You almost wish you could watch how this John Beilein Michigan dream team would match up in the upcoming Big East Tournament with Villanova and Xavier.
Don’t be surprised if you see the Big Ten Conference champs in the Final Four in San Antonio.
The Garden now knows that the Big Ten boasts three schools that have a great chance to reach the Final Four.
There is Michigan State, primarily because of Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo, who has been to seven Final Fours.
There is Purdue, which throws all these 3-point bombers at you along with 7-foot-2, 290-pound horse Isaac Haas … unless the Boilermakers are confronted by the kind of defensive strangulation the Wolverines bring to the party.
Just make sure you dare not bet against Michigan Madness.
“We can make a lot of noise,” sophomore guard Zavier Simpson said.
During a month that can give us the likes of a Jon Teske.
Jon Teske, a 7-1, 255-pound sophomore from Medina, Ohio, wasn’t supposed to be the unsung hero of defending champion Michigan’s 75-66 victory over Purdue on Sunday at Michigan Square Garden.
Jon Teske, who had the loud Michigan contingent who came expecting to chant for star big man Mo Wagner and found themselves chanting “Tes-ke, Tes-ke, Tes-ke” instead. Twice.
Jon Teske, the 3.3 ppg reserve who scored 14 points, one shy of his career high, and steadied the ship at a time when it appeared Haas might sink it in the first half.
The first time you heard “Tes-ke” was near the end of the first half after Teske had drawn a charge under the basket on Haas.
The next time you heard “Tes-ke” came after he jammed over Haas with 6:02 left. And roared. Wagner (17 points) loved it. Teske is a gentle giant by nature.
“That passion, my love for the game, just kinda all spilled out. … I really have no words to really explain it,” Teske said.
The third time you heard “Tes-ke” was after he committed his fourth foul and took a temporary seat on the bench with 2:59 left.
The final time came when he climbed the ladder and held a strand of the net in his left hand.
After he had jumped up and down with his teammates on the Garden court.
“He’s always had that,” senior swingman Duncan Robinson said. “It’s just a matter of unleashing it. We all feel like he’s got this kind of gentle side to him. But he’s also a beast, he’s a killer, and he can do that. And I don’t know, for whatever reason, maybe going up against Haas kinda motivated him a little extra today.”
Jon Teske, who averaged three minutes per game and scored five points in 20 games as a freshman, who had been plagued by confidence issues.
Haas (11 of the Boilermakers’ first 19 points) had imposed his will early and Beilein turned to Teske and asked him to step in for Wagner and remove his Huggies and grow up on the big New York stage.
“If you looked at our bench, he’s so loved by his teammates,” Beilein said. “ ‘Big Sleep’ they call him. ‘Big Bad Jon’ they call him. He’s so quiet. And so there’s nothing quiet about his performance today.”
Wagner, whose M.O. in the tournament had been sleepwalking first halves followed by a great awakening, drilled back-to-back 3s, the second one a virtual turnaround Hail Mary from the left corner boundary, and it was 56-42. Wagner was voted the tournament’s most outstanding player. He hugged his mother and said: “I can’t stop smiling.”
Neither could Teske, who played 21 minutes, four more than Wagner had. Asked about the chants, Teske smiled and said: “I heard it, but nothing really was going through my mind, just trying to stay focused on the game. Yeah it’s great, but just trying to help the team win.”