May 4, 2017
The 10th season of John Beilein's tenure at Michigan saw the Wolverine men's basketball team win the Big Ten Tournament title for the first time since 1998 and reach the Sweet 16 for the third time in five seasons as U-M finished the season as one of the hottest teams in the country.
The Maize and Blue opened the season with four straight wins in the 2K Classic, including wins over NCAA Tournament teams Marquette and SMU in Madison Square Garden, where the Wolverines took the tournament title. U-M entered Big Ten Conference play with 10-3 record after the remainder of the robust non-conference slate included road games at fellow Sweet 16 team UCLA and Final Four participant South Carolina.
An uneven start to league play left the Wolverines at 4-6 in conference play early in February, before a 29-point home victory over in-state rival Michigan State sparked a turn in the fortunes of the Maize and Blue. U-M won six of its final eight regular-season games, including impressive wins over Wisconsin and Purdue, as well as decisive road wins at Indiana and Nebraska, to finish Big Ten play at 10-8.
Seeded eighth at the Big Ten Tournament, U-M found itself in the headlines before the tournament began as travel difficulties forced the Wolverines to make the trip to Washington D.C. on the morning of their conference tournament opener. Showing no ill effects from the travel, U-M easily dispatched of Illinois and used that momentum to win four games in four days, taking down Purdue, Minnesota and Wisconsin along the way to becoming the lowest seed to ever win the Big Ten Tournament.
U-M was given a No. 7 seed and sent to Indianapolis for the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament where it won a pair of thrilling games to advance to their third Sweet 16 in five seasons. U-M eliminated Oklahoma State in a high-scoring first-round contest before exorcising demons of NCAA Tournaments past with a second-round win over No. 2 seed Louisville. Advancing to Kansas City, the Maize and Blue fell in a back-and-forth game to No. 3 seed Oregon to close out its season.
With the 26 victories, U-M head coach John Beilein became U-M's all-time winningest coach (215) and helped the Wolverines to their seventh NCAA Tournament appearance in his 10 seasons while adding his first Big Ten Tournament title.
Michigan was 12-3 in its last 15 games with the three losses an overtime set back at Minnesota (Feb. 19, 83-78), a last-second layup after a full-court catch and shoot at Northwestern (March 1, 67-65) and a one-point loss to Oregon (March 23, 69-68) after Derrick Walton Jr.'s game-winning shot fell short, ending U-M's postseason run.
The Wolverines set a new program record after shooting 77.9 percent from the free throw line, which ranked eighth overall nationally. The percentage bettered the 76.2-percent mark set in 2013-14. U-M was led by Derrick Walton Jr., who was second in the Big Ten and 36th nationally, shooting 87.6 percent and producing the third-best single-season average in program history.
Michigan set a new school record for the second straight season with 361 three-point field goals, reaching double digits triples 18 times -- including a school-record 19 in a win over Central Arkansas (Dec. 13). U-M has 200-plus triples in all 10 Beilein seasons.
For the fifth straight year, Michigan ranked among the top five nationally in fewest turnovers. In fact, U-M led the country for the second time in the last four seasons with a 9.15 per-game average. The Wolverines had 10 or fewer turnovers 29 times, including 13 of the 18 Big Ten games with a season-low four vs. SMU (Nov. 18). Additionally, during the 2017 postseason, U-M averaged just 7.8 turnovers per game.
Beilein won $100,000 for the ChadTough Foundation for a second straight season in the 2017 ESPN Infiniti Coaches Charity Challenge. Beilein topped Purdue's Matt Painter this season for the award after knocking off Ohio State's Thad Matta last year.
Derrick Walton Jr. averaged 15.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game and was an All-Big Ten second team selection. Helping U-M win four games in four days, he was named the Big Ten Tournament's Most Outstanding Player, backing the Wolverines earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Averaging 18.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game, Walton guided U-M to the Sweet 16 at the Big Dance. He made 98 three-pointers, which is the third best in a single season at U-M, and became the first Wolverine, and just the 13th player in Big Ten history, to surpass 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists, closing his career with 1,471 points (22nd), 562 rebounds (34th) and 499 assists (4th).
Zak Irvin closed his final season scoring in double figures in 31 of 38 games as he averaged 13.0 points per game while adding 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists. Early in the season, Irvin earned MVP honors as he guided U-M to the 2K Classic title after wins over Marquette and SMU at Madison Square Garden. Irvin earned All-Big Ten honorable mention for the second straight season after helping U-M to the Big Ten Tournament title. Closing his career, Irvin tied a U-M record with 142 games played while scoring 1,610 points (13th) and grabbing 531 rebounds (39th). With his 241 career three-pointers, he is now third all-time.
Moritz Wagner emerged as an offensive threat in his second season, averaging 12.1 points and shooting 39.5 percent from long range (45-for-114). He posted five games of 20-plus points with a career-best 26 in U-M's NCAA second-round win over Louisville, going 11-for-14 from the field. Earning All-Big Ten honorable mention, Wagner started all 38 games. He collected 158 rebounds (4.2 rpg) and produced his first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds at Indiana (Feb. 2).
D.J. Wilson had breakout season, averaging 11.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in what is considered his first full season. During his first two seasons, he played a total of 31 games, while in 2016-17 he started 36 of his 38 games. He led U-M with 203 total boards, helping him become the first Wolverine to record 200-plus rebounds since Mitch McGary (2012-13). He added four double-doubles and became a threat from long range, making 41 triples while shooting 37.3 percent. Lastly, Wilson's 57 blocks are the most in nine seasons by a Wolverine.
Honors and Awards
Big Ten Conference
All-Big Ten Second Team: Derrick Walton Jr. (Coaches, Media)
All-Big Ten Honorable Mention: Moritz Wagner (Coaches, Media), Zak Irvin (Media)
Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player: Derrick Walton Jr.
All-Big Ten Tournament Team: Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton Jr.
Big Ten Sportsmanship Award: Zak Irvin
Preseason All-Big Ten Team: Derrick Walton Jr.
Big Ten Player of the Week
Derrick Walton Jr. (Feb. 13, 2017 & March 6, 2017)
CoSIDA Academic All-District 5 Team
NABC District 7 (Second Team)
Derrick Walton Jr.
USBWA All-District 5 Team
Derrick Walton Jr.
Senior CLASS Award Nominee
Derrick Walton Jr.
Allstate NABC Good Works Teams Nominee
Academic All-Big Ten
Andrew Dakich, Sr., American Culture, Zionsville, Ind.
Brent Hibbitts, So., Undeclared, Hudsonville, Mich.
Zak Irvin, Sr., General Studies, Fishers, Ind.
Sean Lonergan, Sr., English, Fishers, Ind.
Moritz Wagner, So., Undeclared, Berlin, Germany
Fred Wright-Jones, So., Undeclared, Detroit, Mich.
Michigan Basketball Team Honors
Bill Buntin Most Valuable Player Award: Derrick Walton Jr.
Rudy Tomjanovich Most Improved Player Award: D.J. Wilson, Moritz Wagner
Thad Garner Leadership Award: Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton Jr.
Travis Conlan Sportsmanship Award: Sean Lonergan
Wayman Britt Outstanding Defensive Player: Zak Irvin, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman
Steve Grote Hustle Award: Xavier Simpson
Sixth Man Award: Duncan Robinson
Bodnar Award for Academic Achievement: Moritz Wagner
Award for Outstanding Free Throw Shooting: Derrick Walton Jr.
Loy Vaught Rebounding Award: D.J. Wilson
Gary Grant Award for Most Assists: Derrick Walton Jr.
Iron Man Award: Mark Donnal
Communications Contact: Tom Wywrot