of game
Granted Wisconsin was missing one of their best players in Bronson Koenig tonight, the NCAA selection committee will look at this result favorably as the Wolverines handed the Badgers its fifth loss of the season. Was tonights performance enough to consider their ticket essentially punched? Possibly, however there is still plenty of basketball left to be played this season. However, a victory over a ranked opponent certainly helps its cause. The Wolverines caught the slumping Badgers at the right time. However, at the end of the day, a win is a win.
2. Slump over?
If there was any time for Zak Irvin to end the slump, tonight was certainly that night. On top of Moe Wagner's 21 points, Irvin contributed 17 of his own. Finishing with five points at the end of the half, Irvin exploded for 12 points in an effort that helped secure his team the victory. Funnily enough, Irvin's scoring streak essentially started with an odd bank shot three pointer. Perhaps that was the spark Irvin needed to get himself going again.
3. Derrick Walton didn't need to lead the team in scoring to make an impact
Becoming the first Wolverine with 1000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists, Derrick Walton Jr. didn't have much impact on the scoreboard like he has in recent games. Finishing the game with only five points, his eight assists and his ball movement on the court were top-notch tonight. Walton appeared to make all the right decisions, finding players wide open for easy buckets. Once again, he proved why he is so valuable to his team.