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Michigan 84, Illinois 53: Thumped

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Nik Stauskas likely sealed his Big Ten Player of the Year fate tonight, as he and the rest of the Wolverines shot the lights out of Assembly Hall en route to an unshared Big Ten Championship.

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Nik Stauskas broadened his game this season, adding in an improved ability to drive, to dish, and to finish. But at his core, he's a shooter. That's how he destroyed Illinois on Tuesday night.

He beat us like a drum. The whole Michigan team did. They're now Big Ten champions.

At half, Michigan had made 11-of-14 three-pointers. That's 79 percent. That's insane. They led, 52-30, capped off by a deeper-than-NBA three from Stauskas, but in all truth, Illinois hadn't played that poorly. Some would say they had played well. I wouldn't say it, but some might.

In the second half, more of the same, but slightly lesser quality due to the lack of competition. Stauskas continued to rain threes like a bully, answering any basket the Illini could muster. Rayvonte Rice finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. Kendrick Nunn had another nice night, finishing with 14 points. But Nik Stauskas had 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting, 7-for-9 from deep. Alongside him were Glenn Robinson III (13 points), Caris Lavert (15 points) and Zak Irvin (9 points). The Wolverine team as a whole shot 70 percent from three. What can you do?

Illinois began missing layups and turning the ball over late, but I won't dwell on that. When the point totals get out of hand and the other team can't miss, the energy might not be there. It's understandable. Rebound against Iowa, regain the 50-point defensive streak, gain momentum heading into the Big Ten Tournament, with that, make the NCAA Tournament, win a few more, and then win the National Championship. That's all I ask.

NOTES

- That's Illinois' worst loss at Assembly Hall/State Farm Center ever.

- Illinois' three-point defense honestly did not seem that poor. The numbers will say otherwise, of course, but the shots were rarely wide open. If you didn't watch the game, I cannot stress enough how unbelievable Michigan's first half shooting performance was. Truly, it was not fair. Sometimes you get shot out of the building. It happens. You can't be too mad when the opponent gets as hot as they'll be all season.

- Mike LaTulip got minutes and did okay!

- Champaign says farewell to Joseph Bertrand and Jon Ekey. We're sorry they had to leave on an ugly note, but the whole seasons been pretty ugly, so what's the difference. May their next years be better than this one.