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Michigan Basketball season ends in embarrassing fashion

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Michigan head coach Juwan Howard reacts to a play against Toledo during the second half of the first round of the NIT at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.

Michigan basketball choked away an eight-point lead with less than two minutes left, finding ways to lose that didn't seem possible. 

If you didn't watch Michigan basketball battle for nearly 40 minutes, you'd assume the Wolverines wanted to lose after the way they played over the last two minutes.

Leading by eight points with two minutes to go, Hunter Dickinson, an All-American, former Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and All-Big Ten selection, missed a point-blank layup.

That set off a series of events that you might not believe, except we have seen this team blow three-possession leads this season like it was nothing.

Michigan fouled a Vanderbilt player driving to the basket, giving the Commodores a chance at a 3-point play. Then, after turning the ball over, Terrance Williams committed a foul. Since Michigan was in the bonus, Vanderbilt made two more free throws and suddenly, it was a 3-point game.

Another turnover, another bucket.

It was the same exact thing as Hunter Dickinson threw a pass to Williams who mishandled it. Vanderbilt got the ball and Dickinson was called for a goaltend because he grabbed the net instead of blocking a shot cleanly.

Michigan surrendered five points to Vanderbilt because of three different violations. U-M got a shot attempt up in the final seconds but it didn't fall and a team that seemed destined to make an NIT run, saw its season end in a shocking 66-65 loss that wasn't all that shocking.

Dickinson scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. If he had finished that one layup to make it a 10-point game, Michigan probably wins. I hope he returns, because his Michigan basketball career shouldn't end like this.

Dug McDaniel was great most of the day but lost his composure down the stretch. Joey Baker is the only player besides McDaniel and Dickinson to make more than two field goals and he was 3-of-10. His foot on the line (on a late two that could have been three) proved to be costly too.

Little mistakes cost Michigan basketball all season and it cost the Wolverines a home game in the NIT quarterfinals.

At least the transfer portal season can begin in earnest now. Hopefully, Michigan can convince some players to return and others to move on. Changes need to happen and the biggest change is how the Wolverines handle the end of the game.

They need to figure out how to avoid choking in winning time again. That's the reason they lost on Saturday and the reason they missed the NCAA tournament in the first place.

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