The Michigan Wolverines’ basketball program has provided fans with plenty of unforgettable March Madness moments over the last 10 years or so, especially when considering there have been two trips to the National Title and three others to (at least) the Sweet Sixteen during that span.
Below is a look at the most influential individual NCAA Tournament plays over the last decade, with an emphasis on the impact each one had in the big picture and how recognizable and memorable they are.
We are also limiting the list to only positive plays for U-M, meaning Trey Burke’s late block (that was called a foul) against Louisville in the 2013 National Title and Kentucky guard Aaron Harrison’s game-winning three-pointer in the final seconds of the 2014 Elite Eight, for example, have not been included.
*Click here to provide your favorite March Madness memories and discuss which other plays you think should have made this list.
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Former Michigan Wolverines basketball guard Jordan Poole shot 37 percent from three as a freshman in 2017-18. (USA Today Sports Images)
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4. Duncan Robinson’s Late Three-Pointer Against Florida State in the 2018 Elite Eight
Former Michigan Wolverines basketball forward Duncan Robinson shot 38.4 percent from deep as a fifth-year senior in 2017-18. (USA Today Sports Images)
Michigan led Florida State 51-44 with 2:25 remaining in the 2018 Elite Eight, and was looking to for a big shot to finish off the Seminoles.
Then-sophomore point guard Zavier Simpson dribbled into the paint before kicking it out to wide open fifth-year senior forward Duncan Robinson in the right corner, who proceeded to drain a three to put the Maize and Blue up 10 (54-44) with 2:23 to play.
FSU never got closer than two the rest of the way, and though Robinson’s triple technically didn’t close the door entirely on the Seminoles, it stood as perhaps the most memorable play in a game that sent Michigan to the Final Four.
The Maize and Blue defeated Loyola-Chicago a week later before falling to Villanova in what was the program’s second trip to the National Title in five years.
U-M may still have reached the sport’s pinnacle even without Robinson’s three-pointer, but it nonetheless served as a brief moment of exaltation for Michigan fans in a game that was hard-fought and tightly-contested the whole way.
3. The Charge Jordan Morgan Took Against Syracuse in the 2013 Final Four
Former Michigan Wolverines basketball center Jordan Morgan (No. 52) only played 15.9 minutes per game as a redshirt junior in 2012-13. (AP Images)
With 21 seconds remaining and Michigan leading Syracuse 58-56 in the 2013 Final Four, Orange guard Brandon Triche drove into the lane from the top of the key with then-freshman guard Caris LeVert draped all over him.
Wolverine center Jordan Morgan saw what Triche’s intentions were and immediately got himself in guarding position with both hands straight up in the air, just outside of the restricted area.
A collision occurred between Triche and Morgan beneath the basket as the former went up for a layup, with the referee immediately calling Syracuse for an offensive foul.
Morgan had one more highlight left in him on the night, however, when he reeled in a pass from LeVert off a Syracuse miss on the Orange’s final possession, and threw down a two-handed slam on the other end to cement Michigan’s 61-56 victory and its place in the National Championship.
The sequence was undoubtedly bittersweet for Morgan, who had taken a backseat to then-freshman center Mitch McGary during the 2013 NCAA Tournament, while struggling mightily in the Big Dance following his missed layup at the buzzer against Indiana in a regular-season finale that could have given the Wolverines a share of the Big Ten title.
Morgan’s charge against Syracuse, however, sent the Maize and Blue to their first National Title since 1993, and was one of several unforgettable moments during U-M’s incredible 2013 March Madness run.
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2. Jordan Poole’s Buzzer-Beating Three-Pointer Against Houston in 2018
Former Michigan Wolverines basketball guard Jordan Poole wound up being selected in the first round (No. 28 overall) by the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA draft. (AP Images)
With Houston leading Michigan 63-61 and 3.9 seconds remaining in the 2018 second round, Cougar forward Devin Davis headed to the free throw line for two shots in an attempt to put U-M away.
Despite being a 67.1 percent shooter from the charity stripe, Davis missed both attempts and subsequently left the door open for the Wolverines.
Then-freshman forward Isaiah Livers proceeded to inbound the ball with 3.6 seconds left to then-senior guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman just in front of midcourt, who took two dribbles before firing a pass to then-freshman guard Jordan Poole on the right wing.
Despite being several steps behind the three-point line and Cougar guard Corey Davis having a hand in his face, Poole let the ball fly with 0.8 seconds left and watched as his shot splashed home a split second after the buzzer sounded.
Pandemonium ensued on the court as the Michigan bench erupted and proceeded to chase a joyous Poole from one end of the court to the other (pictured above).
The thrilling 64-63 victory over Houston not only carried over to the Sweet Sixteen when Michigan annihilated what had been a red-hot Texas A&M club, 99-72, just five days later, but also helped propel the Maize and Blue all the way to their second National Championship appearance in five years.
The program’s second trip to the National Title under former head coach John Beilein and its school-record 33-win season helped solidify him as the best coach in U-M history, though neither would have occurred without Poole’s miracle shot.
1. Trey Burke’s Three-Pointer Against Kansas in the 2013 Sweet Sixteen
Former Michigan Wolverines basketball guard Trey Burke won the 2013 National Player of the Year Award after averaging 18.6 points and 6.7 assists per game. (AP Images)
Kansas led Michigan 76-73 with 12.6 seconds remaining in the 2013 Sweet Sixteen when Jayhawk guard Elijah Johnson stepped to the free throw line for a one-and-one.
Simply making one would have made it a two-possession game, but Johnson instead missed the front end and then-junior guard Tim Hardaway quickly pulled down the rebound.
Hardaway passed the ball to Burke as the two ran up the court, with the latter running over to the left wing and stopping several steps behind the three-point line.
McGary set a screen for Burke that saw both McGary and Johnson fall to the ground, while 6-8 Kansas forward Kevin Young managed to get a hand in Burke’s face just as the guard fired off a deep three-pointer with only 6.2 seconds remaining.
The shot went in and tied the game, with the Wolverines eventually picking up an 87-85 victory in overtime that sent them to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1994.
Burke’s shot is an easy choice for the No. 1 spot on this list, not only because it is U-M’s most recognizable March Madness play of the last decade, but also one of the most impactful shots in Michigan basketball history.
U-M’s win over Kansas in 2013 established the Wolverines as a national power again for the first time since the 1990s, and began what would turn into an incredible seven-year run with Beilein at the helm (18 NCAA Tournament wins from 2013 through present day, which are tied for the most of any team in the nation).
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