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Michigan finds the magic against Minnesota

By Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press –

INDIANAPOLIS — On Monday, Michigan coach John Beilein cited the “magical” finish to the regular season.

Apparently it followed to the Wolverines to the Big Ten tournament.

As the No. 2 seed Wolverines slid toward an upset by No. 10 seed Minnesota, trailing in the final 8 minutes of regulation, they pulled the rabbit out of a hat again.

The clutch Wolverines found Evan Smotrycz on the wing for the game-tying three-pointer with 17.6 seconds left — his only basket of the game — sending the game to overtime.

Then they woke up and closed it out like they have most of the season in key spots, winning, 73-69, Friday in overtime at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Michigan (24-8) advances to Saturday’s second semifinal at 4 p.m. against No. 3 seed Ohio State, and likely holds its seeding slot for the NCAA tournament, avoiding a potentially bad loss.

Preparation for the Big Dance?

“Without a doubt,” said co-captain Zack Novak, who watched teammates Trey Burke (30 points) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (20) carry Michigan most of the way. “You like to see your team go through a little trouble like that to see how they respond, see how tough we are. I think we passed the test today. . . . We didn’t do some of the things we typically do, and to be able to come out of this game with a win is huge, and that’s what you have to do at this time of the year.”

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